Ok, here are my thoughts, they may be random. I have read intensively on Solace for Mothers’ forum and today have found the Skeptical OB site of Amy Tutuer. I wanted a natural birth experience. Home birth looked ideal but my husbands intuition and my own desire to have back up in case of an emergency set us on a natural birth at a hospital path. I found a doula who would support my natural birth request and help guide me through the birthing process. I let her know up front that I wanted to do it as natural as possible, but I also wanted her experienced opionion on when the interventions they offered were necessary. I did not want to put me or my baby at any risk.
Theres a whole trauma section devoted to birth rape on Solace for Mothers. I think this is an incredibly sad trend, that dr’s do not treat laboring women with more respect than someone herding cattle. But, I think there is a balance here too. In The Hunger Games, Peeta is not angry with Katniss for doing what she had to do to save his life even though it cost him his leg. I think there is a bit of intrusion expected when it comes to danger. As a metaphor, people are forgiven for shoving someone painfully out of the way of an oncoming bus. I think we would all agree to this: intrusion is called for and even expected when there is an emergency.
So, the problem here is more than if this invasive intrusion of privacy is acceptable. The problem boils down to whether or not there is a real emergency. The birth rape feeling comes into play when a woman feels like this invasive intrusion was not necessary. And, I really believe there are times when it IS NOT NECESSARY. There are scary people, scary drs who dont give a flip, and nurses that you wonder why on earth they would work hard to be a nurse if they hate what they do so bad. There are also SELFISH people who care more about their own agendas and needs than anyone else’s. Especially, in a friend’s case, it is exceptionally bad because the intrusion happened from a trusted birthing center that was supposed to stand up for her right to fight these procedures. I can see how this can traumatize the women who endure this.
But I also have to believe that most people are reasonably good. I dont think the drs sit around scheming scare tactics to get women to do what they want simply to be forced into a c/sec and have it over with. The natural birth advocates want healthy babies, the OB Drs want healthy babies. A friend of mine had a phrase/ mantra she repeated during her pregnancies- “healthy baby, healthy mama.” when asked what her birth plan was- “healthy baby, healthy mama.” Albeit she did attempt to birth naturally, she like me welcomed the intrusions when necessary. Or…more to the point, when deemed necessary.
Who deems it necessary for interventions? This is a tricky question. Moms know their bodies, their intuitions. Midwives know experiences and diverse possiblities. Dr’s know medicine and how to save lives. So, it seems rational to follow the rule of thumb that moms decide and plan and their plans should be respected. Midwives can give support and advice in this reguard. Then dr’s can intevene when something goes off course. Going off course could be anywhere between a heartrate dropping during contractions or excessive hemoraging. Then the ultimate hot spot of “failure to progress” could mean anywhere from the dr won’t be able to make his dinner date to the baby is physically not able to come out vaginally therefore will die without help. This is almost impossible to judge. And the fact that our country tends to be sue happy means that there is a reasonaable defensiveness from the medical community when it comes to sharing info of what happens in emergency situations. Shouldnt our drs who are only human be free to make the best judgement calls they can when there are possibly lives in danger? What if (going back to my earlier metaphor) someone was pushed out of the way and they broke their arm. But the bus that was barreling down on them had actually seen them in time to stop and had done so. SHould that person then have the right to sue the offender who thought they were savign a life? I think back on the birth of Gabe and if I had not been in that labor bubble of concentration adn had been clear minded, I would have made the same call they did. Maybe his heart rate woudl have stabalized eventually, or maybe somehow he could have been born quick enough (though the chances are small since the umbilical cord was over his head and compressed completely and actually holding him in, from what i understand), but neverthe less, the other possiblity is out of the question. the risk of not doing it was not worth it. So, for my personal experience, I do not hold the drs responsible for their intrusiveness at all. In fact the dr that made the call later saved my life by holding manual pressure on an hematoma for almost an hour to stop me from bleeding to death. She told my husband she didnt think she could get it to stop bleeding.
I cannot begin to process all I have read and experienced and learned. I wish I could make it into a stamp, and stamp it down here for you to see. Child birth trauma happens because of God’s curse. It is supposed to be traumatic. Natural or medical, it is traumatic. Babies tear through our bodies. Drs, nurses, midwives, none of them really understand because even if they have had a baby, everytime it is unique and differnt just like there is no two fingerprints exactly alike. So many more thoughts flooding my mind right now, but I have no energy left to process them…