This post is addressed to health care workers and providers. It also serves as a warning to all expectant parents to spend more time studying
where, how and with whom you will birth
than you would spend deciding which car or computer you are going to buy next.
I studied and still had problems. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if I hadn’t studied.
ObGyn, elderly male.
- DO NOT perform a pelvic examination in a 15-year old without her mother or a female nurse in the room.
- DO NOT consent to subterfuge, to omitting to tell the girl that her parents have actually brought her to your office because they think she is promiscuous and possibly pregnant because she still is not having regular cycles and has never had regular cycles.
- DO NOT treat her like she is dirty, bad and horrible when YOU decide to go on with the exam, even though she is cycling.
- DO NOT then go ahead and break her hymen.
- DO NOT finish your damage by telling her father (the one who brought her to the appointment) that she needs to be on birth control pills. She doesn’t even understand what you have done. All she will remember is the disgusted look on your face and all the blood that is everywhere, all over the exam table, your gloves, and your bloody white coat.
- DO NOT misuse your position as a trusted church member and family friend who hired you to be their family physician.
- DO NOT drug and rape their 16-year-old daughter, who was sent unaccompanied to your office, because they were too busy with their new business to attend what was supposed to be a simple work-related physical.
- DO NOT open your office door when it is over, and she is still groggy, and tell her in front of a packed waiting room, that she will never, ever, ever have children.
- She rode home alone in the rain, on her bike, with everything above her knees burning like fire, and sketchy memories caused by the Ketamine (?) you bought for your geriatric patients (?) but injected into her. Nobody believed her. That trauma caused her to further block the memory of what happened to her. You knew this would happen. You must have laughed when nobody did anything about your medical assault. Did you think that was a funny way for her to lose her virginity? Did you laugh at how they trusted you more than her? How they thought all her protesting, panic, clinging and insistence on never being left alone with you was ridiculous and annoying ? They kept making her come back to see you for checkups, even knowing how much she hated and feared you. Her therapist thought perhaps there was collusion between you and her father. Gee, that’s nice.
MD, aging male.
- When she comes to you in college, complaining of strange, horribly stabbing pains in her left side,DO NOT perform a pelvic exam and then flippantly, sneeringly say, “There’s nothing wrong with you! And you’re not pregnant, if that’s what you were thinking. You’re like all the rest of the girls here, aren’t you? Well, if you wanted birth control pills, why didn’t you just come out and ask for them, and spare me having to do this pelvic?”When she insists again that it’s a pain in her left side, you pause, and say, “Well, I guess it could be your bowels. Maybe you need a relaxant.”
- DO NOT prescribe a medication so strong that when she takes one of those little blue pills, they knock her out so completely – for over 24 hours – that she wakes up having nearly missed one of her final exams. What is this, a practical joke, just to drive home the fact that you don’t believe her and think she’s a whore?
ObGyn, young female.
- DO NOT totally botch up an exploratory laparoscopy, then in your medical report, blame the entire procedure on the young patient in her twenties, and label her “morbidly obese” when she weighs less than 150 pounds.
- DO invite her back to your office, as you did, to keep cleaning up the pus and mess coming from her wound, for month after month after month, free of charge. She never knew you scorned her and castigated her for YOUR iatrogenic error and lack of medical experience until she got a copy of her medical records many years later.
- DO, as a nurse in an ObGyn practice, inform first-time moms that the doctor’s c-section rate is 1 in 4.
- When she asks if it is her weight, or some health condition, DO smile and tell her “No, its just his rate”. This will cause her to run, run, run far away from your office and to her local library, where she will study and learn something new: about Leboyer and waterbirth, Grantly-Read’s Birth Without Fear, midwives, alternative birth, attachment parenting and the Bradley Method. Thank you, Nurse Whoever-You-Were. You changed my life.
- DO be very gentle and kind with first-time vaginal ultrasound patients. Give them time to adjust to the shock of the new idea. They think they know what ultrasounds are from television. They really shouldn’t have to learn the difference between an exterior and interior ultrasound with their bodies instead of with their eyes.
i. Baby, first
- DO NOT assure and reassure your client throughout her entire pregnancy that you will be there for her at her baby’s birth and then only bother to show up when she is full crown. Rather, inform her well ahead of time that because of hospital protocols, there really is no difference between how a CNM and ObGyn behaves in the hospital environment.
- DO make sure you fully inform her way before the day she goes into labor that the nursing staff at the hospital – TOTAL STRANGERS – will actually be doing most of the work until you, the diva, get there.
- DO NOT ignore the fact that this particular client has an emotional bond with you, because she has known you personally since she was a teenager. She thinks you actually really care about her as an individual; that her “maiden flight” with her very first baby is as important to you as it is to her.
- DO NOT judge a woman by the person she made her baby with, especially if he is less than ideal. You do not know her heart or her circumstances. You do not know if she truly even wants to be with him or is thrilled to be stuck with him herself. EDUCATE YOURSELF on what domestic violence is. Why women stay, why women leave. Learn to read between the lines and see what isn’t there and hear what isn’t said. DO NOT ignore the truth that is in her eyes the whole time.
RN, older female.
- DO NOT laugh and sneer at her birth plan.
- DO NOT shake your head in disgusted disagreement when she insists on ambulating, squatting, and doing all sorts of educatedly disagreeable things she’s learned from the Bradley Method.
Aforementioned CNM, female.
