Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yes, you did miss something

The following was posted in the Birth Professionals section of MDC:
... We've had so many clients in the last 6 months with all kinds of complications. Postpartum hemorrhage, late post partum hemorrhage due to retained placenta .., transfer/c-section of a mom who's baby just wouldn't come down, broken clavicles, all kinds of things.

All of these moms who put so much time and effort into taking care of themselves and taking responsibility for their pregnancy and not seeing any benefit!

And then all the women I know who are going in for the inductions at 38 weeks or having their planned c/s are birthing without any complications or hardship. It just feels maddening some times!

It's like the twighlight zone. Sometimes I think, "Did I miss something?"...
Yes, you did miss something; something in addition to basic knowledge about the inherent dangers of childbirth. You missed the fact that pretending has no effect on birth outcomes. You missed the fact that "taking responsibility" makes no difference in complication rates. You missed the fact (or more likely were fed misinformation) that obstetric interventions like induction IMPROVE outcomes.

A doula muses on these same issues:
... More of my births have ended up "unnatural" than natural even though that is what Mom wanted. And not because she "gave in" to pitocin or pain relievers but because bad things happened, a few c-sections (breech) and one because a baby wouldn't descend because his head was sideways in the birth canal (40 hours of labor). Inductions because of broken waters or low amniotic fluid. Vacuum extractions for very low heart tones and muconium. C-sections for abnormal heart tones. PPH and transfer to hospital from home. I could go on and I've only been to about 15 births or so!

I am not so conflicted about what I did wrong. I do good and bad at every birth and learn from each experience. But I am a bit conflicted about the completely natural nature of birth. Don't get me wrong it IS natural. But naturally so it seems many more mothers and babies would not be here today if we didn't have wonderful home and hospital birth attendants...
These women are learning through experience what anyone with basic knowledge of childbirth already understands. First, childbirth has an inherently high complication rate. Second, pretending that everything will be fine has absolutely no impact on what happens. Third, nutrition and "taking responsibility" have no effect on complications rates. Fourth, homebirth advocates grossly overestimate the "risks" of obstetric interventions.

In other words, homebirth advocacy rests on a foundation of lies, lies about complications rates, lies about wishful thinking, and lies about the "risks" of modern obstetrics. Even a small amount of experience caring for pregnant women reveals the contradiction at the heart of homebirth advocacy: the claim pretending can keep reality at bay.

Some people don't get it even after it has been made excruciatingly clear. Consider this reply to the thread:
Watch some nice homebirth videos for some balance!
That's a classic homebirth advocacy response. Pretending not working? Watch a homebirth fairytale to inspire you to keep pretending.

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