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Links to articles about emotional recovery and/or vbac (PIOG)

Posted by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 9:22 AM
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Just wanted to share my latest journal:

I used to think that people who used the terms "birth trauma" or "birth rape" were exaggerating until it happened to me.  My daughter is now 10 months old, but the nightmarish experience surrounding her unnecessary surgical birth will never fully fade from my memory; the emotional scar runs far, far deeper than the physical one.

The following is a smattering of excerpts and links to articles that I have found extremely helpful in the aftermath of a traumatic birth experience, and I think any mother who is dealing with the emotional scar of a cesarean and/or is planning a VBAC should check them out.  I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.

 "There is a moment when every woman thinks, ‘I can‘t do this.' If she is lucky, she has a midwife, a doula or her mom to whisper in her ear, "You are doing it." As she does it, she becomes someone new: a mother. If the birthing process is skipped or occurs in a hostile situation, or if the interventions become overwhelming, she becomes a different mother than she would have been if she had only had a supportive, midwifery model of care.... How are women supposed to protect themselves while in labor? How do they recover from this? What does it mean when they refuse to file reports or grievances? What does it say about our society when our hospitals, which are supposed to be places of comfort and healing, are instead places of coercion, abuse-even assault and battery?"
"To control and actively manage a woman‘s labor and delivery, modern obstetrical practice relies on conformity. A woman is "subject" to rules, restrictions and protocols enforced by nameless strangers. Physicians and the hospital staff have authority-there is an unbalance of power. Doctors know this and some use their power to persuade women to "make" decisions in the interests of the physicians; and if they can‘t, there are the courts. I say: You can only consent to that which you are capable of refusing. If you can‘t refuse the test, the drug, the procedure or the surgery, then you did not consent to it. This is coercion and it leads to disempowerment of women. Disempowerment as it pertains to pregnancy and birth is the exclusion of pregnant women from the decision-making process, leaving them without means of self-protection, limiting their birth choices and leaving them few, if any, options. This is detrimental to the growth a woman should experience during labor and birth." Excerpts from: "The Emotional Impact of Cesareans" by Pam Udy

"If she becomes pregnant again, is she willing to climb onto the operating table on a prescheduled day, or will she go into labor and then hop onto the table? Will she do her best to stay home long enough so that she can't have a c-section once she arrives at the hospital? Will she decide to return to the same hospital and use the obstetrician who performed a c-section on her in the first place or choose a different site and surgeon? Who will take care of her two-year-old while she is "inhosperated" (incarcerated + hospitalized-a term used for women who wanted to have a homebirth but were unable to find midwives to support them in their decision and so, reluctantly, went to a hospital) and what kinds of ideas and feelings will that child incorporate about birth as a result of the choices that his/her mother makes?" Excerpt from: "VBAC and Choice: Many Questions and a Few Answers" by Nancy Wainer


"Amy would most likely have been sectioned because she had high blood pressure for much of the pregnancy. She would have been induced for sure. She said to me, "If you think my blood pressure is high now, take me into a hospital and you'll really see it soar." We (my apprentice midwife and my assistant) spent gobs of time with her and worked diligently with nutrition (Much love to you, Dr. Tom Brewer!), herbs, relaxation, homeopathics, chiropractic and other natural means to keep her blood pressure at a manageable level. She birthed at home."
"VBAC-hopeful Bettina would have been re-sectioned because her baby was breech. We invited our expert breech midwife to come to Boston and teach us as she assisted Bettina. Bettina's eight-and-a-half pound breech daughter slid out of her body. She was "lucky," the doctors say? Lucky to have birthed safely outside the hospital? No, Bettina was lucky not to have been in the hospital getting cut. The same experienced midwife assisted Emma, who would have been sectioned as well-for twins; instead, she had them at home, gently and easily." Excerpts from: "A Butcher's Dozen" by Nancy Wainer


