Homebirth advocates: if it makes me happy then it must be true

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Would you hire an architect who told you that you could save lots of money building your new house by ignoring all those pesky building codes?

Probably not. As much as you’d like to save money, you recognize that choices have consequences and the consequences of ignoring building codes might be dire.

What if, in response to your concern that such a house might fall down, trapping and killing your family, the architect responded that some houses are just meant to fall down and some families are meant to be buried alive under tons of debris?

Would you be reassured?

How about if the architect told you that your house wouldn’t fall down as long as you believed in yourself and your choice to ignore building codes?

You’d probably be angry that the architect was treating you like a gullible fool.

In other words, you would be capable of rejecting a plan that sounds too good to be true, even if it might make you happier to believe that you didn’t need to spend money to follow those pesky building codes.

That’s the nature of adult reasoning. You don’t determine if a claim is true by whether or not it makes you happy. You apply reason, and conclude that many claims are not true even thought it would make you happy if they were true.

Unless, of course, you are a homebirth advocate.

Homebirth advocates have a toddler level approach to the world: what makes them happy must be true, and if anyone tells them it’s not true, they fall to the floor, weeping, declaring that they hate the truth teller for being so mean.

If you think about it for even a nanosecond, you realize that is how homebirth advocates “reason.” They always want to do what is easiest and least scary for them, so they simply pretend that what is easiest and least scary for them must be true.

Hospitals are scary. Homebirth advocates prefer to believe that hospitals kill countless babies with dread “interventions,” so staying home must be better. And homebirth midwives are happy to support them in their delusion.

C-sections are scary. Homebirth advocates prefer to believe that no woman needs a C-section unless whatever is happening is so scary (massive bleeding, cord falling out of the vagina, a baby with no heart rate), they are more afraid of bleeding to death or having a dead baby than they are of the C-section. And homebirth midwives are happy to encourage this type of thinking.

Obstetricians are mean because they won’t tell you what you want to hear simply because you want to hear it. They won’t praise you for being “educated” when you are actually ignorant. They won’t tell you that you are a “warrior mama” just because you managed to do what most of the mothers who ever existed have already done (or died trying to do). Homebirth midwives make women much happier because they never tell them anything they don’t want to hear.

Dead babies are scary. They prefer to believe that the chance that their own babies might die is barely higher than zero. Therefore, obstetricians are “playing the dead baby card” rather than trying to obtain informed consent when they tell them about risks as well as benefits.

Needles are scary. Therefore epidurals are “risky” and natural childbirth is “safer.”

Childbirth complications are scary. Therefore, they simply don’t exist; breech, twins, VBAC, etc. are nothing more than variations of normal.

Science is scary, and hard. Therefore they create their own “journals” where any crap they dream up will be published because the criterion for acceptance is not scientific rigor, but rather the ability of the paper to make homebirth advocates happy.

Scientific meetings are scary. People might ask questions! They might point out flaws! They might disagree! Therefore, professional homebirth advocates can never speak in any venue where the audience has not been vetted to remove anyone who might make homebirth advocates unhappy.

The truth is scary. Therefore, homebirth advocates, delete and ban to create “safe spaces” for themselves where they will never be confronted by anything that might make them unhappy. Indeed, there is not a single homebirth website that I am aware of, or a single professional homebirth advocate who does not whitewash her website, not merely to remove uncomfortable facts, but to pretend they don’t exist at all.

Debate is super duper scary. That’s why professional homebirth advocates will never be caught in any debate that isn’t rigged before hand. Being made to look like a fool is always a distinct possibility for professional homebirth advocates and that wouldn’t make them happy, would it?

So homebirth advocates, and women contemplating homebirth, need to ask themselves:

Are they adults who can accept the fact that homebirth kills babies who didn’t have to die?

Or are they toddlers who prefer to pretend that whether or not something makes them happy determines if it is true?

  • Andrew Potter

    So I just stumbled upon this page tonight and don’t know much about the author. I was hoping someone could clarify.

    1. Is the author pro-choice at all or any stage of pregnancy?

    2. I heard a rumor that she lost her license or something like that. Any validity there?

    As far as this article goes it seems decent enough for a heated opinion based blog written to prod, anger, and demean other human beings who don’t share the same view. Beyond that I am not sure much is being accomplished here. But, like I said, I’m new to the page.

    • Captain Obvious

      Just don’t embarrass yourself that obviously. A few easy areas here to browse through answers those condescending questions. I don’t know why people open their mouth to just tell the world how obviously it would have been better to just kept it shut.

      • Andrew Potter

        Ditto. Obviously you didn’t answer either of my questions. Obviously I am seeking my own answers, but thought it might be easier just to ask. Your reply is obviously as condescending as my questions. If you would like to be helpful I would love to listen.

    • Young CC Prof

      1) Author believes in maternal autonomy.

      2) She is retired, not disbarred.

      • Andrew Potter

        Thanks for you concise answers. what exactly do you mean by maternal autonomy?

        • fiftyfifty1

          She feels that women should legally be allowed to birth anywhere they chose, but that they should be given accurate info about the risks and benefits so they can make a truly informed decision.

          • Andrew Potter

            The original question stemmed from abortion. Does her belief in maternal autonomy, that you for the description, extend to abortion?

          • Stacy21629

            I am fairly certain that Dr. A is pro-choice. I cannot speak for her to what “degree” (gestation, etc).

    • Trixie

      Stick around and keep reading.
      She’s angry because there’s a whole group of fake midwives in this country who lie to women about the safety of home birth for their own ideological and financial reasons. The result is that babies die (or suffer permanent injury) needlessly whose parents desperately wanted them to live.

      • Andrew Potter

        Thanks Trixie! Your explanation seems reasonable enough. Has she ever written anything defending or extolling the educated Certified Nurse Midwife that practices alongside OBs in a hospital setting? Is she against midwife’s in general or more against home birth?

        • fiftyfifty1

          Her main beef is with CPMs. These are lay midwives who gave themselves a title a few years back that was intentionally similar to the CNM title to fool people. They have no real medical training and they do the majority of homebirths here in the U.S.

          • Andrew Potter

            Understandably so. I understand the training involved with CPMs. My wife is training to be a doula who intends to work beside women in hospital settings without a birth partner.

