Monday, July 23, 2012

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid!

American women have drank the Kool-aid and have been completely brainwashed!  You know the Kool-aid I'm talking about:  The purple Kool-aid says that if the baby doesn't come out in 24 hours, it won't fit and the mom should be sectioned.  The red one says that if a woman is 40 weeks, she is overdue and the baby will die if she isn't induced.  The green Kool-aid says that an epidural is just an epidural.  And the orange one says that a cesarean is safer for mom and baby.  We won't even get to the Kool-aid that tells you that your baby can manipulate you!  The list goes on and on.  I just picked a few from some common American birth myths that I've heard repeated lately.


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:

Saw another "victim" of Dr. Seligman & MCA (Medical Center of Arlington) today. At 38.5 weeks, her baby hadn't dropped so Dr. S told her they needed to induce on Tuesday and she would probably need a c/s at 39 weeks. After 10 hours on pitocin, baby still hadn't moved down so Dr. S. told her that the baby probably wouldn't fit through her pelvis anyway, so they needed to do a c/s. Baby was born weighing 7lb 4oz, still covered in lanugo and has very little suck reflex. :-( Mom is starting the make the connection that baby was NOT ready to come yet. Said her mom delivered all of her babies at 42 weeks. Oh, and she said that Dr. Seligman's parting comment to her was "Next time we'll just schedule the c/s for 39 weeks and avoid all of this other nonsense." 

This story really touched a nerve with me.  Frankly, her doctor is a complete idiot.  I feel horrible for the mom.  This is some bad Kool-aid she drank, but she trusted her doctor.  Very few don't trust their doctor and end up in the same situation.  He should not be practicing medicine.

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? 


33 comments:

eggcup said...

The term " drinking the Kool-Aid" is offensive - the people of Jonestown were massacred, and it's a horrible phrase to use.

Trbobitch said...

Oh boy, those people were "massacred" of their own accord... Regardless, it's a fitting analogy because they TRUSTED the person who killed them. That's EXACTLY what is happening with this culture of blindly trusting "medical professionals" - and if you don't think people don't DIE as a direct result, you are sadly mistaken.

Refrigerator Memories said...

I agree 100% with everything you just said. Thanks for putting it out there and being brave enough to say what needs to be said!

http://refrigeratormemories.blogspot.com

Alli said...

The term "drink the Kool-Aid" is actually common slang that means "accepting an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly or blindly."

Liene said...

After my "I can't let you go over 42 weeks" induction/Cesarean kool-aid I had "moved to France to have a VBAC" cocktails at my second party. Thanks to you and all the other women helping moms like me be better informed.

EcoChic Boutique said...

This breaks my heart. I delivered at Medical Center of Arlington 11 years ago with Dr. Lefholz. I was an uninformed 19 year old. She did a vaginal exam EVERY single visit starting at 16 weeks because I had a previous leep procedure 6 months prior. Supposedly leeps can cause spontaneous labor, but WHY WOULD DOING A INTERNAL EXAM HELP?? She terrified me into an induction at 40&1/2 weeks and then blasted me with so much pit that I was crying thru my first induced contraction. I begged for the epi that I hadn't wanted previously. 5 hours later it was time to push. 2 pushes in she asked if I was tired, I said "No, I feel great"! The next push she say I wasn't pushing hard enough and she was only going to let me push one more time. Before I could even ask her what the HELL she meant she pulled out the vacuum that was already prepared and yanked out my baby so fast that I received 4th degree tears. My healthy 9 pound baby stayed with me for an hour, made eye contact, latched like we were both pros, THEN my LAST uneducated mistake was letting them take her to get a bath. We will never unravel the mystery that followed but she stayed in the NICU for 7 days for unknown reasons why I fought tooth and nail for every breast feeding. I'm so thankful that we bonded so early on because it could have been much more devastating and despite all that and not knowing any breast feeding moms we successfully breast fead for 13 months. Sorry for the book but I do want to get her name out because she still practices at MCA as well and still haunts my dreams.

AmandaRuth said...

Amen Sista !

Carisa Coe said...

I am 37 weeks along and I have the most amazing midwife, she is all about letting the baby do it's own thing (no inductions or csections) and pushes natural birth. However, she works through the hospital were there are two other obgyns on call. One who scheduled her own csection the moment she found out she was pregnant. I am afraid if I get one of the other obs during labor they will push a csection. How can I stop this and know it is really for The babies safety, if they say it is?

Kelly said...

I LOVE this post! Everything you say is absolutely true. What a sad state of birth...

