In a Nutshell..... Why do I do this?

Last Friday, I rode with the midwife I assist to do our home visit with one of our clients. We typically make a home visit before the birth so we can familiarize ourselves with the route - makes it so much easier than driving cold turkey in the dark- and we get the sense of the layout of the home in terms of the birth. This was a repeat client but she had moved since her last birth. It took a bit of doing to get there and it was a lovely rural type setting. The weather was warm and the sky was clear and blue. She greeted us with her toddler. We chatted and toured her cozy home. Then we did the prenatal appointment- belly check, fetal heart tone check, urine check, blood pressure check- etc. Her little one showed us some of his toys. I admired some of her homemade toys and she showed me how to do the blanket stitch in order to finish the edge of her handmade doll. We lingered a bit and I remembered her last birth. I'm very much looking forward to attending this birth. We hugged goodbye and waved as we slowly drove out of the driveway. I looked out the window as they stood there watching us leave. For me- the next time I see her she will be in the midst of labor, as I'm typically not called until labor is advanced. The midwife precedes me and calls me to assist when she needs me which is usually later in labor. The mama looked so beautiful with her round belly and her precious little one was standing there by her side. It was as it should be. I felt almost moved to tears and I thought " We have the best job in the world!"Every woman deserves this type of prenatal care. We get to know the family. We listen with respect and true interest. The midwife builds a relationship with the mama and the family. When labor begins we attend as invited caregivers. We will be the supporters of the process. The birth will be attended with care and attention. The family unit is respected and supported. The baby will be gently and lovingly welcomed into the arms of his/her mama and in his/her own home. I love home birth. Love it love it love it.Post partum care is equally wonderful. They don't have to go anywhere. We leave them settled in in their own bed. Personal attention. Family support. Breastfeeding support. In addition to the personal visits there is the continual availability for phone consultations. Midwifery does not leave mothers and babies in the lurch. I'm so proud to have a share in this model of care. I wish this type of care for all families.So, there it is..... I love this work. It never grows old. As is the case with this family we build a history with our clients. What a privilege. If only more women availed themselves of this dignifying and respectful model of care. As a nurse part of my role is education. I feel the need to make this model known as an option. I'm using this blog as one way to accomplish that goal.
Posted by Helen at 9:43 PM 0 comments

Friday, April 25, 2008

Moms choosing Cesareans

Read this article about 1 mother who chose a Cesarean birth.
I wrote my thoughts in the comment section. What do you think?

1 comment:

Helen said...

"Chung remains convinced that she made the right decision for herself and son Nathan. As our ideas about birth evolve, perhaps more women will feel less defensive about making the same choice."

This last sentence is one that I can't seem to ignore. It is my concern that it may be true. Our cultural thinking regarding birth seems to be taking a turn that is taking more women to this place of preferring major abdominal surgery with all it's risks and side effects rather than give birth naturally.
Why? This particular instance involves a physician. I'm not really going to say anything about her reasons as I'm not in her shoes. I know that as a student nurse in the late 70's I saw some pretty gnarly medical births. I was already on the natural birth bandwagon and those only served to reinforce my views. I know that we must meet each woman where she is. Fear is big and we each carry our personal experiences with us in our journeys. I don't like to criticize individual women for their choices. I think we each do what we need to do. There is too much criticism of each other as it is. But we can examine our culture and ourselves. I think that informing women of options and promoting positive birth stories is a start. Encouraging women to retain personal responsibility for their birth and supporting their efforts to do so,is also a beginning.
Of course, it must be recognized that there are natural births that are not the "gentle birth" that was hoped for. Some are exhausting and some are actually traumatic.
Birth is what it is. It is dishonest to say all natural births result in a gentle welcome to the world for baby and a calm fullfilling experience for mama.
But it is possible with those births that women can have the satisfaction of knowing that they and their babies were respected every step of the way and that options were presented as they remained in the decision making role.

More publicity should be given regarding the benefits of natural birth and home birth in particular. Natural home birth should be held out as the gold standard of care. For women who are just not able to have such births for whatever reason- the standard can still be applied in whatever environment she births in. Again, responsibility and education are necessary as it may take quite the effort to achieve such a goal. Pressure on physicians and hospitals from birthing women who may take their money elsewhere may be an impetus for change.

Films like Ricki Lake's are beneficial because she lends her celebrity to the issue and more people pay attention, but it doesn't have to be confined to such big efforts. We can talk to our families. Include multigenerations. Grandmothers, mothers, daughters- we all need to hear about the benefits of and build our confidence in natural birth. Loving and trusting our bodies instead of judging and despising them might be a start.

Educating young people is important. We had a couple of classes come tour the birth center and they had wonderful intelligent questions. I think doing more events can be helpful.

I don't really have the answers but I know that we at least need to begin to be more vocal because my concern is as more women begin to feel that surgery is the preferred method of birthing there will be profound negative effects on mothers, babies and families.