Cesarean rates are at an all time high and no one in the medical community or women’s groups seem to care.
But there are women who DO care! I am one of them. In the next weeks I will be posting some articles I have been working on regarding worries and fears and how these can effect their births. The thing is MANY women are being scared into unnecessary cesareans. This then leads to an increase in risks to mothers and their babies.
I think that education of parents is key to helping to decrease the cesarean rates. The medical community doesn’t seem to want to rectify the situation, so parents need to make wiser choices in their care providers and in their birthing education to get the healthiest births possible.
How can you find the best care provider for your birth? Well, a lot of this depends on what kind of birth you want to have. How can you know what kind of birth you want to have?
1. Take an independent childbirth class. (outside of the hospital system) Here you will learn about all your options for birthing, choices you can make.
2. Read good books talking about different options for birthing.
3. Read positive birth stories, looking for similarities in the births. What did those moms do to create a great birth?
Here is a great post on another blog with more ideas, questions to ask, things to think about! Check it out!
Mauro is 11 weeks old and I am just now getting around to writing his birth story. He has needed a lot more help adjusting to the world than his older sister did, and I also have had problems with breastfeeding and my breasts, including thrush, and we are just now settling in well.
After our daughter was born 13 years ago, I had tried for 10 years to get pregnant again, without success and without being able to find the reason. I was 33 when I had her, so it may have just been decreased fertility with age, but of course I know many women who had no trouble getting pregnant after 35. We live in a small town in the Patagonian region of Argentina, and had just about given up about ever having another child until we heard a couple of years ago that there was a new fertility clinic in the nearest large city, about four hours from where we live. We went there and began IVF treatments, and after the fourth try, we got Mauro!
Although my daughter’s birth had been very easy, I was very nervous about Mauro’s birth, because of all the trouble I had gone through trying to get pregnant and during the pregnancy, and because of my age (46!). When I got the Hypnobabies home study course and started practicing in my 31st week, I became much more relaxed. I wished I had gotten the course sooner, because the deep relaxation every day would have been so helpful, especially during the first trimester!
I had great faith that self-hypnosis would work for me, because of my personality and the way I usually handle painful or stressful situations, and because of the way my daughter’s birth had gone. I wasn’t so convinced about the visualizations, though, mainly because I didn’t think I was doing them right. I would always get hung up on details when I tried to do it, and often fell asleep before I finished. But several things were always consistent—1) I wanted Mauro to come between 39 and 40 weeks, on a weekday and during the day, because then the obstetricians and pediatricians would be at the hospital (after-hours and weekend births are attended by whatever doctor of whatever specialty happens to be on call), 2) I wanted him to be born in the morning, between 8 and 12, because then I would only have to spend one night in the hospital after he was born, rather than two, 3) I didn’t want the birthing time to last more than about 4 or 5 hours, 4) I didn’t want an episiotomy or serious tears, and 5) I wanted the birth to happen in the labor room, or even in the emergency room when I first came in—I didn’t want to go to the delivery room and have to get up on the delivery bed because I was afraid it would be more difficult for me to control the situation there. I was hoping to arrive at the last minute, after spending most of my birthing time at home peacefully with my daughter and husband.
At 33 weeks, Mauro had turned breech, which is an automatic c- section here, and I got very worried. I started doing the Hypnobabies breech baby script, though, and was shocked that he turned almost immediately, I think after about the 2nd or 3rd time I listened to it, although I continued to do it every day until my next doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, he turned again at 35 weeks! So, I started over with the breech baby script, and this
time I think he turned the first time I listened to it. After that, fortunately he stayed put.
The other possible kink in my plans was that I was GBS+ and the obstetricians wanted me to be at the hospital in time to get two IV doses of penicillin, four hours apart. For that reason, I needed to try to get to the hospital when I thought I might have a few hours left until the birth. This ruled out the emergency room delivery!
