Thursday, January 31, 2008

...and eventually they will believe it.

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." ~Adolf Hitler

My doctor said my pelvis is too small to give birth.

My doctor said my baby is too big.

My doctor said because I’m a little overweight that a vaginal birth isn’t safe.

My doctor says a VBAC is too risky.

My doctor says my uterus will explode.

My doctor said a c-section is completely safe.

My doctor said my baby is too small to push her out.

My doctor said I had too much amniotic fluid.

My doctor said I had too little amniotic fluid.

My doctor says ACOG doesn’t recommend VBACs.

My doctor said all breech babies have to be born by c-section.

My doctor says epidurals aren’t dangerous.

My doctor says a c-section is safer than a vaginal birth.

My doctor says home birth is irresponsible.

My doctor says if he doesn’t induce my baby will be too big.

My doctor said I have to have a c-section.

My doctor says that it's perfectly safe to induce two weeks before my due date.

My doctor said I had to have the tests.

My doctor said I have to have an iv.

My doctor said I have to birth in the hospital.

My doctor says my baby is too…

My doctor says my body can’t…

My doctor says it isn’t safe…

My doctor says I don’t have enough…

My doctor says

My doctor says

My doctor says

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." ~Adolf Hitler

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: The difference between a cesarean and a vbac

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm a fraud

For all I scream and shout, write, draw, create, nudge, urge, educate, beg and plead, I am still helpless. Because what does any of this matter if I am powerless to help those closest to me?

I have two sisters, sisters, who are pregnant and due within just 3 weeks of each other. First baby for each of them. Sister A and sister H. Sister A has been told by her OB that if her baby weighs more than six (SIX!) pounds, she'll "need" a section. Really? Six pounds? Yes, she's short. All of the women in my family are short. Our mother is just 5'1'' and gave birth to seven children who all weighed right around seven pounds. One of our youngest sisters gave birth at just 14 years old to an almost 8 lb baby.

This section will be SO hard on A, too. She doesn't want it. She doesn't even agree with her doctor that it would be necessary if the baby was over six pounds. This is the only ob/gyn she's ever seen though and she's not comfortable changing care providers. Her plan is to go to the hospital and refuse a section. That's exactly what she'll do, too. She'll go into labor completely on her own. She'll labor at home for as long as she feels is necessary, then she'll go to the hospital and say "I don't want a c-section. I'm fine and my baby is fine." Then her (s)care provider will bully my sister. She'll say she's a bad mother. She'll say she's going to kill her baby. She'll say her body can't handle a baby "that big". Then, A will consent to the section because she doesn't want to be a bad mother and she'll cry as they wheel her into the operating room and strap her to the steel table and cut her baby out. Then A will look at this small, perfectly capable of being pushed out, baby and think, "I could have pushed her out. I wanted to push her out."

And I'll be standing right there. Helpless. I know that look on her face. It says, "why didn't you tell me I could do this? Why did you let this happen to me?"

But I can't help her. She won't hear my words. I can't save my sister from the knife. MY. SISTER. She won't listen. I'm a fraud. She won't hear my words. I can't save my sister from the knife.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

From the movies of babes

The following scene is from the Disney movie "Finding Nemo". The characters are Dory and Marlin (they're both fish). The two are on a search for Marlin's son, Nemo and find themselves trapped in the mouth of a whale. I think this is a wonderful analogy to birth and all the surrounds it.

[Dory is happily riding on the current as water drifts in and out of the whale's mouth]

