Impactful Tweets (pt 2) from ICAN Conference

Looks like @DeepSouthDoula is the winner of cool tweets, part 2.  I’ll have to tell her the amazing news, LoL!  Looks like there will have to be a part 3 tonight.  Henci Goer has already made some great points, and she’s only just gotten started!  w00t!!  Here’s the link to part 1 if you missed that post.

DeepSouthDoula Abdominal scars can change your overall body mechanics for the worse. #ICAN2011
Interesting how people don’t consider what happens to the muscles and especially the connective tissue as a result of this major abdominal surgery.  I’m a professional opera singer and rely on the entire abdominal complex to support my sound.  This includes the pelvic floor.  This entire structure has been permanently altered.  Have you considered how your cesarean might (will) affect you physically?

poderyparto Herrera: People should see a c/s. Once they ser it they’ll start asking more questions. #ICAN2011
This is an interesting statement.  I just don’t imagine your average woman would be interested or even willing to watch a cesarean surgery.  And really, it’s different being in the room when one is happening versus seeing it on TV or YouTube.

Preparing4Birth: #ICAN2011 @ICANtweets Insurance company should not mandate how doc works. Write congressman. A state issue
This is HUGE.  I was aggravated to learn from my OB that his malpractice insurance doesn’t cover vaginal breech delivery.  He’s an older doctor, so of course, he knows how to do it.  I think it is incredibly unfair that my second birth was dictated by someone else’s friggin’ insurance!!!

Ethologicmom #ICAN2011 amazing that dice didn’t realize that women choose or are forced into hbacmom by bans and lack of support!
Dice?  I have no idea.  But yes, women increasingly choose homebirth and unassisted birth because they ultimately feel unsupported by some (or all) careproviders.  A woman who feels forced into homebirth or unassisted birth are not ideal candidates for those settings.  A woman should have access to the care she desires.  We’re the ones paying for it!!!

DeepSouthDoula The only true way to know if you will have a successful VBAC is to try. #ICAN2011
I just can’t imagine not trying . . . even though people would try to scare me out of it.  Fearmongering is not the way to go, folks . . . studying the evidence is!

drpoppyBHRT How do we “grow” supportive providers? #VBAC @BirthingKristin #ICAN2011 #NIHVBAC
I imagine that since newer docs are typically less willing to recommend VBAC (based on NIH VBAC consensus report), that now that the ACOG recommendation has been revised, perhaps the new generation of OBs will be less resistant.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing everything we can to positively affect our local birth culture!

DeepSouthDoula Any person pregnant or not has the right to refuse medical treatment – even in an emergency. Goes for refusing CS. #ICAN2011
One of my friends is having her 3rd VBAC after cesarean.  We were performing out of town, and she thought the local hospital didn’t allow VBACs.  She was relieved to learn (from me . . . yay me!) that she did NOT have to consent to a cesarean if she had the misfortune of going into labor in that town.  On the other hand, it would have been an opportunity for us to ‘educate’ that particular hospital on the rights of childbearing women! ;)

DeepSouthDoula Have the NIH & ACOG statements ready & use them to our advantage. #ICAN2011
Great advice!  I’m on Spring Break right now, and honestly, I’m just now getting around to reading the NIH VBAC Consensus report.  Eye opening, really.  I’ve “clipped” out the conclusion summary and points within the detailed section of the statement that directly apply to my situation or to issues that seem most critical to me.  I will be bringing some of this information with me as I interview an OB regarding VBA2C.

DeepSouthDoula SHARE – ORGANIZE – PROMOTE – CHANGE. Make connections through social media. #ICAN2011
Following the #ICAN2011 channel has shown me that a lot of birthies are now quite active on twitter.  I guess I’ll pay more attention to twitter . . . at least for a while.  Birthies and moms are welcome to request to follow me – @labortrials.

Impactful Tweets (pt 1) from ICAN 2011 Conference

I’m taking a break from my “Emotional Clutter” post that I’ve been working on.  Ahhh, nice to take a breather from that topic.  My friend, L, pointed me to as the best hashtag (#) reader out there.  And well, she would know!