- DO NOT suddenly turn a normal childbirth into a panic-room when you believe from your beeping equipment that her baby’s oxygen is low. Just calmly get the air going.
- DO NOT ignore the fact that because you were not there, she ended up being cornered by the staff in the nurse-friendly lithotomy position, which you knew she didn’t want to be in. DO NOT be complicit the lie the nursing staff is telling her about how she is now situated in a manner optimum to seeing her baby being born in a large mirror you’ve placed nearby. Why? Because most of the time, the mirror was angled wrong, or someone else’s bottom blocked the view. Oh, no matter, everybody else in the room got to be front and center, and that’s the important thing, right? Of course right!
RN, elderly female.
- DO NOT assume the sounds that you as a nurse are used to – the sounds of circumcised babies screaming, echoing down the hall – are sounds that your client and her family are used to hearing, or are comfortable with.
- DO NOT be so impatient in your job as a nurse as to try to insert a catheter, in the middle of the night, with the light off… then
- DO NOT get mad when she defends herself by kicking you and demands her midwife.
- DO NOT get revenge the next morning by taking your own sweet time getting around to changing/emptying her full urine bag.
ii. Baby, second
MD, male @ renowned infertility clinic.
- DO NOT, under any circumstances, if the female patient is weeping and crying – begging for it not to occur – listen to her sterile husband instead and allow her 3-year-old child to be in the room at the IVF clinic at the same time her sibling is being conceived. You could have made excuses. Said it was policy. Lied to protect her. Wondered to yourself what kind of weirdo would want an impressionable, curious toddler with wide open, curious and scared dark eyes in the room at conception… and done something. Instead of acting like your patient is just a petrie dish for you to put specimens upon,
- DO stick your neck out for once and defend womanhood, childhood and innocence.
- DO NOT completely and smilingly ignore how frantically that young mother tries to keep her child’s attention away from the fact that she is naked from the chest down, with everything hiked up in the air and something was going on “down there”. It was almost like you enjoyed it too. This is not only psychological and emotional abuse, it is medical trauma. It is child abuse. It is medical gang rape.
RN, elderly female.
- Remember Nurse Ratchet? The RN who behaved as if somehow postpartum women had glow-in-the-dark urethras? Well, guess what? Women remember, and the neocortex is a very poweful thing. She will remember you, Nurse, the next time she goes into labor, and when she sees your face, her labor will utterly stop. She will ask you when you get off work, turn on her heel, go home and go back to bed. Sure enough, her labor will start back up once the time hits when she knows you aren’t at the hospital anymore.
- DO NOT encourage your client to hope and be excited about the new “water birth” facilities advertised at the local hospital while neglecting to inform her of the truth until she is happily mid-labor, in the groove, peacefully pleased and ensconced in the water. No, that is NOT the time to tell her that the hospital only allows water labor, not water birth.
- Now that she has learned that CNM’s will not show up until very late in her labor, and that she will be left alone most of the time, and only intermittently checked on by hospital nurses IF she is quiet, DO NOT swoop in from nowhere until practically transition, just take over and abruptly change the whole scenario, without any other explanation than: I am the midwife!
- DO NOT ask her to change rooms in the middle of her labor.
- DO NOT make her walk through a public area of the hospital – even if it is just in the hallway to the room next door – soaking wet, freezing cold, and inadequately covered in a tiny bathrobe.
- DO warn her that everything is going to change, now. That you have decided her birth is not progressing the way she was managing it without you.
- DO NOT entirely ignore the glaring fact that you were not there until 5 seconds ago.
- DO NOT then insist she get on a birth stretcher in the lithotomy position for your personal convenience in checking her. You could check her where she is, where she is already comfortable… or you could ask yourself, is this check really necessary? And, of course, you could COMMUNICATE with her about what you are doing and why.
- DO NOT start shouting orders to everyone, including her.
- DO NOT let the entire room become suddenly full of hospital staff when she has specifically asked for privacy.
- DO NOT bodily force her up onto another hospital stretcher, with the help of staff, without telling her why.
- DO NOT then expect her to just go back to birth after this bewildering interruption, especially because she is still freezing cold.
- DO NOT forget that she is a person with feelings, and that perhaps being hiked up high on a table, stark naked in the middle of the room, still cold, still with soaking wet hair, on her hands and knees, in front of a room full of staff might just make her feel completely vulnerable, exposed and awkward.
- DO NOT forget Gaskin’s Sphincter Law.
- DO tell her that you are using the Gaskin Manuever? and why. DO NOT let her be the only person in the room not knowing what is going on… and never bother to fill her in or record in the medical record afterward about what exactly did go on.
- DO NOT then make her switch rooms, AGAIN, to deliver the placenta.
- DO NOT PULL ON THE CORD TO GET THE PLACENTA OUT while at the same time deny that you are pulling on the cord or call it “gentle traction”! Bullshit! If you are touching the court you are pulling on it!!
- DO NOT PUSH ON HER BELLY AND PULL ON IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN! You know this patient is educated and well-read. DO NOT ignore her looks and questions about WHY you are doing this.
- DO NOT smile benignly after it is all over, your stitches are painfully in place, and tell her she did have an adequate pelvis after all, and that she “could have given birth to a 14-pound turkey.”
- DO NOT completely ignore the fact that she was ALREADY on her hands and knees, by instinct, in the water-birth tub when you arrived.
