How natural childbirth advocates exploit women of color

--

Yesterday I mentioned the racists tropes that are at the heart of natural childbirth (and therefore homebirth and UC) advocacy. To paraphrase:

Just like blackface performers often portrayed people of color as happy to be slaves, natural childbirth advocates (generally well off white women) like to portray women of color (albeit without the blackface) as without fear and happy to give birth “in nature.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s not a surprise that this racist trope is at the heart of natural childbirth advocacy. It harks back to the racism of Grantly Dick-Read, the “father” of natural childbirth. Dick-Read viewed natural childbirth as a way for white women of the “better” classes to avoid “race suicide.” Ornella Moscucci explains the thinking of Dick-Read and his eugenicist peers:

… Dick-Read … claimed that primitives experienced easy, painless labours. This was because in primitive societies the survival value of childbirth was fully appreciated and labour was regarded as nothing more than “hard work” in the struggle for existence. In civilised societies on the other hand a number of cultural factors conspired to distort woman’s natural capacity for painless birth, producing in woman a fear of childbirth that hindered normal parturition …

In other words, “natural” childbirth is based on the racist assumption that “primitive women” (read “women of color”) are fundamentally different from white women, simultaneously simple (longing only to reproduce) and unafraid of dying in childbirth, rendering them immune to the pain and dangers of birth.

That racist trope is alive and well among contemporary natural childbirth advocates who pretend to themselves that they are re-enacting childbirth among indigenous peoples. Their little fantasy bears as much resemblance to childbirth in nature as a 3rd grade Thanksgiving play bears to the real relationship between the Pilgrims and the “uncivilized” Native Americans they came to displace.

But the racism extends even further. Natural childbirth advocates are positively eager to use the misfortunes of women of color to advance their own privileged agenda. They delight in pointing to relatively high rates of perinatal and maternal mortality in the US (as compared to other, “whiter” countries), yet ignore that they are the result of appalling death rates among African American women and their babies.Natural childbirth advocates and organizations have the unmitigated gall to imply that these women are dying of “too much” medical intervention when the reality is that they are dying of too little intervention for the serious complications they face.

Ina May Gaskin, a privileged white woman, has led the way in this exploitation. Gaskin never misses an opportunity to highlight mortality rates and even created a “Safe Motherhood” quilt project to draw attention to the problem. Gaskin represents herself as shocked at the current rate of maternal mortality. Yet as far as far as I can tell, homebirth midwives in general and Gaskin in particular have done NOTHING (no research, no education, no fund raising) to reduce the incidence of maternal mortality.

Anyone who visits the quilt website will notice something rather curious. There is NO information about the causes, treatments and research into maternal mortality. There are no scientific papers about maternal mortality. There is nothing about the epidemiology of maternal mortality.

That’s because Gaskin and other natural childbirth advocates care about the deaths of women and babies of color only to the extent that they can exploit them for their own ends, not because they care that they are dead and not because they have any intention of lobbying for an increase in high risk obstetricians to treat the problem.

The exploitation of women of color extends to the many ham handed attempts to increase breastfeeding rates. For example, ending gifts of free formula samples does NOTHING to increase the rate of breastfeeding. It’s only real impact is to deprive poor women (among which women of color are overrepresented) of a desperately needed resource for infant formula.

None of this is surprising. The natural childbirth movement is by, about and for privileged white women.

Political scientist Candace Johnson explores the role of “natural” childbirth as a philosophy of privilege in contemporary society in The Political “Nature” of Pregnancy and Childbirth. Johnson asks:

[W]hy do some women (mostly privileged and in developed countries) demand less medical intervention in pregnancy and childbirth, while others (mostly vulnerable women in both developed and developing countries) demand more …? Why do the former, privileged women, tend to express their resistance to medical intervention in the language of “nature,” “tradition,” and “normalcy”?

And answers:

It is a rejection of privilege that simultaneously confirms it. Therefore, the problem of medicalization seems to apply disproportionately to privileged women. In fact, some of the most serious pronouncements of medical interference in pregnancy and childbirth as a “natural, normal, woman-centered event” come from women of considerable privilege and authority…

The fantasy of Third World women’s natural experiences of childbirth has become iconic among first world women, even if these experiences are more imagined than real. This creates multiple opportunities for exploitation, as the experiences of Third World women are used as a means for first world women to acquire knowledge, experience and perspective on ‘natural’ or ‘traditional’ birthing practices, while denying the importance of medical services that privileged women take for granted.

Natural childbirth rests to a large extent on misrepresenting women of color, while simultaneously exploiting the poor outcomes of those very same women in a thoroughly disingenuous critique of modern obstetrics.

It may be unconscious racism, but it is racism nonetheless.

  • Rozmin

    I’ve noticed that hardcore lactivists also tend to do this. I frequently see posts on message boards about weaning or breastfeeding where a lactivist mentions how “African” women breastfeed, and how it happens to be in line with their ideas on the way that all women should do so. I say “African”, since nothing in these posts indicates to me that the person in question knows anything about real people in Africa, they just have some sort of noble savage ideal in mind. It’s been bothering me lately and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but recognized it is the same thing you are talking about once I read your post.

  • Jacob Wrestled (Danielle G.)

    From the perspective of someone whose main field is history and culture, I have to say this is one of the best critiques you’ve written. Loads of people won’t quite catch what you are chasing – because they have “natural birth” tied to a kind of enlightened liberal self-image. But to anyone who pays attention to the gender, race, and eugenics in the US, the connections are quite obvious. The nature / non-white trope; civilized / white tropes, and all the anxiety about over-civilized white people becoming feeble and “unwomanly” or “unmanly” and extinct, is the bread and butter of the good old-fashioned American race and class anxiety. It important that people understand that the categories they are using have histories, and that they have power even when we try to redeploy them with different intent. At the heart of the argument, even when made without any racial intent, is a continuing anxiety about middle and upper class white mothers being properly fecund and virtuous, and “good mothers,” by somehow reclaiming and reconnecting with the “nature” from which civilization has purportedly severed them.

    It’s time that we stopped imposing these anxieties on women and their choices; and it is time that we stop romanticizing and fetishizing women in other locations and cultures, in order to do it. And our dominant interest should be in social justice for those who are disempowered; the “birth experiences” of the comfortable is not a non-question, but it is a question that is unimportant by comparison.

    • araikwao

      I think you are my new favourite commenter – intelligent, insightful and articulate. Ok, there are quite a few around here, but I really like reading your contributions :)

    • Irène Delse

      “At the heart of the argument, even when made without any racial intent, is a continuing anxiety about middle and upper class white mothers being properly fecund and virtuous, and “good mothers,” by somehow reclaiming and reconnecting with the “nature” from which civilization has purportedly severed them.”

      Yes, exactly. And it’s deeply misleading when this pressure on mothers is painted as feminism, as too often the NCB movement tries to.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • Mishimoo

      Things I’ve learned from that thread:
      1 – According to random people online, I can’t take any of my doctors seriously because we’re on a first name basis (Yet, midwives don’t use titles and should always be taken seriously)

      2 – Reading comprehension among NCBers appears to be rather low, and should be studied to decide if it is causative or merely a correlation.

      3 – Big bad Dr Amy screens ALL of the comments here (You’re magic, clearly)

      4 – Some people are so wound up in their hatred that they won’t take this seriously because Dr Amy wrote about it. That says a lot about them.

      5 – Everything is about white women.

      6 – I should stay away from them because they’re awfully discouraging, and gave me a headache before I reached the end.

      Feel free to add to the points!

      • Young CC Prof

        I was amazed by the number of people who felt it necessary to inflate the thread by posting something to the effect of “I would discuss this topic, but Dr. Amy posted it, so no, I won’t.”

        Also, the discussion seems to be hampered by the fact that everyone in it is working off a different definition of natural childbirth. Some people thought it meant home birth, or even unassisted home birth. Others thought it referred to any vaginal birth without pain medication. No one saw fit to clarify or specify her definitions, so it just sounded like people talking over one another.

        This is the reason I don’t do Twitter. If I want to feel like I’m standing in Grand Central Station at 5:15 pm, I’ll go there.

        • Young CC Prof

          Oh, they’ve also missed the point that there are two different types of exploitation being discussed, of two very different groups of women of color:

          1) Using the “noble savage” trope to advance the ideals of “natural” birth and parenting.

          2) Citing statistics about poor birth outcomes in the USA to bash the medical establishment when in fact, those bad statistics are mostly caused by the exclusion of too many women from the medical establishment.

          • Durango

            I think it’s charitable to say they’ve missed the point–the thread is largely about formula. Then there are some who seem to think that because they a) hate dr amy and b) women of color are mentioned in Dr Amy’s post then the post simply must be some horrible racist screed.

    • Beth S

      Sometimes the people on Baby Center make me want to puke. There were some there who told me I should try for homebirth to avoid a C-section even with all the reasons the doctors did the section.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Sweet Cthulu eat me now! Why did I click on that link? In case you’re wondering, of the multiple things that annoyed me in that thread, the one that really got me was all the wealthy, privileged, mostly white women nattering on about how poor black women can get WIC and therefore there’s no problem, they face no barriers with formula feeding, and samples don’t help them. No, children, the “safety net” does not make everything ok. Poor women still have difficulty paying for formula. Not to mention paying for food for themselves, especially if they are extra hungry from breast feeding.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Isn’t it well-known that WIC is insufficient for providing a healthy, nourishing diet (it’s just not enough money) because in the US we don’t believe in helping people? Like, this is an obvious known truth, right? Right?!

        • Bombshellrisa

          It’s true. Try actually being able to afford fruits and veggies with your WIC voucher or an EBT card.

          • Busbus

            Definitely. In my state, you get $6 per month for fruit and veggies per child.

          • Young CC Prof

            $6 wouldn’t buy enough fruit and veggies to keep an infant in purees, even if you made them from scratch.

          • Busbus

            To be fair, you get jars of infant puree and also things like canned beans in addition. But $6 for all fresh or frozen fruit and veggies per child per month is still not nearly enough.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I think in my state it’s about that, although I believe if you are breastfeeding you get $10 to spend. I have a great fruit and vegetable stand near me that accepts EBT but what would I do if I was depending on that $10 and it was November-March, when the great fruit and vegetable stand is closed? $1.49 a pound for broccoli and $1.98 a pound for apples might not seem like much, but it does if you are having to figure out how to spend that $6 or $10 dollars and knowing your choice has to last you a month.

          • Jessica S.

            Yeah, and what produce is going to last you all month anyhow?? I’m sure there are ways to freeze it that I’m not aware of (I’m hopeless in the kitchen) but I’m going to go ahead and bet that a family on welfare probably doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out how to best freeze produce and also have the best tools to do so. Otherwise, it’ll just end up in the garbage.

            And no sh*t about the seasonal nature of the markets – (we’re thrilled that the Kirkland Wednesday Market opened last week, we had wood-fired pizza and came home with strawberries that were TO DIE FOR. And cost $7, lasting us all of two days. And of course, kettle corn.) what’s a person to do during fall, winter and spring around here?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Ok, that is IT, I have to get out to the Wednesday market. I used to go to Carillon Point and visit Poppinjays for lunch regularly but I never have been to the market out there.
            You can make fruit and vegetable purée and pour it into ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            There are ways of preserving fruits and vegetables–if you have a kitchen and appropriate equipment. Which quite a lot of people who are on EBT do not.

          • Jessica S.

            Are you KIDDING ME?? My son would eat through that in one week. I better never hear another word from politicians about obesity until they out their produce money where their mouth is. Or I can show them where to stick their $6.

          • KarenJJ

            Wow. That does seem really inadequate. I have a little one that would be a vegetarian if he could and $6 would last him only a few days (that said fresh produce is probably a bit more expensive where I am).

          • Jessica S.

            My son is the same! At his three year-old check up, I told the doctor it was sometimes hard to get him to eat meat. I joked that when we have pizza and I serve cucumbers and carrots on the side, he choose the veggies over the pizza! She said if he’s willing to eat a variety of fruits and veggies, I’m not worried about how much meat he’s eating. ;) I try to make sure he has at least one serving a day, along with some cheese and stuff.

          • Trixie

            My state has an additional program for WIC recipients and seniors where you get vouchers for farmer’s market produce. It’s still not much, but it helps a bit.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          Evidently, it is not well known. At least not among the people who comment at BabyCenter.
          And I’ve heard lots of people complain about how good welfare recipients have it: they just sit back, relax, and live on the free money. Yet, somehow, when I tell people who say that that I wouldn’t begrudge one more person on welfare and, as far as I’m concerned, they’re very welcome to quit their jobs, sell all their stuff, spend the money (or give it away), and then live on welfare, since it’s so easy, none of them have taken me up on the offer. Almost as though they know, in some deeply hidden part of their brains, that the life of a welfare recipient isn’t, in fact, easy. (But, of course, if they let themselves consciously understand that they’d have no excuse for complaining, would they?)

          • Young CC Prof

            I’m sticking with my particular high-risk board there, I tend to get a lot of shellshocked crunchy types who’ve just been diagnosed, and they usually respond well when I explain that yes, you really do have to do this that and the other thing to have a healthy baby, here’s WHY, and yes, you have an increased chance of c-section, but that’s OK, etc.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        And speaking of racism, WIC now requires women to suffer pressure to breastfeed and silent chastisement for FF. It may not be an official policy but it certainly happens, at least at the center I worked at. IMO there needs to be some serious training about sharing information in a manner respectful of the woman’s autonomy.

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

        I am using that Cthulu line. It’s genius :)

  • expat

    Since this comment section is already derailed, perhaps a totally off topic question would be okay:
    In inbred mice, there are strains with milk which is either toxic or lethal to their offspring. The pups only survive through fostering. Does this ever happen in humans?
    Another question: If I have really bad allergies, can I transfer that to the baby through nursing? I once had an allergist tell me to quit nursing my eczema prone 1 year old. This is something I’ve never seen advised anywhere else.
    http://research.jax.org/grs/type/inbred/inbred_care.html

    • Gene

      #1: interesting idea. Depends on what exactly was toxic/lethal to the pups. There are diseases (PKU, for example) where breastmilk contains the offending compound and formula is recommended. Mom can do a PKU-free diet, but it is difficult and not 100%.

      #2: some “atopic” kids (those with lots of allergies) do worse if mom eats the potential allergens (hence all the elimination diets out there). You cannot transfer ALLERGIES via breastmilk, but you can transfer ALLERGENS (milk protein, nut protein, etc etc). I know several moms (personally as well as professionally) who prefer an elimination diet to formula. But some of these elimination diets are quite restrictive and potentially end up with poor nutrition for the mother. Imagine eating nothing but chicken and rice, no dairy, no spices, no gluten, no soy, no shellfish, etc. It’s a tough diet.

      Hope that helps.

      • Dr Kitty

        Galactosaemia.
        The incidence is 1in 480 among Irish Travellers (not a big gene pool, lots of cousins marrying) and milk (including formula) has to be removed completely from the diet.
        http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Galactosaemia.htm

        Maple Syrup Urine Disease (incidence 1 in 180 among some Mennonite Communities) is another metabolic disease where breastmilk is part of the problem.
        http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Maple-Syrup-Urine-Disease.htm.

        Moral of the story-when choosing a spouse, ideally don’t pick someone where your cousins have to think hard about which side of the aisle to sit on.

    • Ainsley Nicholson

      There is one strain of mice with that produces a zinc-deficient “lethal milk” that won’t sustain the pups. There is at least one example of a human producing zinc-deficient milk that caused health problems for the baby: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804372/. (Baby was fine after zinc-supplementation).

  • Mishimoo

    Am I the only one that finds it interesting*, that of all the posts Carolyn Gall could have commented on, she chose to take over the comments section of an article about how NCB exploits women of colour?

    (*By interesting, I of course mean infuriating.)

    • Guest

      My guess is her usual blog hangouts and NCB echo chambers got bored of her or weren’t giving her enough props for defying the odds. Perhaps they were thoroughly disinterested or confused by her varied accounts of her latest birthing conquest. Whatever it was that brought her here to toot her horn, I doubt it had anything to do with the Post subject at hand! More a matter of “Look at me! Look at me!”

      • Mishimoo

        There’s also a fair chance that she’s gone back to them and is trying to rally the troops because her story and beliefs are being challenged. I still maintain that it was in extremely bad taste for her to throw her tantrum in this comment thread.

        • Guest

          Agreed.

        • PeggySue

          Absolutely.

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

    This is a long one, guys. I mean, I took on-paper notes to keep track, and my analysis reflects this.

    After going through the comments below in chronological order, first reading ONLY Carolyn Gall’s comments, then rereading the whole thread…
    Her story is self contradictory and full of red flags for Munchausen by
    Internet. I find it extremely hard to believe the story she’s told
    here, to say the least. But let’s start with what she actually posted,
    herself, solely on this thread, and why it doesn’t make sense.

    Initially
    he says she turned down an induction at 37 weeks, went home and
    self-induced labor with “herbals.” She later adds that she used nipple
    stimulation, and implies her water broke/was broken at home. She claims
    she then labored at home for 36 hours before going to the hospital. She
    then claims she labored for 12 hours before the baby’s head descended,
    and then declares she had a “speedy” 6 hour labor from that point. In
    her subsequent posts, she never again mentions the 12 hours of hospital
    labor prior to the 6 “speedy” hours, and says that she was in labor “30″
    hours before going to the hospital.

    Already we have some pretty big contradictions, just in the first few posts.

    Then
    she goes on to claim that her contractions were so mild (because she
    was “so perfectly effective at relaxation techniques”) that they didn’t
    register on the monitors. Yet she also claims that they were extremely
    painful, so she knew they were real contractions. This makes no sense at
    all – aside from a clear misunderstanding of how contractions are
    monitored, how is the relaxation “so perfectly effective” and yet
    “incredibly painful.” In my opinion, this is a red flag that she is
    trying to claim ALL the “points” of a NCB/HB narrative – she’s “rocked”
    the birth but it’s also super painful (because she’s in the hospital).

    She
    claims she was planning a homebirth (with a midwife who had 500 births
    previous), that she was *always* planning a hospital birth at the
    request of the parents, that she went to the hospital after 30 (36?)
    hours of labor at home because “she’d been in labor for so long,” and
    then claims “labor started at 930 and baby was born at 330″ and that she
    only labored for 6 hours. Again, she’s claiming all the points – a
    long, LONG labor, plus a short, speedy, effective labor that she rocked.

    Let’s
    talk providers. She was seeing a midwife for her planned HB, but had
    her “own backup OB” that told her everything was fine. We’ll leave the
    total implausibility of a backup OB telling a 50 year old pregnant woman
    with elevated blood pressure and protein in her urine (which she also
    references in her comments) that she has almost no chance of a poor
    outcome and is “low risk” for now, because she never mentions this
    backup OB again.

    She went to the hospital (like she’d always
    planned to during her planned homebirth with a midwife, while she
    simultaneously self-induced, indicating no midwife) and had a totally
    different OB who was “abusive” and out to “punish her” for a drug free
    labor. She claims that the doctor additionally gave the baby a hematoma,
    pushed an anterior lip out of the way (with ALL 8 of her fingers, which
    cracked me up both times she claimed it) and cut an episiotomy out of
    spite (from the narrative, it seems that she cut the episiotomy BEFORE
    she pushed an anterior lip aside with all 8 of her fingers).

    When
    her astoundingly self-contradictary narrative was challenged, she
    suddenly claimed she had a doula present the entire time (never
    mentioned again, before or after this one comment), and later claims to
    have a “police report” supporting her claims. Yet, no mention of suing
    the doctor, filing a claim with the hospital, of a statement to the
    police from her doula, or anything else. Just that she has a police
    report. I find this highly unlikely to say the very least – if only
    because that is not how allegations of “birth rape” or assault by a
    doctor are handled. Ever.

    Speaking of not understanding how
    things work legally, she also claims she has a “court order” mandating
    she has total control of how the birth goes. While I freely admit that I
    don’t know a great deal about surrogacy law, I DO know that there is a
    big difference between a signed contract and a “court order.” A court
    order indicates legal action has already happened and a judge has handed
    down an edict that a certain course of action MUST happen. More than a
    little suspect.

    Additionally, she didn’t mention being a surrogate until well into her second day of posting.

    Now
    let’s talk about the baby (who doesn’t matter much when you’re in
    labor, according to Carolyn). He was born perfectly healthy and normal,
    yet got a hematoma from the doctor being abusive (aside: if this was a
    true story, wouldn’t pushing the baby against an anterior lip be a
    reason for a hematoma?). She also claims that the baby is in NICU
    because he “aspirated formula” on his second feeding. She claims that
    this is because: (a) it was formula,
    (b) it was from a bottle
    (c) baby was overfed
    (d)
    baby was constipated from formula despite by her own timeline baby had
    colostrum for first feeding and formula for the second feeding – the one
    where he aspirated)
    (e) baby had a “meconium plug” causing constipation (mentioned once)

    Two other things about this narrative I find suspect (to say the least).

    She
    claims she posted her several months ago (and I do recall bits of the
    discussion, although I don’t know what post it was – does anyone have a
    link? I’d love to compare her story there too). And that she was kicked
    off the boards. This is demonstrably false – Dr. Amy almost NEVER
    deletes or bans commenters – and the very small handful she has banned
    have exclusively been banned for persistently derailing the topics of
    discussion to unrelated subjects. No one – NO ONE – has been “kicked
    off” our discussion boards for talking about any of the topics Carolyn
    has. Ever.

