Have we given away our power for the birth of our own child? Do we have the “they know best” mentality and allow it to sidetrack our labour into something, in the end, we don’t even recognize as anything resembling our “birth plan”. Well you would not be alone if you answered yes. So many believe they have no right to question what is being offered or even done during their birth experience and just sit back and not enjoy the ride. We don’t want to rock the boat or get confrontational. We think “what do we know” or just quietly give up.
So many things are beginning or continuing to be controlled in the labour room. Only 2 support people; um who are they to say who I can have supporting me through labour? I know we don’t want to make the labour room the circus room, but when mom has to choose between a professional labour support person to help her practically to succeed in her labour and her own mom who can be there emotionally to support her through labour, we have a problem in our system.
No pictures or video of the birth; this is one I encountered this morning at a birth I attended. Um I am pretty sure I have the right to take pictures of my own birth. I understand and respect the caregivers not wanting to be in the pictures without their permission, but shots of the actual delivery? That is her body parts and her baby and if she wants a picture of that I am pretty sure you have no right to refuse her. Pretty sure – so I took the picture anyway. And got some nasty looks, but that’s okay, and I am a preferred non boat rocker but sometimes rocking the boat becomes necessary because the captain of said boat is, well out of their mind.
No food during labour. I get the reasoning behind it, when asked the nurses will tell you that your digestive system essentially shuts down during labour and you will just throw it up later. Okay valid, however if she needs food for energy and knows the risk of throwing up later and is alright with that then…..she is alright with that. Feed the poor girl. How about you tell her the real reason you are refusing her food, she is a walking c-section risk and they don’t want her to aspirate during surgery and then they might get sued. Okay now we are honest.
No doula anywhere near the surgical suite or recovery room for a c-section. Well you paid good money for that doula, just because you are now having surgery does that make her service unnecessary? I think in some ways it becomes even more necessary. Get that doula in there. She has a lot to support that family through as their birth plans just changed dramatically. Post care and breastfeeding just got more complicated, so let her do her job.
Pushing procedures, now I could write a whole separate post on this one, and maybe someday I will. But why are we “making” women get in a semi-reclined position, bring their legs up to their ears and chin to chest, big breath in, hold your breath while we count to 10 and quickly repeat 2 more times? Why is this the must do approach to pushing. If a woman doesn’t do it that way she is told she is doing it wrong and it will take forever for her to push that baby out. Is this the right way? Is this the only way? I don’t think so and I am pretty sure pretty much ALL of Europe would agree with me.
What about any procedure that is suggested during your birth? Are we asking what we need to actually get the information and reasoning behind these procedures? Or are we just blindly allowing all things because we are tired, in pain and distracted. I would say usually the latter.
I could go on, but my blood pressure is rising. Let me just suggest you get your power back. This is your birth you should be an advocate to this birth, you will only do it ONCE in your entire life, this birth, you only have one chance to make it yours. You are a consumer in the maternity care in Alberta, should we not have a voice? Well it takes one voice to start, so let it be yours. Here is 5 questions you should be using to help you make informed choices in the birth you are having. Let’s use our B.R.A.I.N.
B – WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MAKING THIS CHOICE?
R – WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF MAKING THIS CHOICE?
A – WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO THIS CHOICE?
I – WHAT ARE MY INSTINCTS TELLING ME ABOUT THIS CHOICE?
N – WHAT IF I DO NOTHING OR WAIT?
Now 99% of the time you have the time and the right to be asking your maternity care provider these questions to help you make decisions in your labour process. These will create the necessary conversations to get what you need in a safe and respectful manner. These questions won’t help with the bigger issues such as policy, but we need to start just asking questions and questioning the “normal” care to help us get to policy and ultimately the whole process of Maternity Care in Alberta.
The 1% would be considered an emergency situation. If this is encountered, you will know the difference. There will be no questions, no discussion. What they are trying to accomplish in these situations is a healthy and safe mom and baby and that is ultimately our goal too. So when in these situations we are respectful of their jobs and we let them do it.
But I think it’s time to start asking questions and having a voice. This is the only way we will start to see change.
Use your BRAIN everyone and lets make a difference.