- DO NOT completely ignore the fact that her baby is showing classic signs of having known domestic violence in the womb. He is lethargic, you could even say depressed, even though there were no drugs involved in his birth. He is not immediately interested in nursing, nor does he seem interested in nursing for hours afterward. Minutes after birth, he turned his little head AWAY from his “father’s” voice. His mother noticed this, and she noticed that YOU noticed.
iii. Baby, third
Birth center, 2 female CNM’s… (oh yeah, and our apprentice you’ll really get to meet rather well once your water breaks).
- DO NOT be dishonest about your weightism in your quest to remain gainfully employed. Tell her right up front that you think she is too fat and you are uncomfortable about attending her birth, and think it would be better if she did not hire you.
- In fact, DO NOT take on any client that makes you uncomfortable or who you feel is a risk to you. You may not ever say so, but she will feel that vibe.
- DO NOT tell her you think her baby was conceived a month before she was married and then smile a little sneering, unbelieving smile when she asserts this baby was born in wedlock, as all her children were!
- DO NOT bring up her religious beliefs or discuss them with her if she deeply believes in them and you do not.
- DO NOT ask her if she thinks you will be a good member of her faith.
- DO be honest with her and tell her you really can not discern the baby’s position because she is too fat.
- DO apologize for not believing her date of conception because you don’t know how to judge fundal height when combined with abdominal fat.
- DO NOT ignore the fact that both of you are kind of on the hefty side, too.
- Her water broke and now she is at the birth center. DO reassure her that you are not sending her to the hospital for an ultrasound to check the baby’s position, which has never been suspected as breech until now, in the hope of getting rid of her and her labor. Reassure her of that fact by going with her personally, instead of sending your apprentice, a stranger to her.
- DO NOT keep yourself and your practice so busy that she wonders if you will really have the time to attend her birth, and when in the birth you will actually get there.
- DO NOT keep inquiring of her, all day long, what could POSSIBLY be wrong with her, up there in her mind, that could be stalling her labor like this. DO NOT be so blind, so in denial of your own practice, as to realize that she is on your turf, in your birth center, and her neocortex not happy. Her whole body is waiting for your business hours to end, and your prenatal classes to finish up, and for all the strangers coming and going all day, who could overhear her, to leave, so she can finally have your full attention.
- Now that she has your full attention, DO NOT tell her that she can not do the things she is drawn to, and has been longing to do, during her labor. Do not keep redirecting her away from the one thing she keeps asking for where she knows she will find relief, be able to open up and relax. No, a toilet and a birth ball are not a pool of water, and never will be. DO explain to her your belief that water slows labor, or your unfounded fear of water infecting a client with SROM or whatever it was that made you prevent her.
- DO NOT, after months and months of personal interaction with this woman, abandon her and let your midwife apprentice be the one in her face at the height of birth. Like, who the heck is she? This is not who your client was picturing for the last trimester, every single time she imagined her birth.
- DO strongly encourage your clients to climb into your oval-shaped birth tubs BEFORE the big day. Then she will not have to discover, in the throes of 2nd stage labor, that the shape and dimensions of your tub do not work for her at all. In fact, the much-touted tub is more narrow than her bathtub at home, much smaller than the hospital labor pool she experienced before.
- DO teach your client that if there is ever anyone in the room making her uncomfortable, anyone at all, for whatever reason, that she must and should send them away… or it will only prolong labor. That includes you, your apprentice, her husband, any relatives (no matter how well meaning), everyone. It is her right to say NO to whomever she wants.
- DO NOT EVER command a client to change position for your personal convenience, especially when the baby is crowing. She was on her knees, upright. Why the necessity, suddenly, right when the baby is about to come out, for her to assume what is essentially an underwater LITHOTOMY position?!
- DO NOT send this apprentice to her home for the postpartum instead of coming yourself. DO NOT let that be the only representation of your personal concern for her that she ever gets postpartum.
- DO NOT ask your client if she “minds” having your apprentice around. Rather, frankly ask her permission to be part of that apprentice’s education, fully explaining what that means… and allow her the real option of saying no without threat of losing you as her care provider.
- DO make your apprentice part of every single appointment with a client who agrees to an apprentice.
- DO be honest with those clients you do not like well enough to attend yourself and let them know well ahead of time that the apprentice is the person you have planned to attend her birth. The same thing applies to your partner. Inform her that you plan on having your partner attend her birth and not you. Your client has the right to know this, and the right to have enough time to hire somebody else. Remember that she hired YOU, not your student or your partner… so if you do not plan on being the one by her side, it is dishonest not to tell her so.
iv. Baby, fourth
CPM, female. Midwife assistant, female.
- DO NOT encourage a patient who has not had a period within the last 12 months but is pregnant, to avoid getting the 20-week ultrasound, even if she does believe that ultrasounds are not safe. You are the professional. You know what she does not: that everything in the medical world revolves around that all-important LMP and due date. Pleasing your client at that early juncture instead of being honest with her about the real consequences meant that her intended home birth turned into a completely unnecessary and provider-CYA-caused induction.
- DO NOT take on a client who is LDS if you and/or your assistant are a flaming anti-Mormons and pretend that you are not.
- DO NOT deceive yourself into thinking you are the master of disguise. She has experienced religious prejudice all her life and has already immediately sensed your feigned feelings toward her.
- My, aren’t you the chameleon. DO NOT abruptly change into a tyrant after months of pleasant interaction during prenatal appointments. If you absolutely must be sure about the date of conception DO NOT wait until what you think might be her ninth or even tenth month to tell her she has been costing you too much money to keep seeing and insist she get induced, thereby spoiling the home birth plans and dreams she has been working toward for months and years.