    She explains away not having the baby now because she
    was a surrogate (a fact that she didn’t mention until much later), yet
    also claims “points” for not getting to bond with the baby because he
    was whisked away.

    Bottom line – I do not believe this woman is
    telling a remotely truthful story. It is far to self-contradictory, is
    full of ridiculous allegations, positions Carolyn into a perfect victim
    position, hits all of the talking points of NCB (even the directly
    contrary ones), allows her to tell the story and yet not have an actual
    newborn, and is inflammatory in all the ways NCB/HB advocates would lap
    up. No doubt if she told this story in another forum they’d circle
    around her, clucking and petting and validating and offering support. It
    pretty strongly screams Munchausen by Internet, with a lot of big words
    and stories cribbed from other people’s narratives, with a lot of
    buzzwords and almost no actual coherence. It matches up as a dramatic
    story arc – not as a true story – and the items she contradicts herself
    on are not the kinds of things someone in her alleged position would be
    likely to confuse (such as the length of the labor, the behavior of the
    midwife, the disappearing doula). The dramatic flair (court order,
    police report) are things that are suspiciously *lacking* in detail as
    well, while her discussion of the “birth rape” is lurid and full of
    half-understood jargon and outright misunderstood medical procedures.

    All
    of this makes the Eats on Feets post pretty damned alarming. A story
    like this suggests that Carolyn made up this pregnancy/baby, and if she
    posted an ad for breastmilk online – *what* did she give the parents (if
    they exist) that took the milk? Formula? Or what?

    • CrownedMedwife

      Your analysis makes sense of something that makes no sense. How about that? Your patience is admirable. I thought it was just my mind spinning trying to make sense of stories. Thanks for clarifying the insanity. While it doesn’t change CG’s inconsistencies, it does make me feel a little less insane from trying to make any sense of it.

    • Durango

      I do remember her, she had a string of letters after her name and was very hurt that no one thought that those letters had any value whatsoever (they stood for some sort of husband-coached childbirth educator). She was as woefully ignorant then as she is now.

    • Guest

      I have a decent understanding of what the unspoken side of the OB on call experienced being saddled with this disaster but, is anyone else wondering what this experience must have been like for the parents? Here’s a couple who have overcome obstacles to have a baby and chosen a surrogate.

      Were they lured into the nonsense of an ideal unmedicated birth? Did they know from the outset the substandard care their son would be exposed to in utero by the surrogate receiving CPM care and planning a homebirth? Did they comprehend the risks CG intended to take with the pregnancy? I can’t help but feel like they were held hostage by CG for the choices she made, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I cannot even imagine the fear they experienced when she left at 37wks refusing induction and the agonizing 30-36hours or PROM at home and CG’s refusal of pitocin and MagSulfate on admission. They must have been more desperate with fear of whether their baby would be born alive or healthy and at having their hands tied as CG balked at recommendations and offers for appropriate medical intervention. The angst in that room must have been palpable.

      Or she convinced them of the woo and they went along for the ride. If true, somewhere along the road they must have come to the realization that her pursuit to refuse care was risking their son’s life.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I do kind of wonder about the parents. Were they relatives, as in the “grandmother was the surrogate” situation? Did they have their own issues that made most potential surrogates shy away from them? Are they figments of CG’s imagination?

    • AmyP

      Nice work.

      “…later claims to have a “police report” supporting her claims.”

      Bear in mind that whenever you make a complaint to the police, a police report is generated. So your having a police report means only that you are taking the situation seriously, rather than the police report being an independent confirmation of the facts in the report.

    • Mishimoo

      Thank you for explaining it! I also had an anterior lip reduced, it felt like only some of the fingers on one hand were doing the work and wasn’t a big deal (to me). I didn’t say anything because I thought that it might have just been my personal experience of an anterior lip reduction.

      • Medwife

        It takes one or two fingers.

    • Haelmoon

      Kq, as usual, you have such amazing insight. I always am enlightened by your comments. I recently read your blog. Mi am sorry for what you have gone through in the past. I am amazed at the person you have become. I wasn’t exactly sure where to post this, but your patience to put the summary together (as well as the letter from the LV midwife to Gavin’s family), were spectacular. Thanks.

    • Beth S

      KQ Wow, thank you for taking the time to walk me through the controversy. Your insight is wonderful and so appropriate considering what you’ve been through. I read your blog long before I started reading here so I know what you’ve been through with the Crazy Train. I’m not trying to out you, but it was partially your story that helped me choose to give my daughter a first name similar to yours I won’t post it here out of respect for your own privacy.

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

        Oh wow, that’s amazing! Thank you! It’s ok if you want to share the name btw. I’m kinda curious.

        • Beth S

          Abigail Virginia shortened to Abby, or as her Daddy calls her Abby Dabby Doo

  • DoulaGuest

    Let us not forgot the other way in which they are exploited: with MEAC schools training privileged white women on their bodies abroad.

    • Houston Mom

      On Vickie Sorensen’s gofundme page, one of her supporters mentions that Vickie went abroad for training.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • attitude devant

      Once again, Iola misses the point.

    • Trixie

      Cognitive dissonance hurts, Iola, doesn’t it?

    • LovleAnjel

      I understand where they are coming from, but they live the reality that a WOC writing this same article will be ignored. Hardly anyone would hear about it. Privilege relegates this issue to obscurity if a white person does not bring it up. It’s fucked up.

  • Bombshellrisa

    OT-a gofundme campaign for someone who wants to have a home birth but is low income and can’t afford it. http://www.gofundme.com/66fud8
    “I am pregnant with number two, due in June. I am low income and want to home birth my 2nd child. Oregon state aid refuses to help me pay… I’m confident with the right support and your help I can have my baby at home in a wonderful earth side appearance… We always donate to cancer funds… what about donating to a life fund? Make my birth natural and help me raise what I need. It means so much to me to birth my child at home. Any lil’ bit of help goes a long way…. this alone will pay for my midwife. Everything should be covered from there…. Who’s with me? Please contribute! Thank you for all the help.if you cant donate please share with birth friendly groups or familys to help support the spread of my page. This support alone will help pay for my home birth midwife Lisa Sullfride with Umpqua valley midwifery”

    • Karen in SC

      I thought OR did pay for homebirths? or is it just midwives in birth centers?

      • Bombshellrisa

        I thought they did too. And while the midwife claims she offers a discount for low income, the price quoted here is the price she lists on her website.
        Looks like Carolyn Gall funded her too.

      • areawomanpdx

        In a recent turn of events, Oregon has closed the loophole allowing patients to go with a homebirth midwife after 28 weeks if they just got their Medicaid and had been seeing the patient all along. The midwives were encouraging patients to go without healthcare coverage until 28 weeks in order to have a homebirth. Oregon Medicaid will now cover homebirth through midwives who are part of a CCO, which means they have restrictions and malpractice insurance. Which isn’t very many of them, of course.

        • AmyP

          “The midwives were encouraging patients to go without healthcare coverage until 28 weeks in order to have a homebirth.”

          Oh my gosh that’s so unethical.

    • Jessica S.

      I feel like I’m in Backwards Land. Normally, someone lacking funds would be seeking quality medical care. Which I realize is what they think they’re getting.

      My advice would be, if you can’t afford the home birth, just think of how expensive it will be to care for a disabled baby. GO TO A HOSPITAL.

    • Young CC Prof

      Oh, my, she’s due any day now. Appears she hasn’t delivered yet, though.

    • Jessica S.

      “We always donate to cancer funds… what about donating to a life fund?”

      Um, there’s gotta be a better way to phrase that.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I find that phrase ironic, given the stats for home birth with midwives in Oregon

  • Anna T

    I live in Israel, which is a country with multiple ethnic groups as well as the US (though on a smaller scale). It’s curious how nobody hears women of, say, Ethiopian descent clamoring for the most natural birth with the least interventions. My guess is that’s because these women themselves, or their mothers at the very least, saw with their own eyes the terrible cost of what happens when interventions are needed but cannot be had.

    The home-birthers are well-to-do women born to families that came from well-to-do countries. They have forgotten that birth, though a natural process, can be potentially deathly.

    There’s the famous argument, “if women hadn’t been able to birth naturally, humankind would have died out eons ago.” Well, even in a third-world country with no medical help whatsoever, your chances of dying at birth are probably not 1 in 2. Say they are 1 in a 100. It’s enough to ensure the survival of humankind, but it’s still a terribly high number compared to the maternal and infant death rates in developed countries with modern medicine.

    Not long ago, I received a comment on my blog which illustrated just what Dr. Amy says in this post. The comment was a reply to my mentioning C-sections performed because of placenta previa. Here it goes:

    “My midwife for my third child once spent a year practicing midwifery in a remote village in Ghana. The clinic there has few resources (which have to be rationed), and a trip to the helicopter pad that can take you to the nearest hospital takes two hours under the best circumstances. How do they deal with placenta previa there?

    It is not fatal. They break the woman’s water and start her on a slow pitocin drip to induce labor. By breaking the woman’s water, the pressure on the placenta is relieved, allowing it to reposition itself (possibly with help), and no hemorrhage occurs. Once labor has started, the pitocin drip is turned off, and labor continues as normal.

    When informed that placenta previa is considered a catastrophic complication in Western countries, the local midwife/nurse was shocked that we were so backwards. It had never occurred to her that this would be a necessarily life-threatening situation.”

    Backwards, now, are we?

    Perhaps there are some women in the West who would rather give birth in a remote clinic in Ghana than have a C-section for a placenta previa in a modern hospital.

    But I’m pretty sure all those women in Ghana would rather give birth in a modern hospital than their lovely rural village clinic, if only they had a hospital within reach. Why? It’s a no-brainer. Because of the death rates.

    I am a natural birth supporter. I have had two natural births myself – in a hospital. I know people who have lost babies at birth, and thus do not take the miracle of life for granted. Those who do – those who believe that a positive outcome is a given and thus every whim and wish can be indulged – are irresponsible.

    • AmyP

      “It is not fatal. They break the woman’s water and start her on a slow pitocin drip to induce labor. By breaking the woman’s water, the pressure on the placenta is relieved, allowing it to reposition itself (possibly with help), and no hemorrhage occurs. Once labor has started, the pitocin drip is turned off, and labor continues as normal.”

      I feel that the author of that comment omitted the step where they sprinkle the laboring woman liberally with pixie dust.

      • Haelmoon

        I think what she forgot to mention is that labour used to be the only safe way to delivery even with a previa. The historical method once previa was identified (in labour) was to do an internal podelic version (convert the baby to breach) and pull the smaller parts through the cervix to tamponade the bleeding placenta. The goal was to save mom. If labour happened fast enough, baby would survive too. It wasn’t “always” catastrophic, but it was never pretty. I think most of these women would have preferred safe c-sections.

        • Trixie

          That sounds horrible!

          • Dr Kitty

            I’m probably being very dim…how is one meant to do AROM without causing massive bleeding if the cervix is completely covered by placenta?

            The “technique” supposedly used in Ghana makes no sense.

          • PeggySue

            I wondered about that too…. how would you get to the membranes?

          • Elizabeth A

            Indigenous women have different uteri, because they’re not corrupted by the ebil medicoindustrial establishment. We have to tap into the wisdom of the ancients and be more like them.

            Or something.

            I feel very strongly about placenta previa related woo because I actually had placenta previa. If there’s not a damn thing you can do, and you dont find the problem until bleeding starts, you kind of have to accept the associated losses and keep moving, and I can see how that’s vital in situations with poor resource availability. But those women frequently do really die. Hell, women die from previa in the US. the maternal mortality rate for previa is something like 3 in 10000 (I haven’t checked that lately, please forgive if it’s wrong). They can do a lot for you and your baby in a well-equipped hospital, but you may not be in such a place when you start bleeding.

            It’s a big deal, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying.

        • Beth S

          Owwww that sounds like torture.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “the pressure on the placenta is relieved, allowing it to reposition itself ”

      Ha ha ha ha! Good one! The placenta is *attached* to the uterine wall, it can’t reposition itself.

      I have heard a story, however, of a woman and baby surviving a placenta-previa birth. It happened during the early 1950s to a great grand multip (woman went on to have 15 babies, but this was baby 12 or 13 or something). Laboring mother starts to bleed profusely, doc does speculum exam and sees only placenta through partially dilated cervix. Reaches in, manually extracts placenta through cervix that stretches to complete. Applies high forceps and pulls baby out in time.

      • Anna T

        I’ve heard about such cases too, but surely no one in their right mind would claim it’s *safer* than a C-section?..

        • fiftyfifty1

          Oh never! Extremely risky! This happened in early 1950s before there were ultrasounds to diagnose this and c-sections themselves were very dangerous, and also not available in the STAT fashion that would have been needed in this case before bleeding to death. Doc did the only thing he could to salvage the situation and I doubt it would have worked if she hadn’t been a grand multip. NEVER should this be planned!

      • Young CC Prof

        Apparently this was a known procedure around the turn of the last century, reaching in and tugging the placenta out of the way. Way riskier than a modern c-section, but it sometimes managed to save both mother and child, especially if the overlap between placenta and cervix wasn’t too big.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Wow, can you imagine training to be an OB at that time, knowing you would have to do crazy scary last ditch moves that that, and knowing that usually you wouldn’t succeed? Imagine the scene. There must have been blood everywhere. Can you imagine it from the poor mother’s perspective? The pain, the fear. Yikes.

          • Medwife

            I hope to god she had scopolamine so she at least didn’t remember. That’s hideous.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I doubt it. The story was told to me by a fellow resident who was much older (he was one of the last ones and this was his older sib). Almost all of his sibs were born on the same day of the week because family was dirt poor. OB provided the mom free care as long as she came in to be induced on his hospital day. She would come in in the morning, AROM, and have baby before noon. Gave birth easily per my friend so doubt scopalamine on board.

          • Stephanie

            Scopalomine is for nausea…do you mean versed?

          • Smoochagator

            The pain and fear is why twilight birth became quite popular at the turn of the century.

          • KarenJJ

            I wonder what type of person trained to be a doctor in the past. It would have been brutal work, lopping limbs off people or removing deceased infants etc without pain relief and often losing patients. I suspect you’d have to be of a certain mindset to cope.

            Perhaps doctors of today are also more kind and compassionate because they have kinder and more compassionate options for their patients that are often more likely to be successful.

          • Caravelle

            I remember a post by Orac on the subject. As I recall surgery before pain relief was all about speed.

          • Young CC Prof

            I believe that was cited during the 19th century as one reason women should be kept out of the medical profession: The necessary brutality.

            Of course, female midwives had been making brutal life-and-death choices long before there was any such thing as a doctor.

      • Trixie

        Probably the kind of move that works better on a woman who’s already given birth a few times, right?

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

        This just shows a basic ignorance about what constitutes placenta previa, which is being confused with a low-lying one, or the difference between a partial or complete previa. A true complete previa is an unmoveable barrier to vaginal delivery, period. The woman either has a C/S, or is delivered (as was Kaiser Wilhelm II) with extreme trauma by having been dragged through the obstructing placenta as rapidly as possible. Maternal death by hemorrhage is very common, and the baby can suffer damage as well.

        Sometimes one hears HB midwives claim they have delivered brow presentations vaginally, implying that C/S for this is unnecessary. By definition, a true brow presentation cannot pass through the pelvis, so the real presentation was either a vertx with deflexed hesd, or “military position”, which became more flexed as the head descended. I. don’t know who they think they are kidding.

      • MaineJen

        “Allowing it to reposition itself.” As I understand it, the only time the placenta appears to ‘move’ is early in pregnancy when the uterus is growing and stretching. The placenta can appear to ‘move’ farther up and out of the way of the cervix because the uterus is growing, but it is actually attached in a fixed location and cannot move off of the cervix during delivery if that is where it’s implanted. (This is what happened with my son, and it was explained to me very well by my OB)
        And that comment is doubly stupid, because I’d think breaking the water would cause *more* pressure on the cervix and placenta, as there would be no more cushion between the baby’s head and the cervix. (Precisely the reason why breaking the water sometimes helps labor along).

    • Elaine

      That makes no sense. Placenta previa isn’t considered a catastropic complication here BECAUSE a C-section is a readily available, low-risk way of dealing with it.

    • Medwife

      I just said some really bad words in front of my toddler. I hold your commenter responsible for delinquency of a minor.

      • Beth S

        I know this is OT but I hold the whole homebirth movement responsible if my new baby’s first word is a curse word because this is my go to for the night time feeding and I always end up cussing.

  • Mtbakergirl

    I wish kumquat writer were participating in this thread because it seems like there is something missing in this story. Query munchausen’s by internet?

    • Anj Fabian

      Yes.

      Gestational surrogate who was going to have a home birth? What little I know about gestational surrogacy implies that the parents of the baby in utero call most of the shots, including not only having the birth in the hospital, but decreeing that the birth be a c-section under certain circumstances as well.

      • Carolyn Gall

        Nope. Court order in hand saying that I am to make all medical decisions during labor and delivery. Really sorry I did this and think that surrogates should give it a 2nd thought as well. Not worth the hassle.

        • CrownedMedwife

          Doesn’t this just confirm it’s all about the birth experience and very little about the well-being of the baby? 50 years old with preeclampsia carrying another family’s baby and your determination to birth the way you wanted was more important than the risk you took with their baby’s well-being and safety by refusing IOL and seizure prophlyaxis being a term AMA with prolonged rupture of membranes and preeclampsia? Was that really a risk worth taking? What remorse would you have felt at taking away the hopes and dreams if you hadn’t defied the odds of stillbirth or neurologic compromise from an infertile family…just for the performance of your own birth experience?

          For the parents sake, I am going to hope they were as naive as you were with the risks you took with their baby’s life. Otherwise, I cannot even fathom the fear and lack of control they felt as you played birth roulette with their future.

          You have poignantly displayed multiple examples of just how little knowledge CPM’s have of identifying risk factors simply by being under her care and her failure it concur with medical management as risk status progressed.

          This entire story is reprehensible.

          • Jessica S.

            *applauds*

          • Carolyn Gall

            There were no risks in my pregnancy. Being 50 is not high risk. Having elevated BP is not high risk. I had the babies health in mind the entire time. Even to the extent of risking my health and my life. You do not have any evidence that supports your claim. The outcome was a healthy baby with apgars of 9 and 9. respectively. You do not know the whole story nor am I going to waste my time explaining it. You just don’t get it. Never did I say that it was about MY birth experience but rather that my bodily autonomy was important to me. It’s not all about the baby when a woman is pregnant and in labor (although some folks would like to think so) It was my right to refuse Pitocin. They would have had a sick baby that had not grown to term. 37 wks is not term. And he did not have IUGR. He was estimated to be a 8-9 pound baby if I had gone to 40 weeks. Also, no placental issues found in pathology. All normal. So your “what if?” scare tactics are just that. Scare tactics.

          • Stacy48918

            You are one of the most uneducated, misinformed, self-absorbed posters we’ve had in a while.

            A lot of drunks will make it home tonight. Is MADD using scare tactics?

            Thank God you’re 50 and probably can’t do this again.

          • Siri

            I wonder how the baby’s parents feel about Ms G bleating all over the internet about this whole affair, and under her full name too.

          • Beth S

            If it were my kiddo I’d be pissed. It’s too easy to find info these days.

          • Jessica S.

            A) I thought you were leaving.
            B) “Being 50 is not high risk.” You are so full of it. Just b/c you think something doesn’t mean it’s true.
            C) You have it backwards: legitimate medical care is not a scare tactic. Scare tactics are what “natural birth” advocates use to peddle nonsense about the evils of legitimate medical care.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Who told you being fifty isn’t high risk? I knew someone who gave birth at 50 (baby wasn’t her first child) and while she was able to get through the pregnancy without any complications and sailed through the birth with her only intervention being a saline lock, she was never told that she was considered anything but high risk.

          • Karen in SC

            Another 50 yr old mother (neighbor of Lisa in NY) had a life threatening PPH and was rushed to the hospital. Thankfully the midwife acted in time to save her life.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Exactly. The woman I knew had her baby at OHSU, not at home, because she understood that she was facing down the risk of many complications.

          • Carolyn Gall

            The proof is in the health of the baby. And my health. I was fine afterwards except for the emotional scars I will carry around for the rest of my life.

          • Stacy48918

            “The proof is in the health of the baby. And my health.”
            And the drunk that arrives home alive tonight will say that that proves his ability to drive after finishing off a six pack. Doesn’t prove anything.

            If you really have “emotional scars”, when is your appointment with your therapist?

          • RN who has seen too much

            the plural of anecdote is not data. You got lucky. The end. Your emotional scars, barf. How about the emotional scars of the infertile parents?

          • PeggySue

            Oh, ok, I get it. If nothing bad happened, there was no risk. You know, that isn’t the way the world works.

          • MaineJen

            “Look! I ran across the highway and there’s not a scratch on me! Clearly, that was a low-risk activity and all those people who told me I could die by running across the highway were just fear-mongers trying to interfere with my natural adrenaline surge. I am now going to advocate for running across highways; it makes you feel great!!”

