Friday, December 18, 2009

Mom fights, gets the delivery she wants

Wow-this is a great article. Read it here. I saw this family in an article a couple of months ago when all this first became an issue. So, here it is-they did it and the mother was able to have a vaginal birth. I have to say though that it's scary to see this happening. Why should a woman have to do this in order to give birth the way she wants?

Also, I have to comment on the quote by Dr. Flamm, about halfway down-he says, (speaking about the decision to do a C-section), "It's a tough situation," says Dr. Bruce Flamm, a spokesman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Mom is tired. Dad is tired and nervous, and most people haven't spent their lives reading obstetrical textbooks and don't know all the details involved."

Here is a perfect example of the problem with allowing hospitals and doctors to make decisions for women with healthy pregnancies. They think it's all about what's written in obstetrical textbooks! Although reading and educating oneself about birth is always recommended, you're definitely not going to find all the answers in a textbook.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Big Savings?

I found this quote the other day on "Midwifery News":

"$13 to $20 billion a year could be saved in health care costs by demedicalizing childbirth, developing midwifery, and encouraging breastfeeding."
— Frank Oski, MD

It got me thinking about what is going on with the health care reform. Will women have an easier time chosing the birth they want if we have national health care or will it become more difficult? They could save a lot of money but, as it is now, medicare won't cover homebirths. What do you think?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful; it's that women are strong."

Laura Stavoe Harm

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Difference Between Right and Wrong

During the course of this blog, I've noticed a recurring issue that we haven't addressed directly yet-what's right and what's wrong in childbirth?...

We definitely have opinions about that here (if you haven't noticed :)) but we should make it VERY CLEAR that what we find WRONG with childbirth has nothing to do with the individual decisions a woman makes, and EVERYTHING to do with the imposing medical world that dominates childbirth in this country and the social and cultural environment we are born into that teaches us from a young age to trust it without question.

Please allow me to diverge a little and tell you about a billboard I just saw-which I will really try to get a picture of soon-on the side of the freeway in Emeryville, CA (just after Ikea if you're on I-80 eastbound). It features a picture of a happy, carefree woman, dressed in a flowing blouse, half-reclined in the grass so that her pregnant belly is obvious, and smiling at her little toddler on her lap. It reads, "Kaiser Permanente...DELIVERS". Delivers what? Ignorance? Deception? Pressure? An incomplete birthing experience? Anyway, I thought MOTHERS delivered babies. This is the hold they have on the our society (I'll use the example of my own birthing experience at Kaiser in the next posting-and no, it's wasn't horrible nor am I bitter, it's just simply wrong). There is so much damage to undo here that it's hard to know where to start. But one thing is for sure-we have to be bold about it or nothing will change.

Now, we have to use individual situations and experiences as examples of course but, if women make "wrong" decisions during pregnancy and childbirth, it is the result of social conditioning. The main purpose of this blog is to help women realize this and to want to get out from under that shadow. That's the only way it can happen-little by little it will catch on as women help to enlighten each another but also so no one feels like they or their former births were "wrong" in any way because that's not the point. I know this is possible because I have seen it happen already in my small circle of acquaintance and it's wonderful! We are all victims of this deception in some way (even many doctors and health professionals themselves because it has been in place for generations) so we can't blame ourselves for what we didn't know-only for what we don't do to change it for the future.

We need to come full circle, where, instead of women giving birth, making choices, and taking classes within this false belief system that meshes medicine with childbirth, there are women doing all of those same things but in the light of the truth. They are raised and educated from a young age in a society that has completely exposed and eliminated the oppressive medical dominance over chidlbirth but not the accessibility of it for those who choose to utilize it. It's a society where the real truth of childbirth is understood by everyone and the joy is experienced by everyone and it is all naturally woven into the fabric of our culture.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