            Has she ever presented information about what she believes is a better or best birth situation or does she spend most of her time slamming midwifes? I would love to read some of her articles that defend her perspective of medical care instead of telling me what I shouldn’t believe or do.

          • Stacy21629

            Telling you “what I shouldn’t believe or do” – IS defending her perspective of medical care. For example, in defending the perspective that post-dates women should be induced to decrease/eliminate the risk of stillbirth she provides the example in today’s post of a CPM that sat on her hands with an extended post-dates mother and allowed the baby to die. You might not see her anger as “accomplishing much” but THAT type of case is where the anger originates. Babies are DYING because CPMs are making recommendations that go against reams of published information on risks in childbirth. Personally, I will NOT allow any of my future pregnancies to go past 40 weeks. For one thing, my two prior were 38.5 and 39.2 so 40 would be “long” for me, and I have seen from examples Dr. A posts the risks of going post-dates. I fully understand her perspective on induction for a post-dates woman because of these stories.

          • Andrew Potter

            If there was an article that was exceptionally helpful I would love for you to post me the link so that I can find it and read it.

            From the little that I have read I can’t imagine her posting something that explained clearly the risks of going past 40 weeks, only that midwife are manipulative business owners looking to make a buck. I would rather read about why we should have our baby at 40 weeks than why I should avoid the pervasive lying and deceitful midwifes infiltrating our culture. Does that make sense?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
          • Andrew Potter

            Thanks Doctor. I really appreciated how informative this article was without using a list of derogatory adjectives aimed at decribing midwives.

            While my wife and I lived in Idaho we heard stories about a birth center extending due dates, or getting creative in using multiple due dates, so they could deliver as late as they wanted to. We were both uncomfortable with this healthcare practice.

            On a personal note, if you had the opportunity to legislate, or outlaw, home birth – would you? Is the safety of the child worth taking away the women’s opportunity to choose her birth method?

            Thanks again for the article.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Really it is worth your time to read the archives. You have a lot of specific questions all of which she has already answered in detail. The posts are written in a mix of styles. Some are very scientific, some tell stories, some express anger. There’s something for everyone if they are willing to put some time in.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            No, I wouldn’t if I could. For me, the primary issue is informed consent. A woman has the right to give birth where she wants and to refuse medical interventions. However, she must have complete and accurate information in order to make that choice.

            American homebirth midwifery has no safety standards. Most women who choose homebirth midwives have no idea that this is the case.

    • Jocelyn

      Hi! Definitely stick around and read some more articles. You’ll find them interesting. The tone can be a bit jarring at first, but as you read more you understand where she’s coming from.

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    Along the same lines: natural childbirth reduces the risk of autimsm, it makes homebirth activists happy so it must be true! Our buddy “Dr.” Odent is at it again – playing on people’s fears of autism…after all if it worked like a charm for the anti-vaccination movement, why wouldn’t it work for the anti-intervention birth movement? What you want to avoid a known risk instead of a wildly hypothetical one? Too bad! http://www.bestdaily.co.uk/your-life/news/a551439/the-latest-link-between-birth-and-autism-and-why-how-we-give-birth-matters.html

    • Young CC Prof

      I love that “adrenaline blocks oxytocin” theory. Our foremothers went into birth TERRIFIED half the time. They had seen childbirth deaths with their own eyes, lost sisters and friends to it.

      Yep. Being in an uncomfortable room = About to do something that killed people you know.

      • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

        It sure didn’t do a damn thing for me. If only that were true!

      • Trixie

        Hence the “get rip-roarin’ drunk” philosophy of childbirth that was so popular with our all-natural foremothers.

      • Amy M

        I wasn’t terrified, because I was in a hospital with excellent care. In fact, several nurses remarked on how calm I was….at first because it wasn’t bothering me much, and later because I got an epidural when it started to. Despite this, and being largely left alone after the initial exam, in a dim room (on monitors), labor was NOT progressing normally and I required pitocin. This did not lead to a “cascade of interventions” and my children were born (vaginally) several hours after the pit was started, 22hrs after Baby A’s sac broke and I called the hospital that I was coming in. They do not have autism.

        Now, I get this is merely one example, but if a relaxed mother is all it takes to get the oxytocin flowin’ and the babies to just slide on out, mine should have been born much more quickly. I mean, twins are just a variation of normal, right?

      • thepragmatist

        I don’t know about that. I have free flowing adrenaline most of the time from anxiety, and it didn’t stop me from getting totally birth-high after my son was born, despite his birth ranking up there as one of the scariest but most wonderful days of his life. Actually, I’m being a bit disingenuous because I wasn’t actually fearful of the surgery (we walked through it ahead of time so I knew what to expect), I was just afraid of everything else! LOL Panic disorder and a highly attuned fight/flight was completely superseded for a time by the rush of hormones his birth caused and for a time (a few months) I was the happiest I’d ever been, save for moments of breast-feeding guilt and D-MER.

    • Jessica S.

      Ugh. She has another article with the title: “Pregnancy Is Not An Illness. So What’s With All These New Gadgets?” Makes me want to scratch my eyes out.

      • sarahh.rosanne@gmail.com

        What a stupid article. Could be titled “Lifesaving Medical Innovations Cause Loss of Confidence”.

    • guestguest

      Off topic but the irony of the image used for the article is that I know that mom and that baby ( dad is a photographer who took the picture ) – and that boy was born in a hospital. Talk about picture perfect bonding experience. :)

      • Jessica S.

        Ha! That’s too funny! It’s a great photo.

    • Jessica S.

      Furthermore, reading her article, she states: “…last summer it was widely reported that induction of labour carried an increased risk of autism in boys.” which links to this article: “Induced Labor ‘linked to autism’” http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23666840

      However, in that BBC article, they go to great pains to say the study was preliminary and that induction is a vital tool to prevent deaths. No mention of this is in her article, of course. In fact, reading the two articles back to back, it almost reads like point/counterpoint. Typical disingenuous “reporting”.

      And can I also add how annoying it is for news publications to run headlines like “Induced Labor ‘Linked to Autism’” when the actual article has more to do with why we shouldn’t assume there’s a link, that we need more data? I understand they want the clicks – it’s attention-grabbing – but I wish there could be a industry-wide moratorium on such practices as it pertains to medical reporting. Ok, I’m done ranting. :)

      • Young CC Prof

        Yeah, the actual evidence in that study was more like “Complications in late pregnancy or during labor requiring induction or augmentation” linked to autism. But that makes a lousy headline.