- DO bring along your midwife apprentice/doula to every single at-home prenatal appointment. Especially when you are secretly planning to dump that patient’s care on her shoulders during labor. At least your client won’t be working with a stranger she never would have hired herself, because of her inexperience and not-quite-meshing personality. No, she will just be working with an acquaintance she never would have hired herself. Gee, that’s better.
- DO tell a client, when you decide to refuse to attend the home water birth she planned, that she has the option to fire you and find somebody else to work with.
- DO inform the client that she has the right to free birth, and educate her on exactly what that means. After all, you liked IndieBirth on your Facebook profile. (Or was that merely a smart, sly business move to attract business from not-100% confident freebirth investigators?)
- DO NOT change your commitment to your client in the middle of her labor. If you are the one who said you would be the main care provider with her, to help her through the birth, then keep your word.
- DO NOT slip in new people to your client’s birth environment with a simple cell-phone call in the middle of the afternoon. If she did not ask them there herself, and they haven’t been there the whole time already, what makes you think she really wants them present now? Even if that new people is one of your apprentices, if your client never specifically asked to have them present at the birth, then she really did not want them there.
- DO NOT press your client, who you know wants to be a midwife herself, to help your apprentice get her academic certifications completed through her birth.
- DO NOT tell your client your midwife apprentice is only there to witness, and then promptly hand the direct face-to-face handling of the labor over to your apprentice without the full and informed consent and understanding of your client. Especially when she has told you of her past birth experiences where she felt abandoned and betrayed.
- DO NOT, as a nurse who has just met the person you are working with, make repeated jokes about how men are such jerks when the patient you are working with dearly loves hers, and he has been right there, at her side, in the room with her, the entire time. In fact, you should really have enough experience by now to know that most laboring women want QUIET, not chit-chat. So SHUT UP, Nurse Magpie.
CPM, female. RN, female.
- DO NOT tell a woman, mid-labor, what is going on with other women and other births in the hospital at the same time.
- DO NOT let her know that two other women have had their babies die that day and are in neighboring rooms, so that she feels like she can not make a sound during or after labor, for fear of being overheard by a grieving parent… so that she feels guilty every time she can’t help but cry out… so that she feels horribly guilty instead of joyful as she leaves the next day carrying her baby past their rooms, their eyes, their empty car-seats.
Birth doula/midwife apprentice.
- DO be the one set of female eyes, the one female voice, the one other person in the room besides her husband and herself who really, truly believes she can still birth this baby the way she insists: without painkillers, despite the Pitocin, for the health and well-being of her baby.
- DO be the one to never, ever, ever leave her side or abandon her. DO be the one who is face-to-face, hand-to-hand, present. It is confusing now, that you were the one to do that when I thought that was what the midwife promised to be.
- DO NOT let what has happened with other people in other rooms carry over into an entirely different situation in with a different person in another room.
- DO NOT treat a midwife and a doula in the room, who have worked with a patient for months, and were hired specifically by her for birth assistance, as if they are invisible and nothing.
MD, female pediatrician.
- DO NOT abuse your power as a medical professional by forcing women to acquiesce to your will by forcing them into a catch-22 corner. Allow us to insert the IFM, or you don’t get to enter the birthing pool. When was she ever told before this moment, fully dilated and in pain, that this was a prior condition of water birth?
- DO NOT act like somehow you have scored a victory when a natural-birth mother acquiesces to an intervention that you are forcing her to accept or else. Why should you be so happy about her having to submit to something she never wanted? Because your philosophy wins, because you make money on it, or both?
- DO NOT cut the cord! Do not ignore her when she says Don’t Cut The Cord!!!
- DO NOT allow anyone to be the first person to touch and hold her baby but the mother who has just worked so very long and hard for that reward.
- DO NOT be so afraid of water birth that you, the medical professional, forget all that the birth parents have given up of their birth plans and endured through this long day of unanticipated hospital birth.
- DO NOT, in your hurry, fumble the baby horribly, abruptly cut the cord – as lost blood shoots everywhere but into that baby’s body – and whisk it away. What do you have against bonding? Against handing babies directly into mother’s arms? What’s the damn hurry?!!
- DO piss in the face of an incompetent midwife in front of the client she lied to and inform the patient that NO, just like the TWO biophysical profiles/late-term ultrasounds the midwife insisted she get and then ignored, this client’s perfectly healthy baby was not past dates and had not been in any danger of imminent death at all… in fact, “it could have stayed in the womb another week or two.” AND NO, the placenta was “not calcified in the least.” In fact it was “the largest and most healthy placenta” you had “seen in years.” Thank you, Doctor, for telling me the truth in front of that liar. Perhaps it was all those hours of agony. Perhaps the reputed amnesic effects of oxytocin didn’t work… because your words were burned into my brain like a hot brand… and I still feel cheated, robbed, totally played and I am STILL angry… for myself and for my baby.
Summary statement to aforementioned CPM, female.
