Another Crazy Theory?

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my daughter’s birth. If everything had gone well, even with a cesarean, would I be the person I am today? Would I be such a strong natural birth advocate, or would I be completely okay with having a repeat cesarean?

If you have a good birth with your first child, and someone points you in the direction of natural birth after the fact, are you doing something wrong by saying you weren’t informed for your first birth?

Is it bad to realize and accept that you were only informed for one side of maternity care and that you didn’t know the full circle?

Is it easier to accept you weren’t informed if you had a bad birth experience? If you have everything go wrong, are you more likely to change your ideas and learn more for the next? And if your birth goes well for your first and you have no complaints, will you go out and find out more yourself for your next, or will you just plan the same thing??

Ok, I know that was a lot of questions, but it was great getting it off my chest haha.

10 Childbirth Myths

I’m stealing this from Midwifery Ramblings…. again haha

Enjoy!

1. “Before cesareans, women were dying all the time in childbirth.”

* Yes, there were high maternal and infant mortality rates before we had the tools for a “safe” cesarean. But the main factors that contributed to this, are often unknown or not researched by women. “In the early 19th century, doctors would go catch babies without first washing their hands and, worse, would do so after performing autopsies on patients who had died from childbirth fever. This not only assured transmission, but biased that transmission so that the most virulent forms of the organism (i.e., those that killed women while they were still in the hospital) would be transmitted.” ( Germ Theory of Disease ) The first antibiotic wasn’t created until the 1920’s. Even then, the use of penicillin didn’t become widespread until the 1940’s. So if the Aseptic Technique didn’t become known until the late 19th century, and we didn’t have access to antibiotics until the 1940’s, how is it hard to understand that women and babies were dying more so because of the spread of disease, rather than the inability to birth safely without a cesarean. I have no doubt that some women and babies died because of not being able to get the baby out fast enough…but that really does take a back seat to disease, if you look at things correctly according to the history of medicine and what we’ve learned. It wasn’t just women and newborns dying…it was a widespread thing during that time. Older children were lost to disease, men, and non-pregnant women alike. In Wales in 1838, the death rate from the Measles was 70.49 per 100,000. By 1968 when the Measles Vaccine came to use, the death rate was down to 0.11 per 100,000. My point in bringing up the measles? To show that the GENERAL death rates were very high before we had the Aseptic Technique, Antibiotics, and Vaccinations. Should we be afraid to go out in public where other people will be coughing, sneezing, and breathing around us because the disease rate was very high over a century ago? Of course not. Same reason that women should not be afraid to give birth because the maternal and infant mortality rates were high.

In my previous posting of this, I also mentioned pelvic deformities from the use of corsets. This WAS a factor in women’s inability to pass the very baby she grew, because when girls began binding their waists and hips from a young age, it DID change their pelvic structures. This may have been seen in the prominent families only, but it was still a factor. I can’t help but believe as well ( and feel free to write me off on a person belief, lol ) that labor and birth would be a hell of a lot more painful if your pelvis suffered from years of binding.

2. “I have to be induced because my baby is getting too big.”

* The accuracy of ultrasound for detecting macrosomia seems to run between 50% to 65% or so. This is VERY low accuracy to be telling a woman that her baby is getting too big to birth safely. From Kmom’s Website:

Pollack et al. (1992) found that only 64% of the babies estimated to be macrosomic (big) actually were. Levine et al. (1992) found that HALF of the ultrasound predictions of fetal weight were incorrect. Delpapa and Mueller-Heubach (1991) found that 77% of ultrasound fetal weight predictions exceeded actual birthweight and only 48% were even within 500g (about one pound) of the actual birth weight. Furthermore, 23% were more than 1 pound overestimated, and 50% of the babies predicted to be macrosomic weren’t macrosomic at all.

Late in pregnancy, ultrasonography just isn’t an accurate way of estimating the size of the baby, when it comes down to the decision of forcing a baby out before he’s ready, or heading to the OR. And regardless of baby’s size, you’ll never know what you can do until you try. ; ) Had someone told me 4 years ago, when I was scared into my c-section for “suspected macrosomia” ( he was only 8.8lbs and spent 9 days in the NICU for severe respiratory distress from the c-section ), that I would go on to deliver a 10.10 posterior baby ( in my home no less, no meds )…I would have told them that they were crazy. That it is impossible to deliver a baby that big without a cesarean, or major damage in the least. ( I had only one stitch, by the way )

I also think that women don’t know that the pelvic girdle is NOT a fixed, solid structure. During pregnancy and labor, a hormone called Relaxin softens the ligaments that join the surrounding pelvic bones. The degree of pelvic expansion achieved will vary depending on the factors in an individual woman’s labor. For example, squatting increases the opening of the pelvic outlet considerable, compared with the lithotomy position. It will also depend on whether or not mom was induced. ( The hormone is still there, but an induction is a mean of trying to evict a baby who is not ready ) There are factors that come into play, but there are ways of increasing the pelvic outlet size to facilitate a vaginal delivery. Baby’s heads are made to mold as well.