Marlin: Would you just stop it?
Dory: Why? What's wrong?
Marlin: We're in a whale! Don't you get it?
Dory: A whale?
Marlin: A whale! 'Cause you had to ask for help and now we're stuck here.
Dory: Wow, a whale. You know, I speak whale.
Marlin: No, you're insane, you can't speak whale. [Marlin now franticlly throws himself against the inside of the whale's mouth] I have to get out! I have to find my son! I have to tell him how long sea turtles live! [now lying on the whales tongue, Marlin sobs]
Dory: Hey- you okay? [no answer from Marlin] There, there. It's all right. It'll be okay...
Marlin: No, no it won't.
Dory: Sure it will. You'll see!
Marlin: Nooo. I promised him I'd never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Oh, that's a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: Wha-what?
Dory: Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothin' would ever happen to him. (pause) Not much fun for little Harpo.
Marlin: (sigh)
Dory: Hmm...
Marlin: What's going on?
Dory: Don't know. I'll ask him [says something in "whale speak"]
Marlin: Dory...
Dory: [whale speak]
Marlin: Dory.
Dory: [whale speak]
Marlin: Dory!
[whole whale shakes and rumbles]
Dory: I think he says we've stopped.
Marlin: Well of course we've stopped! Just stop trying to speak whale. You're gonna make things worse.
[whale moans]
Marlin: (gasp) What is that noise? Oh, no! Look what you did! The water's going down! It's, it's it's going down!
Dory: Really? You sure 'bout that?
Marlin: Look, already it's half empty!
Dory: Hmm. I'd say it's half full. . .
Marlin: stop that! It's half empty!
[whale moans]
Dory: Okay, that one was a little tougher. He either said we should go to the back of the throat or... he wants a root beer float-
Marlin: -of course he wants us to go there, that's eating us! How do I taste Moby? Huh? Do I taste good? [now to Dory] You tell him I'm not interested in being lunch!
Dory: Okay-he...
Marlin: Stop talking to him!
[whale's tongue flips Dory and Marlin to the back of his throat but Marlin hangs on and grabs Dory's fin]
Marlin: What is going on?
Dory: I'll check! [in whale speak] What-
Marlin: No! No more whale. You. can't. speak. whale!
Dory: Yes I can!
Marlin: No you can't! You think you can do these things but you can't Nemo!
[as Marlin realizes he's said Nemo's name instead of Dory's, whale begins to groan louder]
Dory: [in answer to what the whale groaned] Okay! [lets go to drop, but Marlin catches her]
Marlin: Dory!
Dory: He says it's time to let go! Everything's gonna be alright.
Marlin: How do you know? How do you know something bad isn't gonna happen?

Dory: I don't.

[Marlin thinks for a moment, then lets go]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It doesn't matter how we die?

+bradycardia +neonatal

bladder injury at c-section

cesarean section birth what happens

cranial nerves-moebius

fentanyl no withdrawal

gutters c-section

infection after cesarean section

pelvis too small c section

pelvis too small for birth

pelvis too small to give birth

refusing during labor

risks involved with being pregnant and inguinal hernia

scared of childbirth

scarring on womb after c section

womb infections post c section

women scared of giving birth

scared of giving birth

wound breakdown after cesarean section

what are we doing? The above phrases are search terms people were Googling when they found my blog.

Why does it matter how a baby is born? Shouldn’t the only thing that matters be that the mother and the baby are healthy? Shouldn’t we ‘just be grateful’? If it doesn’t matter how we’re born then I’ll argue that it doesn’t matter how we die.

There’s peaceful death and traumatic death. There’s death that’s peaceful for the dying and traumatic for those left behind. There’s death that no one saw coming and death that is long drawn out.

But isn’t death just…death? Why should it matter how someone dies just so long as they die? If it doesn’t matter how we die then why don’t we just stick the dying in a wood box and get it over with? We could shove them in. We could stick a needle in their heads and monitor them so we’d know when they were dead. With our great technological advances there are many things we can now offer to help them along. They’re not qualified to die on their own, something might go wrong. They need intervention. They should always be alone when they die, too. We can’t have too many people crowding the room. Besides, they’re just dying. They don’t know who’s in the room and who’s not. Oh, and by “room” I mean hospital room, not nice comfortable room at home. Because it would be much too dangerous to die at home. No. That wouldn’t do at all. Best to leave birth and death to the professionals.

Oh. That struck a nerve didn’t it? Because it does matter how we die. As a society we strive to give the dying the most love, the most compassionate care. We grieve for those who had especially traumatic deaths. We support and love those who lost loved ones. Why does a sick preschooler deserve more compassion than a baby being born? Why is a critical stroke patient loved more gently? Why does a great-grandmother get to have generations surround her bedside in her last moments, but a newborn doesn’t get siblings to welcome his first moments?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time in YouShouldBeGratefulLand

Once Upon A Time in “YouShouldBeGratefulLand”

A Cautionary Tale


I. M. Notawombpod

Once Upon A Time, in a land not so far away, there lived a young girl who wanted to have a baby. Everything in her life was in order and just as it should be. She graduated from college, got married and set up a nice home that was just perfect for children. The young girl was happy, her prince was happy and then the young girl became pregnant. Eager to have a technological confirmation to her very non-technological pregnancy (because that was the thing to do, was it not?) she and her prince made their way to the closest good doctor's office. After being relentlessly poked and prodded, plundered and pricked, the doctor was sufficiently pleased that the girl was not defective and he granted the young girl her heart's desire, "yes, my dear, you are indeed pregnant."