"I found that obstetricians' fear of uterine rupture was the greatest barrier to VBAC and is seemingly the pivotal excuse for denying them. Add to this a propensity of doctors and hospitals to set up impossibly strict protocols for women wanting VBACs, and we have a no-win situation for women. These protocols set up a cascade of failure regardless of what the woman wants. Ignorance and fear play a major factor in women's acceptance of these rules. As a result, VBAC "failure" is high in hospital settings. So what's a woman to do?" Excerpt from: "Homebirth After Cesarean: The Myth and the Reality" by Amy V. Haas


"Pregnancy and birth should not be a set of routine standards and practices. It is a different experience for each individual that will empower and change your life forever.... Hospitals and OB/GYN's, with their business in mind, set time limits to open up beds, schedule inductions for convenience, and influence c-sections to get home for dinner, creating unnecessary obstacles for healthy pregnancies and labors." Excerpt from: "My Birth is NOT your Business"


"Everyone sees the immediate physical pain from a cesarean....Not many see or even acknowledge the emotional side to having a cesarean. They aren't aware of women having PTSD from the experience, depression, PPD, panic attacks, anxiety, the nightmares, the affect it can have on breastfeeding and early bonding, and her overall self esteem and self worth....When a woman is upset about her birth experience, and tries to reach out to someone, it is usually met with, ‘All that matters is a healthy baby,' or ‘It's not that bad.'...Until someone has experienced an unwanted cesarean section, they never will fully understand, but it doesn't make her pain invalid. This has inspired me to create a place where mothers and fathers can vent, share poetry, artwork, cesarean and VBAC birth stories and anything else that helps them through those painful feelings." Excerpt from:


"Another extremely important concept that arises from home birth practice is the recognition of what I call "sphincter law." This concept describes the common phenomenon, which occurs often in women's labors, in which stress sometimes causes the cervix, once dilated in labor, to suddenly close, or for labor to stop. Having first observed this phenomenon in the early years of my practice, I found that other midwifery colleagues working in and out of hospitals and many labor and delivery nurses were also familiar with it. We found that such cases could safely resolve themselves, without medical intervention, by waiting for labor to resume in less stressful circumstances. Looking deeper into medical books written during the period when home birth was the norm, I found many 19th century authors who had also documented this physiological phenomenon, which is dependent upon an imbalance of maternal hormones during labor which can take place when the woman feels greatly stressed during the birth process. If current medical knowledge included these concepts which it once did, fewer women would be subjected to the risks of induction drugs, the use of which has increased sharply over the last fifteen years-not always with good results." Excerpt from: "Home Birth-Why it's Necessary" by Ina May Gaskin 


"The second fact about doctors is that they are human in every respect, not gods, and should not be put on a pedestal. If it is OK to bash your automobile mechanic who has done a bad job, then it is equally OK to bash a doctor you suspect of malpractice. Doctors should be as accountable to the public as any other group that serves the public. And to understand why doctors do what they do, you must accept their humanness and vulnerability to inappropriate influences. In 1992 the average take-home income of U.S. obstetricians was $250,000 a year, and today it is even higher. The present scientifically unjustified monopoly of maternity care by obstetricians in the United States is richly rewarding the obstetricians, and you can be sure they will fight to maintain the status quo, keeping out any competition such as midwives and out-of-hospital birth. This is why, as a consumer of maternity care, you must beware what you are told by doctors and hospitals and take full responsibility for ensuring you get the kind of pregnancy and birth experience best suited to your needs and no one else's."  Excerpt from: "Technology in Birth: First Do No Harm" by Marsden Wagner, MD.

I really had no idea how out-of-my-mind I would be in the middle of
labor.  I had no idea how much labor would alter my brain, alter my
personality, and render me unable to think rationally and say no.
I now know that, for a hospital birth, one needs incredibly strong labor
support that is willing to bare their teeth and knock some skulls in
order to keep the woman's birthing place peaceful, calm, and
adrenaline-free.  Adrenaline IS the anti-oxytocin drug.
  Adrenaline --> Failure to progress --> C-section
                          Think twice.  Hire a doula.

by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 9:22 AM
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