Excellent press piece

[Click HERE to go to the story.]

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Quite surprisingly, this piece about  midwives and homebirth is quite balanced if not a bit to the left. Kudos. One of my favorite lines:

““All women have choices,” Rach Zeller of Buffalo Homebirth says. “They can refuse anything that they’re being asked to consent to. They need to take it upon themselves to really understand what the ramifications are of what procedures they allow.

So we are back to the old question we birth advocates keep going round and round about. The age-old question of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Is it the doctors who need to change or the women who need to stand up and demand birth be allowed to progress as GOD intended? Because let’s face it – women’s bodies were created and I believe INTRICATELY DESIGNED to give birth. And like any other God-thing that we humans get our hands into, we may never fully understand the ramifications of messing with that perfection.

Interesting turn of phrase

Interesting. Hmmm… Note the recent practice bulletin by ACOG regarding induction of labor:

“A physician capable of performing a cesarean should be readily available any time induction is used in the event that the induction isn’t successful in producing a vaginal delivery,” Dr. Ramin concluded. “These guidelines will help physicians utilize the most appropriate method depending on the unique characteristics of the pregnant woman and her fetus.”

Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:386-397.

Ok, so all we need is “a physician capable of performing a cesarean” to be “readily available” should an induction be “unsuccessful”. Interesting. But for a VBAC “trial of labor” hospitals should have “immediate access” to anesthesiologists? Hmmm….

And on the use of oxytocin: “The main adverse effects of oxytocin are dose-related uterine tachysystole and category II or category III FHR tracings.”

But for  nipple stimulation, which is often a labor augmentor (if you want to medical-ize it) used by midwives at home births, the risks include “uterine tachysystole with FHR decelerations and increased trend in perinatal death.”

Interesting isn’t it? That oxytocin doesn’t carry a risk of perinatal death but NIPPLE STIMULATION does?

Interesting indeed.

Only if…

“It’s a numbers thing,” says Dr. Shelley Binkley, an ob-gyn in private practice in Colorado Springs who stopped offering VBACs in 2003. “You don’t get sued for doing a C-section. You get sued for not doing a C-section.”

I’ve seen this quote before, but it never quite made me as angry as it did this morning when I was reading it in the context of THIS TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE. This California mom has to drive 100 miles to have the chance for a VBAC. Give me a break!

I understand liability, I truly do, and I understand that to continue offering care for the majority of patients, one must sometimes eliminate care for the minority. But hey. This is ridiculous. As a VBAC mom myself, I would have to drive at least 100 miles and then only have “permission” for a “trial of labor” within a very small window of opportunity. “Only if” my incision was of type A, “Only if “ my bag of waters hadn’t been broken more than 12 hours, “Only if” the baby was in a perfect position (by obstetrical definitions), “Only if” the labor didn’t last more than X number of hours, “Only” if it progresses well, “Only” if I would have continuous fetal monitoring, “Only if………”

By the time all of the restrictions had been placed on me I’d have a better chance of delivering my baby vaginally in a snow storm in the middle of April. Yeah, it happens, but rarely. Birth was not meant to be a 3-ring circus with planned events and bright lights.

This mom, in the Time article, said her biggest fear was the drive and that she might not make it to the hospital.

If only… she gets that lucky. It might be her best chance at a natural birth.

Windchimes and Meditations

My husband recently came home with a large set of windchimes. I have admired them for some time but have never made the plunge to actually purchase the kind I like. I like the big ones, the ones that sound like cathedral bells, the ones that are… EXPENSIVE. But he loves me, and wanted to do it, so what can I say but thank you!?

I hung them in the garden at the front of the house in a tree. They don’t ring often but when they do their melodic chords offer just the right amount of “company” while I am weeding or pruning or picking something. Having studied music for some years though, their sound does not fall into the major or minor scales. It is arrythmic, out of balance, even chaotic at times when listened to with the ear of a trained musician. It reminded me of something. Can you guess what?

A woman in labor, following the “curve”, behaving as told, obedient little instrument, performing at the will of her attendants has an easy road. She is lucky. Not so with all woman, and I would dare say MOST woman do not fall into this “major or minor scale” of labor-music. Most women labor as the windchimes… arrythmic, slowing down, speeding up, even  *GASP* stopping all together for periods of time. Silence can be music too, you know. Their labor song is not one of 2 sharps or 3 flats played at an even 4/4 time scale. It is the song of the windchimes. The song of love, life, the chaotic, the extreme, the UNIQUE.  Even windchimes made by the same maker do NOT sound the same all the time!

These women’s labor-songs need the care and attention of an attendant willing to listen to HER SONG. Not compare it with others, to watch for the wind blowing too strong and tangling the delicate chimes yes, but not one who will hold them fast, strike them with a hammer and expect music to be the outcome. The message of letting go and letting be is one of the ages. The message of trust and freedom and birth rings true. Let us LISTEN.

Prejudice…

is sickening and distasteful to me, in whatever form it takes. Many make arguments that “their prejudice is founded” like, “Chinese are always good in math.” or “African American women have big butts.” or “Women are too emotional to be in politics.” and recently, “You don’t know what you’re talking about because you’ve never had a homebirth.” or “You’re going to be a medically minded midwife because that’s all you know. Medical births.”

Ok. So I’ve never given birth at home. And that experience is just that: and EXPERIENCE. I admit fully that I do not have that personal experience. Does that make me a “junior” in all things homebirth? I don’t think so. Admittedly I don’t have the personal experience of having birthed at home, yet. But I take offense at the notion that I cannot understand how to “trust birth” because I’ve never had to. Bull. Here’s my “trust birth” story.

