Saturday, October 20, 2007

In The Belly of the Whale

I just had a chance to watch the second half of Ricki Lake's 'The Business of Being Born' My roomies and I were late getting back from the restaurant but I'm glad I snuck in to catch the last half anyway. Being here at MANA this weekend is really intensifying my desire to advocate for women. They need to know the truth. It's my job to tell them. But I'm just a modern-day Jonah running from the task I've been given to do. Finishing this book will not be easy, but it will be a labor of love. Things have just gone from bad to worse. I've got to do SOMETHING to stem the tide of runaway inductions, and cesareans, and epidurals, and pitocin, and cytotec, and on, and on, and on. This is not good for women. It is not good for babies. Something has got to give. Women are dying. NICUs are filled with babies made to be born too soon. Women need to know the risks associated with hospital and medicalized birth. Its time for me to head on over to Nineveh...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will be very interested to read your book...

Blessings!
Dawn

The Rogue Midwife said...

I hear you about the running part. There are days when I feel like there is nothing I can do and that I am crazy for even trying. Most people raise an eyebrow when I tell them what I do. Even my own family thinks I am living dangerously. Many ask me when I am going to go back to school and just become an L&D nurse. Do this the right way....sigh. It is hard to be a revolutionary.

Laborpayne said...

I hear ya, sista

I am a Monkey's Momma said...

It was great meeting you at MANA! I'm so glad that your talk went well. I, unfortunately, got out of the house too late and did not plan enough time for getting lost so I missed it...I'm so disappointed. I was at the screening. I loved the hooting and hallalouya's and the head shaking. It was an amazing experience to be in the presence of so many women!

I hope you enjoyed Florida!

Angela

kris said...

glad everything went well! i just came across the "term iatrogenic prematurity" in ina mays guide to childbirth. a sad thing, all this time i think about what the women go thru in these cases. i hadn't given much thought to how many babies are affected by this.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to hear what you think of the ideas on the web site www.Wholewoman.com. It is presented by a woman who sustained uterine prolapse after minor surgery for urinary incontinence. Her main goal is advocating that women are told the real truth behind these kinds of damaging and devastating surgeries, but she also strongly advocates natural birthing to stem the flow of severe perineal laceration which often leads to long term problems such an incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. She argues that injuries such as these can largely be avoided without the use of epidural, induction etc, and with the care of gentle midwives who actually give a woman time to have a baby!!! There is a forum also where women speak of their experiences. Quite sad at times to read how many young women are affected!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to figure out why hospital birth has to often be as it is, with the woman either having to set standards before she goes in (with a birth plan and meet with her OB), or argue with a nurse, or be bullied into things she doesn't want? In the ER, is it common for everyone to get all the interventions and pain meds possible, or do people have autonomy? I believe in the sanctity of human life, and believe in putting my baby first, and still felt bullied in labor this time. I've experienced births where I was given choice and was up and around until I chose to jump in bed and have the baby while sitting up and pushing. This time though woke me up to a reality, even if you have a plan and are strong willed and experienced, you can be bullied and coerced. It was suggested more than once (during labor and then after when speaking to the OB) that I was only interested in the birth experience and not the health of my baby. That was manipulation and a wrong assumption. I jumped up when my baby was having a decel because I knew if I was on my back my vessel going to my uterus could get pressed, and baby's heart rate could go down. When I sat up HR went from 80 to 124, it was in a second, the time it takes to sit up. The nurse later commented that the decel could have even been the monitor picking me up, and when I sat up it suddenly got the baby's HR. Anyway, in my situation, instead of doing a wait and see, the nurse really was "more comfortable" with me in bed, tethered to stuff. She even said, "it's for me really, for my comfort that you are on monitors." Well, what does that do for my baby? I feel I was advocating for my baby's health by sitting up, wanting to move around rather than lay on the bed. The purpose of all of that intervention? Was it to put me in "my place" as an ignorant mother? Was it for the staff's comfort? Is there another area of the hospital that involves such bullying?

Dawn

Mid-life Midwife said...

I wish I could've been at MANA with you! How I need that uplifting that comes with midwifery conferences!
There are times I just get so weary at the state of everything. I spent the better part of this week researching how to become a Canadian midwife! Which translates to: get me out of this crazy, witch-hunting country!
Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I write and read on babycenter.com. Women share their birth stories, and every time I read (as I did today) a woman goes in for an induction...for gestational diabetes or maybe for a big baby, I know the end of the birth story most of the time. If they start pit and break the water, I know they will get an epidural. When the woman today said she had back labor, and then the pit/epidural...I knew the end. She had a c-section. You know, there's a part of me that died inside or at least began mourning for her. I think she just lost something valuable. I think there should be very few c-sections where mommy is awake, because I think they should almost all be emergency c-sections. This stuff about a stalled labor at 7 cm with baby in OP, ridiculous. I have birthed two OP babies now and believe it's because I wasn't on my back the whole time due to an epidural. I went into the hospital with labor very well established, with less than 8 hours to birth...

