Thursday, October 14, 2010

Natural vs Robots.

I have reached 33 weeks! I haven't taken any new photos this week, but this photo is from last week. I have been busy with other things like making soups and freezing them to prepare for when time will be scarce with a new baby. I have been busy crocheting and visiting with family and friends. Just making a life here in a new big city. So far I am loving it. People are so kind in Toronto. This city is so well run. The transportation system is the next best thing to a teleporter! And most of all, I was able to get a midwife no problem. So, we are prepared/preparing for the big day which could come in as little as 4 weeks. I am "full-term" on November 8th, so anytime after that! Yikes.
I have pretty much finished that book 'Birthing From Within' and I think it was the most helpful out of all the books I have read. It made me feel so much better about a lot of things. Giving birth to a baby is something women have been doing since the beginning of time...but this is MY first time and it's kinda scary. This book helped me realize what I was so afraid of and it turns out, I was just afraid of the whole western birthing experience. Going to a hospital, being poked and prodded by random doctors or nurses, hoping there is a private room and if not, sharing your personal space at such a vulnerable time with complete strangers. Not having nearly as many choices, such as eating and drinking during labour, not having the option of birthing in a pool/tub, when to cut the chord, not forcing the placenta out, being pressured for drugs and possible interference with tools or even a C-Section so the doctor can get home in time for dinner. You become so limited. I know doctors are useful when it comes to birthing high risk babies, but if there is no risk, then why chance the hospital where most babies are born doped up on drugs. I suppose if that's where you feel most comfortable, then the hospital is a great choice for you, but why have an OB/GYN or doctor when you can have a Midwife?! Midwives are obviously HIGHLY educated and know more about normal natural births then a doctor. Some nurses have never even seen a natural birth! YIKES! So, though many people think I am "brave" for having a homebirth, I think women who birth in hospitals are brave. I certainly feel more at home and comfortable and safe in my own home.
I know that Canada and the USA are a little different, but they aren't THAT much different when it comes to birthing techniques. I watched the movie 'The Business of Being Born'. It's a little aggressive like "Sicko", but if you are expecting a baby or know someone that is expecting a baby, this is something that is worth your time!! Watch it on YouTube (if you can find it) or rent it or buy it. But watch it!!! Educating yourself on your rights and options is so worth your time so you can make your birthing experience a magical one instead of a terrifying stressful one. They bring up things like the domino effect of taking drugs for pain and how it can actually complicate your birth WAY more. They talk about unnecessary C-Sections. Did you know that in New York 1 out of 3 births are done by C-Section?! They have these things called "Designer Births" where you book yourself in around your due date (sometimes earlier if you don't wanna get too big to avoid stretch marks), then they induce you, slice you open, remove your baby who obviously wasn't ready to come out yet and then while they have you open on the table, they do a quick tummy tuck and ta-da! You have given birth to your beautiful baby. EFFING SICK!! It's just scary how far removed we are from our natural animalistic instincts. Have we forgotten that we are animals too? There is one doctor from Europe in the documentary who is passionate about natural births and he talks about "love hormones". These hormones are produced and released when pushing your baby out naturally. If you and your baby are drugged up, or if you have a surgical birth, your bodies natural abilities are blocked and confused. That being said, you are more likely to have a much harder time during postpartum with depression, healing and you increase the chance of infections. I understand that SOME people need drugs and interference to save their baby and/or themselves, but with something like 90% of our population taking part in these new birthing techniques, it seems crazy to me! I can't believe that some advice I have been given time and time again is "take the drugs!" What kind of advice is that? They say that "if you can give birth to a baby, then you can do anything"...well, does that apply to women who opt for a pain-free birth, or a "designer birth"? I guess maybe, but I will admit...I am less impressed. If you NEED it, that's one thing, but if you don't, why interfere with something that our bodies have been doing since the beginning of time? There are consequences. I wonder what will happen if we keep going down this path? In time maybe we'll have smaller pelvic bones because we won't be using them to birth anymore, or the complete loss of certain hormones or the ability to naturally go in to labour? Or maybe women will take back control of their own bodies!
I think the bottom line is...educate yourself, find out the pros and cons and have your baby where ever you feel comfortable and stress-free. Just know what you want so you don't get pressured in to something that's not right for you.


Anonymous said...

I cannot comment on the midwife practice, simply because I had both of my daughters in a hospital. And this was because I wasn't made aware I had any options. I did ask my OB/GYN about a water birth, but was told this was not available to me.
With both girls, I went exactly 2 weeks past my due date. My first labour ended up being 37 hours long. I had the epidural. And the demerol. And nitrous oxide. And 2 other types of drugs. While these definitely helped me get through what was undoubtably the hardest and most painful experience of my life, I really don't remember much of the actual birth. Blame it on exhaustion. Blame it on the trauma of the manual placenta removal. Blame it on the drugs. I don't know which one was the cause, but I do know it is such a devastating feeling to not remember the birth of your child.
My second daughter was a whole new experience. After my water broke, and we got to the hospital, I began to immediately ask for an epidural, terrified that this labour would be similar to my first. I was told repeatedly I wasn't far enough along. Within 2 hours, my daughter was born in a natural birth. I remember every single moment. I actually remember holding her in my arms for the first time.
So, based on these two experiences, I can vouch for natural, drug free births. IF at all possible. Because it really isn't possible every time. And this is just from a mother's point of view.

