Saturday, August 30, 2008

High Risk

Hi. I'm high risk. If I walked into an OB's office today to get prenatal care, I would be pushed to the high risk category faster than I could say "homebirth." Why? Well, let me count the ways.


At age 44, I am definitely an elderly candidate for motherhood. Somehow when I hit the magical age of 35 I transformed from a healthy young woman to an elderly mother who needs constant surveillance and testing.


I have eight children. That makes me not only a multip, but a GRAND multip. Everyone knows that our uteruses can only handle a couple of kids, so when you get one as experienced as mine is, it is time to pull out all the stops, because when that baby comes out, my uterus will be so old and tired that it won't clamp down and I'll bleed to death.


Once upon a time, way back in the early 1990s, I had a cesarean. Never mind about those seven vaginal births I've had since then.... I've just been lucky.

Large Babies

OMG! I have a history of large babies! Let's see... out of 8 children, half have been over 9 lbs! In fact, the largest was 10 lbs 11 oz! Well, that should have been a cesarean... if I'd come into the hospital like a good little patient, I'm sure they would have taken better care of me and sliced me open right then and there. I must have had Gestational Diabetes to grow such large babies...


I don't see what my age has to do with anything. If I'm young enough to still conceive, then I'm young enough to grow and birth my babies. I'm healthy and I take care of myself. As for being a grand multip... I'm darn proud of my kids! They are responsible, courteous and bright individuals. I know the symptoms to watch out for regarding hemorrhage and I know how to stop the bleeding. As for VBAC... shouldn't seven vaginal births prove my uterus can not only handle pregnancy and birth, but it is darn good at it! And as for large babies... none have had any problems associated with gestational diabetes or anything else due to their size. Oh, and I did get tested for GD in most of my pregnancies... nada. Zip. No sign of GD. So there.

Pregnant women should be treated as individuals, not lumped into categories for the simplistic reasons of age, parity, baby size and uterine surgery. Every one of us is different. While one person may need extra precautions, the next person of the same age doesn't necessarily need the same precautions.

Likewise, hospital births are not the perfect solution for all of us. We survived as a species this long... but since there are so many reasons to classify us as high risk, how much longer will we last?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Standing Up for Our Rights

I'm a bit late in responding to the whole AMA and ACOG uproar... but I'm going to put in my two cents anyway. They insist the safest place to birth is in the hospital, yet 1/3 of all women birthing there end up with a cesarean, which increases the risk for complications and death. Another 1/3 end up with an episiotomy, a surgical procedure that has been proven to be unnecessary.

I have heard horror stories of how women are treated in the hospital while giving birth. They suffer at the hands of people who just don't care about them, their babies or the process of birth. How can that possibly be the safest place to be????

The AMA and ACOG are willing to create model legislation to make it illegal to birth anywhere else. Excuse me? They want to make it illegal to birth anywhere but in the aforementioned torture chamber?

Now I know that not every nurse and obstetrician contributes to scenes like I have learned about. Some are truly caring, wonderful people who try to do what is best for mothers and babies. But it sure seems that they are few and far between.

I certainly could not walk willingly into a hospital to give birth knowing that I'd have to fight for every little bit of freedom I may need to birth optimally. My first was a cesarean. One that probably could have been avoided if my CNM and the staff nurses had been willing to work with an inexperienced mother-to-be instead of pushing pain medications. But then, I may not be on the path I am today.

Women... stand up for your right to birth without intervention! While it isn't outlined specifically, it should fall under pursuit of happiness if nothing else.

Midwives... band together. Sue the AMA like the chiropractors did in the late 1970s for preventing them from practicing their trade.

We can do this. The AMA and ACOG are worried about midwifery and home births because more women are finding out they don't need to be treated like idiots and sliced open unnecessarily.

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