Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Please forgive me if my posts are not very happy for a bit. I am angry, and I want to let this anger go before I see my neighbor. I need to be supportive for her. It is her grief, not mine, and I do not want to make her feel worse by not controlling my own emotions. She needs love and support, not a stark raving lunatic pregnant woman who is pissed off because she views this tragedy as something that might have been prevented if the doctor had been a little less concerned about keeping his c-section rate down.

But I am angry. Very very Angry. I feel like they killed her baby, even though baby Matthew is still fighting for his life in NICU right now. My neighbor had no problem with delivering via c-section. All that she wanted was a healthy baby, and she didn't care how she delivered it. She knew that her diabetes made this baby a miracle for her, and she accepted the fact that it may be her only child. She didn't want to take any chances. She was in one of the best hospitals in the area, and not just our immediate area but in the entire state. Top notch care. Top notch care that kept a diabetic woman flat on her back in labor, hooked up to IVs and monitors, without real food and only ice chips to drink. But hey, she might have had the chance for a "normal delivery". Because a normal delivery always includes cervidil, pitocin, IVs, and being totally stuck in bed with a catheter. Yeah. I'm pissed that they treated her this way only to have her baby most likely die.

I have to make a disclaimer here. I am not anti-"normal" delivery. Although I am admittedly not it's biggest fan, I know plenty of women who had happy and healthy normal deliveries. But I am totally against what birth has become in a hospital setting. I have a friend who is a delivery room nurse. She said that pitocin is the most frequently used drug in the labor room, even during low risk deliveries. She said "Watch 'The Business of Being Born'. It really is accurate." She is not an advocate of home births, but more of birthing centers within a hospital setting with lots of midwives present. She is a big advocate of natural birth and not sticking a healthy laboring mother in bed with a pit bag. She is also a big advocate of not inducing a high risk mother. She has seen her fair share of "quiet births", and according to her most of the babies who died during the actual labor or delivery were attempts at inducing high risk mothers to deliver vaginally when their bodies weren't ready and couldn't take it. Her personal opinion is that scheduled c-sections should be used in high-risk cases, and natural delivery methods should be attempted with healthy mothers and babies. She also said that you never forget the screams of a mother who lost her baby unexpectedly during delivery.

My other disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I'm not giving any medical advice here, so please don't take it as such! I am just a pregnant mom with a friend who is losing a baby in a way that just seems so senseless and preventable to me.

I'm glad that women are pushing back on the medical establishment. We do need to take back our births. But we have to be careful not to go too far. Women and babies used to die during childbirth. Alot. I am thankful that we have technology to help prevent this. We need to be careful, though, to make sure that doctors don't use us as lab rats to prove that they try to keep their c-section rates low. C-sections do save lives. Were the c-section rates out of control for low risk mothers in years past? Absolutely! Do I think that lots of c-sections were caused by the way that hospitals confine and manipulate labor? You bet! But I also think that it is high time that the practice of induction in high risk mothers is re-evaluated. We have to STOP and think about what we put these women and babies through in order to achieve "natural" or normal vaginal births. I've been there, and I can tell you that it's not pretty. And I don't think that it is worth the risk of harm or death for the mother and baby.

These are just my thoughts. I am sure that many people will feel differently. I am going to leave my comments open, but please be nice and remember that I am not anti-vaginal birth, anti-home birth, or anti-hospital birth. There is a BALANCE out there, somewhere, where high risk mothers can get the attention that they need and where low risk mothers can avoid the meddling that often occurs in hospital settings today. I just long to find that balance. I think that it will save lives and give us our births back.


sara said...

Still praying.

What you say about inductions in high risk mothers makes sense to me. Inductions in healthy women with low-risk pregnancies, is often a part of the "cascade of interventions" which leads to (unnecessary) c-section. So.... maybe inductions are generally a bad idea??? I don't know. A lot of what ifs and it's so hard to know... I don't even know if you want to hear this stuff. Certainly get it out of your system before you speak to your friend.

Sending love your way.

KitKat said...

Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. I'm defiitely trying to get it out before I see my friend because she's already in enough pain.

