This post is a little late due to our wonderful Science Photo Contest which we hope to have a winner for very soon...But here you go. Toda we go back to a time when River Raintree was still our hero, before she failed us all with a hospital transport.
I’ve always known I was meant to be a mom, so I was devastated when I learned that I had a condition that made it unlikely that I could ever conceive. Thanks to modern medicine and IVF, though, I’m now happily pregnant...with quadruplets. I’d never really thought much about the birth part of the equation beforehand, but now that I’ve educated myself (there is just SO much great information out there on the internet!) I realize that I owe it to myself and my babies to go au natural. I mean, now that they’re in there, I can totally trust my body to do exactly what it’s made to do!! Unfortunately, my MFMs were really unsupportive. They keep telling me that I have a greater “chance” of giving birth prematurely and that premature babies need special care and that I should schedule an c-section (extraction) to make sure they could be born safely, blah blah blah. So I fired them!! At first, I found this CPM who seemed really awesome and was SO excited about catching quads (she made me promise she could post pictures on her blog), but she keeps wanting to interfere with my NORMAL birth by taking my temperature and measuring my fundal height, and using a Doppler (who knows what THAT might do to them) to monitor their heartbeat, so I think I’m going to fire her, too.
I am so frustrated. Why? Because care providers are so worried about their licenses and following the law and making sure things are properly documented and done according to some arbitrary standard. Really? Women have been giving birth for thousands of years perfectly well before these nincompoops decided to create themselves a job and interfere. I am finally realizing that the only way I am going to have an empowering birth is to birth unassisted. Am I on some sort of mission to become a UC mom? No. Do I tell other moms to UC? No. It is the situation I am in and not being able to find the right support that is leading me to conclude that the only person I can depend on in this situation is myself.
My body wouldn’t have let the IVF make four babies (Gasp! The horror!) if it wasn’t ready to birth them. But the medical profession assumes that my body must be broken. I’m “high risk,” so I must need interventions. My babies and I must be monitored at all times to make sure my placenta isn’t covering my cervix or something. This is what obstetrics is…managing and interfering with NORMAL birth.
You might be thinking, “She should go with that midwife.” Someone that is ‘with woman’. Not even all midwives are supportive of multiple births at home because of their own fears. Luckily there are some great midwives who really do trust birth. There’s one big problem. Even the best of midwives who are licensed are subjected to following the laws. *eyeroll* Let me give you an example in my pregnancy RIGHT NOW.
The midwife I mentioned before and I talked about what would happen if I went into labor before 36 weeks, which is pretty likely with a higher order multiple pregnancy. Right now I am 34 weeks, and plenty of people are shocked that I’ve made it this far . We were really open with one another and she told me she wanted to monitor the babies and make sure they were OK, to which I said I understood. So, here I am at 34 weeks and she’s like, “OK mama, I need to listen to those babies’ heartbeat or you’re going to have to go UC.” She doesn’t want to pressure me, but what does it come down to? She has to cover her ass. I understand. I am not angry with her. But I cried. Why? This is interfering with my birth. I do not feel the need for monitoring. I just *know* that my babies and I are going to be perfectly fine in the end. Can that be respected at the same time as another woman (midwife) supporting me? No. Because of laws.
I did not cry for me though. I cried because of the awful spectical birth has become. It’s WAY bigger than me. Sure, it’s annoying that this happened and that I’m being FORCED to choose a UC, but I can handle me. It’s the big picture I have issues with. I cried for all the other women who can not get the support they need or deserve. I cried because of how many women are subjected to interventions because they might be carrying more than one or two babies in their womb. I cried because it’s JUST BIRTH and women should just be able to support each other in birthing without interventions, licensing, laws and the government telling midwives who they can and can not support and women where and how they can and can not birth. Think about it. How twisted is this?!
What can I do? What can we do? It will only change with WOMEN DECIDING TO CHANGE IT. We have to stop being frightened of birth, stop being frightened of something we have been perfectly designed to do. We have to stop being victims. You hired your midwife or your OB and you can fire them!! There are great OB’s and midwives out there and we need to seek them out. Stop making excuses and do whatever it takes to have an empowering birth! It’s YOUR body, YOUR birth, and YOUR baby. It won’t change until YOU do. And THAT is why I’m giving my babies the gift of UC.
River Raintree is a regular on NPRs "Mama Hour" and lives in Nevada with her husband and soon to be quads!