Saturday, September 11, 2010

It is no wonder...

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth another incredible book that has changed my life and thoughts in relation to birth forever! After continuing to educate myself further on what conventional birthing would have you believe and what is really true about the female capacity to give birth I have to admittedly report I am shocked and slightly alarmed not just at the establishment, but ultimately at myself. I never once questioned, opened up a book, sought out wisdom from others, or believed there was a better way.

I had two babies in a hospital under the care of a "midwife." I always thought and even prided myself on the intense and gut-wrenching pain I went through to have my two girls. I touted that I had two natural births just because I didn't have an epidural. I now realize I had anything but natural births. I was given pitocin for NO apparent reason and endured two labors that were not only excruciatingly stressful and painful on me, but my babies too. I was never given any information as to the risks of pitocin (here is a link listing the risks, which are either completely downplayed or in my case NEVER even mentioned: Pitocin- Labor Induction). This is a crime to not even allow an informed decision! Luckily, myself and my babies didn't suffer extreme consequences (ie. uterine rupture, C-section). However, there was nothing peaceful about the entry of my babies into the world. Why do all these unnecessary interventions happen on a regular basis?

Let me just give you a few numbers... To have a hospital birth we have paid and would have paid again the following: $4500- for prenatal care, so for regular visits where you wait forever to spend at the most 10-15 minutes with your "caregiver." And then on top of that you pay to the hospital: $8,900- $12,900- to birth at their facilities under their guidelines and policies. Now, take a look at the following number: $2,900. I am dealing with a midwife who spends 1 hour to an hour and a half with me every meeting and will deliver my baby for a total of $2,900. Yes, I am planning a home birth and I will discuss this topic more, but before I do I just want to say the following... not because of the costs, but because of what occurs when money enters the picture.

IT IS NO WONDER... why women are told their bodies are insufficient, can't handle the pain, must lie on their backs, can't eat or drink anything during labor, be strapped to a multitude of different instruments, given whatever your doctor deems appropriate to get that baby out, given unnecessary episiotomies, bent over and stabbed with a needle in the back to deaden the feeling, birth under bright lights, with any one and their dog allowed to traipse in and out at will... I could go on.

Frightening experience! It is further proof that the medical community does not want too many women tapping into their own ability to perform a perfectly normal physiological act. Let's take a look at the statistics of intervention between planned home births and hospital births (first number is percentage for home birth and the second listed is hospital births):

Induction of labor (only with oxytocin or prostaglandins): 2.1 % vs. 21.0%
Stimulation of labor (only with oxytocin): 2.7% vs. 18.9%
Electronic fetal monitoring: 9.6% vs. 84.3%
Episiotomy: 2.1% vs. 33.0%
Vacuum Extraction: 0.6% vs. 5.5%
Cesarean Section: 3.7% vs. 19.0%

The statistics support the safeness of home births for low-risk women with adequate prenatal care and qualified attendants. Home birth is not for every woman and hospitals definitely serve a wonderful purpose in saving lives in jeopardy. There is always a risk that a home birth may have to move to a hospital setting and that is something one has to be completely prepared for. However, I am so excited to have a birth that will allow me the freedom to birth in a completely safe and warm environment with people who are not only trained and experienced in assisting natural childbirths, but believe in it and the woman's capacity to give birth.

Here is an excerpt from Ina May's Guide to Childbirth:

Consider this your invitation to learn about the true capacities of the female body during labor and birth. I'm not talking about a summary of current medical knowledge translated from technical to popular language. You can find plenty of that in bookstores. What I mean by true capacities of the female body are those that are experienced by real women, whether or not these abilities are recognized by medical authorities. The way I see it, the most trustworthy knowledge about women's bodies combines the best of what medical science has offered over the past century or two with what women have always been able to learn about themselves before birth moved into hospitals. (Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, 1)

Why do I reveal these feelings of mine on controversial subjects? I do it, because of the post made prior to this one. If people remain silent on such topics, then the opportunity to help a person who is ripe and ready for new ideas about everyday worldly things slips by. Maybe what I have to say is completely loony and ridiculous, but perhaps it is not. I know I was terrified of being out there on the Internet talking about this crazy little thing called, HCG and now I am even more terrified talking on topics such as these. But, there have been numerous times if someone had just said something to me and not feared my reaction I would have been made better by their words and maybe have done things differently. We all need each other, no one knows everything about everything.

I know when I was pregnant with my second a friend of mine had a home birth and we met her baby girl only a couple days old in their home. It was the most peaceful and loving setting I have ever encountered of such an event. I look back on that moment and wish I would have been more open and aware. I thought it was crazy, even though it was obviously not. So while my passion is directed and not distracted by the intensity of such an experience and a sweet child in my arms I am saying what I believe strongly right now. Women can give birth. Women can give birth in ways I never dreamed until now.

If you have your own birth stories (hospital, home, car, backwoods... whatever :)) and want to share, feel free! I find it all so interesting and I am completely absorbed at the moment. I will discuss further topics I have come to find intriguing and oh, so logical in the coming weeks... moments after birth, sphincter law, etc... and hopefully finally end with a description of my planned home birth.
This morning I read a post titled: You Made a Difference For That One I wanted to share the following beautiful story. It is important to stand up in the face of scrutiny from the majority, because what is widely accepted is not always best or even close to it. If one never allows one's mind to be changed and opened to new possibilities or ways of thinking and acting in the world... if no one can teach or offer you anything, I believe that is when we truly cripple ourselves.

The Star Thrower by anthropologist and writer, Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they will die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

"Note: This is a true story that Eiseley wrote about. He was the 'wise man' walking the beach before his morning writing session. He encountered this young man throwing starfish back into the ocean and was forever impacted by the experience. His story is told in many forms, in many places - but rarely is credit given to Eiseley as the original author and subject of the narrative." (peaceful parenting)