30 March 2006

Spitting Mad: NIH State-of-the-Science Conference: Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request

Just so's y'all know what I'm rampaging about, check this out: http://videocast.nih.gov/PastEvents.asp?c=998 or if you just want to read it, go here: http://consensus.nih.gov/2006/2006CesareanSOS027html.htm#Statement. Bluntly put, these people are out of their fucking minds. And they're in charge, ostensibly, of our health. Got that? People in charge of women's health that cannot decisively determine that a planned vaginal birth is more healthy for mother and baby than an elective cesarean at 39 weeks gestation. I'm nearly beyond words just now, I'm so upset, and that should tell you all something. If you listen to all three days (which I didn't, because I just knew I'd die), you'd have noticed something. You'd have noticed a lot of men and a lot of MDs and very few women. Very few survivors. One woman's daughter, after listening to them go on, remarked that it sounded to her like they think that babies have fangs. If this is truly the state of things, if these ...these.... oh, adequate terms of opprobrium elude me, I'm so upset..... people... can't figure out the difference between coerced cesarean and maternal request with Amber Marlowe's case still in the freaking courts, how can they think their way through anything??? It is apparently not about birth. Or about common sense. Or about faith that maybe God/ess made us OK. Or about health either, in any demonstrable, supported-by-the-goddamned-research kind of way. It is about power. It is about control. I have little flashes of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale going through my brain right now. If they can't tell the difference between real birth and technocratic birth, then we are far more doomed than we think. I could keep going... in fact, this may end up being the most heavily edited blog I've ever posted. They can't figure out why the VBAC rate is plummeting yet the elective cesarean rate is skyrocketing. I would have loved to have one of them come along with me in my search for a care provider willing to work with me in my VBAC. They can't figure out why primary cesareans are skyrocketing. They should read their own press. Their base assumptions are flawed, their logic is flawed... I'm screaming, inside my head, on so many levels, I'm quite sure my eyeballs are going to shatter from the reverb. I used to think that "women's rights" were wrapped up in Roe V Wade. I was so wrong. The real fight is here. Right here. Everything that matters starts with birth.


At 3/31/2006 08:18:00 AM, Blogger Savonara said...

I'm right there with ya, outraged at this travesty - what the hell was that, a real inquest into cesareans or a big giant marketing plan meeting?? They are not listening to us, they are not paying any attention to actual research, they are not giving any priority to the health and well-being of women and children.

What sickens me further is that I can just see the news being received happily by many women, since a lot of women in our culture have been raised to fear birth - now there's a way "out" woo-hoo!! And it won't be til they are on the other side of that "way out" that some of them realize they've been had.

The conclusion reached by the NIH has not offered women a new choice in childbirth (as if it's up to a group of men to tell us what our birth choices are!!) - it will simply embed into our cultural psyche even more deeply the idea that birth is scary, traumatic and an event that women need to be "rescued" from entirely. It's not a coincidence that most of the individuals deciding this are men, they've been feeding us this line for decades. It's time that women's organizations take a stand to defend women's birth rights. It's been time for a long while.

At 3/31/2006 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

Haven't these bozos ever heard of Occam's Razor? Doctors don't want to stay up all night waiting on a baby. They want to go play golf and drive their Porsches. C-sections are faster and make more money.


At 3/31/2006 01:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least one, maybe more, of the presenting OB's even said that cesareans are being done for reasons that have to do with malpracice insurance, not with the best interests of women or babies.

I can't say I'm surprised. It seemed as though every time someone got up to address the negatives of c-sections, and their impact on women's lives, the moderator shut them down in a hurry.

This drives me insane. These women who are "choosing" (with plenty of input from their doctors) unnecessary surgery really don't understand the future ramifications. The NIH doesn't recommend maternal request cesarean for women who are "planning" more than one or two children. What about those who are only planning one or two, but change their minds???

This is ugly. It's ugly, and it's scary.

At 3/31/2006 01:59:00 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

I've been sitting here for days, completely unable to write what I need to on my own blog about this. Thanks for doing so here.

