Tomorrow I finish my stint at Magee. Today I did my presentation on Implanon and had my meeting the the program director. So...tonight I really didn't have anything to do.
So I watched The Business of Being Born. Questionable choice, I know. I went into it knowing that it would get me all riled up. But what with that article in the New York Times and my fellow telling me she is briefly in TBoBB, I felt inspired.
I expected to be angry. But mostly I'm amused by how internally contradictory the whole message of the movie is. Early on, they talk about how awful it is that women are exposed to TV images of birth: screaming, sweaty, grunting - it's totally not true, guys! That's just the media buying into the Message of Fear! But then they go on to show multiple screaming, sweaty, grunting births. Real ones. Far more fear inducing than TV.
Then, they spend a lot of time talking about how awful pitocin is. The evil, evil pitocin that causes the uterus to crush the baby! But then, when the safety of home birth is questioned, they argue, "But, look! We have pitocin in our home birth bag! See? Totally safe! No post-partum hemorrhage here!"
The thing that actually made me mad was when they basically blamed Cesarean sections for the fall of society. You see, when a woman has a Cesarean, she is deprived of a critical bonding moment with her baby and thus never truly becomes attached and loving as Mother Nature intended. What? Sure, it's awful that moms don't get to hold their babies immediately after Cesarean. And a Cesarean is major surgery with all the associated risks. But, really? Moms who have Cesareans don't love their babies as much as moms who have vaginal deliveries. That's offensive. And ridiculous.
Yes, the idea of a home birth surrounded by the people you love, getting to move how you want and eat what you want is lovely. Viewing birth as a personal journey, your own mountain to climb is a nice personal growth tool. And, honestly, if every home birth was in a major metropolitan area with a Certified Nurse Midwife as rational as the one in this film, my feelings on home birth might be different. When they cite statistics on the safety and prevalence of home birth in Europe, it is important to remember the different systemic setting for those births. I'm not saying our system is right. It's clearly flawed. But it is the system we are in right now. In Ohio, for example, you cannot have a CNM at your home birth. Only lay midwives do home births in Ohio. This means less training, significantly reduced ability to handle or recognize complications and no prescription powers (thus no pitocin, no methergine, no hemabate). I'm not comfortable with that. Frankly, after seeing what I've seen in the brief time I've been doing this, that terrifies me.
In conclusion, I'm pretty sure I've said some things that will make people angry. Have at it. I respect your right to choose the birthing process you desire, but as a practitioner I'm not comfortable with sacrificing the option of emergent interventions just for an experience. My final outcome is a healthy baby, and I really don't see what's so wrong with that.