      • thepragmatist

        Medical reporting makes me feel crazy! It’s rare to see anything reported fairly, and I am not sure why. In all fairness, headlines are not picked by the journalist: they’re almost always written by the editor, for example the reason you mentioned. So I forgive the headlines, but the reporting is still awful!

    • LibrarianSarah

      Yes because you should do everything possible including risk your baby’s life to avoid having your child turn out like me.

      I hate these people.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Yeah, me too. Though I must admit in fairness that I was probably a…challenging…child to raise. Fortunately, my parents are both quiet kind of aspie sorts who were able to cope.

  • auntbea

    OT: From the annals of irresponsible science reporting. WaPo has been printing press releases verbatim. http://ksj.mit.edu/tracker/2014/02/want-your-university-press-release-repri

    • Anj Fabian

      Now that’s journalism!

      Actually, that’s closer to blogging – grabbing a story and reposting it without checking the source or information.

      • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

        I believe the term is “Churnalism”….

        • auntbea

          Wow, wow, wow. And in the comments, the editor dude is all, researchers wouldn’t ever misrepresent their work in a press release about peer-reviewed work. Uh….

    • JC

      I used to work in journalism and still know many journalists and many former journalists who went to PR. It’s sad when the PR friend tells me her press release got pretty much printed word for word in the newspaper. I am still a huge supporter of journalism (my husband is still one). I believe at its best, it is an amazing thing. At its worst, its just really, really sad. Many papers are really cutting corners. I hate to see it happen but journalism is undergoing huge changes. Hopefully one day it will return to some of its former glory.

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        Not just cutting corners: cutting chunks out of the middle, too. Maybe a little off the sides…

  • Amazed

    I am especially baffled when mothers merrily claim that “everything carries risk. Do you calculate the risk before crossing the street with your child?”

    It’s an extremely dumb analogy. Play a bit with it, and you’ll have a much better comparison: you have to cross the street with your child. There is no running away from that.

    You have to give birth to your child. There is no running away from that.

    Now, dear merry mothers, answer me this: do you look left and right before crossing the street with your child? And if so, why is it OK to minimize this risk but not the one inherent in childbirth?

    • Young CC Prof

      Hmm, yes, I do calculate the risk before I cross the street. I wait for a safe moment, when no cars are coming. And as for driving, if the breaks are malfunctioning, the driver is drunk or exhausted, or the weather is extremely bad, a reasonable person might NOT get in the car.

    • thepragmatist

      When I cross the road, I prefer it if it’s done the natural way: in the dark, on a six lane high way, and by running like a deer, darting in and out of traffic, with my baby strapped to me in an Ergo.

      • Amazed

        Yeah. Same with rock-climbing. I am told that natural falls are awesome.

  • almostfearless

    This really resonates with me because birth is scary. C-sections are scary. The epidural? Super scary and you know what else? It hurts to have it put in and it’s into your spine, so it’s a sensation that isn’t just painful but really scary to sit through. My friend lost her baby last year, and I’ll never forget how it felt to hear the news. I had just had my second c-section and as much as I didn’t like it, I’ll never wimper a word of complaint because I was sitting there holding my daughter and my friend wasn’t. It’s not the “dead baby card” it’s called perspective, one that thankfully most of us never have to experience first hand, but doctors are there to give it to us.

    • moto_librarian

      I think that the reason that NCB resonates with so many women is that it offers the illusion of control over a process that you actually cannot control. Birth is a time of anxiety for most women – it certainly was for me – and the idea that you can control the outcome through preparation is extremely alluring.

      I also hate the way that the risks of vaginal birth are completely ignored. No one told me that it was possible to tear your cervix during childbirth.

      • MaineJen

        This. Birth is just scary and painful…there’s no way around it. Modern NCB is attractive because it tells you that birth is NOT scary and painful. One woman I know was reduced to tears after her first (near-disastrous) birth; she thought she’d done something *wrong* because the Hypnobabies hadn’t worked for her, and she’d found giving birth to her large posterior baby incredibly painful. I had avoided the hospital childbirth classes, and now I’m glad I did, because I didn’t go into it with the expectation of a blissful, painless experience.

        Sidenote: that same woman ended up getting an epidural for her second birth, and while she said the needle hurt going in (that part I can attest to, as well), she could not *believe* that it took all of her pain away. She couldn’t stop talking about it, and how if she ever gives birth again, she is getting another epidural for sure. The expensive, hospital-sponsored childbirth classes had spent all that time telling her she could control–even wish away!–the pain of labor, and didn’t take any time to explain the effects of different methods of pain relief. All they had told her about epidurals was that it could take a few hours for anesthesia to get to your room, and you could be delivering by that time so an epidural might not be worth it. Unbelievable.

        • Jessica S.

          I skipped the childbirth classes and I’m glad I did, too!

          • Anj Fabian

            I felt like I should have gone to the CBE classes, but now I feel like the only thing I missed out on was the opportunity to roll my eyes, sigh and groan at the misinformation.

            ..and to double check everything they said against what my coworkers had to say. They had everything from VBs to c-sections. Plus the working in a hospital thing.

        • moto_librarian

          Almost two years later, I am still in awe of the fact that I experienced absolutely no pain while my second child was being born. I could feel the urge to push, but I was blissfully numb thanks to the epidural.

        • Danielle

          I’m glad I skipped the classes, for the same reason. It seemed that a lot of the literature I was reading was basically telling me that I could take control (OK, good) but it was also implying that if I had a rough time the responsibility for that bad experience was basically on me. I was supposed to achieve something in giving birth, and failing at that meant: 1. I’d done a poor job, and 2. I’d be causing myself to miss a foundational experience as a parent, and might–if I wound up electing or undergoing “interventions”–impair my ability to bond with my baby.

          I felt strongly that I didn’t need that drilled into my head. I wanted to be OK with having an easy time, or a hard one. I didn’t want to measure my experience against the standards in the birth stories I was reading. Too many expectations. Just let me have my baby and feel happy about it!

        • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

          This is exactly why we are skipping the classes. Partly because my husband is not tolerant of ‘woo’, other than an out-of-character obsession with olive leaf extract as a winter cold preventative, and would likely laugh if asked to mimic Lamaze breathing or whatever and partly because I’m not interested in being evangelised to by an NCB advocate.

        • Young CC Prof

          You know, my mother told me about her birth class, and it sounded pretty good.

          She was taught a basic breathing technique to manage pain. (keep in mind this was after Twilight Sleep was phased out and before nice modern epidurals were available, so pharmaceutical pain relief was limited.) The instructor also explained the progress of normal childbirth and what it might be like. She discussed various interventions, including episiotomy and caesarian. My mother remembered her saying, “Some of you will wind up having a c-section. Here’s what that’s like.”

          Why have childbirth classes gotten so off track? Why did hospitals let NCB fanatics take over? Mental techniques to manage pain are a real thing, they can be useful both in childbirth and in other circumstances, and there’s nothing wrong with learning them. But the rest of the class should be real information rather than woo, false information, and demonizing of interventions.

          • Irène Delse

            That’s basically what my mother’s childbirth classes were in the late 60s and early 70s. Evidence-based advice on the possible outcomes, description of the physiological process of giving birth, and of course some good techniques to manage pain in a time before epidurals. She also showed me the book she used when she was pregnant with me. It’s author (not an OB or midwife btw but a journalist with a special interest in childbirth and parenting) was very clear-headed, didn’t sugarcoat the possibility of complications, but took time to explain how modern medicine could help, what signs to look for, questions you needed to ask your medical provider, etc.

            Still, this author as well as the childbirth classes did have exaggerated faith in the concept of NCB as devised by Grantly Dick-Reed. They left my mother with a belief that if you did all that right exercises and were educated enough, you wouldn’t fear, ergo you wouldn’t suffer. It came as shock to her when her labor started that it was so painful, so much so that she panicked for a moment… The exact opposite of what NCB and HB proponents tell us happens if we “trust birth”! Irony of ironies, the nurse-midwife who attended her told her sternly to shut up and breathe, you silly gal. A culture of medical paternalism wasn’t limited to doctors obviously.

          • thepragmatist

            I have some chronic pain issues and I’ve learned a lot of alternative coping methods to pain. Still doesn’t touch pharmaceutical pain management, period. I use those techniques WHILE I’M WAITING and sometimes to take less. You can only dissociate (which is all self-hypnosis really is) or distract yourself for so long. Laughing or sex, to release endorphins, can help too, and I’m not against those things. But telling women that’s all they’ll need and comparing the pain of childbirth or surgery to “surges” or “cramping” is such a lie and so unfair to the first time mom who may then feel like she failed in her “technique”. I would much rather hear the truth: but I didn’t need my OB/GYN. My maternal side of the family births babies with huge heads, often OP, and we have a predilection to tearing. My head was giant and so was my son’s. And I ripped my mother a new one. Hell, now I know where that phrase comes from. She did not mince words when describing it, either, I knew what could happen. And as it turned out, my son WAS OP, and was the morning of his delivery, and he had a giant freaking head (he was wearing toddler hats by 1 month old!)… Thanks for the section, doc! I felt guilty for most of my life for hurting my mother in childbirth and she seemed to really resent me. I am always happy to answer my son’s question about whether or not it hurt by gleefully telling him it DID NOT and it was the best day of my life. :)

          • Young CC Prof

            I can “go away” from pain entirely for about 5-10 minutes at a stretch, although it takes all my focus and I can’t sleep or be productive in that state. Medication means being able to sleep or work while reasonably comfortable! Still, there are times when pain is really getting me down and pharmaceuticals aren’t available, and even that short break can help me get through.

            So yeah. Telling someone that if you just study Hypnobabies and do it the right way, then childbirth will be easy, that’s a vicious lie. Telling someone that there are some mental techniques that can help you endure, that’s more reasonable.

          • thepragmatist

            Yes, exactly. I recently went to a fancy pain clinic– apparently one of only a few in the whole country. It was the first place where the staff didn’t demonize the medications I take and the workshops weren’t full of ridiculous woo. They gave me some great techniques for coping with pain and I immediately applied some. Next time you are in a lot of pain, for example, if you can, try to force yourself to laugh. Keep laughing. And laughing. At first, it’s totally forced, but it actually makes you feel better. I thought it was nutty, but they suggested laughing for 30 minutes a day, split up into increments as a sort of prescription. So on days that my son doesn’t make me laugh (rare) or if I am having a really bad pain day, I practice the laughing therapy. Another thing that is helpful for me, that I already knew from dissociating during being assaulted, is to literally throw my consciousness out of my body. I am not sure how I do it, but I can leave my body and go into a lamp or a line on the ceiling. I think there’s a phrase for it– diffused focusing or something. Anyway, that works for me. Breathing exercises DON’T work because they actually force me back into the pain, but letting all my muscles go and leaving my body does.

            None of these compare to the meds I’m on though. They allow me to take care of my son, to sleep, to exercise.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Heh, that sounds pretty much like our childbirth class. Except for the breathing part. We didn’t even learn that. When I asked the instructor why not, she said, 90% of the moms are getting an epidural anyway, so they don’t care about learning breathing and such.

            That’s about as far from NCB advocacy you could get.

            We did get to see a video of an unmedicated birth as well an as epidural birth. Given you couldn’t feel the pain, you couldn’t tell much of a difference.

            We talked about what happens in a c-section, too.

            There was nothing anywhere close to “here’s how to avoid X” The key was information, with “ask your doctor” being the advice

      • Dr Kitty

        IMHO, The ONLY way you can control your childbirth experience fully is to opt for a planned pre-labour CS.
        You know the day, you know the hour, you know exactly what will happen and when. You know how long the surgery and recovery should take, you can even discuss beforehand what exact mix you want in your spinal and what you want for post op pain relief. NCB gives nowhere near as much control of the situation as MRCS does.

        Personally, I feel more in control when I consent to other people doing things to my body with my agreement than when my body just goes ahead and does stuff however it wants without checking if I’m ok with it first.

        I am not an NCB target customer. I get that my own experiences make me feel safer trusting Drs and surgery than trusting nature and my body, but that doesn’t invalidate my choice or make my lived experience less authentic or “brave” than a typical NCB narrative.

