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What do you say?

476 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Birth Junky
I'm a bit down and frusterated. As an apprentice, everyone I know tells me about their pregnancy. And of course, the "complications".

Today's email was... "Well at today's 32 week appt. my OB said we need to think c-section, because the baby's big. He doesn't want to try induction, though, because he's not concerned about the weight at all. It's that the baby could die from shoulder dystocia. So he wants to just go straight to a c-section. I really, really don't want a c-section, but I couldn't live with myself if the worst happened."

32 weeks, 2nd baby. First baby was 8#1 and came "flying out."

How do you midwives respond to all of it? I'm feeling a little beat down by hearing about all the "care" that people I know are getting. I don't even know how to respond to all these emails anymore.

Thanks to my midwife sisters for listening.
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I usually just ask them open questions that leave them to ask me more, like....

"How are you feeling about those reasons for a cesarean?"

"Have you ever known anyone to have a baby larger than 9 pounds vaginally?"

"Have you thought about asking a second opinion from someone who has seen larger babies born vaginally with no emergencies?"

Alot of times, though, I just nod my head and smile. More times than not, they ask me some questions, I tell them some facts and places where they can research further.

It helps that I realize that I was once in their shoes. I didn't become clear and trusting about birth overnight. It was a process - and it had to be ME that started the journey, instead of someone telling me I was wrong.
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it is SO hard being an apprentice, because everyone wants to tell you about their pregnancies, but if you offer a differing opinion than their care providers, then generally they ignore you because you are "just a student" grrrrrrr.

the way i approach it is to ask questions. like, "wow, he must have a really good ultrasound technician. isnt there usually a 1-2lb margin of error in estimating fetal wieght by US?"

or by anecdote-" the midwife i work with just had a case like this- the baby was estimated to be too big so they scheduled a c/s. well, she went into labor before her section date and the baby came so fast they didnt have time to cut. she was only 6lb!!!"

i try to avoid authoritative stuff, like "well, Varney's midwifery says blahblah blah, and studies have shown that blahblahblah."

for some reason people get defensive when you give them actual facts, whereas they seem to listen more when you act more conversational about it.

or something like that.
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Not a midwife YET, although I am a doula and pregnancy massage therapist.

I ran into a sticky situation with a pregnant client the other day--she had come in for her (first) pregnancy massage, and as I ALWAYS do with pregnant clients, I was asking her all sorts of questions and just generally chatting with her.

I should have realized her medical bias when she told me that she was 42 and having her first baby, and started telling me about all of the tests she had to have done. (Not saying that older moms are automatically allied with MDs, but because she had already had the wits scared out of her by her "advanced maternal age", I think she was more determined to believe in the medical profession as the saviors of her and her baby.)

Next she tells me "if my doctor really wanted to do a c-section, I wouldn't want to argue, because I wouldn't want to put the baby at risk." I explained that if the doctor wanted to do a c-section for convenience, or because of their own biases, arguing would not put her baby at risk. THEN she tells me "well, I've seen videos of natural childbirth, and I would NEVER do that . . . that kind of stress CAN'T be good for the baby."

I gently, calmly, quietly, responded that birth is a natural process and that women have been doing it for thousands of years. I then mentioned that the ALTERNATIVES to natural childbirth can have risks of their own . . . for instance, that an epidural can cause a precipitous drop in blood pressure that can be dangerous for mom and baby. My client shot back with "you can't say that! That's just not true--there are no statistics to back that up!"

I tried a little more to explain some of the realities of childbirth in America, with her fighting me tooth and nail on every point. Finally she said to me "you are speaking from a place of fear now, and I won't allow that around my pregnancy, so we're going to have to end this conversation." I apologized for making her feel uncomfortable, and we worked in silence for awhile. Eventually, though, she brought the subject up again, and was very angry and defensive, and decided to end the massage.

I spend the next hour in tears, feeling so TERRIBLE that I had upset/offended this woman, when all she wanted was a relaxing hour of massage. I think I need to work on separating myself a bit from my pregnancy massage clients, instead of putting on my "doula hat" . . . but then again, I feel so strongly that women in our society need to be able to make INFORMED decisions, and that so often they are not given adequate information to make a choice.

I don't know . . . the whole experience left me shaken as far as my ability to help my clients goes. I want to write it off as a one-time thing (the client had openly admitted to our receptionist that she was uptight and a control freak, so maybe that was all it was), but worry that I may overdo it again in my eagerness to help.

Not really sure if there was a point to my writing all of this, but just wanted to let you know that I understand your frustration and empathize with your plight. Good luck and good birthing!
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