3. “I had to have a c-section because my baby’s cord was around his neck, and he could have DIED!”

* I am saddened to hear this from women. Obstetricians are doing a great job of justifying the reason for the cesarean, by throwing in things like this. Approximately 1 in 3 babies are born with at least a 1x nuchal cord ( wrapped around the neck ). I personally have been present for the delivery of a baby who had a 3x nuchal cord, wrapped not only around the neck, but across the shoulders as well. She was born quite safely at home. While studies DO show a higher incidence of fetal bradycardia ( heartbeat of less than 100bpm ), they show no significant difference in the APGAR scores in babies with a nuchal cord, compared to those without. Interesting. ; )

From The Journal Of Family Practice:

Several studies have shown that this cord compression results in reduced blood flow to the fetus and subsequent changes in the umbilical artery blood gases.[3,25,31-33] If compression is high enough to occlude the artery, the fetus is unable to exchange carbon dioxide adequately, resulting in hypercapnia and subsequent acidosis. Acidosis is significantly more common in newborns with nuchal cords.[33] This acidosis is of a “mixed” (68%) or a pure respiratory (23%) type and is corrected quickly by prompt ventilation of the newborn.

Paradoxically, despite the higher incidence of bradycardia and acidosis, the Apgar score is not dramatically affected. The present study was unable to demonstrate a significant difference in the mean 1-minute Apgar score between the two groups, although the nuchal cord group did tend to have a larger percentage of infants born with a score of less than 7. This difference was absent at 5 minutes after birth when the second Apgar score was given, suggesting that any possible effect is only transient. Similar findings by other suggest that nuchal cords are not a major cause of fetal asphyxia.

It is interesting to note that the Apgar scores in the nuchal cord group of this study were comparable to those of the control group, despite the much higher occurrence of fetal distress noted during labor. It may be that the Apgar score is a better indicator of the newborn’s health at the time of birth than the fluctuations in heart rate noted during labor.

4. “Once your water breaks, you HAVE to deliver within 24 hours.”

*

A retrospective cohort study of women delivering at two New York City hospitals between 1988 and 1990 was conducted to assess the outcomes of two kinds of management for PROM. The patient populations of the two hospitals were similar. One institution practiced induction of labor if spontaneous labor had not begun within 12 hours of rupture of the bag of waters; the other hospital, with nurse-midwifery management ( not ignorant DEMs we’re talking about! 😉 ), admitted the women but did not induce unless signs of infection occurred.
The records of 909 women with PROM at term were reviewed. Those who were managed conservatively experienced one-third the rate of cesarean sections, with no increase in intrauterine or neonatal infections. Though the expectant management women spent as long as five days in the hospital, the average hospital stay was only a half-day longer than those who were managed with early induction. -Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, Vol. 38 No. 3, May/June 1993

A HUGE factor in acquiring an infection when premature rupture of membranes has occured, is the number of vaginal exams done after the water has broken. With each exam done, the risk of infection is increased. In keeping the risk of infection at it’s lowest, it is important to keep everything out of the vagina – even gloved hands. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often in the hospital.

Morales WJ and Lazar AJ. Expectant management of rupture of membranes at term. South Med J 1986; 79(8): 955–958.

Women with term uncomplicated pregnancies (including women with previous cesarean) and PROM who were not in labor were randomly assigned to expectant management (monitoring for infection or fetal distress) (N=167) or induction (N=150). No digital exams were done until active labor. Most (85%) began labor within 48 hours. Women randomized to induction had internal electronic fetal monitoring and pressure catheter. “Failed induction” was defined as failure to enter active-phase labor after 12 hours of regular contractions.

The cesarean rate was 7% for women managed expectantly compared with 21% for induced women. No cesarean was done for failure to progress in expectantly managed multiparas versus a 15% cesarean rate for this cause in induced multiparas. Infection rates after cesarean section (24% versus 5% [no p value]) reflected the “well-documented significant increase in postpartum endometritis after abdominal delivery.” Intrapartum infection and endometritis rates after vaginal birth were increased in the induced population (12% versus 4%, p Rather, with PROM the interval from digital examination to delivery is the critical parameter in the incidence of infection.”

5. “Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean.”

