Dear Obstetrician,

Dear Obsetrician, I am a birth educator. I see the full range of women in my work, some women feel safest with midwives in a birth centre. Medical equipment can make them nervous. Some women birth at home, they feel safest there.

But many, many women choose obstetricians – this is how many women feel safest.

This is a big compliment to doctors and I wonder if you have ever thought about this great honour and trust bestowed upon you?

Do you realise the huge influence you have over the path of this precious, life-giving ceremony?

How it starts, unfolds and ends…

Image depicts a ‘birth simulator’

As the days are unfolding close to birth, do you trust her – as strongly as she trusts you?

Do you give her a safe space, with patience and warmth and then keep your hands in your pockets unless in a true emergency?

Do you practise faith and observe with unbiased eyes?

She has come into your space to have her child ‘delivered’ safely.

She fully believes that you have the skills and knowledge to guide and assist her to labour in such a way to lead to the best birth outcome possible.

She does not know that when she steps into a hospital she steps into a world of ‘medical anxiety’, where many staff may unknowingly be harbouring exaggerated fears of the body malfunctioning and her, or the baby, dying. She does not know that this will affect her birth experience.

She does not know that your tension and your doubts, can lead to nervousness in her body and lead her to tighten her body. And that tight, tense bodies lead to slower, restricted descent of babies (have you spent much time reflecting on these somatic and subconscious issues affecting birth?).

(Do you warn your pregnant women that this material is not covered in the hospital-run, antenatal courses?)

She does not know she has a 33.3 % chance of being steered towards major surgery, often times under strong emotional pressure (where the urgent recommendations from medical staff are coming from a concerned and caring place – but are often also mingled with quite a bit of underlying medical fear).

She does not know that most often it is the lead-up care that causes the distress to baby and mother.

When healthy, low risk, women walk into their first appointment, do you or your midwife team members warn her of the high risk of chemical and surgical interventions awaiting her?

Are you a birth enthusiast, a birth passionate?

Have you read widely and passionately in this field? Are you familiar with the extensive work of the worlds’ leading Obstetricians and midwives like Micheal Odent? Ina May Gaskin? Hannah Dahlen? Andrew Bisits? Dr Grantly Dick Read (deceased)?

When you work with a woman, please know that she came to you to be safe and that this can best be achieved by a baby being born naturally and smoothly (unless in the case of a true medical emergency). The body is wise and functions completely differently from what you commonly see – but to see true, pure birth – labour must be allowed to begin, progress and complete – unhindered.

The women I work with, if you allow them, are eager and willing to demonstrate pure birth to you.

And you can become the next world famous OB leading the way in positive birth for women and be eagerly recommended by birth educators like myself 🙂

obstetrician

Sincerely,

Natalie Meade

GradDipC, GradDipPsyc, GradDipEd, Bsc (Hons), CCE, CH

The perfect birth? No such thing!

 

But there sure is a difference between the “prepared, educated birth” and the “fly by the seat of your pants” kind!

Birth Preparation?

It must be true we are crazy with hormones because what I considered ‘preparing for birth’ consisted of:

*  over bleaching my hair (it was a knotted, tangled mess by the time my son emerged – see photo below! lol ),

*  finding a second hand nightie and cutting the sleeves with scissors to get the right fit,  and

*  not even remembering a maternity bra for the hospital (so that I was actually lectured by a nurse about modesty when my boobs grew to a massive size E).

perfect birth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s just fashion blunders…  that’s not even mentioning actual birthing mistakes!

Post birth I was just as crazy, messed up … Sitting in a park one day I found myself trying to decide whether to pull my t-shirt upwards for feeding (and show my flabby, post-birth tummy to the world), or pull the breast up (and over) the neckline and  feed my newborn at shoulder height?!

Crazy, ah yes!

I know now, with over seven years’ accumulated wisdom, that birth is a serious event.

It is as momentous as a wedding, it is as physically and mentally challenging as competing for Olympic gold and it is as delicate and as private as letting out a ‘number two’ (physiologically the same too – except the reward is much more beautiful when it’s a baby!).