I guess that I could sum up my position by saying that I believe that inductions, especially in high risk mothers, seem to be more of a curse than a blessing. My friend who is a nurse calls pitocin "the devils brew". It has its practical applications but it is highly overused, especially for inductions. And I just can't shake the question: if a baby needs to come out THAT badly for the sake of it's health or the mother's, why oh why do we put women through the ordeal of inductions when the mother is already high risk?? I just can't wrap my mind around that concept. Inductions are often so much longer than natural labor. I would have been out of the hospital SOONER with a scheduled c-section than I was with my induction. Ditto for my neighbor. My blood pressure was so high that I could only lay still on my left side. I can't even talk about what they put my poor neighbor through to get her stared and during her 18 hours labor. How is the trauma of induced labor good for the mother or baby in those cases? Labor is hard enough when it is natural, let alone when you have to have all of these interventions to even get it started in the first place. I was exhausted before I even began true labor. It's just crazy, and I don't understand why we just take it as the "best option".

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Thanks again for the prayers and kind words.

Anonymous said...

I will just say that I agree completely with the concept of scheduled c-sections.

There is most certainly an issue with unnecessary c-sections. But, my opinion has always been that a live, healthy baby and mother are the ultimate, most important outcomes of birth. Having a c-section does not mean one did not give birth. Anyway, that's a whole different can of worms, but in a way related because doctors are now feeling the pressure from so many people and groups about unnecessary c-sections and women having birth plans and wanting to take over their own birth experience and everything else that they are kind of in a no win situation.

I think it would probably solve a lot of problems if, instead of bowing to pressure from any individual or group, a doctor and pregnant mother to be discuss openly their goals, desires and ideal outcomes. Then, they make decisions together, without regard to insurance companies, mothering organizations, religious organizations or groups of people with a hundred different opinions of right and wrong. No fighting each other based on a principle, no doctors acting out of fear of law suits or increasing numbers or whatever. One situation at a time. And, when the mother is high risk, it is up to her how to handle it, not the doctor...and I don't mean to imply your friend did not take responsibility. I'm just saying that ideally, I think the doctor needs to take responsibility for his or her actions, and so does the mother. We all make choices in life, and lately, doctors have been paying prices for many choices we have made because first they were blamed for all the ills, then they were ignored and raised rates to cover malpractice suits that were filed left and right as they overprotected themselves, and now it's going full circle back to blaming them.

You know what I mean? I don't mean to excuse the doctor in your friend's case, since I was not there and have no idea what the reality of the situation is.

I really just mean to say that doctors, especially those who deliver babies, are under a lot of pressure from a lot of different sources. And, in reality, just like with the problems in most medical care situations in the US, a doctor should only answer to his/her patient, and the patient should only answer to her doctor. All the legal and bureaucratic crap in between is what has made a scary situation even worse.

I see why you're angry. I feel for you, and for your neighbor and her son.

KitKat said...

Thank you, perplexity, for saying all of the things that my ranting brain can't seem to put into coherent sentences right now.

Kelly said...

I think that doctors tend to think of induction as free of side effects, even though it is still strong medication. Induction puts more stress on the mother, and on the baby.

It is also least likely to work when you need it most. Meaning, induction is most successful when your body is on the verge of going into labor anyway, not at 35 weeks, when a woman has just been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.

It is my understand that while an epidural will lower blood pressure induction raises it, because it makes the contractions more stressful.

On the other hand, with the c-section rate at 33%, I would guess that your friend found a rare doctor who wouldn't schedule a c-section rather than induce. You know they say, "The only c-section you get sued for is the one you didn't do."

Tracy said...

I know what your saying, with my pregnancy with Alex things started going bad from 7 months on with horrible high blood pressure, they induced me on my due date only to have me suffer "two" days of the worst labor I have ever gone through and then on the third morning I begged them to do a c section and I kept saying "something is not right" but they were so anti c section and all I wanted was a healthy baby.. finally they did the c section when Alex's heart rate plummeted and they found out that I was within minutes of having a stroke and that Alex's head was too big to fit and never ever would have fit.. as I said.. I could feel him going down and coming back up (no joke) and I just kept saying "my other ones were not like this, something is not ok" and the doctor came and apologized after and I'm sorry, I would not say that I was ok with it and I simply turned my face and cried and I never went back to him again, I switched docs right away.
So.. I know exactly what your saying and you either have your doctor that is so anti c section or you have the ones that are so for it because they are going on vacation etc. all these doctors need to be reeducated or something:(