I stumbled onto this blog post from someone who 1) seems to work in a hospital 2) hears great stories from friends who work in a hospital. You decide.
A birth plan, but no immediate mothering skills highlights the image of a rabid natural birth fanatic (and I use the term purposefully) as she moved from her planned homebirth into the hospital after she had ruptured membranes for 7 days and no labor to speak of.
(Those that know, know I also had 7 days between ROM and the birth of a baby, but I was under the care of myself and a sneaky group of CNMs. Don't know how tolerant I would be of another woman acting like I did! It'd need to be on a case-by-case basis, that's for sure.)
N E Way....
So the blog poster illuminates how stupid... er, strike that... ignorant? (not good either)... crazy? (probably a better word) an immobile natural birth advocate can sound when confronted with a change in plans.
(Edited for typos and attractiveness, not substance.)
- Her water broke 7 days before she ended up in the hospital. She had gone into a small town hospital (after the planned home birth didn't happen) that was not equipped to handle sections so was transferred to ours.
- She refused a section even though her baby was in DISTRESS; she had a birth plan and a section was NOT in her birth plan.
- She continued to refuse the section even though her baby was in IMMEDIATE DISTRESS because she wanted a natural birth.
- The doctor eventually had her agree to the section, not quite having to "hit her over the head with a hammer" as my friend so elequently put it.
- The baby was covered in meconium when born and even though he had not yet taken a breath she insisted he be placed on her chest.
- Couldn't happen becuase a) the baby wasn't breathing and b) her chest was in the sterile zone.
- They did place the baby on her chest immediately after he started breathing and the nurse stayed with them as the mother could't technically hold him.
- She refused to let the baby go to the nursery to be checked over while she was in recovery and wanted him left with her. As she had no partner and she was still somewhat drugged the ICN nurse had to stay as well, meaning she couldn't see to the other babies under her care in the nursery.
- When she was transferred to the maternity ward she had the baby lying on her stomach and the nurse suggested she lift the baby higher if she was looking to feed him. "Oh no, he will crawl to the breast if he is hungry." The two nurses say that newborns don't actually crawl to the breast and she says "Yes, they do! I saw it in a video." Editing, ya know.
- She refused to have a crib in her room and wanted the baby with her. When the nurse came in to do some bloodwork on the baby, the mom was sleeping and baby was nowhere to be seen. The nurse lifted up the blanket to find the baby with his face down in between her armpit and breast. Baby grey, no heartbeat, not breathing. Nurse rushes him out of room, all the while trying to get a heartbeat and breath. When in crib in hall, heart rate measures 40 (normal newborn in 100-160). If nurse had been 30 seconds later, baby would have been dead.
Even if we looked at the story through squinted eyes, believing some of this is exaggeration, I know this story is true because I have read/heard enough accounts from the fanatics themselves!
As I recently said, hospitals have a huge responsibility to normalize birth within their walls, but for crying in a bucket, when there are complications, birth plans should be shredded by the women themselves.
When I have clients that move from home to hospital during their births, anything relating to the reason we are going there for now rests solely in the medical personnels' hands. It's what they're there for!
For example, if mom is laboring and there is lack of progress that sends us into the hospital, a birth plan that says, "No pitocin," isn't going to cut it. The part that says, "No erythromycin (in the baby's eyes)" is easy to adhere to because it isn't related to the reason for the transport.
If you have to move to the hospital because the baby has low heart tones, asking for intermittent monitoring is not only foolish, but dangerous.
My frustration... let's see... part of it is it's embarrassing to have women be so adamently against something when that something can possibly save their lives or their babies' lives... all in the name of "natural childbirth." I'm not talking about the routine crap that goes on in hospitals, but the stuff that is really necessary when birth deviates from the norm.
Just like the hospital treating everyone the same and demanding that they stop doing that, it behooves natural birth advocates to stop seeing every intervention in birth as dangerous and weigh the risks with the benefits. Sometimes technology is fantastic!
The issue, of course, is how can you tell when the interventions are really necessary? So much of it depends on trust and distrust definitely sets the stage when there's mutual antagonism.
Walking in/being wheeled in with an open mind and heart can help tremendously.
Having an advocate... your midwife or a doula... not your partner (who is laboring right along with you) who can explain things to you as they unfold... a person you implicitely trust... someone with the experience to understand the hospital language, the interventions and their necessities... where was the woman's midwife in the above scenario? Was she UCing? (Sadly, it sounds like it from her rigid attitude towards birth and the hospital. Sad because UCers have a reputation that precedes them.)
And finally, believing that whatever happened was supposed to - for whatever reason. Lessons. The baby's choice. Destiny. Fate. However you are able to explain it to your psyche, it's important to integrate the experience so you are able to be a mother and a woman in your life.
None of this means there can't be distress in the experience, that women might not be coping with birth trauma or recovering from birth abuse, but integrating can mean the difference between immobilization and functioning.
Some women have found my The Gray/Grey Messenger: Recovery helpful when overcoming birth trauma.
It's a precarious place... needing to trust the hospital yet knowing many women are bulldozed into interventions they don't want/need.
Even though the medical folks tend to play the Dead Baby Card too often, it really is more important to err on the side of safety for both mother and baby.
I hope the mom in the above post is able to obtain some balance in her reality.
It's all any of us can ask for.