Heather Bays said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I find with talking to many women who have experienced both (usually their first one was in hospital with drugs) say that when they did it naturally it was a totally different experience and way less frightening. It makes me wonder why more and more women opt for the medical birth rather then natural. Maybe it's because in lots of places we don't have options. I am originally from Winnipeg which is the capital of Manitoba and can you believe there are no birthing centres there?! Only hospitals (unless you want to birth at home, but then you need a midwife.) A birthing centre is in the process of going up in St. Vital, but it's not up yet. So as a result, there are fewer midwives available. It's VERY hard to get a midwife in Winnipeg. I can't imagine in other cities across Canada that are smaller or the same size as Winnipeg. Even in a huge city like Toronto, it's hard to get a midwife.
Also, people usually go to their doctor first when they find out they're pregnant, and doctors don't support midwives. There's a weird grudge against them, just like with homeopathic doctors or Naturopathic doctors. When I told my doctor that I was moving to Toronto and asked him to refer me to someone, he recommended I go to a walk in clinic and get referred to a OB/GYN there. So, I said, "well, what if I just get a midwife?" He said he wouldn't recommend that I have just a midwife because they're not real doctors and I should definitely get an OB/GYN too. I was shocked by his response and a little insulted. I know I am not a midwife, but I do know that midwives are completely capable just like medical doctors, if not more so! If these doctors could just agree that all practices are useful depending on what your needs are we would live in a world of options. But, Pharmaceutical companies don't make money if drugs aren't being used. And doctors don't make more money and bonuses if drugs aren't prescribed or C-sections aren't done. And you can get more women in and out if you surgically remove the baby which means more beds available. It's sorta like comparing McDonald's to a fancy dine in restaurant, lol. If I had my choice, I would like to sit in and dine in for a while...McDonalds isn't real.
Anyway, thanks again for reading and for your comment!

Luminary of Day said...

Heather, you know how much I love you, but a lot of the things you are saying are not completely true! Finding a midwife in Winnipeg may be harder than finding one in TO, but in my scenario I got a call back from a midwife before I got a callback from the OB's office.

My mid-wife and OB are extremely supportive of each other and are completely happy to share my care. My pregnancy is not classified as high-risk, but thankfully I get to have both because of my blood disorder, and that is my preference to have the model of care of a midwife, but also the medical background and knowledge of my OB - even my midwife is so relieved a the wealth of knowledge that the doctors share. My OB is so incredibly supportive of midwifery. I know that not all doctors are, but please stop using such generalizations and sweeping statements! In my opinion you are propagating as much negatively as the doctors who shut down the practice of midwifery. There is room for both and we need to be thankful for our options in this country.

And of course you are right that people need to be educated, but let's keep them informed of our individual experiences with as little bias as possible.

Love you, girl.

Heather Bays said...

Andrea, I am so happy for you that you have good support from both practices. I wish that more people could say that. I also don't mean to be hating on doctors and don't really feel like I am. In fact I even say that doctors are very useful in some cases, just not all. I also don't believe that ALL doctors hate on midwives and naturopathic doctors and vice versa, but unfortunately there's a conflict of interest in their practices, which causes negativity. I wrote this post based on books I have read, what I have asked, experiences of family and friends, documentaries I watched, blogs I have read, and forums I have participated in online through my Ipod Touch apps. If I was to base this last post on just my personal experiences as you suggest, then I am afraid it would have been more negative towards doctors considering with the last 5 years of my medical history they haven't been all that helpful. In fact when we first got pregnant they considered me to be high risk because of the meds we were taking in India and the jabs we got before going. So after 3 different doctors spent all of 5 minutes with me, they all gave me the same advice...abortion. Had I listened to them I wouldn't be about to have a baby. When I was sick for 2 years, and saw many specialist and different doctors, it was the ONE naturopathic doctor that spent about an hour with me (which probably totaled the amount of time that ALL the other doctors spent with me, not including the surgery they put me through) and she told me what changes I should make in my diet and lifestyle based on a live blood exam and seriously, 3 days later my problems started to vanish and I haven't been sick since!! To me, that feels like a miracle because the doctors told me I would be on meds that cost $60 a month for the rest of my life! So it's hard to have faith in a practice that makes you feel the way it's made me feel. Does my doctor think the naturopathic doctor helped me? Absolutely not. He laughed at me actually when I told him what she had suggested and how it helped. He said vitamins aren't a cure for things, and I said, then neither are drugs, they are just a band-aid that will later cause a new problem, lol. I love my doctor nonetheless. He has a pretty good sense of humour about it and we have such amazing debates in his office sometimes. He respects me opinions for the most part, and I his. However, when it comes to my health, only I can decide what I think it good for me. I do think it's important when it comes to your health and especially the well being of your unborn child, that you get opinions from both sides, just as you are doing. You can then make more of an educated decision based on those opinions and your opinion. At the end of the day, we have to trust our own bodies and listen to them which I believe is something that's happening less. I can understand why doctors takes such drastic measures. People sue doctors if they don't fix their problems or if they were misdiagnosed so doctors sometimes go to the extreme so they can say they have tried everything.
You are right, we are very lucky to live in a country with options, but after asking a bunch of questions to my midwife about these options, I feel that the options still aren't that great. In Canada there are far more midwives then in the states. I believe in the states midwives birth only 2% of babies which is why the rate of c-sections and interference during birth is so great! In Toronto 5-6 out of 10 people wanting a midwife, get one, and it's less in Winnipeg. Though I hope that this birthing centre that's opening up will bring more midwives so when we have our next baby the options will be available to us!
(I have to post my comment in 2 parts because it's too long, lol)

