Rant or Rave?

I just have to put this out there – to the universe, families I serve, etc. etc.

BIRTH BELONGS TO WOMEN and FAMILIES. It does not belong to midwives, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, etc. etc. etc. I get so tired of hearing about all the hoops pregnant and birthing mothers are made to jump through – “You must do XYZ at weeks 1, 2 and 3. And of course an ultrasound at 20 weeks to confirm dates and make sure baby is ok. Oh, and the quad screen. Of course you’ll want that.” FEAR, fear… FEAR.

Poor mother is sitting  there stunned, shocked, frightened, bullied… certainly with a continual onslaught of emotional and physical affronts during her pregnancy she will experience some – SOME – hiccup in her labor or birth. If we treated animals this way while pregnant entire species would die out and become extinct.

Sigh. Remember Mama: you are the ONLY PERSON ultimately responsible for your womb-baby. You carry her, you feed and nourish him. You ALONE birth this person into the outside world. Choose carefully those whom you would invite on your journey.

At Home in Auburn

at home in auburn.

A really beautiful video of why one couple chose homebirth. (some nudity, might not want the kiddos watching without previewing) I love the interviews with couples, there is a whole series here of different couples, different locations, different reasons for choosing out of hospital birth. Enjoy!

Share the truth lately?

I just read this awesome article on IndieBirth.com . In it Maryn explores the possibility that women are mostly making that decision based on emotion. That or they simply haven’t heard that homebirth has come to the 21st century. In spades. 🙂

Many women are making the decision to deliver in the hospital because of fear. And that’s not ok. And it’s not ok because fear does not usually serve us well. Respect the process? Yes. Fear it? Not exactly. I wish there was a way to overcome this… BELIEF SYSTEM… that says we should FEAR BIRTH. Some of it has to do with education, yes. But with the internet and television (Thank you Ricki Lake!) most women in the US have at least “heard about” someone having a homebirth, and that it went well for them.

The problem seems to me that our community connectedness is gone… thanks to the TV and internet (Sorry Ricki). We have to really work at being connected to other moms who are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant.

Given one, real hand account of a homebirth from a women that I am friends with – whom I trust – and that outweighs MUCH of what I hear, read, or see from other sources. Kindof like a referral to a great hair stylist? 🙂 You can see the ads, clip the coupons and be disatisfied until you BFF tells you about this “fab stylist” at such-and-such street.

So, as a storykeeper, I encourage ALL mothers who’ve had a homebirth to SHARE THEIR STORIES. When someone walks up to you and admires your baby, tell them, “Yes, he was born at home. It was wonderful.” or something like that. Tell the truth! There is nothing illegal about homebirth, and other than a few snubbed noses you’re not likely to encounter anything threatening at making your announcement.

It’s especially meaningful to share these stories at your MOPS meetings, Sunday school, homeschool coops, etc. etc. with women WHO KNOW YOU. Because I’m betting you’re a cool gal and that they trust you. Share the trust one can have in birth and help dispell the FEAR!!!

What I said…

Yeah, so here’s a very recent article showing twice the risk for cesarean when first-time moms undergo labor induction. So please, if you know a woman thinking about having an induction have them re-think the whole thing. (And it’s my position that any induction carries some risk of “failure” though this study cites medical inductions only).

And if they ask you, “What’s so wrong with a cesarean?” You can send them here:

ICAN’s Cesarean Fact Sheet (with references)

Spicy

My husband thinks I get “spicy” when I’m pregnant.

I concur.

Seems like the further along I get, coupled with the more babies I have, added to the fact that I’m not a sweet and tender 20 anymore, and you end up with a VERY spicy pregnant chick on your hands.

Spicy: Say-what-she-thinks, no-holes-barred, no-topics-uncovered, opinion-on-everything, no-room-for-compromise, tenacity-of-a-freight-train “spicy”

Now I’m not spicy in a mean way, but in a way that does tend to make people walk out of the room backwards when I get going. 🙂 It also tends to alienate people and I really hate that. But I can’t help it. You know how most people get food cravings in pregnancy? I get “issue” cravings. Like, I have to talk about it RIGHT NOW, to anyone who will listen, or not. 😛 And of course, those issues usually revolve around parenting, or birth, or relationships, etc. etc.

Today’s issue (for your viewing pleasure) is amniotic fluid levels. Low ones to be exact, being used as a reason to induce and scare women half to death. I realize this is an older article (2003) but it’s been shown again in more recent ones (I just don’t want to dig out references at the moment).

The researchers studied 262 women (131 with oligohydramnios and 131 with normal amounts of amniotic fluid) who gave birth at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between November 1999 and July 2002, comparing the babies’ health at birth. Patients with oligohydramnios were delivered sooner, but were less likely to need Caesarian sections. Babies born to moms with isolated low amniotic fluid were normal size and were at no increased risk of respiratory problems, immature intestines or brain disorders.

Study co-authors were Rita Driggers, Karin Blakemore and Cynthia Holcroft. Abstract # 318: Driggers, R. et al, “Are Neonatal Outcomes Worse in Deliveries Prompted by Oligohydramnios?”