        My choice was awesome. My experience of my daughter’s birth was amazing, and you can shove the idea of a healing VBAC.

        I don’t feel sad about my CS, so you shouldn’t feel sad for me.

        • moto_librarian

          I think that a lot of NCB advocates simply cannot acknowledge that planned CS really and truly is the only way to control the birth process because that would force them to admit that women are not solely governed by intuition and “other ways of knowing.” Just as they try to discredit the beauty of your daughter’s birth via planned CS, they simply refuse to acknowledge that the birth of my second child with an epidural was empowering because 1) I had that option, and 2) made a truly informed decision.

          • thepragmatist

            It scares them because they can’t do it. That’s all. They can’t sell the services, so they have to demonize it. I’m really getting that cynical.

        • thepragmatist

          Yes, all of this! I felt way more comfortable knowing that I could assign responsibility to appropriate people and that there would be very little variables. And like you, I have a high level of satisfaction with the surgery. It’s interesting how many doctors and vets I know who have medicalized births– highly medicalized– with some choosing MRCS. What does that tell you about how physicians (and vets, too!) feel about what they’ve seen. Good enough for the goose…

          Weirdly, it seems like nursing is an enclave of NCB drivel, and maybe that’s something that can be explained to me. There always seem to be one or two nurses on a thread espousing NCB and they also go on, at times, to become midwives. One of the friends did– but she’s a CNM. Still, why not a doctor? She could’ve done that. She’s working in a primary care setting now, as an NP. There seems to be more woo in nursing staff than in physicians around here.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    I know this is written more or less from the CPM point of view, but…I don’t think c-sections are scary. They’re a bit concerning, much like appendectomies and colonscopies are a bit concerning, but scary seems too much. The events leading up to the requirement for a c-section, those are scary. The operation itself, at least for me, was not scary, painful, or particularly difficult to recover from.

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      Fear is a matter of perspective. It seemed to me like everyone I worked with in hospitals had a specific thing (like a procedure or complication) that scared the crap out of them. For me it was MRSA after a surgery, so yes a c-section was really frightening for that reason. It worked out okay but I’m never going to apologize for being afraid of something. We are all scared of different things and thats fine.

      • MLE

        Sure…what’s not ok is when “professionals” or NCB clowns tell mothers that they are right to be afraid of X intervention and that X intervention will cause them or their baby serious harm when there is no evidence to support that. That’s where it might help to have an explanation of the intervention from someone who is not afraid, in order to broaden the mother’s perspective.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I agree. I should have been more explicit that it was just my experience and I wanted to counter the NCB narrative of “c-section is the worst, scariest thing in the world”. Not, of course, meaning to say that being afraid of a c-section or surgery in general is in any way wrong. For whatever reason I concentrate on anesthesia as the thing I’m afraid of and so surgery without general anesthesia felt…not so scary. As you say, it’s a perspective thing. Sorry if I was being dismissive of your experience.

      • Jessica S.

        This time around, I’m worried about losing blood. Apparently they had trouble stopping the bleeding after they got my son out. At one point, I remember them calling out numbers, and later on they said they were trying to keep track of how much blood I lost, I imagine b/c at a certain point, they have to do a transfusion? My husband, poor guy, was getting concerned over how long it was taking so he peeked over the curtain only to see they had pulled my uterus out – well, not completely, but out of my abdomen. I’ve heard that’s not an uncommon thing in a CS section, but it was not what he was expecting to see. I laughed later, when he told me. Better him seeing it than me! Anyhow, I intend to ask them to revisit my record from the first birth, and recap it for me since a lot of it is a haze. I want to know if there’s anything to be concerned with, or if it’s an isolated event. I try not to let the worry snowball; it sure helps to have doctors and nurses who are caring and understanding regardless of the concern!

    • Trixie

      Eh, while I am grateful for mine, I really disliked it and it was not fun for me to recover from at all. I think being awake while someone operates on your abdomen is a normal thing to be scared of. Of course, I’d do it again in an instant to save my son. But I think we can acknowledge that individual experiences of c-sections vary quite a bit, just like experiences of vaginal birth can.

      • OBPI Mama

        I second this. Love the benefits of the c-section (healthy babies), but not the rest. Although that tugging and pulling feeling was neat until it made me want to throw up.

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Me neither. I kind of went into it thinking, “Well, this is going to be an adventure.” I knew there was the possibility that something could go wrong, but I also know there’s that possibility in a vaginal delivery, too, so the c-section really didn’t seem any scarier than the two vaginal deliveries I’d already had. Less scary, even, because I knew it was going to be quick and that there would be pain relief from start to finish. Also, I trusted my doctor and all those professionals who were in the room for the number one purpose of making sure my baby was born safely and that I was well-cared for. My c-sections were both elective, though, so I didn’t even have anything scary leading up to them–just a concern about pelvic floor damage (after fourth degree tearing in those two previous births). And I know everyone says “Oh, c-sections are so much more difficult to recover from” and I’m sure that’s true for some people, but for me it was four days. I mean, I had to take it easy for a couple of months but I really felt pretty much my old self after four days.

    • Jessica S.

      It creeped me out a little – ok, a lot – that I could feel pressure around my midsection/chest area.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I found the “pressure and people rooting around in my abdomen” feeling sort of cool and amusing, if strange. I may have been a bit high or something because in retrospect I can’t imagine what I was thinking. Mostly, once the baby was born and had cried and I knew she was alive, pretty much everything else felt fine.

        • Jessica S.

          After they had my son out and I knew he was good to go, I felt the utter weight of exhaustion wash over me. But for some reason, I was still alert enough to be concerned over my husband wondering I’d fallen asleep or passed out and was dying (in hindsight, all the monitors and personnel would’ve gone crazy in the event of the latter, so it was a silly concern, but I was pretty much delirious from lack of sleep) so I was trying with everything in me to keep my eyes open, but not with much success. In the process, my husband said my eyes were rolling like I was possessed by an alien creature: “It would’ve been less scary if you’d just passed out!” :D

          • theNormalDistribution

            Haha! I find that story both hilarious and adorable.

        • Petanque

          Yes I found that sensation quite weird too, I remember thinking, “wow, It’s like they’re rummaging around in there for their keys!” but certainly not uncomfortable.