On Thursday of my 39th week, I was having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but this had happened to me other times during the last few weeks. Whenever I had a lot of them, though, I did get a bit anxious about the possibility of it being my birthing time, because with my daughter that was all I really felt until I reached transition. By evening, I knew that the nature of the birthing waves had changed and that it was indeed my birthing time! I told my husband and daughter that Mauro would be arriving either that night or the next morning. I went to bed and slept until about 2:30.
When I woke up the birthing waves seemed more regular and stronger, but when we timed them they weren’t that regular. I listened to the Easy First Stage CD while my husband got dressed and ready to go. When I finished the CD, though, I was very relaxed and the waves had slowed down and I told him I didn’t want to go yet, as it hadn’t been my plan to have to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep and when I woke up at 5:30 I knew that now it was really time!
We only live 5 minutes from the hospital (everything in town is 5 minutes away because it is so small!), and I had my bag mostly ready, but it still took us over an hour to get to the emergency room. We had to get our daughter up and take her to a neighbor’s house, and I continued to listen to the CD while she and my husband got everything ready. We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 7 a.m., and I was having powerful birthing waves. The doctor on call palpated my abdomen during a birthing wave and said they were very strong. He and the nurse couldn’t believe how totally relaxed I was, and were completely respectful of what I was doing. My husband always asked them to wait and do things between birthing waves. I listened almost constantly to the CD with my iPod, taking out the earphones only when I had to answer something that my husband couldn’t.
The doctor checked me out and said to my surprise (and his, too, because of how strong he judged the waves to be) that I was only 4 cm dilated! My confidence wavered a bit, because I was handling things fine at that point, but the waves were already so intense and powerful, and I thought perhaps I was in for a long birthing time and couldn’t imagine at that point being able to stay on top of waves that were even stronger! I did not experience
The waves were overwhelmingly intense sensations of tightening, which I am sure some would have
interpreted as p**n, but for me their predominant characteristic was their intensity. I’m sure that there are few other physical sensations we experience in our lifetimes that are so powerful and intense. What helped me and inspired me the most in the CD was when she says, “I am safe and my baby is safe, no matter how much power
flows through me”. I kept thinking about that when things seemed to be getting too intense.
They sent me to the labor room down the hall in a wheelchair, exactly as I had imagined in my visualizations. In the labor room the nurse had to put in an IV for the antibiotics. She tried four times, and I was so glad I was under hypnosis. I had to send my anesthesia to my arms more than to my abdomen.
After a short while I had to go to the bathroom and my husband helped me in. Then I had a hard time getting off of the toilet, because every time I started to, another birthing wave came. I had left the iPod in the bed and had to work hard to maintain my focus. I leaned on my husband’s stomach with every wave, and was so glad he was there with me then. (He thinks that was all he did during the whole birthing time, but his dealing with the doctors and nurses for me was crucial!) Meantime, the nurse knocked on the door, telling me the obstetrician had arrived and wanted to check me out. I knew I didn’t want to give birth in the bathroom, so after a few more waves I managed to make my way back to the bed.
When the o.b. checked me out I was 9 cm! He said he was going to break my water bag, and that then I could start pushing. I wasn’t entirely keen on that, but at that point, I was just eager for Mauro to come! In the birth of my daughter, I had hardly felt any urge to push, so I was shocked by the power of the waves that started after my water was broken. I immediately started saying “AAAHHH” with each wave, and letting my body do the pushing, and reminded myself that I and my baby were safe no matter how much power flowed through my body! Wow! What a power it was! Even though I had had a child before, I had never felt anything like it.
My husband, the o.b., and the pediatrician who had just arrived went to scrub and dress for the delivery room.
I was lying on my side, but when the doctor came back he wanted me to roll over so he could listen to the baby’s heartbeat (they don’t have a fetal monitor at the hospital). I had to wait through a few more waves because they were coming so fast and strong, and when I finally turned over, he saw that Mauro’s head was crowning! He told me to push with the next wave because the head was halfway out, but I went ahead and pushed between waves and the head slid right out, with the o.b. supporting my perineum. Another push before the next wave and out came the body, and the next thing I knew, there was the most beautiful little baby boy I had ever seen, lying wet and naked on my chest!