* This used to be true, but mainly because doctors were using classical incisions ( vertical ) during cesareans, instead of the low transverse that is done now. With a classical incision, the incision stems upward into the uterus, where it contracts. The lower segment usually does not contract as hard as the upper segment. The main risk in a VBAC ( Vaginal Birth After Cesarean ) is a Uterine Rupture ( where the uterus opens ). This risk is approximately 0.3-0.7%. Which means that in a VBAC, you have a 99.3-99.7% chance of NOT rupturing, if you don’t induce labor. When you induce, the risk of rupture is increased. The risk of a cord prolapse, which is a life-threatening emergency for baby, in ANY labor is up to 2%. Does that mean that no woman should take the risk of ANY vaginal birth, and all should be c-sections? Of course not. So then why do women believe that the *LESS THAN 1%* risk is too high? Mostly because their doctors ( One thing that many women don’t know – OBs are trained *surgeons* ) play up the risks of VBAC, and underplay the risks of cesareans. A VBAC is not only a viable option to consider, but one that is encouraged by all of the major health organizations, including ACOG ( American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology ).

6. “It’s not a big deal to induce, as long as you’re ‘term'”.

* Well, this depends on what you consider to be a big deal. According to every recommendation there is, induction of labor SHOULD NOT be done unless the risk of remaining pregnant FAR outweigh the many risks that come with an induction…and suspected macrosomia doesn’t fall into this category, not even according to ACOG. Sadly, the majority of women induce out of convenience ( wanting to have baby by a certain date, wanting to get an additional tax credit before the new year – and YES…I’ve heard this more times than I can count! ) or because they have been told their baby is getting “too big”, or because they’re tired of being pregnant.

From the AAFP:

The Epidemiology of Induction Has Changed. The increase in the frequency of term labor induction has been well established,2-4 yet the change in incidence rates varies considerably by indication. Macrosomia has increased the most as an indication, 22.5-fold since 1980, despite evidence that induction for suspected macrosomia has shown potential benefit only in women with type 1 diabetes mellitus.5,6 Post-term pregnancy, the most common reason for labor induction (10 percent of live births), had only a 2.3-fold increase. Of note, induction rates have shown large variations across maternal classes, with higher induction rates being found in white, non-Hispanic women (25.3 percent), women with more than 12 years of education (24.6 percent), and women with private insurance (24.5 percent).2 Higher induction rates are found in community hospital settings (increased elective inductions), compared with university or federally controlled hospitals (increased inductions because of medical conditions).8

Elective Induction of Labor Is More Common. The rationale for elective induction is mutual convenience, allowing a pregnant woman to handle logistic issues such as child care and transportation, and to know that her expected birth attendant will be present for delivery. Given that most induced births occur between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., it is reasonable to presume that the physician and staff will be alert and better able to respond to an emergency. However, elective induction is not without potential risks, including iatrogenic prematurity, uterine hyperstimulation, nonreassuring fetal heart rate tracing, and greater likelihood of operative delivery, shoulder dystocia, and postpartum hemorrhage. While these complications are rare in multiparous women, nulliparous women have significantly higher rates of cesarean delivery, instrumented delivery, epidural analgesia, and neonatal intensive care unit admission.9,10 Because the risk of cesarean delivery with elective induction is potentially as high as 2.8 times that for spontaneous labor, it is difficult to advocate elective induction in a nulliparous woman.10-12

Technically and Ethically, care providers are NOT supposed to be inducing for ANY reason other than true medical necessity. But an induction of labor is more convenient for them as well, because it can be scheduled according to their liking, and it’s much easier to proceed to a cesarean if the induction is taking too long.

Elective inductions also increase the risk of Iatrogenic Prematurity ( Physician caused prematurity ).

From PubMed:

Flaksman RJ, Vollman JH, Benfield DG.

In a series of 1,000 newborn infants referred to a regional neonatal center, 32 iatrogenically preterm infants were identified. All had been delivered following elective termination of uncomplicated, apparently term pregnancies, without prior documentation of fetal lung maturity or ultrasonic determination of fetal biparietal diameter. Associated acute morbidity included asphyxia neonatorum in 10, respiratory distress syndrome in 24, and pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum in nine patients. One infant died. Hospital costs totaled $150,643, for a mean of $4,701 per patient. The unexpected premature births were associated with major parental grief reactions and alterations in their daily activities, Iatrogenic prematurity is a major regional health care problem which, when viewed on a national basis, may affect thousands of newborn infants and their families annually. Our data suggest the need for more accurate assessment of fetal maturity, before elective termination of pregnancy, by well-established techniques.

7. “Epidurals don’t pass to the baby, they’re not risky.”

* Dentists usually will not administer anesthetics to pregnant women. Doctors caution against using even the most mild of medications. Doctors warn against smoking in pregnancy, drinking in pregnancy, and consuming unhealthy food. Babies who are born after epidural births are more likely to need resuscitation, more likely to be lethargic, more likely to have lower apgar scores, and LESS likely to be breastfeeding at 6 months of age. Epidurals have a very high risk of causing BP problems in mom – causing the need for a c-section. Epidurals often cause labor to slow or stall completely, which then facilitates the need for pitocin. Pitocin often causes the baby to go into distress, along with the cocktail in the epidural, and then facilitates the need for a c-section. Epidurals lead to the interventions of an IV, continuous monitoring ( which have up to a 95% error rate…meaning that up to 95% of the babies who were c-sectioned for “fetal distress” were perfectly fine and not in distress at all. ), pitocin. Epidural births often end in the need for an instrumental delivery. Epidurals often take away the ability to push effectively, combined with the fact that you’re on your back, or in a half-sitting position, pushing a baby UP over the pubic bone.