As the weeks passed it became dreadfully apparent to the young girl and her prince that all was not well in YouShouldBeGratefulLand. No type of nourishment seemed to sit well on her stomach and the once vibrant, healthy young girl had become something of a haggard waif. She had lost, by the end, nearly a quarter of the girl she had been just months earlier. Often it was all she cold do to crawl out of bed and wearily rest her head on the cool commode from sunrise to sunset. The girl and the prince pleaded with the good doctor to tell them what might be the matter and to offer a cure but their pleas fell silent before him. The only advice offered was, "you should be grateful to have the privilege of carrying a baby at all, my dear little girl. Here are some crackers that should do the trick. Chin up now and run along home."

The young girl's troubles continued to grow worse until one morning after laboring terribly to get out of bed, she wasn't even able to lift her head to the coolness of the commode. Meanwhile the prince, whose business had him traveling afar, came home. He found the girl in a pool of horror. He sent a message to the good doctor for help and she quickly washed her hands of the entire situation. So the prince, with nowhere to turn, desperately carried the young girl to the town clinic. It was there that the girl and the prince met an elderly infantry doctor who promptly diagnosed the girl's ills and prescribed a treatment that had begun to take effect even before they left the clinic. While this regimen did not completely cure the girl's illness it did make food more tolerable and allowed the young girl to provide nourishment to sustain her precious growing baby.

Since the young girl and the prince were now charged with finding a new doctor, the young girl resorted to the dark physician her mother had used so often, so many years earlier. Though she was not yet as educated about this business of birth as she would be in the coming months and years, there were some things, it seemed to her protective instinct, that were quite unnecessary and even a bit dangerous. With so many germs and diseases in hospital, the young girl thought it reckless to puncture her skin in any way, lest these nasties invade her body and make her or her baby ill. She shared these feelings with the dark physician who (kindly) assured her that should she go against his wishes she would absolutely kill her baby.

Again finding it necessary to seek out proper care, the young girl and her prince settled upon a doctor with kind eyes (though as it happened they found it was her hands, not her eyes, they should have been inspecting). Knife wielder took the young girl into her care and the girl felt that all was finally well in YouShouldBeGratefulLand.

And yet, all was not well. It wasn't long after entering her (s)care that the knife wielder informed the young girl that her baby was not well. She was, knife wielder said, very small--much smaller than she should be. She said she would do everything the could, but that the girl's own womb was a very 'hostile environment' for the sweet baby. This was hard news for the young girl. How could her body be a bad place for her baby, the baby she had fought so valiantly for these last months? "Fear not," the good knife wielder assured her, "for I will surely save a wretch like you.You should be grateful you've come to me" And so it was, after several months of making a weekly journey to the knife wielder, that the young girl had her last visit to the knife wielder.

It was a dark and stormy night. The young girl made the arduous journey through the forest to the knife wielder. She had her good servant with her that evening, so the knife wielder could meet everyone she intended to be with her when her sweet baby was born. After an hour of being strapped to a medieval machine, the knife wielder determined that the young girl and the good servant should go to the town clinic. Once the girl, the good servant, the prince and the knife wielder were all assembled, the knife wielder spoke to the prince and told him that the girl needed to have her baby extracted from her womb that very evening.

The girl was again poked and prodded, plundered and pricked. She was given papers to sign that stated she knew that she or her sweet baby could be injured or die during the extraction. She was wheeled past the prince and the good servant looking on. Sitting on the cold steel table, the girl began to feel scared. Each time the barbaric man stabbed her back with the needle, she felt a terrible pain down the back of one of her legs. She asked him several times if this was a normal pain to be feeling and he assured her that, "everything's fine", when what he should have said to her was, "sometimes when we stick a needle in a person's back a nerve is pricked. that's the pain you're feeling."

Soon, the whole procedure was over with and the girl was tasked with providing complete round the clock care for her sweet baby as well as her aching scar. Everyone who visited the girl and the sweet baby gushed over how grateful she should be that she and her baby had been saved by the knife wielder. The only things the girl was sure of at the moment were that she loved her baby, she hated her scar, and she had never felt so young as she now did.

A hard year passed and the young girl found herself again expecting a child. Armed with a shield of courage, a saber of knowledge and her good servant the girl journeyed through the thick, black forest of care providers until she found her midwife. Throughout this second precious adventure, the midwife talked with the girl, listened to her and helped her find her way. As it happened, by the end of the adventure, the girl found that she was not so much a young girl now as a confident queen. This pleased the queen, and the prince also, who now fancied himself a king (and so he was). When the time came for the prince to be born, the queen birthed him (without a knife wielder or a barbaric man) in quiet awe.