Anonymous said...

I know, I'm giong on and on...
This is what I now believe...legalize homebirth everywhere.
To improve hospital birth, cut OB staff by half to 1/3. Midwives deliver babies with back up OB on call. Back up OB comes in for emergencies. If an OB wants to catch, an OB becomes a midwife. Rule is that midwives stay with mom most of labor, and mom meets two or three so she knows midwife. Labor nurses there to assist woman & midwife, not to run a myriad of machines on mom. Nurses on L&D all also trained doulas. Sorry, I'm holding Jillian and my 2 yr old at feet...but you get the idea. Reform maternity healthcare so that birth at home or in hospital is normal and is not abusive to mom. Possible?

Dawn

Laborpayne said...

You guys are fucking fabulous! You are on the right track and together we can make this happen. Birth belongs to us, and no one can take our power unless we give it up to them. You are right on the money. We should take our business away from the hospitals, and maybe then, they will straighten up.

Anonymous said...

I have a bill right now to reform hospitals a little bit, giving parents the right to the fetal remains if they miscarry in the hospital (and hopefully if they have surgery in hospital). Because of my miscarriage and being told I had to have a D&E at 16 weeks and not told I could be induced, I didn't get to see my baby. Doctors and staff in surgery did, and he was, well...not together either. I never thought to ask if I could have the remains until later, too late. Well, when I did call I was patched to labor and delivery at OPRMC. I only asked what happens to the remains and not to obtain them, and a nurse said, "what did your OB say." I had talked with my OB prior who said I didn't want to know, and then said she didn't actually know. I told this to the nurse, and she said, "you don't want to know." I pressed and she blurted, "well, they go out with medical waste." I should have known I'd get that answer. I took this in, and a few years later contacted my local representative, Mike Kiegerl. He took it to the House in Kansas. The hospital lobby was there when I testified, and was "neutral" basically saying they didn't think there was a reason to even make a law because they already have procedures for disposition of fetal remains. Well, so what? I want women to be informed when they miscarry or have a D&C/E that they can bury or cremate or leave it to the hospital. The bill passed the house and is going to the senate this January. I hope it becomes law. My point is this, it never hurts to start with a state rep. or state senator. They may be able to do something. Maybe even county people could change things. I don't know how that works. Chip away at the grass roots. Women should have a right to determine their own care, and their child's care even if in the womb. If I can get something on the books for a dead unborn child, maybe something can be done for mothers and their babies while they labor.

Anonymous said...

Oops, Dawn by the way adding another comment AGAIN!

Blessings!
Dawn the wordy mother...

Anonymous said...

I know you've struggled in Missouri for midwives, but maybe meeting in the middle. Opening more centers (at least a few) and then midwives from there could also deliver at homes. Maybe educating women early on. I actually thought about home birth when I lived in a little apartment and ended up not knowing anything. Coming from a nurse family, I was disuaded. I ended up at OPRMC and did have a small episiotomy, and an IV, and fetal monitoring, and my baby on a warming table instead of my chest because he had meconium. I am not angry at the doctor or nurse, they actually were kind to me and I felt safe in that situation. However, beyond treatment and interventions...I did not ever consider homebirth again. A pattern had been set. My birth educator did heavily encourage natural delivery, and less intervention, drinking in labor, walking, different positions. I used her advice and it really helped. The nurse also did help out during labor encouraging me to push when I felt like it and relax my body. She stayed calm and didn't make a big deal out of a decel. Still, who knows what might have been for me had I gone with my initial instinct to birth at home. I ended up in the Seattle area for the next two births, and really could have easily found a midwife had I known. So much has changed for me since I had my miscarriages, really. I had been treated like a "poor needy" woman, and expected to stay quiet about my grief. That only made me louder. It's starting to spill over in all areas of pregnancy and birth. I challenged my OB some, challenged the nurses some. I didn't go as far as I could have (like home birthing) but I went farther than I could have with my first baby.

Hey, start out in those classes, you know...health in high school. If you can teach about homebirth there, you might just get a few more takers...or teach about alternatives like centers and midwives. Even at college, in health class, it would be helpful to hear the truth that you CAN do something different.

Dawn (who needs to go to bed!)