Sad about your birth experience? Blame the industry that set you up for disappointment.

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What would you say if your teenaged daughter confided that she was profoundly depressed because she did not look like a fashion model? Yes, she is thin (size 4), but not size 0 like all the actresses and models she sees in People Magazine. Yes, she is tall (5’9″), but not as tall as the women she sees in Vogue who are over 6′. Yes, she has a nice figure, but nothing like those models in the magazines.

What if she told you that her inability to look like those models made her hate herself? That being unable to look like those models is the worst thing she could possibly imagine happening to her? How about if she said that she could no longer spend time with her boyfriend because he deserved a thinner girlfriend? In fact, she couldn’t enjoy and didn’t deserve to enjoy any aspect of her life unless and until she could look exactly like those models she so admires.

I’m going to guess that you might point out to her that being a healthy weight for her height and body type is far more important than wearing a specific clothing size. That the models that she aspires to emulate differ markedly from real women and it makes no sense to try to emulate them. That they don’t even really look like they appear in magazines; they are airbrushed and Photoshopped to a perfection that is impossible to attain in real life.

I’m going to guess that you would take pains to explain how women have been exploited by the fashion industry into feeling inferior so they will buy more clothing, more make up, more diet aids in a futile and psychologically harmful attempt to replicate the arbitrary standards decreed by that industry. You might even point out that it is an industry that is profoundly anti-feminist, judging women for their bodies and not their minds.

In other words, if you are sad that you aren’t the ideal weight, height and proportions decreed by the fashion industry, blame the industry that set you up for disappointment.

Now imagine that you are profoundly depressed that you did not have a homebirth. Yes, you had a healthy baby, but you did not give birth vaginally. Yes, you survived the experience, but you “gave in” and got an epidural. Sure, your baby is breastfeeding fine, but you have a lot of nipple pain, and you’re sure it is because you weren’t able to do the breast crawl in the operating room.

The loss of your homebirth is the worst thing that has ever happened to you. You can’t enjoy your baby because you didn’t really “give birth” to her; she was surgically removed like a tumor. You can no longer enjoy and don’t deserve to enjoy any aspect of your life until you achieve your healing homebirth.

Imagine, in other words, that you are like this woman featured on the blog Homebirth Cesarean:

Losing the home birth was the scariest thing I could imagine. I had been preparing for this home birth the entire pregnancy. I did my prenatal yoga where I would hold incredibly uncomfortable poses for 60 seconds, breathing through them as if they were contractions and visualizing my body opening and my baby being closer to me. Then squatting at the end of the session envisioning my baby coming out and being lifted into my arms. Every single workout I would end in happy tears becuase I was practicing giving birth to my baby and soon she would be on my chest.

But she went postdates, her labor stalled, and her baby’s heartrate began to dip. She ended up with a C-section.

And this was my fault. My body so broken labor wouldn’t start, and now it was on the verge of suffocating Geneva. I had no choice but to give up my body for my baby. It was a moment of sacrifice: sacrifice of my dreams, of my body, of my future pregnancies and births and possibly even children…

She describes her C-section:

… Everyone milled around as if I wasn’t there, pulling and sucking and cutting as if I were a dead body. No one told me what was going on, truly treating me as if I were a dead body they had to remove Geneva from. They provided fundal pressure which feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest and I literally could not breathe, but had no way to communicate this. I thought I would pass out. When they pulled out Geneva I felt nothing but despair, and cried because I could not see her and she was surrounded by strangers. She needed me and instead the first woman to hold her was that hateful OB. I knew I should be happy and felt so guilty that I couldn’t be happy…

What would you tell her? Here’s what I would tell her:

Having a healthy baby is more important than having a vaginal birth.

The experience you aspired to differs markedly from what real women experience and it makes no sense, either physically or psychologically, to try to emulate those who have an idealized experience.

That the women who do have the idealized experience are lucky, not stronger, not better made, not more deserving.

I would tell her that she has been exploited by the natural childbirth industry, a multibillion dollar industry that sells childbirth “fashion,” attempting to convince women that they need midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, hypnotherapy tapes, books and DVDs in a futile and psychologically harmful effort to replicate an arbitrary standard decreed by an industry that makes money ONLY if you accept their arbitrary standard.

And I would emphasize that the natural childbirth industry is profoundly anti-feminist, judging women for the function of their bodies and not their minds.

In other words:

If you are sad that you didn’t have a homebirth or an unmedicated vaginal birth, blame the industry that set you up for disappointment, the natural childbirth industry.

  • Hush

    This is an uncensored stream of thoughts and I have an inner mental war waging! I was sad about both of my birth experiences. The first one I was sad afterward not because it was “not natural”, but because I was damaged, hurt, betrayed, and then released from “care” before I was even remotely safe to be. I suffered from a trauma reaction from that experience that was not like anything I had ever experienced.. and I am a rape survivor, it was a worse a violation of my trust and my body than that for me.. My second birth experience, I was also sad about. I put trust in a professional that should have been so much better. She also released me from her “care” before I was remotely safe to be! I didn’t have such an extreme trauma reaction this time, because I had not endured as much hurt or betrayal of trust or body. My reaction, though, was not joyful and has been quiet… I will say losing an old online friend to a negligent care related death was unexpected and the absolute SILENCE from the community I come from on that is disturbing and haunting to say the least.. I guess what I don’t understand is that most people here seem reasonable, seem like they are feminists (as am I) and believe in humanism etc. So why do you have such a bent and skew toward hospital worship? Why do you trust them so when what they did to me was honestly much harder for me to overcome and just as dangerous? Is the evidence really so far against home birth or is the evidence just missing from hospital because they are better at covering their tracks? I would bet if I’d dropped dead a day after being discharged my blood pressure would have mysteriously been reading normal when I was discharged…. Negligence, what negligence, they’d say?? I agree completely that child birth safety is something worth looking into.. but both at home and hospital… I don’t think the hospital “polices itself” the way you guys seem to think it does. and I think that it is inherently biased against safety for women because we live in a sexist culture. All that being said I can buy that home birth particularly with a lay midwife is more dangerous on and off paper. I just don’t buy that hospitals are so much damn safer for women… I don’t buy it at all… Not with sexist policies like VBAC bans. I know too many women who have been mistreated and not like Dr. Amy is saying here. Smart women are not so easily fooled.. I think they sometimes are hurt, though, and in their hurt are vulnerable. Vulnerable people sometimes sway the opposite direction without looking as carefully. That’s true. But what made them sway that way?? Were they confused by NCB? Not in my experience. In my experience women are truly and profoundly hurt and not because they didn’t get a “natural birth”, but because they were treated like pieces of furniture by “care” providers who come from a paternalistic and sexist indoctrination that views women as whining chattel. That being said I’m not an Ina May sort. My first inclination about that book was that she shames women so much I just don’t understand why women tolerate that treatment…. My ramble has a point. I don’t think you guys realize how our song really isn’t so different. Honestly it seems more similar than not.

    • Young CC Prof

      The numbers clearly prove that hospital birth reduces mortality for babies. For women, no one has done the right kind of study. Yes, negligence does occur in hospitals. No one denies that doctors sometimes screw up royally. However, in hospitals there are policies in place to try to reduce screwups, at least.

      I personally believe that attempting to deliver at home increases a mother’s risk of death, but right now (fortunately) the number of home births is too small to tell for sure. We do know that severe blood loss is definitely more common with out of hospital birth.
      And where hospital care is unavailable, maternal death is not uncommon.

      Do hospitals always get it right? No. Do they help more often than not? Yes. There are always problems, but I think the solution is to improve hospitals, not to flee from them.

    • Amazed

      Yes. Hospitals births are safer. There just isn’t any doubt about that, except for homebirth advocates who sing “la-la-la, I can’t hear you.”

      I didn’t understand the experience you’ve described. You were damaged? How? Was it a doctor’s mistake (no one denies that it happens)? Or was it your perception that you had a cascade of interventions you feel was unnecessary?

      I also can’t sympathize with the view you’re defending. Running to homebirth not because doctors screwed up but because they are paternalistic and sexist? Those are traits I cannot tolerate in a partner, simply because I expect I’d spend years with this man. But my doctor? I’d take a few days of suffering paternalistic and sexist attitude for 4-6 times better guarantee for a whole life with a living, healthy child instead of being listened to (what about, precisely? How to resolve my shoulder dystocia? How to resuscitate my newborn?) and empowered at the potential cost of my child’s wellbeing.

    • T.

      In all honesty I don’t understand you completely. Lets get what I have got:
      1. You had children, twice, and the experience was traumatizing (I also think I would be traumatized by childbirth. This is one of the -many- reasons for which I won’t have children).
      2. Your doctor did something that traumatized you (or didn’t do something? It is not very clear)
      The point is that you don’t say what the thing the doctor did was. Or at least I haven’t got it. And that would be sort of important.
      Can you be a bit more specific please?

    • Emily’s mum

      I had a traumatic birth in a hospital too, with a crazy ob who yelled at me that I wasn’t pushing hard enough for 3 hours before shoving a consent form for forceps attempt/ c section at me and barking “sign this.” When she finally examined me properly before doing the forceps attempt (which failed and led to c section), it was to find my baby was stuck at right angles (ROT). At my 6 week postnatal appointment, I told her in a flush of anger that I was going to have a homebirth next time and she looked absolutely horrified and said,”Don’t make me live with…” before she stopped herself and started to tell me that babies had been lost recently in homebirth and sooner or later we would lose a mum. (By the way, I live in Adelaide, the home of Lisa Barrett, the infamous Australian homebirth midwife). The point of this story is that my ob’s reaction scared me enough that I wouldn’t try homebirth, as much as I hate the way she dealt with my birth, I have a healthy toddler and I respect her expertise in ensuring safe passage for my daughter (who incidentally happened to be the biggest baby ever born in my family).

    • AmyP

      If you had a hospital birth that went badly and could demonstrate malpractice, you could sue the hospital and collect large damages.

      If you had a homebirth that went badly and damaged either you or your baby, it wouldn’t matter if you could demonstrate malpractice or not, in the US they probably wouldn’t have malpractice insurance.

      That’s an essential difference.

  • Sarah Mullen

    I wanted a home birth, but my DH wouldn’t hear of it… he put his foot down with me, and I tend to be much more obedient than he gives me credit for, lol, so I quickly gave up on my idea. And at 35 weeks, with my first, my nanny and I were feeling my stomach, and baby’s head SEEMED to be right under my stomach. When I asked my OB about it, he felt around, RAN for the ultrasound machine, and sure enough… breech. Any thought I had of a home birth was destroyed, only to be replaced by a C-section, for the safety of the baby. Now, I hadn’t gotten any ideas into my head about how it should go, except that of course it would go wonderfully, which I suppose in retrospect, it went fine. I followed that birth with two VBACs, which also went fine, though I had to fight for the second one a bit. My last child, born 9 months ago, I also expected to have to fight for another VBAC, but as it turned out, I didn’t. I had a suspicion, I’ll never know why, early on, that I’d have another breech baby. I knew that genetically, I was more likely to have a breech baby having already had one, but since the second and third went head down, I was hopeful that this one would too, but that suspicion just kept niggling at me that I should mentally prepare myself for a C-section… so I quickly got used to the idea that if it went that way, I’d be ok with it, and much to my non-surprise, she was breech, and I had a 2nd C-section. The main reason I tell this story is that we as women probably do need to be coached on preparing ourselves for anything, and that a healthy baby should be the main concern, not how the birth goes. I suppose since we live in a society that has strayed far from many “natural” things, that what’s happening is we’re trying to get back to what we see as center, plus some of these things are just killing us. And America’s birth outcomes are pretty dismal for being a first world country. But I wouldn’t change anything about my daughter’s births, because those are their birth stories, good and bad, and everything in between. I’ve had breastfeeding issues too from the nurses ruining it completely for the first, to low milk supply with the last 3, so every single one of my kids has been on formula (and let me just say… except for me overfeeding the first, so she has had weight issues, they’re all very normal for having been on formula, and the 9 month old is taking 3-4 steps at a time, as did the 11 year old at 9-10 months. In fact, the only one who was ever behind was the child I desperately tried to EBF for the first 3 months and she ended up an ounce over her birth weight at 3 months.) The guilt needs to STOP on all fronts. I read that woman’s birth story for myself, and I was struck by 2 things: One was that she seems like she went through some post partum depression. The other, and I don’t want to get down on anyone’s religion, but her assumption that somehow her wavering faith in God caused her to not have the outcome she wanted seems so ridiculous. Yea, she’s out of her mind with fear and worry, and God is mad because she didn’t put it in his hands, and takes it out on her in not giving her the outcome she wanted. Yea, because God expects us to always have His needs in mind, and in the event that we’re giving birth, we can’t think of ourselves and our needs at all. Because God is a selfish God who can’t see that our minds might be on us at a time like this. Uh huh. Assuming God even exists (well, I for one have felt him, so can’t deny it completely. Sorry. But I have a hard time stomaching a non-loving and selfish God… the God I know is neither selfish nor unloving.)

    • Young CC Prof

      Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you have wonderful children, all born as safely as possible and well loved and cared for.

  • KarenJJ

    This discussion reminds me of a TED talk by a model about the images created in modelling shoots.

    The talk is great to watch but the best part is the modelling shoot images next to family photos showing a normal teenager doing normal teenage activities.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model

    NCB suffers form similar image creation.

  • Kupo

    I think the mother of Geneva may be experiencing depression – this is based purely on my own experience of having given birth for the first time in an operating room, feeling a disconnect from my baby. I did place blame on my medical team for not keeping me or my husband informed of the proceedings. I gained perspective on the birth experience almost 3 years later.

    My kiddo had shoulder dystocia! For much of human history, this meant he would have been severely injured from birth – literally – or dead. I would be dealing with fistula – if I was lucky enough to survive childbirth.

    Over 3 years later, I am extremely thankful for my first medical team who saved me and my baby.

    Every day in every way I am thankful they made it possible for me to enjoy my family and my life with my family. I am thankful I have my life in front of me to recover a healthy body.

    Caveat: I have since had a CNM guided hospital birth for my second child, which was a breeze compared with my first time. This has helped me gain more perspective on the ‘perfect’ birth, and even more thankful my first medical team made it possible for me to have a second child.

    • NoLongerCrunching

      I think her depression may be exacerbated by blaming herself for “caving” and blaming her support people for not protecting her.

    • Gretta

      I think women are extremely vulnerable right after birth. Selling this “ideal birth” so that women in their most vulnerable state feel like they FAILED is so cruel in my mind! A healthy baby is a success! Something to be celebrated! Great job Mom! Whether she used her vagina or her brain (making the decision to allow doctors to help) … it should be affirmed that she did good.

  • Gretta

    I have had csections and unmedicated vaginal births and it pisses me off that anyone wants to insinuate that any of my babies were loved less or provided more. They are all beautiful, happy, loved children who remember nothing about their births. They have been shaped only by the loving care we have provided in those days since their birth not by how they came into the world.