And together the king, queen, princess and prince lived happily ever after in YouShouldBeGratefulLand.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Portrait of my first pregnancy

I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately so here's another picture. I drew this at the beginning of my second pregnancy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Have a Happy Labor

See? Labor can be fun!

9cm, (as yet) unmedicated, approximately 40th hour of labor
This was a planned homebirth (after cesarean), turned hospital transfer because we just couldn't get the little guy to come out! He was in a very bad position and neither he, nor my midwife, nor I could fix it. Something about that drive to the hospital though, for what everyone assumed would be a repeat-C, got him squared away. The thought of that knife again just scared my little man right out of me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Once Upon a Time in YouShouldBeGratefulLand

Once Upon A Time in “YouShouldBeGratefulLand”

A Cautionary Tale


I. M. Notawombpod

Once Upon A Time, in a land not so far away, there lived a young girl who wanted to have a baby. Everything in her life was in order and just as it should be. She graduated from college, got married and set up a nice home that was just perfect for children. The young girl was happy, her prince was happy and then the young girl became pregnant. Eager to have a technological confirmation to her very non-technological pregnancy (because was was the thing to do, was it not?) she and her prince made their way to the closest good doctor's office. After being relentlessly poked and prodded, plundered and pricked, the doctor was sufficiently pleased that the girl was not defective and he granted the young girl her heart's desire, "yes, my dear, you are indeed pregnant."

As the weeks passed it became dreadfully apparent to the young girl and her prince that all was not well in YouShouldBeGratefulLand. No type of nourishment seemed to sit well on her stomach and the once vibrant, healthy young girl had become something of a haggard waif. She had lost, by the end, nearly a quarter of the girl she had been just months earlier. Often it was all she cold do to crawl out of bed and wearily rest her head on the cool commode from sunrise to sunset. The girl and the prince pleaded with the good doctor to tell them what might be the matter and to offer a cure but their pleas fell silent before him. The only advice offered was, "you should be grateful to have the privilege of carrying a baby at all, my dear little girl. Here are some crackers that should do the trick. Chin up now and run along home."

To be continued…

Through the Looking Glass or Why Babies Refuse to be Born

I'm very ill today and my head hurts to type anything original, so here you go. For best effect, follow these in the order in which I present them.

I saw this today at Bellies and Babies

and read this a few weeks ago at Looking Glass Alice

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why are women scared of childbirth?

Why did Christina Aguilera schedule a non-medically necessary cesarean? Why did Brittney Spears, Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Denise Richards Victoria Beckham? Why, for that matter, does any woman schedule so-called “patient choice” cesareans?

Look in the mirror. When you speak about the births of your children, what do you say? Sadly, the only positive things most woman say about their births are “the epidural worked great, didn’t feel a thing!” or “well, at least the baby was healthy”. Why do we, as a society, insist on perpetuating the fear and pain of childbirth? Troubled as she may currently be, read what Brittney Spears had to say way back when, regarding the upcoming birth of her first child: “I don't want to go through the pain. My mom said giving birth was the most excruciating thing she's ever gone through in her life.” Shame on you, Mrs. Spears.

When I was pregnant with my first child all I ever heard were pregnancy and birth horror stories. Am I saying we should all just lie to each other about birth? No. For most women it’s not all sunshine and roses, but it’s not the end of the world, either. Some would argue that women are scared of childbirth because it’s a “great unknown”. I would say it’s because of what they think they know, based on every horror story you or I have ever told.

“But vbac,” I hear you saying, “you scare us with your c-section horror stories all the time. Aren’t you being a bit hypocritical?”

Nope. I wish we had more voices out there scaring women out of medically unnecessary sections. For those who hear my horror stories, but need (or think they need) a section anyway… don’t worry too much. My story had a mostly happy ending. (but tell that to the several women last year who died following their sections)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Had a great fall

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
And all the king's horses
And all the king's men

Couldn't put Humpty together again.

January 12, 2005
10:27 p.m.
3lbs, 10oz 16 inches
37 weeks, 1 day

Today is a day of mourning. Tomorrow will be a day of celebration.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby

Happy Birthday, Baby!

