13 responses to “Your baby is alive you should be grateful”

  1. Janet

    You’re welcome.

    This is an interesting article too which rather goes along with the RANZCOG article that suggests there are 80 life threatening scenarios for every maternal death. It’s six years old and there haven’t been any policy changes to prevent IOL on dates or to make vbac the norm so I have no reason to suppose the rates have changed very much. Anyone seen something recent?

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/28/1080412235095.html The Age 2004

    Warning on Caesareans

    An alarming rise in the number of emergency hysterectomies performed on Victorian women after childbirth has prompted an obstetrics expert to warn doctors against performing elective caesareans without medical cause.

    The warning follows a report commissioned by the Department of Human Services to investigate claims of an increase in hysterectomies to stem severe bleeding in new mothers. The report found that, although still rare, the incidence had risen from 20 post-partum hysterectomies in the state in 1999 to 48 in 2002. Over the same period, caesarean rates rose from 22.8 per cent of births to 27.4 per cent. The report’s author, obstetric epidemiologist James King, said it was likely there was a causal link between the two.

    Read the rest at the link.

  2. gloria Lemay

    importance of this subject has been brought to light in the USA by Ina May Gaskin. Her Maternal Mortality Quilt has travelled far and wide, bringing the names and stories of women who have died during and after childbirth to public notice.

    Ina May has a campaign to get standardized reporting done in each and every state because, right now, it is very disjointed in the U.S., too. A comprehensive reporting form was developed by the National Institute of Health but it is not universally used by each state.

    Pushing for comprehensive and standardized data collection is very important.

    Thanks for this post, Lisa. Gloria

  3. Tiffany Zimmermann

    Hi Lisa,
    I might have mentioned it before, but I am the perinatal and infant mental health nurse on our team, and this year I have had 2 mum’s I’ve “case managed” with PPD – one of them chronically suicidal – both caesars. A huge part of my work with them has been to work through their births. Both were totally accepting that their caesars were both ok seeing they had live babies (one was a repeat caesar for no other indication other than her first was a caesar, the second was a failed augmentation after SROM at term without rushes, which ended in the typical foetal distress-caesar cascade!). But after therapy both realised the impact their births had on their mental state. It also affected their ability to BF. I also care for women with psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia) and bipolar illnesses, which by the nature of these illnesses leaves them vulnerable to relapse intrapartum. To be honest, I have come across nothing but judgement toward our mums who become mentally unwell – some of the horror stories I could tell would make your blood run cold.

    I am seeing more and more women as well with post-traumatic stress disorders following what are usually traumatic hospital births, the more intervention rates rise, seriously, the more woman I am seeing damaged or scarred from what should be empowering and strengthening births!

    Its criminal really what they do to women!

  4. Janet

    It’s pretty sad, and kinda telling, that this entry on dead women gets so few comments in comparison with other posts.

    You’d think at least Dr Amy would want to come along and splain how we’re imagining all the dead and injured women.

    We so often allow the obstetric discourse to dominate birth and yet when faced with the reality of what obstetrics does to women, we fall silent, not wanting to be seen to be uppity or agitating selfishly on our own behalf.

    If HIV/AIDS activists hadn’t started off that struggle on their own, who else would have done it for them? The devastation done to women, families, communities and our babies isn’t being protested by any of those doing the damage.

    We need to stand up and start challenging those dominant voices every time they tell those lies about neonatal mortality and homebirth with the totally obvious and demonstrable facts about maternal injury and death. Their own work shows that maternal mortality is under reported, so what are they doing about it?

    Obstetrics doesn’t like scrutiny because they’re not fact based, they’re driven by a misogynist ideology and a race for the dollar. They like using women from developing countries to berate those in developed countries but they don’t really like addressing this reality we in developed countries experience at their hands.

    Enough is enough, people.

  5. mai'a

    oh thx janet for writing this. no, maternal mortality – as i have seen – is not a trendy topic. i have thought so much about this esp. in relation to the maternal mortality rates of women of color in the states. these rates are not falling but rising yearly. part of the problem, in terms of visibility of maternal mortality, is the high morbidity rates are held in pockets of the states. another problem is that the emphasis, at least in black communities, is on the infant mortality rates (which is often blamed on lifestyle choices of the mother), rather than the maternal rates.
    of course the mortality rates are used as one more reason why women of color must follow the doctor’s orders no matter what in terms of prenatal, birth, and post partum care. this meme filters into our communities as if we of all people cannot afford to do any type of alternative to the obgyn because of the level of ‘risk’ involved. thus black women are even less likely to look outside of the medical system for childbearing health care.