    Women would do well to concentrate on giving their children *those days* instead of fulfilling a fantasy at the expense of their safety. For it truly is *those days* that count. There’s so much more beauty, excitement, joy, everything in watching a child grow up than in just giving birth.

  • Mishimoo

    I had a chance to read the source properly and there were two additional things that immediately stuck out and made me uneasy:
    - Referring to her daughter as “my little comforter”
    - The reference to only one child in the bio: “became a HBC mama in 2013. She lives in California with her husband and daughter and enjoys spending time outdoors and writing. “

    • Jessica S.

      Yeah, that first one is definitely cringe-worthy. Children don’t need jobs hoisted on them at birth.

  • Beth S

    I’m sad about my own birth experience, sad that my contractions came on so quickly and so early that I had a nightmare home birth in an ambulance in front of my house with two strange EMTs and my stepfather. I’m sad I was so delirious from the pain that the first thing I thought as they handed my daughter to me in her mylar receiving blanket was “They’re handing me a baked potato.”
    I’m sad that I didn’t get to fully experience the joy of giving birth to my miracle baby as I had planned and instead was rushed into the OR to repair a 3rd degree tear, then spent the rest of the day knocked out from a Lorazpam shot due to an epileptic seizure.
    However while I have these regrets, you know what I don’t regret? Planning to give birth in the hospital where the health of daughter and I could be monitored closely and just maybe the giant cluster of a birth would have been a little different. Or the route I’m going with this pregnancy ending in a planned C-section.
    I truly believe that even fifty years ago my first pregnancy would have killed me, the advances in modern maternity are astounding and leaps and bounds better than they were even thirty one years ago when my mother gave birth to me. So with that said I have a hard time identifying with this woman, she got what we all want out of a pregnancy a healthy baby, why does she think her birth plan should trump that number one concern? Is she that selfish, or that caught up in the conspiracy theory woo…just something to think about

  • Rebecca

    A little OT, but her description of the “home induction” sounds a lot more miserable than just getting the pit.

  • LMS1953

    Re: anesthesia
    Doctors Day is March 30th. It commemorates the first use of anesthesia in surgery in America when Dr. Crawford Long excised a neck tumor from patient James Venable under the anesthetic effects of diethyl ether on March 30th 1842. That was around the time the Mormons headed West and 10 years after the Alamo. I am surprised it wasn’t used much for amputations during the Civil War. I suppose ether’s flammable and explosive properties made it a bit of a hazard on battlefield chop shops.

    • anion

      Ether and chloroform (I believe) were very scarce during the Civil War; supplies were used up early on.

      That’s my understanding/memory from school, at least.

  • Guesteleh

    What struck me about this story is that even the CPM was begging her to get the CS in the end. She speaks of being betrayed by her husband and mother and the hateful OB. It reminds me of the midwife who used to post on Homebirth Debate who retired because her clients were pushing her to take too many risks during labor (for example, not allowing her to touch the mother during labor even to resolve a shoulder dystocia) and she didn’t feel she could safely practice in the current climate. So yes, the CPMs are putting out a lot of bad information but it also seems like the mothers are co-driving the crazy train.

  • sdsures

    Like so many other women whose blog posts we’ve read about who bemoan their “loss of a homebirth/unmedicated birth”, this one has so many similar tropes in it that it makes me wonder if women aspiring to have such a birth are issued a writing manual: “How to Write About Your Birth After the Fact (Don’t Mention the Baby!)”

    If they do not blog accordingly, are they excommunicated?

  • ngozi

    Do you think it actually took 8 hours for the people to get around to doing her c-section? I have a hard time believing that she had the c-section only because the baby was big. I believe she does have some reasons to be upset with what happened, but when I read through what she wrote, it sound like some facts are being left out.

    • anion

      I actually suspect, having read the whole thing, that they waited the eight hours figuring they were giving her labor a chance to progress.

      It sounds to me like some facts were left out, yes, and that some serious mixed signals were being sent by her.

  • kat

    I’m sad about my births, but not for the reasons above! I’m sad b/c they were a little too early (pProm) and my peanuts had to spend a few (thankfully just a few!) days in NICU. Thanks to the fabulous OBs and NICU mds for reassuring me through it both times!

    Question though (clearly OT, so ignore at will!) Now I’m expecting again, and am obviously at risk of pProm. Has anyone seen any recent lit on potential treatment/prevention?

    Dr. T — keep up the good work. I’ve been following you since 2008, and hope more people listen to you! (Have you considered going to state legislatures?)

    • Ob in OZ

      If your delivery was less than 35 weeks, you should be seen as early in pregnancy as possible to discuss options. A full discussion beyond that requires a bit more history.

      • kat

        Thanks OB in Oz. (pPROM spontaneously, 36.6 then 34.6 weeks, delivery within 12 hours both times, so delivery on the button of 37 and 35 weeks). I’m scheduled, and I like my doc. I’m just looking for legitimate research on the subject in anticipation of that appt, so I can be ready with questions for his advice. Thank you for responding!

        • Ob in OZ

          The best info to read when available is the patient info on uptodate.com, and your topic is covered- Patient information: Preterm labor (Beyond the Basics). That being said , other guidelines would use progesterone for earlier deliveries, so you will be in the grey zone. Acog info is for members only , but Australia ranzcog ), Canada ( sogc) and the uk ( green top guidelines or nice guidelines) are all free to the public. All have slight variations. My preference on this topic is the Canadians. Good luck.

          • kat

            THANK YOU. That’s just what I needed. Now I know what questions to ask, so that I’ll understand what the plan is!

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Carla Hartley takes time from trusting birth to talk about me and my readers:

    https://www.facebook.com/carla.hartley/posts/10202819260577061

    • Young CC Prof

      Interesting! One commenter says we are “ruled by E-Motion..and personnel attacks.” Let’s examine that remark.

      Personnel are employees, and yes, I do like to attack people working and making money from radical NCB and other natural-health and pseudoscience scams. Can’t argue with that part.

      I wasn’t sure what an E-Motion was, but I thought it might be some sort of mobility device. It is, and it actually looks really cool! It converts a regular arm-powered wheelchair into a combination arm/battery powered chair. I don’t use a wheelchair myself, but if I did, I’d love that one!

      • Siri

        I love the insinuation that anyone in a face-to-face confrontation with Dr Amy would be in physical danger; perhaps she’d hire an E-Motion and run them over with it? Or, in true villainous style, invent a remote control for it and deploy it from a distance. An army of E-Motions, dispatched to … dispatch Dr Amy’s enemies, near and far!

        • Young CC Prof

          Now I’m imagining a phalanx of powered wheelchairs, with machine guns strapped into the seats and pairs of red headlights mounted on them, rolling down the street.

          That would be kind of cool, actually.

          • Dr Kitty

            All we need are the fembot gun bras from Austin Powers and we’re good to go.

            Dr Amy’s Fembot minion army in E-Motions, fighting wise wombyn and birth keepers everywhere!*

            *not really.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            Do gun bras preclude breastfeeding?

          • Young CC Prof

            All fembots can breastfeed!

          • Sue

            ”Do gun bras preclude breastfeeding?”

            Not at all – they shoot milk.

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

            Machine gun jumblies?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            That ruins my image of Dr A as a Buford Pusser-like baddie carrying a serious-ass whacking stick.

            (OK, I realize that pop culture reference is going to be unrecognizable to pretty much everyone (although there was a Walking Tall remake, wasn’t there? Did Buford Pusser carry a stick in that movie, too?)

          • anion

            I recognize it!

            And for a second when I saw “Buford,” I thought you were going to follow it with “T. Justice, of Texas!”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            One of the funniest movie characters of all time, right up there with Judge Smales (Ted Knight) from Caddyshack.

            “Put the evidence in the back seat.”

          • anion

            “The world needs ditch diggers, too.” (And Ted Knight was a comic genius.)

            I know domestic violence isn’t funny, but I laugh every time Buford tells Junior how there is no way he came from his loins, and what the first thing he’s going to do when he gets home is.

    • C T

      “Unity” above truth and babies’ lives?….OK……

      • Bombshellrisa

        In other words, don’t question the beliefs of the cult

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

      Jaw dropping stupidity. Not to mention that their comments on your “minions” are pretty pathetic. We’ll just follow anyone who’s MEAN because we have no sense of self?

      Dafuq?

      • Siri

        Speak for yourself, Kq; I follow Dr Amy because I love a good old-fashioned villain(ess) with a properly nefarious goal. I’m waiting for her to invent a shrink-ray machine and steal something impressively big (like MANA headquarters, or LIsa Barrett’s ego).

        • Young CC Prof

          Yes! We need to build a laser-powered shrink ray and steal MANA headquarters! And then we should steal the Empire State building and the Washington Monument, and keep them all in a glass box with ant-sized people running in and out! Why? Because we’re evil, duh!

          • Siri

            Mwahahahahahahhahahahhahahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “I didn’t go to 8 years of Evil Medical School to be called “Mister””

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

            Deep. Hurting.

          • MaineJen

            NCB…it has everything to do with Hurting.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            What about the Pentagon? Can we shrink the Pentagon? And how about the headquarters of all major medical insurance companies in the US? Can we add ants to the boxes we keep them in after shrinking them?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Can we shrink the Pentagon?

            I have an actual shrunken Pentagon. The building in Arlington is actually a replacement version.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Excellent! I’ll get the army ants and we’ll test the Pentagon’s preparedness…

          • Amazed

            Hush now, Bofa. Every cult needs a common goal. We won’t be like Really Evil Cult Members of our Very Evil Amysh Cult if we don’t have this.

            The Pentagon is a good start, so tuck your real Pentagon away and come shrink the fake building with us.

          • Jessica S.

            And make sure its budget shrinks in kind!! :)

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

            I guess you could say we’re more evil than a three dollar bill.

          • Mishimoo

            What is this? A centre for ANTS?! /zoolander

      • anion

        Once again I find myself wondering what world these people live in, that they find Dr. Amy so mean and terrifying that they fear for their personal safety. I had teachers in elementary school with nastier tones. Dr. Amy isn’t even as harsh as some of the bosses I’ve had, much less some of the other kids in elementary & high school.

        And I didn’t go to school in a particularly tough area or have bosses who were particularly OTT.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I had teachers in elementary school with nastier tones

          Dr A’s got nothing on Sister Claire Marie from second grade.

        • Wishful

          She is nicer then my kindergarten teacher was, and a good deal of the high school ones! I am no more afraid of her then I am of most political analysts. That’s like saying your afraid of Bill Maher or Glen Beck. Sure they may think your dumb and if you enter into the public sphere they may tell you about it, but I doubt they are gonna do anything to you. Then again I forgot those people are men and men are allowed to have a strong opinion and show it without being considered deranged or possibly unhinged.

      • Dr Kitty

        Love it.

        Dr Amy highlights HB disasters to drum up business for her husband (because suing CPMs is a big money spinner don’t you know).

        Dr Amy hates HB because she herself was traumatised by hospital birth and is stuck in a weird Stockholm Syndrome.

        We all need hobbies (but posting to FB and following Carla is fine, because who needs a hobby if you Trust Birth enough).

        At least I know the comments here are coherent, grammatical and well thought out.
        Most NCB sites…not so much.

        • Ob in OZ

          Dang. If you’re going to expect good grammar I’ll have to stop writing.

        • Sue

          Yep – this must be the smartest and sassiest group of ”minions” on the net!

      • Certified Hamster Midwife

        And because we comment here, we “worship” Dr. Amy? I’m not sure that even the parents here who credit her posts with saving their own or their babies’ lives would go that far.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          So I guess every comment I’ve ever made disagreeing with a position Dr. Tuteur took is sacrilege?

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          The way she talks about me is inadvertently illuminating her own thought process. She wants to be worshiped, so she thinks in those terms.

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

            Agreed. All of the accusations of us being brainwashed, minions, worshippers, blind to evidence, foolish, cult like, unable to cope with dissent and hating those who are better educated and more knowledgeable…sounds pretty familiar. The difference being that actual evidence disproves those claims about your regular readers. There’s endless debate and disagreement, comments are never deleted, and people are encouraged to read the opposing viewpoints in order to come to a real, thoughtful conclusion. So much projection that they ought to open a movie theater.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I read this blog because Dr Amy has opinions that I agree with (usually, but not all). I don’t have my opinions because I read this blog.

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

            Disagree – because you don’t only seek out echo chambers you agree with, do you?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Now what would be the point of an echo chamber that disagreed with me? Nah…I read all sorts of blogs, journals, and papers, some of which I disagree with profoundly. But having been banned from a number of them I rarely comment any more.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            A single blogger is not an echo chamber. The real content is in the discussion.

            The only places I stick around are where reasonable discussion can be had.

          • Susan

            What is more of a thought stopping cult like conversation than this…

            “Rebecca Schmidt I do not act on emotion I act on truth. Truth rules in my world how about yours. Speak for yourself Miriam for you do not know me or what I do and who I am. My emotion are not part of my actions but truth is.

            April 21 at 11:45am

            Remove

            Miriam Medicine Prayer Excuse me Rebecca..this was not directed to YOU personally at all….it was directed at anyone who uses this platform to create hate and not unity..and that isn’t you..the persons who troll..argue and show hostility toward those of us who HAVE experienced the truth that Mom’s Bab’s and trust birth is the reality…Sorry if it seemed different…

            April 21 at 12:05pm

            Remove

            Rebecca Schmidt Sorry Miriam, I am so loyal to the truth and the truth in birth I got carried away. My bad.”
            Even I was a little surprised by that dialogue.

          • Susan

            What gets me is the people calling us minions are lecturing the sisters about unity and truth of birth. Trust birth is the reality after all.

            (Makes me think of Kneelingwoman though… sure I trust birth, trust it to be wild and capricious as the rest of nature)

        • LibrarianSarah

          I only worship the sun (and pray to Joe Pesci)

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

          Worship =/= respect, are grateful for, like, are interested by…

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            I don’t even agree with her on everything.

        • madwife

          I like the term
          Tuteurites…
          Im not religious. . But It makes me feel like I belong to a special church.

          • ngozi

            OOOoo, can we all get matching shirts that say Tuteurites?

          • SOBfollower

            yes please!!! and I want mine in XS since I’ve lost all my (twin) pregnancy weight and recover a flat abdomen after my EMERGENCY C-SECTION. and failure to breast feed propperly. all this much to the dismay of the NCB Community XD

    • LibrarianSarah

      I find it interesting that they can’t just see it as you researched “did your own research” into homebirth and based on what you found and your own experience as an OB came to different conclusions than them. The have to turn this into a personal deficit on your part or turn it into a personal vendetta.

      You are upset that you are no longer a doctor (and to add insult to insult they insinuate that you were forced out of the profession instead of retired). You had traumatic hospital births and have a case of Stockholm Syndrome. You are just a big mean troll of a person.

      They make all these claims and insinuations without any evidence whatsoever and claim that you “slander” people, “twist the truth,” and rely on emotion or personal attacks. Can you say “projection?”