- DO NOT think that people you stabbed in the back are not going to figure out what you think you got away with. You got your money without having to do the homebirth. Covered your ass by making her go to the hospital for a birth that you KNEW would be uninsured, that they had not planned for, and that they could not afford. Little you cared about the financial devastation you caused when the $8K hospital bill was added to your $2.5K bill. No, instead, you just thought about the extra layer of armor you were slapping on that lily-white, chicken-livered stinkhole of yours by passing the buck to your apprentice midwife. Yeah. I understand now. So if the birth of the baby you abandoned because you feared it was overdates, overweight and likely to be born stillborn or dead was a disaster, or if I hemorrhaged because of the anemia that you believed was never under control during the pregnancy because you knew nothing about the thyroid-liver-iodine-iron link … the blame would have all been on her and not on you. In the end, you were the one who was left shocked and astonished, though. The only thing that makes me sad is realizing that you, who I thought genuinely cared about me… You didn’t think I could do it, did you?
- DO be the one brave nurse to come to her room afterward and tell her you have never seen a woman give birth with Pitocin and nothing else, and that she is a warrior-goddess to you. God bless brave, truth-speaking nurses. You are rare lotus blossoms in the bloody, drug-soaked, muddy mucky money-greedy mire of the System.
v. Became a birth doula while studying to become a midwife, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant. Did not yet realize that all these were still forms of being a F.L.A.M.E.
- DO NOT wash a newborn baby in the same hospital sink where everyone who has ever walked into that room can also wash their hands. UCK!!! As a doula, I saw THREE babies all washed in the SAME sink in the SAME room. Each time, no prior cleansing was performed. Nurse just placed some apparently magical paper towels at the bottom of the sink where doctor, Dad, grandma, grandpa, me, the phlebotimist, the nurses, and everyone else washed their hands, spit, etc. Wow, I would like to know what is in those paper towels that will keep the germs off baby, and how this habit passed hospital CYA protocols. The whole IDEA that newborns must be washed is utter nonsense. Do some research. Rubbing in the vernix is healthier than washing it off. Duh, that is the reason for the vernix because the bath actually dries out their skin at a time when they need all the protection against the environment that they can get. The newborn is MOST likely to contract infection not from mother or father but from hospital staff and/or hospital environment. Hence the nasty bath instead of mother’s arms, is that it? More chance of infection? CHA-CHING$$$??
MD, FACOG, female.
- DO NOT LIE and call an induction an augmentation, especially when a woman tells you she does not want to be induced; that she wants a natural childbirth. RN, female… and all hospital staff.
- DO NOT act like a mother holding her baby is a hazard waiting to happen. The hazard comes from your hospital environment, not from her action. QUIT DENYING that holding their baby 24/7 is the only thing most new mothers want to do. Encourage baby-wearing and kangaroo-care. Buy some bigger, wider beds, at least for postpartum, and allow mothers to hold and nurse their babies!
- DO NOT tell a woman, stopping by your rural facility to be checked, upon doctor’s orders before she drives a few more hours to the big hospital, that she can not leave, that she is not just fine.
MD, male. RN, female.
- DO NOT then behave unethically and stop the woman who has just told you she is leaving to go to that big hospital, so you can make a profit. NO! DO NOT immediately inject her arm with a chemical to stop her labor and then with smiles more like snarls, inform her that she can no longer drive with her husband by herself. No, she must go in your hospitals ambulance because of the situation YOU just created. How is the husband still not able to drive her? In coming years will you have to drug him, too? QUIT COMMITTING MALPRACTICE IN THE NAME OF MILKING MEDECAID.
- Oh, when she gets to that big hospital, guess what? They will inject her with something to speed up her labor again! CHA-CHING!! $o… what do you guys have, some kind of deal between the two of you, some kind of running total to see how high either party can get the bill?
- DO NOT yell at this same woman, who has started and been stopped and started again, to slow down when she gets the urge bear down and push her baby out… Are you CRAZY or something? Who cares that the doctor is not in the room yet? Everyone knows you are perfectly capable of catching the baby and many times do because he isn’t there. Hello?! The priority is the emerging baby, not the sandwich-chewing jerk who saunters into the room moments later, notices the situation, and with great annoyance, pops the last bite in his mouth, slowly wipes off the mayo, and turns to the disgusting sink to wash his hands. And he’s still not really hurrying, despite all.
Hospital staff and administration:
- DO NOT treat poor people like they are stupid cattle and call your class on how to be a good little patient and obey hospital protocols a “childbirth class”, or properly informed consent.
- DO NOT treat people on Medecaid like they are your personal cash-cows, like there is an imminent 25,000 c-section just a’walking in your door.
- DO NOT continue to use and abuse pregnant Native American women. Quit asking what she and her Medicaid can do for you (and your money-grubbing bottom line). Start being a little compassionate. Start seeing with your eyes and hearing with your ears. The truth is that she needs education and personal attention, and that you and your colleagues have been abusing your personal power and a lifetime of advantages she has never known.
- Stop giving Self-Benefising Pacifier Care: Bring ’em in, shut ’em up, strap ’em down and carve ’em out. Start asking, what can I do for HER? Um… this is 2014, not 1950.
- DO NOT pay more attention to the EFM than to the woman you have strapped down to the bed so you can pay attention to the EFM
Hey, rural megahospital!
- Why does a woman need to have her pubes shaved for a c-section?
- Why does your hospital have NO birthing tubs in their “newly renovated” maternity section?
- Why are EFM’s and IV’s mandatory?
- Why are all your nursing staff so IRRITATED by an upright and ambulating woman in labor?
- Why do they HATE doulas?