I HAD to have a c-section with my third...after a few very unnecessary interactions:( I believe had my baby come in his own time without all the instilled fear he would have come just fine. This time, with baby number 4 I have a trusting midwife who will give me the best shot at VBAC (a safer option to the RCS the doctors would prefer:()

Czarina said...

I'm assuming that you do consider other circumstances in which a C-section is absolutely necessary...because there ARE times where they are. Let's not lump all C/S as a poor option for mom and baby.

Regina said...

Amen to this post!! It is absolutely awful the way some (not all) ob's treat labor, birth, and pregnancy in general. And I know several people who have had terrible experiences with Dr. Westerholm. I assume that's who you were talking about. Boils my blood the way she treated my dear friend just a few months ago.

Christi said...

I love dr. Seligman. I am appalled that's this was written. I understand people's need to express there own opinions of the way child birth should be, but to publicly bash a doctor let alone not even your own is in reality appalling. We're you in his head when he made the decision, no you were not. Het his man not only held man hand when after three years of trying to have children took me in his office and spent well over an hour with me when I did not have an appointment. Without his wisdom and by God's grace we would not have the three boys we have today. When other doctors were telling me I was trying too hard to have a baby and just dismissing it, he was there discovered the horrific problem and began to treat me. I am sorry, but I support him and will continue to support him and use him as my doctor until he retires which I truly hope he will not. I am sorry about your friend, but all inductions aren't like that.

Christi

Laura White said...

Only 8% of csections are a mothers choice.

rebecca said...

So far, every person I have known who had a c-section it was their choice. It wasn't for any medical reason. Like one of my friends...she only wants kids to be born on holidays so she has a c-section with every child to have them born on a holiday. So your post reminded me of her. However, doctors are also human. You shouldn't only reply on your doctor's words and advice. Everyone should do their own research as well.

Banned From Baby Showers said...

Christi, I have to ask: did you have vaginal births or c/s?

It's appalling that a doctor would induce at 39 weeks because a baby hadn't dropped, put her on pit for 10 hours, and then decided he'd had enough, and cut her open! THAT'S APPALLING! And then to call "labor" "nonsense"?! Really? He should be called out! I have a former student who was his nurse for years. She was fired when she disclosed that she was having a birth center birth. Not exactly the kind of OB that natural birth mamas want! That's what this blog is about --NATURAL BIRTH. That's my goal - to help women get the natural birth they DESERVE! They do not deserve to be treated like Dr. Seligman has been known to treat his "patients".

rebziz said...

Ladies, I'm pretty sure she said "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." She is referring NOT to women who up front choose a csection, but to women who are uninformed about normal birth and the risks of interventions that LEAD to a csection, which would have likely been unnecessary if it weren't for those previous interventions.

Christi said...

First was vaginal, but second and third were c-section. My second was not tolerating the contractions at all. My water broke with him but he did not like it.

Christi said...

Oh and I get get it! I have very good friends who give birth with midwives and do the whole natural thing. I am a modern medicine woman and always have been. I chose to have my epidural not my doctor, I chose to breast feed then after a while use formula, but it was always my choice. And as an older mother I researched everything from head to toe, but it was still my choice. As your friend could have voiced her opinion too.

AmberLou said...

Donna: That IS appalling! I think it's great that you're naming names.

There needs to be a directory of providers who are respectful of the natural process of birth and... wouldn't that be fab? It could have their c/s rate, and rates of all other interventions. Patients could post reviews, and new patients could make something of an informed decision prior to even meeting with a doctor or midwife!

I had my last 2 at home, and the thought of having a hospital birth in my area is downright terrifying. I know of zero doctors in my town with a reasonable c/s rate. The hospital is 50%! (But they serve prime rib after your birth, and they have comfy couches for dads!!!)... Mommas need to do their research. It is a sad, sad reality that we cannot trust our doctors to tell us the truth. Docs would not pressure inductions and cesareans and all this baloney if more moms questioned and are educated! If your hospital has a 50% c/s rate, and you know the WHO, etc. says that 15-20% (or lower!)is a safe, reasonable rate, how do you look the Dr. who sectioned you in the eye and know he was acting in your best interest? Terrifying thought.

Samantha said...

