Sunday, February 22, 2009

Deep thoughts from Amy

WARNING: Infant loss mentioned (in this entry and the link posted). Figured you'd want to know ahead of time.

Anyways, I read the blog little birdie, little bunny... - it's one of the blogs over there in my blog list. It's written by a mom who had planned a homebirth with her first child, birdie, who unfortunately passed away during labor. She transported during labor, had an emergency cesarean, but her baby had passed away. She just had another child, bunny, in September I believe... he's right around Caroline's age. Anyways, she just posted a couple of posts over the last couple of days which got me thinking, namely this one and this one. As you probably known, I'm a huge proponent of homebirth. Henry and Caroline were both born at home, and I truly believe that in most cases it is a safe option for healthy, low risk pregnant moms. When I first read her post, I wanted to comment, but I know that nothing I say will change her mind about homebirth. And I don't think it should be changed! I'm 99.99999% sure that if one of my children had passed away during labor at home, I'd be having any future children in a hospital. Unfortunately, not all hospitals are like the one she delivered her children in. For many women, it's not only a choice about location, it's a choice about having control. It's a choice about having what the research has shown to be best for baby in most cases - a labor which starts naturally. A labor which is not augmented with pitocin. Freedom to move around. Intermittent versus continuous fetal monitoring. A labor which is not dependent on the clock. Freedom to eat and drink during labor. In some hospitals, you can get all that, but not many hospitals, at least around here. The US has a cesarean rate of over 30%. One in three women have their babies via major abdominal surgery. No one can look me in the eye and tell me that one out of three women honestly cannot have a baby the old fashioned way. If that's so, it's a wonder the human race hasn't fallen off of the face of the planet. Anyways, I digress. It happens when I start talking about pregnancy and childbirth lol. So back to my thoughts about the posts. I kind of agree with her, to a point. I think women need to know ALL of the pros and cons of homebirth before they make a decision to have their baby at home. Usually, everything goes fine. Usually. Sometimes, it doesn't. Usually, when it doesn't go fine, there is a competent, trained midwife, like the midwife who caught Caroline and Henry, who can either deal with the problem, or knows that it is outside her scope and it is time to transport. Sometimes, there isn't. Women need to research their options, and decide what is best for them. For some, it's homebirth. For others, it's a hospital. I think my only problem with her posts is that it sounds like she's saying homebirth is never a safe option. I think what she's actually saying is that she wishes women who chose homebirth realize that things can go horribly, tragically wrong, and she's living proof. And it sounds callous when you face that reality head on and say "I know that babies die, but I'm still going to have mine at home." That sounds like you're cheapening her loss in a way. Like you want the experience more than the result. While I can't speak for everyone in the world who has a homebirth, I can speak for me. I said that. I know that babies die. I still wanted to have mine at home. I wrecked a car, in a big way, and STILL wanted to have my baby at home. When I write it out like that, it sounds really selfish. It wasn't, however. I wanted to have my baby at home because I had done all the research. I'd read everything I could get my hands on about homebirth, and hospital birth, and what could go wrong where. I knew that there was a chance, no matter how small it was, that my baby could die, but that small chance would be present at the hospital as well as home. I chose a midwife who I trust with my life, who is extremely knowledgeable, and who wouldn't hesitate to transport if it was necessary. And in the end, I felt in my heart that having my baby at home would be safer for both of us. And, I was one of the many women who had a safe, uneventful birth at home. I guess I'm lucky because of that. I don't think I could ever forgive myself if something had gone wrong and Caroline wasn't with us, but I think I'd feel that way if I had chosen a hospital birth, too. Anyways, I'm off on a tangent again. Someone said "Birth is as safe as life gets." I believe that, but I also believe that life isn't all that safe all the time. And the same goes for birth. I think I just hope that Birdie's mom understands that women who birth at home aren't doing it to be selfish, and they're not denying the fact that they could be in her shoes. They do it because they believe it's what is best for their baby. After all, isn't that what moms do? What is best for their children? I know I do, no matter how many times I joke about drugging them or duct taping them to the wall! My heart just breaks for Birdie's mom, and I wish no one, her included, would ever have to lose a child. So, if you're thinking about having a homebirth, make sure you do your research. Read her story. Read the statistics. Read about hospitals. Talk to other moms. Talk to midwives. Educate, educate, and educate yourself. And then do whatever it is that you feel is best for your child. And yes, a very pro homebirth mom is saying that! I'm the first to admit that if we all did the same thing the world would be a very boring place lol. And while I wish everyone would have a homebirth, or at the VERY least honestly consider it (I mean beyond the "oh, you can have a baby at home? huh, I didn't know that" consideration), I really think I'm on the same page as Birdie's mom when I say make an educated, informed decision.

And THAT would be Amy's random thoughts for the month. Don't expect another mega long blog post anytime soon!


Ruth Cox said...

babies do die--everywhere. It's horrible, tragic, and it's part of life. In hospital, and at home. Sometimes due to negligence, sometimes for no findable reason at all. So do mothers. I am so grateful that maternal and infant mortality are so low these days. But we still aren't fool-proof or God (and we are higher than some nations with more individualized care!)

This quote is important to take into consideration when researching: Henci Goer (author of Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth) is writing a new book, and says: you are equally likely to lose the mother to elective repeat cesarean as you are to lose the baby to uterine scar rupture. Here are the supporting statistics: Perinatal mortality rates from uterine scar rupture range from 1 to 13 per 10,000 (Blanchette 2001; Guise 2003; Kwee 2007; Landon 2004; McMahon 1996) while maternal mortality rates during truly elective cesarean, that is, scheduled cesarean in a woman eligible for VBAC, are 3 per 10,000 (Spong 2007)

Amy Mae said...

Thank you Ruth! The sad part is that our mortality rates suck when compared to other nations, but that is a whole different ranting and raving post! I love Henci Goer - I can't wait for her new book.

Rixa said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too have been following her blog since before Birdie was born and I am not sure if I should comment for some of the same reasons. I don't want my own views to be taken as discounting her own experience at all, as much as I am making different choices than she is.