    • Dr Kitty

      Appendectomy:go to sleep after a few hours of feeling weird (hello Morphine and Zofran), preceded by several hours of feeling crappy (sepsis). Wake up feeling much better (hello morphine again).

      CS:have a nice chat while my friend numbed my wrist and stuck a line in. Had another nice chat while he numbed my back and put in the spinal (which I didn’t find painful at all…in the same league as getting a local for a filling at the dentist). Felt a bit of weird pulling while they lifted my daughter out and laid her on my chest. Overwhelmed by happiness. Cuddle her. Give her to my husband while they sew me up. Feel a bit queasy-get Zofran (hooray).Go to recovery, breast feed her, go back to the ward, spend the next 2 days working out how to feed and change and care for a newborn while people bring me food and breast pumps. Manage the pain perfectly well with paracetamol and Diclofenac.

      If you know what to expect, a CS needn’t be scary or painful or terrible.

  • Mel

    The logical oddity that I’ve been mulling over for the last few weeks is the “Home birth is totally safe because I live # minutes away from the hospital.”

    A more honest statement would be “I feel confident birthing at home because I think I can get advanced medical help in # minutes. If something goes wrong, an OB can swoop in and save me and the baby.”

    But life doesn’t work like that – in medicine or anywhere else.

    A rite of passage for some high school students is that class they failed because they slacked off for 90% of the marking period. In the last week/day/hours, they approach the teacher and ask for some last-ditch effort to save their grade. The last-ditch effort fails not from lack of happy thoughts from either the student or the teacher but rather the student has gotten so unbelievably far behind that time runs out. When this scenario plays out in the classroom, the student deals with some negative emotions, but is more than capable of passing the class the next time around.

    In a birth situation, the stakes are so much higher. The bad outcomes involve death and severe injuries to the baby and the mother. Time is as impersonal and so much more critical when births go wrong.

    • Jessica S.

      Well said! About the only “safe distance” from a hospital, when planning to deliver a baby at home, is if you lived IN a hospital. I kid, but even in that scenario, you aren’t checked-in, they don’t know important background information, and even if it only takes a few minutes to determine how to proceed, that could mean a few minutes your poor child has been deprived of oxygen. I just don’t think your average home birth planner has considered the grave consequences, regardless of chance.

      • 2boyz

        Exactly. I had a precipitous birth recently where I arrived at the hospital 7 minutes before delivering. We live a block away and STILL almost didn’t make it. And even though we did make it in time for delivery, there was no time for anything else- no IV (what would have been if I’d had GBS?), no health information (they did manage to find out from my husband that I’d had one prior birth, vaginal), no monitor. The only other clue they had about the situation was the meconium in the water- which broke in the resident’s face when she checked me and found me at 10 cm, 2 minutes before that baby came out. Two minutes to get a team in the room for a possible distressed baby (he was fine after a few minutes). So even getting to the hospital isn’t everything. I wish my labor had been long enough to to get me to the hospital even 20 minutes before, then at least there’d have been a monitor, my own OB would have made it, and I wouldn’t have had the horrible scare those first 10 minutes when they had to stabilize my son.

        • Jessica S.

          Oh my gosh, that must have been terrifying! I’m so glad it turned out ok.

    • Comrade X

      Yeah. This.

      “I’m probably going to be OK, coz I’m only 10 minutes away from the Safe Place”

      “OK, that’s cool, but it’s a real shame that the people at the Safe Place won’t let you start off there in the first instance, so you’d already BE in the Safe Place if anything went wrong. That would be even better.”

      “Actually, the Safe Place people will not only allow me to hang out there from the start, they are actively welcoming me and encouraging me to”

      “So why don’t you hang out at the Safe Place instead?”

      “STFU you mean patriarchal fear-mongering bitch whore harpy.”

      “?”

    • MrG

      So, 10 minutes away from what? An emergency cesarean? Even in the very best hospital it takes at least 6-8 minutes from “decision-to-incision”. And that means you are already in the hospital, have an IV and an epidural and they know you well.
      If you are 10 minutes away from the hospital, here is a minimum timeline:
      Get into the car start engine: 3-4 minutes:
      Drive 10 minutes to the hospital: 14 minutes
      Find the L&D floor 3-4 minutes: 18 minutes
      Tell them what the problem is: 2-3 minutes: 21 minutes
      Have them monitor the fetus: 4-7 minutes: 28 minutes
      Start the IV, get the OR ready: 3-4 minutes:32 minute
      Decide you need an emergency cesarean section.
      Get an informed consent: 3-4 minutes: 36 minutes
      In the OR get a general emergency anesthesia: 3-4 minutes: 40 minutes
      Skin incision, baby out: 1-2 minutes: 42 minutes
      And that is under best circumstances.
      Now, start holding your breath, start a stopwatch and start by getting into the car.
      Can you hold your breath for 3 minutes?
      Where did you faint?
      Before or after you started the car engine?
      Or after you reached the first red stoplight on the way to the hospital?
      By the time you have held your breath for 14 minutes, you are dead.
      And you did not even reach L&D in the hospital.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I doubt you could get into the car within 3-4 minutes in active labor and worried about an ongoing emergency. I seem to remember one mother who lost a child in a home birth saying it took them nearly an hour to get to the car because of difficulty dressing and walking to the car in second stage of labor.

        • MrG

          Exactly. So the 10 or 15 or 30 minutes “away” argument is at best unrealistic and at worst deceptive.

      • manabanana

        I’ve struggled with this. At the birth center where I worked we’d say to clients: “We’re only 3 blocks from the hospital.” Or “we’re less than 5 minutes from the hospital” because if you were driving in your car, the distance from the birth center to the hospital (including stoplights) was less than 5 minutes. These are true statements.

        BUT.

        I know that when we had a stat “we need to get to the hospital now!” labor situation it look over twenty minutes to get from the birth room where the decision was made, to walking in the door of the hospital.

        That was 20+ minutes from decision to entering the hospital. We were wheeling mom to the OB unit at that point.

        It was another… hmmmm…. HOUR before the c-section was performed. Yeah. That’s sounds about right: 1:20 from decision to incision – in an URGENT situation.