It was 9 a.m., so it had taken only two hours to go from 4 cm to birth. And we didn’t go to the delivery room. No episiotomy and only superficial tears that didn’t require stitching up! EVERYTHING that I had managed to visualize, had come to pass!
As he was lying on my chest, the o.b. saw that the cord had a complete knot in it! Fortunately, it wasn’t pulled completely tight, which could have been disastrous, especially in a place where they are unable to monitor the baby very closely. I’m sure that the hypnosis helped us there, as Mauro spent no more than 10 minutes coming through the birth canal. I think it would have been more likely to be pulled tight if he had spent a lot of time in the
In retrospect, after seeing how well the visualization worked, I wish I had spent some time visualizing what would happen AFTER the birth, which I’m afraid I was totally unprepared for. For a minute he looked a bit too blue and still, and the pediatrician took him to check him out in the delivery room where the incubator was. I understood that, but the nurse ended up having him in there longer than he needed to be. I had had a lot of trouble during the
first month nursing my daughter, but later went on to nurse her for two and a half years. I suppose because I was remembering those 2 ½ good years rather than the first month, I spent zero time during the pregnancy thinking about or preparing for nursing, and ended up making the same mistakes I had made 13 years ago, getting me off to a bad start again.
Both Mauro and I had complications during the first few weeks, and I was so glad that at least the birth had been
a breeze, and I didn’t also have to deal with recovery from the birth while I was dealing with my other problems. I have wondered if my thrush was related to the one IV dose of antibiotics they managed to get into me before he was born. Talking to the pediatricians later, it probably hadn’t really been necessary, because he spent so little time in the birth canal, which is where he would have been exposed.
I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to use self hypnosis for Mauro’s birth. Not only did it allow me to have the kind of birth I wanted for him and for me, but it also taught me the incredible power of the mind and the value of deep relaxation. I hope to be able to continue to use those lessons throughout the rest of my life. I also really appreciate the Hypnobabies list, which was a great help to me in my isolation down here. I got helpful advice the few times I wrote requesting help, both before and after the birth, and also got a lot out of reading about other people’s situations. So thanks so much from Mauro and me to Hypnobabies, and to Sheridan and all the other Hypnomoms on the list in the last few months!
Read more Hypnobabies Birth Stories
Join the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group (be sure to look for request for introduction e-mail, you must send the introduction to be approved)
I am grateful for:
- My husband who supports me as I live a life with this passion for birth. He didn’t mind that I was gone for 57 hours out of 62 consecutive hours 3 days last month, as a doula for 2 long induction births. He listens to me talk about birth things all the time. 🙂
- Devon – my son who said, “I thought you worked part time” when he saw me after my 2 long births.
- Carson – my first VBAC baby. Such a sweet kid.
- Bryson – his birth inspired me to become a doula and a Hypnobabies Instructor. Who knew birth could be so enjoyable? It can!
- My friends – who help watch my kids while I am at births.
- Hypnobabies – I love being able to teach such a wonderful, complete childbirth education program to moms.
- I love all my students too!
- The Hypnobabies Home Study program – I love that there is a complete home study program available for moms across the world, who don’t have instructors nearby.
- All the moms on the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group who inpsire each other and me as they work towards having the most positive enjoyable births possible.
- Independent Childbirth Educators Group, I have long looked for women who shared the same passion for educating women about birth. I have found them here!
- ICAN – International Cesarean Awareness Network – This is a wonderful group for moms in helping them with cesarean information… whether it be to avoid a primary cesarean, help them find support in their quest for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and support for mom’s who need cesareans for medical reasons.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!
I do NOT recommend What to Expect When you are Expecting… this tells you everything that can go wrong and tells you to expect it. I used to recommend Your Pregnancy Week by Week, because moms wanted a book to tell them how their baby was developing and have a reference to what may be happening to them during pregnancy. Even this book is a bit too negative, but I didn’t know what else to suggest. I now have the best choices!
I DO recommend this pair of books to have the best of both worlds. SEE how your baby is growing and learn the different developmental stages your baby is experiencing, plus have a great reference book on what is normal pregnancy like.