- Why does EVERYONE on your staff refuse to sign any paperwork for DONA-trained doulas to finish their certification, inanely stating that they are not expert on doulas, know nothing of the requirements and training involved in doula education and therefore are not in the least bit qualified to judge a certifying candidate. I only had one nurse be straightforward enough with me to admit that hospital administration had specifically forbidden them to sign.
- Why do you forbid ALL food and drink, and even limit ice chips?
- Why does every ObGyn seem to walk in the room with both syringe-barrels seemingly packed and ready to go?
- Why are your nurses forced to be drug-pushers, and so in fear of losing their jobs that they whisper truths about the hospital or doctor to doulas like me, but carefully away from the surveillance of their colleagues?
- Why does every procedure and even the design of the maternity section feel streamlined toward c-sections? Because I think the dirty little secret is, that it is! Every prohibition and every intervention increases the likelihood of a c-section! THIS IS NOT EVIDENCE-BASED CARE!!! IT’S PROVIDER-SERVING, HOSPITAL PROFITING & CYA NONSENSE!
Hospital adminstrator, female.
- So… did the perinatologist send you to do his dirty work, or did you come up with the idea yourself to tell this doula, after she attended a beautiful 100% drug free, natural birth, that doulas were not allowed in your hospital? She was practically invisible, didn’t get in anybody’s way, or say hardly two words to the doctor. So why lie in wait for her, get on the elevator with her, put your arm around her, and, with a smile on your face but daggers in your eyes, make her feel like she did something wrong, and deflate the whole joy of that moment of victory in loving service? I can only conclude you and your colleagues know nothing about that. All you perceive is that doulas are a profit threat. Period. Never mind the proven benefit to patients.
- DO NOT excuse or justify the skyrocketing c-section rate at your regional hospital by asserting that the profits made from c-sections are what keeps both that hospital AND your independent establishment open, so all’s well.
MD, FACOG, female.
- DO NOT hurry up a putsy-putsy labor just because you want to go home. It may be your umpteenth birth, but it isn’t hers.
MD, MFM, male.
- DO NOT hide the fact that most of the L&D nurses on the floor have never, ever witnessed a natural birth when they get antsy to “do something” afterwards and there is nothing to be done. Are you afraid that the secret will get out that you are not really as needed as you want people to believe?
- DO NOT neglect to inform any and all women who are your patients specifically because you are the natural childbirth guy, that if you do not happen to be around that day, nothing they have planned or expected or hoped for will happen with any of your partners who are 100% medicalized. Why are you even partners when your care philosophies are so opposite from each other?
- DO NOT LIE. Do not pressure a mother, or use other medical staff to pressure a mother to get induced early when there is nothing wrong with her – it’s you who has decided to go on vacation around her due date, even though you promised her you would be there. Do not rob an unborn baby of the last moments of gestational time it needs for best health.
Ob/Gyn Dr Amy Tuteur:
- DO NOT get up on your pompous ass and go about flaming natural-birthing websites just because you don’t agree. Babies were born for millions of years before ObGyn’s were ever around, and they will be born for millions of years after you are rotting in your own juices in the ground.
Members of the Mainstream System.
- DO NOT knock natural birth, unassisted birth, water-birth or anything else you did not personally witness among the cadavers and hospital rounds of your education.
- DO NOT continue to ignore the pre-eminent role that proper nutrition plays in whether or not a baby is healthy and whether or not a birth becomes an iatrogenic disaster. Why am I only finding out NOW, after having had 4 pregnancies with anemia, that fresh beet juice is a stellar option for increasing iron levels in the blood? That high levels of Vitamin C during pregnancy helps create a strong amniotic sac and umbilical, thus helping prevent premature rupture of membranes and the connected threat of cord prolapse? I am only finding out now that medical professionals receive little-to-no nutritional education?! Why am I supposed to think you are an expert again? You guys are in the stone ages. For example, the iron in molasses, which comes from the IRON POTS molasses is made in, isn’t even bioavailable once ingested! Neither are a lot of the reputed iron-building pharmaceuticals!
- DO NOT act like hospital protocols are bigger, more superseding laws than the Golden Rule and the 10 Commandments.
- DO NOT forget that you know just about a much about her body as the guy flipping burgers at McDonald’s. She was able to push a turd out for years without you beside her screaming, push, Push, PUSH!!!! So keep a little bit of humility, for once, and be honored at the privilege of being allowed to witness so sacred and vulnerable a moment.
- DO learn your own history, allopaths & ObGyn’s. Learn about how meddling men took over what was once the exclusive domain of community-based, local, female care-providers.
- DO Wake up to the fact that, for all your “advanced” care, the U.S. now ranks 60th in the world in maternal morality, and that infants are more likely to die in their first day of life in the U.S. than anywhere else in the industrialized world.
- Crack open a few books now and then. Something by Michel Odent, MD or Sarah Buckley,MD or Barbara Harper, RN might be nice, but if that is too touchy-feely for you, the plain hard facts of how bad the situation is can be found in Born in the USA: How A Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed To Put Women And Children First by Marsden Wagner, MD as well as Expecting Trouble: The Myth of Prenatal Care In America by Thomas H. Strong, MD
- DO NOT be a pimp for the formula companies or press sugar water. Even one bottle of formula too soon can screw up a baby’s intestines, and thereby their immune system, for life. Unless she is dead, baby’s only first food should be his mother’s milk.
