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11.10.2010

More proof you should be an educated consumer concerning your childbirth: A testimonial

So my friend Mandi, who is a mother, a doula, and a Bradley instructor, wrote this awesome post on why she's thankful her first birth experience sucked royally. Sounds backwards, right? Well, I totally get where she's coming from. Although our outcomes were different (she had a C-section, I had a vacuum assisted vag birth) there are a lot of similarities between her first birth and mine. And I think that is because the way we both experienced our first births is the way a majority of moms in the mainstream experience birth. This belief is backed up both by statistics and by watching those stupid birth story shows on TLC and Discovery. It almost always progresses as follows: mother starts feeling contractions and goes to the hospital (too soon...). She labors, laying flat in a bed, for 4-6 hours. Then she is told by the doctor that she isn't progressing, so she is given pitocin. Which increases the pain of labor, so if she hasn't gotten one already, she gets an epidural. Which slows down labor. Which worries the doctor. More pitocin, more epidural drugs, mom can't feel anything to push so pushing moves slowly. Then pushing takes too long so they move onto a C-section. OR the increase in pit puts stress on the baby causing heart deccels, also leading to a C.

Part of it is the fault of the medical community, but I feel like mothers can also take a small part of the blame. It is our responsibility to be informed about what we buy, be it goods or services. And make no mistake, medical care is a product. And sadly, most doctors and hostpitals are not concerned for your personal well being. They are concerned with avoiding lawsuits (which I also think is partially the fault of the general public- if we didn't sue over every little thing they wouldn't be so concerned) and making money. And the more you consume (procedures, drugs, etc) the more they make. The more you adhere to their "policies" the less they feel open to litigation. So it is our responsibility as consumers and as mothers to be informed about what we are buying. And by informed, I do not mean taking a class from the hospital you are birthing in- if you wanted information on a new washer, would you only read information put out by the company that produced the washer, or would you look for more impartial information? Much like in Mandi's story, with my first I took a hospital-run childbirth prep class. It had valid information, but it mostly covered the possible medical interventions I could expect with a little on breathing during labor. Which did nothing to prepare me for actually handling labor. So why do most of us study up on buying major appliances, but just do what we're told when it comes to a major event in our lives like having a baby?

So, without further ado, here is Mandi's well written post (by the way, if you're pregnant in the Inland Empire Area of California, you should definitely look her up). Which, besides being a shining example of why we should be informed about our choices during childbirth (and the actual evidence and statistics behind these choices), is also a great example of someone taking a negative event in their life and turning it into something hugely positive- as she says, had this not happened to her, she wouldn't have become the childbirth advocate that she has become and she wouldn't be available to all the moms she has already, in her short career as a doula and a Bradley instructor, helped to have the natural childbirth they envisioned, as well as all those she will help in the future. She could have accepted the status-quo- she could have accepted that since she had a C-section with her first, she would have to have scheduled C sections with all of her future children. I'm thankful for the fact that she didn't.

1 comment:

Mandi (Peachy Keen Birth Services) said...

Brandi, you are awesome! Consumerism is such a huge issue with me. We are consumers when we are deciding where and how we would like to plan to give birth. We (women in general) need to begin voting with our dollars and making wise choices.

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