Illusions and Assumptions

Today I met with a repeat client for her prenatal meeting- she is due in a few weeks. We were talking about how three years ago I suggested she consider a different hospital than the one she was planning on birthing at. I don’t always recommend a change- but this mom was describing the birth she desired and I knew that the hospital she was choosing would be hard pressed to give her what she desired.

I am often known to say going to some hospitals and asking for a non interventive, naturally supported birth is like going to KFC Chicken and asking for sushi. Now you can occasionally find a store manager who if you go every day and ask for sushi- goes out and gets you sushi knowing that you are coming today to ask again. So, you can have a great birth most everywhere but it may be not the norm and therefore you may have to work harder to get what you want.

This young woman chose to stay at her hospital last time- even though one midwife in the group she did not like- and you guessed it- that is who attended her in labor. After a few hours with no increase in dilation, there were threats of a cesarean being needed and this mom chose to have some interventions she originally had not wanted… then the cascade began- but she ended up with a vaginal birth…her ultimate desire… and of course a beautiful, healthy baby.

This time she travels across town to the hospital I had recommended three years ago. She feels safe with any of the midwives. She knows this hospital embraces the kind of birth she desires. She feels safe. She nows sees that the allusion of having a hospital around the corner from where she lives, a practice of midwives or docs who were convenient to where she lived, and the thought that she could get what she wanted only if she let her desires be known, were illusions and assumptions.

I had a dad tell me when he heard me warn to not leave the baby in the nursery since they adamantly did not want a bottle to be given to the baby was erroneous. His wife had a normal birth only to have the baby need to go to the transition nursery due to rapid breathing after the birth. They did not allow the mom an opportunity to nurse. The dad went with the baby to the nursery and told the staff no bottles were to be given- the baby was to be breastfed only.

He then left to return to the mom. The mom after a short while wanted him to go to check on the baby. He went to the nursery window and searched for his son. He saw who he thought was his baby in a nurse’s arms being given a bottle of formula. He picked up the phone and it rang several minutes before being told the nurse who answered the phone would check. She turned to finish what she had been doing. Then he knocked on the window since the baby he thought was his baby was continuing to be fed the bottle.

Finally someone came and explained that the baby’s blood sugar was borderline- and they felt he needed a bottle. No one spoke to the parents- they did not regard the instructions of the dad earlier- they had dismissed that entirely. He told me later that he was appalled that the assumption that they had to follow his desires and that the illusion that they would honor his desires for his son were not valid.

I recently had a couple who took my class hear me discuss these things. But they felt armed with knowledge they could stay where they were birthing and their outcome would be different. Sadly they realize the illusion they were under. The mom told me recently she feels she is emotionally struggling to heal from the birth of their daughter. This is not the way it needs to be!

The mom I met with today is working hard to have the birth she wants this time. She has all of the puzzle pieces in place… her support team- her husband and myself will be there. Her medical team- the midwives with the lowest cesarean rate in the state will be there for her. Her hospital staff is used to natural births and is supportive of that. And she is feeling safe and supported. There are no illusions or assumptions being made.