      • Young CC Prof

        Why, of course! If you disagree with the consensus of science, it’s because you “did your own research” and “followed the evidence,” (for evidence defined as personal experience with very small n or cherry-picking) or, if all else fails, it’s because you “have the right to your opinion.”

        But if someone else disagrees with you, deeply and profoundly, it’s about personal hatred and intolerance. Because no one else has the right to an opinion.

    • ngozi

      I can’t see this link because of the computer I am on, but I always laugh at the people who say Dr. Amy has an “outdated” degree. What the world that means is beyond me. When you retire, does your degree automatically become “outdated”? Is that the reason why all the retired school teachers I know (even the bad ones) have school systems begging them to either substitute or come out of retirement because they have an “outdated” degree?

      Methinks Dr. Amy’s degree is in medicine, not making wagon wheels or robbing stagecoaches…

  • anion

    I honestly do sympathize with this woman. It’s hard when an experience you’re excited about turns out to be not what you’d hoped.

    The problem is, adults aren’t supposed to let that disappointment change or color their entire lives, especially when that disappointment is over a fairly unimportant issue in the big picture–your experience vs. your child’s safety. And I hate to be rude here but, you know, you’re a parent now. Get used to things not being what you’d hoped or expected or anticipated. What are you going to do when your daughter doesn’t want to play with Disney Princess toys but instead wants to raise frogs or spend all day playing video games (or the reverse)*? What will you do when your son isn’t interested in science or sports but instead wants to sew his own baby dolls and wear sparkly red ballet shoes (or the reverse)*? What will you do when they’re socially awkward or have no friends or bully other children, or any number of behaviors or traits that parents don’t necessarily dream of? What will you do if your child has a learning disability?

    Raising children is a lifelong lesson in accepting that things will not always be what you expected, and it often starts with birth.

    (*Note: I don’t meant to imply here that there is anything “wrong” with children who have or do any of the above. Just that kids have their own minds and personalities, and those minds and personalities aren’t always going to be what the parent dreamed of or expected before that child came along–and that one of the challenges, and part of the job, of being a parent is accepting that and not forcing your own standards or interests on your children.)

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    One thing I like about the NCB is the concept that childbirth doesn’t have to be a trauma and an emergency. They go way overboard in claiming that pregnancy and childbirth are never “a disease” and pretending that everything’s just fine and there’s no danger, but the basic concept that not every pregnancy and labor will be horrific seems to me to be sound. For example, I liked the way my semi-crunchy class on labor went about it. Basically, the teacher was of the “whatever works” school of pain relief: If an epidural works, go with that. If water works (during the first stage of labor, not during the second stage) go with that. If singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” over and over again* works, go with that. There’s no intrinsic “right way” to relieve labor pain and not every labor will result in severe pain, so it’s ok to wait and see how it goes for you rather than getting an epidural on the assumption that it will hurt too badly to tolerate.

    Now, I wish someone would extend this concept to c-sections and post-c-section recovery. Some c-sections are complicated. Some are painful to recover from. But others simply aren’t. One of my greatest regrets about how my child’s birth went is that I took percocet because I thought I was surely going to have nasty pain on postop day 1. I didn’t have much pain but the percocet made the constipation worse and made me sleepy so I didn’t eat and drink enough and didn’t produce enough milk, meaning that the baby got a bit dehydrated and there was all sorts of unnecessary excitement (it turned out fine, no big deal in the end, but it would have been nice to not have that happen.)

    So, my advice on c-sections is don’t assume that you’re going to find recovery painful. My worst post-op pain was maybe a 5-6 and that was while I was transitioning from epidural to PCA pump. By day 2 my pain was maybe a 3-4 and I was considering issues like whether it was worth taking a tylenol and whether these silly restrictions on movement were really necessary. It may not be that way for you and I certainly don’t consider myself anything other than lucky to have recovered so easily (the recovery might mean that my surgeon was superior but it certainly does not mean that my body is), but it might all go more easily than you think. Don’t be scared of the concept and don’t assume you must suffer terribly.

    *Real example.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      One thing I like about the NCB is the concept that childbirth doesn’t have to be a trauma and an emergency.

      But whoever said it did?

      I don’t understand this point. It sounds like a massive strawman.

      he basic concept that not every pregnancy and labor will be horrific seems to me to be sound

      Again, who says that?

      I liked the way my semi-crunchy class on labor went about it. Basically, the teacher was of the “whatever works” school of pain relief: If an epidural works, go with that. If water works (during the first stage of labor, not during the second stage) go with that.

      This is the mainstream position of the ACOG, and has nothing to do with “semi-crunchy”

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        It’s a mainstream position of the ACOG now, but what was it 40 years ago?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Did an epidural exist 40 years ago?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I hadn’t realized this, but apparently epidurals have existed since the early 1900s. They first came into common use in the 1970s. But I don’t think the “low risk birthing center with whirlpool and birthing ball” thing happened until the early 21st century.

          • Mariana Baca

            Seems like the common use of the epidural came around the time twilight sleep went out of fashion. Basically, I would dispute that women *want*, by in large, painless births, and doctors try to provide it to them in whatever form is currently considered safest for mother and baby, instead of twilight sleep being used to deliberately torture women. Twilight sleep came about to replace cloroform during labor which is even more dangerous to the baby. Both were deemed dangerous for different reasons so now we have epidurals. If something better than epidurals comes to be, we will use that instead. It isn’t that we deemed labor “horrific” before — it is that amnesiac drugs were the best we could do to relieve pain for laboring women. Now we can do better.

          • Young CC Prof

            Actually, I think there was a gap of about a decade between the phase-out of twilight sleep and the point at which epidurals were commonly available for childbirth AND good enough and supported by enough evidence that most doctors and women wanted them, like the walking epidural.

          • MaineJen

            Even total pioneer-girl Laura Ingalls Wilder had anesthesia during her first birth (she describes it in one of her books); I believe it would have to have been chloroform at that time.

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

            In The Thorn Birds, Meggie is given large doses of laudanum in labor. It’s a pretty disturbing passage – but historically accurate. I’m glad to be alive in an era where epidurals are common and safe.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I found The First Four Years (which described her married life and the birth of her daughter and her miscarriage (I’m pretty sure it was a miscarriage)) to be really disjointed. IIRC, her daughter cobbled it together from her notes, so it wasn’t something that Laura had really written into final form.

            I love LIttle House in the Big Woods and Long Winter (my favorite of the series), and even Little House on the Prairie is a good read, despite how depressing it is if you actually look at it (lots of hardships and generally rough times).

            These Happy Golden Years is also a good read, where Laura is off teaching school.

          • Elaine

            Her son was born alive, presumably at or near term, and died a few weeks later.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Twilight sleep came about to replace cloroform during labor which is even more dangerous to the baby.

            Not to mention the mother. People drop dead suddenly under chloroform sometimes.

            It isn’t that we deemed labor “horrific” before — it is that amnesiac drugs were the best we could do to relieve pain for laboring women.

            I’ve always found the concept of twilight sleep a little disturbing. Then again, I’ve never had to face the option of that or nothing. We can definitely do better now. Besides epidurals (which are often, but not always, appropriate), we have stadol, demerol, non-pharmacologic means of pain relief, and if it comes to this, general anesthesia.

          • Elaine

            My mother’s birth story with me from the early 80s sounds very contemporary–she tried to go natural and wanted to avoid pitocin and did not manage to avoid pitocin but didn’t get an epidural. Also her hospital was trying out the newfangled practice of not moving patients from labor rooms to delivery rooms.

            My sister’s MIL had a c/s with her first and was offered a VBAC attempt with her second as long as she labored in an OR, but she didn’t feel that was worth it and opted for RCS.

        • yugaya

          ACOG position changed and advanced over that forty years period for the better, and these changes were accompanied by more babies and mothers surviving childbirth. Did NCB change anything in their dogma during the same period ?

          Or do they still just ‘trust birth, women have bodies designed to give birth, babies know when to be born, some babies are not meant to live / survive natural birth, you cannot grow a baby too big, breech is a variation of normal?

          Have homebirth death rates went significantly down based on the results of the MANA “study”, or have they just been sitting on the info for five years and even worse than that, after finally publishing it failed to utter one syllable of a recommendation about how not to kill that many breech babies in the future homebirths attended by their members?

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            To be fair, there hasn’t really been time to determine whether MANA’s recommendations have changed home birth mortality or not yet. The data was published within the past year and it’s too soon yet to tell whether their strong recommendations that breech birth and twins no longer be considered eligible for home birth will affect practice and make home birth safer yet. Oh, wait, they didn’t make those changes based on their (really very convincing, if retrospective and incomplete) data so nothing’s going to change.

            ACOG’s recommendations have changed over the past 40 years, both for technical and for patient preference reasons. And because the social milieu of medicine has changed and paternalism is no longer acceptable. There’s no shame in making those changes, quite the contrary.

          • Karen in SC

            Did MANA really make a strong recommendation not to do breech and twin homebirths? Where?

          • yugaya

            Nope. MANA made no such recommendation for breech homebirths because MANA trusts that everyone who ‘trusts birth’ will ‘do their own research’ and just stop trusting breech birth at home.

            Or we could interpret their lack of immediate action regarding breech homebirth death rate as MANA deliberately misleading the public into trusting that something that kills 25 times more often in homebirth with a MANA lay midwife than it does in hospital with qualified health care providers is ‘just a variation of normal’.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Yeah, they didn’t make those recommendations despite the fact that their data made obvious that those groups were at extremely high risk. I was trying for sarcasm and failed. Badly.

          • yugaya

            Nah your sarcasm is good, sometimes when too tired or distracted I fail to register more subtle or contextual clues that easily. The curse of the non native speaker. :D

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            No, I was being sarcastic. They should have and any reasonably professional medical association would have, but they didn’t. Sorry–badly written sarcasm on my part.

    • Siri

      Every pregnancy/birth not being a trauma/emergency isn’t a ‘concept’; it’s just a fact. NCB teaches you that you can avoid trauma and emergencies simply by being ‘prepared’, whereas of course it is entirely down to luck whether your pregnancy and labour turn out to be plain sailing, a gruelling marathon, or an outright life-or-death emergency. I find your comment somewhat bizarre.

      And why would you need permission or approval from a semi-crunchy antenatal class teacher to choose your pain relief options? Do you need the teacher to endorse your choice of epidural, or are you a grown woman able to make her own choices? I don’t give a rat’s arse what some antenatal educator thinks about pain relief. And if she DID say or hint that there is a ‘right way’ to set about relieving pain in labour, she’d be a rubbish educator; she doesn’t get any brownie points for being ‘inclusive’ in her views.

      And finally, who gets an epidural ‘on the assumption that it will hurt too badly to tolerate’?! Nobody, that’s who. Epidurals are requested by women when they feel they need them. I’m intrigued by the implicit sexism of this part of your comment; has someone spiked your drink with Koolaid?

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        At the time I was born, women were assumed to need general anesthesia for any childbirth. My mother remembers her labors as being situations where she was told “ok, now we’re doing the twilight sleep” rather than being asked whether she wanted anesthesia. This is the context in which the NCB movement was formed. Much as we might like to think that they came out of nowhere, the history of OB is not pretty and there have been a lot of times where OBs simply didn’t listen to the women they were caring for.

        And, no, I didn’t need her approval. I needed (or, rather, wanted) her ideas. I didn’t go into pregnancy assuming that I knew every possible technique for managing labor pain, pharm or non-pharm. Perhaps you “educated yourself” before hand and needed no more information, but I wasn’t ready to say that I knew what I wanted for pain control in labor the moment I got pregnant. As it turned out, I didn’t know until I went into labor!

        And if she DID say or hint that there is a ‘right way’ to set about relieving pain in labour, she’d be a rubbish educator;

        I disagree. I found the statistics on X% of women found technique A helpful, Y% of women found technique B helpful to be useful, especially when references that allowed one to evaluate the reliability of the statements were included. But that’s definitely a hint that technique A may be a “right way” to manage pain in labor. Sorry if that offends you.

        I guess you’re not interested in the main point of the comment. Apparently I’m the only person in the world that thinks that post-op recovery isn’t so bad…

        • FormerPhysicist

          X% find it helpful (and 100-x% do NOT) is very helpful. “Women who birth vaginally with no meds are warrior goddesses” is NOT helpful, and too often said or implied.
          Right and effective are rather different concepts, so I think you are talking at cross-purposes.

          All of medicine has become less top-down – in almost every country.

  • LMS1953

    This momth’s (April) Contempory OB/GYN has a medmal case that almost exactly parallels this one. Although the patient was adamant about avoiding a C/S, she was awarded 9 million dollars because the baby ended up with hypoxic brain injury. Attached are images of the pertinent page from the journal,

    • LMS1953

      Page 2

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        In this case, at least in hindsight, the woman involved said that she would agree to a c-section if it was medically necessary. If I understand correctly she had consented (signed the consent forms?) to the c-section. So she probably had a decent case, even if she was pressing for no c-section if they didn’t clearly say, “yes, this is medically necessary”. (Assuming my interpretation is correct and all data presented are accurate and complete.)

    • Stacy21629

      That isn’t the Johns Hopkins case, is it? Didn’t they lose a malpractice suit following a C-section for a disaster home birth transfer?

      • LMS1953

        No, the story line says it was in California. My mistake, it was “settled” for 9 million dollars – it did not go to a trial, where the award could have been much higher, or the jury could have found for the defense. You just never know – do you feel lucky…Punk….well do ya? Being as this is the most powerful plaintiff venue in the West, and a judgment could wipe you clean out to the seventh generation of your descendants, you have to ask yourself this question, “Do you trust your management?”

    • T.

      Sorry but can’t a hospital who has a woman in labor who adamantly refuse a CS simply boot her out of the door, and good luck having wolves as midwifes?
      I am serious.

  • OBPI Mama

    There were minutes during a couple of my c-sections (in particular my 3rd c/s which was a longer c/s) where it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I guess I was gasping some (I didn’t realize this) and the anes. asked if it felt like I had an elephant on my chest and I said, “yes!” It’s a reaction to the meds and so he put some other counteracting medicine in my lines and that feeling disappeared instantly… It was a scary feeling so I do feel bad for her about that part, but I was able to make it known that it felt like I couldn’t breathe and it was resolved.

    Before my first c-section, I was nervous. My head was filled with all the claims that the homebirth world put in me… I vocalized I was really nervous and the staff was so good about talking with me during prep and all that. I think you have to make known what you are feeling because how is anybody supposed to automatically know that?

    And, really, c-sections are not as bad as the homebirth world claims they are (even with some complications with my 3rd c/s, it wasn’t as bad as a bad homebirth). I thought it was going to be like torture and I would feel like a victim and all that! I actually thought the pulling and pressure feeling was really cool! The first recovery was hard for me (and of course I didn’t read any helpful c/s recovery books because that would have made sense!), but I learned what to do better with my 2nd and 3rd c/s recoveries.

    I do think how you view things and any preconceived notions (like, “I don’t deserve this c/s. This should not be happening to me! I’m special!”) really plays into your “experience”.