        OK, our result was a healthy mom and healthy kiddo, but what if the situation was more urgent… how could we have improved upon that process – because an hour and 20 minutes is too damn long in an emergency. I don’t know that we really had any capacity to handle an emergency in any timely fashion. We just didn’t. Don’t parents choosing midwifery deserve to know this very pertinent information?

        But the birth center kept advertising “We’re 3 blocks, less than 5 minutes” blah blah blah from the hospital.

        It was so misleading.

        • thepragmatist

          When my son had a severe allergic reaction post-surgery, I had the good fortune of being in a large city, and when I called 911, it still took about 20 minutes to hit the hospital– granted EMT was there in about 3 minutes because it was so serious. But those 3 minutes seemed like an eternity as I watched, helpless, as hives spread over his entire torso and up his neck and his face swelled and his lips swelled out in front of his nose. Holding him, I literally had the dispatch count me down. “Now how many seconds. How far are you? Give me seconds.” We counted each minute down until I could hear the sirens and then, even then, the sirens seemed to take so long to come closer and closer.

          It was terrifying. It will stay with me forever. And then, of course, EMTs filled the room where we were staying and had to take a history, figure it out, administer medication, get us into the ambulance, and go lights and sirens to the hospital. The hospital was 8 minutes away (I know, because guess who was soothed by them counting me down?) but that 8 minutes with my baby strapped to me on a gurney, tailed by a fire truck, was the longest time period of my life. And so, in total, I’d say my when my kid went into anaphylaxis, it still took at least 20+ minutes to get to the hospital. Lucky that what was wrong could be treated on scene, immediately, but that’s not the case with birth disasters. Not all of them can be treated on scene. Some of them, you’re going to spend that time just bleeding to death or knowing your baby is without oxygen. After that experience, I REALLY can’t buy into the “hospital is only 10 minutes away” rhetoric.

          Then when we got to the hospital (and this is something homebirthers forget) there was mass confusion about where to put him, since he had just come from surgery, but the post-op floor didn’t want him back as they couldn’t intubate him and so they sent him to ped trauma and they didn’t want him as the medications were starting to work then, so then we went to peds… ultimately, we were sent all over the damn hospital. I think home birthers think hospitals are far more organized than they are and can just admit them at a drop of the hat, even with an ambulance bringing them.

          What makes homebirthers with CPMs so sure they’re even going to see L&D right away: they have to get through the ER first, if they have a provider without admitting privileges. So in the estimate, add at least 5 minutes while staff figure out what to do with the woman and where to send her, who is going to be in charge, and more if the hospital is disorganized or busy that day. Plus going over consent can take a long time if you’re refusing everything.

          I do not understand people who are battling it out during consent: during my son’s post-op nightmare, I literally just yelled at the attending ped, “DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO! I CONSENT TO EVERYTHING!” I really didn’t care what they did at that point, I could see his face and I could hear and see the tone of the nurses and over hear what they were saying and knew he was in trouble just by the way they were looking at each other, the fact the ambulance guys stayed with their intubation equipment and followed us everywhere while they tried to settle on the right place, and by the stream of people coming into the room. You never want that much attention in a hospital. It’s never a good sign.

          It was really scary and I remember just wanting them to forget I was there and get it under control. Which I imagine is how a person would feel if something went wrong in a home birth. Most people, anyway. The difference was I didn’t elect to take my son home (to a hotel room) only an hour post-op. And I didn’t argue with anyone. It took 6 hours for him to be clear enough to head up to a ped room for observation, as the response kept coming back. It was harrowing. I don’t know why anyone would even risk that kind of thing for a birth experience. I love my child more than my own life.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          mana – here’s my question: what type of relationship did you have with the hospital? Were the doctors there part of the care? Did they even know if you had a patient in labor? Did you have a “transfer of care” agreement with the hospital, where you could, at the very least, transfer over admission information (e.g. could admission at your clinic be considered pre-admission at the hospital?)

          • Anj Fabian

            Ditto.

            If you show up with a Jane Doe, then an hour doesn’t sound out of line at all.

            If the patient has been preadmitted to the hospital, has had the necessary blood work and lab tests done and on record before labor started, then that’s time saved.

            But even a preadmitted patient has to be assessed and the OR prepared.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’m curious on manabanana’s answer, though. There’s a followup

    • Bombshellrisa

      That is one of my least favorite phrases used by homebirthers and midwives. The hospital I delivered at has the offices of their OBs on the same floor as labor and delivery, just on the opposite side of the elevator banks. Even so, when I had to walk that short distance to triage after my water broke, I had to stop at least twice. It took me a few minutes to get that short distance. My chart is part of the system there so all my labs and every doctors note was available but it still took time to get me checked in (and I was dilated to nine).Even when they page my doctor and she is in an appointment, it takes her at least five minutes to drop what she is doing and get over to L&D. Not sure what people think happens when there is a mad rush to the hospital and how they can help you if they don’t know anything about you and have no chart to go on

    • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

      This enrages me. Being 5 minutes from a hospital is not the same thing. Birth can change that quickly. There was a blogger who wrote about her hospital birth (at the end of a low risk pregnancy, seemed to be progressing normally) who had a cord prolapse and placental abruption at the same time. Her baby was out in something like three minutes and the nursing staff were still marvelling that they actually managed to save the baby under those circumstances…in a hospital with all the facilities to deal with it. Try achieving that outcome at home.

      I have a few home birthing friends and they all seem to think having low risk pregnancies and uncomplicated births in the past is their ticket to a perfect home birth. They think one fine home birth indicates the same the next time. And if it goes to shit, then let the hospital clean up the mess, or absorb the statistic of their baby’s death. The same friends quote all the MANA style statistics and when I point out flaws they do the discussion equivalent of putting their hands over their ears and saying ‘la la la’ or insist those stats were achieved through biased studies…yet theirs have not…

      The worst is when various midwives in my acquaintance work in hospitals but choose to birth at home. Their experience is what really matters despite being otherwise caring and dedicated parents. They get professional photos and their kids watch on like its a movie…it’s all about them. I feel like the baby is an accessory until it is born, only then do they care for them properly.