Thanks for keeping the faith about something so important. Being informed and doing research is only the first step, doing the right thing is what women seem to be stuck on. I can't tell you how amazed I am that so many women are making a choice because it's 'easy' for them. It's easy to schedule an induction. It's easy to schedule a c/s. It's easy to get the epidural (I had one, so I know). It's easy to not breastfeed. All of this is easy peasy and hey, you still get your baby at the end of the process and most likely, insurance is paying for your delivery anyway, so why not? We need to be informed and THEN make the choice that's right. It may be the harder choice, but we are women, we are STRONG! Not knowing when we are delivering is hard, labor is hard, delivery is hard, breastfeeding is hard, but it's the right choice when you are healthy and pregnancy is low risk. Things worth achieving will always be hard, but they will always be worth it, one way or another, in the end.

Hannah said...

Sad but true. :( And well stated, as always. Sad to see some of the commenters on here drinking the Kool Aid as well...

eggcup said...

@Alli - please look up the origin of the phrase - it's from Jonestown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_the_Kool-Aid)

@Trbobitch - do you know that 200 kids were murdered there? Or that some people were forced to "drink the Kool-Aid" by gunpoint? But way to go ahead and equate it with bad maternity - classy!

Aliza Bancoff CD(DONA) 2013 said...

Another great post. I love your point about talking about birth to the youth. I talk to my 2 and 4 yr old about it all the time. It's important for them to know it's a normal part of life. My daughter breast feeds all her babies as well. Just today she asked if she could do skin to skin with her baby cousin!! It's amazing on what they pick up on.
-Aliza
www.mainlinedoulas.com

Sally May said...

I have to disagree with your comments on Dr. Udell. I am a patient of hers and she delivered my child. Yes, he was born via c-section, but that was actually our nurses call. Our child's heart rate was dropping rapidly and my BP was rising. So without the c-section, we would have been in a far more scary situation. Never ONCE did Dr. Udell tell me that c-section was the only humane way to have a baby and she never laughed at me when I said I wanted to try to go without an epidural. I also know someone who has delivered with her vaginally. I doubt that we know the same person because her labor was not quick. I think you need to be a patient of hers to make these statements, and it doesn't sound like you are. I think it's unfair to put her on blast. I'm not saying that a c isn't dangerous and that docs don't push them on you, but I never, ever felt pressured by Dr. U to have a c and she never told me in the beginning that it was my only option and the only humane way to do things. It just irritates me at the comments made about her because she is a great Dr. and made me feel extremely comfortable during my labor and during my pregnancy when we had some other stuff come up.

T said...

As a former (10 year) patient of Dr. Udell's, I can say that Dr. Udell is a very competent surgeon, but I would never have a baby with her. While I was there, she answered all of my questions, with what seemed like care and concern. It wasn't until later in the my pregnancy that she started to throw up some of the red flags that are mentioned in this article.

At 36 weeks, she told me that she felt that the best babies came on their own at 38 weeks. When she saw me trying to reply she reaffirmed, on their own. At 37 weeks, I had my first vaginal exam. Which was excrutiating, and ended with Dr. Udell saying "well you aren't dilated, and when I tried to push through your cervix wouldn't give." She did say that I was effacing, and that first time mothers tend to efface before dilating. I ended up bleeding because of the exam. I had never bled before from any sort of vaginal exam or intercourse. I never did again until I went into labor.

When I called to talk to Dr. Udell about it the nurse made it seem like I was a new mom and that I should just expect to be manhandled. Her words were "Standard of Care". I would have "up to" 2 more exams, up until 40 weeks. When I told her that I was clear that I wanted to go to 42 before any interventions, her reply was, well yeah. (I am paraphrasing)

When I went in for my next appointment, Dr. Udell called me out in the waiting room. "You, I am not even touching you today." When I got to the exam room, I found out, she had been listening to the whole conversation, but never once stepped in to talk with me, despite the fact that I was obviously upset. So I was given a reprieve from another "Standard of Care" exam, and told, "You should just expect next week to be rough." She also told me, "I understand you want to go natural, but sometimes first time moms just need some extra help." I wasn't even 40 weeks yet.

These events combined with the fact that the first thing the nurse said when we toured MCA was, "Here is triage, where you will go if you are in labor. Most of our moms are induction though, so they go directly to the elevators right over here." We decided to switch at 39 weeks and 4 days to the UNT midwives based out of Harris Methodist. They are FAR more motherfriendly and we didn't feel like we had to be on guard for anything.

In the end, I delivered a 10lb 4oz 21.5" baby boy. I am 5'3.75" and 114lbs. He was posterior for most of my labor. I KNOW that would have turned into a C-Section had I stayed at MCA.

Christina Pond said...

