My first pregnancy I was an uneducated mom-to-be who read books like, "Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I trusted my caregivers 100%. The only reason I switched, at 36 weeks, from a group of OBs to midwives was that the OBs never told me about childbirth classes or baby care stuff. We just felt that the OBs weren't educating me enough or answering my questions without rolling their eyes. See problem #1 is that pregnant women expect education from their prenatal care provider (PCP) but that is definitely not the place for it in modern medical settings. Even the midwife group I attended didn't have time to fully educate me. Looking back, I now see that it really is the mom-to-be's responsibility to educate herself.
I read a lot of blogs and articles pointing fingers at the health care system and how it "medicalizes" birth and treats it like an illness. While I totally agree that standard operating procedures (SOPs) within the healthcare system have lead to birth becoming less of the natural process it is meant to be, I think ignorance in women is perpetuating this problem. I watched the premiere episode of "One Born Every Minute" after reading The Feminist Breeder's review of the show. Within 10 minutes I was annoyed to the point that I shut the show off. A few minutes later I turned it back on because I just *had* to see what these uninformed people did. And yes, I'm sorry, but I'm calling people names here. The moms=to-be aren't entirely at fault but they didn't make the situation any better. While one mom was all about getting the epidural I don't have any serious issues with her. She is fully on board with medical birth. Fine. Have it your way. The nurse commentary during this particular labor was appalling. Stating that giving birth without an epidural is like getting a tooth pulled without novocaine. Um...really? I am pretty certain (and I suck at history) I recall reading about numbing tooth pain with alcohol (rubbed on or drank) before pulling a tooth. I don't recall any vaginal alcohol application or drinking during labor... it has ALWAYS been done naturally until modern medicine changed it. It was almost a rite of passage. Anyway...no one HAS to have a baby without drugs. BUT--they should be making an INFORMED decision to take the epidural. I'll be totally honest, when I was pregnant the first time...I set out to go drug-free just to experience it. I hadn't really been informed of the risks to both the baby and to my labor. I just wanted to do it...the way it was intended.
Other comments that I heard in the show-- one mother-to-be's own mother was totally critical! Ugh. The poor lady was trying to have a natural childbirth and no one was helping her at all....at least not from what we saw on film. She just stayed on her back in that bed! WHY WHY WHY! No ball and no other options were shown. Perhaps she refused them but if a nurse didn't suggest it...and why the heck didn't her mom get over there and help her out? The c-section seemed like it may have been prematurely called but I am sure a lot of the details towards the end were edited out to protect the hospital. Finally, the natural birth mama was harassed by the nurse. I can't believe the nurse came out and reported that they were more in charge than she was. I WOULD HOPE SO!
The most amazing thing...after the show aired I read TONS of people saying that the natural birth mama was crazy and she was the only one certain groups of people "picked on". They thought she was belligerent and offensive... disrespectful for not letting the nurse do her job. Really? I'm pretty sure the nurse's job was to SERVE the client. The client wanted to do it her way...without harassment.
The sad part is that I have conversations with women who think that birth MUST be medicalized. Natural birth is the oddity. Women truly believe that they MUST do something when a doctor says they must. I'm not saying we should argue like we know better than the professionals...but we should at least ask WHY and WHAT IF I DON'T?
I'd give anything to go back to the day of my induction. I know that I would have agreed to the induction. I was 1 week and 1 day overdue and at that time I had not read that going late is totally the norm. Even without any extra education I still could have asked to wait and see what happens. My baby was doing fine I just wasn't progressing...but I also wasn't given time to progress. See...I've heard dozens of doulas and midwives say that it is *not uncommon for a first time mom to have prodromal labor* in fact, it seem that it is a part of almost every first birth in some fashion. Did my midwife know this and think...today is the 22nd of December....if I let her run this out like a normal first time mom...we will be getting out of here on Christmas Eve?? Huh? No seriously...why else did we call it a day and have a c-section? We had only done pitocin for 4 hours. I had only really been attempting labor for 10 hours by the time my baby was taken from my body.
I should have asked what would happen if I waited...what would happen if we just stayed put for a few more hours...another day? What if I had read about birth more and realized that 24 hours is ok..especially if my water hadn't broken (and PS...even if it has broken...it is still pretty OK to keep laboring as you are).
Ugh... my natural birth activists must realize that it isn't entirely their fault...the medical profession...right? Women are just blindly accepting it all. They just show up for prenatal visits and show up for birth. To change this cycle a PCP would have to give the mom a checklist...a book...a list of books...and tell her to educate herself. But why would he/she want her client educated...wouldn't that lead to a fight during labor? This is an awful cycle. How do we stop it?