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    And to a home birth advocate or a vaginal birth fetishist – it is unimaginable that any woman would find the real risks of “normal birth” unreasonable (tearing, emergent cesarean, pelvic organ prolapse, brachial plexus injury, birth asphyxia, urinary/fecal incontinance) and should have the right to choose an elective pre-labour cesarean at term (39 weeks) or urgent cesarean should spontaneous labour occur before then. The idea that a “normal birth” can be traumatic, is just beyond the ability of these women to comprehend.

  • Karen in SC

    Do you know what made me happy? Delivering my babies in a hospital, knowing that all available technology was available if desired or needed. I mostly had two natural births, but I needed IV antibiotics for strep and a team for mec aspiration.

    Couldn’t care less about the comfort of being in my own bed, eating my own food, candles, whatever. Safety and health all the way!

    • Mac Sherbert

      I do think having a baby in my nice giant bathtub sounds wonderful. I think being at home and not having nurses wake me and my baby every other hour would be have been nice. However, I know that wasn’t the safest thing for me or my baby…hence I waved bye to them and went to the hospital.

      I see the NCB appeal. I really do. It just doesn’t appeal to me more than having a healthy baby.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I think being at home and not having nurses wake me and my baby every other hour would be have been nice.

        Um, someone was going to have to wake you anyway. It’s not like you were going to be able to sleep in if you were at home. You still have to take care of your newborn.

        • Young CC Prof

          I gotta admit, the nurses had particularly bad timing with me. I could only sleep at the peak of the pain meds, and the second time I was woken after 10 minutes of sleep and then up for the next 6 hours, I was a bit cranky.

          • Mac Sherbert

            Well, hey at least you were able to get to sleep!

        • Mac Sherbert

          Oh yes. I would have slept way better at home! The hospital has now has two nurses…well, actually I had three different people come in my room to do vitals etc. It was awful and I let them know I didn’t like the knew routine they had in place to save money. When I mentioned all the interruptions and different people (that I didn’t have with my first baby) to my nurse she explained that it was hospital’s plan to save money.

          Understanding my wish to not have her come in and then be followed 45 minutes later (or whenever it was) by the nurse checking on the baby (that I had just gotten to sleep!) she offered to do it all. I felt bad for her because I knew that gave her more work, but I had to sleep!

          Nope. Hospitals are wonderful. I wasn’t mistreated, but you can believe I complained about their money saving policy in my exit interview.

          At home. I could just tell my husband don’t anyone bother me for 3 hours. Give the baby a bottle, if you have to.

      • Zornorph

        Well, the baby was waking me every 3 hours. But a couple of times I took advantage of the nice nurse who offered to go and feed him for me and got a bit more sleep. :)

        • Mac Sherbert

          I think what you and Bofa are missing is that I wasn’t even given a chance to get 2 or 3 hours of sleep!! I’m not saying I wanted to sleep for 6 or 8 hours. A nap…I just wanted a nap!

          With my first baby I had wonderful night nurse that was in charge of the baby and me. She came in quiet and did as little as possible. Respecting the sleeping baby on my chest. With the 2nd baby it was different nurses every night. And not just a different nurse for me, but a different nurse for the baby. One would come in…then the other would come int. It was ridiculous. They didn’t care that I or the baby had just gone to sleep. I would have paid extra for the night nurse I had with my first!!

          • Zornorph

            Oh, I see. Yeah, with me the nurses were really good and seemed to time their visits around when the baby would need feeding and changing. Of course, I think the fact that I was such a novelty helped.

      • ElsaKay

        My baby is three months old now, and I have to say the sleep deprivation never got as bad as it did in the hospital. This was in a baby friendly hospital. I felt like there was a constant stream of people coming and going. If it was just my son waking me, it would have been alright. Even if it was just the nurses and doctors. But yeah, it would have been nice to have a nap. I think I might have slept 3 hours in four days.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I like the architect analogy. The best part is that you can add in the comparison to things like, hey, let’s create our own group of “building drawers” to draw building plans. We don’t have all that architect education, but we’re just as good, and we aren’t bound by all those nasty regulations that architects have to follow.

    Besides, the absolute risk of your building falling down is small, anyway.

    • Karen in SC

      Tell that to the three little pigs!

      • MaineJen

        The Big Bad Wolf is a tool of the patriarchy.

        • Anj Fabian

          Bringing up the BBW is fear mongering. We all know that’s only a fairy tale to scare small children into compliance and conformity!

          The pig in the straw house would have been totally fine if the BBW hadn’t shown up. Straw houses are totally safe! Maybe not as safe as a brick house, but that additional protection is completely unnecessary in most cases. Oh sure, sometimes straw houses fail to protect the occupants but that’s because they were built by one of the very rare bad straw house builders.

          But you don’t need to worry about those bad builders because most straw house builders are quite good. Yeah, none of them are licensed, bonded or insured but this isn’t about safety or reliability, it’s about choice and being able to live in the straw house that YOU want.

          • thepragmatist

            Trust straw houses!

            C’mon, I couldn’t resist…

  • Susan

    OT: Is there a way to delete or edit a comment made while one is signed in as a guest?

  • Zornorph

    You know, I can see why people don’t want ‘bashing’ on a forum. I mean, if I were to create a forum to support people who wanted to circumcise their sons, it would be annoying if intactavists constantly showed up to say how evil and barbaric we were (and you know that would happen). As the moderator of such a forum, I would instantly ban the raving intactavists.
    But the HB people take it much further than that – they just don’t want to hear ANYTHING bad, even from people who had previously been part of the community. I think nearly any place should be open to dissenting opinions, as long as they are expressed in a calm, polite and logical manner. I’m a politics junkie and I actually spend more time on forums supporting the opposite viewpoint from mine because I don’t like to live inside an echo chamber and I’d rather hear from people who don’t agree with me than those that do. And so I do sometimes post in such places, but always in a respectful manner and I’ve never been banned for not towing the party line. Oddly, the only political forum I have been banned from is one that does support my viewpoint, but I was banned for not being ‘pure’ enough in my support.

    • thepragmatist

      HA! Me too! I can relate to that. I have been banned for not rigidly adhering to dogma enough on a forum where I SUPPORT THE AGENDA. *face desk* I’ve never been a very good radical/follower because blind acceptance isn’t my thing and my politics are nuanced.

  • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

    Something’s not right with the paragraph starting, “c – section are scary”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks for pointing it out.