  • Dr Kitty

    When I have patients with needle phobia or who faint at the sight of blood, I know not to order blood tests unnecessarily and when they are necessary we do what we can to make it better (more time with the nurse, numbing cream, glass of water, lying on a couch, maybe even a mild sedative first).

    But at no point do I or the patients pretend that all these extra steps are normal. We are doing it to make things easier, but bottom line their response to a blood draw is not usual.

    This is like NCB fear of hospitals and interventions. They need extra hand holding and time and explanations and whatever to feel comfortable with interventions.

    But it is their reaction to the intervention which is abnormal, not necessarily the intervention itself, and the majority of people DON’T need or want all the extra touches to be ok with it.

    There will still be some people who, despite my best efforts will faint having blood taken or have a panic attack just before the blood test. But at the end of the day it is their issue, not mine, and all I can do is my best.

    A lot of the CS horror stories are written by people with a deep fear and mistrust of hospitals, but it is like reading needle phobic reports of blood tests or having a wound sutured-not the perspective most people would have.

    Everyone is traumatised by different things, but NCB perspective is often that interventions/CS etc are objectively evil and traumatising, while unmediated childbirth isn’t, and I don’t necessarily agree with that.

    • Young CC Prof

      I like the way you put this. Acknowledging their feeling and experiences while refusing to generalize them to a majority who may feel very differently.

      • Dr Kitty

        There is no doubt that many suffer real lasting trauma from losing their “ideal” birth experience.

        The fact that their ideal was based on completely unrealistic expectations and they were set up to fail isn’t their fault, and doesn’t negate their trauma.

        BUT trying to prevent other people suffering similar trauma absolutely means questioning the NCB mindset, rather than taking the view that trauma is inevitable if you don’t get the unmedicated waterbirth of your dreams.

        Not having any strategies to cope with what “might” happen, not thinking about worst case scenarios or emergencies because you don’t want the “negativity” means that if it all goes pear shaped you are much more likely to feel powerless and overwhelmed, because you haven’t even prepared yourself for this eventuality and thought about how to cope with it.

        • InfiniteSovereign

          I was going to comment on this article, but now I’m not because you took the words right out of my mouth. “The fact that their ideal was based on completely unrealistic
          expectations and they were set up to fail isn’t their fault, and doesn’t
          negate their trauma.” I say this as an HBC mama and ex-homebirther. You are made to feel like a failure for having a c-section. That was not the only source of my birth trauma, but a major part of it. My midwife even suggested that my anxiety might have prevented me from dilating after 2.5 days of labor stalling at 5cm. Because I didn’t want to be derailed by negative thoughts, I refused to even entertain the possibility of a c-section during pregnancy, and so when that’s what I ended up having I was completely blindsided and unprepared. The magical thinking of the NCB philosophy sets you up for failure and severe disappointment if you don’t happen to be lucky enough to experience the ideal birth.

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

            You get this reaction even if you’re NOT an hb mom, if you live in a crunchy enough area :(

  • Busbus

    At my first homebirth for my older child, I was absolutely unprepared for the amount of pain I was in. The NCB classes I took and the books I read to prepare all made me believe that it wouldn’t be so bad because I was doing everything “right”. To be honest, I kind of expected to have some sort of transcendent and blissful experience. It took me many months – months! – to get over the fact that I didn’t have the picture-book birth I had hoped for (or maybe I should say that the birth which might have looked more or less picture book-like from the outside was actually excruciatingly painful and harrowing and left me shell-shocked and in continued pain even afterwards – it took weeks until I was at a point where I could start to enjoy my daughter.) And that was after a generally uneventful delivery where both mother and baby came out healthy!

    I am not saying that I wasn’t naïve or that I maybe should have been a bit more realistic. But these images ARE what the NCB crowds push on you. It’s all about how you have to “trust your body’s wisdom” and “have positive thoughts”. Anybody who dares to suggest that things might not go the way you hope (your OB, for example) is vilified as “spreading fear” and “wanting to ruin your birth experience” and you should “not listen to them”. Of course people come out disappointed!

    In my experience, in NCB circles, there are about 1 in 5 women who is beaming about her birth, another 1 in 5 who speaks in positive tones, and then the other 3 out of 5 who tell you their disappointing birth story in varying degrees of whispers or tears and self-recrimination – because they “gave in” and had an epidural, because they agreed to any other kind of intervention (somehow, this is always grounds for self-recrimination), or because they ended up with a c-section. And because of the cult-like aspect of NCB, no one ever questions if this disappointment is really necessary. Instead, it is just presented as further proof of how hospitals and doctors conspire to “take birth away from you”.

  • Valerie

    I just don’t understand this. When I was wheeled in for my emergency c-section, I felt nothing but extreme gratitude and relief that my baby and I were being saved from severe complications! I love every memory I have from each of my 3 c-sections! I’m just amazed at what medical science can offer me. 100 years ago, my son and I probably would have died from the Class 1 HELLP that my c-section saved me from. I will happily take whatever the doc has to offer! It’s incredible! I have no desire to live in the dark ages, thank you very much.

    • ngozi

      My fear of c-sections was mostly because of my fear of all surgeries. I just don’t like the idea of being cut on. When my oral surgeon told me that he would have to cut my wisdom teeth out I literally sat in the chair and cried.

      However, I do think c-sections are being unnecessarily demonized. C-sections certainly serve a necessary purpose. The healthcare workers (or those pretending to be such) would do a better service to women if they would educate women about c-sections and why they are sometimes necessary, rather than making a blanket generalization that all c-sections are bad all the time.

    • InfiniteSovereign

      Many people have fear surrounding surgeries (not limited to c-sections). For me, any surgery is frightening because a very close family member very nearly died as a result of a knicked bowel during a routine gallbladder surgery. Just the smell of a hospital is triggering of the massive trauma our whole family experienced as a result of her near death and prolonged recovery in the hospital. Any surgery carries a risk of injury or death, even though many are necessary and life-saving. It’s no mystery why many people are apprehensive about being operated on. While I am grateful for my c-section and my healthy baby, I still found it to be traumatic. That doesn’t mean I desire to live in the dark ages.

  • Captain Obvious

    “. This abandonment of my support team was outshone only by how far I felt from God. Where was He? How could He allow this? Was this really His plan? What had I done to deserve this? Why wouldn’t He just make labor start so we could get on with the birth?”

    Reminds me of that joke of the man stuck on the roof during a flood waiting for God to help him as he declines help from people coming up to him in boats and rafts, because he is waiting for a sign from God. She could have gone to an OB, been induced weeks ago, etc etc but she she chose a CPM and refused modern help (that God has allowed man to create), yet complains of where is God and why isn’t He helping her.

    • Stacy21629

      “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow”
      Sorry lady. That’s the only thing God promised you concerning birth. It’s gonna hurt and you’re gonna be sad. Check and check. Too bad you’re so hung up on your “birth experience” you can’t cash in on the rest of the verse:
      “as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”
      See here – God didn’t say “as soon as she DELIVERS the child” – “DELIVERED of the child”.
      God supports C-sections!
      /lots o’ sarcasm.

  • Captain Obvious

    I guess she got pregnant to have a vaginal birth experience.

  • hurricanewarningdc

    Not that I don’t appreciate the analogy, Dr. Amy, but I don’t think that it applies to the woman who wrote that garbage. She was far removed from reality before the greedy midwifery industry got its self-serving non-medicalized organic rubber gloves on her.

  • Sue

    Wonderful analogy – thanks for this post!

    Why is it that radical-NCBers can;t see perspective?

  • Ob in OZ

    Dr Tuteur as always well done. However for once maybe you have been away too long as I would be unlikely to politely explain to the patient how she should “blame the industry” as nicely as you have. Maybe you are getting soft? Just kidding. From reading some of the comments below:
    1) of course she had informed consent regarding the surgery and anesthetic, so she knew what would happen
    2) However, she apparently wanted to hear ” we are making the incision, and now cutting the fascia. Now I have entered the peritoneum…” Seems a bit nuts, but a modified version can be helpful.
    3) She is nuts. I am occassionally the hateful Ob because I deliver a baby whose mother hates me, for no other reason than I am there. Usually at 2am after hours of negotiation and prayer (on my part that the baby will at least be ok after delivery. After all, the baby is going home with this nutjob so is it really going to be ok?). The patient has never met me before so I find it hard to be nice when I am hated before I walk in the door. I still do my best, and save my muttering for the drive home.
    4) there are mean Doctors, etc out there. No doubt. Of course people complain , and those complaints are taken seriously. I personally prefer to do my job well and occassionally be hated, then ignore my education and training and just do what a patient wants without understanding and explaining the consequences of their actions.
    Now excuse me while I try to explain to a patient that going past 42 weeks is a bad idea, before going to the hospital to talk to a patient after the stillbirth of her 42 week infant. Today sucks.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      Too bad you can’t arrange for those two patients to meet each other.

    • theadequatemother

      I agree that she must be nuts. Otherwise why would the OB have refused to continue seeing her as a patient? Dollars to doughnuts there were some very inappropriate actions on the part of his patient leading up to the cs.

      • Stacy21629

        Right. This mom wanted nothing to do with OBs or the hospital for her pregnancy and delivery but now all of a sudden she’s offended she can’t see the OB for her post-partum visits? The nerve of people.

      • k_cayte

        I can’t imagine her saying “I consent under duress” made the doctor say, “Hm, I sure hope she wants to see me for an office visit in the future!”

        • Susan

          I have said it before but it always mystifies me that these whackaloons don’t see that the docs are dancing for joy when they are kicked off the case by a nutjob. Talk about a gift….

          • Dr Kitty

            You wouldn’t believe the steps an NHS GP has to take before firing a patient.
            It basically requires actual verbal or physical abuse or threats before you can do it.
            Sometimes it is easier just to suggest patients might have a better experience elsewhere and let them leave.

            Unlike the USA we have HUGE loyalty from our patients. We have patients who keep the same practice even after moving away, even if all the doctors they were ever treated by have retired and been replaced, they’re not moving.

            Sometimes I think it might be nice to be able to fire someone, but I just try to think of it as an opportunity to improve my communication skills.

          • Stacy21629

            This is awful…but…
            Firing belligerent clients (or those that choose to own dangerously aggressive dogs) is a wonderful cathartic event. :-P
            Life is too short to deal with that nonsense.

    • Jessica S.

      I hope everything went okay, with both patients. I don’t envy what doctors deal with everyday.

    • OBPI Mama

      I liked the modified version you mentioned from my ob with my 4th baby (3rd c-section). I asked what was happening though so they knew I needed to hear a little. There was a lot of adhesions they were removing and I was feeling really nauseated so he would tell me what they were doing and then he let me know they knicked my bladder so all the weird talk among each other was making sure it was stitched up right and holding, etc.

      For my other 2 c-sections, I liked the quiet. I listened to my “labor cd” and just tried to relax. He did make sure to tell me, “Okay, you’re going to start feeling a lot of pulling and pressure.” with all of the c/s… it was a nice head’s up.

      I am guessing this woman didn’t voice her need to hear some of the people talk (heck, the anesthesiologist is right at her head and he could kept up small talk some) and so they figured she preferred the quiet. And that she went into the situation very jaded against what was happening.

      I am so sorry you run into that and I second what Jessica S. said… don’t envy you. We raise sheep (sheep are very dumb animals) and when I have to chase down a ewe to give it worm medicine (it needs shoved down their throats with a med. gun), I get so mad. “I’m just trying to save your life and you fight me!” I’m guessing it’s similar feelings, but you went to school for a lot of years to save lives, unlike me.

      • Ob in OZ

        It’s patients like you, comments like yours and others that keep us going. Thank you.

      • Jessica S.

        Hahaha! I’m laughing at the image of you chasing down a sheep! Priceless. :) I’ll admit, I’m more nervous than I thought I would be about a second CS, but I think it’s more related to my nerves over what having two children will be like – yikes! My 3.5 year old drives me insane sometimes, and I think I’m crazy for adding a second into the mix. :)

  • Jessica S.

    “When they pulled out Geneva I felt nothing but despair, and cried because I could not see her and she was surrounded by strangers. She needed me and instead the first woman to hold her was that hateful OB.”

    When you say “hateful OB”, I think the words you’re looking for are “person who saved my baby’s life. And by the way, thanks for that.”

    This woman should be grateful if this is the worst crisis she can come up with.

    • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

      “When they pulled out Geneva I felt nothing but despair, and cried
      because I could not see her and she was surrounded by strangers. She
      needed me and instead the first woman to hold her was that hateful OB.”

      What she should have written was “I needed her” if she had wanted to be honest. The baby was fine.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        But if she admitted “I needed her” then she couldn’t complain about the OB holding her FIRST.

        • Lizzie Dee

          I regard myself as a reasonably empathetic, imaginative person. But I cannot get inside the minds of women who think like this. Do they really imagine that a baby comes out thinking “You are not my mother! This isn’t how it is supposed to be!”? (If they were capable of cohesive thought I would imagine something more like: “Jeez, there should be an easier way”

          I can imagine the mother being upset, disappointed and confused – but not permanently traumatised. Easy to go on believing in the fairy stories of control and wonderfulness when things are straightforward, but I would have thought a more complicated birth with your baby at risk would cause a bit of a re-think.

          • Young CC Prof

            I would imagine babies come out thinking exactly what they’re saying, no matter how they’re born: “AHHHHH! Who drained my tub?”

      • Jessica S.

        Very astute observation. That’s another element, indeed.

  • LMS1953

    OT: I need some help. Currently on a locums assignment. I anticipate the need to prescribe Makena – 17 hydroxyprogesterone caproate = 17P. It is the onl6 FDA approved form of progesterone proven by EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE to decrease the risk of a preterm delivery for a pregnant mom carrying a singleton gestation with a PMH of a preterm delivery. The facility says Joint Commission prevents its use: they cannot store a patient’s meds, they cannot use a multi dose vial, the nurses cannot give meds the patient brings in because of concerns of improper storage and contamination. The only thing they can come up with is to have the patient procure it and inject it herself. (Brilliant – for a medicine that costs hundreds of dollars per dose). I tried to explain that in some Camelot, patients are getting 17P. So what is so fricking hard about doing it “here”? Facilities require Board Certification to credential a locums physician yet they refuse to enable Board Certified standard of care practices. This is infuriating. Any suggestions?

    • Haelmoon

      We use endometrium tablets at our hospital. The SOGC endorses both injectable and vaginal preparations for the prevention of preterm labou. Our system choose endometrium over prometrium because it does not contain peanut oil, therefore less allergy risk. However, it comes in an effervescent, so I think that there is a pharmacy humour somehow involved in the choice of drug. No complaints from the patients as of yet.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Is this “facility” a prison?

    • theadequatemother

      Our pharmacists routinely provide patient education wrt dose preparation and home injection. Patients do a good job generally. Eg bridging LMWH.

  • AnotherGuest

    I agree that there are people out there who set women up for feeling like a failure for ‘failing’ to live up to almost impossible standards. I agree with: ‘That the women who do have the idealized experience are lucky, not stronger, not better made, not more deserving.’ BUT, her csection could have been made better for her. She says that no-one explained things to her, they most definitely should have. We all know that OBs and hospital midwives should explain things properly and act with compassion, and it makes the world of difference.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      SHE SAYS no one explained any to her. Is that true?