The BABY-EGG Pregnancy Countdown Calendar is a wonderful visual of your growing baby and their development. This is beautifully done and life size. A hook comes with the book so you can hang it on the wall and flip a page each week. It is especially wonderful for families who already have children. So great to see and learn how the baby is growing.
Pair that book with, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin a wonderful reference book with complete pregnancy and birth information presented in a positive way.
If you are interested in learning more about Hypnobabies. You can come to an Open House on November 13th and meet moms who have had babies using Hypnobabies, hear their positive birth stories, learn about birth options in the area, meet area hypno-doulas and meet other expecting moms! To learn more visit www.enjoybirth.com
I learned about this on Rixa’s Blog.
Le Premier Cri looks (site is in French) like a film where they go to different countries and cultures and film different births. It looks like it is GREAT! I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD. 🙂
Written by Dale Bernucca, Childbirth Educator and Doula, with input from other childbirth educators at www.independentchildbirth.com.Childbirth Educators and Doulas have permission to share this article with their students/clients, as long as the author and website are cited.
Support: sup·port (s -pôrt , -p rt )
tr.v. sup·port·ed, sup·port·ing, sup·ports
To bear the weight of, especially from below; To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping; To be capable of bearing; withstand; To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen; To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities; To furnish corroborating evidence for; To aid the cause, policy, or interests of, To argue in favor of; advocate; To endure; tolerate; To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer). source: The Free Dictionary
Synonyms: uphold, back1, advocate, champion
uphold: maintain or affirm in the face of a challenge or strong opposition; back: material or moral support intended to contribute to or assure success; advocate: verbal support often in the form of pleading or arguing; champion: fight for one that is under attack or is unable to act in their own defense source: The Free Dictionary
It is natural to want to consider having a woman experienced in labor and birth with you when you are in labor. Women have birthed with women for centuries (midwife) and in many parts of the world including the USA women still bring a female relative or friend with them along with their partner when they go to their birth place or make a conscientious choice to birth at home specifically because they desire the female presence to be primary.
As we have moved further and further away from birth as a normal, organic process women find themselves intuitively feeling a sense of an incomplete birth setting as they near their due date. Some women are unable to define what is missing because they’ve never witnessed a natural birth taking place where it began, in the home. Today the majority of births in America take place in hospitals and hospitals at one time denied women any family support in labor and birth. We are making progress as today many fathers want to be at their children’s births and most hospitals are beginning to outright protect a pregnant woman’s patient rights.1
Still, women find themselves desiring ‘more’. As birth educators, women who have experienced joyful births and as women who have been with women at birth can attest ‘I need something more’ is an oft repeated thought in the laboring woman’s mind. The ‘more’ that the laboring mother cannot define is the intangible that a clinical staff can rarely provide thoroughly if at all: physical, mental and emotional support. This lack can be attributed to many causes ranging from the clinical need to distance oneself emotionally in order to best assess and manage the medical case to never having witnessed or experienced a spontaneous, unmedicated birth over an intact perineum.
After viewing, sharing and learning about natural childbirth without interventions you may find yourself realizing that you need something ‘more’ at your birth. Hopefully the ‘more’ will be a bit easier for you to define now that you know what your body is capable of doing and you’ve explored where you are on your mental and emotional journey to your baby’s birth day.
Take a look at the definition of ‘support’ above. Right now you are your own best resource for planning your birth. You know yourself better than anyone else you’ve met or will meet as you near the start of your labor. If there is something that you identify as needing bolstering in your labor now is the time to give serious consideration to mending it. For most women who understand the physical process of labor the ‘more’ that is needed is recognized immediately and it is easy for them to choose from the above list why they desire an extra female presence at their birth. If you don’t understand the process of birth then you are probably finding it more difficult to pinpoint exactly why you want a doula and that’s okay IF you let your doula know that. This will help her be at ease in opening herself up to you and exploring all avenues of support she is experienced in giving.
