Day 2 Pt 1 Impactful ICAN Conference Tweets

The working subtitle of this post is . . . you can lead an OB to the table, but can you keep him/her from cutting??

some rights reserved - thetorpedodog @ Flickr

Here are some of my favorite tweets from the Saturday morning sessions.  (And as I look at the 300+ conference tweets paused in twitterfall this morning, the day after, I realize there may not be a part 2 . . . kind of like History of the World!)

Disclaimer: Since I collated these posts from a public feed reader, I have not asked permission to repost them.  OPs may request their tweets be removed and are welcomed to clarify their tweets in the comments section.)

Regarding breech:

BirthingKristen “Women should have the right, the support, and the resources to choose their own set of risks.” #vaginalbreech #ICAN2011
I do believe this, but gee, it’s hard to achieve especially when you involve birth attendants, regulations, insurance, hospitals, even birth centers, etc.  I’m afraid to say that the fact is that women will never fully have the right to choose their own set of risks unless they birth on their own.

DeepSouthDoula Vaginal breech birth is in our reach but it’s up to the parents to make it happen. Like the parents who walked out 1 hour prior. #ICAN2011
Again, somewhat idealistic.  In my case, I knew I’d be trying to fight my provider’s malpractice insurance . . . me . . . alone.  I’m not saying there aren’t things we can’t and shouldn’t do, but realistically many, if not most, families are not going to fight the system one hour before giving birth.  And they shouldn’t be made to feel like failures because they didn’t fight this overwhelming machine.

ShannonMitchell GT: breech birth is a part of the traditions midwifery #ican2011 #breech
Yes it is.  Isn’t it a shame that it’s often not in the current scope of practice for traditional midwifery?

DoulaMari: “Mama loves you enough to have you at home even though you were breech!” #ican2011
This just hurts my feelings.  I know the statement had nothing to do with me or my choice to consent to a CBAC for double footling breech twins and that it’s excerpted from an emotionally powerful experience, but it still cuts like a knife.  Actually, it feels like a repetitive cut to the same wound that refuses to heal.

drpoppyBHRT When docs tell midwives, “you can’t do that” is it really because THEY can’t do that? #vaginalbreech #normalbirthignorance #ICAN2011
Nice.  Yes, I think a lot of the time it does mean that.  They haven’t been trained to trust the body’s wisdom; they’ve been trained to search for pathology and treat that pathology.  Even the NIH VBAC consensus report indicates that younger doctors may be more resistant to VBACs because they were trained during a time when VBAC was (is) so highly contentious.

heathertom Tully: the question may be Is the attendant safe? #ICAN2011 #vaginalbreech
Absolutely.  I personally would be more afraid to show up at the hospital pushing out a breech baby if I didn’t know that the doctor on the receiving end was experienced with breech.  In fact, I’m of the opinion that in my community it may be irresponsible to show up at my hospital with a vaginal breech.  It hasn’t been part of the local practice – obstetrics or midwifery – for more than 10 years.

poderyparto Breech: 80% no intervention needed at all, 20% need maneuvering. #CAM2011 #ICAN2011
In other words . . . HANDS OFF THE BREECH!

drpoppyBHRT OBs in Germany and Israel are working to unite midwives and OBs to increase vaginal breech birth. I love that! #kneechest #ICAN2011
This is wonderful to know.  We should be pointing to these case studies every chance we get.  This will help us as we advocate for evidence-based care.

Other awesome tweets: (before I fell off the wagon)

drpoppyBHRT: Midwives told to stop doing #VBACs, they responded “when you stop doing cesareans.” Gail Tully #ICAN2011
AWE.SOME.

MamaBear1326 Why am I lucky enough to live where I achieved a vba2c and some people dont have that option #breaksmyheart #ican2011
Many women don’t feel they have the option to birth their babies.  This is so sad.  The fact is that women have fundamental rights.  No one can force you to consent to a surgery.  And even ACOG’s 2005 committee opinion supports protecting these rights:

Efforts to use the legal system to protect the fetus by constraining pregnant women’s decision making or punishing them erode a woman’s basic rights to privacy and bodily integrity and are not justified.”  (via birthaftercesarean)

Unnecesarean Dr. Poppy Daniels: “Women who really want a vaginal birth can go to extremes to get it.” (No kidding) #ICAN2011
And we will.