      She also says her OB was “hateful.” I don’t believe that, either.

      • AnotherGuest

        Who knows? I hope they did.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          What do you think is more likely? That they weren’t treating her professionally and doing the things that pretty much everyone else who has a c-section reports went on? Or that she is bitter and interprets everything that happened through a negative lens, regardless of how innocuous it was?

          As I said, we already KNOW that she has done that, in calling her OB “hateful” with no apparent basis.

          • Amazed

            I’d say they thought she was just fine. After all, she never hesitated to call them on all the horrible procedures they used on her before for no better reason than a postdate baby and low amniotic fluid. If she was in a bad way, she’d make herself heard, they probably reasoned.

          • Guesteleh

            I used to work for an organization that dealt with medical errors and you know what? There are shitty, abusive doctors out there. They exist. Doesn’t mean this woman was necessarily treated badly but why is it so inconceivable that the OB did a crap job of communicating with her? My own labor experience was pretty mediocre. The birthing part was fine but the care I got in postpartum was seriously lacking (e.g., not getting prescribed meds, meals not delivered to my room, no one responding to the call button, nurses whose English was so poor they couldn’t understand requests I made). I’m not traumatized by it, but it isn’t like every hospital experience is unicorns shitting ice cream and farting rainbows. And before anyone says it, of course that’s not a reason to have a homebirth. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call it out when hospitals screw up.

          • Amazed

            It isn’t inconceivable. Anyway, what I think Bofa means – and I agree – is that, according to her article, she was a patient who was determined to interpret everything in the worst way possible.

          • AmyP

            That was pretty much my first hospital experience (Labor and Delivery was great, but postpartum care was like a totally different hospital, with nurses who were quite visibly several cuts below the quality of Labor and Delivery), but the second and third hospitals were much better.

          • Stacy21629

            Of course there are crappy communicators out there. But an entire room full of them? This woman’s entire OB, anesthesia and nursing staff?

            She walked into the hospital thinking it was going to be a horrifying, abusive situation and *surprise, surprise* that’s what she thinks she got.

            I had a homebirth transfer last summer. I definitely thought that folks might be snippy. The OB was wonderful, as was the L&D nurse and the postpartum nurse. The baby nurse was impatient and the pediatrician was definitely non-approving. But I had a wonderful experience and managed to be able to evaluate each person individually AND recognize that I dropped a potential disaster in their lap when, as it turns out, they were all just getting ready to go in with a scheduled C-section and had to put EVERYONE on hold while they waited to see whether they needed the OR for me.

            This woman WANTED to be offended, and she was. Her preconceived notions and black lenses through which she views all hospitals and hospital staff is why it is so difficult to believe she was actually treated so poorly as to justify calling her OB “hateful”.

          • OBPI Mama

            Totally agree!

          • thankfulmom

            Maybe with it being a home birth transfer it was a tense situation? Perhaps the mother made it worse by trying to refuse standard things such as an IV? I think it makes a difference when you’ve had the
            opportunity to get to know and trust your OB. I didn’t have an ideal birth experience due to the dreaded magnesium. My bp dropped down to 76/56 with the epidural, it had been running in the 180/105 range (nurse didn’t tell the nurse covering for her break what my bp had been running). And a preterm delivery. However, the MFM I knew and trusted was there and his reassuring presence and demeanor made it not so bad. I was so thankful my baby and I came through it all okay. I’m sorta surprised the mom quoted doesn’t realize her baby’s life was saved. Had she not transferred she could have been picking out a casket for her baby.

        • Stacy21629

          So they did what – held her down and forcably administer an epidural?
          Where was her CPM in all this? You know, her home birth “professional”. Why wasn’t she qualified to explain what was happening?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I don’t thiink there was anything that the medical professionals could do that would have satisfied this woman. I am reminded of the following quote by Bledsoe and Scherrer who write about the anthropology of the natural childbirth movement:

      “If nature is defined as whatever obstetricians do not do, then the degree to which a birth can be called natural is inversely proportional to the degree to which an obstetrician appears to play a role. The answer to why obstetricians are described with such antipathy thus lies not in the substance of what obstetricians do that is unnatural – whether the use of sharp incision. forceps, and medications that blunt sensation. or anything else- but in the fact that obstetricians represent a woman’s loss of control over the birth event. Obstetricians are thus perceived as the chief source of disruption in the birth event, backed by the licensing power of medicine and the law. And yet it is not what obstetricians do that women find problematic but the fact that they are the people who step in when the woman is seen to have failed.”

    • Stacy21629

      I guarantee you things were explained to her and she had forms to sign. She simply didn’t like the information she was receiving.

    • Jessica S.

      Do we know exactly what she means by “didn’t explain”? Further, it sounds like it was an urgent situation, so perhaps there was not as much time to sooth nerves when balancing the risk to baby. And beyond that, I’m not sure how much “explaining” my OBs et al did before my CS, which was at the end of a labor going nowhere, but not an emergency. I don’t exactly know what I would’ve expected them to do: walk me through exactly how they do the procedure? I’m not disputing that communication issues can arise between patients and their HC providers – that’s ubiquitously human. But, as Bofa has suggested, I highly doubt this woman would be satisfied with anything the hospital folk told her. Especially if she conceives “losing her home birth” as the “scariest thing she could imagine”.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Just my personal opinion but , if my baby’s fetal distress had necessitated a C section I would have rather the doctor pay attention to what they were doing, than have their attention split trying to give me a running commentary.

      • Stacy21629

        THIS.
        Frequently, owners request to watch procedures on their dog/cat. I do not allow that. I need to concentrate on what I am doing – not worry about the owner, their reaction, possibly passing out, narrating everything I’m doing, etc etc.

        It doesn’t sound like the mother ASKED for a play-by-play…so she didn’t get one.

        • Captain Obvious

          Like mothers who want to watch their son’s circumcision.

  • mollyb

    I’m as anti-woo as anybody. I don’t believe my c-section was a failure and I am grateful every day that I live in a time and place where I had access to one. But IF this woman’s retelling is accurate (IF), I feel there is room for compassion for her. I was frightened during my c-section–it was strange and uncomfortable and unknown to me. I was lucky to have a very kind anesthesiologist who sat beside and in addition to his work, calmly walked me through what was happening, explained about the fundal pressure and how it would be uncomfortable and hard to breathe but I would be fine, etc etc. If I had not had him and instead had to experience all of these frightening experiences in total silence as if I wasn’t a human being worthy of compassion or explanation yes, I would find that very upsetting and would negatively color my view of my care providers, even if I knew they were doing what was medically necessary. I understand busy surgeons can’t hold hands and indeed, there may not be time for it in an emergency but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that doctors treat women (really, all patients) with good bedside manners and compassion. It sounds like that was really lacking during her procedure (IF she is telling the truth and not exaggerating for NCB bonus points).

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      But it also sounds like she was fairly obnoxious to her providers and it is difficult for them to muster a lot of sympathy for difficult patients.

      • mollyb

        I get that. Doctors are only human, too and I would have trouble feeling a lot of compassion toward someone acting obnoxiously. I guess I’d just encourage those who are medical providers to remember that being laid out, naked, partially paralyzed, feeling like you can’t breathe, frightened for your own life and your baby’s is a terrifying position to be in and a little compassion goes a long way. I’ll never forget how my medical team went out of their way to ease my fears over what was, to them, a routine procedure. And again, I’m really not defending this woman or her philosophy.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Personally, I question her interpretation of the events that transpired. When you go in with an attitude, you are going to interpret everything in the worst way possible.

          See, for example, her characterization of the OB as “hateful.”

          • Sue

            If this woman planned a HB, it is likely she had no prior relationship with the OB who was required to intervene in an emergency situation.

            With no advance notice, no chance to mitigate risks and with responsibility for the outcome firmly on her shoulders, the OB does her duty and saves the baby.

            Why doesn’t this woman consider this: that OB would likely be a perfectly nice person with a great bedside manner when not called into an unexpected emergency when the baby might die if she doesn’t act quickly.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And this OB she has never met had the audacity to treat her like just another patient, like she was a complete stranger or something.

        • moto_librarian

          I really believe that she was frightened after being fed a steady diet of lies about c-sections and hospital birth. Her midwife had a responsibility to walk her through the various scenarios that can occur, particularly once she was postdates. The problem is that by the time she was overdue, she had spent nine months envisioning and practicing for giving birth in one very specific way, and she had a very hard time envisioning anything else. I do feel very badly that she was so scared and upset, but it really bothers me that the natural childbirth industry set the stage for her to view her birth as a passive, even tragic event. I’m done having children, but I will continue to fight against the lies and misinformation being given to women about childbirth because it is pretty clear that it is not just causing death, but mental health issues as well.

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

            I can say I was terrified during my c section and still feel poorly treated by the anesthesiologist, who was too clearly annoyed dealing with a panic attack during the procedure. I was mainly terrified of cs because of all the bad press it gets. I did subsequently change providers, but I still wouldn’t call ANY of them hateful. I wouldn’t even call the labor nurse who was rude and aggressive in pushing NCB on me when my birth plan clearly stated epidural. I think she gave me poor care and the anesthesiologist gave me poor bedside manner, but still, not hateful.

            I seriously doubt she got poor care. I think it’s quite clear that her experience was entirely colored by the 9 months of “homebirth training” because it matches up WAY too neatly with the party lines and rhetoric about “hateful” hospital births and obstetricians.

          • Susan

            Well said KQ. I too would never deny that there aren’t some bad apples and I have seen some myself. Been infuriated, dealt with, complained about people who have treated patients in a dismissive or unprofessional way. It can happen and there is never any excuse for it. I agree though here, that it all fits so neatly into what she was taught to believe about OBs and hospitals that it’s hard not to read it with skepticism. Could it all be true, the hateful stuff etc, sure it could, but there is a lot of reason to doubt her because she seems to be almost reveling in her victim of Big Birth/Big Pharma etc.

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

            Another thing to consider – the only reaction she may *know* is to bemoan her “ruined” birth experience. After 9 months of training, I doubt she has seen any positive stories of cs or hb transfers. Further, within the NCB cult, you will be punished and rejected if you *don’t* think the hospital and ob are “hateful” and regrettable. I don’t have much sympathy since I’ve suffered FAR more from the NCB movement than I have from “hateful” doctors, and I consider this crap she’s spreading to be adding to the problem. But it is a point to consider.

          • Susan

            Yes, if you have never lived in one of these insular communities of like minded people ( cults?) it’s hard to understand just how primed someone like this lady might be to see the world this way. If that’s her peer group, going to the hospital and saying… “hey, they were great, the saved my life and the baby’s life and gee they really aren’t the bogeyman” well, first it would have to be true, but to just say that, if it were true, would take courage, and she would probably isolate and distance herself from her support group of mamas.

          • Jessica S.

            This, this, this!! THIS is how a mature adult processes unpleasant interactions: you call a spade a spade, pick up your ball and go home. Or to another provider. :) And tell other people about it if it was bad enough.

        • Stacy21629

          If she was that frightened for her baby’s life – why did she allow herself to go that far postdates?

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            She had been led to believe by her midwife and the entire natural childbirth movement that going postdates is not a danger to the baby.

      • AnotherGuest

        I don’t know the full story because I wasn’t there, but compassion is part of the job, as a professional. Something I’m proud of and others should be too. The ability to be compassionate despite patients being ‘difficult’ is an excellent skill.

        • Amazed

          It’s hard to be “compassionate” when you have a patient who’s fighting you all the way, every step of the process. I guess they were so relieved that she had finally shut her mouth up and didn’t seem to be declining procedures they deemed necessary for her wellbeing and her baby well-being that they were simply relieved they didn’t have to talk to her further.

          Judging by the tone of Ms Educated McForgiveness’ article, I’d guess they were scared shitless that given an opening to talk, she’d start endangering her baby further.

        • Sue

          AnotherGuest – you are right that ”The ability to be compassionate despite patients being ‘difficult’ is an excellent skill.” I’ve got much better at this over thirty years in acute medicine, but I’m not perfect. Are you?

          If a clinician makes a habit of being snippy, bullying and communicating poorly, they should be counseled, re-trained or disciplined. But the odd slip? It means they are human.

          • Jessica S.

            I agree. And who knows how this patient was interfering with the doctors trying to prevent a disaster? The doctors may have just finally decided that they were going to deliver on the “healthy outcome” part of their job instead of killing them with kindness. Quite literally.

          • Amazed

            In a link a fellow poster provided in this discussion,, this patient writes about her c-section that, by all medical reasoning, was unnecessary but they scared her into thinking her baby would die, so it wasn’t really unnecessary. It was only up to her to decide its value where necessity was concerned.

            And that was her sounding more mature!

            Err… no, moron. It looks like there were indicators your postdate baby living in dry land was in trouble – those WERE indicators themselves, Ms Educated McForgiveness – and the doctors acted on it.

            Why are you and your fellow bitches so determined to check just how long your babies can tolerate trouble?

            I swear, some homebirthing moms take the whole “there’ll be plenty of time to detect trouble and transfer” to mean “we have to wait until the last possible moment and beyond. It we got a dead or damaged baby, that’s sad but at least we know interventions were necessary.” Hey, if THEY determined them so, they must have been hell of a necessity.

          • Young CC Prof

            She did recognize that it’s rude to tell another woman that her c-section wasn’t necessary, or to demand all the details and then judge for yourself. She also recognized that there are perfectly rational women who have no desire to experience labor and are quite happy with a calm planned c-section. Which makes her quite a bit less of a sanctimommy. But yeah, I’m not sure she understands why everyone involved in her birth believed her c-section WAS necessary.

          • Amazed

            Yeah, she doesn’t sound as much as a sanctimommy in deciding not to judge other people’s experiences. She’s the uber Mommy Knows Best in her attitude to doctors, though. She thinks she’s qualified to understand medical practices and indicators for trouble when she doesn’t even realize that postdates are dangerous and low amniotic fluid even less so,

            Mommy knows more than doctors. Mommy should not judge other mommies, only doctors!

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        I agree that this woman sounds like a nutter. However, I’m not so sure I agree with this response, Amy. We expect waiters and waitresses to continue to smile and treat even obnoxious, demanding, and outright rude (to an extent) customers with courtesy and to wait until the shift is over to curse them out. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same from a physician.

        • Stacy21629

          She didn’t say anything about cursing them out or being rude. She said she might have a hard time having sympathy for them.

          And if you think that waitresses don’t IMMEDIATELY go into the kitchen and complain about the rude people they have at table 12, you’re very naive.

        • Amazed

          Right. But I also expect of customers to not be obnoxious, demanding, and outright rude just because they had certain expectations of the meal at home they had to miss and come to the restaurant instead. No matter how high above those plain waiters and waitresses they see themselves.