As a Childbirth educator who used to live in the Arlington area, I personally have had students who had Dr. Udell. She is a surgeon. She told one of my students she does not really believe in natural birth, and refused to allow my student to walk during labor telling her that walking in labor will cause a cord prolapse and she prefers her patients flat on her back. She also insisted on a catheter and it punctured her vaginal wall, which caused her to bleed violently, which led to an emergency c-section. She is not an OB you want if you desire a normal, vaginal birth. She simply does not believe in this. If you want a natural, vaginal birth there are many options out there, Midwives and OB's who will respect you and not pressure you. I had Dr. Udell make another student cry, because she came down so hard on her for fighting for a natural birth, ans she yelled at her in labor. She may not tell every client she doesn't believe in Natural, vaginal birth, but she clearly doesn't with her actions and attitudes towards the subject. More often it seems C-sections are performed because of the actions of the medical staff involved. Your provider will make or break your birth. If you are being yelled at, poked all the time or pressured how on earth are you going to be able to zone in and open up and relax? We really need to respect the needs of a laboring woman, to be able to tune in and let go and allow birth to happen. If we hinder a laboring woman with distractions or pressures, it will affect the outcome. You need to have 100% faith in your provider, AND be on the same page. You will not change their minds about how they view birth. You will be a victim of their philosophy of birth, unless you take control of your birth!

Allison said...

Thank you Donna for saying it like it is. And as horrible as the massacre was, it is actually an appropriate comparison to the women and babies who do die or are seriously injured, not to mention emotionally abused when trusting in standard American obstetric practice and hospital policy. I would guess that more women and babies have died from negligent care by Drs and hospitals since birth was brought into the hospital in the US, than the 900+ in Jonestown.

Three for three, my attempts at trusting the medical machine to care for me and my unborn child have turned sour. I have been bullied by numerous Drs and RNs during 3 different labors at 4 different hospitals. I have no problem telling people what I want, doing so at every prenatal appt and during labor, yet it simply did not get me the care that I desired.

In the USA, women have the right to abort a baby, but not the right to go to a hospital and labor and give birth to their babies according to their desires. Drs and hospitals treat patients the way they are in the habit of doing, which for most means plenty of interventions and a subconscious (or conscious) fundamental belief that women are not capable of birthing without medical interventions. Thank heavens for some Drs who are respectful of women and the physiologic process of human birth and do not believe the birth myths Donna outlined, but they are few and they are bullied and snubbed by their mainstream OB colleages.

I am appalled when good people believe that a laboring woman "could have voiced her opinion" and received the care she desired. They must not realize that they are putting the blame back on the laboring woman for the disrespectful/abusive way she was treated during one of her most vulnerable and possibly joyous times in life.

I seriously do dream of ALL women coming together to support and help ALL women to have access to appropriate and respectful care.

Astrid said...

If the Dr. W in Mansfield is who I think it is, I completely agree. For more info on my feelings about her, read my post on 'Dear OB, I did it' on fb :-)

Kathi Valeii said...

I don't know if I would be bold enough to do what you just did. But I'll tell you this - I bow down to you for doing it.

Alli said...

@eggcup - Yes, I know the origin of the saying. What I am telling you is that it is not an unheard of phrase and she used it correctly. The thing about slag is that it has it's own meaning, and quite a few of them come from horrific origins. Did you know the movie term "blockbuster" actually came from the name of the huge bombs the British dropped in WWII to blow up entire blocks of German towns?

Andrea said...

@ Sally May- you said that you needed the c-section because your blood pressure was rising and the fetal heart tones were bad. I'd like to ask what interventions you had up until that point. I don't know whether you had any or not, but there are MANY MANY mothers that are convinced that the c-section saved their baby or even their own life because of the problems that were occurring, when in reality the interventions caused the problems. They wouldn't have had the problems at all if they hadn't had the interventions. If a woman is left to birth naturally, move around as she sees fit, eat whenever she wants and go into labor when her body and baby is ready, there are very rarely complications.
@banned from baby showers - Thank you for being bold and stating the truth about birth in our culture today. Thank you also for suggesting to teach our young people about what birth can be and should be when left alone. I am a mother of eight daughters and am doing just this. All of my daughters witnessed my last birth and I am doing my best to show them that their bodies were made to do this naturally and to not believe the lie that most women today believe about not being able to handle the pain.

beccalouise said...

so a slice and dice is less barbaric than natural process of giving birth. sometimes i think i am going crazy!

Home of The Mitchells said...

Are you talking about westerhom? If so I would like a link to your post! My email is haleynmitchell@gmail.com