January 12, 2005

Life at our house is going to be very busy for the next several days so I'm going to post this a few days early. Saturday, January 12, 2008 is my daughter's third birthday. She has become such a precocious little firecracker. Gosh, I love her so much! So much. That's why it hurts me even more that each year her birthday is stained a bit by the horrible circumstances surrounding her entrance into the world. Below is her birth video (updated last night) and a letter to my scar.

Dear Scar,

We've been together now for 3 years. I have yet to touch you comfortably (physically and emotionally), but see and think of you often. I think you're hideous, and long. You invaded my body, I didn't want you, and now I'm stuck with you forever.

Most of the time I'm mad at you. I hate you. I hate what you stand for. I hate that you were the primary concern of the hospital staff, instead of my emotional health and comfort. No one cared about me. They cared about you. Then, when I came home from the hospital, no one wanted to see you. I think you scared them. No one wanted to see because whether they admit it or not, you symbolize a horribly violent, bloody, unnatural way for a baby to enter our world. You disgust me.

And yet... and yet your presence has also brought positive change to my life. I used to think of myself as a weak person. Now, after enduring all the physical and emotional pain you brought into my life, I know that I am very strong. I am strong for myself, for my husband and for my two sweet babies.

When I became pregnant with my second child, people began to think of you again. They said I should just have you opend up and have my baby taken out of my womb again. Why not?-they said. You already have the scar, just open it up again. No big deal.

I refused to give you that power over my body, my life and my baby. Not this time. Not ever again. My life will not be dictated by you, Scar.

You stand for all that is wrong with childbirth in this country today and I am ashamed that you are a part of my body.



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I am, I love, I leave...

I body was “beautifully and wonderfully made”
I believe...birth is safe
I fought....postpartum depression
I am trigger happy OBs and vbac bans
I love....each of my children
I need....someone to cry with
I heart all the birth stories I’ve been privileged to hear
I hear....mothers who are demanding change
I drink...a toast to the glory of birth
I hate.....the phrase “you should be grateful
I blog to rage against the birth machine
I want......the midwifery model to be the standard of care in the United States
I like......Ron Paul
I I’m not being heard
I wear.....a long, thin, purple scar on my lower abdomen
I left....the woman I was on a cold steel table 3 years ago
I two pregnant sisters avoid the knife
I dream.... of a day when birth is honored and respected
I drive....a minivan with an “ICAN VBAC” bumper sticker on it
I think.....therefore I push
I wish.... women knew how much they were being abused by modern maternity “care”
I am....a young mother with a fading physical scar and an everlasting emotional scar
I regret.........I regret
I care...about mothers and babies
I said.... “an OB cut me so every year around this time I feel the need to spill my guts"
I wonder....if women will ever realize that they’re not broken
I cry...when a mother tells me she was cut
I lose....the ability to see straight whenever I read “my doctor won’t let me…”

I sisters and daughters with a legacy of trust in birth, informed choices, and


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Surgical removal of tonsils: tonsillectomy
Surgical removal of appendix: appendectomy
Surgical removal of breasts: mastectomy
Surgical removal of uterus: hysterectomy
Surgical removal of baby: babyectomy

Yes, a cesarean is surgery!
Following is the actual surgical report from my cesarean. That's right, with a
cesarean "birth"... there are no "warm fuzzy" moments. It's all about "stab incisions" and organs being extracted from your body. I'm putting this here because had I known exactly what was involved in a standard surgical birth, I would have asked more questions
and made certain preferences clear. Emphasis added.

The patient (you're not a woman, a mother, or even a human being, you are simply a "patient") was taken to the operating room where spinal anesthesia (you know, that huge needle they stick in your spine after you sign a form saying that if you become paralyzed or die that you and your family won't sue) was introduced without complication. The patient was then prepped and draped in the usual sterile manner(because there are TONS of nasty germs in a hospital and they're getting ready to cut you open and you wouldn't want an infection. That's why hospitals are for SICK people. Not pregnant people).