ICANofAtlanta How many ob-gyns have not read the latest ACOG practice bulletin on VBAC, not to mention the NIH consensus? #ican2011 #hcsm @drpoppybhrt
. . . and won’t acknowledge that local practice should change to reflect the bulletin and NIH findings.  This is why I’m sending letters to all local OBs.  I’m done with their fear mongering and lies.

RobinPregnancy T-shirt spotted: Keep your politics out of my vagina on @shannonmitchell #ican2011
Nearly snorted my coffee when I read this.  And I want one.

mollytoba I keep hearing about better integration of midwifery and OBGYN care. Who is actually doing this? Any successful models? #ICAN2011
Someone did respond to this, but I can’t find the tweet.  She mentioned some place in LA (which I can’t remember if refers to Louisiana or Los Angeles!).  But that was the only ‘successful model’ response I read.

DeepSouthDoula Exploring birth trauma in mamas AND with birth professionals. What we witness can be traumatic for us too. #ICAN2011
I may have to dedicate a post to this.  Birth professionals who experience trauma need to be treated!!!  Please refrain from bringing your trauma into future births.

babydickey “I’m not a uterus walking into an operating room.” I’m a pregnant woman with a family. #ICAN2011
<le sigh>

blairlovesjason Glad @drpoppybhrt discusses the harm in shows like Deliver Me, A Baby Story, etc. Means a lot coming from a professional. #ican2011
Totally!  I didn’t know any better and was watching these shows in 2004 when I was pregnant with DD1.  It made me afraid of the cesarean, but it didn’t do anything to help me (or encourage) me to prevent it.  It was like watching a car wreck in progress, over and over and over again.  Dammit, and then I wrecked my ‘car.’

ShannonMitchell Acnm says they are working on revised vbac statement addressing “immediately available” #birthaction #ican2011
Very good news.  The ACNM needs to step up and not hide behind ‘big brother.’

babydickey Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) has a c-section rate of 5.03%. YEA! #ICAN2011
I trust this to be true, but it would be so helpful if MANA would release the data.  People want to see it.  I want to see it.  MANA hold plenty of statistics that to my knowledge are not publicly accessible.  It’s a shame.

mollytoba Ida Darreagh of NARM: the safest place for a woman to give birth is where she feels strong, supported and capable. #ICAN2011
Absolutely.  This is why I try to be super careful when talking with mamas who have different ideas about where to birth.  Everyone should feel safe giving birth.  It doesn’t ensure a perfect outcome, but it’s still important to respect one another’s decisions.

DeepSouthDoula Don’t feed the trolls! Seriously not worth it. As @unmarketing says – you are not the jackass whisperer. #ICAN2011 AND seeKJtweet Ok who said Beetlejuice? #ICAN2011
Oh my.  There is a persistent non-practicing OB with too much time on her hands who just hates natural birth advocacy.  She has quite a cult following.  I used to go to her blogs thinking there was something possibly to learn there . . . but it’s just so polemic that I realized I was wasting my time and scaring myself in the process.

RobinPregnancy Every state needs to look at the safe transport bill for home births. #ican2011
And where do I go to find that?  Over to Google.  Searched [“home birth” “safe transport” legislation] which didn’t come up with much.  But I did find that a bill is working its way through the Illinois General Assembly.  Have a look!  I found this as a result of reading this action alert from the Chicago-area homebirth meet-up group.

Too Late for Natural Birth?

In my google alerts today, one headline stuck out: “Too late to reverse rise in c-sections?” from the Boston Globe.  It is a letter to the editor from Lois Shaevel, co-author of “Silent Knife.

Shaevel states:

For eons we females had been capable of giving birth with very little medical intervention. Then childbirth went into the hospital, and the process became a medical and increasingly surgical event.