Risks of Epidurals ( The full summary can be found HERE ):

* Limited Mobility – 100%
* Low Blood Pressure – up to 50%
* Fever, mom – up to 24%
* Urinary Retention – up to 68%
* Post Partum Urinary Incontenence – 27% with an epidural, 13% without
* Shivering – 33%
* Nausea – up to 30%
* Vomiting – up to 13%
* Itching – between 8-100% ( varying degrees )
* Backache Immediately After Birth – 53%
* Incomplete Pain Relief – up to 25%
* Slower 1st Stage of Labor – up to 4.8 hours longer
* Longer 2nd Stage ( pushing ) – up to 55 minutes longer
* Instrumental Delivery – up to 80%. 6 out of 9 studies indicate that less than 50% of women with an epidural had a spontanious vaginal delivery.
* Fever in the baby ( that result in a sepsis work up ) – 30%
* Fetal Distress – 10-15%
* Malpositioned Baby – up to 26%
* Lower Apgar Scores- up to 17%
* Baby Having to Endure Sepsis Work Up ( which includes spinal tap ) – up to 34%
* Baby Being Treated with Antibiotics – up to 15%
* Effects on Breastfeeding – Women who used epidurals were less likely to still be breastfeeding at 6 months. ( 30% vs. 50% )
* Cesarean – 2-3 times as likely with an epidural.

8. “I had to be induced because they found low fluid.”

* The modern route of action for this is completely backwards. Amniotic fluid is essentially the baby’s urine after the 36 week mark. ( http://gynob.com/amniotic.htm ) If you’re not drinking enough water, the baby is not able to process the amniotic fluid. When low fluid is found via u/s the practice is SUPPOSED to be to have the woman go home, drink at least 2 liters of water, and have the fluid levels re-checked by a *different* technician ( readings can be off depending on who’s doing it as well! ) within 24 hours. Studies have shown that oral re-hydration is a perfectly acceptable method of increasing amniotic fluid, as well as effective. of the time, the fluid levels will have gone up. In those that don’t, the practice is SUPPOSED to be to have her repeat above, and see what levels are again, by a diff. technician. If the levels still ARE low ( under 5 ), then it should be left up to the mom, will FULL INFORMED consent to make a decision. She should have time to go home and research, without being pressured. Sometimes this will necessitate an induction, but there are better ways to go about an induction without bombarding your baby with drugs. ( Foley catheter induction, no drugs, no pain meds…go from there ).

From PubMed:

One approach to treating oligohydramnios during labor is to perform an amniotomy followed by amnioinfusion to increase the fluid inside the uterus.[5] However, if expectant management is desired, maternal hydration can increase the AFI. Oral or IV maternal hydration has been studied as a treatment for oligohydramnios in women with otherwise healthy term pregnancies.[5] In the second trimester of pregnancy, the majority of the amniotic fluid is produced through fetal urine production and is reabsorbed through fetal swallowing. Amniotic fluid is also reabsorbed via the fetal lungs and by the placenta.[15,16] Maternal hydration and maternal osmolarity affect the amount of amniotic fluid available to the fetus for urine production and reabsorption near term.[15,17] In a systematic review, Hofmeyr[5] found that amniotic fluid volume is increased in women who have reduced or normal AFI and who drank 2 liters of water or who received IV hypotonic hydration; isotonic IV hydration had no measurable effect.[5] The amniotic fluid volume, assessed 6 hours later, was shown to increase by an average effect size of 2.01 (95% CI, 1.43-2.60) with oral hydration, and 2.3 (95% CI, 1.36-3.24) with a hypotonic IV solution. While no clinically important outcomes were assessed in any of these trials, hydration is a simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive method that may apply to clinical situations. Leeman and Almond[3] reported an increase of 30% in the AFI in women who consumed 2 liters of water 2 to 5 hours before repeat ultrasound, compared to women who were not orally hydrated. They recommend that maternal hydration should be considered before retesting the AFI 2 to 6 hours later, in cases of isolated oligohydramnios.

9. “Stripping Membranes is perfectly harmless.”