The abdomen was entered via Pfannenstiel incision, which was extended to the fascia via sharp dissection (ooo... doesn't that make you feel nice??). Hemostasis was assured via cautery. The fascia was incised and this incision extended. The remainder of the fascia was taken down in the usual manner.
The midline was identified and entered without complication. The lower uterine
segment was identified and bladder flap was created inferiorly (Your
bladder is "in the way" so to speak, so they have to move it.
I'm sure it's impossible to get it back in the exact same position
it was in, so NEVER let a doctor tell you that a cesarean will ensure that you won't suffer from incontinence)
. The uterus was entered via stab incision (don't you just picture some mad scientist stabbing you in the gut when you hear that? I know I do...), which was extended sharply. The membranes ruptured and clear fluid was noted. The head of the infant was delivered;
the nares and mouth were suctioned well, and the remainder of the
infant was delivered without complication. The infant was carried
over to the neonatologist. The placenta was manually extracted,
the uterus was delivered into the abdominal incision, and the
endometrial cavity was cleansed. (This last sentence means
that they actually TOOK MY UTERUS OUT OF MY BODY
and plopped it up on my abdomen. That's the common thing to
do. They like to dig around inside your body and see what's
going on.)

The uterine incision was then closed in two layers, first being a running
interlocking layer of #1 chromic, second being a running, imbricating
layer of the same. Hemostasis was assured via cautery as well as
suture of 2-0 chromic. When hemostasis was assured, the uterus
was returned to the abdominal cavity
. The gutters were cleansed
of clot and debris. Hemostasis was assured and the bladder flap
was reapproximated using 2-0 chromic in a running fashion.
Hemostasis was assured and the gutters again were cleansed
of clot and debris. Copious irrigation was done. Hemostasis
was assured and the peritoneum was closed using #0 chromic
in a running fashion. The subfascial layer was made hemostatic
and the fascia was reapproximated using 0 Vicryl in a running
fashion. Hemostasis was assured of the subcutaneous layer
which was reapproximated using 3-0 plain in an interrupted
fashion. Hemostasis was further assured and the skin was
reapproximated using 3-0 Vicryl in a running, subcuticular
fashion. Estimated blood loss was 600 cc. Complications
were none.

**Note: They don't consider depression, a huge gash on
your abdomen, breastfeeding failure, not being able to
walk on your own or without pain, nightmares, etc to be

Monday, January 7, 2008

You Must Demand TRUE Informed Consent

Before a doctor performs any medical procedure, surgery or test on you, you should be fully aware of what the procedure is, why it is being done, what information or result will be obtained, alternative treatments/tests, possible risks or complications, as well as the possibility of a second opinion. This is informed consent. If your care provider does not make you aware of this information, he or she is guilty of not obtaining your informed consent for the procedure. Many doctors, especially obstetricians, have found a sneaky way around having to inform you of your options: they give you a stack of papers to sign, and hidden in the very small print somewhere in the 15 pages is a blanket informed consent document covering anything and everything the doctor may want to do to you during your pregnancy, labor, and immediately postpartum. This is not informed consent. This is a cover-their-butt approach that allows the obstetrician to not be sued while being able to do anything he or she wants to you and your baby because, supposedly, you were informed and consented. It is the hope and purpose of this blog to help you understand that you have choices in your maternity care. It is your right and responsibility as a mother to question what is being done to you and your baby. It is your right and responsibility to see to the best interests of yourself and your child.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Six Easy Steps to Avoid Iatrogenic Complications in Childbirth

I was cleaning out my first aid cabinet last night and was thumbing through the little first aid booklet that came in a portable first aid kit. As you're reading, keep in mind that on the front cover it clearly states that this booklet is put out by the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION:


(1) Childbirth is natural and normal. There are only a few things to remember if you are helping a mother deliver her baby.

(2) Be patient and let nature take its course. Wait for the baby to be delivered.

(3) Wash your hands. Keep your hands and surroundings as clean as possible.

(4) During labor, do nothing more than support the emerging baby at the same level as the mother. Do not interfere with the birth.

(5) Keep your hands out of the birth canal.

(6) When the baby has been delivered, place the baby in the space between the mother's thighs, his head slightly lower and turned to the side.

etc, etc.

Gee, it's a shame DOCTORS don't follow this excellent advice (remember, it's from the American Medical Association)!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Obstetrician Proposition

Hey Doc. I have a proposition for you. You say that birth is dangerous and needs you to save the mothers and babies. You say birth is a medical event which requires a hospital. Many of you believe that birth "from below" (vaginal) is old-fashioned and that birth "from above" (abdominal) is superior.

Why did you decide to become a doctor? Why a doctor who "delivers" babies? I know that none of you would admit it's for the money. I'm sure your answer is something like "I want to help women and babies". That is admirable. But what if (humor me here), just what if it could be proven to you... and to the world, really... that you aren't helping mothers OR babies? What if your famous Hippocratic oath is making you hypocrites? You vow that you will "do no harm". Does that really mean you will "do no harm" to your bank account? Your practice? Your staff? Or are you honestly, truly, unabashedly committed to doing no harm to mothers and babies?