It’s sad really.  I’m not saying that all women don’t need a hospital and that all births can be achieved non-medically, but what makes me sad is the shift in how pregnancy and childbirth are viewed by our society.  Pregnancy and birth used to be normal and expected events in a woman’s life.  Now when you tell someone that you are pregnant they ask you if you have a first trimester ultrasound scheduled yet.  When you respond by saying that you don’t plan to utilize ultrasound technology unless it becomes medically necessary, they cock their heads, look at you funny, and respond with a suspicious “huh!”

Shaevel continues: 

When Nancy Wainer and I wrote “Silent Knife” in 1983, we hoped our work would reverse the trend and give women confidence in their bodies’ innate ability to birth their babies. If this trend of surgical intervention in the natural process of childbirth continues, the only women who will birth their babies naturally 50 years from now will be those who don’t make it to the hospital in time for their caesareans.

Some women are finding ways to become more confident in their bodies.  I joined the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) which greatly increased my confidence and understanding that a repeat cesarean would likely be unnecessary.  However, the doctors will always find a way to rob us of our confidence.  One ICAN list member was told early on in her pregnancy that s/he was supportive of her choice to VBAC.  Now at 36 weeks she’s been told to schedule a repeat cesarean.  This is not an uncommon story.

Here are my thoughts on how/why this keeps happening to women who desire vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC).  Perhaps the doctor just wants the business and thinks s/he will be able to change the patient’s mind along the way?  Perhaps the doctor believes in a woman’s choice but loses confidence along the way?  Perhaps in losing confidence in the mother along the way, the doctor is thinking about the legal consequences of not performing an elective repeat cesarean?  Perhaps the doctor, losing confidence along the way or thinking s/he can coerce the patient into surgery, also has the $$ in his/her eyes since surgical birth costs so much more than vaginal birth?  Perhaps the doctor knows that VBAC labor can take longer, and since s/he will have to be more readily accessible thanks to ACOG directives, s/he pushes for the quicker solution – major abdominal surgery?  Perhaps the doctor is more afraid of the uncertainty of normal (as in natural) birth because s/he is not familiar with it versus that which s/he is trained to do – perform surgery?

Shaevel’s letter was formed in response to this recent Boston Globe article.  Here are a couple of important points to consider from the article:

“It’s important for us to step back and say, ‘Why is this happening, and is it in the best interest of the public?’ ” said [the state’s secretary of health and human services, Dr. JudyAnn] Bigby, whose research before entering state government had focused on women’s health issues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “This is not a minor surgical procedure; it’s a big deal. We need to understand why this trend continues.” [emphasis mine]

She is “sufficiently alarmed” that her state’s cesarean rate now eclipses the national average of 31.1%.

Obstetricians’ fears of lawsuits may also fuel some of the increase.

“There’s no doubt about the medical-legal burden; the litigious nature of society has an impact on this,” said Dr. Fred Frigoletto, chief of obstetrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Very few obstetricians have been litigated because they did a C-section. But they’re always litigated because they didn’t do one.”

Fear of litigation is NEVER an appropriate motivator for medicalized childbirth.  Interventive practices are only appropriate when there is sound evidence of need.  Basing medical opinion, advice, and practices on a fear of litigation is unethical and violates the oath and creed to “first do no harm” that all doctors agree to when they become registered practitioners.

It once was popular to deliver subsequent babies [following a cesarean] by vaginal birth, but by the late 1990s the practice began to fall out of favor because of potential risks.

Potential risks – yes, it is possible that a woman’s uterus may rupture during labor.  The risk of rupture may be as low as .5%, and any doctor who puts forward a rate of greater than 1% should be asked for the research to support such a statistic.  Avoiding induction and augmentation of labor and having continuous labor support (an experienced doula and/or midwife) will help VBAC moms achieve their goals.

Anyone who doubts the importance of natural childbirth for both mother and child should register for the “What Would Mammals Do” webinar through Conscious Woman