Saturday, November 24, 2007

Who Am I? How Did I Get Here?

Inspired by an MDC post, SO: Midwives, Birth trauma and Conclusion for the parents..., I have decided to put it all out there. This blog is my release of emotions about my birth, your birth, upcoming births, any birth that I have an inkling to talk or rant about, including the birth of me as a hands off, non-interventive, fun loving, balls to the wall midwife.

I am 30 years old. A mother, wife, doula, apprentice/primary under supervision midwife, non-creating artist, reader, and lover of nature.

Almost 5 years ago I was faced with a stressful, very difficult decision put forth to me by my then midwife and her partner. I lived in Washington state where the regulation of midwifery and homebirth is both thorough and oppressively strict. Some may argue that this makes it safer, I believe these laws restrict birthing women's choices and allow the state to dictate the ways in which a midwife can provide care for their clients, often at the expense of both mother and baby's well being. I was 42 weeks in my pregnancy and told that my midwife could no longer attend my birth at home because of state law. After several unsuccessful attempts to induce "naturally", including using acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy and finally the dreaded castor oil, my baby and were definitely not ready for labor to begin. By this time I was under a lot of stress and felt completely defeated. My midwife discussed the issue of me being what she considered post dates with her consulting OB. Without ever meeting me in person, looking at my chart or reviewing my perfectly normal, healthy non-stress test results, of which I had 5, the OB told me he had "not had any woman go past 42 weeks since 1984 and it wasn't going to happen with me." I was advised to report to Tacoma General the next morning for induction with cytotec. My husband and I pushed this date back two more days to give me time to go naturally and weigh the pros and cons. I couldn't even think at this point and just died, right then and there. With fear, reluctance, loathing, anger and sadness, I went to the hospital and started the induction on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002. I was given no information about the possible side effects of cytotec, pitocin, epidurals or narcotics, not by the nurses, doctors or my midwife who came along to act as my doula, though I had my acupuncturist and a good friend in attendance with that role. Though I was told the entire time that I couldn't do it, that he was too big, that I was too tired, that I was selfish, that my uterus was too weak, and finally that I would kill him if I didn't consent to a c-section right away, after 3 1/2 days, the firing of one doctor, and an epidural on the morning of the 3rd day, my son was born vaginally with a nuchal arm and big 2nd degree tear at 3:11pm. He weighed 8lbs 9oz, was 21 1/2 in. long and the hospital pediatrician on call evaluated him and said he could not be any older than 39weeks, tops.

Now here is where my frustration comes in most. My husband and I knew my dates were not accurate. I have always had irregular, anovulatory cycles, we had been trying for several months to get pregnant and had stopped charting to help the spontaneity. When I met my midwife I made it clear to her that my dates were just guesses based on when hubby and I had sex. I agreed to an ultrasound to try and date the pregnancy but it was after 20 weeks, so the accuracy of the revised date was unreliable, even though I know now that it would have been correct. I didn't know this because no one told me at the time. I agreed to non-stress tests because I intuitively knew that my dates were off, my baby was fine and the tests would prove this. What I didn't know was the the consulting OB would not accept the revised due date or the NS test results. He went off the original date given and treated me like a cow. I felt like he couldn't wait to get in there and pull that calf out.
No one told me how important that due date is in a state where the midwives wear shackles. No one told me I could birth with a non licensed midwife or drive down to Portland, OR and have my baby with a midwife who followed her intuition instead of her politician. Most of all, no one told me that the decision was mine and mine only and to listen to my heart and my baby. If I knew then what I know now I would have birthed unassisted and had by beautiful son at home.

So that is who I am now and how I got here. The birth of my son defined me and will shape the rest of my life. I am the midwife that I never had. The keeper of birth justice. The voice of informed consent. The holder of memories that drive me to be better.


CfM Molly said...

I followed you here from your comment on the CfM blog. I really valued reading your story here and I really see where you are coming from with your perspective about the possible dangers of legislation. While I do support legislative efforts in general, I definitely hear and respect the concerns/fears from people about the risks involved to the practice of midwifery. It is complicated! (I live in an illegal state and my feeling is that legislation is better than the horrible situation we are in right now.)

Best wishes,


midwife of the plains said...

Hello Birthright. I too, live in Kansas. I, too, am an AAMI (longtime) student. Given your personal birth experience, how do you feel about the alegal status of midwifery in KS?
Please feel free to email me with any questions and comments.