Now, my proposition:

The cesarean rate in the United States is horrific. According to the WHOs standards, at least half (if not more) of the sections in this country are unnecessary. Also, our infant mortality rate is shameful. Of all developed countries the United States has the second highest infant mortality rate, and more and more mothers are dying in childbirth as well.

In some countries, such as Sweden, the standard of maternity care is a midwife. Every woman sees a midwife for maternity care unless and until her pregnancy or labor becomes a threat, danger, or emergency to the life of the mother or baby. *GASP*, you say? How can they do something so DANGEROUS you say? Well, if a section rate of 15.4% (Peristat) and an infant mortality rate of 3 per 1,000 live births (Globalis) is dangerous... then let danger be my middle name!

If you truly have the best interests of mothers and babies in mind, then give up your fear-mongering, money-hungry death grip on maternity care in the United States. Afterall, there will still be a need for you. It's just that you will only see the mothers who truly NEED to see you. Aren't those the mothers you really want to help, anyway? Why not try it? Do your little studies. Give it, say, ten years. Five, even.

If the IMR and section rates remain the same, or get worse, I will gladly stand corrected, and you can again take your place on the Obstetric Throne.

Friday, January 4, 2008

SIR, permission to use my vagina, SIR!

Just a thought. . .

"When we give government the power to make medical decisions for us, we, in essence, accept that the state owns our bodies." ~U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul

Giving the government "the power to make medical decisions for us" means letting the government make

ANY laws about what we can/can't do with our own bodies. It's a frightening trend today. Women being told they "can't" have a vaginal birth for various reasons (pelvis too small, previous section, baby too big, the moon is full, etc...). To quote a now famous line on another group I belong to, "you don't need permission to use your vagina." Did you know there's a certain amount of risk in sex, even? Disease, infection, slight tearing, mild discomfort, even death if an air bubble is pushed into your bloodstream. Since sex is "risky", shouldn't you ask your doctor's permission before you have sex? No? Why? BECAUSE YOU DON'T NEED PERMISSION TO USE YOUR OWN VAGINA... that's why.

So then some would counter "well pregnancy and birth aren't all about the mother. there is another human life that must be considered in the equation". Yes, yes... that's right. The baby. Well... do you ask your doctor's permission before having an abortion? Oh, that's right... it's the DOCTOR who does the abortion. And what about those babies that are aborted because the pregnancy endangers the mother's life? What happened to the "all important" statement that the baby's life must be considered, too?

Messy, messy, messy.

My point is YOU own YOUR OWN body. Nobody has the right to make any decisions regarding your body except you. Nobody has the right to DO anything to your body without your INFORMED consent. And it is the audacity of all audacities when lawmakers make laws "governing" your body.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Charade

Sarah's birth video and poem

*interesting note: I let one of my brothers read this poem several months ago and he asked me, "does an oyster die when it's shucked?" Yes, it does.


To think of myself as an animal

led to the slaughter

not really choosing

They stripped me

they shaved me

they shot me

full of fear

so I'd be losing

All the feeling

but the feeling never goes

I heard 'oh you won't feel anything'

when I couldn't move my toes

First the


then the


and they say that it's all right

they say I'll feel some tugging

but I don't, I just feel nothing

I was screened from my body

it's bloody

the baby, where's my baby

there's the baby

could be anybody's baby

They take it away

and I'm left on the table

I want to be happy

but right now I'm not able

To see past the blood and the light

and the screen

strapped to a table

the end of the dream

Gutted and cold

in pain and alone

unable to speak, or to cry or

to moan

But the


and the


and the


will subside

after I've grieved

after I've cried

I won't have the nightmares

or wake with such fright

I'll think back and smile

on that terrifying night

This new wrinkly baby

so tiny and pink

at that moment all I could


Of was my pain and

my fear

but what about you?

so cold and so scared

so little, so new

I hold you and my scar

and I know what to do

I'll weep and I'll mourn

then I'll tuck it away

doesn't mean it's not there

but I'll keep it at bay

So now when I think about how

my baby came into this world

I choose to think of myself as an oyster

and my beautiful baby

the pearl.