          • Carolyn Gall

            You just contradicted yourself. Sailed through the birth just fine. But in the end she was labeled high risk. There is absolutely no medical evidence that supports age as a risk factor. It’s just speculation on the part of the Dr. Just like all the other things they speculate on. According to ACOG.

          • Karen in SC

            “Multivariate analysis confirmed advanced maternal age to be a significant factor in low birth weight, preterm delivery, hypertension, diabetes, caesarean section and perinatal mortality. In Flanders, mothers at age 45 and older have a significantly increased risk for low birth weight, preterm delivery, hypertension, diabetes, caesarean section and perinatal mortality.”

            J Obstet Gynaecol. 2014 Apr 30

          • carolyn gall

            This is not a quality study. Notice the words Multivariate analysis. Just cherry picked info. Strike one.

          • Stacy48918

            So show us a good one then.

            You’re obviously well-versed in the literature. Should be easy. Prospective study showing no increased risk in mothers over the age of 45.

          • carolyn Gall

            The studies I have found tend to focus on things that can come up for an older mama. Things like diabetes or elevated Hypertension. They wrongly assume that these conditions, will translate into a high risk situation. However, if these risks were not present to begin with then there is no increased risk. I was a healthy 49 year old when I conceived.

          • Stacy48918

            New question. If diabetes and hypertension do not “translate into a high risk situation”, please tell me what does?

            What in your belief system (because that’s what it is, it’s not based on facts or statistics at all, it’s just a belief) would make a mother “high risk”?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Gestational diabetes and pregnancy induced hypertension don’t present until later, they aren’t there from conception.

          • Jessica S.

            In other words, you don’t have a study to prove your point. Your making the assertion so it’s up to you to show your work.

            And again, you clearly do not comprehend what “risk” means. They monitor you for things that are more likely to occur, not b/c they WILL occur. But I understand that explaining this to a natural birth advocate is like trying to explain snow to someone who lives in Saudi Arabia.

          • Jessica S.

            And btw, it does snow in Saudi Arabia. Not often, but certainly enough that people don’t need it explained to them.

          • Karen in SC

            Do you know the physiological effects of pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia on the fetus and placenta?

            Of course you don’t, you are not an OB. Neither do I but I had that at age 40 and my son’s cord was pencil thin, he aspirated mec, required resuscitation and my placenta broke apart. As I refused an epidural, I endured manual extraction so I wouldn’t bleed to death. (it was very painful but over fairly quickly).

            I’m sure there are more things that can happen that neither of us know. And CPMs wouldn’t know.

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

            Hang on –”I was a healthy 49 year old WHEN I CONCEIVED “??

            I thought you were being a surrogate. Am I missing something here?

          • Jessica S.

            Yeah, I’m confused about that, too.

          • Siri

            All pregnancies start with conception, whether natural/spontaneous or artificial/assisted. Is my understanding. Or?

          • An Actual Attorney

            Usually with a surrogate, conception takes place in a lab, and an embryo is implanted. Am I mistaken?

          • Siri

            Well, just because the egg has been fertilised, it doesn’t mean the surrogate is pregnant. Neither is she pregnant just because the embryo has been transferred. I think it’s normal to use ‘conception’ as shorthand for ‘surrogate is now pregnant’. Plus, sometimes surrogates are inseminated but use their own eggs.

          • An Actual Attorney

            But I can’t imagine any intended parents using the eggs of a 50 year old!

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Um, diabetes and hypertension don’t “translate” into a high risk situation, they ARE a high risk situation.

            Then again, it’s clear you use words without knowing their meaning (actually, that has been my impression since the beginning), so what else is new?

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Huh?

            I don’t think you know what a multivariate study actually means. In what way is it “cherry picked info”?

            I won’t even say “strike one” because you aren’t even in the ballpark.

          • Young CC Prof

            Maybe she thought it had something to do with a meta-analysis? They’re both big papers that start with M, after all.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            That was my guess as well.

            As I said, she throws a lot of big words around, but apparently doesn’t quite know what they mean

          • Stacy48918

            “According to ACOG.”
            Show us. Please. I’d love to read that.

            There is PLENTY of literature on the risks of advanced maternal age. Just because YOU don’t believe doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

          • Stacy48918

            “But in the end she was labeled high risk.”
            No, sounds like she was labeled high risk from the moment of conception.

            You would call her low risk in RETROSPECT.

            The fact that she was spared the MANY increased risk factors inherent in her age doesn’t mean they weren’t still possible. It means she was very fortunate. That’s not a contradiction.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Not to mention the increased risks of the baby having Down’s or another trisomy-we have just talked about the mother’s increased risks so far

          • Young CC Prof

            If it’s not her egg, the trisomy risk depends on the egg donor’s age. But yeah, that becomes quite significant as time goes on.

          • Medwife

            Even in retrospect she was high risk. She just didn’t have the ultimate worst outcomes possible.

          • Bombshellrisa

            No, she was by virtue of her age ALWAYS high risk. Just because nothing bad happened doesn’t mean she was ever low risk

          • S

            You are not understanding the meaning of the word “risk.” Risk refers to the _likelihood_ or probability of having complications. Being high-risk means you are more likely than the average woman to have complications. It does not mean that you will definitely have complications. No one has a crystal ball here.

          • Jessica S.

            Risk isn’t applied post hoc! Gah! You clearly have no idea what you are talking about and further, you believe very much so that everything you say is true.

          • RN who has seen too much

            OMG. Seriously? You have no idea what you are talking about. Go actually read some medical literature. We don’t make this shit up.

          • Captain Obvious
          • RN who has seen too much

            Having high blood pressure isn’t high risk? Oy. I think everything i need to know about you can be summed up by your sentence above “It’s not about the baby when you’re pregnant and in labor”……there’s something wrong with you. I hope you never ever surrogate again. I have known infertile couples saving up for surrogacy and this makes me sick to my stomach. So you became a surrogate because you like being pregnant? is that it? Not because you actually care about infertile couples and helping them complete their family? You’re sick. I’m a little touchy about this subject right now because we JUST had a beautiful surrogate birth, and that surrogate was completely all about that family, and helping them have a healthy baby, possibly their only baby. THAT’S what surrogacy is supposed to be about, not you and your sick desire to pretend you’re not 50 and out of your childbearing years.

          • Mishimoo

            I agree, that sentence – “It’s not about the baby when you’re pregnant and in labor” – just made me feel ill. I mean, I know I’m weird, but I can cope with pretty much anything as long as my kids are okay. Of course I look after myself and don’t define myself by their existence and achievements, but any time that something is wrong, all I care about is them being okay. I can deal with my emotions and everything later, in private.

          • Irène Delse

            “It’s not about the baby when you’re pregnant and in labor”

            That would make sense if this happened in a time and place where a woman can’t choose when to get pregnant, there’s little to no effective medicine available and infant mortality is high anyway. Going through pregnancy and birth with the less trouble for yourself becomes perfectly understandable in that situation. But today, in an industrialised country, and after planning the pregnancy? I have no words.

            Carolyn, please don’t take this wrong, but you sound like you need help. Seriously, think about it.

          • MLE

            I can’t think of a situation that would be more about the baby than the labor of a surrogate whose sole reason for getting pregnant was to…..carry a baby.

          • Hooligan

            Carolyn, what IS high risk, in your opinion? Because for most OB/GYN’s, being 50 years old with elevated BP IS most definitely high risk. Why do you think it’s not? I’m so curious to hear your answer(s). How did you come to the conclusion that being 50 and having high BP is NOT high risk?

          • Mominoma

            NOT high risk? Of course you were! I was 36 (turned 37 shortly after) when I was pregnant with my daughter. I knew even before I saw my original midwife for my first appointment that I was high risk due to my age, all by itself. Then, I started spilling protein in my urine @26 weeks. My BP by the end was at 150/110. My doctors nearly had me deliver her at 34 weeks because I was getting so sick. I managed to stay pregnant until 38 weeks exactly, when my perinatologist (who I’d been seeing in addition to my OB, so that’s two visits a week since 30 weeks) told me I was getting serious damage to my kidneys thanks to the +4 I was spilling (+6 after birth, btw). I was told upfront by my midwife that I was high risk. It was all over my charts. Even if I chose to ignore that, I *couldn’t* ignore my elephantine legs, the dizziness, and upwards creeping blood pressure. So let’s recap — AMA (younger than you), high BP. Protein spillage like crazy. I was also a grand multip, FWIW. I feel incredibly lucky that my daughter was born healthy, and that I have apparently managed to come through okay, two years later. You are incredibly blind to the fact that you were lucky to have as few complications as you did, given your status as AMA, let alone the HPB! My story could easily have been yours. It could have ended even worse for both us.

            I was 14 years *younger* than you when I was pregnant –with my own child, btw, not the child of someone else whom I had been entrusted with. I am absolutely appalled at your cavalier attitude and the assumption that you were not high risk. You are beyond lucky that your foolish decisions didn’t harm yourself further or that of the baby those parents entrusted to you.

          • Jessica S.

            I’m glad everything turned out well for you and your baby! I’m 37 and due in July. Thankfully, I’ve been complication free so far, except for the fact that I’m carrying yet again a large baby (her brother was 10 lbs 10 oz at birth, only a few days past his due date) – estimated at almost 7 lbs with 5 weeks to go! :/ It sounds like you had a MUCH harder time, but handled it with grace! Pregnancy is not for faint of heart. (Literally as well as figuratively!)

          • Mominoma

            I was lucky, no doubt about it. Lucky, and well-cared for by medical professionals that I took care to heed. :) Good luck to you with the new baby! I hope all goes well. :)

          • Amazed

            Bullshit. If your story is true, it only comes to prove that surrogate mothers should be evaluated in advance for the syndrom of heavy stupidity and refusal to leave the world existing in their heads alone where being 50 is just the same as being 25.

          • MaineJen

            I had my baby after ROM at 37 weeks. She was not sick, she was just ready to come out.

          • Captain Obvious

            Reality: over 35 years old IS high risk. Elevated BP IS high risk. 37 weeks IS full term. Crunchy interpretation: no it ain’t.

          • Amazed

            I love your little Reality/Crunchy interpretation bits, doc.

          • Jessica S.

            Me too!!

        • OldTimeRN

          The hassle of what? Delivering an alive baby vs your birth experience?

          How selfish of you to carry a couple’s baby and turn it into something all about you. Not even about the health of you because you didn’t seem to care about that either. But all about your birth experience.

        • Jessica S.

          The parents of that baby are lucky. After reading all you comments, I don’t think if trust you to make decisions about my goldfish.

        • Trixie

          There are just so many ways your stories don’t add up here.

        • MaineJen

          The “hassle?” From your comments, you didn’t understand what you were getting into…you are not the baby’s mother. You had no right to expect to be with him for any length of time after delivery. You DID have the right to make decisions about the delivery itself, that’s true. But clearly your primary concern was not the baby’s well being, and clearly your wishes did not coincide with those of the parents if you needed a court order to ensure that you got your own way. I hope any like-minded surrogates do give this a second thought after reading this discussion. I really do.

      • Medwife

        I see a lot of surrogates. It’s a bit of a cottage industry in my region. Everyone I know of has had total control of medical decisions, although one common exception is the decision to terminate for fetal abnormalities.

        • Captain Obvious

          Had one couple want surrogate to get an amnio, but she refused.

      • Mtbakergirl

        Of all possible surrogates why would you choose a 50 year old who was planning a home birth?

        Unless I am missing something the risks would seem to outweigh the benefits pretty dramatically, and in general my understanding is that a surrogate would be a fairly high cost and high stakes last chance type option for the would-be parents.

        • Karen in SC

          IIRC when she was commenting months ago and announced her pregnancy at age 50, someone asked IVF? and she said no, conceived naturally. Does anyone else remember more details?

          • Jessica S.

            Maybe I don’t understand the terminology of surrogacy, but how do you conceive naturally in that situation? Did she adopt out her biological child? Actually, I know nothing about surrogacy so perhaps there are many methods.

          • Twintastic

            My husband and I are currently expecting twins via a gestational surrogate. Frankly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry reading this Gail woman’s comments. First of all, I don’t know any RE who would clear a fifty year old woman to be a gestational carrier. Not only is the risk too high, but in the bluntest terms, you don’t spend thousands and thousands of dollars creating embryos and then transfer them to woman who brings a list of risk factors to the table. Secondly, notice how she calls the baby “her baby” in several of the posts- Not something you usually see from GCs. I am desperately hoping that she’s a faker, because if not I am absolutely horrified at what she put the baby’s parents through.

          • Stacy48918

            Just wanted to say I wish you great joy with your family. Congrats on the twins!

          • Twintastic

            Thank you! We are very excited! I wonder if she was an uncompensated carrier or if there was some other reason that the RE went forward with a transfer. Regardless, I am horrified for the intended parents who had to stand by and watch as she played roulette their son’s life. It’s also revolting to me that she thought she could diagnose the baby’s aspiration.

          • carolyn Gall

            I spoke to a Dr. about this and he agreed that it was probably because of too much formula. They have tiny stomachs at birth. Regardless. If he was given my colostrum this would not have happened.

          • Twintastic

            You are talking to someone who has a child who aspirated thin liquids (including colostrum and breastmilk). My five year old almost died from aspiration. It’s not caused by constipation or formula. Any doctor that would confidently diagnose aspiration on a child they had never seen based on your clearly biased opinion is not a doctor whose opinion I have any respect for. You held your intended parents and their son hostage for over 30 hours- no wonder they didn’t want your colostrum, they probably couldn’t stand to look at the person who behaved so cavalierly with the life of their child.

          • Karen in SC

            Twintastic, thanks for bringing a totally different perspective to this story. And congratulations! Is your five year old excited? What a blessing for your family.

          • Twintastic

            You’re welcome! He goes between very excited and well….not so much. We recently bought a new mini van and asked him where he thought the twins’ carseats should go….. He pointed to the roof rack.

          • Jessica S.

            Bahaha! I love it!

          • Beth S

            Seriously sounds like your son is a normal kid. At five I was trying to sell off my brothers. I actually got two dollars for one of them but my meeeeeen mommy made me give it back.

          • carolyn Gall

            Like I said, overfeeding can make the formula back up and go down the windpipe. Any liquid will do that. But breast milk/colostrum is absorbed instantly. The parents were fine. Big difference between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Nothing against formula but the baby turned blue from choking on the bottle. They were contacted so that they could be at the birth and I got to see them bond with there son and that was precious. There is a lot of speculation in the comments here and it is not based on any facts but merely just attacking me.

          • Karen in SC

            You didn’t read what Twintastic said, nor my post about the newborn boy recently in NICU from BREASTMILK aspiration. CLEARLY it can happen with breastmilk as well as formula.

          • carolyn Gall

            but it’s much easier to aspirate out of a bottle than a breast. That’s all I was saying.

          • Jessica S.

            Is that due to the faster flow? (I’m genuinely curious here.)

          • carolyn Gall

            totally different way of feeding. I’m not going to explain it here. Go look it up. Youtube has some good video. Look up Latch under Ameda.

          • RNMomma

            Yeah, due to the faster flow. But it also has to do with the individual child. If they don’t get the hang of the whole suck, swallow, breathe thing. There is some conversations about early term babies having more issues with this, but I’m not aware of any studies on the topic.

          • Jessica S.

            Thanks for answering. :) Suck, swallow, breathe is a complicated process to expect from a newly born baby!

          • Karen in SC

            That’s not what you said. You said it was due to formula since breast milk is absorbed instantly.

            It can also happen direct from the breast (as it did in that case I mentioned where to continue BFing the mother has to pump first).

            Conclusion – it can happen with either fluid and either method.

          • Captain Obvious

            My premie had reflux and laryngomalacia and aspirated while exclusive breastfeeding. Needed laser of airway and a Nisson performed. Had nothing to do with formula or bottle.

          • Captain Obvious

            The neonatologist and pediatric surgeon both told us preoperatively to thicken up the breast milk with formula flakes because liquids are more easily aspirated by babies than thicker formula. So your explanation is BS. Liquids will flow right past the epiglottis where thicker formula is less likely to get past it and stay in the esophagus.

          • Jessica S.

            Formula doesn’t get absorbed right away?

          • Twintastic

            Aspiration is not caused by overfeeding. Breastmilk and colostrum are FLUID, they are not magical evaporating streams of rainbow filled light. If fluid gets into a baby’s lungs is not good. You’re right there is a lot of speculation in these comments. It’s based on the fact that you have said some extremely ignorant things here. Things that make me, as an intended mother through surrogacy furious with you. You were entrusted with this family’s child. You put your experience over the health and safety of their child. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge how absolutely wrong that was is breathtaking in its arrogance.

          • Carolyn Gall

            I did not put my experience over the health and safety of this families child. In fact, I put his health above and beyond mind and worked tirelessly to ensure a safe, un-medicated birth. They are happy with how I handled the birth and I did what they asked them to do. Have the baby in the hospital. Even though I was raped by the OB Dr. I still did what was right and ethical for their son. I am actually appalled that you are only thinking of the baby and I sure hope that you treat your surrogate better than you are treating me right now in this forum. No one has to agree with my choice in medical care. It was my choice to make. Just because I was a surrogate doesn’t mean they own my body.

          • Twintastic

            You absolutely put your “experience” over the health and safety of this baby. The fact that your priority was unmedicated birth and not the absolute safety of the baby has been very clear in your multiple posts. Your continued claim that you were raped by the doctor is offensive to rape victims. And on that note, let me cue you into something…. people disagreeing with you does not constitute abuse. My surrogate would be appalled to hear about the risks that you took with someone else’s child. You are absolutely right. We don’t have to agree what you do with your body. When you come into a public forum and share your choice, you are then opening yourself to the harsh reality that once you step outside the crunchy echo chamber, not everyone is obligated to agree with your choices.

          • Carolyn Gall

            I was RAPED BY THE DR SHE INSERTED HER FINGERS INTO ME TO CAUSE ME PAIN I now have PTSD. I hope you don’t put your surrogate through the same bull crap I had to go through. AND YES I HAD AN UNMEDICATED BIRTH which is the safest way to have a baby and the healthiest. YOU HAVE NO ARGUMENT. ENJOY YOUR MINI VAN AND YOUR FAMILY.

          • carolyn Gall

            The baby turned out healthy and fine and I knew he would. Case closed.

          • Twintastic

            I am sorry that you felt the doctor did that to cause you pain, I would suggest you talk to a therapist who can help you navigate looking at that experience through other possible lenses- like perhaps she was doing the best she could to help you and the baby arrive safely. An unmedicated birth is not the gold standard for a safe birth. I’m not sure what “you have no argument” means. If it means you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. My surrogate is being taken very well care of. I certainly want her to have an easy, safe birth. Thank you, I love my Sienna!

          • carolyn gall

            Okay. the story is that the Dr. wanted to punish me for refusing medication and refusing exams. She really truly was rough with me and I had a doula there who witnessed the whole thing and she thought the Dr. was rough on the baby too. She grabbed his head and he got a hematoma from it. The dr. cut me with scissors over an argument she had with me about her hurting me with her fingers thrusting back and forth in me which did nothing to help anything. I was so scared. I have never been attached sexually before. I hope that you are nice to your surrogate because she deserves to be treated like gold. In the morning after I gave birth I asked where the couple was and the nurse said “We will let them know you are asking for them” and I was like huh? They were in the same building. I held him for only 1 minute total. I never bonded with him. So glad I got to see the intended parents meet him for the 1st time. IF they got there after the birth they would have put him in nursery and I would not see them united cause I would be in my hospital bed. That would have sucked.

          • Twintastic

            You may rest assured that I am very kind to my surrogate, however, this conversation is not about how I treat my surrogate. This conversation is about how you as a surrogate with multiple risk factors held ideology over safety. I’m sorry that you were not able to hold the child you carried for nine minutes. My surrogate will be holding the twins as much as she would like. As to the other things you’ve alleged in terms of the baby getting a hematoma, etc… I need to be frank- your story is becoming more convoluted the more you post. It’s increasingly difficult for me to follow. I do hope that if other intended parents read this thread that they will see how critically important it is to make sure that surrogate and IPs are on the same page when it comes to this kind of stuff.

          • RNMomma

            I agree, this is all very confusing. It seems to me that the birth wasn’t what you were expecting, you were traumatized by it, and therefore your perception is a bit off. A lot of what you are saying doesn’t make complete sense.

            Hematomas can happen for almost no reason at all… mine had a hematoma. She was posterior, asynclitic and 8lbs 5oz. I pushed for 30 minutes and she had a whoppin off centered one. Lady next door had same presentation, larger baby and pushed for several hours… no hematoma.

          • carolyn Gall

            I saw the babies head and the Dr. reach for it and slipped out of her hands. The hematoma was a line across his face right where her fingers were. I pushed for 20 minutes.

          • RNMomma

            That’s what I’m saying… it might not have anything to do with how the doc handled the baby. They happen. My midwife says she’s seen 6lb babies delivered in a couple minutes of pushing with them and then 10lb babies with hours of pushing without them. Outside of vacuum extraction, the reasoning is never clear (at least from what she said).

          • RNMomma

            And please know, I’m not arguing against what you are saying. I’m just trying to offer a different perspective. To believe that every action taken was wrong or done with ill intent isn’t going to help you and likely isn’t true. I don’t doubt that there were things that could have been done differently, but it only causes continued pain for you to only see things from this perspective.