          I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere that someone cursed the woman. I saw plenty of vitriol on her side, though, and let’s face it, when someone is vitriolic (she says she resisted procedures to the last and I don’t suppose she did it in a nice voice), you aren’t this concerned with their comfort, as long as you’re doing your job. At least not as much as you’re concerned with the comfort of patients who don’t treat you like enemy.

        • Sue

          ”We expect waiters and waitresses to continue to smile and treat even obnoxious, demanding, and outright rude (to an extent) customers with courtesy “”

          Indeed, but aren’t we all human? Add some anxiety, tiredness, frustration, annoyance, and even the most mature, patient person will occasionally crack and be a bit terse. Not ideal, but that’s how human life works.

    • Stacy21629

      So then why did not her CPM explain things to her? The “professional” she knew and trusted?

  • guest

    I don’t want to take a bite out of anybody. I don’t want to validate the “hateful OB” comment that this lady made. But I do want to say a little something in favor of this web page we’re discussing. I found out about the lady who founded it, Courtney Jarecki, when I read an article on how the Legacy’s hospitals in Portland are implementing policies so home birth midwives and mothers would be more likely to transfer in a timely way and with some decent records that hospitals can actually use http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/health-and-fitness/articles/home-birth-in-oregon-january-2013. Jarecki was shocked at how well she was treated in the hospital after she was transferred. She said: “To be honest, I was not ready for the kindness that was bestowed upon me.” Anyway, since then she has spent a lot of time urging midwives and “childbirth educators” to prepare pregnant women for the possibility of problems, for the possibility of surgical birth, for the possibility that they won’t make milk, etc. etc. Believe me, I’m not saying I agree with the “my broken body betrayed me and the worst happened” idea. I think these moms would feel relief at the healthy outcome, rather than trauma over the process, if they could just embrace the truth that birth can be dangerous, that uncomplicated births happen to the lucky majority, and that all the exercise and yoga and healthy eating can be helpful but aren’t guarantees that you’ll be part of that lucky majority. So I think this webpage is very close to being a step in the right direction to show pregnant women that truth – that complications can happen to the crunchiest, and that hospitals can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xvFavyEOFo

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The problem is that the site fully embraces the paradigm that an unmedicated vaginal birth is the ultimate and that anything else is second best. It’s like Vogue Magazine proclaiming that they oppose women feeling inferior if they are not a size 2 and then refusing to feature any models that aren’t a size 2.

      • attitude devant

        The other problem is that Legacy’s dirty little secret is that they won’t report the homebirth midwives to the state board. Not ever. So the midwives take their patients there because they know they aren’t going to be investigated for, say, the famous home breech-breech twins that the midwives crowed about in Midwifery Today, even though the second baby had a depressed skull fracture.

        • guest

          Shite! I didn’t know that.

        • LMS1953

          That should be a sentinel event for a Joint Commission review that should be cause for revocation of the hospital’s JC certification. And perhaps an investigation for conspiracy to defraud the public. This shit has got to stop.

        • Young CC Prof

          You know, there exist various harm-reduction laws connected to drug and alcohol abuse that exempt you from prosecution if you call an ambulance for your friend’s overdose and stick around to tell the paramedics what happened. These laws probably do reduce deaths among people who are going to do dumb things anyway.

          They should NOT apply to the drug dealer responsible for encouraging the abuse and overdose, even if he does call an ambulance afterwards.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            Who is the drug dealer in this metaphor? Should we differentiate between the corner pusher (the local midwife) and the cartel that imported the drugs in the first place (MANA)?

            Do these policies save babies’ lives right now? Are they transferred sooner and more smoothly rather than being dumped at the curb?

          • Young CC Prof

            That is precisely the dilemma. Immunity for homebirth midwives who transfer saves babies in the short term, but it also encourages them to continue doing really reckless things and may be a bigger danger in the long run. I don’t know what the best way to handle it is, and I do not envy any hospital staff who have to deal with transfer disasters on a regular basis.

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

            True, but the corner pusher and cartel are free to damage/kill again in this example…

        • NatashaO

          I am confused. Does this “Legacy” have a policy that forbids reporting? Does “Legacy” itself actually report, or are the Individuals who work for/at/with “Legacy” the ones who should be reporting- i.e. nurses, OBs, ER Docs, Midwives, Anesthesia, EMTs, etc. How does this work?

      • guest

        True. But at least they are showing crunchy moms who’ve had c-sections, not just sweeping them under the rug.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          But they are showing them as objects of pity.

          • guest

            Yes. Thus my mixed emotions about them.

          • LMS1953

            I have this vision of the SPCA commercial where all the pitiful abused and abandoned cats and dogs peer out through cages.

          • Trixie

            The way they show “plus size” size 12 models who are 5’11″.

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            That is weirdly excellent metaphor.

          • guest

            I spent some time this evening reading some of the other birth stories on that site, and I encourage others to do the same. The stories I read involved women who had to transfer for medical emergencies. They are not all “woe is me, I was robbed.” Quite a few were sobered by life threatening experiences, grateful for the expert care and smarter about what the outcome they really value. In all this bathwater, there are some really great babies. There are some women there who got wiser without having to become loss moms, and their stories have a lot to teach other people.

    • InfiniteSovereign

      The trauma of losing the ideal birth that the NCB community holds in high regard is very real. Many mothers in the HBC community are trying to deprogram from the mindset that c-section means failure, and other damaging tenets of the NCB philosophy that set women up for disappointment and trauma. I don’t know what I would’ve done without this community of women. The birth story featured in this article, complete with the “hateful OB” comment, is the birth as the woman experienced it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s how she thinks of it in hindsight. I could’ve used the same turn of phrase in writing my own birth story shortly after I had my son, but that’s not how I feel now.

  • Pilo

    Here’s a few gems about “painless” labor from Mothering.com…

    “…[A]lmost anything hurts me more than a good, natural birth…my birth was virtually painless and she was born without me pushing even once.”

    “I used hypnobirthing and had a beautiful birthing experience. No need for fear of pain if you have a plan to focus within and listen to your body.”

    http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1400754/what-hurt-more-than-labor-for-you

    Ugh.

    • Renee Martin

      I just wanna say- SO WHAT to these ladies. I had zero pain with DD, but SO WHAT. That does not mean that anyone else will have the experience I did. Really, it means nothing at all.

      • yugaya

        Well, these women sure can give birth in magical ways and parent children to perfection. On a bad day I would blame their tendency to over value what and how they do as mothers as compensation for major lack of skills to find any other equally meaningful way of expressing and accomplishing oneself as a person.

  • LMS1953

    How come after 4 days of “cohash circuits” did she not begin to doubt the Woo? She would rather doubt God.

  • Renee Martin

    I would tell her to go see a psychiatrist, and a good therapist- she probably had PPD, and some other issues that would benefit greatly from proper care.

  • Guest

    Good health, and an event-free pregnancy and delivery, is a luxury. If you are lucky enough to give birth without any complications, you have the luxury of many choices concerning your environment, care provider, pain relief, delivery method, etc. However, not all of us are afforded those luxuries, and our choices begin to dwindle very quickly if we want to ensure a healthy baby and mom.

    I will never regret my c section for my very IUGR baby (birth weight was less than 1%). Of course it was scary to give birth 7 weeks early. Of course it was hard to have her whisked away to the NICU right after her birth (but my husband and I did get an excellent picture with her before she went, thanks to our amazing anesthesiologist). Of course it was difficult to have our physical contact limited during her weeks-long stay in the NICU. Of course it was difficult to leave the hospital without my daughter. But I will never be ungrateful for the wonderful help and support of my OB, perinatologist, L&D nurses, neonatologists, and NICU nurses, who all worked to help my daughter become the happy, thriving little 10-month old she is today.

    It makes me sad that we didn’t have an easier time bringing our daughter into the world (and I am being treated for PPD, not because of the experience, but just because). But I’m sad because it was difficult, not because I was disappointed by some arbitrary ideology that made false guarantees.

    • Jessica S.

      I’m so sorry the experience was rough. I need to be careful not to invalidate the traumatic emotions that follow these types of births – to any degree. Everyone handles things in their own way and are entitled to their emotions. I hope you are all healing well!

      • Guest

        Thank you for your well wishes! I won’t lie, a part of me might always be a bit hurt that our introduction into parenthood was so tough (there was a tornado somewhere in all of this, too, I might add). But my husband and I are having the time of our lives with our daughter, who is in excellent health!

        I never wanted to insinuate that you, or anyone on this blog, was trivializing truly difficult birth experiences. Facing unexpected and emergent complications is very difficult and emotionally draining, even if you have a good outcome. But I think it is important to properly identify the real causes for concern. For example, I’m not the least bit sad that I had a c section. The procedure was calm, and the recovery was mildly uncomfortable. More importantly, the procedure saved the life of my daughter. However, it was very concerning that my daughter required a c section at 33 weeks because her placenta was failing. That condition was the cause of my emotional distress, not the surgery itself.

        All of my doctors gave me very reasonable expectations for what we were facing: early delivery, very low birth weight, extended NICU stay. While it was difficult to hear, I’m grateful for their honesty. I cannot “buy into” any model of care that endorses false and unattainable claims and expectations and overlooks risks, especially when the risks involve the life of babies. It sickens me.

        And for what its worth, I will be forever grateful for my OB. He was with us for every difficult step of my pregnancy, and visited us every morning after delivery. He was not only concerned with how well I was doing, but how well my daughter was doing as well. He was concerned about her progress at my 6-week follow-up, when she was still in the NICU. And he was thrilled to hear about her progress at home when I went in for my wellness visit a month or two later. My doctor enjoys his work for the health of women, mothers, and babies.

        Modern medicine is a luxury too, as is taking home a healthy baby. I am thrilled with my family, even if it was a bit difficult to get to this point :)

  • Zornorph

    Funny thing – I was poking around that linked site a bit and came across this – an article written by the same author but where she’s sounding more rational. Mostly taking issue with the term “unnecesareans”. I mean, there’s still plenty of woo thinking in the article, but it’s interesting none the less.
    http://homebirthcesarean.org/guest-author-post-the-implications-of-our-rhetoric/

    • Renee Martin

      Cool, I hope she feels better now. Pregnancy and labor do a number on your mind and emotions.

    • LMS1953

      http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0701/p169.html

      The link has a good discussion about the management of macrosomia. The OB was faced with a patient she had never seen before, with ultrasounds showing an EFW in excess of 4500 grams, at 42 weeks with oligohydramnios. The fact that the baby “only” weighs 8#6oz is immaterial, the BEST EFW the OB had was by the ultrasound. The risk of C/S with EFW more than 4500 is quite high. Even worse is the risk of shoulder dystocia. Consequences of SD can result in lawsuit awards in the tens of millions. So if the OB induced her, and the baby weighed 10 lbs and had a SD and an Erb’s palsy and a head bleed, she would have done her internet research. She would have found this article. She would have bitched about the lack of infored consent – “If I had only known that a 10# baby had a 50% risk of SD, I NEVER would have consented to an induction”.

      • OBPI Mama

        When I was wanting a TOL with my 2nd son (after a severe should dystocia with my first, resulting in a severe OBPI… I know, I know… ridiculous, but I was still into woo at that point and the 2 words c/s struck fear in my heart) I found a doctor willing to let me with the deal that I sign some papers, if the baby stays around 9lbs, and at the first red flag, we wheel in for a c/s (I had a lot of red flags with my homebirth). II liked that deal. We read what ACOG wrote about inductions not really helping and so the doctor said it was upto me whether or not I wanted induced early for a smaller baby.

        It never ended up an issue (THANK GOODNESS!) because my 10lbs.3oz. son turned breech, but I did appreciate his admission that inductions might not help and be willing to let me decide.

        I am really thankful that I had the last 3 kids c-sections because I went to a Brachial Plexus conference a couple years ago, where some researchers talked about my risk of having another shoulder dystocia after a previous one is 7x more likely! Not. Worth. It.

  • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

    WHAT is a woman like this going to do when her baby/child behaves in any way that differs from her expectations? That is to say, behaves normally, because I guess her expectations of childrearing are as unrealistic as her birth expectations were. Reject the infant, blame it for disappointing her?

    The whole idea that birth is anything but a fairly crude way of ensuring life continues is such a social concept. HOW the birth takes place is irrelevant to the end product.

    • Amy M

      She’ll blame it on the Csection.

    • Therese

      I really haven’t encountered any NCBers rejecting their babies because the baby doesn’t live up to their expectation of what a baby should be. If she doesn’t reject her baby due to her horrible birth experience, I kind of doubt the baby is going to manage to do something else that would make the mom reject her. Kind of a silly thing to worry about, I think.

      • thesouthway

        If this woman does have untreated PPD, as many have suggested, then it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that she might neglect or otherwise harm her baby. She probably won’t outright abandon the baby but that doesn’t mean it can’t come to harm. Especially if the baby fails to meet her expectations of parenthood (it cries constantly, won’t snuggle/doesn’t want to be held, nursing difficulties, etc).

        Even if she manages to keep her PPD/overblown disappointment from spilling over now, that doesn’t mean the child’s going to come out completely unscathed. It will be harmful if she never lets her child forget that s/he is “responsible” for her bad birth experience. It will be harmful if she openly favors the next baby, who gave her the opportunity to live out her fantasy birth. The NCB movement doesn’t stop harming children once they’re out of the womb; it’s really not such a silly thing to worry about.

  • Zornorph

    You know, I can get why it’s disappointing when things don’t go the way you’ve planned. If you have an outdoor wedding and you find it’s pouring down rain, this is going to cause some upset. But that’s why you have backup plans – my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be there for the birth of my son if it happened too early. I had literally memorized the flight schedule of every airline that flies out of my small airport and knew exactly which route to take to the hospital depending on what city in FL I would land in. But I knew full well that if labor started – particularly at night – that there was a good chance I simply wouldn’t make it in time. So I had mentally prepared myself for that – I had a plan of what I would want the hospital staff and my surrogate mum (and her hubby) to do in my absence. It wouldn’t be the ‘experience’ I was hoping for, but at the end of the day, it was a baby I wanted – I knew that whatever disapointment I might have felt would melt away when I finally held him.
    Now, it’s true I wasn’t dealing with crazy hormone fluctuations – but this woman fell victim to believing that thing were guaranteed. That if she would just picture herself opening like a lotus flower, it would happen. I can just imagine how difficult she was at the hospital since everybody told her that she needed to have it done this way and she just clung to her fantasy birth. Honestly, I’m just picturing Cher in Moonstruck slapping her and saying ‘Snap out of it!’

  • Alenushka

    I love this analogy!

  • NatashaO

    I am an LDRP nurse. It is always interesting to me that the NCB’ers complain about ‘forced’ interventions, such as an epidural. How do you force someone to have an epidural? We can’t touch the patient until she consents. Although they can and certainly do swear, crush our hands, and sometimes even hit or kick us. How we could administer an epidural to a patient who is unwilling/refuses one is beyond me. What do they think we do, tie them up and hold them down while anesthesia administers this ‘unwanted intervention’? No, usually the picture is that the NCB mama comes in with her detailed 5 page birth plan, is one centimeter dilated and rating her contractions a 8/10 on the pain scale. By the time she is at 4 centimeters she is begging for the epidural- despite all the ‘natural options’ I have offered- walk, shower, position changes, whirlpool, massage, counter-pressure, relaxing music, encouragement, imagery, and on and on. And the whole time I have respected her wishes to not mention the forbidden words (pain, pain relief, contractions, epidural) as she has asked in her birthplan.

