Over the years, my resolve has changed when it comes to what kind of birth experience and want and what I feel like I need. After so much loss, it seems to matter less and less how my baby gets here, and more that he just simple gets here. I’ve become much more flexible, but I think there’s still something to be said when it comes to having control over the experience.
Even before my first pregnancy, I was adamant that I wanted a drug-free, home birth. There was no question about it. Routine labor and delivery is not a medical emergency. Women have been doing it with limited assistance for thousands and years; it’s kind of what we’re designed to do.
But after multiple losses I decided that this time around we can err on the side of caution and go to the hospital. Still, I have my reservations. I’m terrified of medical intervention. Not the procedures and drugs themselves, but how slippery the slope becomes when you take this natural process that your body was built to preform and start add outside influences. Too often, one thing will cause the natural process to change to compensated, which leads to more intervention and once that snowball starts rolling, emergencies can happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate how great these medical advancements are and how many lives can now be saved. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we always need to.
That’s my personal opinion, but that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. What I’m getting at is that there are certain things that I, as and educated and informed adult, believe, value, and desire for my birthing experience. And I’m not the only one. Many of us go into this with priorities, goals, and a strong sense of “what’s right for me.” So what happens? They put us in a strange room, they take away our clothes, they turn on all these fancy machines, and start giving us instructions. Health care professionals are not out to rob us of our independence or highjack our birth experience. For the most part, the fault is not theirs at all. It’s ours. Because what they present as an educated suggestions we take as law and forget that we have a voice too.
I was reading through the paperwork the hospital gave me after I pre-registered. Under patient rights and responsibilities it stated very clearly that as a patient you have the right to refuse any medical procedure or medication. And it seems so obvious. We’re having a baby, not being involuntarily committed. But it’s so easy to forget when a doctor is standing over you saying “this is what we’re going to do,” you have the right to say no. Or at the very least, ask questions.
Back to my personal example. I don’t want and IV. I just don’t. I’m not afraid of needles or the bruising or anything like that. It’s just that whenever I have an IV I feel completely paralyzed like a cat with a harness on. I know an IV does not have to limit your motions, but that’s just how I feel. And for months I’ve been so stressed out because it’s hospital policy to insert one when you’re admitted. As an educated woman I know that there’s a valid medical reason for that, and that there are also compromises like a heparin or saline lock. But whatever am I going to do?…well…I could just say no.
It’s all about finding our voice. Or atleast remembering that we have one. And any decent doctor isn’t out to take that voice away from you, so use it. It will make all the difference.