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.

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Gunnarr’s Blanket

(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)

I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.

Well.

It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.

I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going! 🙂

And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.

Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. 🙂 He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.

6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt.  A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.

Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”

Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it. 🙂

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

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!!!

VOICES has a release date!

I can’t believe it. Probably won’t until I am holding the thing in my hands. I’m sure I will run to meet the UPS truck the day the box gets here. 🙂

Stay tuned… and check out the FaceBook page for it – become a fan please, and suggest it to everyone on your friends list. You just never know who might be touched by the stories – moved by them – changed by them – empowered and encouraged by them. Odds are all of us know several women who have had a cesarean birth. Many will know someone who would prefer to have a VBAC but are confused by the political propaganda out there regarding risks, hospital bans, etc. Spread the word! A percentage of the profits goes to support ICAN International.

Sonogram: The New Crystal Ball?

I am So frustrated at the amount of misinformation put out there as FACT soley for the convenience of the provider! Grrrr!!!!! Some OB’s do it, some GP’s do it, some midwives do it, heck as far my experience shows some DENTISTS do it.

There was recently a comment made on my Castor Oil post from a woman who was told she was too small and couldn’t go to 38 weeks or her “uterus would rip open”. Baby was just TOO TOO big. Even if the poster got some of the semantics wrong (probably is her pelvis they are talking about not her uterus) the arguments for induction just amaze me. Of course I did not offer he any advice as to induction.

My local hospital routinely does inductions at 37 weeks. 37 WEEKS! Yeah. Ludicrous.

The main reason given to women for inductions and even cesareans is the “big baby” argument. And we have these wonderful things called sonograms to “prove” they are too big to “fit” through your pelvis. Please. Do they think we are stupid? Ignorant perhaps, but we are not STUPID.

Here is a lovely blog post by the fantastic “Unnecessarian” on sonograms and estimated size and due dates. Sonograms can be off as much as a pound either way and 2 weeks +/- for due date predictions! So if the sonogram says you are ok for an induction at 37 weeks (by the sonogram) and you induce and it’s off by 2 weeks guess whatcha get? A baby at 35 weeks with respiratory issues, breastfeeding challenges, and a myriad of other psychological implications the likes of which we have NO CLUE about yet.

And the weight predictions are just fantastical. The stuff of Harry Potter and traveling circus acts. There is some science there – just enough to be dangerous. Sure. Gaze into the sonogram screen and see your future: induction + pitocin + epidural = surgical birth.

And let me tell ya from experience: a 2nd degree tear is alot easier to heal from than a 10″ wound on your belly complete with scar tissue and a spinal headache for dessert.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Here is a fantastic doctor doing what so few do (or at least they don’t make headlines). He seems to be really genuine about advocating for women in the rough spot of wanting a normal birth after thay have had a surgical one. As a VBAC mom, this gets my goat everytime.

I want to send this guy flowers.

12PinkRoses

Interesting turn of phrase

Interesting. Hmmm… Note the recent practice bulletin by ACOG regarding induction of labor:

“A physician capable of performing a cesarean should be readily available any time induction is used in the event that the induction isn’t successful in producing a vaginal delivery,” Dr. Ramin concluded. “These guidelines will help physicians utilize the most appropriate method depending on the unique characteristics of the pregnant woman and her fetus.”

Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:386-397.

Ok, so all we need is “a physician capable of performing a cesarean” to be “readily available” should an induction be “unsuccessful”. Interesting. But for a VBAC “trial of labor” hospitals should have “immediate access” to anesthesiologists? Hmmm….

And on the use of oxytocin: “The main adverse effects of oxytocin are dose-related uterine tachysystole and category II or category III FHR tracings.”

But for  nipple stimulation, which is often a labor augmentor (if you want to medical-ize it) used by midwives at home births, the risks include “uterine tachysystole with FHR decelerations and increased trend in perinatal death.”

Interesting isn’t it? That oxytocin doesn’t carry a risk of perinatal death but NIPPLE STIMULATION does?

Interesting indeed.