* During a membrane sweep, the care provider inserts his/her fingers into the cervix, hooks the finger in between the cervix and the amniotic sac ( if even possible…most women that request this aren’t barely a fingertip dilated ), and sweeps all around in between the two. On top of being EXTREMELY uncomfortable, and often painful, this does NOT guarantee induction of labor. This poses the risk of infection, because the care provider is pushing vaginal bacteria up INTO the cervix, and in between the cervix and sac. There is also the added risk of weakening the lining of the amniotic sac, causing the waters to break prematurely. If *this* happens, which is not uncommon, then you’re on the clock. Your body wasn’t naturally ready for labor, so it’ll probably take the longer of the scenarios described a few paragraphs above regarding the time limit on water breaking…and your care provider usually WILL be quicker to add intervention. After all, it *started* with intervention. ; )

10. “I pushed for hours and my baby would not come out. I NEEDED a c-section.”

* Unfortunately, Cephalopelvic Disproportion ( CPD ) is widely misdiagnosed. According to the American College of Nurse Midwives( for those of you who believe that you don’t count as a midwife unless you’re a CNM ), CPD occurs in only 1 out of 250 pregnancies. If you have been diagnosed with CPD, this does not automatically mean that you will have this problem in future deliveries. According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, over 65 % of women who had been diagnosed with CPD in previous pregnancies, were able to deliver vaginally in subsequent pregnancies. And as seen in many, many women on the ICAN list…often go on to deliver *LARGER* babies than the baby that was sectioned out of them for “CPD”. ; ) ( A beautiful montage from the women of ICAN…although not scientific I know. ) But with an epidural rate of as high as 85-95% in some hospitals…you’re not often going to see a woman be able to get up and get into a good squat, or into the hands and knees position. Some with a “Walking Epidural”, but not the average woman with an epidural.

Another issue brought up ( Thank you Heather! ) is a malposition in the baby. This isn’t often talked about when you’re under the care of an OB, because unfortunately palpation seems to be a lost art. I ask women ALL THE TIME who are under the care of an OB, what position their baby is in. They say “Head down”. I ask if they know which way the baby is facing, etc…and they say no and look at me like I’ve got two heads. Malposition can be a HUGE factor in a woman unable to push her baby out. Malpositions are usually more common with induced labors – especially when AROM is involved, and labor where mom is in bed with an epidural instead of up and moving around. I think that Optimal Fetal Positioning ( OFP ) should be a part of EVERY pregnant woman’s education prenatally. There are women who have done everything “right” ( IMO, and the opinion of many midwives ) – made sure that their diet was nutritious, planned a natural birth with minimal to none intervention, avoided drugs, stayed mobile, pushed with the urge….and STILL ended up pushing for hours and ending in a cesarean. Malposition can play a serious role in a cesarean becoming necessary, but is often simply labeled “CPD”.

A wonderful site to learn about OFP is Spinning Babies.

There are so many, many other myths that can and should be dispelled. So many women believe what they are told, instead of doing the research for themselves. If you’d like to learn more about Obstetrical myths, there is an EXCELLENT book by Henci Goer. “Obstetrical Myths Versus Research Realities”. Every myth dispelled is referenced by medical study. These are not opinions, they are backed my medical research. Maybe sometime soon I will add to this list. : )

A Compilation, If You Will

So, for today’s post, I have decided to write a summary or all the blogs I follow and what they are so you can check them out for yourself. Some are great, some are good, and some are downright bad.

They are in no particular order, so don’t be offended if you aren’t first…

1. Stand and Deliver: She is a natural mommy that had both her babies at home. She also wrote a dissertation on unassisted childbirth that I am reading and it is really great.

2. Reality Rounds: She is a NICU nurse, and I absolutely love what she has to say. She takes real life stories, but puts them in a way you can glean knowledge off of them.

3. Birthing At Home: She is pregnant with her second baby, and a birth geek like me. She is blogging about her pregnancy, and also blogging about birth and everything she finds useful.

4. Motherhood Moments: She is a natural, cloth diapering, baby wearing mommy that is blogging about her life!

5. Woman to Woman: This is an educational website that brings together tons of information about childbirth and women and everything rolled into one.

6. Mama Notes: She is also a natural mommy, who cloth diapers, baby wears, and had a natural hospital birth. She blogs about her life and her natural ways and such.

7. Birth Faith: She is a birth junkie and loves to write about birth. Everything and anything involved haha

8. Nurse Lochia: She is a natural mom, and an L & D nurse. She loves birth and working in the field

9. Baby Dust Diaries: She struggled with infertility for a long time and finally had an IVF miracle. This is the story of her life and times

10. Momma Molly: Another natural mom, and she posts natural uplifting birth stories once a week. They are great!

11. The Unnecesarean: She is saving the planet from unnecessary cesareans every day. Her site is always up to date on the lastest everything

12. Skeptical OB: This blog drives me crazy, but I can’t stop reading it. She is an OB, and says midwives are quacks… but for some reason I read every post haha.

13. Homebirth: This is a midwives blog about her birth experiences and everything she is going through with all that is going on in Australia. She has great ideas!