            As I’m sure you know, labor is a very emotional time. Even with excellent midwives and a good delivery, I was rather traumatized by the experience and questions things my midwife had done. It took me months to see things more clearly. Were there things done I’m still not happy with? Yes. But I have to remember that they weren’t out to hurt me, even though I originally perceived it that way.

          • Captain Obvious

            When the baby descends past bony prominences like the coccyx or ischial spines, or a narrow pelvic arch, bruising and hematomas can occur outside vacuum use.

          • carolyn Gall

            You sound like a very normal intended parent. I think you will be a wonderful mom and I applaud you for being so sensitive and thoughful. It is very rough afterwards (hormones etc) and the surrogate needs to be treated kindly.

          • Jessica S.

            I can only imagine that being a surrogate comes with its own set of emotions to work through, let alone the hormones after birth. (Ugh, those hormones. I’m not looking forward to those after baby number 2 arrives next month. I spent a week in inexplicable tears – consoled by the fact that I could intellectualize it was temporary, but still – with my son, who’s now 3.5. The upside is, the glorious innocence of his age causes him to think it’s funny when momma cries. He’s giggles and says “I want you to talk weird again!” which in turn makes me laugh. Maybe he’ll be salve to my hormones this time.)

            Are there programs that serve surrogates after the delivery, to offer help if needed? If not, there should be.

          • Beth S

            OT but I would just like to let you know how much I appreciate attitudes like yours when it comes to GCs or birth mothers holding their babies after the birth. I was lucky enough to get to keep my baby with me the whole time we were in the hospital and for me it was the perfect way to say hello and goodbye at the same time so from someone who knows what it’s like thank you.

          • Captain Obvious

            Reality: babies end up with spontaneous caput or molding with vaginal birth. Babies end up with bruising over the caput or over areas that hit the coccyx or ischial spines on the way down the pelvis. Babies can get lacerations or hematoma a from forceps or vacuum. Spontaneous hematomas can occur. Crunchy interpretation: the doctors was so rough with the baby that when he grabbed the baby’s head so hard and squeezed it, a hematoma occurred.

          • Captain Obvious

            Reality: babies end up with spontaneous caput or molding with vaginal birth. Babies end up with bruising over the caput or over areas that hit the coccyx or ischial spines on the way down the pelvis. Babies can get lacerations or hematoma a from forceps or vacuum. Spontaneous hematomas can occur. Crunchy interpretation: the doctors was so rough with the baby that when he grabbed the baby’s head so hard and squeezed it, a hematoma occurred.

            When the doctor stimulated the baby to breathe by rubbing the back and maybe flicking the feet, did you think she was throwing some kidney punches and twisting the ankles?

          • Mac Sherbert

            Carolyn – I truly am sorry that you feel you were mistreated by the doctor and forgotten by the parents. I don’t doubt you suffered trauma. I really think seeing a therapist might help you to be able to cope and move on.
            I also feel after reading your posts that your interpretation of events is most likely completely different from everyone else’s involved in this story.
            You did a great act of kindness by being a surrogate for this family, but truly after reading everything you’ve posted I understand why they didn’t want your milk and weren’t wanting to connect with you very much after the birth.
            I hope you are able to come to terms with everything and maybe learn some things outside of all the natural birth stuff you seem to have fallen for.

          • expat

            She inserted her fingers to check on the baby’s position and while it may have been unpleasant, comparing that to actual rape or the type of trauma that causes soldiers to spend years suffering from thought processes and emotions which they can’t control is offensive. There are sex abuse survivors who find gynecological appointments traumatic, but by discussing this in advance with their OB, they find ways to avoid triggering an avalanche of adrenaline (fear). When your expectations don’t match reality and you have an unpleasant memory which you choose to dwell upon, this is not equivalent to ptsd.

          • Amazed

            You were not raped by the doctor, Drama Queen.

            You wanted to gorge on yout own goddess awesomeness and behaved in a way a that would have made a pig step back in horror. You also wanted to gorge on the intended parents’ money without doing your part, aka doing everything people who actually knew this stuff, deemed appropriate for the baby’s wellbeing. And then you were surprised when reality messed up with your lovely fantasy where you were the star.

            Were you the idiot who boasted about being an instructor in Husband Coached Pushing Something and was surprised that normal people didn’t know what this specific sham was? You sound about this clever and altruistic.

            I am quite surprised that people still waste time talking to you as if you have something meaningful to say.

          • MaineJen

            So you had a painful vaginal exam for dilation. That is not rape.

          • carolyn Gall

            IT was not a vaginal exam. I was lying flat on my back with no place to put my legs so I folded them up. The Dr. took all 8 digits and inserted them into my vagina and thrusted in a forward backward motion. This maneuver did not allow me to push because it was too painful to do so. When I asked her to “get her fingers out of me” she stopped. I saw my opportunity to push and then she grabbed the scissors and angrily cut my perineum. She was on a mission to inflict as much pain as possible during the pushing phase to “teach me a lesson” It’s okay. I don’t need you to agree with me. Don’t know why I am bothering explaining this. Maybe just so it’s crystal clear in my head that I was assaulted. There is a police document to this affect at the local police station where I filed a criminal complaint. The hospital was investigated by the Department of Public health also.

          • Captain Obvious

            Comic relief- was she missing 2 digits? Maybe she inserted 8 of her 10 digits? Or, it felt like she inserted 8 of her digits? It would be hard to get 4 fingers on 2 hands into the vagina, let alone you to see how many she used, unless you are very limber for a pregnant woman with no epidural pushing.

            So this doctor seemed anxious to get this baby delivered. Reality: I speculate there were some significant decels or bradycardic episodes. She evaluated your pelvis, performed an episiotomy and delivered a baby that still had been able to aspirate, mucous? Meconium? Terminal meconium? Was the baby gasping in secondary apnea at birth? Was PPV used? Crunchy interpretation: she did everything she could to hurt me to teach me a lesson.

          • Jessica S.

            “AND YES I HAD AN UNMEDICATED BIRTH which is the safest way to have a baby and the healthiest.”

            Wrong. Hopefully the CNM you’re planning to work with in pursuit of a midwifery cert. will make that clear.

            And Twintastic is right on every count, particularly that by erroneously believing that “natural” and unmedicated = best/healthiest, you prioritized the method of delivery over the outcome. You won’t be able to see that, since you so firmly believe the unfounded claims about unmedicated/natural birth being superior, but it doesn’t make you right.

            Furthermore, I don’t doubt you feel traumatized and violated by the experience and absolutely think you should meet with a therapist or the like to work through it, someone who can be objective and isn’t aligned with any particular child birthing theory.

          • Captain Obvious

            OH SHIT! According to Carolyn, doctors AND midwives have been raping women for years during birth and annual exams.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            My doctor does a testicular exam at my physicals and has never once asked for permission.

            It’s not just women.

          • Beth S

            I’m just a birth mother who gave up her child for adoption because I was in a place where I couldn’t take care of a child, and this was YEARS ago and I gave my daughter’s parents much more autonomy over my birth than it sounds like this GC did. Now granted they’re only wish was for both of us to come out alive and healthy, otherwise my body my way, but I couldn’t imagine holding someone else’s child hostage even if I was the birth mother.

          • Melissa

            If they were happy with what you were doing why did you need a court order? Those aren’t generally handed out unless someone had some problem and the court got involved.

          • Jessica S.

            Slight correction: “unmedicated” birth has nothing to do with health. It’s clear that you think it does, but it doesn’t.

          • Captain Obvious

            Yeah another crunchy mis-interpretation. Reality: parents want a healthy child through surrogacy. Crunchy interpretation: parents want the surrogate to have an unmedicated lovely birth experience at home.

          • PeggySue

            Wait, what??? Breastmilk and colostrum absorbed instantly??? That violates several laws of nature, I’m afraid…

          • Jessica S.

            Yeah, I wondered about that comment. I know next to nothing about BFing (formula feeder here) but I should do some reading anyhow, so I can identify what’s true and what’s smoke.

          • fiftyfifty1

            It’s almost all smoke.

          • S

            Well sure. That’s why breastfed babies don’t poop. =)

          • Siri

            Colostrum and breastmilk aren’t absorbed, they’re digested, just like any other enteral feed. You really are an unusual mix of ignorance and arrogance; fascinating.

          • Captain Obvious

            Yeah typical crunchy interpretation. Reality: Breast milk is more easily digestible than formula. Crunchy perception: breast milk is absorbed instantaneously.

          • Jessica S.

            And colostrum is thicker, right? So the reality would be that colostrum is thicker, so in theory the occurrence of aspiration would be lessened. Crunchy interpretation: breastfeeding keeps your baby from aspirating.

            (So much for informed choice! It irritates me, too. I would easily – and happily, although it wouldn’t change my mind about not BFing – appreciate the benefits of breastfeeding if told it straight, the way you did with your “reality” statements. I don’t need to have it dressed up or formula demonized – in fact, all that’s done is made me question anything I hear or read about BFing vs formula. It’s sad, really.)

          • Young CC Prof

            Reality:
            Breast milk slightly reduces the incidence of GI and possibly respiratory infections during the period of breastfeeding up to age 1 by providing IgA antibodies. After age 1, those lovely antibodies are just protein.

            Crunchy perception:
            Breast milk is a magic anti-infective treatment, even in toddlers or adults

            Reality:
            On average, breast milk is easier to digest, although most babies’ tummies do OK on either one. There are a few babies who can’t handle standard infant formula and need the breast milk, and there are also a few who cannot digest their mothers’ milk and require formula to thrive.

            Crunchy perception:
            All infant digestive problems are caused by formula. Somehow.

          • Jessica S.

            And if your baby isn’t digesting your breast milk, you’re doing it wrong. :)

          • Lion

            No, breastmilk and colostrum take about sixty to ninety minutes to be digested. It is not instant. It goes to the baby’s stomach and digests. Babies can aspirate breastmilk. I help mothers breastfeed, I have afriend whose baby this happened to. Giving formula doesn’t automatically mean a baby will aspirate what comes up. If a baby is given a bottle of breastmilk or formula they can still be overfeed but aren’t necessarily overfed. A breastfeeding mother with a strong let down and fast milk flow can also shoot out too much milk and lots comes up again.

          • Jessica S.

            I’m curious about over feeding. I didn’t breastfeed my son and I’m not planning to with his sister when she arrives next month. I did read some on feeding methods before I had him, but only in my pregnancy books which talked about both (but mainly discussed breastfeeding). I don’t recall anything about over feeding. However, the nurses did tell us not to feed him more than an ounce at a time…? Maybe even less than that. All I remember is he was clearly frustrated that we were taking the bottle away – in hindsight, he may have only gotten half of the formula, b/c the other half ended up dribbling down his cheek while he ate. :) Save for one nurse, who on the second day told us to feed him until he started pulling away, the other nurses kept telling us that they don’t need much to eat, the only get the colostrum anyhow the first few days so he shouldn’t eat more than a tiny bit at a time. But how does one translate that to formula feeding? I don’t know where I’d even find info specific to formula feeding (or even bottle feeding, doesn’t have to be formula) – breastfeeding, no problem finding info there. So is there a set amount a newborn should be fed the first few days or is it ok to watch their cues? That’s what we finally did and got a very happy baby as a result, quantity of formula was besides.

          • Lion

            There is a web site about bottle feeding breastfed babies that might have some useful information. Full of crunchy of course. However, the way they suggest bottle feeding seems to work quite well for those I know who have tried it. They suggest holding the bottle horizontal so baby has to suck rather than the milk dripping out. They also suggest angling the teat up in the mouth periodically and letting baby suck it back in if wanted. The formula I gave was mostly by sns, so I don’t have any practical tips. When I did give a bottle in public someone would usually grab my baby and want to give the feed for me. The site is called nurtured child or baby led bootleg feeding. I don’t know the URL. You’ll have to google it. Close your eyes to the crunchy though :)

          • Lion

            Bootleg. I meant to type bottle.

          • Young CC Prof

            If you run into an overzealous security guard determined to confiscate ALL outside food or beverages, and have to sneak the
            bottles in so you can feed your child, that would be bootleg feeding.

          • Jessica S.

            Ha!

          • Lion

            Having a good chuckle.

          • Jessica S.

            Thank you, Lion! I’ll make my way around the crunchy, thanks for the heads up! ;) One thing I definitely want to do different this time is NOT start off with a fast flow nipple. Maybe that was standard, or maybe they just grabbed the first thing they saw, but things got a lot easier when a nurse, bless her, brought us a slow flow nipple.

          • fiftyfifty1

            They gave you a fast flow nipple?! My guess is that it was a stocking mistake. The fast flow nipples should go to the older babies only.

          • Jessica S.

            Poor kid, he was having a tough time figuring it out. He spit up so forcefully once, it shot out his nose. It was at that point the nurse said she’d bring us a different nipple. It was much better after that, except we still had everyone telling us to only feed “X” amount – I think it was even less than an ounce, b/c I recall we kept having to pull it away from him to check and make sure he wasn’t getting to much – and he clearly wasn’t happy with that. Finally, on our last night there, another nurse said “just feed him what he wants and stop as soon as he loses interest!”. He was an easy baby after that. :)

          • Lion

            Yes, fast flow doesn’t sound like a good idea at such a young age. I know some people like a schedule, but I found life much easier going on baby’s cues, but because of my low supply I did offer extra feeds inbetween as well, just in case baby might be hungry, sometimes they wanted sometimes hey didn’t.

          • Jessica S.

            I think we aimed to feed him every couple hours, but that was more about not forgetting to feed him. Not that he’d let us! :) I remember a one night, he was probably 5-6 days old, we woke up with a start and realize he’d slept over five hours straight. We weren’t sure if we should wake him to eat or what! I think we ended up waking him after another 30 mins. But it was funny, sleep deprived parents, wide awake and unsure if they should wake the sleeping baby. :)

          • fiftyfifty1

            Going by cues is a great way to go. This whole thing about “they only get a couple of drops of colostrum if they are breastfed so that’s how much formula they should be given” is a bunch of baloney that has crept over from lactivism. First of all, the amount of colostrum varies a lot woman to woman. Some make a lot more than a couple of teaspoons. Second, just because volumes tend to be small doesn’t mean that that is a good thing. Plenty of breastfed babies get dehydrated and jaundiced on what their mothers supply.

            I would say you don’t have to do anything special with the way you hold the bottle or position it. Just make sure you are using a normal newborn slow flow nipple (that is what the hospital nursery will stock). Some newborns have a better coordinated suck-swallow pattern than others. The ones that are relatively uncoordinated will seem a little overwhelmed or choke-y, and may need to be given little breaks. The coordinated ones will just suck it down calmly and happily, and you can let them.

          • Young CC Prof

            I think the idea of feeding newborns just a little formula makes sense if you’re trying to get breastfeeding to work. You want to prevent dehydration and give him the energy to keep trying to breastfeed, but not completely satisfy him.

            If bottle-feeding is the plan from day 1, yeah, just feed as much as the baby wants. BUT, not all newborns are going to be chugging the 2 ounce bottles an hour after birth!

          • Jessica S.

            Yeah, I was wondering that aloud to my husband last night. I figured the babies don’t necessarily come out thinking “I’m hungry!” right away. :)

          • Jessica S.

            Thank you so much – your response rocks! I still can’t believe they gave us a fast flow nipple – it didn’t even say “standard”, which would at least make some sense. But we were new at it and didn’t know better.

            On a side note, I ended up buying preemie flow nipples for our bottles, after he was a few weeks old. That seemed to resolve the little stream of formula down his cheek every time we fed him. :)

            I assume, just by the laws of Nothing About Parenting Is Easy, this second little one will do everything different and throw our plans in a pile. ;)

          • Ob in OZ

            That is why each child is awesome in their own way. Good luck

          • Jessica S.

            Thank you!! I’m lucky to have this group of people to bounce questions and ideas off of!

          • OldTimeRN

            I tell my bottle feeding moms, the first few feeding to give between 1/2 to 1oz. Babies are born with a lot of mucous and when it mixes with the formula, they generally regurgitate. Some babies may take more as they love to suck, but it doesn’t mean they were hunger. They would be happy with a pacifier. After those 1st few feeding and the mucous is absorbed the feeding can be increased, going by feeding cues.

          • Jessica S.

            Ok! That makes sense. I can totally see how that would go. Thanks so much!

          • Lion

            You’re not being attacked. People are asking valid questions. There is some attacking that goes on here for sure, but this is not an example of it.

          • Karen in SC

            Baloney! The Navelgazing Midwife’s new grandson spent time in the NICU and then was re-admitted for aspiration of BREAST MILK. As he was just a day or so old, that must of been the liquid gold.

          • Jessica S.

            Of course it wouldn’t, it’s magic!

          • Jessica S.

            Did the parents know you spoke to the doctor about their baby? I find it hard to believe a doctor would just share medical information with you. But perhaps that’s another surrogate thing I don’t get. All I know is that if someone refused the colostrum from me, I’d take that as a hint not to get involved.

          • Beth S

            No I can’t believe the doctor would talk to her about the condition of the baby. With her being a GC the HIPPA laws fall into place. Especially if it’s the biological mother’s name on the birth cert. And no as far as I know the GC is not considered the biological mom because she shares no DNA with the baby.
            Now if it’s an adoption it’s a different story because legally you are the parent until you sign away your parental rights. Most states give adoptive parents at least 90 days to change their minds so they do have the right to access the heathcare information.

          • Captain Obvious

            More likely to have reflux or laryngomalacia. Babies can vomit formula or breast milk out of their bodies, they only aspirate when there is a problem with the larynx, epiglottis or body parts in that area.

          • carolyn Gall

            Congratulations on having twins! You will certainly have your hands full. Blessings.

          • PeggySue

            This assumes there was an RE and a transfer. I am wondering if this was actually a less formal arrangement given that she mentioned she conceived naturally…

          • Jessica S.

            First off, congratulations!! Twins – that’ll be something else!

            You are spot on. I don’t know what to make of her story. Definitely I wouldn’t risk my chance of a successful pregnancy on someone who is 50. And that shouldn’t be insulting to women of advanced maternal age – hell, at 37 my pregnancy is currently classified as geriatric. (Still cracks me up, but it’s accurate!) It’s fantastic she had a successful pregnancy at 50, but I’m having a hard time accepting this was a normal situation.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Congrats on your twins! That is awesome!
            I don’t think Carolyn is faking it:

            “Carolyn Gall‎Eats On Feets ~ Connecticut
            November 7, 2013 ·
            I am now producing colostrum after giving birth to a baby boy yesterday early morning. The parents of the baby decided to decline the colostrum.. actually the baby is in NICU for aspirating up food that would not go down due to constipation from being fed formula. I had it all saved for them but they don’t want it and it is not my decision. It really saddens me but that’s just the way it goes. So I am trying to find a match so that I can donate. Still recovering from a pretty traumatic birth experience also so I need my rest”

          • Young CC Prof

            Constipation doesn’t cause aspiration.

          • Captain Obvious

            Must be some bad bad constipation to cause aspiration, doh. Even if the baby could develop copremesis, why would the baby aspirate?

          • Jessica S.

            “actually the baby is in NICU for aspirating up food that would not go down due to constipation from being fed formula”

            Oh, is that so? I wonder, did she get a diagnosis from the doctor on this? How convenient that the EVIL FORMULA is to blame.

          • carolyn Gall

            Yes. I donated 38 ounces to a mom with a 3 month old.

          • Jessica S.

            I’m glad you found someone to donate to – that’s a great thing.

          • Trixie

            Not when you’re unscreened, it’s not.

          • Jessica S.

            I didn’t think about that – you’re right. I guess I made the mental jump that it was through a service. Don’t know why! Thanks for pointing that out.

          • Trixie

            Yeah, milk donation through a bank is a wonderful and lifesaving gift, just like blood donation. But, that’s not what she did.

          • Lion

            The milk sharing organizations don’t screen they just put people in touch. Milk banks screen and check medications and you have to inform them of any illness and medication. I have seen some suggested questions for donor moms on milk sharing sites that include things like whether she eats an organic diet or not. I didn’t see a check for kale quantity per day, but sure it will be there.

          • Haelmoon

            I have seen 50 year old surrogates in two cases. Both were mother-in–laws with a history of healthy, easy pregnancies. Both of the daughter-in-laws had c-hysts due to postpartum hemorrhage. Both babies delivered 34 and 35 weeks to to the “grandmother” having severe pre-eclampsia. Both were actually delivered vaginally, but these were both grandmothers that had had 4+ vaginal deliveries, the most recent for one was only 9 years previous. One grandmother did great, the other needed a psych evaluation because she really struggled with her role as grandmother after being pregnant. She wanted to breastfeed and the daughter-in-law said no (she said yes to any expressed milk). Both were under the care of MFM. Both were considered very high risk. Both had extensive tests prior to pregnancy (including cardiac stress tests) prior to becoming pregnant.

          • Twintastic

            It’s good that there was a lot of testing of these cases prior. I suppose it makes sense that the RE may have been more willing to work with them them because they were altruistic/ uncompensated.

          • Jessica S.

            As usual, I love reading your input. :) I can understand a situation like that and in fairness, that could be similar here. Except those women took the risks – the real risks – seriously.