- DO NOT think that once you have the letters behind your name, you are off the hook from keeping abreast of the newest evidence-based research. I know you have to keep the conveyor belt of women running through your practice at a pretty steady beat to cover your overhead, malpractice insurance and the lifestyle an average $200,000 annual income affords. However,if you do not bother to keep your knowledge-base sharpened and honed, those streams of women will be subjected to the profit-dulled knife of your “care”… and you could make a HUGE mistake one of these days.
- DO NOT make the recovery from a c-section seem so much like going on vacation or staying at a spa, that it becomes a trend among Hutterite women to actually choose to get cesareans, just for the break from all the work at the colony.
- DO NOT whine and complain about keeping hospitals open in a federally recognized Health Care Shortage Area and then lock out community doulas and midwives.
- DO NOT perpetuate the lie that you are the doctors or hospital staff are the boss of the patient, and the boss of the birthing room. ALL OF YOU are the employees of your patient. Period. And you can be fired!!
- CEASE, DESIST and STOP the lies I am SO sick of hearing about how the doctor saved my life or the c-section saved my baby. This may be true sometimes, but most of the time, it was the doctor’s intervention that caused the emergency in the first place. That patient never knows it; never realizes they were victimized and short-changed. They go around their whole life praising you instead of thanking God that you did not kill them. How do you folks live with yourselves, allowing them to believe something that never was true, enduring their praises, and never ever fessing up to what you really did? You are not God.
- DO NOT LIE to yourself or to your patient. If you do not believe birth is a natural process, that for the majority of women is no danger or hazard at all, GET OUT OF THE BUSINESS or freely and openly make available to all your intervention and c-section rates, as well as those of your partners they may get stuck with.
- Publish the c-section and intervention rates of any institution of business where you claim to first do no harm. If you can’t do that, then resolve to quit meddling in, spoiling and destroying the birth experience of women and their babies… and making them pay you for it too.
Level III Rural Hospitals:
- DO NOT even presume to think a thought so stupid as believing you can save your business by bringing back maternity care. CHA-CHING, we are going to perform c-sections now! WOOHOOOO!!! Bring in the money, babies!!!
- Nope. So you decide to be stupid anyway and spend tons of money building a brand spanking new operating theater, and “renovating” just ONE room in your main hallway for birth. (What was the change? New wallpaper? No? Oh, I see, a new incubator for the incapacitated baby who can’t be in his mother’s arms. How nice.) Who cares that this particular hallway could have ANYBODY in it – men, women, children – with ANY disease or affliction… not other laboring moms. Never mind that it has relatively no privacy or anti-kidnapping security to speak of.
- Obviously, you are planning on women in your hospital not ambulating. And how, exactly, is she supposed to ambulate in that public hallway with any confidence of privacy, knowing her bare butt is hanging out of the flimsy “You Are Hospital Property” uniform you’ve given her? Furthermore, how is she even supposed to walk that hallway with the heightened olfactory senses of pregnancy. Obviously, you don’t smell what I smell with my hypothyroid nose: the room and the hallway smell like a nursing home and make me want to vomit. This situation is a ridiculous joke! What woman would choose this environment for birth? (Only an ignorant one. We both know those are your favorite kind.)
- Hey, dummies, you need to read some Michel Odent on the proven needs of the mammal in labor. Ever see a cat or a cow or a dog give birth in conditions like American women are expected to give birth?
- In this living nightmare that should have Dueling Banjos as the soundtrack, DO NOT, as CEOs of competing level III rural hospitals, hire the biggest bunch of weirdos, arrogant fatheads and/or incompetents to attend childbirth that I have ever seen in such proximate location. I know the pickings are tough, but for heaven’s sake, at least TRY to hire somebody with a kindly bedside manner, who isn’t so socially aloof or arrogant that they drive what small number of patients you have away to another hospital, and quickly! If Doctor Y attends a birth where twins die, no worry, he can still practice! We’ll just transfer him to the level I mothership two hours south! Meanwhile, go ahead and hire Doctor Z, from another place and another scandal. No worries, your patients are not savvy enough to snoop on the internet and find out the dirt you think they’ll never discover about his past. Oh, and YES! Yes, PLEASE hire that misogynistic little Doctor X. His anti-female attitudes and statements will get around town even quicker than the smell of another mercaptan leak. For example, this Dr X gem was quoted to me recently: “Women that think they need a doula or a midwife are living in La-La Fairytale Land. Doulas are fluff and nonsense for the weak. They make no difference in birth whatsoever.” Dear Doctors Y, Z , X and the rest of the Alphabet: Please remember that birth has, does and will happen with or without you. Please take two Anti-Hubris pills and call me in the morning, okay sweetie?
- I keep hearing things about your doctors wanting the right kind of doula or nurse or whatever. Do you mean, a F.L.A.M.E.? A Female Labor Attendant to the Medical Establishment? Oh, I see. Let me enlighten you about something: women like me are perfectly described in a lyric from Disney’s Mulan. How ’bout a girl who has a brain? Who always speaks her mind? When we look at where we live and what is available here the sad, stark fact is that there is no choice, no choice at all when it comes to birth. We will not choose your sorry little hospital. We will homebirth or go out of the region altogether to deliver. There, in one fell swoop, I have solved the riddle puzzling academics as to why Montana is #1 in the nation for home birth rates. We have no other choice but YOU! Egads! Flail my skin, draw-and-quarter-me, boil me in oil, but please, please don’t make me give birth in the Dark Ages with such a lousy lot as you!