    And yes, I have seen and supported plenty of ‘unmedicated’ births- probably more than your CPM.

    *Sigh*

    • Dr Kitty

      Which is the thing…
      A first time mum may genuinely believe that despite thousands of years of every known culture believing childbirth to be painful, HER labour won’t actually hurt. She’ll have surges and rushes and will dance through her labour. Only the sheeple, who are conditioned to feel pain by the evil medpharma will have painful labours.
      And then reality bites.

      IME the teenage mums who expect to be terrified and to feel like they are going to die from the pain are the ones who come to see me and tell me that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be and that they managed with gas and air.

      The women who tell me they are doing hypnobirthing are often the ones who come in shell shocked and ask for IUDs because they’re not doing that again for a long time!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      What do they think we do, tie them up and hold them down while anesthesia administers this ‘unwanted intervention’?

      I honestly think that, yes, this is EXACTLY what many of them think.

      Of course, the closest they’ve ever gotten to actually checking into it was watching Business of Being Born, so it’s not surprising that they are pretty ignorant.

    • MaineJen

      Thank goodness for L/D nurses! My nurses were fantastic both times, by far the most helpful members of the team. I had never heard of ‘counter pressure’, but when I was hunched over on the floor trying to relieve back labor, that nurse knew exactly what I needed, without me having to ask. She also knew that when I started feeling nauseous, it was time to call anesthesia. :) You guys are awesome.

    • Renee Martin

      I think that for the majority, it is so much more painful than they ever expected, especially if you have been told its in your head/cultural contract/easily managed/etc. This is normal, as you cannot imagine what you have not experienced. Most people haven’t had severe pain by the age they have their kids, and have no frame of reference for it.

      I was in a high speed motorcycle accident, so I knew exactly what severe pain was, and I knew I did not want it. Even so, I cannot recall with any clarity how that devastating pain felt, other than to remember I had the thought “if this doesn’t stop, I am gonna lose my mind, this is why people in pain commit suicide”. You hear descriptions of pain, but if you aren’t in it, its hard to imagine what its like.

      I know it goes both ways, though pain is much more common. I got lucky and had zero pain, and know others that say it wasn’t bad, but they are not in the majority.

      • NatashaO

        Yeah, I actually feel a little sorry for them. They were sold a bill of goods by the NCB folks, and now are in way over their heads with active labor. I just don’t like being their ‘scapegoat’… I (the doctor/the hospital) am not the reason they got the epidural. They got the epidural because they asked for one. Because their hypnobirthing did not work so well for them. Because labor can hurt like hell, and despite all of their preparations, pain relief sounded like a good idea at the time. Own up!

    • Sue

      Thank you, NatashaO, for that bit of perspective from the real world.

    • anh

      I think what they tend to assert is that the hospital put them in a situation where they had no choice but to accept an epidural. These include:
      1) they were so invasive with VEs, harsh lighting, threats, that I was psychologically unable to deal with pain
      2) they insisted I have EFM and so I couldn’t cope with contractions
      3) they gave me pitocin which made my contractions too strong

  • Trixie

    5’9″ and a size 4 IS underweight already. I’m about that height, and I’d have to weigh about 40 lbs less than I do to fit into a size 4. I’m a normal BMI.

    • LibrarianSarah

      That was my first thought as I read this article as well. I am 5’9 wear a size 8-10 and am now considered the thin one in my circle of friends. I just got my 35 pound weight loss badge and wouldn’t ever consider losing more than 5 pounds more. Tall girls need bigger sizes. No way a 5’9 girl could wear a size four and be at a healthy BMI.

      • Young CC Prof

        Yeah, I think I was about nine years old the last time I would have fit into a 4, and I was very thin as a teen. I assume Dr. Amy is exaggerating for effect.

      • Trixie

        Yeah, I’m a size 10-12 and 5’8.5″. My lowest adult size when I was single and childless and doing pilates every day was an 8. I’d love to lose about 5 lbs but, meh, I also like food. I would have to shed muscle to actually lose enough to be a size 4, and I’d look frighteningly emaciated.

      • Susan

        me too.. when I was young and at my thinnest at 5-9 and 130 I wore an 8. At the time I was getting a lot of you are way too thin comments. That… was a LONG time ago.

      • S

        I have a friend who’s about 5’9″ and wears a size 4 to 6 pants. She looks slender but perfectly healthy. Her profession requires regular checkups and a certain level of physical health. She’s just got a tiny ass. Built willowy like her mom.

        I’m the same height and probably 15-20 lbs heavier than her, and people have guessed me at about 100 lbs so i assume i’m somewhat undernourished looking (I’m about 130 lbs, size 8 on bottom). We just carry our weight differently.

    • DeCaf

      Your clothing size is (in part) determined by your bone structure. The hypothetical teen could just have narrow hips and shoulders but be a healthy but thin weight, especially if she is not done with puberty yet (say 13). People tend to guess I weight less than I do because my body frame is slender (so at a completely respectable BMI I have a hard time finding clothes at Target). You can’t diagnose weight issues by dress size.

      • Trixie

        Point taken.

  • Trulyunbelievable2020

    Why was this woman only learning about the dangers of going post dates at 42 weeks?

    • no longer drinking the koolaid

      Obviously she did not do a good enough job of educating herself.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        Or perhaps God was trying to yell it at her but she had sinfully turned away from His loving presence.

  • Julia

    I feel sorry for her. She seems to need some serious psychiatric help.

    But hey, at least the CPM knew the danger of low fluid.

    • Mel

      As well as her husband, her mother, AND the OB….. and she’s FORGIVEN all of them. Very noble of her.

    • Stacy21629

      “at least the CPM knew the danger of low fluid.”
      But not postdates or the dramatically higher death rate for home birth primip babies.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    What’s with the claim of being unable to move at all. Is that an issue with an epidural? I remember being perfectly able to breathe, talk, and harass the anesthesiologist throughout my c-section. No issues with movement of the upper body at all. I did have a little proprioception during the early part of the procedure, which was weird but not painful so I mostly kind of went with it and even found it strangely amusing. I guess someone who has a fear of hospitals could find it pretty traumatizing, though. But was she really unable to move and if so was it due to anesthesia going wrong or some sort of conversion reaction?

    Also, it sounds to me like she’s in deep post-partum depression and adding a narrative to explain to herself why she isn’t the instant perfect mother with ideal energy and attitude: it’s not her fault, it’s the evil OB’s fault. I agree with everyone who has been saying that she should seek counseling.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      My guess is conversion reaction. There’s no way an epidural would affect her vocal cords.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        And at the same time her diaphragm was still operating normally. That doesn’t sound very physiologic.

      • Dr Kitty

        Conversion disorder, panic attack, dissociative episode, all possible.
        Her reaction to a common, predictable complication is … Unusual.

        I have an idea that perhaps all in her life was not perfect long before her pregnancy.

        I hope she gets better.

    • Trulyunbelievable2020

      I don’t know all of the details but I do know that during my birth there was a screw up with the epidural that left my mother essentially paralyzed. It sounded like a terrifying experience.

    • Mac Sherbert

      When I had my first baby the spinal caused me to have very low blood pressure. I could move my arms, but even in recovery I was shaking so bad I don’t think I could have held my baby. I also was so sleepy I couldn’t really form words.

      I’ve also heard that many times, the epidural will make you feel like you are having trouble breathing even though you aren’t. (I’m sure someone with more knowledge could explain the why of that.) So, if you are completely unprepared for a c-section and you are already freaked out it might cause you to have a panic attack and not be able to talk?

      That said with my second c-section I was so ready for that spinal. I was uncomfortable the last weeks that the being numb sound like pure bliss…and it was.

    • Hannah

      Honestly? I think that she was so caught up in her desired experience that there’s no way she can be reasonable or factual in her recollection.

    • anne

      I was really disappointed to find out that I could still feel, especially when pushing, with an epidural. Not what I had been told by the NCB community at all. I do remember the anesthesiologist mentioning it during the hospital prep course but I didn’t believe him.

      • Jessica

        Me too!

      • MaineJen

        I still had lots of sensation on my left side with my first epidural; it never got completely numb and I still felt ctx on that side all through delivery, although not as bad as they had been. Second epidural worked a bit better, but still not as well on my left side. I always wonder if they would have had to use general anesthesia if I’d needed a c section?

      • moto_librarian

        It really depends, from what I’ve heard. I know that after my epidural catheter came out (right in time for transition), I was feeling plenty of pain and starting to panic that I might have to push without pain relief again. I got a full bolus when I was complete, and was numb clear down to my toes. I pushed in stirrups (oh noes!), but I really did feel pressure and “pushy.” I was grateful that I wasn’t feeling anything.

    • Renee Martin

      Its from the spinal meds. I had this during my CS- I couldn’t move, and it is common to feel like you cannot breathe as well. It is a scary sensation. panic attack inducing.

    • PitocinPatty

      Through her entire time at the hospital until her C-section, she describes herself as being “tied down” and giving up her bodily autonomy by having to ask to go to the bathroom. But didn’t she have seriously low fluid? There has to have been a reason to keep her in bed.

      My point is, she was already traumatized, frightened, and angry by what they were asking of her before she even got the epidural and entered the operating room. I don’t think it’s a huge leap to think she was angry and terrified out of her mind – I can’t imagine what the CPM told her about the evils and side effects of epidurals and C-sections. She intimates in the post at one point that she felt she was sacrificing her ability to have additional children by having the surgery – that might make me feel paralyzed and speechless.

  • Amazed

    I might differ in my opinion and I might sound like a cold-hearted moron but I don’t have an ounce of compassion towards this bitch. Her mom gave birth to bid babies! Her grandmother gave birth to big babies so that automatically means that the bitch could do it, too.

    Fucking moron doesn’t even know how dangerous low amniotic fluid is. How could she – it isn’t as if she has, say, education. Just this fucking mommy feeling that didn’t prevent many other moms from losing their children.

    She makes it sound as if she was deliberately lied to about her baby’s size. You know what’s the worst part of it? That I would have probably lied, seeing that the bitch was so determined to kill her baby with her ignorance.

    They probably saved her baby’s life and all she has to say about her OB is “that hateful OB”?

    I could have probably felt sorry for women who are so unsure of their ability to bond with their children that they cling to rituals.

    But I can’t. Ungrateful bitch is an ungrateful bitch, mother or not.

    You’re all welcome to have a bite of me because I’ve always differed from the majority of commenters here in my opinion that no matter what else, homebirth is a choice that mother made, so she isn’t entirely faultless.

    • Amy M

      I see where you are coming from, and I would agree she isn’t entirely faultless. However, to me, she comes across as pretty depressed. Clinically depressed people often fixate on something (in this case the loss of the homebirth) to an irrational extent. Fault or not, some help for her possible PPD might be in order.

      • Amazed

        Oh, I wasn’t discussing that. I agree that she might be suffering from PPD. But that looked too extreme even for someone depressed. That’s what turned me against her.

        I didn’t mean that she shouldn’t or isn’t worthy of some help. Anyway, I don’t believe her attitude is linked with her possible depression alone. To me, she came across as pretty self-entitled and grander than anyone else. I do think that such people are hit by depression especially hard.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I’m still trying to find the justification for the “hateful OB” statement. What makes the ob hateful? That she did not provide a running commentary of everything she was doing during the c-section? (actually, in our case, the anesthetist did a lot of that). That she used pressure to get the baby out? Um, that’s part of the c-section technique, yeah (again, our anesthetist was providing the information and said, “OK, now you are going to feel this…”).

      So where is the hateful stuff? That she didn’t treat the mother as some sort of speshul goddess? I apparently missed it.

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        She gave her a painful cervical check.

        I often wonder about these people who complain about how painful cervical checks are when OBs do them, but how a midwife’s cervical never hurts. Makes me think that a lot of those midwifes aren’t checking the cervix correctly.

        • MLE

          Following the “it’s all about me” trend, I have a question. Why did the cervical checks feel fine when I wasn’t in labor, and excruciating when I was (in between contractions)???

          • Carolina

            I experienced this too. Checked by all four doctors in my OBs practice before labor – fine. No pain. Checked by Resident Big Hands in labor – awful, awful pain. I blamed it on her hand size and her awful beside manner, but maybe there was more too it.

          • moto_librarian

            Cervical checks were uncomfortable before labor, but they hurt even more once I was in labor. I don’t know if it’s because your body is actively dilating at that point or what.

          • MLE

            Yep, I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about until I showed up in labor. I had nurse small hands with ok bedside manner, so size and attitude were not the issue. It felt like she was using a fist-sized cheese grater up in there!! This nurse did congratulate me on showing up very dilated so I could “get my vaginal birth” and I was too distracted by pain to think of a good retort. So maybe the pain was because she was a stealth NCBer (aka kryptonite)?

        • moto_librarian

          I wonder this as well. Supposedly, part of her midwife’s protocol for inducing labor at home included sweeping her membranes. I had this done after 10 days of prodromal labor, and it was far more painful than a cervical check! Also, when she went in for her scan, it showed that she was only at 1 cm. rather than the 4 cm. her midwife claimed. What exactly are they doing in there?

          • OBPI Mama

            I also thought sweeping of the membranes was much more painful than a cervical check!

        • http://www.europeanmama.eu/ Olga Mecking

          You’re kidding me. During my first birth, my midwife’s checks were worse than the contractions, but the OB’s checks never hurt at all. Must be the expectations, or maybe the OB just did the check during a contraction, probably to check how the baby is doing during it and the midwives didn’t.

        • Mac Sherbert

          That would make sense. I know the cervical checks at the beginning of my labor and in office weren’t painful. However, once my OB thought something was wrong it was painful…as she trying to figure out what was going on. (And she apologized for it the whole time, but it’s just one of those things, it had to be done.)

      • Amazed

        We’re in the same boat.

        Now, I’m going to write a long blog post about the hateful nurse who gave me a painful plaster removal. Funny how I thought only children hated everything that gave them “ochie”. Instead of making an example of birthing babies the size of calves naturally, her mom should have made an example of teaching her that sometimes, people just have to put up with pain.

        I thought it came with maturity. Stupid Amazed.

      • Hannah

        That’s what got to me. I was done after that.

      • Mac Sherbert

        I’m thinking, if you want a play by play you might have to tell them.

        No one did that for me during my c-sections, but when I did ask what was going on…someone answered me. I think if I had made it clear I wanted to know everything from start to finish they would have done that.

        It is part of the c-section, but of course this woman had no clue because there was no way she was not going to have VB. I mean she had been training for it!!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I’m thinking, if you want a play by play you might have to tell them.

          Without a doubt. And they are going to be happy to oblige, almost guaranteed! Someone will help you out.