14. VBAC Facts: The education of VBAC, completely

15. Midwifery Ramblings: The new midwife in my area, and all of her ideas (just LOVE her)

16. Midwife with a Knife: Hasn’t posted much lately, but she is an OB that practices the midwifery model of care

17. Doula 6 Angelita: Just started her blog, and I love it! A doula changing the world one couple at a time

18. Midwive’s Tale: A midwife, just posting through her journey

19. Citizens for Midwifery: A pro-midwife blog

20. Motherhood Round 2: An anonymous mommy blogging about her journey to baby #2. I just love her ideas!!

21. Baby Making Machine: Her journey to motherhood, one step at a time

22. At Your Cervix: A RN working in L & D at a teaching hospital, and her trials and happiness through it

23. The Man-Nurse Diaries: I LOVE HIM. His wife had homebirths, he is training to be a nurse, pretty much working everywhere, and blogging about it!

24. Doula Mom: A doula and mother, describing her life at both ends of the spectrum

25. The Wonder of Birth: A new doula, educating women the way she wasn’t and praying for a VBA2C!!

26. Better Birth: A birth activist, and helping women realize their strength one post at a time.

27. Village Midwife: A midwife since 1973 and all she has learned and has yet to learn

28. Refuse to be a Womb Pod: Has has 2 VBACs and is an amazing advocate for a woman’s right to choose!

29. Navelgazing Midwife: A midwife and all she has accomplished!

30. Fearless Birth: Advocating for women the right to take back their births and enjoy what they have!

***

ENJOY!!

Girlfriend’s Guide To Pregnancy… Continued….

So, I buckled down and finished it today.

Let’s just say it wasn’t a good experience…

So, here are my biggest gripes about the book, with excerpts to prove it haha.

Before I explain that, I just need to say one thing… When they were trying for their first, she would coerce him into having sex on her fertile days without telling him. It didn’t work, so after a year she went to a fertility specialist. She had her IUI after collecting her husband’s sperm, racing to the clinic, and having the procedure done without her husband there. She became pregnant from it, and he wasn’t here.

She had 4 kids in 6 years, and every time she got pregnant, her husband would say “How could you do this to me?”

He also doesn’t like having sex with ‘fat pregnant women’, but she would make him do it anyway, even though he got no pleasure out of it.

(What a great expert to learn about pregnancy and birth…)

OH, and everything in red is from the book

1. The top 10 lists she has….
– First is the greatest lies about pregnancy. #4: Exercise during pregnancy will make your labor easier and #3 pregnancy brings a couple closer together (ya, you and your obstetrician!)
Ok, I understand pregnancy isn’t easy, but exercise does help labor progress faster, and pregnancy does bring a couple closer together (as long as your partner isn’t an ass!)

– the reasons you don’t need to keep your gym membership: #3 You will get fat anyway (???!!!???) and #5 You might endanger the pregnancy (exercise is fine as long as you clear it with your doctor!) and finally #8 Our compulsion to exercise when we are pregnant is a reflection of our inability to surrender and let nature run its course (WTF???)

-top ten way to deliver babies: # 2 sipping on an epidural cocktail and watching oprah (Ya, she said it… epidural cocktail…)

-reasons why you’ll do this again someday: #6 You actually believed that nursing mothers can’t get pregnant (cuz we’re all stupid…), #5 You are so tired that you can’t remember if you inserted your diaphragm or just considered it a good idea (wow… no words for this one), #1 Wine (cuz we’re alcoholics and retarded)

2. Males as birth coaches:

Most women who are pregnant with their first baby truly hope that a Lamaze or Bradley class will help them forgo drugs during labor and delivery, or at least help them through the part before they get the drugs. Their partners generally just acquiesce, because long ago they gave up challenging or disagreeing with anything their pregnanty partner wanted.

I am going to go out on a limb here, but here goes: I feel that the current fashionable thinking about the daddy seeing the mommy through the ordeal of delivering a baby is unnecessarily strict and limiting.

I don’t think there are words for my anger here. Men don’t want to go? Duh, but they go because they love their wives. Sure we are cranky when pregnant, but we do things we don’t want to. And the classes do work, I don’t care what she says.

And what about having your husband there to support you during the hardest work you will ever do is strict and limiting? Wow, her husband screwed her up…

3. Men’s fears
#8 He will faint during deliver (or worse yet, he will stay conscious and have to watch the whole thing)
#9 The doctor will insist that he cut the umbilical cord
#11 He will never be able to have sex with you again
#13 He is bound to this woman forever

Ok, I understand that men have fears too, but I highly doubt these are some of them… My husband didn’t want to cut the cord with our daughter (he wasn’t able to anyway). And what man thinks in his head that he is bound to his wife forever once the child is born?!? Probably hers haha……

4. Her view on ‘unmedicated birth’
My Girlfriends Maria and Mindy both prepared for childbirth with conviction. They didn’t just want a vaginal birth, they wanted to do it drug-free. (This was way back, before anyone listened to me or thought I might know a thing or two about this pregnancy business.) Both of them labored for more than twenty hours. They were in the kind of pain that only fear and no end in sight can create. Their partners were alternately sympathetic, running for an anesthesiologist, and trying to keep the girls true to their naive promises to labor on, no matter what. I call these husbands Golden Retrievers because they continue to act sweet, loyal, and dumb even when all evidence is making it abundantly clear that everyone in their little family had been inimaginative in how big and long and scary the pain of labor can be. The mom is half out of her mind and begging for drugs, and these guys are asking inane questions like “Can’t you focus on your Precious Object just a little longer?” Those guys are lucky they don’t end up with those Precious Objects jammed down their throats or through their hearts… At least.