At 3/31/2006 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you had seen this. Ouch. And I didn't send you an email about it cuz *I* couldn't find the words. Not after dh told me a few weeks back that the head nurse person and subsequent staff at the hospital where he works refer to babies born outside a "sterile" environment - ie a hospital - as "dirty babies". Yup. That's right. Babies born at home are called "dirty babies". Can't imagine that this is the only hospital that uses this terminology either. A simple label alone exemplifying the overwhelming perspective of so many. My anger/disappointment/fury/overwhelming sadness all kind of seems to implode on itself over the whole thing. And yeah, hun, you're right on the money - "women's rights" start wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy before and after Roe v. Wade. Just hoping that this is all the swing of the pendulum before the God/ess in all of us sets this right.


At 3/31/2006 08:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To round out the frustration on a smaller scale: Just today I went to a kids' bday party w/ my 3yo, myself 9m pg, and heard 2 of the 3 other moms sharing their "happy c/s" stories along the lines of "I'm so glad I didn't have to go through labor" - I didn't even feel like evangelizing anymore, but am all the more resolved to vbac, god/ess willing!

At 4/04/2006 08:02:00 PM, Blogger MommaD said...

We've talked about our c/secs at length, Laureen and although I do feel my first was necessary due to breech presentation (and I know many who read you may disagree), I do regret my decision to repeat c/sec instead of attempt VBAC. As you know, my repeat was a botch job of epic porportions. And I did it to myself and my babe because I didn't think I could do it any other way.

At 4/04/2006 08:40:00 PM, Blogger ElementalMom said...

Just a clarification to MommaD and anyone who reads her comment: that is NOT what I'm talking about, what is so upsetting about the NIH hearings. What I'm upset about are women who sign up for primary and subsequent csections *without benefit of thought or reason*. Women who "fear labor", or who think it's easier, more convenient, whatever other banal reason. The NIH basically made it sound like the huge rise in csections is the fault of women, of those women in particular. But I can't think of anyone who is more illustrative of my point, that women are driven there, than MommaD.

At 4/06/2006 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous Dana said...

Blogging about this is wonderful, but are you also writing articles about it for the mainstream media? I don't mean little tucked away markets, I mean investigative pieces for Parenting, Parents, the big parenting magazines. Right?

And I know from all the material you've researched on giving birth after c-sections, all the anecdotal material you've collected, and all the insantiy you are continuing to come across, you've got the making for a book.

The pen is mightier than the sword. You knew I'd say this, but you've been ranting over the issue for over two years. Put it all in writing, in cohesive chapters, attacking the current system, and giving mothers other options.

I know there are some books out there on natural delivery after the big C, but yours would directly attack the current problems and system, and give plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Poke, poke, nudge, nudge. Maybe this is what you need to write before doing the Elemental Parenting?

Hop on it! Dana

At 4/11/2006 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Moira said...

I agree there are some who NEED a C-sections... for medical reasons real ones not something madeup by scared Doctors... But the people who "plan" the birth of their child to fit their schedules!!! Or who want to be just woken up when its all over... IT'S just WRONG on many levels and really DON'T make the best parents since they don't put the child first.

At 4/11/2006 07:45:00 PM, Anonymous Dana said...

Dirty babies! That is positively disgusting that hospital staff would come up with that: dirty babies, sterile babies. Eeks. That's downright foul. Dana

At 4/12/2006 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

to what FR said about women "happy to not have to go thru labor" - shit i just cringe thinking about our world, a few generations out when labor is out of the continuum of experience for a large part of the population. like when those women's babies grow up to choose to avoid labor and their children too, having no role models and all this "common knowledge" that birth is dirty, painful and fear-worthy.

is this some bad sci fi novel? women who have not birthed thru their vaginas in generations? i simply can't bear to think of it. what next, cesarean intervention for all of animal-kind? what frontier has not been "conquered" by science?

i heard someone recently equate the "miracle" of c-sections to the fact that, thanks to medical science, we don't have to die of polio anymore and we don't have to have painful childbirths anymore either.

fuck. i just need to go out & roll around in some dirt and moss, lie in a cave next to a litter of wolf cubs and howl howl howl at the sky.

At 4/21/2006 02:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birth is inherently a natural process. The majority of women would like to achieve a spontaneous vaginal delivery and should be supported in their efforts to achieve that goal.

Taken directly from the report of the conference you are debating. Just throwing a little fuel on the fire.... :-)

At 4/21/2006 09:53:00 PM, Blogger ElementalMom said...

Don't know who wrote the last comment (since it's anonymous), but just so's anyone else reading knows, that's out of context. I will rant at length, privately.


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