        • Medwife

          I’ve seen some shockingly high risk surrogates. Over 40 years old, history of preterm birth, hypertension, hypothyroid, history of peripartum cardiomyopathy, sometimes several of the above conditions. My guess is they charge less.

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

      Hey there! Siri Dennis dropped me a note that my presence was requested on the bridge. Catching up now… had a busy couple of weeks IRL

      • Jessica S.

        Ha! No kidding, right?

  • Carolyn Gall

    I’m out. I want to leave the discussion on good terms. Thanks! Great Movie btw.

    • Jessica S.

      Translation: questions are hard. Where’s my birthing medal??

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Why is it that all these posters who declare they are leaving never really do?

  • Ushaas Re

    • Trixie

      Wow,how insightful! No one here has ever heard of this film before. Thanks for bringing something new to the table.

    • Carolyn Gall

      Ahhhh! One of my favorite movies. Got the popcorn and playing it again for another go around. thanks for posting.

      • Stacy48918

        Did your midwife refund your money when you transferred to the hospital?

        • carolyn Gall

          No. But I was so impressed with her skills that I decided to become a midwife myself.

          • Stacy48918

            Huh…”The Business of Being Born” I guess. Payment for services not rendered.

            No, you didn’t decide to become a midwife because you’re not enrolled in a CNM program. You decided to become a birth hobbyist because you’re “impressed with her skills.”

            And you obviously do not believe in informed consent. Mothers have a right to accurate information during pregnancy and delivery and there are obviously huge deficiencies in your own knowledge base. Unless you correct that you cannot accurately advise mothers. And you will be a danger to their lives and the lives of their babies.

          • carolyn Gall

            I am going to enroll in Midwifery College in Utah and then apprentice with CNM’s who also work with Yale School of Nursing and have student nurses come and watch their home births that they do all over the state. It will take me years to become a midwife. At least 6

          • Stacy48918

            Why not become a CNM? If they are good enough to learn from, why not be one?

          • Medwife

            You are dangerous. Stop now. Become a doula.

            Edited to add: I know the practice you’re talking about, I think. Look for the blog “Elm City Dad” for an example of their outcomes.

          • Bombshellrisa

            It would take you that long to go through nursing school and then get your masters and specialize. Lots better, you learn women’s healthcare too. Also might find that you love another part of nursing even more than the pregnancy/L&D part (like I did).

          • Jessica S.

            “Huh…”The Business of Being Born” I guess. Payment for services not rendered.”

            EXACTLY.

          • Hooligan

            Well, you’re already uneducated enough and have a vitriolic hatred of the ebil hospital and all the meen medical persons, you know, the ones with actual degrees, all you really need now is to tag along for free, or, ha, actually have to pay another uneducated lay midwife who may or may not have completed high school, to “learn” how to be a CPM and fill out and sign off on all the “skills” you “learned” while at her side. Pay $700 <— yes, SEVEN HUNDRED dollars to take the NARM CPM "exam" and poof, you too can be eligible to be licensed in 26 states! And eligible in all states to be a "under-the-radar" guerrilla midwife who flaunts the rules and "sticks it to the man" who's trying to "disempower women" Congrats on that. I hope, in all fairness, that you warn all your clients first that you're a woo-meister whack-job who may or may not allow their baby to DIE, mostly because you won't have a clue that it's happening. I mean, that's only fair to the parents, to know that up-front. Too bad the baby won't know it's in the hands of a nut-job.

          • Siri

            At least a quick Google search will come up with this thread, exposing Ms G in all her paranoid, ignorant, nutty glory. Anyone with an ounce of sense will choose a different midwife (euphemism for ‘run away screaming’).

          • Siri

            Her money-making skills – yes, that makes sense. How to get paid for services not rendered. Well, happy earning!

      • carolyn Gall

        Wooot woooot, Just saw the part where Odent says to get the “heck out of the hospital!” Yeah!

    • Stacy48918

      What a load of drivel by a washed up talk show host. But heaven forbid a non-practicing OB, Harvard instructor, ACOG lecturer, author write about birth.

    • Sue

      Can they hear ANYTHING through that LONG stethoscope tubing? Or is it just for show?

  • Carolyn Gall

    My blood pressure was 140/85 and I had protein in my urine. I had normal liver enzymes. +2 pitting edema and DTR were normal. I did not have a headache or upper GI pain. No headaches or dizziness. Told by my own back up OB that chances of dying of an eclamptic seizure was 1: 100,000. Terrific I thought. I’ll take those odds and wave the mag. sulfate.

    • Stacy48918

      Well I’m glad you didn’t “trust your body” and know that “nature knows best” since your baby obviously didn’t know how to “come when he was ready”.

      Seems your body and your baby needed help to be born and you didn’t find it with lay midwives at home. You found it with medical professionals in a hospital.

      I’m glad your baby is ok. See a therapist for the other stuff.

    • Karen in SC

      If you were okay with those odds of eclamptic seizure, why didn’t you check yourself out of the hospital AMA and let your husband deliver your baby?

      Maybe being 50 years old with a 50 year old uterus and vaginal tissues contributed to the less effective contractions and needing an episiotomy. It sounded as if the doctor was trying to massage your perineum but you refused that.

      Hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems to me that spending the time early in your pregnancy finding a doctor that knew your medical history and your preferences would have led to a much better “experience” for you, plus the healthy baby. As it was, the on call OB probably saw you as a lawsuit waiting to happen if anything went medically wrong.

      • Siri

        And who can blame the OB, with a super-nice client like the lovely Mrs Gall?

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          Besides, we are only hearing one perspective. I suspect the doctor’s story would be very different.

          • Karen in SC

            With the surrogacy, the OB potentially faced two lawsuits. Oy.

          • Jessica S.

            My thoughts PRECISELY.

          • Siri

            Oh Bofa, that’s such a cliche! I choose to believe that the dr and nurses would confirm Ms Gall’s story down to the smallest detail. Up to and including admitting the charges of idiocy, torture and rape. I’m actually hoping to have Ms G gestate my next baby for me; at 45 I fear I’m rather too old to produce one the old-fashioned way. If it’s twins, would you like one?

      • Mac Sherbert

        Quiet honestly I’m having a hard time following her. Everything seems point at her needing an induction, maternal age, pre-e, water broken for 30 hours…

        She refused to be induced, but then attempted to induce herself??? I’m sorry that just sounds crazy.

        It sounds like someone that went in looking for a fight and argued with the doctor about absolutely everything. For someone that thinks they know everything she sounds remarkably uninformed.

        I’m impressed she had a baby at 50 and everything turned out ok. That is a STORY.

    • Thankfulmom

      140/85 isn’t *that* bad. Why did you go to the hospital if you didn’t trust them and hated it so much? Once you declined the mag. and pitocin what was the point of staying if you felt your labor was progressing well?

      I went in at 30 weeks with my bp at 198/100+ They were able to get my bp down with iv labetalol and gave me mag. Got steroids for my baby’s lungs and was able to hang in until 33 weeks with an increase in bp meds. I hated the mag for delivery and 24 hours afterwards, but being almost 47 they weren’t taking any chances with me. I was so thankful for the medical intervention which allowed me to get to 33 weeks. I’m thankful for those who spend decades of their lives studying so moms & babies can be safe. We older moms are higher risk and it is reasonable to expect the doctors are not going to take risks with us.

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

        Hypertension is not just based on a diastolic pressure of 95 or higher. If the diastolic jumps 20 or more points above the baseline, between antenatal visits, a woman is assumed to have PIH. This is fairly common, since BP goes down in pregnancy, diastolic sometimes being in the 50-60 range. Usually a bit of bedrest will lower the BP in situations like this.

    • RN who has seen too much

      Did they do a 24 hour urine? That’s not even really elevated pressures. There’s a lot more to it than elevated pressures. how MUCH protein was in your urine, and if it was fine, why didn’t you go back home where you wanted to be?

  • Carolyn Gall

    The labor started at 9:30 and the baby was born at 3:30am. That is a 6 hour labor. The point is the Dr. was cruel to me because I refused the magnesium sulfate and the Pitocin. This Pitocin was ordered 3 hours into this 6 hour labor because the machine could not pick up my extremely painful contractions because of my relaxation techniques. Doc said my contractions were palpated as mild and they were anything but. Look at the mama, not the dam machine you idiots. Now if I had been dumb enough to take the mag. sulfate my baby would have nearly died because he aspirated and turned blue at his second feed (1st was colostrum, 2nd was formula) cause he had a meconium plug that was backing up his internal plumbing. I did not pick this Dr. Remember I was having a home birth? She was the on call service Dr. I came in to have the baby. They just delayed delayed giving me Pitocin till my labor started on it’s own. (I had my membranes ruptured 30 hours earlier and needed to deliver soon) The 50 year old? Yeah, that’s me. We had a go round months ago. I was kicked off the forum.

    • RNMomma

      Bare with me, I’m confused. What would the mag sulfate have done to the newborn? Also, why would a meconium plug cause a baby to aspirate? I’ve never worked with newborns, but I’ve worked with a lot of older kids with aspiration issues. I’ve just never heard of this, but i also don’t know a ton about it.

      I’m so sorry the doc performed an episiotomy on you without consent. Not only is that unethical, but also not typical practice these days. I know you said it was unnecessary; was there a reason the doc wanted your baby to come out so quickly?

      I’m also glad your child is okay. I hope you are able to get some counseling as well and that you are able to heal from this.

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

      There is no direct correlation between how strong/painful contractions “feel” to the person experiencing them, and their actual strength in terms of dilating the cervix. Fetal monitors don’t measure subjectively, only objectively. So you may very well have benefited from pitocin.

      “Meconium plugs” don’t cause aspiration of feeds. Your understanding of neonatal gastrointestinal and respiratory anatomy is incorrect.

      Neither does magnesium sulfate cause aspiration, in either mother or baby. Where you get the idea that it does? This post, and your others below display a high degree of ignorance, btw, about the actual physiology of labor.

      • RNMomma

        Thanks, this is what I was trying to get at. I work in pediatrics, so I don’t want to go spouting off what I don’t know.

      • Mac Sherbert

        Thanks I was wondering how relaxation techniques would infer with the machines? Either your contracting or your not. I will say the external monitoring didn’t pick my contractions, so they did an internal monitoring. I’ll go out a limb and say she would let them place internal monitoring.

        • carolyn Gall

          I was so perfectly effective at relaxation that the contractions were not picked up on the machine. They kept moving the monitor. Nurse left and got a new one. She kept scratching her head. This is all during the 6 hours. DURING the 6 hours (halfway) the stupid Dr. came in and said. “Oh, the contractions are not strong enough” let me order Pitocin” At that point I was in full swing and about 7 cm dilated my guess). But they did not do any exams till just before the birth and I was 9.5 Those contraction gizmos go from 0 to 100. Mine never got past 30. It was challenging to relax but I know how to do it. This happened before with my 2nd baby. I was in transition and the nurse said she wasn’t picking up the contractions on the machine! This only shows how good I am at natural childbirth. But explaining this to non-natural childbirth folks is like explaining snow to people who live in Saudi Arabia.

          • Trixie

            The contraction monitors didn’t work on me either. Has nothing to do with my mental state. You’re giving yourself too much credit.

          • Mac Sherbert

            Way too much credit. I got to 5cm without the monitors picking up my contractions…it wasn’t because I was good at childbirth.

          • Karen in SC

            Doubtful. Contraction monitors measure uterine pressure, they are not like polygraphs. Your mental state has no effect. I’m told that contractions show up quite well after an epidural is placed, when the mother isn’t feeling anything and may even be asleep.

          • wookie130

            You’re going to have to define what it means to be “good” at natural childbirth. Are there awards for this? Did your vagina receive a trophy, or a years supply of free chocolate or something? Honestly.

          • OldTimeRN

            And the Oscar for best laboring mother goes to Caroyln Gall.

            Happy? Is that was you wanted?

            Congrats.

            Now let’s compare what really matters? Those babies! Im sure my c/s born mostly bottle feeding babies of a working Momma would compare just fine to your babies.

          • Jessica S.

            For real! The arrogance is a bit much to take.

          • Jessica S.

            “At that point I was in full swing and about 7 cm dilated my guess”. Your guess?? You’re judging what the doctor and staff did based on a “guess” of how dilated you were?

            “This only shows how good I am at natural childbirth.” You are really arrogant. No, it shows how you can dream up a reason for anything you like.

          • RN who has seen too much

            You have NO idea how tocometers work. It’s a type of pressure meter. My guess is you have a little extra abdominal fluff (no hate, I too have extra subcutaneous tissue) and your contractions weren’t picking up as strongly as they would have on a thinner patient. the number on the monitor has absolutely NOTHING to do with strength of contractions. The only way to show true strength of contractions is to use an intrauterine pressure catheter. I will agree with you on one point, it sounds like you didn’t need the pitocin. However, I have to ask, did you allow cervical checks? If you had, they would have been able to tell that your contractions were making change, and wouldn’t have even brought up the pit. I’m guessing you were refusing those?

          • Jessica S.

            I think the cervical checks, and the refusal thereof, ties into the birth rape allegation.

          • Siri

            No amount of relaxation mumbo jumbo will have any impact on the strength or palpability of your contractions; this only shows, again, how little you know of anatomy and physiology. As a midwife I have palpated contractions on women with epidurals, women under GA and even unconscious women. Obesity can make it harder to pick up contractions; sometimes there’s no logical explanation.

      • Bombshellrisa

        That is sad isn’t it, in light of the fact that Ms Gall is a Bradley instructor. I wonder what she had “taught” her clients about labor?

        • Carolyn Gall

          I teach them to relax like I did for 5 births. I have 2 couples right now that are having home births. They most times “rock” their births and do just fine. No drugs for me. Completely un-medicated. That means pit, epi or mag. sulfate. NO DRUGS PERIOD! Baby born super healthy. Mom fine. My BP went back down to normal after a few weeks. Protein in urine gone.

          • Karen in SC

            Well, I did that too, as did many other commenters. Others survived near misses.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I was going to say I rocked my sons’s birth-didn’t feel my contractions and showed up to the hospital thinking they would send me home and instead told me I was dilated to 9. I wasn’t exactly relaxed either. But really-what difference does it make? He is going to be five months next Sunday and he is giggling and “talking” and smiling a ton. So whether I rocked it or screamed in agony, he is what matters

          • Jessica S.

            How very empowering of these methods, to give women one way of going through labor and delivery and demonize another. That’s some birth freedom for you right there.

          • Petanque

            I totally “rocked” my Caesarian birth, had gentle knowledgable care by trained medical professionals and my baby was born safely. I wouldn’t have felt any better about myself or my birth if I hadn’t had drugs.

      • Carolyn Gall

        Why would a woman need Pitocin for a 6 hour labor? Isn’t 6 hours speedy enough? No I was not talking about cervical dilation. I was talking strength of contractions. They were very effective and powerful and working just fine. I did not need to have anything augmented.

        • Jessica S.

          You know this in HINDSIGHT. Obviously no one knew it would be six hours until the baby arrived!

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

          Why would a woman need Pitocin for a 6 hour labor?

          Because, by your own admission, you had gone 36 or whatever hrs at home with nothing happening, and then 12 hrs in the hospital with nothing going on. It makes sense that by that point, they’d want to get thing moving faster.

          BTW, you don’t actually know how long a labor is until it is DONE, so saying “6 hr labor” is either really dumb or deceitful. There was no way to know how long the labor would be when it started.

        • MaineJen

          Did you know at the start that it would only be 6 hours? No. And neither did anyone else. You are criticizing decisions that were made in the moment; no one has a crystal ball, no one can see into the future. What if your labor had been 24 hours?

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I had a four hour labor and needed augmentation. You really don’t know anything at all about this subject do you.

      • Carolyn Gall

        I guess he was overfed. The babies mother gave him the formula not me. I was a gestational surrogate mother. And yes, the mag sulfate makes the baby lethargic. As well as I would feel lethargic and sick (bath salts) and I could have died.

        • Trixie

          You were a gestational surrogate at age 50? What?

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

          Mag sulfate, especially when given in a single dose or for a brief period, does not necessarily make a baby lethargic. Baby could have had a stomach full of unsuctioned mucus which caused regurgitation, followed by aspiration, also.

          you could have died from eclampsia, or been permanently brain-damaged. Ditto the baby. Pre-E is not a benign condition.

          re the pitocin: please clarify– you went from a closed cervix to fully dilated in 6 hours with, or without augmentation? How long since your last birth? The longer ago it was, the more likely you would labor like a primip.

          Btw, I’m also fascinated by your being a surrogate mother at such an advanced age. The fact that you managed to carry to near term

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

            Disqus cut me off in the middle. I was going to add, after “not a benign condition” — Google HELLP Syndrome.

            And, after ” carry to near term” — is a considerable achievement.

          • Carolyn Gall

            I had normal liver enzymes. If they were abnormal then I would have followed there recommendations to be induced by Pitocin at 37 weeks. I had no signs of going eclamptic. Only symptoms I had was elevated BP and protein in my urine and some swelling. DTR were normal. 38 weeks is term. I wanted the baby to be born at term. He was perfectly healthy. The part I did not clarify was that my “water” came out at 9:30pm and the idiot Dr.’s and nurses did not know my membranes were already ruptured. So I said “hey look, my water broke” and then my labor took off. Yes, it was a 6 hour labor from start to finish. Everything prior was just a warm up. Babies head had to come down and rest on the cervix to get things going.

          • Jessica S.

            No, I believe everything prior to that is still considered labor, just the early stage of it. This is why your story is not making sense. And you call the doctor and nurse “idiots”.

          • Young CC Prof

            Labor was 6 hours from an arbitrary start point 6 hours before the baby was delivered. Just like I finished my dissertation in three months, the previous four years were just getting ready.

          • araikwao

            (37 weeks is term…)

          • Poogles

            How could you, such an “educated” birthing woman, possibly get pre-eclampsia?

            I mean, according to you, on your facebook page: “Pre-eclampsia is a totally prevntable condition. It’s too bad that she didn’t know about the Brewer Diet before this happened. It all could have been prevented! All pregnant women reading this if you don’t want this to happen to you eat a well balanced diet and include 80-100 grams of protein in your diet. That’s too bad about the baby having to be born so early. A real shame.”

            Did you just not eat enough protein? What did you do wrong??

        • OldTimeRN

          There is this little cycle called suck,swallow, breathe. Sometimes babies forget the breathe part. It’s a lot to ask a baby to do. Doesn’t mean anything caused it.

          • Jessica S.

            My poor son had a rough time figuring out the rhythm. More formula ended up down his cheek than in his belly, I’m sure. :) He spit a lot of it back up, I suspect he was getting air and stuff, too. It wasn’t until the second night that one of the nurses suggested a slow-flow nipple. We looked at those we had been given and sure enough they were marked fast-flow. :/ God bless that nurse, we had a happy baby for the first time since he arrived!

            When we return to the hospital in a few short weeks for baby 2.0, I’ll be bringing my own supply of nipples. :)

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I had magnesium sulfate twice and neither baby was lethargic at all. I was tired (not lethargic) with the second, but the first not at all.

      • Jessica S.

        Which makes the prospect of her desire to become a home birth midwife even more alarming.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Someone (with a clue) can help me out.

      I thought the use of mag sulfate was to stop labor. If so, why would the doctor want to give pitocin AND mag sulfate?

      • RNMomma

        Mag sulfate is used to prevent seizures in preeclampsia patients. I’m not knowledgeable about the timing of it in regards to labor, though.

        It is also used to “stop” preterm labor, but from what I know, it’s now recommended to be used temporarily to stall it and buy some time for other treatment, such as corticosteroids. I guess if preterm labor stops that’s a bonus?

        • OldTimeRN

          It’s also used for neuro protection for the preterm baby.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Mag sulfate has 1,001 uses from Ye Olde Fashioned Remedie to drawe out a Sliver of Wood, to a coagulant for tofu making, to a labor tocolytic, to an antiseizure med, to correcting certain heart arrhythmias.

        • araikwao

          And acute severe asthma management!

      • Young CC Prof

        Sometimes, in a woman with preeclampsia, the situation actually gets WORSE for a short time after the birth. My online friends who were induced slightly early for pre-e were put on mag sulfate right after delivering the baby, to make sure their bodies didn’t totally freak out.

        • FormerPhysicist

          That’s what I had, A mag drip right after the c/s. And then another 2 weeks later for post-partum pre-E. :(

      • Medwife

        Mag sulfate is to prevent eclampsia, but while it’s not a great tocolytic, it can have that effect. So pitocin because the ultimate cure for pre-e is delivery and you want to keep moving toward that.

      • Captain Obvious

        Above story is not lucid. But MgSO4 is used to prevent seizures if your have preeclampsia. Sucks really, because the mag can decrease the effectiveness of the pitocin when you’re inducing someone with preeclampsia.

    • Bombshellrisa

      My little one had a dusky episode with his second feed too. I didn’t have anything during the birth but IV fluids and antibiotics because I had an unknown GBS status.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      the machine could not pick up my extremely painful contractions because of my relaxation techniques.

      Your relaxation technique resulted in the contractions being undetectable by two methods but still extremely painful? That sounds like a technique to avoid! It’s both ineffective (painful contractions with it) and has a harmful side effects (makes the contractions ineffective). Or maybe you were having some form of dysfunctional labor that hurt but didn’t progress cervical dilation.