I say ‘letting out’ because our solid waste really does gently glide out of the body when we are completely relaxed and we allow it to happen.

Next time you do a number 2, try breathing your energy downwards and learn how you can ‘relax your body empty’.  Literally put your chin down to your chest and breathe calmly down. No need for physical pushing.  Relax all muscles instead. It is important to time this with your body signals.

With the right preparation and practise women breathe babies out too!

No need to get carried away by a ‘cheerleader-type’ medico who yells “push” “push”*. We don’t have cheer squads in our toilets for a reason.

Yes, there is a reason your partner doesn’t yell “push” from outside the bathroom door. Sphincters are shy! Your cervix and vagina have circular bands that can be shy too.

Speaking of shy, Ill never forget my trip to Kathmandu where my system completely ‘shut up’.

Toilets with locks that don’t work and cracks in the walls! I felt so exposed. There was no way my body was relaxing out any ‘solid waste babies’!

As the days progressed I was glad I had learned and practised HypnoBirthing tools, which I was able to implement:

  1. I accepted and admitted my fears of my system not working.
  2. I replaced that fear with curiosity (hmm, will the poo be the colour of that red earth patch?… the colour of that cow dung?…)
  3. I established self-hypnosis which allowed a full body relaxation
  4. I breathed my energy down and out.

And guess what – I produced a poo! Yay!

We empty our body best when we deepen into a natural trance state and let our body do its thing unhindered by troublesome anxious thoughts. That’s why people often read in the toilet and why self-hypnosis works well for birthing.

In the case of a number two, the passage lubricates and the muscles and micro muscles move the waste out.

In the case of birth the passage lubricates, the uterus muscles contract and micro muscles move the baby out. The scientists call it the bodies ‘natural expulsive reflex’.

If you fight your automated muscle contractions, you tense up and cause pain. Imagine what a mess we would be in if we tried to fight our diaphragm muscle during the automated breathing process. Yet women do fight birth every day.

For birth (just like a number two) you need to find ways to achieve:

  1. Privacy
  2. Time, patience
  3. Relaxation of all muscle groups
  4. Trust in the bodys’ instinctual, automated functions
  5. Curiosity (afraid how big the head is? instead get curious about how the infants’ amazing soft skull presses into a cone for birth – natures design for passing through the pelvis!) Get curious about your baby’s sex, hair colour, nose shape… They are great, positive thoughts to keep your mind focused.

Yes, birth is private, it requires time and quiet… but it has a momentous side too… It’s a big event, it’s life changing.

So lets compare Birth to:

what you need for a special event in column one,

and column two, what you need at a wedding,

and column three, how it translates to what you need for birth!

wedding dress birth preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you need Wedding Birth
Essential skilled companions Bridesmaids and/or maid of honour Midwives, doulas
Love, trust Partner Chosen companions
Specialist on hand (only as required) Celebrant Occasionally an Obstetrician
Words to say and think Vows Birth plan/preferences, Positive affirmations audio
Preparation Wedding rehearsal Birth preparation course (relaxation based

eg. HypnoBirthing)

Place A beautiful venue that has personal meaning for you A place where you can be assured privacy, positive vibes, patience, relaxation and calm supporters
Something special for her Wedding dress, jewellery Clothes to feel good, positive, relaxed and comfortable.
Practical stuff Make up, tissues, etc. Maternity bras, Breast pads
Ceremony and mood

 

 

Wedding cake, rings, love songs, decorations, perfume, flowers. Hot water, dim lights, soothing hypnotic music, scents
Health Nutrition and Exercise to look your best Nutrition and Exercise to perform your best (pelvic floor and perineum muscles)
State of mind Slow deep abdomen breathes to remain calm and to ensure endorphins outweigh stress hormones Slow deep abdomen breathes to remain calm and to ensure endorphins outweigh stress hormones

 

*Pease note: The lack of body coordination and sensation caused by an epidural or pethidine administration often does lead to a situation requiring ‘coached pushing’.

