RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Birth

The Gamut

Two back-to-back births that ran the gamut.  One striking difference was the OB management of delivery. 

Dr. Masked Man:  He showed up only when baby was crowning.  He involved a surgical tech who draped the mom’s legs and torso in blue sterile paper.  To hold her legs, I had to fight with the ridiculous paper and I did get “the look” from the tech when I rubbed the mom’s thigh over the paper.  The dr. wore a surgical mask, a face shield, a scrub cap, long gloves, full scrubs, and boots.  It could have been anybody under that getup!  The surg tech kept pouring soapy water on the mom without warning and scrubbed her down with antiseptic.  The room was bright and filled with people.  When baby was born, dr. immediately clamped the cord.  Baby was held up (for the photo shot maybe?) and then handed to a nurse for twelve million footprints and procedures.  Then dr. applied strong cord traction for the placenta. 

Dr. Polo Shirt:  Wore casual “street clothes.”  Called the mom by name.  In fact, he called all of us by name.  The room was dim and the only other person was the nurse.  When baby was born, dr. handed her to the mom.  He patiently waited for the cord to stop pulsing while the mom breastfed.  Cord clamped (and cut by me–my first!), mom cleaned up, and dr. patiently waited for the placenta.  He quietly respected the postpartum time by slipping out of the room.  He came back later to quietly bid us all goodnight.   

Which would you choose?  And how would a newly pregnant mom know to even ask the questions to find the right choice? 

Till Human Voices Wake Us, Or Why I Wish Doulas didn’t Exist

I imagine if you visited a culture in which birth was considered a normal event–a visible part of the community–the idea of hiring a doula would be laughable.  Your intuitive knowledge of birth would be intact.  You would believe that since you figured out how to digest your food and how to wake up after sleeping, you would, indeed, know how to birth.  And the people around you would let you.

In our culture, birth is private.  Typically we retreat into the den of medicine, technology, and malpractice to celebrate our journey into motherhood.  Once entangled in this trinity, we are pinned and wriggling on the wall so how should we presume?

And we need instruction and authority and equipment to deliver. 

Some families hire a doula.  A woman who has attended many types of births.  A woman who can navigate the intricacies of the system.  I do believe that whether planning a medicated birth, a cesarean, or a low intervention experience, families can enjoy the best outcomes with a doula at their side.  The doula becomes the surrogate community that is missing in our culture–she provides support from early pregnancy coffee shop talks to postpartum home visits.  And she is the advocate–working for the family and no one else; no hidden agendas, no judgement, and no insurance company to answer to.  And–she is pretty inexpensive considering she is on call 24/7 for you.  She’s less expensive than an epidural and probably less expensive than the bill from your wedding florist.  

The fact that the profession of doula exists is merely one symptom of a deep isolation, fear, mystery, and sterility surrounding birth.  So while I love being a doula, I’m sad that the profession is necessary.  I wish that our community guarded the sacred transformative power of birth instead of timing it, numbing it, sterilizing it, insuring it, managing it.

Midnight Arrival

Long Drive.

Strong Mama.

Great Music.

15 Minutes of Pushing.

Healthy Baby.

Immediate Breastfeeding.

Long Drive.

Tired Happy Doula.