* * * * * *

I was going to share my son's birth poem and video but I'll save that for another day because right now I want to talk about the last two stanzas of this poem. Why did I feel the need to "make nice" at the end? Is it that little voice inside of me, the one that after hearing so many people chide me for hating my section-surgery, finally starts to agree and say tie the laces neatly at the end. be a good girl and play nice, now. This poem should end with the line, "Unable to speak or to cry or to moan". What upsets me most is that this poem was written six months after the surgery and it wasn't written to share with anyone. If I had written it with the intent of sharing it then I could understand why I felt the need to basically negate all my strong, painful feelings by including that crap about the pain subsiding and tucking my scar away.

Here's my point: This poem was a personal poem, written for myself. After just six months of hearing "you should be grateful" I had already begun to internalize that and guilt my true feelings away. How many women are out there, two, three, ten years out from their section-surgeries, who initially were very much not okay with it, but then after hearing that they should be grateful for a healthy baby and that just being alive was all that mattered and that it doesn't really matter how a baby comes out. . . and now they live among us disguised as "I loved my section" women? How many of these women are out there? It's a sad, bizarre charade.

Mothers, don't hide behind your "My section wasn't that bad" mask. Because those who believe you are following you down the hall to the operating room, and those of us who don't believe you hurt for you.

If you would like more information about cesarean awareness and prevention please visit

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Wound That Can't Be Stitched

An OB cut my abdomen and now every year around this time I feel the need to spill my guts. This post is probably going to get (verbally) violent. In real life I'm a very nice young mother who loves her husband and her children dearly. Please know that today, however, I am speaking from my scar.

If you've noticed my counter box to the right then you know that my daughter's third birthday and the third anniversary of my section-surgery is just ten days away. Do you know that I haven't even cried about my section yet? Not once. I teared up a little while telling my "birth" history to my midwife, but that's about it. I WANT TO CRY! Desperately.

As my doula was driving me to the hospital to get cut she told me that everything was going to be fine. I told her I wasn't scared about the baby dying, I was scared that I was going to die. I didn't cry then. I didn't cry as I waddled under the blood-red EMERGENCY ROOM sign, or as I was handed a Property of Baptist Hospital gown and sent to the bathroom to change. When nobody could adequately explain to me exactly why it was that I was going to be cut, and as everyone stood around the hospital bed staring at the beeping machine I was attached to, and as my husband just STOOD there as I was wheeled past him down that ammonia-mopped floor. I didn't cry. When I was in that room with the metal table, needles, machines, masks and knives I didn't even cry. A needle in my arm, didn't cry. A needle in my spine, didn't cry. A pinch to see if I was numb, didn't cry. My arms tied down, a drape over my chest, not being able to feel myself breathe, I didn't cry.

The surgeon didn't even talk to me. I could have been a dead cow on that butcher block for all she cared. Maybe it's because I didn't cry. Maybe if I'd have cried she would have realized I was actually a real, live person with feelings and she was about to cut into me and leave a wound that she would be forever blind to and that would never heal. Maybe...

Then afterwards the morphine made me outwardly giddy and so no one knew that inside I was numb and horrified and dead. You're not allowed to have morphine forever so the next day I was weaned from the poison and given little white pills that were supposed to help. You have a new baby and white pills and sterile sheets so everything is wonderful and you should be so grateful. I didn't cry then because it physically hurt to cry. I was afraid that if I cried my stitches would burst open and I'd bleed all over the pretty white sheets, and everyone would know that I hadn't been a good little girl.

So I was a good little girl, took the pills, didn't complain and healed "nicely". I have a cute little scar to prove it. In the following weeks as I battled to nurse my baby and my scar I was too weak, weary and depressed to cry. The fear of my incision ripping open haunted me for well over a year.

Now here I am. It's January 2, 2008 and nearly three years after my section-surgery. I haven't "gotten over it", nor will I ever. I think that's fine and I don't believe it's unhealthy. I have since had a few birthdays (taking me to my mid-twenties and then a smidge beyond) and a vbac. While I didn't choose to have my son to help me heal from my section-surgery, I did wholeheartedly believe that it would. It didn't. It was a pretty good birth (though it was a planned homebirth turned hospital transfer) and I felt absolutely wonderful afterwards. With my section, I didn't know what birth was supposed to be and how fun it could be. All I knew was that I was robbed of something and that both my baby and I suffered because of it. After my vbac I saw what birth was supposed to be like. It made me mad! So, my daughter and I were robbed of THIS?! I was angry, outraged, shocked, sad. . . but I still couldn't cry.

I know those tears are inside of me. I feel them every day. They burn and they ache. I'm afraid that if I begin crying, I won't be able to stop. Because my pain is never going to go completely away, so why should my tears?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Our Battle