June 6, 2011

Pre-Labor Dramatics

I didn't want to to feel nervous or unreasonable about Baby Kira's upcoming birth experience. But that's exactly what has happened this week. I didn't think I liked drama, either. But apparently I do because I'm creating lots of it.

The UW Medical Center has five midwives that usually rotate in attending births. They have a few more that help with prenatal care appointments. Last week, I met one of Heike's (midwife who delivered Elliott and Jocelyn) teachers from way back when. That was fun for me. I also like the first midwife I met in the practice.

I'm just not so sure about the midwife I saw a few days ago. I feel my anxiety level rising. A lot. I recently came across a blog entitled, The Unneccesarean.com. And I really appreciate the education this site gives into the birthing process and c-sections. Birthing Kira in a hospital, especially one that handles high-risk pregnancies and has a 50% c-section rate, scares me. I don't want to feel pressured into making a huge medical decision that may not be in my best interest.

In my first birth experience (at a hospital), I decided that I would opt for natural childbirth. I'm not sure why I made this choice. It felt right for me. But it wasn't until later that I began to comprehend how medical interventions complicate normal childbirth and lead to adverse side affects to both the mother and newborn. From my previous four birth experiences and child rearing I have gained knowledge and experience regarding medical professionals, hospitals, and the rules they follow. Some are patient centered. But all too many seem to be in place to prevent lawsuits.

I like midwives because they are more concerned about my medical well-being rather than whether or not I'm going to sue them. And that gives me and my babies the best medical care possible. I won't cover up my true feelings, though. I would love it if Heike had hospital-delivery privileges. But she doesn't. And that makes me sad. But I think I trust her so much precisely because she does NOT think like someone who works in a hospital.

I go in now for weekly fetal monitoring. They strap a monitor to my belly and track Kira's heartbeat for about half an hour. They're looking to see what it does during a restful state and what happens when she moves or there's a contraction. I asked the midwife I just met if they intended to do continuous fetal monitoring during my labor. She affirmed they would. I told her I didn't want that. I have no problem using a handheld device to check every so often, but that I did not want to be continuously monitored.

The reason I don't want to be continuously monitored is because in so doing, the chance of c-section multiplies yet there is no change to infant mortality rates. The test is flawed and results are easily mis-read. If the medical professional thinks that the baby may be in distress, then they want to do a c-section. Exactly, what I don't want to happen.

What's unbelievable for me is that this midwife actually said to me, "most women choose a c-section over a dead baby." Uh, what? Did she just play the dead baby card? Yes. Yes, she did. Talk about applying pressure.

I let her know that I am fully aware of what it's like to lose a child. I do not intend to lose this one. However, the risk of a c-section has to be weighed against the risk to Kira and I.

She said she'd talk to a perinatologist and see what she recommends. Huh? Consulting a doctor I've never met before? How would this doctor know better than Kira's cardiologist and I what would be best for Kira?

The midwife went on to tell me that in high-risk pregnancies blah blah blah. I corrected her. This is not a high risk pregnancy. There is nothing high-risk about me. Kira may have a heart defect once she is born. But there's actually nothing wrong with is as long as she's inside of me and using my blood supply. So, really, nothing about this labor/delivery is high-risk. She conceded my point and went on to talk about Kira's heart defect.

It's true, Kira appears to have a couple of heart issues. But we don't know right now what exactly that means. We need to wait and see how her heart and lungs work together after she's born and has left my blood supply.

Instead of talking about fetal monitoring and c-sections, we should be discussing that the first sign of Kira's small pulmonary branch arteries being too small is that she'll have respiratory distress. And if her right sided aortic arch is problematic then she'll have respiratory distress. And a common side effect of c-sections is that the babies have respiratory distress. Hmmm. That doesn't seem like a good combo. Unless I labor and deliver naturally (like I want) without interventions, we won't be giving Kira her best shot at life. So no more pressure about seemingly innocent continuous fetal monitoring. I'm not going to do it.

Bottom line, I left there feeling like I was being difficult. For standing up for what is best for me and my daughter. I was trying so hard to be reasonable but don't think that's how I was received. I want to have a positive birthing experience. To have medical professionals support my decisions. But right now I just feel the contention ... and the time to work through that is now. Before I'm in labor.

I'll bring in a birth plan for my appointment this week. Laying out everything I want out of this experience and discussing my options. I'm also praying Heike will be available and not at another birth when I go into labor. I want her to come to Kira's birth as my doula and advocate.

6 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. I like that you are standing up for Kira! and I will pray that Heike is there for you too!

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  2. I'm so sorry that midwife said that to you! I would be upset as well. It is so awsome you are standing up for what you know is best for you. I'll be praying all goes well. Oh and I found The Unneccsarean after Jeffrey was born and LOVE it!! Have you read http://www.birthsense.org/ or http://rixarixa.blogspot.com/ ? They are two other of my favorite birth blogs.

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  3. Thank you! Casey, thanks for the links, too. I checked them out this afternoon and need to do some more exploring :o).

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  4. It is so frustrating that you think you are going to a midwife so that she will stick up for your choices to have a natural birth and you get THAT!! I hope that Heike is available as well!! I will not be reading those websites though, it scares me that I might find that I could have avoided a csection! I don't want to know!! I hated hated hated having a csection after having 3 natural births and 2 of those without any meds! Yay you for sticking up for you and Kira!

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  5. I'm praying for you and Kira, Birdget! Hope you're able to get plenty of rest these days! <3

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  6. I will be praying for you and Kira. Bridge, don't feel like being under pressure. Try to stay calm. You know that you want the best for both Kira and yourself, and that is what matters. Heavenly Father is there for you and I am sure He will help you and your doctors to make the right decision.
    Maybe you won’t get to give birth in a way that you wish to, and maybe your doctors won’t get to undertake the procedure they intend to, but WHAT really matters, and what your family, friends, and I will be praying for is that when the time comes, what you experience proves to be the most beneficial, and that both of you girls feel well, and healthy. I love you so much. I am thinking of you.

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