Dear Doctor, If You Would Like Me To Birth With You...
If you would like me to birth with you or in your hospital, here are a few tips that MIGHT make that more likely.
1) Be nice to me- Sounds simple, but kindness goes a long way. I hear there is a big fear of litigation these days in the obstetric community. Surely there are opportunistic dopes who sue just because they want some fast cash. But I have the sneaking suspicion that many of the women and families who sue their doctors are simply a little bitter about being treated badly by somebody who promised them that he would make everything "OK" and who, being human, couldn't deliver. Add in a healthy dose of superiority and you have a lawsuit waiting to happen.
2) Don't take my baby away unless absolutely necessary- Funny thing about many hospitals these days. MY baby is treated like community property by all those involved in any way with the birth process. They can take him, touch him, poke him, and are even required by law to perform procedures. This really irritates some women.
Don't ever forget whose baby this is. It is mine and I should get to make decisions for it. I am a competent adult woman and capable of such.
3) Stop asking me about pain- If I am in labor, the last thing I need is a pain scale assessment every hour. I am still a little blown away that in the midst of laboring a woman would be stopped to rate her pain on a scale of one to 10. If I want something for the "pain," I will let you know. I am well aware that something called an epidural has been invented.
4) Mother friendly. Baby friendly.- You should know what this is and you should follow it. It is that simple. Summed up, these two things mean treating women and babies with respect and then practicing evidence based medicine. Intermittent monitoring. No IV. Constant contact with baby. Breastfeeding. Basically it means being "friendly."
5) Be VBAC friendly- The words, "trial of labor" are insulting. It isn't up to you to "let me try" to labor or not. It is up to me. The word "attempt" is insulting. Be aware that if I am serious about a VBAC, the thought of a home birth has probably crossed my mind. If you think that home VBAC is so dangerous, then you might want to offer me some of the perks that home VBAC would afford me. Namely, intermittent monitoring, no IV, labor support, water for comfort, and somebody who actually believes I am capable of birthing my baby vaginally. You may find home birth dangerous, but it might be my only CHANCE at a vaginal birth.
6) Easy on the due dates- I GET that you are worried about everybody exploding after 40 weeks. But let's use some common sense. Do you really believe that ALL women must have their babies by 40 weeks? Does it even make sense? Sure, someday all women will have their babies on the 40 week date. It will be the same day we all are 5'5'', have blond hair, weigh 135, speak English, wear a size 7 shoe and like country-western music. So, basically, that day will never come. Stop hoping.
7) Be honest- If you truly don't believe in natural birth, VBAC, or a woman's ability to birth, then TELL ME. Really. Bait and switch might sell car stereos but when this sales technique is used in relation to birth, it is cruel. If you know you won't allow me to birth naturally then TELL ME so that I can find somebody else to be there for my birth. If you know you will sabotage me every step of the way, please believe that I have a RIGHT to know this. Birth isn't everyday for me. It isn't how I make my living. It is a sacred experience. If I am disappointed or feel hurt by my birth, I will remember it forever. I will only have a few babies and their birth's matter to me AND to them.
I should admit something. I have birthed in a hospital and I have birthed at home. Unless I have to, I will never birth in a hospital again. I know the difference and I am not interested in going back. Even so, many women do want a hospital birth experience. Those women, they deserve to be able to birth how they wish within that system. They shouldn't be forced into home birth because of fear of the hospital.
Thanks for listening.