    • Jessica S.

      I don’t understand your story – you said this in your original comment: “I induced my own labor with herbals and went to the hospital 36 hours later. 12 hours later the babies head came down and I had a speedy 6 hour labor.” Yet directly above you state that your labor started at 9:30pm and baby was born at 3:30am. So are you talking about the time you spent laboring in the hospital? Are you talking about different stages of labor? Your story is difficult to follow and I’m not sure if it’s just the way your telling it or perhaps the way you aren’t quite telling it.

  • Carolyn Gall

    Hi! I’m the 50 year old that was going to have a home birth. I ended up getting birth raped in the hospital for the birth of my baby. I had pre eclampsia and did not want an induction at 37 weeks. They tried to give it to me along with Pitocin but I refused. I induced my own labor with herbals and went to the hospital 36 hours later. 12 hours later the babies head came down and I had a speedy 6 hour labor. Oh, and the lovely Dr. gave me my 1st ever episiotomy and it was my 5th and not a large baby. baby was born @38 weeks. Apgar 9 and 7.7 pounds. Why did I have to be cut? Because the nurse physically forced me onto my back to deliver in the lithotomy position while the Dr. thrusted all her 8 fingers into my vagina to (I don’t have a clue what she was doing other than hurting me) do some kind of perineal massage. When I complained about the pain she grabbed the scissors and cut my vagina larger. Ignored me for the most part and pushed an anterior lip out of the way with her finger without even telling me she was doing it. I’m still recovering. Would have had a home birth if I could have but the high blood pressure made it impossible.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

      Why did you go to the doctor if you know so much more than them about how to deliver babies?

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

        There actually is quite a bit of ignorance apparent in Ms. Gall’s account, but I’m not going to go into detail about it because I’m not in a mood to write an essay. It is obvious she thinks she knows better than her doctors, but she doesn’t really know what she doesn’t know, which is true for most birth “experts”.

        I’m glad the end result was good, and Ms. Gall and her baby are OK.

    • Jessica S.

      I’m sorry, are you saying that you had a baby at 50 and you’re complaining about the fact that they wanted to induce you? I think I’d be too busy being grateful I made it to 37 weeks. Something tells me there’s another half to your story that’s missing. Also, I don’t know that 18 hours of laboring in the hospital is “speedy”, especially if it was your fifth? But admittedly, I’m not a doctor and don’t presume to know as much.

      You’re “the” 50 year old – am I missing out on another post?

      • Stacy48918

        “Also, I don’t know that 18 hours of laboring in the hospital is “speedy”, especially if it was your fifth? ”
        You forgot the 36 hours from her herbals before that.
        So that’s a grand total of a 54 hour long “induction” in a 5 time mother. Yea, I’m sure there was nothing wrong there.

        “Speedy” labor, ha!

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

          “Herbals” don’t induce labor any more than doing intensive spring cleaning or jumping off ladders induce miscarriage. You went into spontaneous labor 30 hours after rupturing membranes, that’s all, no matter what you ingested.

          Despite your attempts to portray yourself as some kind of victim, as well as being extremely normal, you actually were at risk for a number of very serious complications, ranging from eclampsia to dystocia to uterine atony with PP hemorrhage. No one, at age 50, whether spontaneously pregnant or as the result of fertility treatment, regardless of parity, is a low risk patient.

          • Carolyn Gall

            breaking the water and herbals and nipple stimulation will start labor. In most cases. I went to the hospital because it had been 30 hours and I needed to deliver sooner than later. I should have stayed at home. I wish I did. But hindsight is always 20/20

          • Karen in SC

            Sometimes it doesn’t though. Or contractions aren’t effective.

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

            My experience with nipple stimulation has been that it is essentially worthless as a means of induction. There is some benefit in attempting to contact the uterus hen you want to get the placenta delivered. Amniotomy AS A MEANS OF INDUCTION, is playing with fire. You are committed to delivery then, and risk amnionitis and cord prolapse (unless the vertex is already at zero station or lower)

          • Petanque

            Hmm, in so many of those home birth blogs or birth stories, they do talk about nipple stimulation as a means of induction – when doing it continuously for 24 hours at a time! Meanwhile they’re also trying cathartic herbal tinctures, castor oil etc. How is that natural?

          • RN who has seen too much

            90 percent of women will start spontaneous labor after 6 hours of SROM. Your labor was dysfunctional. Probably because you have a 50 year old uterus.

    • Stacy48918

      You know, there are people in this world that have been REALLY raped. You have no right to use that term.

      Oh yea and the logic of
      “induction with pitocin at the hospital supervised = bad”
      “induction with herbs at home unsupervised = good”
      is idiotic.

      • Carolyn Gall

        supervised at home with a skilled Midwife.

        • Trixie

          What’s your definition of “skilled”?

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            If the midwife was so skilled, why go to a hospital (where you were once but then left because you refused to let them do what they thought was best for you)

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            It doesn’t matter, of course. See Medwife’s comment above.

            “A skilled midwife wouldn’t have been at home with a 50 year old prolonged rupture woman.”

        • Medwife

          A skilled midwife wouldn’t have been at home with a 50 year old prolonged rupture woman.

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

          (Notice the avoidance of specifying the actual qualification of the midwife)

          • carolyn Gall

            She was a CPM. Caught over 500 babies. She was so good that I am now in Midwifery School myself to become a home birth midwife.

          • Medwife

            Oh god. Of course you are.

          • Jessica S.

            Yea, you can spread this misinformation on to other unsuspecting parents! How lucky for them.

          • Jessica S.

            CPM is not impressive. 500 babies over what time frame? That kind of stuff matters.

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

            Two points: Babies are “delivered”, not “caught”, if it is done properly. You aren’t standing there with a basket; you are controlling the way the birth takes place, to the benefit of both the mother and baby. Semantics, I know, but I think it an important distinction.

            Second: 500 deliveries sounds like a lot. It isn’t. I attended more than twice that number of births during the first year of my career. I’ve written elsewhere what the average number of births a hospital midwife can expect to be involved with is, in a mid-sized L&D unit. And, it may be worth pointing out, but my British midwifery tutor told me that to qualify for APPLICATION to the course to be a midwifery tutor in the UK, she had to submit her [legally required] birth registers showing she had at least 3000 births under her belt. Only with that level of experience can a midwife begin to learn how to teach midwifery.

          • Mishimoo

            I don’t know how many babies my CNMs have delivered, and I’m not sure that they do either without looking it up as they count their experience in years rather than ‘catches’.

          • Siri

            500? Whoopie-doo. You really think that’s an impressive number; scary.

          • Captain Obvious

            Midwifery school at 50? Lets see to become a general OB/GYN you need 4 years of college (you may or may not have that already), 4 years of medical scool, and 4 years of residency. You would be 58-62 before you could start adequately caring for patients. Not to mention the education loans you need to pay off. But your right, taking the Homebirth Midwifery track, you could be delivering women at home in what 6 months? A year?

          • Mishimoo

            And since she is an older woman, her patients would probably assume years of experience based on her appearance.

        • Starling

          No midwife with any sense of her actual ability would accept a 50 year old patient who had conceived via IVF. Not a CNM or a CPM. That’s a pair of risk factors that should have risked you all the way out of midwife territory and into consults with a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine.

          I understand that you were very unhappy with the OB you had. It might have been more sensible, given your risk profile, to work with a doctor from the beginning so that you could have continuity of care and a doctor who shared/respected your birth philosophy.

    • Siri

      Congratulations a) on the safe arrival of your healthy baby, especially at age 50! Wow! Also on b) surviving pre-eclampsia, c) having access to immediate, skilled medical help in a fully staffed and equipped hospital and d) emerging from such a high-risk venture with no more serious complications than a simple episiotomy. I’m really pleased for you! Enjoy your beautiful baby.

    • Bombshellrisa

      The doctor was trying to stop you from tearing, or at least direct the tearing.

      • Carolyn Gall

        The Dr. physically forced me onto my back from a “safe” side laying position. This made the opening 30% smaller and rendered me incapable of pushing with no gravity and no intra abdominal pressure. I have had 1 minute 2nd stages in my 4 previous births. All upright or hands and knees. The Dr. caused me to have to do anti gravity pushing and so it prolonged everything. There was no fetal distress, no emergency to get the baby out. Just a vicious Dr. who wanted to “fix my wagon” for refusing drugs. She couldn’t very well torture me if I was on my side, now could she? And yes. It was birth rape. And I don’t care what you think or say. You were not there. You don’t know what happened to me and that Dr.

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

          It is quite true that the left lateral position for delivery, which I learned in the UK and find VERY good in most situations, isn’t much used in hospitals in the US, in my experience. A lot of doctors and nuses have never seen it.

          • Carolyn Gall

            Thank you for saying that. 90% of all American births are this way. Sad because it causes so many problems for mother and baby.

          • Karen in SC

            I have viewed many homebirth videos on Youtube and most of the mothers are lying down when the baby exits the vagina. Since the uterus is expanded and tilted forward and the uterine muscles are doing most of the work, gravity is not all that important, IMO. Would the baby fall out of a 10 cm diameter hole if there were no contractions?

          • Carolyn Gall

            Actually the pelvis is tilted posteriorly when you are laying down. the sacrum is up instead of down and so the baby is merely slamming into the mother’s tailbone and not out. Dr. Robert Caldeyra- Barcia said that except for hanging a woman by her ankles, lithotomy is the worst birth position to be in.

          • RN who has seen too much

            I am always shocked on some of these forums. I guess because I live in a progressive area of Oregon and our hospitals deliver in all kinds of crazy positions. Squatting, hands and knees, side lying, you name it I’ve seen it birthed. It’s especially good if you’ve got a cord issue in the lithotomy position. We have one doc that loves doing episiotomies and I hate it. We call her “let’s make a little more room” I always say I want to hide the scissors from her. She says it at every delivery. Drives me nuts, and makes a bad name for the rest of us who want to follow evidence based medicine. Now, as far as Carolyn’s epis, it’s hard to say without being there. I’ve had a CNM who loves all natural deliveries, almost cut an epis on a friend of mine having a vbac because the hr was in the 60′s and she needed to get that baby OUT. without seeing your strip, i can’t really determine if you had an ob who just liked to cut ,or if your baby was in danger.

        • Jessica S.

          I suspect that term is quite offensive to people who have been raped. The doctor was trying to help you and your baby. Choose another word.

    • Captain Obvious

      Any qualified midwife would obviously risk out a 50 year woman with pre eclampsia. So it was good you delivered in the hospital. Most people with preeclampsia will deliver healthy babies and be healthy after delivery, BUT the risk of small blood vessel damage is higher with preeclampsia. Anyone who delivers regularly (ie, more than 500) has seen placenta abruptions, seizures, strokes, retinal damage, renal damage, hepatic damage from severe preeclampsia. To try and induce at home without a doctor or immediate access to an OR is malpractice (or ignorance).
      Birth rape, what a narcissistic defamatory cop out. Sounds like the doctor spared you a cesarean or forceps delivery. I speculate the FHR was concerning there in second stage, the doctor was checking for position of the baby’s head and whether your cervix was complete and bladder was empty, and the prominence of the coccyx, is ischial spines and adaquacy of your pelvic arch in case a forcep or vacuum was needed. An episiotomy and couched pushing probably spared you an assisted forceps delivery and spared the baby some resuscitation. Was there a nuchal cord causing decels? How high was your blood pressure? If you needed an assisted delivery or if the baby need PPV or CC would your qualified midwife of a meer 500 deliveries been able to do that at home? And if you started bleeding post delivery, how would your qualified midwive care for you and the baby simultaneously? You obviously had a good doctor caring for you and all you can do is complain about your experience thinking you were raped. Just wow. I hope the doctor drops you as a patient. expect a 30 day notice coming after your 6 week pp visit.

      • Irène Delse

        This is such a train wreck. I can totally understand a woman feeling that such exams, even with the most gentle and polite provider, are invasive, but then there’s a way to avoid this altogether: scheduling a c-section. I bet the doctor would have been glad to oblige, considering that she was a patient of advanced age and pre-eclampsia. But wanting a vaginal delivery AND resenting that the doctor ensured it could be done safely… Sorry, that doesn’t compute.

    • Poogles

      “I had pre eclampsia”

      Now, how could that possibly happen to such an “educated” birthing woman as yourself?

      I mean, according to you, on your facebook page: “Pre-eclampsia is a totally prevntable condition. It’s too bad that she didn’t know about the Brewer Diet before this happened. It all could have been prevented! All pregnant women reading this if you don’t want this to happen to you eat a well balanced diet and include 80-100 grams of protein in your diet. That’s too bad about the baby having to be born so early. A real shame.”

      Did you just not eat enough protein? What did you do wrong??

  • Amy

    Amy, your grasp of systemic racism and our health outcomes is about as sophisticated as the blonde spokeswomen on FOX news. Stick to what you know: belittling women and denying them their autonomy.

    • Stacy48918

      A swing and a miss!

      Nice try though.

    • Gusteleh

      What is missing from Amy’s essay? It’s often problematic when white women discuss issues on behalf of women of color so if you have a specific complaint or omission made by Amy that you can point out, I’d really like to hear your POV.

    • Jessica S.

      Details? Seriously, if you’re going to criticize then be specific. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be taken seriously. And you won’t.

    • KarenJJ

      Do you not find it interesting that NCB talk of women that are culturally different to them (Grantley-Read, Ina May Gaskin etc)? I come from a background of poor English/Irish farmhands/farmers. 200 years ago they gave birth in ways not dissimilar from the “NCB ideal” – at home in a house of 1-2 rooms etc and attended by other family/older daughters. But their births don’t seem to count as “natural” enough in NCB culture.

  • Makeda

    I am a Black woman and can safely say that poor outcomes in women of color occurs in even higher rates in professional educated Black women with no risk factors other than being Black in America. Have you seen “When the Bough Breaks from PBS’ 4 part series on ‘Racism making us Sick’.” Then you should. While you are at it read, Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid or Gertrude Fraser’s African American Midwifery in the South. I suspect the health disparities on a whole in Black America and in First Nation denizen’s are due to their appalling health stemming from our own doings also? Could never be associated with systemic, structural, personally mediated and historical racism in America. This in addition to an allopathic medical system and Big Pharm.

    • Young CC Prof

      Yes. Most racial disparities in health outcomes become much smaller if you look at minorities living a middle-class lifestyle with low pollution exposure and consistent easy access to healthy food and medical care. Birth outcomes are the exception, even among professional educated Black women, the rate of premature birth is three times that of white women. And no one has been able to fully explain it.

      • Gusteleh

        If it can be demonstrated the black women have a higher incidence of short cervixes (see article below), that would explain the disparity. It’s very exciting because the treatment is easy and cost effective. I hope that now that health insurance coverage is more widely available that many more black women can gain access to this care.

        • renee

          I had a short cervix and got progesterone (and cerclage). This was possible because I was able to get into see a good doc for my anatomy scan. Without that, there would be no DD today.
          I hope this is part of it, because this is something we have solutions for.

          • Young CC Prof

            Does Medicaid cover cervical length measurement and treatment of short cervix in all states? If not, how can I get enough data to convince them that doing so would be cost-effective?

          • Medwife

            Medicaid does cover a 20 wk anatomy scan. You’d just add cervical length to the assessment. The green journal had an article recently about universal screening is worthwhile.

            Edited to add, cerclages and progesterone supplementation are also covered.

          • CrownedMedwife

            Most Medicaid and private insurance covers Makena injections, however, it is on often a losing battle to obtain Makena coverage by Medicaid and private HMO’s. Non-FDA approved compounded progesterone is often covered at a fraction of the cost, however, this can open a medicolegal dilemma in not providing the FDA approved medication for the diagnosis.

    • renee

      Of course it’s the systemic racism (past and present) that causes bad health outcomes. Add in the misogynist patriarchy and it gets even worse for women, especially black ones.

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

        I have to disagree. Assuming that everyone is just like everyone else at bedrock simply isn’t borne out by facts and immediately screaming “racism!” when this is pointed out is stupid. There are physiologic and anatomic differences between ethnic and racial groups and these have to be recognized, as well as the component played by social factors such as generations of poverty, etc.

        Black women have a higher percentage of android pelves than Caucasian women, for example. While G6PD does occur in the US, it does not anywhere reach the rate of 56% that occurs in Kurdish Jews. Does Tay-Sachs Disease occur in the Chinese?

        Black and Hispanic women, relative to Caucasian women, have higher incidences of certain problems REGARDLESS of educational or social class, and in many cases, the reasons are not fully understood.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Another example that is important in maternity care is that people of East African heritage are much, much more likely to be ultra rapid metabolizers of codeine. This can cause a potentially fatal respiratory depression in breastfed infants of mothers given Tylenol #3, which is a very weak narcotic in normal metabolizers.

          • Medwife

            I had no idea. Wow.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Neither did any of us until our area became a major immigration location for Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian people. T#3 used to be a common postpartum med to add on top of ibuprofen for perineal pain etc. or given in ERs to peds patients for injuries. The hospitals around here have all gotten rid of it because a super rapid metabolizer turns the codeine into morphine all at once, poof!, rather than very slowly changing it from codeine into morphine (and thus most excreted before it becomes active).

          • Elaine

            I am in an area with a lot of Somali immigrants as well… good to know! I don’t see many prescriptions for Tylenol 3, which I suppose is good.

    • Jessica S.

      “This in addition to an allopathic medical system and Big Pharm.”

      I followed everything up to this point – what does this have to do with the rest of your comment? Is that just an aside, or related to systemic racism?

    • Trixie

      Women of African descent in all countries have higher rates of pregnancy and labor complications, is my understanding. Which, is of course, not to say that systemic racism and sexism don’t play a huge role here, because of course they do.

  • Zornorph

    I’m reminded of this post from a few years back.
    http://bestparentever.com/2008/06/09/39-mud-hut-super-moms/

    • Guesteleh

      Yes, Imperialism is alive and well in the Best Parent’s world. These
      days, it’s not enough to steal a poor nation’s natural resources and
      culture. We must also co-opt their child rearing techniques — and profit from it! One book or instructional course offered in any of these
      natural parenting subjects will cost the Best Parent Ever more than the
      Mud Hut Super Mom who inspired it earns in an entire year.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    I work for the PRB in Detroit. Detroit has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country. The population we see is close to 99% AA. These women are more than happy to use the technology involved to have a comfortable labor and to be sure their baby survives. Dr. Hassan’s research on the causes of preterm birth are make huge changes in how care is delivered and the number of babies reaching term. Here’s the web site for the program that was put into place about 3 weeks ago.
    http://www.makeyourdate.org/

    • Guesteleh

      Thank you for sharing this. Reading those statistics gave me chills. I googled Dr. Hassan and found this article: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140130/LIFESTYLE03/301300004

      Women have a greater chance of preterm birth if they have a short cervix, the narrow passage at the base of the uterus through which the baby passes during birth. According to Romero, women who are shown by ultrasound, taken between 19 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, to have a cervix that is shorter than 25 mm, have a 70 percent greater risk of delivering their babies at less than 33 weeks of gestation.

      But research conducted in Detroit has uncovered a promising treatment for women with short cervixes.

      In a study that spanned 44 countries, Romero and Wayne State University Associate Dean Dr. Sonia S. Hassan, director of advanced obstetrical care and research with the Perinatology Research Branch, found that vaginal progesterone can significantly reduce the risk of early labor in women diagnosed with short cervixes.

      Daily use of vaginal progesterone gel reduced by 45 percent the number of preterm births that occurred before 33 weeks among study participants with short cervixes. Preterm deliveries between 28 and 33 weeks of gestation were reduced by about half, and those between 28 and 38 weeks were reduced by more than a third.

      The medicine also significantly reduced the number of babies born to such women with lungs that weren’t fully developed. The study found a 61 percent reduction in the rate of respiratory distress syndrome — meaning babies were born with lungs too immature to breathe on their own — among infants whose mothers used the vaginal progesterone gel.

      • no longer drinking the koolaid

        Yep, that would be the group I work for. 40 % reduction in preterm birth if women with a short cervix use progesterone gel. The Make Your Date Program helps women get in to care, gets them the progesterone the day they are diagnosed and has a number of other programs to get these babies to term. Hutzel also has the ONLY Maternal ICU in the state.
        So, if midwives really want to help women of color, they should be referring them to this program.

        • Karen in SC

          Contrast the very real difference that the Make Your Date Program can accomplish with the misguided (and sometimes misapplied) March of Dimes 39 week Rule.

          • the wingless one

            It’s funny, my MFM was apparently integral to spearheading that campaign with MoD. I first learned this while reading the comments here by a mother who felt the 39 week rule had cost her baby’s life and she actually linked to a presentation my MFM had published about reducing elective deliveries before 39w. But what is funny about it is that I was about 30 or so weeks pregnant at the time and had literally just come from an appointment with him where he was adamant that “one way or another” I wouldn’t make it past 37 weeks. I was actually shocked when I saw his name attached to this campaign because literally the only time he had ever mentioned 39 weeks to me was early on during pregnancy when he declared that the absolute longest this pregnancy would last was 39 weeks. He watched me like a hawk, ordered every “intervention” under the sun, and had zero hesitation to send me for a c/s at 34w5d. I’m baffled by his participation in that campaign because it just doesn’t square with the highly individualized care I received from him. It just makes me wonder if this is really how the medical professionals originally involved in it really expected it to turn out this way.

