When I was about four years old my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I took awhile to think about it, to ponder inside my child’s brain until I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a “baby doctor”. When I was twelve my sister had her first child, my beautiful niece and I was there through the entire labor. When my sister had a contraction I was the one there front and center for her to lean on, to encourage her and to focus on. I was twelve years old and my family and the nurses stood back and watched this interaction I was having with a woman in labor, something far beyond my years of comprehension in awe at the ease and comfort I possessed helping to guide her. For the nurses I had many questions, curious about every piece of equipment and every check that was going on. Her delivery ended in a C-section, but if it hadn’t I would have been there to her right or left, holding her leg back watching my niece be born into this world. For years after that I forgot about my desire to be in the nursing field. Through high school whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be I had absolutely no clue so I would pull random things out of my ass to satisfy their questions so I didn’t have to deal with the concern of adults three times my age appalled that a 15, 16, 17 year old would have no idea what she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to.
After highschool I took to reading blogs. I would spend hours on the computer stumbling upon random blogs, and the ones that always interested me the most were supposed “mommy blogs”. I would read for hours, the experiences of women from all over the world from the most medically invasive births to the most hands off births with fascination for the whole process, conception to delivery. When I first started researching my opinions on birthing was like most others in America. Birthing should be done in a hospital, with doctors and nurses who were well “qualified” and “trained” to “deliver your baby”. I had only my nieces labor and birth as first hand experience, and movies as a guide to go off of. You know, the quintessential scene of a woman in the hospital bed with her legs in stirrups, her husband at her side along with what seemed like 25 doctors and nurses at her feet and a blinding spot light aimed directly at her launching pad. Everyone yelling at her in unison to PUSH… 1,2,3…..10 PUSH, the woman laying on her back, sweat pouring from her forehead screaming “get this thing out of me!”, slapping her husband telling him never to touch her again. Until finally the babies head would crown and immediately the “trained and well qualified professional” would grab the baby by its head, guide its shoulders out and roughly fling the infant into the air declaring “its a boy!”. And immediately the “crew” would go to work, roughly cleaning the baby, cutting and clamping and poking and prodding this brand new baby while its mother lays on the table eagerly awaiting these “professionals” to bring her baby to her, all wrapped snug in a receiving blanket, to meet its mother, the 25th person its laid its eyes on so far in its few minutes of life.
And those are the lucky woman who are allowed to birth their babies naturally instead of being forced or falsely informed of the need for a C-section. In which case we all know how mother and baby meet. Mother laying on the operating table, arms strapped down, unable to move anything but her neck looking over at the child who is put by her face for mere seconds before it is swept away to be “cleaned” and “examined” while she lays there waiting to be stitched up and put back in her room where if shes lucky her baby will be waiting to formally meet her. This was my opinion and most others on what was “right” and “healthy” and “safe” to do for the delivery of your child. But it was after reading blogs of women’s experiences, and statistics and credible medical websites that I realized that woman, American women specifically have been to misguided, lied to and duped into believing these medical interventions are what are necessary and important to deliver a healthy child. There are so many different points to touch on and I could write for 10 years on all of the things wrong with the birthing industry in America but for now I’ll just touch on a few points.
-One sentence that sums the whole thing up really, “Who is going to deliver your baby?” Well who do you think is going to deliver your baby? YOU, are going to deliver your baby! The baby that you have incubated for 9 months, the baby that will come out of your body, the body with the natural instinct to birth. It is YOU that bring that child into the world and no one else. In a normal birth, with a healthy woman and child all interventions other then non invasive monitoring devices are really unnecessary! That IV in your arm? Giving you “fluids”? Fluids for what? You are giving birth, not lying on the hospital bed dying! You are perfectly capable of drinking water to keep yourself hydrated, the only thing that that IV is doing in your arm is wracking up the number of codes being billed to your insurance company to make your stay more profitable for that hospital, and in turn, that doctor.
-Woman are forced to lay supine in a hospital bed, partially wrapped in a hospital gown, attached to 100 different monitoring devices virtually unable to move while they breath through contraction after contraction. Any woman who has given birth (I, have not therefore I cannot give my own personal opinion) will tell you that laying on their back is not only the most uncomfortable position to labor in, but also the worst position as far as basic anatomy goes for moving along your labor and eventually moving out your baby. A woman in labor should be free to move around, walk, sit, rock, lay or whatever other position is most comfortable to their body. Not only does this make laboring more bearable, it also decreases the need for pain medication and other medical intervention. Walking holds an important purpose during labor, it allows your body to gently guide the baby downwards into your birth canal using gravity. Likewise, pushing on your back is a horrible idea! Gravity is working against you, there is pressure on all of the most sensitive parts of your body such as your spine, hips and perineum. A woman should be encouraged to push in whatever position feels most comfortable for her! Which leads me to my next point of…
-Cervical checks and being told “when its time to push” is a joke! Being counted at and told when to push is a even more of a joke! I don’t disagree with cervical checks, I think it is a good tool and guide for a woman to be able to know how far along she is, and how farther there is to go. It gives a woman a goal to focus on and a timeline to go by but being told you are 10 centimeters and that “its time” is detrimental to a woman’s body! When should a woman start pushing? When her body tells her its time! Your body was created to make, and deliver babies and no one has control of this put you! When you are fully dilated and the time has come your body will feel the urge to push, such a strong urge that you wont be able to deny it! But often times a woman is told to deny this natural urge in order to make time for a doctor to show up and sit between her legs. Being told when to push and how long to push leads to horrific tearing, and denying your body its on natural order in order to satisfy those chanting a number around you. Your body should be allowed to guide you when its appropriate to push, allowing your body to stretch naturally, going slowly and preventing tearing as much as possible instead of being forced to push too quickly and birthing faster then your body is prepared for. Often pushing in this manner leads to incontinence, unnecessary episiotomies, severe tearing and even prolapse.
-Once the baby has been born the baby should be placed directly on the mothers chest instead of being whisked away to be cleaned, and wrapped and weighed. Separating a child from its mother in the seconds after birth is horribly detrimental to both mother and chiles physical and mental well being. A child needs immediate skin on skin contact with its mother to establish that immediate bond, offer security, and given comfort from the stressful birth. Everything that needs to be done to a baby after birth can wait, it is that mothers baby and no one else has the right to whisk that baby from her grasp before she has had a chance to be the first to meet them.
Birthing should be the most amazing and touching experience that a woman ever has in her life. Her birthing experience should not be tainted, and planned, and instructed by a group of people who have no clue as to her and her individual needs. A baby should be born into this world in a calming, stress free, loving enviroment NOT in a harsh, rough, sterile room being passed around, pushed around and confused.
This is of course, all just my personal opinion and based on the scenario of a healthy child and mother with no foreseen medical complications. I have no medical training, and no education other then my own personal research but I have established my strong opinions based on what I have read, and personal experience with friends and family. I believe if every woman was educated on the birthing industry in America as opposed to say, Europe or hell, even Canada they would be shocked at the facts and would chose a different experience for themselves and their baby. I will write more on the topic, im sure as this is something that I am incredibly passionate about.