I said yes to a D&C (and wished I had waited)

A “birth” story

I was shocked to find myself pregnant with a partner of less than a year!

I was shocked and I was also pleased!

He was downright terrified and freaked out.

It all turned out okay for him though, the baby didn’t develop, phew for him.. and…

Me? I felt quietly relieved – but also sad, sad to have lost a chance at mothering.

~~~~~

You see, my ova (egg) had been empty of genetic material and his sperm had been keen as beans to make a baby.

But the only thing a sperm is capable of growing genetically without input from the ova – is placenta.

So placenta, that little sperm grew!

And grow it, and grow it, and grow it.

I ended up at 12 weeks “pregnant” with a strange sideways bump of a uterus and no heartbeat.

Yep, all I had was a placenta ‘baby’!

molar pregnancy and D&C

~~~~~~

My midwife was great. She was so caring and respectful when I told her I doubted there would be a heartbeat. My body had already begun expelling the wayward materials of conception, I had begun blood spotting (first brown and then reddish), and loss of little bursts of clear fluid from the unique tissue.

My midwife stayed with us and supported me through ultrasounds and obstetrician consultations and more ultrasounds.

It was all confirmed “molar“. And of course a few students and medicos gawked at me and prodded at me (let them learn I thought, its rare, about one in 800).

I was kind of enjoying the attention until a registrar told me ‘You have cancer or ‘could’ have cancer, this is an emergency and you need an immediate D&C’

~~~~~~

That’s when it all went pear shaped.

Nothing like a bit of “medical anxiety” to throw off course a nice, natural process.

I researched the condition later and there’s even a medical research paper telling doctors NOT to use the word cancer.

‘Cancer’ does not apply to placental cells growing within the uterus. Placental cells know their place.

Choriocarcinoma can happen (in less than 4% of cases), its when cells that were part of a normal pregnancy or a molar pregnancy become cancerous.

Then it is allowed to be called cancer.

Next thing I know I am being told I have to have a d&C to remove the tissue. No other options given.

But I am looking at my midwife (the midwife I chose because she is a natural supporting midwife) and I am saying to her, “I feel like I want to go home and let my body naturally clear itself out. It has begun the process already. I am sure it can continue”.

She said ‘do what the doctors suggest’.

I remember thinking, ‘this doesn’t make sense, isn’t the woman standing in front of me supposed to be supporting natural processes?’

But I trust her (rather than my gut instinct) and I think ‘I must need this, if she says to do it’.

After that she leaves. My ‘birth’ (my file)  has been handed over.

I accept the D&C.

 I said yes to a D&C

~~~~~~

Sadly the intervention, it led to mistakes, errors, ongoing body problems and more interventions.

I won’t bore you with the details.

But I still regret that choice to this day.

It’s a moment in time I can’t get back.

And I like to learn from mistakes and usually think of the past as a great learning experience.

But I have to say – when it goes on to affect your body – it doesn’t feel like a good learning experience – it feels like a big mistake that can’t be reversed.

~~~~~~~~~

I did learn one thing.

No matter how good, wonderful, expert, respected and reputable your midwife/birth carer – listen to your gut instinct while making decisions and don’t agree to something if there is time to research yourself and make an informed decision.

After much research I now know that there was no harm or risk to go home and naturally allow clearing of my uterus.

I know the chances for natural clearing are better than D&C.

I know that the uterus lining can be damaged during D&C and cause placental to grow deeper in tissue than it ought to.

I know that chemo is then needed to eradicate the tissue.

I know that D&C can cause ongoing issues for further pregnancies.

I also know that at the natural birth farm in America run by the famous midwife Ina May Gaskin, she has observed that molar pregnancies naturally right themselves by 6 months.

~~~~~~

I could have just said “No thanks, I’d like more time”

~~~~~~

Author Note:

I don’t know how well my natural miscarriage would have cleared my uterus.

I know uterus’s are designed to clear themselves.

I know I could have asked for medical assistance if I needed it.

That’s the beauty of the medical system, they are there when we need them and we are lucky for that option.