09 December, 2010

I Am Advocate, Hear Me Roar!

As I've mentioned, Ophelia's birth has changed me. I took an entirely different approach to my pregnancy, labor, and delivery with her and it's changed my views on pregnancy and labor/delivery. I am an advocate. I am an advocate for natural, normal, intervention free childbirth. Some of my friends are hard core into politics. Some of my friends, including my bestie, are all about living the super green life and begin vegan/vegetarian. I am hard core into childbirth.

I wasn't always this way. I have always been passionate about woman's rights, and I've always felt that we, as women, should be able to have a say in what happens to our body, but I wasn't like that with pregnancy and childbirth. With Reilly, I didn't inform myself very much. I was scared to death of the pain and while I said "I'm going to try to go natural", I'm very aware that in the back of my mind I knew I was going to end up getting an epidural. My biggest fear was (and still is) having a c-section with one of my babies.

Please note that I do understand that intervention is sometimes necessary, and so are c-sections. But I am talking about a very normal, no to low-risk pregnancy and birth. 

 The more I read, and hear about women who make uninformed choices, the more I want to do something. And since I am not in a position to really DO anything right now other than write on my blog and direct people to good resources, the one thing I really want to do is shake women and tell them that they need to advocate for themselves and BE INFORMED about their pregnancies and the birth of their children. They need to know that our bodies are made to give birth. They were made to labor. Yes its painful. It's nothing even close to comfortable. Rainbows and unicorns don't come barreling out of your vagina when you have a baby. But the fact of the matter is, most women fear childbirth. The pain, the unknown, the after math...it's all scary. Every pregnancy and every birth is scary and worrisome at some point, and that's normal. But doctors pound into our heads that everything we are doing is wrong, and they know what's going on. Some doctors have never seen a fully natural childbirth, with no interventions, no surgery, no medication. Most doctors only see a few in their practicing years. That's scary! The national c-section rate is 32% (as of March 2010, according to the CDC website.) That's the highest its ever been. A lot of the time it's because a woman goes into the hospital, uneducated, and doctors spew "word vomit" (if I may take a quote from Mean Girls) about the baby being "too big to fit" or "failure to progress". And women listen to them because they are "all knowing" doctors, when in reality, rarely is it ever the case that a woman cannot have a baby naturally because of these reasons. I recently posted on  my facebook a link to a website called My OB Said WHAT!?! and how much it irritates me. (Except for their Thoughtful Thursdays) Some of the things that are on this website are ridiculous. Here, let me indulge you:

“Well, if you want me to be your doctor, you will schedule your cesarean right now.” – OB to mother at a prenatal early in the a VBAC pregnancy.  (Unfortunately, a lot of hospitals have now banned VBAC's - vaginal birth after cesarean)

“We’ll just make sure you deliver by 40 weeks! Don’t worry, almost *EVERY* woman gives birth before her due date!” – OB to mother. (Due dates are JUST estimates. Unless you know the EXACT DATE you ovulated, it is very rare that your due date is actually 40 weeks. And no, not EVERY woman gives birth before her due date. Especially first time moms.)

“If you don’t let me break your water, the baby won’t have a way to get out.” – OB to mother being induced. (The baby can come out IN the bag of water. Its called being born in the caul -- caution, actual birth pictures at that link. It's rare, but it happens.)

“Babies over 40 weeks get ‘sick’ (inside the womb.)” – OB to mother at a prenatal appointment. (Wrong again doc. Babies are perfectly fine over 40 weeks)

“You can refuse, but you’ll kill your baby.” – Nurse to mother during her 32 week prenatal, who stated she wanted to refuse an induction. (Wrong again! Refusing induction will NOT kill your baby.)

“You have only a 20% chance of birthing this baby vaginally. You might as well have your epidural now for your cesarean section later.” – OB to mother. (Blah blah blah.)

“Your baby will die if you don’t have a cesarean by 40 weeks.” – OB to mother who had refused the three hour Gestational Diabetes test. (No. No no no.)

Isn't that scary? Don't you want to run away from childbirth RIGHT THIS SECOND?! This is what women hear every day from their doctors and nurses...and hell, even some midwives. But then you watch something like this: (Yes it is a video of a natural childbirth. Yes there are vagina shots. You've been warned.)

And yes...she's in pain, but listen to the encouragement she's getting from her (I assume) midwives. Don't even look at the video...just close your eyes AND LISTEN. THIS is how childbirth should be the majority of the time.

Not like this (which, while funny, is sadly what childbirth is getting towards):

So ladies, please educate yourselves about childbirth. The doctors are not always right. Gain knowledge about yourself, your body and your baby. Please.

I am a natural childbirth advocate. Here me fucking roar!!

Note: Again, I understand that interventions are sometimes necessary. I don't judge a woman based on how she decides to have her own child. It is her body, her choice. I just want women to understand that our bodies were made for this, no matter what.


Jennifer said...

I love your post and agree wih you entirely. Our bodies were made to have babies. Unfortunately my 3rd baby was an emergency c-section when his heart rate dropped from his cord being around his neck. I am very grateful that my midwife is letting me have a vbac with my 4th. I look forward to following your blog. Good job woman...

Danielle said...

I like how you strongly believe in natural births. My first and second babies were born naturally. My first baby was born posterior and i pushed for 3.5hrs with no drugs not even laughing gas. I had an episiomaty, forceps & the vacuum. My second baby was super fast and easy. I pushed for 18 mins and he was not posterior and I had no drugs again!! I do believe in pro choice, but it is unfortunate that women don't know a lot about childbirth and believe whatever their doctors tell them. I had an OB the first time, the second time I had a midwife and would have to say my midwife experience was 10X better.