|DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AI|
I just heard this story last night and I have permission to relay it here. I am appalled that with such great birth choices, women are being sectioned 60% of the time not 20 minutes up the road from me. Here's the story from the lactation consultant:
What about the woman that labors "too long"? "It's barbaric to expect a woman to labor for 24 hours without drugs. Put her out of her misery! If she's labored that long, surely something is wrong. She should just have a c-section." There is another OB at the Medical Center of Arlington in Arlington, TX, Dr. Udell, that tells her "patients" that the only humane way to have a baby is via cesarean. She laughs if a woman tells her she wants to have an unmedicated birth. Yes, this OB is a woman, and no, she does not have children. I only know one woman who has had a vaginal birth with her, and frankly, it's because the labor was so fast, the OB didn't have time to intervene. Although she did find a way to get her flat on her back despite the mom wanting to be on hands and knees...
I know of another OB in Mansfield, TX that routinely tells her "patients" that "nothing good happens after 40 weeks" and insists on induction at that time. The baby must have a sticky note with the date circled in red ink on the side of the uterus so it knows just when it is expected. It will be evicted by 40 weeks if mom is with Dr. W. It is dangerous to stay pregnant another day! Induce, induce, induce!
"An epidural is safe and you are crazy if you don't sign up for one." This Kool-aid tastes so good, mostly because we want it to. It's just an epidural. Nevermind the cascading interventions when a mom says she wants "her epidural". IV fluids, catheterization, blood pressure cuff, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, possible internal fetal monitoring (which includes breaking water - I'll come back to this one in a minute), fever reducer, pitocin, is more likely to have an episiotomy and assisted delivery (forceps/vacuum), and ultimately, she is more likely to have a cesarean.
I just want to mention briefly that I am hearing less and less about internal monitoring. I honestly believe that we have become too blase about c-sections that everyone is just comfortable with going straight for the cesarean rather than use a more accurate form of monitoring. Just an observation.
And the cesarean Kool-aid... This is the biggest lie of them all. "Cesareans are safe -- even safer -- for mom and baby than a vaginal birth." Shame on anyone who believes this to be an acceptable -- and even preferred -- way to get the baby out. Women are going in for surgery and have no idea how this will impact them or their baby for the rest of their lives. Someone always has to jump in and tell me why they had to have a cesarean. Yes, folks, I am very aware that a cesarean does sometimes save a life and sometimes the baby really can't get out on his/her own. Very aware. What is the rate where you live? What is the cesarean rate at your closest hospital? You should know these things. What can you do about it? We're getting to that.
So many women (and men) feel defeated when it comes to the Kool-aid. Everyone has drank it. I think two things have to happen. We can scream the truth from the rooftops, but that may or may not work.
1) We have to start with the younger generation. Don't be afraid to talk about birth with them. Talk to your sons and daughters. Just casual conversations. Tell them about the day they were born, how their birth was amazing and special. Just hearing different words associated with birth makes the Kool-aid not taste so good when they do hear it in our culture.
2) Get involved in making change happen. You have to open your mouth, or at least get involved and help the people who are opening their mouths! There is a rally being formed all across the country right now to take place on Labor Day, September 3, 2012. Go to Improving Birth for details. There may already be organizers putting a rally together in your community. If not, YOU DO IT! Change has to start with someone. Why not YOU?