Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting back on track - a homebirthing post

Well, we're finally about as settled in as we're going to get, minus some unpacking. The kids are working on regulating their schedules again, for all the good it's going to do; in less than a week I'll be starting fall classes at the local community college, and at the end of the month G will start his first year of preschool. My babies are growing up so fast; G is learning to cope and we've been given an idea of just how smart he is, and A is following right after his big brother in picking up on skills, verbalizing, and generally learning to express himself. We're still struggling financially but we haven't been here long enough to really see the fruits of our labors, and I'm hoping that it won't be long before we really get an idea of just how good for us this move really is (even if it's just a financial good and not an emotional good).

On my list of things to rant about today is something I'm realizing is truly becoming a very big, very dangerous problem: The attempt by a relatively large grouping of people to eradicate a woman's right and ability to give birth at home, regardless of her choice of prenatal care. I'm finding that the vast majority of the people behind this push to end homebirthing have either never had a child at home (or perhaps haven't had any children at all), or have experienced a traumatic homebirth with extreme repercussions, up to and including losing their child. While the former group I mostly ignore (because I'm horrible like that), the latter I do give some credence to. These are individuals and families that have been through something horrifying; if they didn't lose their child (or perhaps Mom), what they went through was at least enough to make them think twice about their experience. Whatever happened was enough for them to want to quantify all homebirths as identical, with the same risks but no real plausible benefits, as an inherently dangerous situation that could have been avoided if it had been a law that a purposeful homebirth cannot happen.

And to that, I say, bullshit.

Please don't get me wrong. I am a rational person and while I have not even remotely experienced the same trauma and loss and pain as these families, I have felt a similar sensation and I admittedly wondered to myself if what I had been through only could have been avoided IF. That's a big word right there, and it carries with it a LOT of suggestions and hindsight. It implies that someone could and should have looked into the future to predict the outcome of a single, individual birth experience, and that the one person capable of doing that had the responsibility of informing the parents from the outset so that a totally different set of decisions could have been made. It implies that somehow every birth SHOULD be the same, and that even though seasoned medical professionals agree that every birth is completely different and progresses differently, somehow, every birth should be predictable and identical. That mindset is why so many women are pressured into birthing in hospitals under the care of OBs, when they would be likely in better hands with a midwife, and why so many women experience identical interventions and outcomes. It is why OBs are trained to expect certain events to occur within a certain subset of time, and when they don't, the interventions begin. It's why interventions are almost guaranteed to lead to the same path, and why all of those paths either end at or dangerously close to a c-section.

The truth is that a woman who is considered low risk and who is otherwise healthy, with an otherwise healthy baby, regardless of how many children she might have had previously, is better off at home. The fact that there are individuals who exist who have unfortunately lost children is irrelevant; there are as many, if not more, babies who are lost during or because of interventions and medications while in hospitals. More mothers pass away during unnecessary surgeries. More women are stripped of their fertility and womanhood during surgeries or procedures that go wrong, things that would otherwise not occur in a home setting where an educated attending midwife could manage any "normal" problems in a number of ways that don't involve knowingly causing trauma to mother or child. More babies and mothers become ill while in hospitals because of the inherent transfer of diseases, be they airborne or through hospital staff who do not properly cleanse themselves. More mothers and babies experience stress because they are outside of a familiar setting, because they cannot calm down and properly continue their lives because they know that they will be heading home instead of already being there. Breastfeeding relationships are strained and put in danger. More women experience postpartum depression.

There will be more to this rant, given time - I am not as lucid right now as I'd like to be when making such an important point. Eating will help. Meanwhile, I have a request: if you see fit, I would greatly appreciate any applicable donations to my PayPal account so that I may reactivate my subscription for at least one month. A month of the information I would need access to is $29.99 and it would give me an opportunity to do a LOT of work on my family tree that has gone untended for some time now. If you see fit to donate to me for this purpose, I'd love you forever. :P My PayPal email address is skiefangor[at]gmail[dot]com (obvious replacements necessary).

Much love to you all! And a far more coherent post coming soon, I promise.

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