Finally, it was the insistence of their doctors that got the laboring moms and their clueless husbands to surrender and release their stressed babies via the zipper. Both Maria and Mindy felt like failures when the greatest moments of their lives occured. Their babies were delivered by C-section and were scandalously healthy and robust, but the momies were crushingly exhausted and disappointed. In one case, time eventually healed the trauma and grief, and in the other, subsequent successful vaginal deliveries erased the memory.

All I can say is she is retarded… Husbands aren’t Golden Retrievers. They are your support and need to be there in your labor. Sure, it hurts, and they are trying to help in one of the ways they know how. And here is a shameless plug, but HIRE A FREAKING DOULA. I promise you, you won’t regret it. OH, and don’t read this book haha….

5. Exercise does nothing in labor and delivery:
I have watched many of my Girlfriends labor and deliver their babies, and one thing that never ceased to interest me was how irrelevant their fitness level was to the ease of their delivery. I have one Girlfriend who smoked cigarettes until the day she found out she was pregnant, then ate until the day she went into labor. She labored for three or four hours, then pushed the baby out in minutes. I have another Girlfriend who was a college track star and had maintained her fitness ever since. She labored for 40 hours and never dilated past 4 cms. To my nonmedical eye, it almost looked as if the looser and less muscle bound a woman was, the easier it was for the baby to get out.

SO, everyone, just lay on your fat ass your entire pregnancy and you will have a crazy easy delivery. Exercise, and it will be so hard they have to augment or cut your baby out. Good to know…

6. Postpartum Sex:
Even if your doctor tells you at your six-week checkup that it is all right to start having sex again, you must not tell your partner. All Girlfriends must agree to tell them that may absolutely not have intercourse for 3 months.

If you have a painful delivery or episiotomy, or surgery or anything, the first few times you have sex are going to be ‘interesting’ for lack of a better word. Some people cannot comfortable have intercourse for 3 or 4 months.

But lie to your partner? Really??? That’s just plain wrong…

She also goes on to say that the first few times you have sex after having a baby, you won’t orgasm. I had sex at 6 weeks after, and I have never NOT orgasmed since I got married. Maybe I’m different, and this is probably a TMI, but this book is full of shit. Not every woman is the same. My sex drive is different than my mom’s, and yours. You may not have had an orgasm for awhile, but you don’t print it in a book for women to read. They are terrified enough after having a vaginal delivery, and now you add that sex might not be fun?

Ya….

***

So, that is all I can stomach writing. I hope it is enough to turn you off this book forever. I want to burn it, but I want to frame it to show people how awful it is. I am so torn…

But whatever you do, if you are a newly pregnant woman, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.

You might be a birth junkie if….

I got this from Woman To Woman, and thought it was too funny to not repost.

Enjoy!

You might be a Birth Junkie…

  • if you blog about birth (more than just your own birth for historical purposes) or if your birth story is at least two pages long
  • if you failed math, but can quickly convert grams to pounds and ounces (approximately)
  • if you can say “vagina” in a sentence without blushing
  • if you can correctly use “os” in a sentence
  • if you can’t remember who won any gold medals for the US in the last Olympics, but you know US statistics for maternal and infant mortality, and the national C-section rate (bonus points if you know your local hospital(s) epidural, induction, and C-section rates) — if you’re not from the US, insert your own country
  • if you can list the mother-friendly and baby-friendly guidelines from memory, and know which hospital in your area (if any) fulfills those goals
  • if you can recite the midwifery model of care
  • if when you’re discussing something related to birth, you receive those polite but puzzled looks… right before your conversation partner moves away
  • if you see a circle about 4″ big, and you think “that’s fully dilated”
  • if you have birth-related artwork somewhere in your house (includes placenta pictures and belly casts, etc.)
  • if you currently have or ever did have a placenta in your freezer
  • if you have ever consumed placenta
  • if you have a model of a pelvis, uterus, or some other female organ
  • if you always keep honey sticks on hand
  • if you’ve ever gone to the bookstore and hidden “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (or some other similar non birth-junkie book) and replaced it with some pro natural-birth book
  • if other women get tired of telling you their birth stories before you get tired of hearing them
  • if you have a library (or would love to acquire one) of birth-related books and videos
  • if you have 10 or more birth-related videos saved to your account on YouTube
  • if you appear on any YouTube (any internet) video talking about birth, in labor, or giving birth (picture montages count)
  • if at least half of the blogs you regularly read are birth-related
  • if someone tells you she “had to have” a particular intervention and you can come up with several alternatives that were never mentioned to her (bonus points if she doesn’t get mad or defensive)
  • if you refuse to play the “my birth was worse than your birth” game
  • if you feel like you know your fellow online birth junkies (even though you’ve never actually met them) better than you know some of your flesh-and-blood friends
  • if ten or more of your Facebook friends (or other equivalent) are people you’ve never actually met but know them through birth-related functions (blogs, email lists, etc.)
  • if you’ve ever gone to a birth conference
  • if you’ve ever emailed, mailed or called your state or national representatives about a birth-related matter
  • if someone tells you her baby is breech and you give her names (bonus points if you know phone numbers) of chiropractors skilled in the Webster technique or people who can perform moxibustion
  • if you know what counterpressure is and how to apply it (bonus points if you’ve done it)
  • if you know what a rebozo is (bonus points if you’ve used one)
  • if you encourage your children, especially young children, to watch birth videos
  • if you can get hoarse from watching TV birth shows (like A Baby Story), because you’re yelling through the screen at the woman or her care providers