Hello?! You’d think that would settle it, yes? No. More inductions are happening today than last week, and SO many happen now compared to even 5 years ago that it’s no wonder our nations surgical birth rate is so astronomical. Some common sense please, people? Why mess with a phenomenon that has been working without our “help” for centuries? And yes, birth really does work without intervention. To say it doesn’t is like saying that no one can have a bowel movement without medication. Ridiculous.

Induction Doubles Risk of Cesarean

Ok, so if you’re going into a hospital that has a 30% cesarean rate, and you go in for an induction, does that make your chances of a cesarean go up to 60%? Probably not, but it did make me ponder. SO many of the induction I hear about from friends, relatives, etc. end in a cesarean. To say that half of them do is not a stretch.

CONCLUSION: Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term for those with and without medical or obstetric complications. Reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II

(C) 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Here is the article just published with these stats:

Labor Induction and the Risk of a Cesarean Delivery Among Nulliparous Women at Term

Ehrenthal, Deborah B.; Jiang, Xiaozhang; Strobino, Donna M.

Obstetrics & Gynecology. 116(1):35-42, July 2010.

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181e10c5c

On my soapbox again…

I just can’t believe it… I don’t WANT to believe it. That midwives (the “guardians of normal birth”) are using cytotec (also known as misoprostyl) to induce labor at home. The fact that they are using it in hospitals doesn’t shock me, makes me mad, but I just add it to their list of sins again women and babies. Nothing new there. But midwives… sweet, caring, lovely homebirth midwives. Thinking this doesn’t harm anyone. I hear it over and over again, “I’ve used it judiciously for years and have never seen a problem with it.”

Well good for you. Tell my blog-friend Anne that you’ve never had a problem with it’s use. That you’ve never seen a baby die from it, or a mother die or lose her uterus from it. Good for you. Put some flowers on her baby’s grave and say, “Well, we don’t know for SURE that cytotec caused her death.” That you have played the tables and had good luck doesn’t change the fact that this is a potentially dangerous drug that you are using for an OFF-LABEL situation. There are no safe dosing limits or instructions, no risks to inform your clients of because the company that makes cytotec has no intentions of marketing it for obstetrical use. I doubt their lawyers would allow them to. Too much of a liability perhaps?

Here is a quote about misoprostyl that sums up my own position and one that, I believe, should be taken by all birth workers:

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said she was “absolutely incredulous” that any hospital would give the drug to women outside of clinical trials.
She said: “This drug is not licensed for use in labour, and the NICE guidance is categorical on that point. In this country, misoprostol should only be used in labour if the baby is already dead, or after the birth, because otherwise the risks are simply too great.” [ click here for the newspaper story ]

I’m not likely to stop beating this drum for awhile yet. In fact, you might want to cover your ears because frankly? I plan on beating it louder.

VOICES: VBAC Women Share Their Journey

OH, it’s such a beautiful little book! Keep in mind that this is coming from the publisher directly (since it takes about 3 months to get it onto Amazon) so it ***CAN*** take 4 weeks to arrive. It shouldn’t and probably won’t, but I did have to warn you. I SO hate waiting for books!

Voices contains a full chapter of statistics and research surrounding VBAC success rates, real risks vs. fear-based risks, and the TRUTH about the risk of uterine rupture compared to other obstetrical emergencies. I’d like to say that this book was written for women wondering if their care provider is “right” that it is too “risky” to try to VBAC, but doesn’t have time or energy to sift through a mountain of studies or a pile of books that include only a small section on VBAC. It is also written for the woman who knows instinctively that she will have a VBAC and needs to win over a partner or care provider. But…

The real power of this book are the women’s birth stories. They are SO powerful. They are the true, real stories, unedited and unadulterated. They stand on their own. You will be changed by them. If you don’t understand what the “big deal” is about VBAC, then this book is for you as well.

At the end of the day, I believe in women having the right to birth as they choose, on their own power and in the climate and surroundings of their choosing. For women choosing VBAC and for their care givers, this book is a vehicle for those freedoms.

So many women today face VBAC “bans” or so many restrictions on their labors that they walk in the door with one foot in the operating room. Let’s put the TRUTH out there. I believe women are wise – and capable of making decisions based on facts, not fear.

Voices

Woohoo!!! VOICES is HERE! Or, rather… THERE…. You can click below to order your copy. Keep in mind that this is coming from the publisher directly (since it takes about 3 months to get it onto Amazon) so it ***CAN*** take 4 weeks to arrive. It shouldn’t and probably won’t, but I did have to warn you. I SO hate waiting for books!

I just can’t explain how excited I am for this project to be finally and fully complete. It is just amazing how much I believe in the power of these stories. And it’s not just a book of birth stories (though who doesn’t LOVE those?!). It also includes all the recent stats and research relating to the safety of VBACs. I’ve been told it is not only a great book for mamas who are journeying toward VBAC, but also for birth workers who want to support them as they go. 🙂

Please accept my humblest thank you’s for purchasing, and for getting the word out that the book is HERE at LONG last. If this first run goes well we might be able to get this into market with a mainstream publisher. Which would be TOTALLY awesome since it would reach more women that way.

Who is doing a happy dance today?

ME! Me! ME!!!