          • Young CC Prof

            No, I do not think the medical professionals expected the 39-week campaign to turn into a moral panic against induction in the public consciousness. They just wanted to halt the growing trend of inducing babies at 37 or 38 weeks for nonmedical reasons and make pregnant women aware of the fact that, for low-risk pregnancies, 39 or 40 week babies tend to be healthier than 37 or 38. (41+ also means less healthy, but that half of the message got lost in translation.)

          • Jessica S.

            “41+ also means less healthy, but that half of the message got lost in translation.” Yeah. Funny, that.

          • Jessica S.

            Sounds like an excellent doctor. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts about how the campaign has been received. Like you alluded to, maybe he always intended it to be a guide one uses in the course of individualized care.

          • the wingless one

            He absolutely was an excellent doctor which is why I was dismayed to hear about his participation in this campaign. I plan to schedule an appointment with him to discuss the possibility of #2 soon, if I have time to bring it up I’ll let you know what he says!

          • Jessica S.

            Please do! And good luck on the potential addition. It sounds like your pregnancies aren’t easy? Can I pry and ask for details? I’m 34 weeks along with number 2, so I’m a bit of a pregnancy story junkie. ;)

          • the wingless one

            First off, congrats on the coming little one!

            My pregnancy story is pretty complicated as you have guessed! In a nutshell, I have lupus nephritis so 30 years ago I probably would have been advised not to get pregnant at all. As it is, my rheumatologist urged me to adopt lol, but he’s much more positive about a second pregnancy now that I’ve got one under my belt.

            I had regular u/s throughout pregnancy to rule out a potential heart defect that can happen if certain (bad) antibodies cross the placenta. After 32w they stopped doing the u/s and started weekly NST’s instead (they said if it doesn’t show up on u/s by then you are in the clear).

            Around 34w NST’s started looking progressively worse (went from reactive, to non-reactive with variability and passing BPP, to non-reactive with no variability but a passing BPP) while my BP was climbing (but managed with medication). Then on 34w5d I finally had a non-reactive NST followed by a failed BPP (only points scored were for fluid!) which led to my OB performing a c/s a few hours later.

            My son ended up being fine at birth, vigorous, screaming, regulating his own body temp but was born with a lot of petechiae even though I hadn’t gone through labor. He also had low WBC and platelets but because he seemed normal they were optimistic that it was most likely a residual effect of one of the medications I was on during pregnancy. Four days after he was born he suddenly went non-responsive in the NICU, his doctors said it was almost as though he suddenly went into a coma, even when they pricked him he had zero response is what I was told. They had to give him so many platelet infusions to keep his numbers steady, at one point he had several in a day…later found out he was diagnosed with DIC…it was a scary time and we still don’t have full answers as to what happened but he seems to have recovered fully. They consulted virtually every single pediatric specialty, even doctors/radiologist from nearby children’s hospitals (Stanford & UCSF) and in the end they think he had macrophage activation syndrome due to maternal antibodies which crossed the placenta. The head of the NICU told me their best guess is that this is what happened but they weren’t able to find any other case in any of their research.

            Thank God for modern medicine! This is why I cannot understand people that think they can’t be on the wrong side of the stats – it’s hard to think that once you’ve literally had to deal with being 1 in 7 billion.

            I bet you’re regretting asking me for my story now if you’ve read all the way to the bottom of this :)

          • Jessica S.

            No way, I read with rapt attention to the end! :) How terrifying, tho. Sounds like you had an awesome team of doctors and great hospitals nearby to consult with! Modern medicine is amazing, I agree. I hope that a second pregnancy goes as well as the first did, (considering your health and all) and better!

          • the wingless one

            Yes, I had a great team! They were on top of everything from the day I found out I was pregnant (and even before really since there was a lot of preparation before we were cleared to TTC).

            We’re still sort of just mulling over #2 at this point but since an entire cast of my doctors feels the need to weigh in on it, we figured we may as well get the ball rolling now :)

        • Medwife

          That’s awesome!

      • Young CC Prof

        This is what we need. Ways to really get in there and predict and PREVENT premature birth, it is a major public health problem in the USA, and the #1 cause of infant death.

        Now, to get it to people who need it.

      • renee

        This is impressive.

  • lawyer jane

    Off topic: I see that some commenters here are posting on the SLT tribute story about Vicki Sorenson and her continued criminal acts. Not sure where you are getting your info, but if you can, print out those blog posts and mail them to the Iron County DA:
    Scott Garrett – County Attorney

    82 N 100 E Suite 201

    PO Box 428

    Cedar City, UT 84720

    435-865-5310 Phone

    435-865-5329 Fax

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

    The Medscape Nurses Newsletter has an article on the lack of midwives in Third World countries, and contains this:

    In 2013, there were an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths, 3 million
    newborn deaths and 289,000 maternal deaths. More than 92 percent of
    those deaths occurred in the countries reviewed, the groups said in
    their “State of the World’s Midwifery” report.

    The countries
    included in the review range from China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan
    to Central African Republic, Chad, Guatemala and Mexico, among others.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/826154?nlid=58706_2823&src=wnl_edit_medp_nurs&uac=7479DJ&spon=24

    It is a bit OT, but just think how that compares with 1st world countries…

  • renee

    Reminds me of that BC in TX by the border, that takes advantage of poor immigrants or illegals in order to get “catches” for wanna be CPMs. They claim its wonderful and caring, but they are exploiters. It disgusts me. As usual, the women that need quality care the most, are the least likely to get it.

    • attitude devant

      I think they closed. NGM had a weepfest about it when it happened. In El Paso.

      • attitude devant

        Casa de Nacimiento maybe?

        • fiftyfifty1

          Casa de Chorrada.

        • renee

          I hope its closed.

    • Jessica S.

      That’s awful. And sadly, unsurprising.

  • MaineJen

    A very important article, thank you…

  • lawyer jane

    Here in DC we have a birth center located in a poor neighborhood that by all accounts offers excellent “medwife” care at the birth center or in a hospital. It seems less crunchy than other birth centers, but at the same time, I’ve often found it a little off-putting that poor women would have to trade off access to pain relief in order to get the high-quality midwife care offered there. I really don’t understand why a woman-centered, caring, supportive environment that reflects the best of midwife care has to come at the cost of no pain relief!

    • renee

      It’s a problem.
      Anethesiologists cost money, so its easier to install a tub and hire a few doulas than care about women’s pain.
      They either are doing the best with what they have, or are ideologues exploiting the poor. Either way its shitty.

      • theadequatemother

        I don’t think epidurals should be offered without access to OB and OR in the same facility. Serious complications are rare but they aren’t zero and when they occur delivering the baby is an important part of resuscitating the mother. So nix on epidurals in birth centres.

        • attitude devant

          Knowing Renee as well as I do, I think what she was saying was that she doesn’t like to see poor mothers shunted off to birth centers where epidurals are not an option (and rightly not an option) rather than delivering in hospital birth centers where anesthesia is available.

          • renee

            Thank you, that is what I meant. Epi’s in a BC- no way!
            It is easier to forgo all the things needed for real pain relief, and use NCB clap trap, then to provide all of these things.

            The poor and vulnerable will be those that suffer. They shouldn’t have to pick.

          • theadequatemother

            I read your comment in the context of a health system where individuals don’t have to weigh their finances when deciding for or against getting an epidural…so I assumed you were talking about the overhead of providing anesthesia services in an out of hospital facility. There were several posts on BBC Canada where women were told by a midwifery group in Toronto that the new birth center would have all of the options for pain relief including epidurals. I think (hope) there was confusion bc if the midwives are telling women this and not clarifying with “but only if you transfer” they are doing something pretty underhanded.

    • Trixie

      I have a friend who almost used that birth center and got good care. They risked her out to the hospital when she was no longer a good candidate.

    • PoopDoc

      I cannot speak for that particular birth center, but the midwife (CNM) practice that I used for my first pregnancy was 100% on board with epidurals for pain relief. Midwives with hospital privileges can offer their patients any and all of the amenities offered to those who follow with an OB. It’s as simple as an anesthesia consult…

    • Therese

      But you said this “medwife” care is offered at the birth center or hospital. So why couldn’t a poor woman choose hospital if they go with these midwives? Or since it sounds like the birth center is connected to the hospital, they should be able to transfer any time they want for pain relief.

    • anh

      if it’s the birth center I’m thinking of (in NE?) I eschewed it because I thought the care was really paternalistic and dehumanizing. You actually have group maternal visits where you are weighed in front of the group and encouraged to ask questions as a group. sorry, but I found that pretty condescending

  • Karen in SC

    Here are examples of doctors trying their best in third world areas with limited resources and still losing babies and mothers:

    http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/search/label/rupture%20uterus

    http://blogs.msf.org/veronicaa/2012/05/rupture/

    http://blogs.msf.org/stephent/2013/12/just-another-night/

    Who wants to return to that here?

  • Mel

    The part that horrifies me is the organization(s) that allowed wanna-be CPMs to go abroad to rack up “catches” on women who don’t have access to true midwives or doctors.

    • renee

      This is so disgusting. They go where their kills won’t even count, or even be heard of. And they do it under the rubric of “charity”, telling people that they are better than nothing at all. Its a disgrace, and is horrifically racist and classist.

      • anonymous

        Worse than that, you have a lot of these women acting as if they should be treated like something special just because they’ve brought their “whiteness” to some of these places. Dad has done Medicos Sin Fronteras for years and does his best to explain this practice to any of the areas that he goes into.

        • Jessica S.

          Ah yes, the specialness of Exceptionalism, usually American but I’m sure it expands to other “Western” countries. It’s enough to make me sick.

  • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

    Dick-Read … claimed that primitives experienced easy, painless labours.

    I don’t know how anyone could see this and take it seriously.

    Primitives experienced “easy, painless labours”? For pete’s sake, pain in childbirth was recognized 3000 years ago that it was considered punishment from God!!!!!!!

    Were they not primitives?

    • Therese

      No, that is from the Judeo-Christian Bible, of which its believers were obviously part of the patriarchy so they were the ones promoting fear and pain in labor, as part of their evil agenda. Or something.

      • Mel

        I laughed so hard I sprayed pop out my nose. Thank you! I needed that.

      • AmyP

        I’ve seen that on a site promoting orgasmic birth.

    • Irène Delse

      I’m guessing that from the perspective of a racist ideologue from the West, the Judeo-Christian tradition was considered “ancient” but not “primitive”. Primitive here is not defined rationally as societies from a definite time-period or level of technology, but as the opposite of “civilised”. The ancestors to Mr. Dick-Read couldn’t be put in the same category as tribespeople from Africa, oh no indeed! They were by definition more refined (after all, they wrote books!) and thus would have feared natural processes like childbirth.

      ETA: All this assuming of course that Dick-Read really had a coherent vision of childbirth through the ages, and not just a few vignettes illustrating his propaganda.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        I am thinking that Dick-Read just ignored that inconvenient aspect completely.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        Actually, given your distinction between “primitive” and “ancient”, what you are saying is that the middle-eastern nomads basically weren’t black enough for him.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that isn’t a lot of. Those Hebrew tribes were civilized, he’s talking about the real uncivilized ones who lived in the jungle. Those are the real primitives…

        • AmyP

          The “real primitives” are the ones who haven’t left enough of a written record for us to be able to have any insight into their attitude toward childbirth (or who are so geographically remote that the same applies). The “real primitives” have helpfully left us with a blank slate that we can fill in at our leisure with pleasing pictures.

          The ancient Hebrews, on the other hand, left enough of a written record that that’s not really an option.

    • Young CC Prof

      Most folks living in Africa in 1960 (with the possible exception of certain peoples living in destitution in the wilderness after the systematic destruction of their societies) were a heck of a lot more advanced than pastoralists in biblical times.

  • Somewhereinthemiddle

    “None of this is surprising. The natural childbirth movement is by, about and for privileged white women.”

    I don’t know about this exactly. I mean, maybe that is how it appears in the online world. But in the city where I live, there is a sizeable community of women of color who are returning to “birth in the tradition.” Not being a woman of color, I can’t really speak to what this means from an internal perspective. As an outsiders perspective, it means a return to respecting and honoring birth as a process unique to women and honoring the traditions of previous generations. I have no idea if or how this correlates to home birth.

    In any case, all that to say, that the return to natural birth is not a strictly white womans domain and the women of color who chose to do so are definitely (at least in my community) doing so independently of the influence of the white ncb culture. I am not saying that some what you say isn’t accurate about the stats being exploited/ not fully explained / not fully investigated. But there are some leaps being made that aren’t entirely accurate.

    • Guesteleh

      My guess is that middle-class or upper middle class black women are the ones embracing NCB. on a purely practical level, poor women don’t have the resources to hire a midwife and have a living situation that would make it very difficult/uncomfortable to give birth at home. I think Amy’s main point stands which is that NCB beliefs are predicated on economic privilege, which trends to be correlated with race.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        I am not referring to homebirth. I am referring to forgoing pain medication in birth when I use the term ncb. And while I have never made it my business to inquire someone’s economic status, I assume if someone is utilizing medicaid that they have limited financial means.

        • Guesteleh

          I did some googling and found this study on how African American women prepare for childbirth: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209742/.

          Perceived lack of personal strength on the part of teens was conveyed
          in the statement, “You know when it is that easy, they want another baby
          and another baby . . . . They have to go through what we went through,
          we didn’t get epidurals . . . . I had a nine-pound baby. It was nasty. I
          had courage.”

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            I don’t have a ton of time to read the study right this minute, but your quote says “teens”. I am referring to adult women when I have made my statements. I do, at least marginally, understand some of the more archaic ways in which young mothers of all racial background are “motivated” to not make the same mistake again. My best friend in college (white) had a baby at 20 before she and her husband got married and she was on medicaid. Despite it not being routine for privately insured mothers, she was informed that she had to have an enema. This was in rural Alabama in 2000.

          • Guesteleh

            The context of the quote is older women who have given birth discussing their perceptions of younger women, and the value they place on being strong and foregoing pain relief. It isn’t contradicting what you’re saying. I found it interesting because it’s a cultural pressure against using pain relief but with a slightly different emphasis than you see with NCB. Rather than framed as natural, it’s framed as a choice that strong women make because you need to be strong to endure childbirth and motherhood.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Ah, okay, cool. I’ll have to read it this evening when I have more time to digest the info.

      • poop on dr bitch amy

        there are plenty of poor women, of all races, who choose to birth unassisted or at home. obviously im not talking about the moms who cant afford a medicalized birth or who are uneducated. But most of the time a home birth is chosen bc they believe it is the right and safest way for their family.

        • MLE

          I don’t think anyone here would disagree with your last statement. I think the point is that NCB advocates make a racist assumption that women of color somehow birth differently than “sophisticated” whites, and that whites need to get back to their primitive roots to have a good birth experience. This has nothing to do with the actual education or choices that a particular type of woman has/makes.

        • Jessica S.

          I assume you want your input to be taken seriously, so why do you make up a screen name such as the one you chose?

      • AmyP

        For one thing, if you’re poor enough, attempting a home birth in an apartment with older children present will have CPS investigating you faster than you can say “water birth.”

        The only people who can get away with that naked hippie stuff are either 1) in Oregon or similar or 2) privileged enough to feel safe from child protective services.

      • S

        “I think Amy’s main point stands which is that NCB beliefs are predicated on economic privilege, which trends to be correlated with race.” I understand this, but i find it very problematic to just use “women of color” as a synonym for “working class and poor women of color.” Basically it feels to me like when Dr. Amy does this, she is implying that somehow because the women embracing NCB are upper class, they don’t count as women of color, as much.

        Also, I can only speak for myself, but I was born here, and i don’t particularly identify with a photo of a baby strapped onto a woman working in a rice paddy or anything like that. (Don’t get me wrong, my parents grew up poor and i am very grateful for my circumstances and my access to excellent health care.)

        I want to be really clear (particularly because i’m pretty sure i’ve done a shitty job of explaining every single time); even though i am replying to Guesteleh’s quote, this really is a comment for Dr. Amy, and i mean it in a constructive way. It is because i agree very much with your larger point about NCB’s reliance on racist tropes that i am hoping you can make your argument in a way that is not inadvertently dismissive of groups of people.

    • Irène Delse

      Hmm. That is interesting. Although I note that they call it going back to tradition, not nature. Not at all the same kind of assumptions.

  • Ellen Mary

    Do you have evidence that free formula gifts in hospitals do not affect breastfeeding rates even one little bit? Because these advertising techniques affect rates in the developing world. And they affect brand choice, certainly, because whatever brand is given out is perceived to be medically endorsed. And I have to wonder why the hospital and doctors office based samples are continued if they are ineffective. Goodwill? Wouldn’t it also promote goodwill to give them out in grocery stores and pharmacies? The samples also drive up prices of the ‘preferred’ brands, because they build the cost of the freebies into the cost of their brands (which are in no way superior to generic brands, but are perceived to be so because of advertising). That also hurts women who purchase formula.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      There is no evidence that formula samples having anything to do with breastfeeding rates. If you know of any, please share it.

      • Ellen Mary

        There seems to be quite a few researchers concluding that formula marketing in healthcare settings is perceived very differently than formula marketing in non-healthcare settings . . . I am reluctant to post any one study at this point . . . I will look into it further and see if there is or is not evidence . . .

        • Somewhereinthemiddle

          That is my argument against the formula bags in hospitals. It definitely isn’t that formula is available. But that it most definitely is a marketing tool designed to get the jump on having parents buy a specific brand of formula. It seems unethical from the standpoint that there is a perceived endorsement from the hospital of a specific product.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Why? If the hospital endorses the product, what is ethically wrong with it?

            Our pediatrician absolutely endorsed formula from actual formula developers over those of the generics.

          • Ellen Mary

            Unless there is concrete evidence of a better outcome with one brand that is being endorsed over the other . . .

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            As I said, our pediatrician endorsed formula from the actual manufacturers (Infamil, Similac) over generic brands (because manufacturers actually work to improve the development, and are constantly improving their formula, whereas generics are well-behind).

            As long as they don’t put barriers up to prevent those brands that they do endorse (so allow both Infamil and Similac to sponsor the program), what’s the problem?

          • OttawaAlison

            I know, I won’t feel an ounce of guilt for buying enfamil since they improve the recipe over time, however people say you’re being “duped” by not using store brands.

          • Mac Sherbert

            When my first baby was born I used a name brand because the generic still did not contain probiotics. There can be differences….but parents can compare labels and see exactly what nutrients are in what they buying.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            But parents don’t have the knowledge to know what nutrients are beneficial or important, so I don’t think that helps much.

          • Siri

            I fed my kids tap water coloured white with Tipp-ex. Nutrition is over-rated.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Which formula consists of Tipp-ex?

          • Siri

            My homemade one. Shop bought formula is for sissies and posh people.

          • Mac Sherbert

            Bawahahahahaha

          • Mac Sherbert

            No parents don’t know every nutrient required for a baby to grow properly. However, they can look and see how much of one nutrient/vitamin is contained in one formula to another. Enfamil came out with a new “newborn” formula. I wanted to know what made it special…and quick comparison told me the only difference was that it contained more vitamin D. There’s a study out that says newborns need higher doses of Vitamin D. If that was important to me I could buy the Enfamil. Also, similac claims it has lutein….parents can check to see the other brands have that. They could also ask the question why do I care that Similac has lutein?
            What I’m saying is that parents can compare labels between brands to see if they are in fact similar in content. No that’s not perfect. I still have yet to figure out the new formulas made for “supplementing”.

          • Jessica S.

            Yeah, the formula can we used has a side by side comparison of it’s ingredients, etc. vs Similac and Enfamil. I wonder how I would’ve chosen with my son (now 3.5 and seems healthy as can be) if I’d read the logic of brand over generic. It seems reasonable. But man, it’s hard not to embrace a product half the price! Not that I want to skimp on health, or that I can say it’s perfectly fine by just looking at my son… Sorry, I’m kind of just “thinking” aloud at this point. ;)

          • Mac Sherbert

            Mine too.

          • Jessica S.

            Really? Huh. We used Costco’s brand, Kirkland Signature, which I assume would be considered generic? My doctor never mentioned anything, but maybe she’s not in the know…

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Did you ask the Dr?

          • Jessica S.

            Why should I when the internet is filled with people I can turned to at 8:18 at night? ;)

            (I’m going to do just that next time I see her!)

          • Michele

            Kirkland formula is made by the company that makes Similac, in the same plant on the same equipment, though not necessarily to the same recipe. Most generic formulas are produced by a name brand company in a similar manner.

          • Jessica S.

            Thanks, Michele! That’s helpful to know. I thought I read somewhere that Kirkland Signature diapers are made by Huggies. I don’t know if that’s true.

          • Amy M

            I believe that is true. We used BJs diapers, and I am not sure which company they are actually produced by, but they worked fine and sure as hell were cheaper. I wish I gone with generic formula, but we got to using one brand “sensitive” version and we were afraid that the babies wouldn’t drink it if we messed with it. But buying it in bulk at BJs still saved us a tone of $.