So, I’ve been reading the #ICAN2011 channel and want to share some of the tweets that I’ve seen that should make an impact on VBACtivists as we do our important work!  (Since I’m pulling this content from a public channel, I am not asking permission to repost.  I will remove tweets if the OP requests.)

@DeepSouthDoula: [Macones] Be patient and keep working on us (OBs). Things will get better but it will take time. #ICAN2011
This is encouraging to read.  Other tweets indicate that consumers should be addressing hospital administrators.  However, from personal experience I can tell you that our hospital’s CEO said he can’t make the OBs change.  It’s easy for folks to displace and deflect in this business.

@Preparing4Birth: VBAC candidacy – low vertical incision 98% are this type. 1 or 2 prior ces should have access. Birthweight not a predictor. #ICAN2011
I read another tweet that indicated he supports VBA2+C but that it takes the right patient with the right provider in the right hospital.  I’ve also read that the steepest increase in rupture rates is between 1 (.5%) and 2 (1%) cesareans and then begins to level out.

@Unnecesarean: Macones: We’ve all focused so long on uterine rupture but need to also focus on the consequences of multiple cesareans #ICAN2011

@babydickey: We are underestimating the risks of multiple c-sections. #ICAN2011
A great site for weighing the risks of VBAC and repeat cesarean is Childbirth Connection.  Also have a look at the NIH VBAC Consensus.

@ShannonMitchell: When vbac rates CAN be 60-80% Don’t ask me to wait for ten years for a 20% rate #ican2011 #birthaction
I love me some Shannon.  She’s absolutely right, so we all need to get off of our duffs and DO SOMETHING!  Or do MORE!!

@ Unnecesarean: Macones: If hospitals can’t respond to emergencies, they probably don’t have any business doing obstetrics. (attributed to Landon) #ICAN2011
This is a very important point and should be addressed any time a facility with a maternity ward imposes a VBAC ban.  People who live in towns with VBAC bans in place should write letters to the paper, picket the hospital, and set up an on-line petition at the very least.  The average family doesn’t know that a facility that can’t handle a VBAC is unsafe for childbirth.

@ShannonMitchell: From 30 to 32% is 40,000 cesareans #ican2011 #birthaction
Wow, 30-32% is not nearly as offensive as knowing that 40,000 more women were cut open . . . many (most?) unnecessarily!  And other tweets indicate that the 40K cuts refer to the increase from 32-32.9% (our current national cesarean rate).  If that’s the case, how is that not perceived as a national crisis????

@tiffrobyn: Dr Macones: ECV, CVS testing, carry 1-2% risk, greater than vbac. #ICAN2011
Tests and procedures (including cesareans) that OBs may offer are sometimes riskier than what they refuse to do (attend VBAC).  I will say that I’ve never been offered an amnio, ECV, or CVS even at my advanced maternal age. ;)

More later, I am certain . . .

Cesarean Awareness Month 2011

© Amy Swagman, 2010

© Amy Swagman, 2010

So another year has passed, and I’m back to wondering where we are with our cesarean awareness ‘campain.’  I’m somewhat ‘skirting’ the loop (not really inside or outside of it, just around), so I’m not your most up to date source.  For truly outstanding resources related to cesarean awareness, read Unnecessarean and VBAC facts for starters!

A couple of things that have my attention lately:

  • Our national cesarean rate is staggering, and some predict that by 2020, 1/2 of our births will be done by cesarean.  We must be vigilant!
  • Montana needs a Friends of Montana Midwives group
  • Montana’s cesarean rate is 29% just below the national average.  However, some counties in MT have super high cesarean rates.  Why is that? (Carter County had a 65.4% c/s rate 2005-08 according to the March of Dimes!!!!)
  • Birth activist are working so hard – it’s just awesome!  Thank you to all who are gettin’ it done!!
  • According to Childbirth Connection, “A high-quality, high-value maternity care system is within reach, and childbearing women are the most important stakeholders to drive system change.”  Have a look and see what you can do!
  • Also, through Childbirth Connection, I’ve learned about relevant legislation that has been introduced.  This legislation needs our support!!
  • ICAN is getting ready for the 2011 conference – wish I could be there . . .