Your doula helps you best when you are proactive in learning about natural birth and all of your birth options. Many books, articles even doula certifying organizations themselves can put out messages about doula definitions. Some say that doulas provide only comfort measures. Some say that doulas are advocates. Some say that doulas cannot make decisions for you. Some say that doulas provide information. The truth is that doulas can be one or all of these things but what they are is dependent on the individual mother they are supporting at that one birth. A doula can play different roles for the same woman for different births. The greater the mutual exchange of insight ~ including setting boundaries for your doula ~ the more positive your birth experience will be especially if you find yourself presented with a cesarean for true medical indications.
If you are hearing your intuitive voice say that you need something ‘more’ start thinking about what you know about natural birth, all birth options in your area from homebirth to hospital birth, what you know about yourself and what you know about who you currently have in mind to be at your birth.
If you are early in your pregnancy start with a comprehensive natural childbirth class. You will need time to:
• Learn about keeping yourself low-risk and healthy so you can keep all of your options open
• Learn about your local birth care options
• How labor begins
• Variations of normal first stage labor
• Variations of normal second stage labor
• Variations of normal third stage labor
• Recognizing the true medical situation requiring medical intervention
• How your baby’s health is affected by how you labor including,
• Breastfeeding and how you and your baby’s breastfeeding relationship is affected by how you labor
• Understand how your local birth care community affects your birth (you may decide it’s your careprovider that’s leaving you feeling less than fulfilled!)
• Learn about your resources should you experience a traumatic
• Process the information and make some informed decisions and birth planning including changing from your original careprovider and birth location if necessary
This is the knowledge foundation you need before interviewing doulas. You will be prepared to know exactly what you need. Using the same process you applied to identify the careprovider right for you, you’ll be able to recognize the right doula for you. To be clear, your doula will never make decisions for you but she can be pivotal to your decision-making process as at this point you will know what real birth is and you’ll be prepared with real options. Options that she can remind you or your partner about rather than try to educate you when you’re in no mental or emotional condition to think them through with the time and effort you and your baby deserve. She can provide the physical comfort you’ve read about AND she can give you the mental and emotional support that comes from sharing her own birth experiences as well as those of women whom she has witnessed labor and birth. She can share the insight of births with unexpected outcomes, what may have contributed to them and put your decision in a educated perspective rather than being motivated by irrelevant external influences. These priceless experiences shared intuitively let your birth unfold as YOUR birth. The moment you’ve waited a lifetime for.
1 Patient Rights Program http://www.patient-rights.org/about/about.html, Health Law Department of the Boston University School of Public Health
Permission to reprint is hereby granted without further authorization as long as the text remains unedited and the author and source, Dale Bernucca for Enjoy Birth are properly cited and credited. Copyright 2007
They are not used wisely. I thought of this when at the last birth I attended as a doula, the OB says, “You have fallen off the ‘curve’ of typical labor progression. ” Referring to the bell curve of the length of typical stages of birth, developed by Emanual Friedman. He is horrified on how that information is used today. “We found an average. People think the average is what women should fall upon. That is clearly not true but rather a broad range of normality beyond which a potential abnormality may or may not exist. These abnormalities are not in themselves justification for forceps or cesarean… It doesn’t’ mean she’s doing so badly that you have to do something terrible to her. That is being abused.” (From the book Birth by Tina Cassidy, as seen in my review below)
Now in this particular case the mom was exhausted and really wanted a cesarean. The OB said, “Baby is fine and you are fine, so we can wait, but there is no guarantee you will continue to progress, or you will have the energy to push the baby out” Mom chose cesarean and as she was SO tired, I don’t think she could have pushed the baby out if she was at 10cm at that moment, she feels good with her choice. BUT, misuse of a “great idea”.
Another “great idea” was Electronic Fetal Monitoring, which was supposed to help during birth, to monitor the baby and determine if their was problems. This was in replacement of the care provider or nurse listening to the baby’s heartbeat on their own. Today nurses don’t even have to be in the room with a birthing mother, instead they are at a desk outside their room, watching monitors of many women. This has only made women feel more isolated and alone during their births. The machine is the center of attention instead of the moms or even the babies (though it is monitoring the baby, the machine is where the focus is)
Today intermittent fetal monitoring is standard in hospitals, where they monitor the baby for 15 minutes out of the hour. This has been shown to be as effective as continuous monitoring in predicting problems. Sadly because of litigation many hospitals now require continuous fetal monitoring. So begins the cascade of interventions, where mom is strapped to a machine and unable to move.
