I am an oddity in the whole “Natural/Medical” birth argument.
See, I am pro-medical birth. Staunchly so. I think the absolute BEST possible outcome of childbirth is at the hands of trained medical practitioners with the proper support structure and proximity to said support structure if things go wrong or expert help is needed.
But I train home birth midwives. These conduct deliveries for a large number of rural women who never could get to a hospital in time. At least this way they have technology and sterile equipment.
But the natural birthers and the pro-choice tell me repeatedly that the act of birth is nearly divine and designed to be perfect. That us doctors would rather slash and stab women than use the natural process.
[TW – Stillbirth]
This is just a daft thing to say. There is plenty of evidence that the Natural Birthers often have stillborn children and while they foist these on the medical system (birth complications are carted off to the hospital and the outcomes are classified as hospital related) the indications are clear.
Sometimes this well oiled system goes horrifically and spectacularly wrong. I have lost a mother on the table because of how wrong it went, I have seen babies die in utero and babies die during birth. I have even seen one twin kill the other in utero just by the pressure of two foetuses in a space really meant for one. There are babies born without heads and there are babies born perfectly healthy but who are hurt permanently by the mechanism of birth.
One of the things I have tried to do is instil the concept of value for each child. The idea is that if each child is valuable then parents will have fewer of them. And unlike other places when I am working in the delivery room, If a stillbirth occurs, I allow the mother to keep the baby for a short while and even pay for a priest to do a proper cremation and funeral ceremony and issue a paper with the name of the child, and the hand and footprints.
It brings closure for one and many mothers are distraught at the end because it’s usually something they have done.
The last one was a woman who came in with profuse bleeding per vagina. She had not had a trip to the ultrasound since conception and the midwife made a terrible error.
See sometimes the position of the placenta can lie over the os of the cervix. Doing a per vaginal exam would cause the placenta to rupture and haemorrhage. If she had come in earlier we could have tried to save the child but now it was a struggle to save the mother.
To treat this you need “so much blood” that you actually run two simultaneous IV lines. In the aftermath she lost her uterus. All for the want of a single free ultrasound…
It’s not her fault, she didn’t see why. It’s not our fault because we really cannot tell everyone. She was just one of the voices that fell through the cracks in our system.
Even though her baby and to her it’s a baby. We may see it as a foetus but to the mother who wants a child it”s always going to be her baby…. had to be delivered in pieces we still let her see him. We paid for the funeral.
It’s nice to see other people do the same thing. We may think about hard cold facts and the like but sometimes you have to take a step back as an atheist and bite down your tongue when it comes to the private views of others.
We may not think it’s healthy to cradle a dead foetus or treat it like it’s alive but to that mother in that moment that is her baby and no logic is going to change the way she feels. So let her have the time. Treat the stillborn as people.