Sorry I haven’t been too great at blogging consistently these past couple of months. I’ve been trying to “gestate in peace” and just be a mom. The calling to birth and women won’t leave me be though, so I’ll try harder to get it in on a weekly basis. Thank you for reading. Pass it along if you are moved by any of it. Trash it if it’s luke-warm. Email me if it makes you mad. All emotional responses (and logical ones) are welcome. ~Kelly
I’ll tell you, this advocacy stuff is rough. I get emails from women all over the country sharing their birth trauma stories (and sorry, this is TRAUMA we’re talking about here, not a “bad experience”). I cry alot. It’s hard to do this while I’m pregnant. The idea of facing a hospital to birth again makes me queasy. Yeah… that’s a generalization I know. Not all hospitals are bad, not all doctors are terrible selfish money-grubbers. I know this. But the stories… how can I not be impacted by the horror of a mom being “reprimanded” by her OB for not agreeing to an episiotomy, so when she was being stitched up SANS numbing agents (which the OB refused to use saying, “You said you wanted natural, this is natural.”) had to also hear, “This is what you get for not letting me cut you.” And for the mom who, upon transferring from homebirth because of thick meconium in the water (good heartones though) had to listen to the attending OB nurse comment, after a 3 hour wait, “Well if you were still home nothing would be getting done for your baby so what’s the hurry?” Or the mom who was promised a VBAC only to get to the hospital in labor and find out a cesarean had been written into her chart at 20 weeks. When she balked the doctor said, “Listen, you were never going to get a VBAC. It’s ok. You’ll have your baby in your arms in an hour.” She walked out (WARRIOR WOMAN!!!) and had her baby at home, vaginally, assisted by her husband that same day. 3 hours later.
It sounds like I’m reporting from a 3rd world country doesn’t it? But I’m not. No… if only it were that easy. This is US. This is the United States of America where FREEDOM is supposed to RING TRUE. But it doesn’t. Heck, HONESTY doesn’t even ring true anymore. My sister had so many adhesions from her first cesarean that she was onthe table with her 2nd for 6 hours getting cleaned out. Even after that she was never told why that happened, that it was likely to happen again, and that her cesarean was not medically necessary. Informed consent? That’s the stuff fairy tales are made of. And you’re more likely to get it at a car lot than in an OB department.
But being the eternal optimist that I am, I know that however our births turn out, whatever bumps we face along the way, wherever these roads take us… the fact that we are HERE, together, talking about birth means that we care about humanity and the future of birth in our culture. Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s us. The broken, the healing, the healed. We care, and we’re not going to give up until someone listens, until things change, until we see that normal birth is safe for our daughters and grand-daughters.