          As I said, with my wife’s c-sections, we had a great time talking to the anesthesiologist. We asked questions, he told us some of what’s happening, but, and this is important, ONLY TO THE EXTENT WE ASKED.

          Except when it came to the pressure part, there he gave us a heads up.

          But we had a great chat with the anesthesiologist and the OB during the c-section. Then again, we didn’t go in viewing them as the enemy. It was fun.

          As it should be. It’s a joyous occasion. A baby is being born! It’s happy time!

        • Young CC Prof

          The better-quality birth preparation classes DO tell women what they will experience if they need a c-section, whether they expect to need it or not. I think that’s pretty important.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Of course, you actually have to go to a class that would do that, and very obviously, this woman would never been caught near such a thing. Because it would harsh her buzz, or bring in bad vibes, or somehow offend her to even suggest that she might have a c-section.

            She trained for the perfect VB. Why in the heck would she prepare for anything else?

          • Dinolindor

            You know, this thread is making me think about my experience with breastfeeding and the guilt and grief when I had to switch my son to formula. The night when it became glaringly obvious that he was not getting milk from me ended with my husband going out at 2am to the one 24-hour store in the middle of a snow storm to get bottle feeding supplies – because it simply never occurred to me that breastfeeding might not work so I had nothing for formula and one very hungry and dehydrated 5 day old. Breast is best propaganda really made me unprepared – unlike my awesome birth prep classes that went through every typical scenario, including c-sections and un-medicated labor. So I can see how if you’re stuck in propaganda land for NCB you would be in for a rude awakening when reality strikes.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            As has been pointed out above, where was the CPM in all this? Did she abandon the patient? She could have, you know, actually provided some support and helped out.

        • MaineJen

          It sounds like it might have been more of an emergency situation, too, in which case they’d be concentrating on the procedure and not on chitchatting.

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

      I have to agree. I’m so sickened and enraged by this endless drilling repetition of how c sections are the worst thing ever and if you don’t hold your baby JUST RIGHT its ruined your motherhood. It doesn’t stop with birth, either. Guess how much support from these people you get if you have a challenging time with your child? A hard phase, a developmental issue, depression at any time… ALL your OWN fault because you didn’t believe in fairies. Clap your hands all you want but Tinkerbelle’s dead and your relationship with your kid is forever broken because you weren’t good enough.

      And hateful OB, eh? I’m sure she was a delightful patient herself.

      • Amazed

        My thoughts exactly!

      • Hannah

        Yeah. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, either.

    • yugaya

      I’m not gonna take a bite at you because I often get impulse to feel like that myself. I try to think that I should not be doing it though because I can see what the common sense and real logic is probably more easily than she can. I try to keep in mind that for people who are that immersed in NCB cult rhetoric the road which leads back to sanity and arriving at same conclusions you and I have is much longer, and it takes greater effort to travel it for her. She probably comes from a very different background, and is not used to thinking things through logically especially about such impulsive, irrational events like birth emotionally is. I think all she is trying there is to assume control over events we truly have little or no contol over, and that is something that is scary to everyone. Some of us will resort to science and logic to overcome that fear, and some will go off the deep end and get sucked into the twisted manipulations of trust birth cult phylosophy and practices.

      • Amazed

        I suppose you’re right and rationally, I wish I didn’t feel like I did about her. But the truth is, almost all I can see is the fact that they almost surely saved her postdate baby’s life – and she thinks she’s the victim, calls them names and thinks they should expect her grand forgiveness like the most meaningful experience in their lives.

        Logic fails me, instinct kicks in. I never liked rude and ungrateful people, mothers or not, PPD or not. Depression can change many things in one’s behavior but it can hardly make them self-entitled, rude, and evil-mouthed if they weren’t like this already.

    • Jessica S.

      I’m totally with you. She really rubbed me the wrong way.

  • moto_librarian

    I did not have skin to skin with either one of my children. Because of complications, I only held my first child for about a minute, and then did not see him until the next morning in the NICU. My second child needed some help to get going, and spent about 20 minutes with the NICU team. As soon as he was stable, he was given to me wrapped up in a snug little bundle. I don’t think that I’ve had any problems bonding with either one. Would it have been nice to have skin to skin? Sure, but dealing with immediate health problems took precedence, as it should! The way in which this woman is fixating on the “hateful” OB as being the first person to hold her child is beyond unhealthy.

    • Haelmoon

      I couldn’t hold my first for 4 days (severe IUGR, cord prolapse, very unstable first couple days). I finally got to hold her as I was on my way home – but I actually thought I was going home without even holding her. I had touched her hands and things, but not a good snuggle. We have bonded just fine (although she is only 8, I will reserve finally judgement after we get through the teenage years)

    • Jessica S.

      And as if the newborn will have any recollection of any sort either way! Seriously, people like this need to ease their minds and read up on child development. It’s wonderful how resilient these little ones are. Bonding is not the delicate flower the NCB crowd puts forth!

    • KT

      The only time I found a review from a site I trusted on a reputable study about the value of skin-to-skin for any term baby (rather than a preemie, where the value is pretty well proven), it showed that skin-to-skin isn’t really a big deal. I personally don’t like skin-to-skin and I’m pretty sure my child and I are quite well bonded. Did it take me a little while to figure out the whole motherhood thing and to get from “I love you because you are my baby” to “I love you for who you are?” Sure. But that’s just my personality – it has nothing to do with my birth or my lack of love for skin-to-skin.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    I hope this woman gets some counseling. This is not normal behavior.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Yet it is celebrated and encouraged by the website and the rest of the NCB industry.

      • Stacy21629

        That’s a very good point. This type of self-loathing and wallowing in misery is encouraged. Tragic.

  • Heather

    Have you ever listened to the podcast, The Longest Shortest Time? They recently did an interview with Ina May about feeling bad about not having a “natural birth.” I think you’d find her response interesting.

  • bomb

    Well, at least home birthers are lucky sometimes. Being tall and thin, well, I’m not even real.

    My genes are part of a fashion conspiracy to hurt people.

    So tired of this crap.

    • Carolina

      Um, really? That’s your take-away? If you are tall, thin, and conventionally attractive, please count your privileges/blessings and be happy. Please recognize that while your body is the ideal, it is not attainable to large segments of the population and those people shouldn’t feel bad about it. I’m sure you might experience occasional unwelcome comments about your shape (which isn’t cool), but they are nothing compared to what bigger, less attractive people face.
      Signed, 5’10″ size 6 woman who wasn’t bothered by this.

    • Mariana Baca

      Models in magazines might also be tall and thin in real life (some aren’t! some are made to look tall because of their proportions, and some really tall models wear larger sizes), but they are also photoshopped in magazines, which I assume you aren’t, what with the being real. Even the models don’t look like that in real life, is the point. They have celulite photoshopped out, their breasts are plumped up, their skin smoothed, etc. You are tall and skinny, great! Do you have huge breasts, too? Perfectly smooth skin? High cheekbones, perfect hair? no wrinkles, greys, or blemishes? Never need makeup? Even if you are a supermodel, you don’t look like the one on the magazine because those self-same supermodels look different in real life.

      And like homebirth, there is no diet or exercise that can make some physical realities change. Some women are blessed with large pelvises just like some models are tall with small frames. But some women can’t fit their babies through their pelvises and some teens will not be tall. No use crying about it. But even if you win the biological lottery, you are still unlikely to not bleed, not poop in water ever, have an orgasm during birth, and all the other fantastical things homebirthers associate with birth.

    • Renee Martin

      When I was younger and still fit, I had a perfect “stripper body”. When all done up with professional make up, the right clothes, and under the lights, I looked like all the other Playmates did.

      So what? It was not my fault mens magazines only show bodies like this, not my fault “male approved, female sexuality” is portrayed in this way. I agreed 110% that by showing ONE ideal, it made others have image problems, even when I was one of those considered “ideal”.

      Besides, have you ever seen the amount of work that goes into making even a perfectly tall and slender, amazing looking, model (or a porn star/bombshell/stripper) the way they do in print? Even the most immaculate beauty is touched up for media consumption.

      I promise, those models, actress, and porn stars, do not look like that in real life- NO ONE DOES- that is the point. THAT is whats damaging.
      Tell women they must be 6’2 and 100#, or 5’6 and 100# with DDD boobs, in order to be at all attractive, there are going to be problems!

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

      Yes, some women are tall and thin and beautiful. That is NOT what this post is about. THIS is the metaphor Dr. Amy is talking about. And this short, squat woman is sick of THIS crap: http://youtu.be/xKQdwjGiF-s

  • Mel

    Hi, my name is Mel and I am a lemon according to NCB.

    I was born prematurely and have some physical side effects due to that. I work with students with mental health issues. They have some serious issues and I can understand why, as a parent, you would want your children to be spared this kind of physical or mental problems.

    Unfortunately, none of the ideology peddled by NCB can actually prevent pain for you in parenting or for your baby. In fact, by pretending that YOUR ACTIONS are the ONLY THING that affects your labor, delivery, health of the baby and outcome of your child’s life, NCB is increasing the likelihood of pain for both you and your baby both now and later on.

    I was born beet-red from the excess blood I got from my twin sister before birth. I didn’t need my mom; I needed the NICU. Thank God we had a NICU. My mom couldn’t see us for the first 4 days after we were born due to barely controllable pre-ecclampsia. It was more important to keep her alive than keep the three of us together My parents couldn’t hold me for the first 15 days I was alive. That was hard on my parents, but being alive was more important.

    I love my parents and my siblings. We’re a happy family without having done anything NCB requires for a close family. I have great husband and and close to my in-laws. I am well-regarded and liked at my job. I haven’t been permanently emotionally scarred by my birth.

    Please don’t let NCB scar you. You deserve better.

  • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kq
  • KT

    The natural childbirth junkies set me up to feel sad about my c-section at first. I even felt an angry twinge of guilt when a friend posted some article aimed at elective caesarians on Facebook even though mine was deemed a medically necessary emergency by my OB and I knew it. But I hardly felt anything more than a small amount of guilt that I was over within a few months and now can’t even imagine that I felt, so grateful am I for the healthy and happy 2 year old running around in my home. Now I understand, as I didn’t fully then, the risks that my OB was saving my daughter from. Yes, the caesarian made me temporarily nervous during a recent experience with recurrent pregnancy loss, knowing that there was a small chance it had caused uterine adhesions (a saline sonogram showed it didn’t). Yes, now I’m faced with the VBAC versus RCS decision for my second delivery. But at the end of the day none of those things compares to my child.

  • stenvenywrites

    The name of the blog — “Homebirth Cesarean” — scared me at first. Surely not, I thought, no one would try surgery in a high risk setting, but given some of the other crazy things that have been proposed (or done) … Anyway. This lady seems to have had a very unusual experience, in that her CPM risked her out for postdates and low fluid, without any crowdsourcing debate and despite the client’s objections. (So much for the argument that “we have no choice; if we don’t attend them at home they’ll go unassisted.”) So point for the CPM, there. Even if she only referred the client because she lost interest, as I suspect, it was the right thing to do. As for the birth story, while I can’t argue about the facts of someone else’s experience, I would urge her to talk to other mothers who’ve had positive hospital birth experiences, who can perhaps assure her that what happened to her during her exam and delivery was anomalous. She definitely would also benefit from talking to a counselor.

  • Felicitasz

    “and instead the first woman to hold her was that hateful OB.”

    Whoa.

    OK dr Amy, many times I do think differently upon matters you discuss but this is one of those moments I feel totally united with your goals. No, this should not happen that someone writes such words.
    I also had a “home birth cesarean” (one more new term for me but I actually like this expression), feeling forever grateful to and for my midwife (CNM, Canada) who gave excellent care in my home and in the hospital, and my OB, the first woman who held my son, saving his life and health, and mine, my midwife assisting in theater.

    “Hateful”?

    I think I would tell this woman that life sucks sometimes, and it is OK to feel disappointed about having to let go of that wonderful home birth I also had ordered ;) for myself and my son. On the other hand, when life sucks, we need help, and everyone in that “hateful” hospital had been there with the specific purpose to help us when we needed help. What I encountered were human beings doing their absolute best to give me the outcome I desired, even when they could no longer give the experience I also had desired. Sometimes you can’t have everything, and need to prioritize, ranking your baby’s life, your own life, your baby’s health and your own, above the candlelit beauty you dreamt about.

    I really feel for doctors sometimes. I think of my OB in particular, picturing her doing my assessment in the morning, working through that whole day doing all the dirty and difficult stuff for women all around (because she is not even called in when all is well and CNMs are just fine by themselves), missing the fun but making awful hard decisions, saving lives, carrying responsibility, and finally at 11pm, doing yet another c/s upon which the lives of yet another two people depend, doing it so that we do not just merely survive but my son has no injury and I can dance ballet and wear bikini and have good sex within weeks afterwards; doing it so that it is just” one more” for her but the ONLY ONE for me and needs to be PERFECT as such – then going home well after midnight, only to be called “that hateful OB”, and that is because she ended up being the one who first held my child? Seriously?

    (Sorry I was long.)

    • Karen in SC

      I, too, reacted to her calling her OB hateful!! I think this should be the “featured post” to be on top!!

      I hope with time this woman re-thinks and shows gratitude for the safe delivery of her baby.

      • Jessica S.

        I agree, it’s an excellent reflection for a feature!

  • T.

    I honestly think that woman needs help.
    I mean serious, psychiatric help.
    The whole narrative is over the top and disturbing. It really read as the blogs of some women and girls who are anorexic, now that I think of it. The “evil” doc that want them to eat, who don’t understand, who are so “rude” in forcing IV on them…
    I used to have some acquitances that worked with those girls in clinic for anorexic girls and yes the rethoric is very similar.
    This woman has problems, and unless she threats them they are only going to get worse. And the poor kid, she will be hearing for her whole life how her birth “robbed” her mom of her experience!
    Ugh. Psychiatric help, asap.

  • fiftyfifty1

    This really is a great comparison. Very few women have a “greyhound” body type naturally. Very few women give birth easily with only moderate pain or less. Neither of these physical quirks predict anything else in life- not happiness, not general health, not mothering ability, not longevity.

    Ina May tells women “Your body is not a lemon”. She pretends that is an empowering statement. But the real subtext is “Your body IS a lemon if you don’t birth according to my standards”.

    • anh

      That is so freaking spot on.
      I was reading myobsaidwhat this week and there was a discussion about needing Pitocin to go into labor. This one woman talked about her friend who claimed she couldn’t labor without it, and how stupid she was for believing that.
      It seems like the NCB movement is all about claiming ownership and knowledge of one’s body….as long as you believe your body functions exactly the way they say it should

      • Hannah

        My husband’s mother does not dilate enough to deliver, just enough to break her water.

        She tried it three times and ended up with cesareans every time. Her water breaks and then…nothing…she’s never even felt a contraction. Clearly she just didn’t believe hard enough.

      • LadyLuck777

        I follow that site too. I try to ignore the vitriol towards OB’s and hospitals and laugh at the truly ridiculous ones.