Big News

So, a lot has happened in the last 4 days haha.

I recently lost my job, and it felt right. Not sure why, but I wasn’t expressly worried.

Sunday, I got an email from the new midwife in our area. She recently acquired a client that is 38 weeks and hasn’t had time to find an assistant and was curious if I was interested.

HECK FREAKING YES I WAS INTERESTED!!

So, I met with her today, and we discussed everything, and I am now a midwifery assistant!!!!!!

I still can’t believe it.

I am going to the prenatal next week, and on call about the birth (my first home birth), and could not be more excited!!!

(If I talk about this like crazy for the next few weeks, forgive me…)

The Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy

So, I got a couple gift cards to Barnes and Noble and had added 3 books to my cart and needed one more to use the cards up.

I was looking through the discounted bin and found ‘The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy’ for 4 bucks. I had heard it was terrible, and I couldn’t resist buying it to see for myself. Especially since it was only four dollars.

I got it in the mail today…

I opened it, and was pissed off at the very first page haha. Definitely not a great start.

I skimmed through about 70 pages, getting more and more upset, and I came to the chapter on choosing your caregiver. I was interested in what this chapter had to say, so I started to actually read all the words on the page haha.

Here is page one….

My girlfriend Kathy opted for a home birth with a nurse-midwife, and the midwife did everything from make her herb teas to walk with her in the hills outside her house to help bring on regular contractions. The nurturing and reassurance were extraordinary. Unfortunately, Kathy found labor longer, more painful, and more frightening than she had anticipated, and she ended up falling into the tiny backseat of her sports car and being whisked to a hospital to deliver her son. Her biggest disappointment was that because she had waited so long, the doctors decided not to give her any pain relief because it was time to push anyway.

I gleaned three lessons from Kathy’s story. First, you can never go to the hospital too early, even if you end up spending the next twenty-four hours just walking the halls of the maternity ward. Second, save the home births, midwives, and underwater deliveries for second, third, or fourth babies. There is no way you can make an informed decision about how you want to manage your delivery until you have some realistic idea of what to expect. We Girlfriends guarantee that you will be surprised, perhaps pleasantly, perhaps not so pleasantly, but YOU WILL BE SURPRISED, even after reading this book. And third, never elect to have a child where you have no access to medication or, God forbid, real doctors.

You will tell yourself from now till labor begins that you intend to try delivering without an epidural, but I can’t think of a Girlfriend who didn’t take it when it was offered. Well, I take that back. My Girlfriend Jillian never took pain medication, but perhaps if her husband had no been there promising her jewelry if she could make it through, she too, would have found the epidural a relief. (I wonder how it would go if she were to stand beside him with diamond cuff links while he was getting a vasectomy.) Nor was there any medication for Corki, whose baby had a heart problem that might adversely have been affected by it, or Amy, who labored too fast for the doctor to have time to get the epidural into her without slowing down her progress. But both Corki and Amy maintain that they would forever have been grateful for such medical intervention.

A postscript to this home delivery section: Childbirth is as messy as a pig slaughter. Why in the world would you want to sacrifice your beautiful sheets, not to mention your mattress, to such a thing? If you just can’t stand the thought of going to a hospital, perhaps you should consider delivering at the four star hotel; it’s still cheaper than a hospital, and the food and maid service are infinitely better.

I couldn’t go on. If this is what the women in this country are reading, no freaking wonder that they are all having epidurals and interventions. No wonder only 1% deliver at home. No wonder the cesarean rate is so high..

I want to keep reading, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it will get better…..