Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Activism

I was so excited to learn that the CPM's where I live do VBAC's. They don't just do VBAC's.
Thirty percent of all births in Florida done by CPM's were VBAC's.
And I just put all of them at risk by posting that. I was asked not to publicize or publish it because almost all of them are under review or investigation, either across the board or surreptiously. The climate of fear is palpable and protocols control birth at every level, even if you aren't an OB because the OB's set the standard for protocols with their trade union, ACOG. If you are a homebirth midwife, you will be hunted.

What is truly evil, however, is that other midwives, childbirth educators and moms will hunt you as well. If you do VBAC's, you "put the others at risk." At risk for what? For losing their licenses, for being investigated, for being lied about, for losing the right to attend "normal" women. In other words, they are forced to choose who to support and VBAC mothers are not who they choose, even when they still attend them. VBAC mothers are expected to step back for the "good of the many" and to walk a line of obeisance to all other women and care providers. When an OB states HIS policies, we are supposed to be grateful he even takes VBAC patients. When they state (without evidence) that we should be continually monitored, have epidural catheters placed, or birth in the OR "in case" we should be GRATEFUL. We should be quiet. We should thank our lucky stars that a surgeon is willing to waste his time to come watch by our bedside. Hell, some OB's charge $1000 up front, no insurance, for this priviledge. We aren't allowed in water to help ease the pains of labor and we should be grateful for them taking away this coping mechanism. And others will back them up, too. If we complain too loudly, they might stop doing VBAC's all together! Well, I disagree.

The right to choose a VBAC should have women lined up outside of hospitals protesting. Demanding. The media should be writing about the non-evidence based care and assault on these women, the stealing of their civil rights. Midwives, childbirth educators, doulas, mothers, and OB's should all be agreeing on this. And if they don't, it's simply fear at being caught out of the pack and being taken down. The fact that they are allowing women to BE isolated out of the pack and hunted says so much all ready.

Shut up? Sit down? I don't think so. I'm still writing letters and making calls. I may not change things, but I am tired of women being forced to give birth at home without any trained care or agreeing to care that is cruel and uncalled for in the name of appeasing those with the power or those who shudder in fear.

1 comment:

heather bruemmer (MizD@juno.com) said...

I wish I knew of an avenue to be an advocate for VBAC, and make the public aware of what, to me at least, is legally and medically sanctioned assault. My first child was born via c-section due to a series of medical blunders which ultimately made an emergency surgery necessary. I went into respiratory arrest on the operating table, aquired pneumonia as a result of my anesthesia, required two units of blood, two weeks hospitalization in the ICU, (which denied me the opportunity to see my son or nurse him)and a home nurse, a central line, and IV antibiotics for my first MONTH at home. It should be stated that I was a healthy twenty three year old at the time of my surgery. I later went on to have three uncomplicated vaginal deliveries.

I am now pregnant with my fifth child. No one wants to let me have a (fourth!) VBAC. I am friendly with some nurses here, and their attitudes range from a sort of smirking, eye rolling, "My friend is a little eccentric" to one woman who is no longer speaking to me because " I can't be friends with someone who is hell bent on exposing an innocent unborn child to mortal danger for the sake of convienence."

Two of the doctors I have consulted with have similar attitudes. One doctor told me "Instead of focusing on what went wrong with your c-section, you should just be grateful you have a healthy child." Another told me that I "obviously do not understand the terrible risks associated with VBAC's." Both assured me that If I came to the hospital even in an advanced stage of labor, my labor would be stopped or slowed as much as possible and surgery performed. One also hinted that if I protested, or refused surgery, or even if I chose to labor at home unattended to avoid the knife, he considered it grounds to be charged with child endangerment.
Every medical person I have talked with waves away the fact that I VERY NEARLY DIED during my last c-section and patiently explains to me as if I were in some way mentally challenged that an elective c-section "poses little if any real risk to mother or child." That is their dogma, the new religion that allows them to convert the natural process of birth to big business without any regard for fact, ethics, or human rights.

Now I am making arrangements to give birth at a hospital forty five minutes away in another state. I am a self pay patient and I estimate that this will cost us at least an extra five thousand dollars. Even so I will have to submit to continuous fetal monitoring, IV's, an epidural, and laboring completely in bed. If my past experience is any guide I may also have a hostile medical staff to deal with. While many thousands of women will cite "choice" as an important criteria in the upcoming presidential election why do so many feel comfortable with the fact that for so many of us there is still no choice at all?