I layed in a hospital bed with my first child, who was posterior, for 31 hours after my water broke. The last 8 were Pitocin augmented. Hard contractions. No support. My husband went for a haircut, brought Hardee’s for his breakfast back to my room while I starved, and watched television. I had no pain relief. I wouldn’t take it. I pushed for 4 hours. Almost 5 until they wheeled me into the operating room for an “emergency cesarean” for CPD. No one told me until weeks later that he had been brow presenting. The forceps wouldn’t budge him, the vaccum extractor didn’t budge him. I couldn’t budge him. ( I know this was all the fault of my OB and the attending nurses for a meriad of reasons. That’s not the point of the story.)

I BELIEVED I could birth my baby. I TRUSTED my body to do what it needed to. All the way to the OR I believed we were making a mistake. Too tired to fight anymore I gave up and gave in. But I “trusted birth” while hindered, drugged, scared, manipulated and assaulted and betrayed by my former husband and caregivers. I TRUSTED BIRTH in the most trying of circumstances.

Again when my youngest had sticky shoulders and (again on my back because the OB refused to catch if I didn’t lay down). She was prepping the OR while I did the McRoberts maneuver on myself and popped him out.

For those mamas who have had the priviledge of never birthing in a hospital or at least it was a one-time experience of which they have happily erased many of the memories, I find it appalling that my thoughts, desires and opinions as a student midwife would be called into question simply because I have not had that same priviledge. Some of the comments haven’t been blatant about it, but in a patronizing, pat on the head sortof way I have heard the message, “You just don’t understand.”

I TRUST BIRTH. You can’t say you really do until you’ve had to. I’ve had to. I do. I will.

Cure Gum Disease = Cure Pre-Eclampsia

I read an interesting article a couple of days ago and it’s been bothering me ever since. In essence, this study is showing a link between a protein marker for inflammation and gum disease with pre-eclampsia. Ok. So ok. I can deal with that. Nutritionally speaking, if one is eating a diet low in protein and quality amino acids/vitamins/minerals/etc. then gum disease is likely to be present along with pre-eclampic symptoms. Ok. So far so good. But the last line just cracks me up. Then it ticks me off. Are they for real?

“What remains to be seen,” concluded Ruma, “is whether treatment of maternal periodontal disease can reduce the rate of preeclampsia.”  ~ Gum Disease, inflammation risky for pregnant women

Alrighty then. So we’re going to see if “treating gum disease” will prevent 30% of pre-eclampisa cases? Good grief. I mean, this group is actually WONDERING this!

Do any of the people who do these expensive studies on toxemia ever consider that MAYBE the midwifery community might be right in saying that dear Dr. Brewer was onto something when he claimed to cure and prevent 100% of eclampsia with dietary measures??? And that hey, I don’t know, but maybe gum disease is also a symptom of DIET issues and just happens to occur simultaneously with pre-eclamptic symptoms???

UGH. I’d think, after all of these years of turning up NOTHING, they’d be willing to dive into Dr. Brewers research and actually try to help women. But that’s the rub isn’t it? Helping women doesn’t seem to be the main focus of the medical community at large. Making them “feel” better… maybe, by delivery thier babies via surgical wounds. Yep. That “fixes” the problem doesn’t it? All better. Makes the joke “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning” seem pretty fitting.

Lest I end this sour post on a sour note, here is some further reading on nutrition in pregnancy.

Modern Baby Books Full of Bad Advice

Brewer Diet FAQ’s

Toxemia Case Studies

Of course Brewer’s Diet could use a little “tweaking” but overall it jsut makes too much common sense to ignore completely. yes, it’s pretty calorie dense, and yes there are alot of fats in it. But for me, reading the research, case studies, and first-hand accounts (and the latter carry alot of weight for me)  makes it too good to just off-handedly set aside. I’ve seen first-hand, an increase in protein ALONE fix pre-eclamptic symtpoms. Within a week’s time blood pressure readings went down to normal that had been steadily climbing in this mon with a high-carb / low-protein diet (otherwise healthy eating habits). So – read the stuff, decide for yourself. But I believe it’s worth investigating.

 

Faith and where she lives…

Doctors prescribe medicine of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of which they know nothing.”    — Voltaire

I was asked once, “Don’t you trust your doctor?” I replied with a resounding, “NO! I trust my body, I trust GOD, but I do not “trust” my doctor any more than I trust my mailman.” Granted, I was 5 months pregnant at the time, fighting for the right to a VBAC and my hormones were WAY up there! I might have been a bit zealous in my response.

But I don’t think so. Not really.

Whom do we trust when it comes to our births? As women, do we trust our doctors? Our husbands to be the knight in shining armour if we are not treated fairly? Do we trust our midwives – ancient caretakers of female birth? If we answer yes to ANY Of these then we have misplaced our faith.

There are many who will disagree, arguing that “they are trained” in reference to their OB/GYN’s or even their wonderful midwives. (And midwive’s are wonderful! Don’t get me wrong!) This well-used response of higher education being grounds for blind trust is misplaced at best. Let us consider the following.

If education were a prerequisite for good birth-outcomes, how do we explain the continuation of human beings when modern medicine didn’t begin until the 19th century AD? An if highly educated birth assistants are a promise of good birth outcomes, how do we explain the rate ofmaternal and fetal demise going UP with the beginning of medicalized childbirth in the 1900’s?

Our faith belongs to God. He gave us our bodies, created specifically for the amazing job of birthing children.  So let us trust them. Let us trust Him. Let Faith live where she was born. In our hearts. In our homes. In ourselves.