Are You Really Pro-Choice?

22 Jan

Did you know that midwifery is illegal in Missouri and Illinois (and 11 other states)? The argument is that delivering your baby at home with a midwife is not safe for the mom or the baby. How are they defining safe? 100% success; no deaths. Really. Those success rates are not even possible in a hospital. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than 37 other countries. This is really pretty bad considering the U.S. is supposed to be the icon of success. The U.S.’s higher death rate is attributed to high intervention rates in hospitals and a culture of midwifery in the lower death rate countries.

The truth of the matter is that birthing is natural. Why do women demand epidurals before even delivering one baby? Because they are afraid? I can’t answer that. I was “one of those” women who tried to have as natural a birth as possible. All but one of my children were delivered without any medication or intervention of any kind.

Really, I’m pretty lucky. It’s hard to find an obstetrician in this area at all. Most of them have fled the county because of the high risk of lawsuits and the rising cost of insurance. But I happen to love my OB/GYN. Let me tell you why.

  • She has never tried to pressure me into any kind of extra medical procedure. In fact, when I was pregnant with my last child, Hummingbird, she was going to be unavailable right around my due date. She asked me if I wanted to induce because she was required to offer this option to all her patients. I chose not to induce and she was ok with it. She even said that she expected me to turn down this offer. I ended up going into labor the day she went out of town and her midwife delivered Hummingbird.
  • She hired a midwife into her practice (the same one who delivered my baby). The midwife is a very capable and awesome person. The sad thing was that hiring the midwife caused a huge rift in her partnership. The other OB left and started her own practice down the street.
  • I got to hold my babies and nurse them immediately after delivering. I don’t have to argue or demand it.
  • This is big. When Squirrel was born, we decided not to have him circumcised. She came into my room after he was born to tell me she was getting ready to do the procedure (apparently the hospital had not notified her of our intention). When I said we didn’t want him to be circumcised she smiled in relief and said, “Good, that’s one of the things I hate doing.” This statement sold me.
  • And she always listens to me and speaks to me like a person.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Everyone has heard the horror stories. But if you believe in choice, really, why not let the momma deliver at home?

I did have one difficult birth. Granted, compared to some it really wasn’t that bad. But I really believe that medical intervention made things more difficult. It was with my second child, Pumpkin. I had already delivered one naturally and was confident I could do it again. Unfortunately my water broke. So off to the hospital we went. The nurse checked the fluids and it was definitely amniotic fluid so I was admitted. She also felt the bag of waters, but it seemed to be intact. Apparently I had a second sac and only the outer one ruptured or the rupture folded on itself and resealed. What to do? They waited to see if labor would progress; but it stalled. Policy is that if the bag breaks the baby needs to come out. So they gave me Pitocyn. Now, I had experienced labor before, but this was different. This HURT. It was unbearable. I finally asked for drugs (a local). But it made it very hard to focus, hard to breathe properly. So next I got an oxygen mask to help me breathe. Labor still wasn’t really progressing, so they broke the waters fully. Then when she did finally come I couldn’t hold her until the drugs had worn off. See how one intervention leads to another, and another, and another.

I have not opted to do the home birth with a midwife. As I said, I like my OB (and her midwife). I also like that I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess. LOL But why not? Why not let informed parents make their own choices. The sad truth is that sometimes bad things happen. This cannot always be prevented. So why should a fear of some unknown possibility that probably will not happen prevent us from being allowed to choose. Bad things can happen at home or at the hospital. Ladies, make a birthing plan. Include your partner and your caregiver. Allow for emergencies. Take charge of your body.

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