  6. Janet

    Hi Matilda,
    the basic issues are that women with trauma resulting from their careproviders are not acknowledged as even a possibility in obstetrics where the only goal is to remove the foetus from the incubator as fast as possible, leaving both alive. In obstetrics the definition of “healthy” means “not dead”. It doesn’t mean intact, empowered, triumphant, emotionally well, supported or joyful. Women are unimportant in their model of care, we’re just the inconvenient obstacle between them and the baby. I can hear the gasps from here of some people reading this but this is the reality.

    I’m very relieved to hear that your cousin has made a choice which will hopefully nurture her and support her in becoming a confident, competent parent of two children as well as a woman who trusts her own decisions and knows her body is hers to own. I hope you’ll update us with how she feels about her care experience postbirth and many blessings to her for a beautiful birth!

    Last week I attended a birth at home of a baby whose mother had had previous caesarean surgery. It was a normal, unremarkable, beautiful, everyday miracle of a birth, like most births. The woman worked hard all her pregnancy, and before it, to deal with the issues resulting from being so systematically disempowered and abused with her first child in a UK hospital and birthed triumphantly and magnificently. I was so honoured to attend. She hasn’t stopped smiling in the last 9 days.

    As Andrew Pesce said in the paper today, “Most women are fairly happy with the care they receive” in hospitals. Really? Does he ask us? And are “most” and “fairly happy” really how we want to feel after we’ve birthed? I think not. Women are sadly so used to asking for a slice and then being grateful for crumbs. We’ve forgotten that the loaf is ours and no one can really steal it from us but we can sure as hell give it away and regularly do.

    mai’a we have similar figures with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. While the rates of murder by a partner go up exponentially when white women are pregnant, they rise even higher when black women are pregnant. Indigenous women have high stillbirth rates, low birthweights, and very little genuine support. Women from isolated areas are expected to leave their country, family and language and travel to major cities for birth. There is a Birthing On Country movement here thought with indigenous women reclaiming their right to birth on land their grandmothers own. It is moving, profound and beautiful all at once. There is some patronising recognition officially that indigenous women should have cultural birthing practices respected but overall the reality is far from this.

    The US health system is even less desirable than ours although perhaps the reforms will see healthcare being delivered to vulnerable members of your society. I hope so.

    i keep a page on my blog for Australian hospitals in the media for anyone who’s interested. It gets updated nearly every day… unfortunately.

    1. Mia

      “In obstetrics the definition of “healthy” means “not dead”.”

      Oh wow. What a powerful, and frighteningly true, statement.

    2. Meg

      An incubator for the baby…that is just how I felt. It was like i was supported so beautifully right until he came out, then suddenly I was unimportant. “Phew”, everyone said, he’s out now our job’s done. suddenly all the love and care was removed and I was forgotten there on the bed while everyone helped themselves to basking in the baby’s glow.

      I felt so abandoned unimportant and powerless, my feeble attempts to ask for help were brushed off like it was all too hard to assist me, I was even accused (subtly and not so subtly) of being lazy. Yes, lazy, not totally exhausted, in pain, disoriented and isolated. It’s not just the hospital staff who exhibited this attitude but also a number of people (though thankfully, not all) close to me.

      This for me is one place where the status of women is clear, where it’s so bleeding obvious that women are STILL not equal. We are all supposed to somehow just get on and get up like nothing just happened, and to do otherwise is selfish. I would like to see some broader cultural awareness that birth doesn’t end when the baby takes its first breath. I reckon it’s at least a 3-month process: mum needs support for ALL that time.

  7. Sara maguire

    you bunch of birkenstock wearing, non leg shaving, public breast feeding nazi’s. If women want to have c sections let them and stop your scare tactics!! I’ve never read such rubbish in my life. This isn’t the middle ages stop making us feel guilty because we won’t partake in your theories that birth should be thrown back 100 years and have nothing but something hard to bite down on……

    1. Meg

      You’re funny Sara. Don’t you know all us hairy ladies want women to have the right to informed choice over both their footwear and to their bodies? I agree with you, have your csection if you want it, it’s the births that are unnecessarily traumatic That belong in ancient history, and they come in both vaginal and surgical forms. At least we get to choose our footwear. If I find Birkenstocks comfy then I’ll wear them, if you find surgery comfortable then go for it, but let’s not force each other’s medical or footwear choices.