Not All Birth-Plans Are Created Equal

     This is an off the cuff opinion piece on how I feel about various aspects of delivering and birthing options. This is not intended to be scientific with data flying all over the place. Just one mans (who is by no means medically trained in any field) opinion on such topics.
     We often receive freebies in the mail to entice us into a contract or subscription to various things. One such thing is magazines. In one of these parent magazines there was an article about creating and having a birth plan. After reading through it I noticed there wasn’t one interview with a midwife or Douala; or anything even remotely alternate to a hospital birth that may include a C-section. In fact, the whole article revolved around alteringwhatever your birth plan was to includea C-section and abiding by hospital regulations. The article only questioned OB’s, Doctor’s and L&D RN’s; it was very biased. As a less enlightened individual, who I was, if I read this while creating a birth plan I would get led to believe that a C-section was commonplace, and unfortunately it is. Is it the doctors kindly forcing it upon us, or have we become so complacent and removed from the natural process that we allow it to happen? I believe it’s both. Also, I find it peculiar there wasn’t one opinion or advice given from a midwife or Douala. Why’s that? After all, they’re an integral cog in the machine, right?
     Modern medicine chooses to view childbirth as a “condition” or a “problem” rather than a natural process that needs minimal intervention, if any. They’re too quick to cut with the knife to avoid complications rather than facing them as they occur and possibly learning from that experience to save a future mother from undergoing the knife. It seems C-sections are becoming a crutch, an out, to a possible sticky situation; and as a convenience to the doctor’s schedule. I’m not saying that they are always wrong or that a C-section is never necessary; they aren’t and it is. I’m saying that I’m seeing and hearing a lot of people have elective scheduled C-section. Child delivery shouldn’t be something that is scheduled around a doctor’s time frame or as a convenience. I’m sorry, it shouldn’t be. Sorry to inconvenience you, but Bub’s going to come when he’s ready, not when you schedule him to.  I understand there are circumstances like multiples and other factors that require a scheduled C-section. I believe people are more content to just accept the popular consensus of the expert medical staff and assume alternatives are unsafe or unhealthy, as the medical field doesn’t even acknowledge them as options; as proven by the aforementioned article.  I believe that’s where we can change things; by actively seeking out alternatives to what popular satiation dictates.
Here’s how we came to find a small alternative.
     In a previous post I mentioned that a Nurse Midwife (CNP) delivered our son. Now, I have never heard of a midwife before his conception. Okay, I’ve heard the term, but didn’t know their role. I probably still wouldn’t have a clue if it weren’t for one important thing that led us in that direction. Mrs. K was doing research on C-section rates within the OB practice she was going to. Turns out the rate there was astronomical from where the acceptable rate should be; 15%. I believe it was over 30% of all deliveries. I just checked and the US national average for 2011 is 33%. Exactly a third of all deliveries are surgical! Wow. Anyway, this only fueled her fire to find an alternative. She was already uncomfortable in the sense that this OB didn’t seem keen on letting us attempt our birth-plan without a hasty intervention of the knife. “Well, we’ll try but if XYZ occurs then…” Two strikes against this group – a high C-section rate and an unapologetic, impersonal approach to the delivery in general.
     After these factors were considered, Mrs. K went with her gut and sought out a new approach and found The Columbus Midwives. They are literally the only nurse midwife group in Central Ohio and the out-lying area that are allowed to deliver in a hospital setting. Furthermore that meant that we had the option of delivering in only one hospital. That’s right. Only one hospital out of 7 in all of Columbus that allows non-OB / Doctor’s to deliver. This group embraced Doulas as well!  Where many OB’s do not like having Doulas, stating that “they endanger the birthing mother and baby”.
     We did deliver in the hospital. We weren’t quite comfortable with a home birth as Mrs. K was slightly high risk. A hospital L&D RN was present as required by the hospital. We saw not one doctor the entire visit, except for our discharge as we were admitted due to some tearing and Bub being jaundice for a couple of days. As for the actually delivery; before and during; was all midwife and RN. Our plan was simple: no meds, no intervention, and no doctors. All but one prevailed. She needed an epidural. Bub was riding low on her pelvis causing severe pain. (This is turning into a short birth-story isn’t it?) Once active labor began, pushing only lasted about 45 minutes and Bub arrived free of complications. We refused the eye drops and delayed the cord clamping until it was no longer pulsing.
     Before my whole experience with the child-birthing process I was pretty damn clueless to everything. I went in thinking birth-plans were pretty much a one-size fits all type of deal. Go to hospital, obey doctor’s orders, cross fingers and hope for the best. It wasn’t until Mrs. K followed her gut and left her OB practice for a nurse midwife, I would have never been the wiser. How many mothers or husbands didn’t follow their guts and seek alternatives? Or are even aware there are alternatives? While ours didn’t deviate too far from the norm, it was significantly different. Remember, only one major hospital in seven, in a pretty progressive city, allowed a non-OB / Doctor to deliver. ONE! Think about that.
      I think our ignorance (mine included) and herd mentality lead to a general lack of knowledge and understanding of all options available to us. I’ve always had sort of an anti-establishment bug, just a little one, crawling on my back. I’m actually surprised that I didn’t think of seeking out something other than a hospital at the first go around. Mrs. K did, and that made all the difference in the world, In Bub’s world.
The OB practice that Mrs. K left was actually featured in a Columbus Dispatch article about their Doula ban; as well as; the Nurse Midwifes were recently featured for being the first midwifes to deliver at The Wexner Medical Center a.k.a OSU.

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