- DO NOT let circumcisions, Apgar scores, baths, or whatever the heck else interrupt or cut short the Golden Hour after a baby is born. It is only there once, and it never comes back. Unless it is an emergency, leave your new families alone for the first 60 minutes. All your administrative and CYA procedures can stick a cork in it and wait in line.
- DO NOT fight over patients like they are a bone on the floor in a room of starving dogs. The united priority of all health-care providers should be the health and well-being of the woman and her baby, not whether she chooses an MD, DO, midwife, or free birth… or where she chooses to birth. This is especially true in rural areas.
- CONTINUING EDUCATION. I am floored that so many evidence-based practices are virtually unknown in rural areas. When routines and traditions of “how it has always been done” take over, everyone suffers, especially the baby. As John Greenlief Whittier said, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.” A drugged-up hysterical, fearful woman in stirrups in the lithotomy position is NOT the only childbirth scene possible, and it definitely shouldn’t be the prevalent one. Where are the birthing tubs, birthing stools, birthing balls? Where is the encouragement for a woman to labor on her hands and knees, squatting or standing?
- DO NOT make a mother wait to have her baby when she arrives at the hospital already full-crown.
- DO NOT thereafter administer a saddle-block. Like, WTH?!
- DO NOT inform a mother that her child was a “good baby” because you got to finish watching the Whateverbowl while she waited with her saddle-block. Maybe this is why I have always hated football!!!
- DO NOT be such an insensitive jerk as tell the new mother her inter-racial child is a “good genetic mix.” Her daughter will get tired of hearing all the stupid crap you said, quoted to her and to others repeatedly, especially when her proud Native Hawaiian mother never realizes that many of his comments were racist comments.
So why did I write this post? To air my bitterness, venom, antipathy? No, not really. Though the emotions are very present in the telling, I tell my story because it is the story of so many other women. Women who have not told, who have remained suffering and silent, understanding but not understood, who carry their reproductive assault, betrayal, trauma and shock like a dagger in the core of their souls… and oftentimes blame themselves and not their abusers! Worse yet, when such crimes are committed on the very young, psyches are shattered. These young women very often try to solve or cure their pain by unconsciously reenacting it again, with another abuser, in another place, at a later time, in the vain hope of having a different, happy ending: just as I have done: once, in marriage and over and over and over again in the quest for reproductive dignity. Unless the pattern is broken, unless her eyes are somehow opened, only more misery awaits.
I know the pattern CAN be broken. I know this, standing in my second marriage with a man who loves me. I know this because I am no longer afraid or ashamed to tell my story. I bear my testimony to open the eyes of the less compassionate main-streamers who do not realize what they do, who seem callously insensitive and rejecting to women like me because they have never suffered anything like unto it and therefore won’t believe that we have, either. Why? Because to believe the truth of such horror is to bear some responsibility in letting it remain or for acting for things to change.
I tell my story to bear witness that the American medical system of birth, as it currently stands, with its connected profit-motivated, status-quo maintaining branches in education, government, media and commerce, is utterly broken and running rabid, without any internal or external checks upon its power and dominion. With every fiber of my being, I know such things as I have experienced and witnessed at the hands of allopathic practitioners in the field of birth should not be! Especially not in a sphere as intimate, life-changing and sacred as birth.
Finally, I originally wrote this post and have edited it and re-edited it many times since then, to break the pattern; because my children have been praying for another little brother or sister. In agonizing over whether or not to become pregnant again – because it means giving birth again – I needed to remind myself, by rereading this whenever I feel afraid, of what I have already borne and what I will not tolerate ever, ever again.
My hope is that maybe somebody somewhere who has the power to enact change will read this and, as Gandhi taught, decide to be the change he or she wishes to see in the world. I believe most mothers and fathers do not realize that this power of change is theirs, despite all the machinations and dismal forces in the lost world of medicalized birth. But, as an eternal being, I am ultimately not of this world. Both male and female, you and I never were created to be permanently of this lost and fallen world, but rather, of the next. Like Dorothy with the ruby slippers, I didn’t know what power was already mine. I had never been taught the truth of my own physiological power, because few in our society remember it or have seen it: beautiful undisturbed laboring woman-in all her empowered beauty, fully risen. Men and women don’t have to hold a degree or be some kind of expert to enact change, for they are co-Creators with God, and He has deigned to allow them joint stewardship with Him over the children coming to earth through their union.Parents just have to choose to self-advocate, choose to self-educate, and choose have the courage to defend their homes and families and babies from every evil encroachment upon their wholeness and sanctity. Stop waiting for a guardian to save you. Be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove: study it out, learn all you can, then choose the path that rings with love, not fear. Trust in God. Trust in your body and in the beautiful, holy, private pattern; the circular pattern of conception, gestation and birth that He created to bless us to experience a joy like His. Yes, trust in God… and become your own guardian.
- Make your birth experience the beautiful act it was meant to be, so that you will live with the beautiful memory you are meant to have. – Lynn Griesemer
- We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. The Family: A Proclamation To The World What
- God hath joined together let no man put asunder – Matthew 19:6
- Notwithstanding they [Eve and Adam] shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. – JST 1 Timothy 2:15
Categories of Self-Reliance:
- Resource management
- Social, emotional, and spiritual strength
It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her. I will tell you what to do, you ladies, when you find you are going to have an increase, go off into some country where you cannot call for a doctor, and see if you can keep it. I guess you will have it, and I guess it will be all right, too. – President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses.