Did you know that in America today, ONE out of every THREE births is a Cesarean Birth?
And do you even realize how SHOCKING that statistic is?
One hundred years ago, 95% of babies were born at home.
Now? It's less than 1%.
I am leaning more and more towards a home birth this go round. (Can you tell?) America has the second highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. And as far as medically assisted births? We stand alone. No other country even compares. Everyone else out there seems to understand that childbirth is a natural process- not some sort of disease that requires medical intervention.
Hospitals make lots of money of births. And they want you in and out ASAP so they can fill your bed again. If your labor gets a little too long? PITOCIN. Which then gives you unnaturally strong and frequent contractions. Which sends you scrambling for an EPIDURAL. But now you can't feel anything, so you aren't working with your body and now you need more PITOCIN to "speed things up".
And then, suddenly, the baby appears to be under 'stress', and the doctor swoops in to 'save the day'.
Pitocin is linked to a much higher likely hood of a Cesarean Birth.
See the snowball effect? Your choices are taken away before you even know what hit you.
Doctors prefer Cesareans. They are quick and can be scheduled. Instead of HOURS of a woman laboring in a hospital, they can have the baby out in 20 minutes flat.
And don't even get me started on Insurance Companies. Blech. They are dictating the way a woman's birth 'should be'. And they are getting rich.
This way of birthing is taking power away from mothers. Something happens during the labor process that will not happen at any other time of a woman's life. You hit a wall of pain. You think you can't do it, can't succeed, can't birth. And then you push through that wall, and there is an immense joy- a rush of emotions and hormones that unite you to your baby and empower you as a woman. It is a defining moment of motherhood- the girl becomes a mother, an unconquerable obstacle is defeated. The woman grows stronger.
I do not believe that birth needs to be a major medical/surgical event. Yes, there are cases where medical intervention is necessary, but those cases are few and far between, and transferring to a hospital in those instances is very viable. A trained midwife will know when it is time to go, and they will get you there quickly.
But birth? It is natural! And we women of America today have been taught that birthing is something to be feared. (Shows like TLC's 'A Baby Story' will do that for you.) Something to be numbed. Something to be treated. Something to be terrified of.
I am not terrified of birth. I was strengthened by my labor and delivery. I pushed through the wall of pain and found a stronger version of myself on the other side. Chris told me later that I 'went to a completely different place', and that I kept saying 'Jesus help me' as my body prepared to bring Ezra into the world. I remember feeling like He was in the room with me. And I remember that day as the most alive and courageous day of my entire life.
Midwifery is in crisis in this country. Their practices are shutting down left and right because they can't afford to stay in business. We are the only country that doesn't seem to care... doesn't seem to see their value.
The midwives I am considering for this birth charge $2600. For EVERYTHING. That includes all prenatal visits, lab work, the actual birth, and postnatal visits. "Natural" Hospital births START at around $10,000. Um, this is crazy.
Some women put more research into what car they want to buy than they do what birthing process they want to have. I think we need to wake up and see what is happening in this country. We need to rescue natural birthing and open our eyes to the fact that it doesn't have to be a medically dictated process.
My body was created to bring forth life, and I trust it. I want to feel my labor. To really experience the life-giving process. I believe that it is worth it.
If you have not watched 'The Business of Being Born', you should. It is a very informative documentary about the crisis of maternal care in America. We watched it last night and I could not stop nodding my head at the screen and muttering "Yes!"s under my breath. Hunt it down and watch it- it is completely eye-opening.