Heather Bays said...

I was obviously very lucky to have gotten a midwife here, but they even told me that had I not wanted a home birth I wouldn't have had a midwife. You are very lucky to get a midwife too. I know people who wanted one and didn't get one. My sister was one of those people. She had the baby in the hospital which I was lucky enough to be there for the whole experience, and it was horrifying. It was everything she didn't want. Very similar to the story of the lady above. After witnessing that I wondered why so many people have babies, what a scary thing to go through. I also understand that some people need the help of surgical doctors during birth and thank god it's there for us. As you may know, Julian's sister was working in the NICU at St.B and even she said that based on what she's seen and experienced there, that she would never have a baby in a hospital. It isn't uncommon for doctors to want to get home in time for dinner. And when you are as vulnerable as you are while birthing a baby, it's easy to persuade you to get that baby out faster and for some reason they can't use natural things in hospitals. They inject you with medicine to help you dilate faster (which generally causes a domino effect of different interferences) instead of using say black current oil and placing it on the cervix which is a natural remedy to help ripen the cervix to get things moving. Really, when you get the right people on your side telling you "you can do it", instead of saying "want some pain relief" every time you want to give up (which there is moments like that in every birth I'm sure) then I think you would see more women having babies naturally. And that's all I am trying to say in the post. I really feel strongly about doing things naturally, so it will obviously come out in my writing. However, I am fully aware that people will completely disagree with me as well. And that's fine. Each to their own. I just wish that both practices could work together more often. If they did, people wouldn't have to feel like they can't trust any one type of doctors opinion because their opinions should be based on the well being of the patient. Unfortunately I think my wish is more of a utopia, lol. And that's probably because of pharmaceutical companies...which is a whole other can of worms! Anyway, I don't disagree with you in the least, I just feel that what you have personally experienced isn't what many people experience and I wanted to write my post based on things I have learned mixed with my experience. If I sound like I hate doctors, I don't mean to, I just hate a lot of the western practices that our doctors have to live by. But I can sympathize with doctors too. It's tough out there with so many people relying on you. Doctors are over worked and have too many patients. Why not let midwives take some of these clients off their hands?
I hope you are feeling well as you approach your 3rd trimester and hope things keep running smoothly for you. Sounds like they will.
If Julian wants to stay here and do his PhD then I am considering going in to midwifery. I would probably want to move back to Winnipeg afterward too. Of course I would focus on natural childbirth because I would love to see more women feel confident in themselves to do this on their own because I know they can! It's all about learning your options and figuring out the pros and cons. Education!!!

Well, I hope I worded that all okay and it makes sense, lol. Sometimes I get disorganized in my writing. I certainly don't think we completely disagree. Maybe I just came off a bit aggressive, lol.


Luminary of Day said...

Hi Heather, :)
Yes, you worded this fine and I totally get what you're saying and I appreciate your enthusiasm in all of your causes - environmental, medical and everything in between. I feel that our views have always been (and continue to be) very much aligned.

The reason I decided to comment was more that I felt your aggression on the topic could be misinterpreted and I just feel that when you are using a public forum, such as this, you have to be extra careful. I know you well so I know where you are coming from, but after you this posted this I had two separate people who read it separately ask me what you meant and so I felt that you would want a heads up. People take opinions on blogs as fact, always keep that in mind. That's all I was trying to remind you of.

I miss you a whole lot and think about you everyday. I hope that you are feeling better than good. I am feeling great - happy to be back home after being in Montreal without Scott for the last week. He painted our baby room and it is all beginning to come together. I'll post pics soon!!

I'll e-mail you soon.

PS - You would make a fantastic midwife! What a great idea!!