Thursday, November 1, 2012
What Do You Do When Your Doctor Plays the "Dead Baby" Card?
I'll tell you what. Being silent is a game changer. I can't raise my voice to the kids- not even when I "MEAN IT!" My husband LOVES it when this happens. (I have probably lost my voice at least five times in our 13 years of marriage.) When I can't talk, we don't fight. It takes so much energy to be heard at all that I usually don't even bother TRYING to share my opinion or thoughts. I am more likely to just go with the flow.
We went to a party tonight and nobody could hear me so I just didn't say much. Why bother when nobody listens?
You know what though- a lot of women (and men) feel like they have no voice when it comes to their health care and their pregnancy, birth and baby.
I heard a sad story the other day. A mom was birthing in a hospital. She was scheduled for an induction at 39 weeks. Why? Well, her care provider's had some legitimate concerns about the baby. I am kind of a natural birth nut (but not a doctor, mind you) and the whole thing smelled pretty ripe to me. Pushed into an induction at 39 weeks? Unless that is when you just naturally have your babies and the nudge of an induction will get things going, there is one way that this story usually plays out.
You guessed it: C-SECTION.
The thing is though I have heard this same story many, many times before. I was sad but not at all surprised about the way things went. It happens every day in almost every hospital in this country.
Mom is told that the baby is at risk.
The placenta is old, the baby is big, the baby is small, the fluid is low, the fluid is high, the due date has come, the doctor will be away, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
All those things mentioned above- they ARE real reasons to induce and get a baby out- IF that is NEEDED.
But is it?
Truth is any mother if threatened with the life of her unborn child will choose an induction or even a cesarean over a damaged or dead baby. I love natural birth but I would throw that natural birth into the wind if that is what I had to do to have a healthy baby. I would do it. You would do it.
The problem though is that I have a sneaking suspicion that hundreds, thousands, even millions of babies are born too early or through an incision rather than through a vagina for no good reason.
The life of baby is threatened too often for no good reason.
How is a mom to know the difference between a REAL threat to her baby and an IMAGINED threat to her baby?
Four simple things can help you be sure that the birth you got was the birth you and your baby needed to be healthy.
1) Choose your care provider with great care. Probably the biggest factor in how your pregnancy and labor and birth are treated is your provider and how they view birth. Don't just take the first person on the list or the one your neighbor down the street used. Seriously consider the midwifery model of care. (Certified Nurse Midwives almost always work in hospitals and many hospitals have CNM's on staff. This isn't a guarantee but it helps.)
2) If something your care provider says doesn't sit well then get a second opinion. This second opinion should come from a source OUTSIDE of that same practice. Getting an objective second opinion is probably always a good idea when it comes to surgery. (Don't forget that when a first time mom consents to induction she DOUBLES her chance of major abdominal surgery.)
Truth be told, I have a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) who does home birth who I refer people to if they are getting the run around. A high quality home birth midwife who is aware of real dangers but also comfortable with the normal variations of birth is a fabulous resource. And, considering how itchy so many hospital care providers are these days- a good CPM is often a necessity if you don't want to be bulldozed.
3) Don't be afraid to change care providers- even if it is late in your pregnancy. I talk to too many women whose care providers are great and on board with their wishes until about 36 weeks. Then all of a sudden they schedule an induction or a surgery or heaven knows what else. It is harder to switch care at 36 weeks or later (I have the sneaking suspicion that some of these care provider's are being unethical and playing a nasty game of bait and switch) but it IS POSSIBLE. And it is sometimes worth it. In fact, changing care providers is sometimes the only way to get the healthiest birth for you and your baby.
4) Research, research, research! Look into things yourself. We are talking about the health of your baby and yourself. It deserves your attention. (And a good birth class!)
These aren't always easy things to do. But I think it is worth it to know that you did everything you could to give yourself and your baby the best birth you could.
Don't be silenced. You will regret it if you are.