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Media Attacks Midwives/Home Births!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I used to love the Today Show and trusted their reporting as fair and balanced. That was until I saw this "investigative" piece on Friday entitled "The Perils of Home Births." The title alone screams we-are-about-to-warn-you-about-a-threat-to-society! I watched it anyway since I had recently used a midwife, and I am considering a home birth for our next baby. This so-called investigative report uses a worst-case-scenario to question the "trend" of women giving birth at home. At the centerpiece of this report is a NYC couple discussing the loss of their daughter during a botched delivery in which she was in labor for four days! Four days?! The baby girl was born limp and could not be resuscitated by the midwife nor the doctors at the hospital after they were transported. This story hit home because I was in a similar "perilous" position except my midwife used her professional judgment to transport me when she realized something was wrong. I will be forever grateful to her for acting quickly and to the obstetrician who delivered Marlie because she was in distress and could have died. While I was disappointed that I did not deliver at the birthing center as planned, I am more thrilled that I have my healthy baby girl.

Now, I wasn't present at this couple's home birth, so I am not going t
o speculate as to what may have happened, but what they did reveal spoke volumes. They claim they chose their midwife after seeing her featured in the Rikki Lake's The Business of Being Born, a documentary that promotes the benefits of natural birth. The reporter uses this as evidence that pregnant women are following what's popular with celebrities and ignoring the risks. The fact that the reporter implies that women who choose this route are doing so because it's in-style really pisses me off! I feel the entire report amounts to a thinly-veiled scare tactic. Where was the investigative report when women started scheduling C-sections like a certain Spice Girl? I don't care what method you choose to deliver your baby, you should never surrender your health care to anyone. Not all midwives are the same, just like all doctors are not the same. You need to do your homework, educate yourself, and interview potential maternity care providers. Otherwise, you can end up with the same tragic result as this couple (at home, at a birthing center, or even at a hospital). I can tell you point-by point why we chose to use a midwife at a birthing center and it wasn't because we saw some commercial. It was an educated decision we made after weighing a lot of options. I have several friends who delivered their babies at home without incident, and while I used them as inspiration, I did not just simply follow in their footsteps.
born loser funny midwifeSome people may ask if I would choose a midwife/birth center again since I wound up at the hospital anyway. The answer is, YES! As a matter of fact, I would like to have a home birth the next time (god willing). It is still my opinion that a hospital is not the only safe place to have a baby. Still, midwifery care and home birth is not for everyone. Some women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, need medical supervision during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Some healthy women will need medical intervention during labor and delivery because of unforeseen complications. In my case, the midwife could not tell that the cord was around Marlie's neck, but she knew something was off and called the hospital. We chose this particular birthing center specifically for its standing relationship with a hospital located one block away. We did not just buy into a storybook ideal. We made sure we had a back-up plan. We were responsible parents-to-be who made the best choice for us, and I resent any media portrayal that insinuates that we just jumped on a bandwagon, or worse, were being reckless.

6 comments:

Painter Mommy said...

I love that cartoon!

I agree with you about the hospital though. I have high risk pregnancies, so I am not able to have a midwife - maybe I woould, but I would still feel more comfortable at the hospital in case something were to go wrong.

DAWN
www.PainterMommy.com

Sadiebug and her Mom said...

I had thought about the midwife/home birth option, but a doctor friend suggested a hospital would be best because you never know what will happen. Well, turns out he was right. Sadie was a footling breach baby and I had a C-Section. But every woman has the right to make her own decision, but at the same time accept the consequences. If a home birth and midwife are right for you and you are confident in her skills, then have the birth experience you want!

Have a Happy SITS Sharefest Day!

Mimi said...

Well written piece. It's a shame that they really investigate one or two couples but ignore the thousands of women who have had at home births with midwives without any complications!

Stopped in from SITS, by the way.

Darcel said...

I think the media and medical professionals are scared that more and more women will turn to birth at home, and that leaves less money in their pocket.

The business of being born is titled that, because it is just that, a business!

Homebirth is not a trend, women are now seeing there is another way. Pregnancy is not an illness and that is what the hospital is for. Unfortunately once most women step foot inside the hospital the interventions began, they have to keep on schedule. It's sad but true. It also seems to me that they don't want to truly be informed and educated.

This is their job and career, and they can't take enough time to get the facts? It's disgusting.
Having a homebirth is not only about trusting in yourself and baby, it's about taking responsibility for your birth.

Some people are not willing to do that. That's ok, but for others it's been the perfect choice. I will never go back to a hospital birth again, unless it is an absolute emergency.

I loved giving birth at home with our 2nd. Here is a link to our birth story

http://luvnharmony.wordpress.com/ava-elizabeths-homebirth/

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

honestly, we women need to support each other and celebrate our diversity and the diversity of our choices. no woman would ever willingly put her baby at risk and btw for thousands of years women did exactly as you, and it seems like it worked for them, aye?

ps wanted to let you know i WILL get around to posting your award, it's just been a little crazy over at SFTC! thanks for your patience!

Anonymous said...

I am a labor and delivery nurse who fortunately works at a hospital with BOTH midwives and doctors. The nurses, docs, and midwives work really well together and are really supportive of each other. We do high risk as well as natural births on a daily basis. We use birthing balls, stools, bars, and out patients can labor in the shower. I think it's the best of both worlds. Ignorance is bliss! You have to really educate yourself of the birthing experience whether you have a midwife or a doctor. Luckily we have nurses who are patient advocates who will keep you informed. :-)

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