mordwen: (Default)
I wish I'd been able to birth at home. I still feel like I should have fought harder to do so. I didn't because my doctor suggested it was a bad idea for a first time mum at 38 and because I broke my back three years ago. If I'd had the cash to pay for the midwives without blinking and if I'd been even three years younger, I would have fought for it.

As it turned out, I think going to the birth centre, which was my compromise, was a very bad idea and what landed me in the hospital and then having a C-section. I was the classic cascade of interventions and I don't believe they were necessary. There's a chance they were -- a small chance. If something had gone seriously wrong, we could have got from here to the hospital in 12 minutes. As it was, my "emergency" C-section was delayed two hours while other, more urgent cases were taken care of. Mine was not an emergency until *after* they doped me up with Fentanyl and caused problems for Harper. Before the drug, she was doing fine.

In countries like the Netherlands, home birth is the standard and hospital births are unusual. Their neonatal and maternal death rate is one of the world's lowest. If I'd been at home, my "I don't think I can do another seven hours of this!" would have been met with encouraging, "Yes, you can!" not "Let's get you drugs".[1]

Anyway, you may not know that home birth is about to be functionally illegal in Australia. You may not know that there is a rally of women and children tomorrow morning in Canberra and that many of my friends will be there. I wish that I could have been there. If it had been on a weekend or I hadn't just started a job, I imagine I would have been there.

What you are doing is incredibly important, my friends. Birthing is one of the most fundamental acts of a woman's life, if she chooses to experience it. And although some of us don't get to have the full experience for whatever reason and may mourn it, it's up to us and our partners to choose how we birth. Birthing is not a disease that needs medicalising. For most women and most babies, it's something that can be safely done at home with a midwife. What's more, C-sections have a *higher* rate of maternal death than home birth.[2] Babies die. There are still births in hospitals too. And when that happens, it's absolutely tragic. Taking birth out of the home and into the operating theatre does NOT solve that problem.

Australian parents should have the right to choose a safe, natural birth in their homes. Come on, Minister Roxon. Put aside your own fears and prejudices and listen to the science.

[1] I do understand that everyone in my birth team was under a bunch of stress and little sleep. This is not a criticism of anyone. Those of you who've read my birth story know that the evil bitch hospital midwife Melissa is who we blame.
[2] Really recent research: "Outcomes of planned homebirth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician", "Planned homebirth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician"


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January 2011

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