March of Dimes

One of the points that my sister and I try to make on this blog is that while we believe that natural childbirth is best way to go if at all possible, it is an extremely personal choice. What we strive for is to help women choose what kind of birth they want so there are no regrets nor guilt. As long as women know the risks of ALL kinds of births they can make an educated choice for what's right for them. One problem that seems to be out there is that doctors tend to make homebirth look dangerous, natural birth look like a pointless martyrdom, and cesarean like an enlighted convienence. So because the American outlook on childbirth is heavily weighted on the doctor's side we try to balance that with opinions and articles in favor of natural childbirth and homebirth. Doctors tend to not give out all the information about the risks of c-sections and women don't seem to understand what a major surgery it is and it should be used as a last resort. So here is an article from the March of Dimes website that is very unbiased but does a good job of listing the risks of c-sections and the medical reasons that often lead to them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Here's a link to a great article from CNN about how to avoid cesareans. One interesting statistic they have is that 44% of inducements end up being cesareans whereas only 8% of spontaneous labors do. Read it here. It's a good one!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


So, the other night I was out playing Bunco with 7 other friends. We all had kids and 2 of the ladies are expecting again. Always interested in talking about birth, I struck up a conversation with one of the pregnant ladies.

I casually said, "So who is your doctor?" (I know the names of all the doctors up here and their birthing "theories"/practices).

She says her doctor's name and it is the doctor who has the most inane view of birthing, a deep penchant for c-sections, and in my opinion the lowest regard for women. I have plenty of stories about him which I may or may not write about in greater detail later depending on whether or not I need to vent about it. She tells me the same thing about him that I always hear about this man.

"He has a horrible bedside manner but he's the best surgeon up here."

So she puts up with it. Let me explain that up where I live, the (only) hospital does not do VBACs, once you've had a cesarean that's the only way you can give birth again no matter how well you've been doing.

The other pregnant woman is going to have a c-section too because her last was a c-section. As we all started talking about our births I realized that of us 8 women only 2 of us had vaginal births! And ALL of the c-section births began with being induced.

The most difficult thing about it is all these women had seemingly valid reasons to be induced and have a cesarean. Now even if I did know exactly what went on during their pregnancies and births I wouldn't pretend to know if their induction or cesarean was necessary or not. But I can make connections and all these stories all began with too much doctor interference. One woman had high blood pressure, a few were overdue, one had a rash, one had a large baby... it just seems like minor excuses that scare the mothers and get the result the doctor wants whether for the doctors' own convenience or just to eliminate the worry of insurance problems. The point is these women made the decision to have a cesarean during a stressful, pressure filled moment not knowing all their options or all the risks and missed out on a great birth experience. They put their full trust in these doctors and were let down by them but made to feel that their bodies had failed them.

Thomas Jefferson said once (he was referring to elected officials but I think the same holds true for doctors) that we are not obligated to trust those who hold the power. Doctors hold the power in the medical world but we don't have to trust them nor their judgements. They can give us their suggestions but it's up to us to find the truth and what's right for us individually whatever kind of birth that means.

Now, like I said, I can't make judgements on whether a c-section was necessary or not but the last conversation I had with one of the ladies was a woman in her mid 20's and it just made me so sad. It went like this:

me:"Did you say you had a cesarean too?"

her: "Yes, my baby wasn't breathing. While I was pushing, they don't know what happened but she just started to fail so I had an emergency c-section. When they got her out she wasn't breathing so they had to medi-flight her to Oakland. They don't know what happened."

me: "Really?"

her: "Yeah, the pregnancy was perfect, and labor was going just fine. It was just all of a sudden for no reason." she shrugs

me: "Wow, how scary. Were you induced?" (I had to know)

her: "Yeah, and I had an epidural."

me: "Oh."

Now maybe this was one of the cases where a c-section was necessary, who knows. But it is just such a coincidence that this happened, it just has to make one wonder.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Just wanted to write a quick post to tell you that we've added a books list to the sidebar. We will add to this list as we read and hear about other birthing type books. Soon we hope to link these to book reviews explaining what we like about them. But for now it's just there to let you know what's out there if you want to know more. If you have any recommendations for us, let us know what they are.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've just added some links that I found very informative.

Choices in Childbirth website is great to find information on hospital statistics, questions to ask your health care provider, and you can order the Guide to a Healthy Birth which lists certain rights that a mother has with her birth, it's great. However, the organization is based in New York. Great if you live there, not so much if you don't. But it still has other resources for non-New Yorkers.

MANA is the ultimate page if you have question about midwives. It will give you more information about midwifery and childbirth than you even knew existed and find a midwife for you in your area.

