Pouring My Heart Out About Birthing Plans

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I’m not going to whine today. I’m not even going to be diplomatic.

Because I’m annoyed.

Because I believe in the rights of the patient, and because I love obstetrics and neonatology I’ve been reading a lot of blogs where women share their birth stories.

And a lot of them write about how they felt cheated out of a normal vertex delivery. Because their labour didn’t progress. Because the CTG showed decelerations. And so the doctor rushed them to theatre, and delivered their baby in one piece, and saved Mommy and Baby’s life.

And that makes Doctor horrible. For saving two lives.

I believe in listening to a patient’s wishes. I believe in trying as much as possible to stick to a mother’s birthing plan. But I also believe in saving lives. And I will not stick to someone’s birthing plan if it will cost their life, or impede in any way upon their or their unborn child’s livelihood.

Dear mothers, if you do not like your doctor’s opinion, get a second opinion. If a doctor saves your life, or gives you a live healthy baby, try to see the bright side. It’s not that difficult.

Women and their babies DIE daily in developing countries because they don’t have access to theaters and C-sections or even the knowledge that a section is required.

If a doctor ignores your wishes without good reason, if he is a paternalistic arse, find another doctor.

Just know that had something gone wrong, you would have blamed the doctor, and would quite likely have good reason. So be grateful for your happy bouncy baby child. Please.

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18 thoughts on “Pouring My Heart Out About Birthing Plans

  1. It’s a complex issue you are addressing here, and as always I am thrilled that you find the time every day to chronicle your experience and sketch out your impressions. It has been a long struggle for women – as it has for other patients – to have their individual rights acknowledged by medical professionals they indeed trust to take care of their lives and to save their lives if necessary. The legitimate comparison to women who die every day giving birth while not having access to health care does not entitle us to deduct though that women with access to health care have to accept to be treated without consideration of who they are and what they think is necessary to heal or in this case, give birth.
    I do agree with you that the idealization of giving birth “the natural way” does not always serve mother and child well, and yes, the outcome counts: mother and child are healthy and at the beginning of a life-long journey. But neither have procedures we know still are executed where C-sections and other interventions might be performed in order to make a patient, a mother in labor, fit in with the schedule of hospitals and health care professionals.
    If a mother after giving birth feels bad about the experience and she seems to be a sound and articulated judge in general – maybe treating her feed-back as a valuable resource of how to improve patient care would be advisable and a smart way to collect the data necessary to do this. And if the diagnosis would have to be that the mother is plain struggling in coming to terms with her labor experience maybe seeing it as a sign to provide her with psychological support and assistance to overcome her mental pain would be a good way to interpret her complaints. Labor can be – despite the very happy outcome – a violent and traumatic experience. It is also often in stark contrast to the sugar-coated version society likes to paint of all aspects baby-related. There is no reason to assume that a new mother with a healthy baby in her arms is complaining just to be a nuisance.
    Interviewing health care professionals before giving birth is strongly recommend as you say, get a second, get a third opinion until you find someone you find trustworthy. Patient-doctor relationships build on this trust and influence the outcome of any medical intervention.
    Thanks for another thought-provoking post. I enjoy your entries every day!

    • Thank you for your thorough response. You highlight something very important, and I admit I didn’t consider it too much: a mother who says she feels “cheated” needs help in overcoming the trauma. I guess I come from a background where one is expected to keep quiet if physically things are okay. And we know this to be incomplete: the psyche matters more than doctors of the past cared to admit.
      So thank you for the reminder!
      Also, doctors should not schedule C-sections to suit their schedule, that’s terrible, and I know it happens a lot more than we think it does.
      I appreciate your input!

  2. I was one of those women who failed to progress, and ended up in the operating room. It was not what I had envisioned, and it took a long time to accept. However, the Dr was not to be blamed. She saved my sons life. Period. I had asked her early in my pregnancy to do everything she could to avoid a c- section, and she did. But it was unavoidable. As hard as that was to accept, loosing my son would have been much worse!

  3. Amen! I’m a mommy blogger these days, and have come across this attitude. When my son was born via c-section I got a lot of flack from some people in the blogging community. I honestly don’t think he would have made it out alive if not for the c/s, and some self-appointed super mommy wants to judge me for that? I think not. In my personal experience doctor’s prefer not to do a c/s unless there is a compelling reason, though to hear the talk on pregnancy boards, the doctors all want to perform c-sections so they can schedule in their golf games. I don’t quite get where that thought is coming from since every practice I’ve been do has enough doctor’s that they always have someone at the hospital.

    • I get that impression from forums too… their ARE doctors who do that, but I don’t think they are the majority, at least not in my limited experience. Natural birth has so many benefits, but only if the baby and mom survive it. C/S, like any surgery, has it’s risks…
      In the same line, “supermommies” really annoy me. No, that’s a lie: JUDGING supermommies annoy me. I’m glad you managed to let it slide off your back though.
      Thanks for offering your insight!

  4. Good Lord you’re probably taking on the wolves with this one. I’ve read so many stories from both sides, and to be honest, I don’t really have an opinion on it yet. Probably because I haven’t been in the situation yet, or perhaps it’s because, given my physical disability, I’ve already been told that I’ll probably have a scheduled c-section, right off the bat.

    Do I think doctors rush labor and suggest c-sections before they should? Some of them, yes. Do I think these options have saved hundreds and hundreds of mothers and babies? Abso-freakin’-lutely.

    • It’s alright not to have an opinion on it yet – it actually helps to be able to understand both sides of the argument. Don’t worry, I’ll probably end up with a C/S one day too. My pelvis is a weird shape.
      You’re right – a lot of doctors do rush for C/S when they shouldn’t. I like to hope that they are in the minority.
      Thanks for the visit!

  5. I had no real birth plan, to be totally honest. Not with any of my three- I just wanted them out safely. I don’t know if I’d feel differently about it if I’d had to have c-sections… maybe. But if the end was a healthy baby, I have a hard time believing that I’d be upset about it.

    • Thank you! I guess your body’s reaction to a C/S would influence your feeling about it – maybe that’s why so many mothers feel violated by it. Birth plans are new to me too. Healthy babies are my priority, I guess.

  6. Hmmmm, let the games begin with this one! I was lucky enough to have regular ol school labor with both of my girls–with an epidural of course. I think society tries to push people into different things and if you are not “natural” with everything food, fibers, hair, birth then you are “wrong”. Sometimes you have to do what is best at the moment. A healthy baby is a healthy baby.

    • Heh, I was a little worried about the “games” as well, but so far it seems relatively calm.
      You’re right – I’m all for healthy choices, but I don’t like when people use it as a basis to ostracize non-conformists.

  7. I didn’t have a birth plan for mine. I just wanted a healthy baby and healthy mom after delivery. Maybe I’d feel different if I was rushed into a C-section, I don’t know. I just have a hard time thinking that even though we were both healthy and alive at the end that I would resent it.

  8. I did have a birth plan. My birth experiences were both terrible – but that is because I had twins at 33 weeks (NICU) and a son with a rare genetic disorder (NICU) … It had nothing to do with the doctor. Just bad experiences…

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