Monday, April 23, 2012

A guest appearance from my husband.

Hello All.  Marissa here.  We've had a pretty crazy month I'll fill you in on in more posts than you may like soon.  However right now, my dear husband and I were sitting here, recovering from a stomach bug that has taken over our lives for 8 days now, and talking about birth.  The discussion was brought up from an article that popped up in my Facebook feed.  I read the article aloud and we began discussing some different things.  This prompted my husband to type out his thoughts.  After reading what he typed I decided I'd like to blog it and I'd like for you to read it.  I'd also like for you to show your husbands.  Birth is something we've become passionate about and I think it's so cool that Kurt is just as supportive of it as I am.  Here are his thoughts.  With some editing from me.

He begins with two thoughts:
1. A child is never one or the other of the parents "thing"  - It takes 2 to make a baby, HAVE a baby, raise a baby (for the best results) 

2. Sending a woman into today's medical system alone is condemning her to what the medical system wants for her.  This may seem like a good idea, but not if what the mom wants differs from what the nurses and doctors want (ie. Natural Birth with minimal intervention).
The medical system has a low view of pregnant women.  They see them as irrational, "sick", and time-consuming patients.  Rather than serving them as their care "professionals," they manipulate them to bring the mothers into their timeline, philosophy, and business model.  It's not fair to expect a woman to be able to focus on working through a labor AND fight off the nurses trying to push them into the medical system's idea of a birth.

The first idea is one that I'd have to admit most couples now understand.  We hear stories about men that used to wait in the waiting room while their wives gave birth to their children, for the most part that is no longer the case.  However, if the husband is present but not involved is he really there?  When a woman is in the heat of labor she will need the support of the person closest to her.  If he's been uninvolved and is uneducated about what is happening, how much support will he really be for her?  He needs to be there as her advocate in a system that has another agenda. 

Ask yourself these questions:
1.  Why does the nurse care if the mother has a natural birth or gets an epidural?  (Is she thinking of the mother's needs/wants, or trying to mollify the laboring woman and keep her in the bed?)
2.  Why is the C-Section rate on an upward trend in the U.S.? 
       a.  Do we have more issue-prone women?  --No
       b.  Or is it inherent in our system?  ---Yes

Now he continues on with some examples from our story. 

Unfortunately, the hospital format is a business and this does influence some of the policy.  The nurses run the show and we found this out first hand.  We dealt with nurses the entire time we were in the Labor and Delivery.  We saw the Doctor twice, through out the labor.  He checked in for a few minutes and then it was back to doing what the nurses said.  It's not they they know nothing, but they are a constant presence and they know what they want to happen.  They want "progress" and they want it in a timely manner.  If you don't have that..then they start in with their spiel.  For us, that was that we had broken water, but no contractions.  So they want contractions.  That means drugs, and yes, there were contractions.  But after hours of contractions that were not doing any real good, as far as opening the doorway for the baby, we called the doctor and he let us turn the medicine OFF!  That was unexpected and honestly, would not have happened if we didn't have the doctor that we did.  He understood what we wanted and what we were up against.  The nurses seemed pretty pissed.  So we slept for whatever, a couple hours, might has well have been minutes but with no fake contractions.  This was early morning..1-3 am, something like that. Marissa started natural contractions at some point before I woke up and that was the real turning point.

Now, you would think that, since the nurses wanted progress, and progress meant contractions because contractions means opening up the doorway, we were on a good track.  Nope, they came in and were like "Ok, time to turn back on the pitocin."   So I had to say, well, no, we don't want to do that.  And I swear they looked at us like we were absolutely stupid.  I had to say, no, we want to consult with the doctor again.  It's not like the doctor was involved here.  We had to have them call him at home the night before to get to change our medicine (actually get them to turn it off).  Now we have to ask THEM to let US talk to OUR doctor.  And that seemed to piss them off again.  Why is it that we are PROBLEM patients because we are informed and know what we want?  Because they can't push us through the mill and get us out of there.  They were not in control.  But, neither were WE!  We knew that once the process started (and I mean the natural process that morning, the "real" contractions as I call them) it was just a matter of hanging on for the ride.  Sure enough, we got to proceed with out the medicine but were told if there wasn't "progress" we would have to turn it back on…Ok seriously?  Is that like, what, a threat?  There were many nurses who I would have gladly fired on the spot (for us personally, not their job, haha) but we said we understood and it didn't matter because we weren't turning the medicine back out without a court order anyway.  And it didn't matter because, as it turned out, we didn't need it.  

You see there is this giant digital clock in the room (or at least there was at our hospital) and that was not a mistake.  They used that to keep their control.  I know they need to know timing and stuff, but that damn clock was always right there, glowing red, for those hours that we weren't  making sufficient "progress."  It felt like we were "losing." Like this was some kind of battle? 
The thing is, it was, at many times a battle.  And truthfully, it wasn't just myself and Marissa.  I had Marissa's older sister (a birthing method teacher and 2x natural birth mom) and Marissa's mom (natural birth for all 4 of her children).  We had to take the hard route many times to get the birth that we wanted.  If Marissa had been by herself through all of that time, it would not have been the same.  She needed support, and even with the support that she did have, it was touch and go as to whether we were going to "lose" and have more intervention.
I totally understand wanting to birth at home.  I would be happy to never step foot into the Labor and Delivery ward again.  To let your in on how lucky we were to have gotten our OB (a last minute change we had decided RIGHT before Oliver came 4 WEEKS early) Dr. Brabson has gone on to form a Midwifery Center practice in the hospital we delivered at.  Obviously, he gets that mothers can have babies, that it is not convenient or fast, that intervention after intervention isn't necessary, but that if anything happens, a good OB Is great to have on your team.  

Sthere you have it.  Straight from the mouth of a man, a father, a husband.  I think it's pretty cool that he's so interested in these things.  I would love to do training to teach natural childbirth and I know he'd be there by my side teaching with me.  Sure it may seem that birth is a woman's thing but it's not.  Men are stepping up to the plate.  In the midst of birth; the pain, the joy who better to be at your side?  Who better to experience the best moment of your life with?  The elation, the joy, conquering what you knew you wanted.  Why would you want anyone other than your husband there to look to for help, reassurance, coaching with love and knowledge in the process.  He is truly irreplaceable and no one else can take his place and give quite the same result. 

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