Midwifery Today is a website that is geared towards midwives but has such good information for everybody. Great articles, book suggestions, resources, support communities, education information, newsletters, and new and up coming research in the birthing field. Everything to keep you up to date on what's healthy and what's not in childbirth.

Business of Being Born

I just watched the movie The Business of Being Born by Rikki Lake and Abbey Epstein. I have to say that it was an excellent movie. It really makes a strong argument that home birth is safe and a preferable way to give birth. I have heard that the movie glorifies home birth and vilifies hospital birth and doctors too much. Considering how much hospital births have been unjustifiably glorified in this country I cannot see the justification behind this argument. It was so interesting to see how it depicted the way women lost their control over their births and how it is still regulated by different factors other then the women themselves. Even if a person is not considering a home birth or even a natural birth it would still be a good movie just to see how important it is to trust their body and be comfortable in taking control during their births. During my first birth I was too worried about being a "good" patient. I look back now and I wish I had had the courage to just tell everyone what I wanted when I wanted it. It would have made my experience much better. I really recommend this movie to anyone who is pregnant or just doesn't know that much about home birth. It is really eye opening. Anyone else seen it? Tell me what you thought!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pretty Funny!

I saw this online and thought it was so funny. I think it can also have some deeper meanings, too, if we try and think like an artist. So, you can decide what it means to you!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

C-Section craze!!!

I was going to write "my story" about my birth experiences since our blog is still new and we're trying to give some background but I've had something else on my mind and today was THE LAST STRAW! Yet another friend's doctor has given her the option of having a C-section for no particular reason. Perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy-sure, she's never gone overdue before and now she's two days over and the baby isn't fully engaged in the pelvis yet, blah blah blah. So, doesn't this mean that the baby isn't ready to come out yet? If you ask that question you get, "well, maybe, but you don't want the baby to get too big". Oh, so that's the real reason-which, again, is basically a fallacy. Why aren't women thinking this through? Why do we let medical professionals give us advice about our births based on our fears? Since when has it ever done us any good to listen to people who nurture our fears?

The rate of unnecessary C-sections has increased over the last couple of years to an astounding degree and this new "trend" is becoming very popular all over the country. Medical professionals attend conventions where this topic is discussed and have come to a general agreement that it's more than just normal to suggest a C-section to any woman (without going into all that detail about the disadvantages and risks of course)-it's widely preferred! They contend that women are now given another choice in childbirth that previously was restricted to those with actual complications-that we should be in complete control and have all options open to us-sounds great, right? Do I really have to say...beware of things that sound too good to be true?

Over the years, we've let the "induction trend" slowly creep into our culture until now it's considered normal and also very much over-used, ill-timed, and presenting a whole new set of risks to the mother and baby that need to be dealt with. But now we've regressed to just skipping over that and going straight to the C-section! I mean, what is this-1945? When our grandmothers were knocked out, induced, and the baby pulled out with forceps and not meeting its mother until she woke up? Sure, this new way sounds more sophisticated and women are told that they're getting the "best of both worlds" and, most important, the doctor is happy-oops! Did I say that? Ladies, we're all smarter than this and most importantly, WE KNOW BETTER. Just listen to your womanly instincts for a moment and then tell me what you think is right.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I have to say that I can't stand it when a doctor tells a pregnant woman who wants to have natural childbirth that she can do that "as long as everything goes well." That is so patronizing to me! It's like saying "you do whatever you want to do to make yourself feel better, little mother, I'll be over here doing all the important work with the baby because that's all the really matters." How many women who want to do natural childbirth would be so irresponsible to do natural childbirth under any circumstances! Of course we know that if something goes horribly wrong, natural is not an option. To have to say that is just insulting our intelligence. It makes it seem like the doctor is in charge and doing all the work and the mother's presence is inconsequential. All the effort the mother is putting into labor is not important, just the end result of a healthy baby. I know that doctor's are just trying to cover their rear but I believe that is only because they don't have enough faith in the birthing experience. And there is a small number of women out there who are crazy enough to have a natural childbirth under any circumstance but we should not all be talked to like we are in that small percentage. We need to find the healthcare providers out there who will give us the trust and respect we deserve and recognize that the mother is the one in charge!