Because I’m pregnant I’m in a great position to find out even more about what is being done locally and what still needs work.  I have found – contrary to what my OB told me – that a few OBs will consider VBA2C on a case by case basis.  I have discovered that our only independent birth center, run by a fantastic CNM, does VBACs (even primary!) but not VBAmC.  I have lots of friends who are pregnant these days and have learned a lot about local practices.

Because I’m pregnant with #4 and work a full time job (one that often has me out of town on weekends in the Spring and has me out at night), I haven’t had the time & energy to get more aggressive.  This too shall change, and when it does – LOOK OUT!  ;)

In the meantime . . . what can you do?

Choosing the care provider or not…

Unassisted birth (UC, UB) seems like an all or nothing adventure.  “Either you’re in or you’re out,” says Heidi Klum of Project Runway.  No smile.  Somewhat smug too.  I’m trying to sort out my feelings about UC because even though it’s not something I’m likely to do, it is a birth choice and therefore should be studied at the very least.  I read a lot of unassisted birth posts/forums and have gained so much knowledge and strength from it.  I wish I had that kind of confidence and peace.

So, like I said, it seems like UC is an all or nothing thing.  Most care providers (CP) won’t continue to see you for prenatals if they know you’re planning a UC.  (Maybe that’s not universally true, but that’s the impression I’m getting.)  And if you decide to have a UC then it also means that you’re providing immediate care for your newborn.  That seems a lot to ask of myself much less my husband.

My feelings on care providers seem to change by the second.  One minute I’m ok midwife only.  Then I’m ok with planning for homebirth and hospital birth simultaneously.  And then I’m ok with MW and ‘shadow care.’  And then these plans seem so unsatisfactory in different ways.

 The only ‘universal’ is that I want to have this baby as ‘naturally’ as possible.  But I still don’t have any idea how to accomplish this.

I have lots of wishes for me and our baby.  I want it all, and none of it seems like having it all because ‘having it all’ was stolen from me in 2004 with that first cut.  I know even that is still just a perception, not a ‘truth,’ but for me it feels like a ‘truth.’

  • Ideally, I would continue prenatal care with someone – the midwife or OB, whatever.
  • Ideally, I would birth this baby with my husband and maybe a close friend or two but no one acting as a ‘care provider.’
  • Ideally, someone else would swoop in and take care of the baby.

My ‘ideal’ may have to remain on a pedestal.

You Know You’re a Homebirther When

  1. you find yourself zealously defending the CPM/DEM designation and probably come off as a bit of a wingnut!
  2. you get pissed off just thinking about the horrible things that OBs and nurses (for God’s sake) have said to women who have had to transfer from home to the hospital
  3. you get even more pissed off thinking about the birth that screwed everything up for you (not altogether in a bad way) and your childbearing years
  4. you have this idea to become a doula . . . or worse yet, a homebirth midwife
  5. you have this even crazier idea to leave your day job with full benefits to become a homebirth midwife
  6. you have this even more insane idea to move to Canada or some other country with a better health care system to (a) have your babies and/or (b) become a homebirth midwife
  7. you recognize that malpractice insurance does NOT make birth more safe
  8. you realize that you have to take responsibility for your own choices in pregnancy and in birth – from the Costco dipped icecream extravaganza I ate for dinner tonight (oops, not one of my finer moments) to where you’ll have a baby and with whom and what you’ll allow this person to do for (t0) you as your birth; all of these choices have consequences (hello reflux) . . .
  9. you want everyone to know about homebirth for what it is . . . not what mainstream America assumes it is (been there, done that)
  10. you want families to understand that their choice of careprovider(s) is such an important decision (OB doesn’t mean superior to CNM superior to CPM/DEM; these are very different designations with very different training requirements and very different mindsets; know what you’re getting yourself into!)
  11. you can no longer ignore the voice inside that says . . . “the last thing I want to do is leave my bed and go to the hospital” – I ignored that voice six years ago; now that the option is presenting itself to stay home, I must listen to my inner Truth, pray for God’s blessing and protection, and trust that His Will will be done.

edited to add a point and adjust some “tone”

Feeling Overwhelmed . . . hmm

I’m feeling overwhelmed this week.  Icky.