How does one of the creators of Electronic Fetal Monitors feel about this great idea? Well, it is another misused “tool” of the obstetrics world, leading to the increase in cesareans with no improvement of baby outcome. Read an article about him in the Wall Street Journal here.
Birth by Tina Cassidy
Who is the intended audience of this book? Care providers of pregnant women… if they actually take time to read it, the may learn something. Women of childbearing age or younger or anyone in their families…. DO NOT read this book
It is scary to read and starting with the first chapter, that alone will make you question mankind’s ability to still exist because of all the horrible things that can go wrong during birth. Most of these stories are from women who lived long ago and had Rickets, which caused bone softening and pelvic deformation. Luckily if you are reading this you most likely live in a society where Rickets no longer exists. But the fear and scariness doesn’t stop there.
As a Childbirth Educator and doula, I found it an interesting though disturbing read. It was one of those books where you are yelling at it at times. Partly because of the stupidity of what has gone on throughout the history of birth. But also party because I felt like it was SO negative. I just would NEVER let a pregnant women read it, she might go sign up for an Elective Cesarean, because the overall tone of the book is birth is scary… complete with horrific stories (mostly due to Rickets which no longer exists in America) to demonstrate it.
I did enjoy the section on the Dawn of Doctors, where I learned more about some inspired care providers and their journeys. Grantly Dick-Read who wrote Childbirth Without Fear and Fernand Lamaze were of extra interest to me as a Hypnobabies Instructor, because I learned that their teachings included a lot of mind over body thinking, as well as the importance of hospital staff supporting and believing in the moms ability to have a comfortable birth. Having been a mom using hypnosis during my 2nd birth, totally comfortable and the nurses telling me at least 3 times, as soon as your water breaks it is going to hurt… not surprisingly when my water broke it did start to hurt. When I had my 3rd baby, I used Hypnobabies and had a Bubble of Peace to protect me from the negativity of those around me, including the hospital staff.
I learned about Emanuel Friedman who watched birthing women and came up with the bell curve of the length of typical stages of birth. He is horrified on how that information is used today. “We found an average. People think the average is what women should fall upon. That is clearly not true but rather a broad range of normality beyond which a potential abnormality may or may not exist. These abnormalities are not in themselves justification for forceps or cesarean… It doesn’t’ mean she’s doing so badly that you have to do something terrible to her. That is being abused.”
So this one chapter I found to be very informative and enjoyable to read.
The tools and fads chapter was an interesting look at the different ways people dealt with and currently deal with Childbirth. It was disappointing to me how in a chapter that could have had positive parts to it… ie waterbirth, hypnosis etc, there was still an over all fear feeling to it. In the waterbirth section the main focus seemed to be on why it is fought against by many care providers, with of course stories of babies dying included.
Please if you are pregnant or ever will be do NOT read this book, it is too negative, with the exception of the Dawn of Doctors chapter, there was nothing positive I will take from this book.
I especially disliked the last 2 pages. The author looks back even after all she has learned she wouldn’t change anything about her birth… sort of defeatist attitude. (She had a very medically managed birth ending up in a cesarean,) but does concede maybe she should have chosen a midwife and had a doula.
“Women will forever give birth in many different ways – either by design or through forces out of our control. As for the latter, we can only hope to be pleasantly surprised.”
Really, I guess one might believe this after reading the book. But knowing what I know as a childbirth educator and VBAC mom, the choices we make starting with our care provider down to positions we choose during birth can make a HUGE impact on our birth.
If you want to be empowered by books about birth, I suggest reading the following instead of this one.
The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
If you want a history about childbirth in the USA but would like to feel empowered by the knowledge rather than defeated try,
Born in the USA by Mardsen Wagner