A couple of things have thrown me off my center, perhaps.  Like my good friend’s threatened labor now at 30w gestation.  Like my sister-in-law’s straight-forward CBAC yesterday – don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful, but it’s still affecting me.  Like having to go back to work in less than two weeks – survival mode.  Like all of the projects that I haven’t accomplished this winter break.  Like my birthday coming tomorrow – gross late-30s number!  Like CBA2C vs. VBA2C vs. CBA2C vs. VBA2C and on and on.


What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and ineffective?  Any suggestions?  It’s really causing me to stagnate and procrastinate.

It’s not like I’m doing absolutely NOTHING.  It’s just that I feel like I’m hiding in my birth research and stressing about a lot of different things and not actually accomplishing things in a timely fashion.  I just need to break the cycle.  I probably need a to do list – maybe a reward chart?!  Haha!

We already feel inadequate

I watched Orgasmic Birth last night on Amazon.  When I told my husband what I was watching, he gave me a look like “oh no, you’re going to be one of those women this time, huh?”  I told him that despite the title, the movie was supposed to be good, and for the most part it was.

If you go to the OG website, you’ll see that they define the word orgasmic differently than you would expect: “Intense or unrestrained excitement or a similar point of intensity or emotional excitement.”  I’d agree that all of the normal physiologic births shown on the video demonstrated intensity.  It’s important to read the definition above with the word “or” in mind.  A woman does not have to achieve orgasm during labor/birth to have an orgasmic birth.

I found it interesting that one of the interviewed NCB experts suggested that we don’t share our birth stories because we don’t want to make other women feel inadequate.  Perhaps a woman who consents to an epidural in a hospital setting will feel inadequate, I don’t know.  But, a woman who has undergone a cesarean after trying to labor will almost always feel inadequate in some way.  (I know there are always women out there who will say different.)  Let me explain.

A woman is told that babies come out of vaginas, and that most of the time that is possible.  Women may enter into the last stages of pregnancy knowing that they want an epidural or to be induced, but they still expect that in most cases, the baby is going to come out normally.  However, most hospital birthers are not given the right kind of support to achieve a natural physiologic birth or normal birth.  Inductions are fairly normal.  Augmentations are fairly normal.  Epidurals are extremely common.  As one expert pointed out on the movie, when most (like 90%) laboring women receive an epidural, and you don’t, you take the staff out of its comfort zone.

So after these interventions and more (constant monitoring, restricted movement in labor, etc.), women are still expected somehow to birth vaginally.  And a third of us are sectioned – or more, depending on the location.  Our bodies failed us, we are lead to believe.  “Thank God I was in the hospital or my baby and I would have been in big trouble.”  Our inadequacies are magnified by the overwhelming successes of the medical machine.

Women who have had cesareans are defensive.  “My cesarean was necessary” is a common belief.  But to suggest that women don’t share their birth stories because they don’t want to make a cesarean mother feel inadequate is not understanding the situation.  We already feel inadequate.

I am 1 of 3 women sectioned in childbirth.

I am one of numerous women told that her body wasn’t capable of birthing her baby.

I am 3 of 4 women sectioned in Montana for twins.

I am nearly 100% of women in my community told they cannot have a VBAC in the hospital after multiple scars.

I am nearly 100% of women told to be thankful that they have a healthy baby after a cesarean section.

Share your birth stories in a supportive, instructive, and hopeful manner.  Give cesarean mamas hope that next time can be different, if she chooses.  And she has to choose; you can’t choose for her.  I myself am preparing for a transformational experience this summer.  I can’t get there unless I embrace stories of uninhibited natural physiologic birth.