          • Michele

            I suspect the diapers are made by Huggies (we use whatever is on Costco coupon) but I don’t know that for sure.

          • renee

            SO? We live in a world of ads and marketing. If you are so weak you cannot make a choice by the time you have a baby, well, that is pitiful.
            All formula is tested to the same standard. All that separates them is marketing and price. Who cares?

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            No one is implying weakness but you. I am saying that I do not think a hospital is an appropriate place to market a non medical product. Similarly, I would have an issue if Subway, McDonalds, or similar started “sponsoring” meals for patients, or that Always was permitted to place advertising posters on the wall in the bathrooms, etc.

          • Are you nuts

            If Subway provided free meals to hospital patients, I have no problem with that whatsoever.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Well we disagree on that point as well.

          • AmyP

            Especially if it was a meatball sub.

          • Sara N.

            Except hospitals don’t have just one brand of formula. Both times I delivered, I was asked if I had a brand preference. They didn’t “endorse” any particular brand. The first time I was sent home with all kinds of different formula samples and ended up switching brands twice from the one I first picked randomly when offered the choice. The 2nd time I knew what had worked best for my first, and requested that. Not to mention that the marketing starts WELL before delivery. I was getting formula vouchers in the mail the second I got put on a marketing list and the tins started arriving about six weeks ahead of my due date.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Exactly. As you illustrate, there are plenty ways and avenues outside of the hospital that products can be marketed, why add the hospital to the list? I am not suggesting that it prevents women from breastfeeding, I just disagree that a hospital should be an avenue of marketing at all, for any product.

            I have given birth to three children in three different hospitals. With my first two, I was handed “the bag” by the nurse despite not requesting it. I wasn’t offered any sort of choice of brands when I supplemented. Both times it was Similac, which does make a good quality product.

            With my third, I wasn’t offered anything and didn’t need it, but was informed that if I needed formula or a consult with lactation, I had both available to me. I also was mailed 4 big cans of formula, despite not having registered anywhere or knowingly gotten on any sort of list. My point being, if you are having a baby, the formula companies know how to find you. Ha!

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            As you illustrate, there are plenty ways and avenues outside of the hospital that products can be marketed, why add the hospital to the list?

            Because pretty much all the people who want formula will come through the hospital.

          • Jessica S.

            I feel left out – we weren’t given anything when we left the hospital and I never received cans of formula in the mail!! Sounds great!

          • Michele

            I was starting to wonder if I was the only one who never got these free cans of formula in the mail. The only free samples I got were tiny single serving ones I actually requested online and a couple of RTF bottles I asked for at the hospital. I’d love to get free cans this time around – if I don’t need them I know of a women’s shelter that will take them.

          • Amy M

            I never got free cans in the mail. I did get coupons for $ off cans at the store. The hospital gave us some RTF bottles, and our pediatrician gave us a few sample cans when I asked though.

          • OldTimeRN

            We had 2 brands of formula. Both of the “premium” brands. One is preferred over the other. We used to switch brands every 6 months and the staff noticed immediately an increase in regurgation with one if the brands. Also many parents who bottle feed want to start the baby on the same brand that WIC gives them.

            We now pay for our formula so we are not allowed to give out extra at d/c and even during the hospital stay. We give out one bottle at a time. Also diapers have always been a cost for us. We don’t give out extra diapers and aren’t allowed to over stock the crib.

          • Jessica S.

            Do you feel the same about diapers? Just trying to ascertain if it’s the formula or any and all marketing.

            I didn’t breastfeed, but are there breastfeeding products, samples, etc that are given out, too?

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Yes, that extends to diapers. I mean, obviously babies need diapers so they would have to have them available. But the Pampers brand diapers I’ve gotten from the hospital haven’t come with literature, coupons, or a swag bag. And I’ve always wondered why they weren’t generic. The pads are generic, so are the wipes, the baby wash, and whatever else are considered necessities. But the diapers are branded, which I thought was weird. I’ve wondered if the hospital pays for them or if they are marketing and if the charge for them is rolled into the cost of the hospital stay.

            Either way, I don’t like Pampers, they leave those absorbent little balls on baby skin and it is a total pain in the butt to get off when you are changing so many diapers in the early days. I end up taking my own and leaving the crappy Pampers ones there.

          • Jessica S.

            Reading more of your comments, I figured out that it did extend to diapers and such. Yes, that is odd the difference between things that are branded and unbranded. I’ll have to pay attention when this wee one arrives in a few short weeks.

            We’ve always used Pampers, except for overnight diapers – I prefer Huggies. I’m not sure how I ended up choosing one over the other. I certainly like Huggies’ other styles. I’m amazed I’m able to make any decisions with all the choices available. Ha!

        • Karen in SC

          “It seems”, “quite a few researchers concluding”. Okay, where is this published?

          • Ellen Mary

            I think you know how to run a search as well as I do. There are papers a plenty. When I evaluate a specific study thoroughly enough to endorse it, I will let you know.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “I think you know how to run a search as well as I do. ”

            I think all of us know as well as you do that you are just bluffing and can’t produce any studies.

          • Stacy48918

            “I think you know how to run a search as well as I do. ”
            Funny. In this formula discussion AND the previous one you reference all this great data, yet can’t produce a single study to back up your position. I DON’T actually think you know how to run a search.

            Please. Prove me wrong.

          • Jessica S.

            Please. If you know enough to make the assertion, then you can point to the studies from which you’re getting the information. If you can’t “endorse” any study that you’re drawing your conclusions from b/c you haven’t read them, you probably shouldn’t “endorse” the idea either. The onus is on you, the one making the claim, to provide backup, not to those asking. As if the only reason they’re asking you is b/c they’re too lazy to search for it. They aren’t the ones making the claim!

      • renee

        She just wants to derail. As always.

    • Therese

      I think the viewpoint that formula samples are charity is a strange one. There isn’t any other food where people expect the companies to give it away for free in order to help poor people. For any other food, you’d go to food banks or sign up for SNAP or WIC. You wouldn’t demand that the you receive free food samples. Maybe the WIC and SNAP budgets need to be increased if women are really depending on formula samples to feed their babies.

      • Irène Delse

        “There isn’t any other food where people expect the companies to give it away for free in order to help poor people.”

        Actually, isn’t this the case with fruit and vegetables contributed by the farm industry to public schools in the USA? Or at least in some states? The schools get bags of apples or carrots from the growers instead of money subsidies.

        • Therese

          But the growers are receiving subsidies in return from the federal government, right? I don’t think they are doing it for free. I think it’s because “keep formula samples in hospitals because free samples are awesome and it’s not the lactivists’ business if companies pass out samples in hospitals!” doesn’t sound that dramatic compared to “Poor women’s babies will starve if they don’t have formula samples!” so proponents from our side have latched onto the latter argument to make it sound more crucial, even though it has nothing to do with the point of samples. It would be like if there was a grocery store that offered a lot of samples and one day they decided to stop and people started arguing about how much it would hurt poor people to not be able to go to this store and get free samples of food. I would think that would be a pretty misguided argument because the purpose of samples is not to provide free food for poor people, it’s a marketing tool for the company.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        No one said they are charity. They are marketing tools to promote one brand of formula over another. The point is that the practical impact of banning formula gifts is that they DON’T improve breastfeeding rates while they DO deprive women of something that poor women might actually need. They effectively punish poor women for not breastfeeding.

        • Somewhereinthemiddle

          Maybe the compromise is to have them available upon request? Instruct the nurses to let patients know that they are available, but not to give them out as a default.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Why?

            Hey, our friends who got them and didn’t want them let us have theirs. We appreciated it a lot. With their help, we were able to go almost 9 months without having to buy any formula (we were supplementing form about 4 months on).

            I don’t understand what the problem with handing out samples is?

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            My issue is, again, that it is a marketing tool designed to get a family to buy one non medical product brand over another. If formula companies can do it, what is to keep other companies from demanding the same consideration whether it be a food company, a company advertising feminine products, or other consumable good. The hospital charges patients for everything else, including sanitary products and maybe even diapers. Although I can’t recall with certainty if they charged for the packs of diapers or if those are considered a freebie/ marketing tool too. Anyone else remember??

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Diapers were part of our package. They weren’t itemized. And they certainly were brand specific (the hospital staff preferred Pampers)

            My issue is, again, that it is a marketing tool designed to get a family to buy one non medical brand over another.

            As I’ve already explained, they may actually have a basis for that, at least to have preferred brand(s). And unless you are seeing a hospital sell it to the highest bidder and prevent a comparable competitor from doing it, then how is it a problem?

          • Ash

            It would be impossible for hospitals to give packages of formula that do not have any brand information on them; they could not re-brand the formula packages with a big label that said nothing with “BABY FORMULA” to avoid the possibility that consumers might possibly be exposed to a brand name. What is a woman with limited resources supposed to do, it may be very hard for someone to immediately go to the store to buy formula after giving birth. Someone with a lot of resources can easily get someone to buy them formula, but not so if you have very limited resources. I think the benefits of ensuring that women who want it go home with some formula for their newborns. We need to ensure that babies are fed.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Remember also that the free samples are supplied by the manufacturers, not by the hospitals. Without the packaging, who is going to give the hospitals formula to handout?

            They’d have to charge patients for it. How does that sound? Hospitals in the business of selling patients formula?

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Well, they sell everything else, including generic ibuprofen to the tune of $10 or more per dose. Why stop there?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Huh? I looked at both of my itemized postpartum bills. Nowhere was I billed for even a single ibuprofen and I took a lot of them!

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Mine was itemized and I don’t remember the exact charge, but it was something obscenely expensive for ibuprofen. Even with insurance, I ended up paying several dollars per dose. I took my own the next time. ;)

          • Stacy48918

            I think I was charged like $4 for a dose…but in the grand scheme of things not a lot. I’m still bringing my own this time! :)

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Notice I have said nothing about not allowing formula to be available to those who need or want it. And of course there is no way practical way to have unbranded product available. What I am suggesting is to have the product available upon request, not as a general “give away” that includes a bag with the product name on the side, literature as to why their product is superior, and whatever else they throw in there.

          • Are you nuts

            Other companies do the same thing all the time!! In 4th grade, our “Becoming a woman” talk came with Always pads and pantiliners. When I got pregant, the doctor gave me samples of prenatal vitamins from several companies. It’s a free market. If Similac wants to market their product by offering freebies, more power to them.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Doesn’t mean the ethics of such examples are not questionable as well. Somehow to me, the hospital seems like it should be a place where marketing is limited or eliminated. Simply my opinion.

          • fiftyfifty1

            That’s fine with me, but moms of low income babies who are formula feeding MUST be sent home with something. It would NOT be good to send a baby home with no food and the WIC appointment 1 week away. A couple cans should be given out and paid for by insurance then. Write your State Representative and try to get them to sponser a bill that obligates the free cans.

          • Young CC Prof

            My hospital samples were useful because we learned only after he was born that:

            a) Breastfeeding was not happening. No way nohow, mom, I don’t care what you feed me but put it in a bottle or I’ll just lie here and starve.

            b) He also needed a specialty formula, NOT the “backup can” I already had. I didn’t even know where to buy it.

            Going home with a couple days’ worth meant the situation was not urgent and we could wait until morning to figure out a permanent supply channel.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Good point! It’s not just low income moms who benefit from the ability to go home with samples, it’s also ANY mom who will be having trouble accessing formula in the next few days. This could be moms who live in a rural area far from a store, moms with a difficult recovery and little help at home, moms who will need to buy a specific formula that may not be available at every store, etc. Or actually I should say it is the babies of these moms who benefit.

          • Therese

            I bet it already happens. What happens when babies are in the NICU an extended time and are on formula? Surely the cost of formula gets billed to the insurance, right? So I doubt it would be a problem to send mom home with a couple cans and bill her insurance (If she is poor and on Medicaid it will pay 100%).

          • Certified Hamster Midwife

            Our books came from Stayfree, and I was loyal to one of the products in the pack for years. Until they changed it and made it scented, anyway.

          • Trixie

            Ugh, WHY did they make those all scented a while back.

          • Amy M

            My favorite was when Always had that misguided slogan “Have a happy period” for about 10 minutes before it got shut down. I imagine the marketing genius who came up with that one was a man.

          • MLE

            I actually liked that one and it’s the only slogan I can remember. It gave me a glimmer of hope that things could change for me, haha. At that time I would be bedridden with cramps, vomiting from the pain once a month.

          • AmyP

            I’m right here if anybody wants to send me free stuff!

          • fiftyfifty1

            Mine were a freebie. Pampers. I did like them, but switched to the cheaper store brand as soon as they ran out.

          • Mishimoo

            Mine were freebies. In fact we also get a bag with wipes, cream samples, baby wash samples, and parenting magazines. The only effect it had on my shopping habits was to switch to one of the baby wash fro tthe brand that we used to use because our youngest developed a slight rash after using the old one and didn’t react to the samples.

          • ForgetfulGuest

            That would be good. Maybe there’s no need to give them out to everyone, but they should be available. Easily available – you should be able to get them without getting the third degree and/or a lecture from whoever hands them out. But that may be a problem, depending on the health professional and their views.

        • Therese

          So if I go to the grocery store and ask for some samples of food, and the store refuses to give me any, am I being punished by them? Would you argue that a store that refuses to give out free samples of food is disproportionately harming poor people? Assume in this case the manufacturers want the store to give out samples of their food and the store refuses for whatever reason.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Sigh. That is the wrong analogy. The analogy is: imagine that the store WAS giving out free samples of food, but the local organic grocer down the street started a campaign to end free food sample at the store.

            The end result is that people who were getting free food are no longer getting it, but the sales at the organic grocer have not risen as a result.

          • Therese

            Ok, but in that scenario would you argue that customers, particularly poor customers, were being punished for not having free samples given to them? Maybe you would, but it would just seem like a bizarre argument. It would be annoying to not have free samples anymore and I think you could make a very strong argument that the organic grocer needs to mind its own business, but arguing that the samples need to come back because poor people desperately need to be given samples of free food?

          • fiftyfifty1

            “but arguing that the samples need to come back because poor people desperately need to be given samples of free food”

            But families in poverty really do rely on the free samples of formula. Not all families have the cash sitting around to buy the cans of formula until WIC kicks in. This isn’t just a little sample of pretzels at the local supermarket. It’s almost as if the local organic grocery store tried to shut down the food shelf.

            ETA: one way around this would be if a WIC representative would visit moms in the hospital to get them started. But imagine the cost of that!

          • KarenJJ

            Even well off people in developed countries would love to have access to formula samples.

            In Australia you can’t get formula samples (unless it’s “toddler formula” marketed at babies over 12 months). So when you’re having breastfeeding issues you find yourself mostly having to buy a whole tin (one or two companies make a box of single serve sachets you can try).

            So you often end up with an entire tin and if it doesn’t suit, you have to chuck it or find someone to give it to. You can’t just have a bottle or two to tide you over you end up with a whole tin. In a way there’s a subtle pressure to not “waste” the tin.

            I don’t think Australia has particularly amazing breastfeeding rates in spite of the lack of samples. I think it was one of those decisions that was easy to make and easy to implement – it would be interesting to know if it has been at all successful.

          • Therese

            What if the grocery store offered samples of five or six different items and poor people would go around to each table a couple times and that was their lunch for the day? Would that make the grocery store obligated to continue offering samples, if poor people are depending on it for their lunch?

          • Busbus

            It’s not about the grocery store in your analogy. It’s about certain people pushing the grocery store not to give out manufacturers samples anymore because they don’t want OTHER people eating those particular types of food. And pretending that they’re doing something good instead of recognizing that they are simply taking away a source of free food from people to whom that matters.

            Hospitals and doctors (to come back to the topic at hand) don’t mind giving out samples of other medications. I just went to an allergist and got a nose spray and a pack of Alegra for free. I was happy about that – it saved me a few dollar, and it doesn’t mean I can’t buy generic pills next time at the store. I could also try out if they worked for me before spending money on a whole bottle. I don’t see lactivists all up in arms against that, even though that is equally “evil” marketing. They are not against formula samples because it’s marketing, they are against formula samples because they are against formula, period. And they don’t care that other women may not want to make the same choices they did.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Why bless your heart! Now you’re right back to your first faulty analogy where the grocery store is inexplicably refusing to give out samples. Remember, it the local organic co-op that is the one and only entity that is against the samples, because they (wrongly it turns out) believe the samples cut into their business.

            Here is the reason that formula companies give out samples in the hospital: it is their goal to gain the market share of *middle class women* who will at some point in the first year give at least a little formula. Their samples are not directed at poor people, because poor people will get whatever brand WIC is happening to carry. But a nice side effect of marketing to the well-off, who can afford name brand formula, is that poor babies get fed in their first week before WIC kicks in. But no, lactivists believe (against evidence) that this cuts into their “market share” and besides, removing samples for nurseries is a nice way to show off your sanctimommy cred.

          • Therese

            How would it be like trying to shut down the whole food shelf? People can still buy formula. They have approximately 9 months to figure out how to get a can for formula if they absolutely can’t manage to get to the store with a new baby. It just seems so overly dramatic, like arguing that poor people will starve if grocery stores don’t offer free samples.

        • Jodi Hilla McCormack

          They effectively punish everyone for not breastfeeding. Those little formula samples make it easier to try a couple of brands and use the one that agrees best with the baby. Also, I was back in the ER after BOTH my kids within 2 weeks – thankfully, the ER was able to dial up the maternity ward and get some formula for the infant I had to care for while I waited hours on end.

      • Renee

        It isn’t about charity at all. If the companies don’t want to give it out, that is fine. They choose too. And we choose to use it.

        Free formula cans are a marketing freebie, and its a nice one to have, as is ANY freebie that you use. A free can of formula is just another $10-20 you don’t have to spend on it. DD was EBF, but I wanted some back up- and I didn’t have to spend to get it.

        If I get a small bottle of dish or laundry soap free in the mail, I will gratefully use it. It probably won’t change the way I shop, but I will be happy to get some for free. I am pretty poor right now, and this is a good thing. Do I think they owe me? No, but I am happy to take their marketing freebies. If it saves me money, I can now use that money on other stuff. Maybe $5 is nothing to you, but its awesome for me.

        THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE UPSET ARE THOSE THAT HATE FORMULA.

        Lactivists think they know what is best for everyone, and they make sure to push THEIR agenda on everyone. You know, for their own good. It feels funny to stand up for marketers, but cutting this stuff out because YOU don’t like it is total BS.

      • fiftyfifty1

        It’s for going home from the hospital. You need something to use until you have your first WIC appointment.

    • renee

      Here we go again….
      Marketing absolutely does influence what brand people buy.
      It does not make them quit BF, and no samples or marketing wouldn’t change this at all.
      And you can get samples sent right to your door! They give them out all over the place, anywhere they think a pregnant woman, or babies will be.

      • Mishimoo

        Or coupons! Someone I know was signed up for them by a troll and receives a chunk of formula coupons every so often. She gives them away instead of throwing them away, which is really sweet.

        • Therese

          Anecdotally, it seems that indicating you plan to breastfeed on those formula surveys gets you sent the most in formula samples/coupons, so I recommend trying that for anyone who wants to maximize their free formula samples.

    • Ellen Mary

      So it seems to me to be an ‘extraordinary claim’ to say that the MetaReview conducted by the CDC that DID find a negative affect on rates is completely wrong. Are they on the payroll of Big Breast? They actually do have relationships with Abbot, et al & yet still found some evidence. At least this proves that there is a legitimate debate about these samples having a negative affect & some hospitals have ceased the practice.

      http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/Strategy9-Addressing-Marketing-Infant-Formula.pdf

    • Arwen
      • Jessica S.

        This was such an awesome post. I wanted to stand up and applaud after reading it!!!

  • A black mother

    It’s extremely silly to say that us ‘women of color’ are exploited. I had a natural birth, because I WANTED to, not because I cannot make decisions for myself, AS A EDUCATED BLACK WOMAN. Trust me, I had anti-NB fanatics like you tell me it was too dangerous, despite how I was physically fit, on a excellent diet, and was low risk. And guess what? The baby came out just fine, born in water, with raggae music playing in the background, and the baby’s older sister on my other breast. And comparing a NATURAL childbirth, (something that has taken place for hundreds of thousands of years) to “blackface” a comedy routine that was made to intentionally mock black people, is beyond stupid and furthermore PATRONIZES REAL racism!!!

    The only true racist here, is you Skep-Ob, using the “racist card” so you can sell your anti-home-birth propaganda, doesn’t only patronize real African American struggles, but exploits true racism and our legitimate struggles.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      You seem to have missed the point of this piece. It’s NOT about black women who choose NCB. Try reading it again.

      • renee@gmail.com

        She won’t. NCBers have no reading comprehension. ANd NCB IS totally racist. J

      • R T

        I agree with her. Comparing it to blackface is really inappropriate! You’re really belittling the history of African Americans with this!

        • Guesteleh

          Sincerely and with no snark, can you expand on this? How is her post belittling the history of AA’s?

          • R T

            Sure! Taking something as horrific and belittling as black face and somehow comparing it to the NCB movement belittles those who have truly faced and know the horrors of racism in the United States. Millions of African Americans faced the fear of lynchings, were treated as second class citizens, faced complete inequality and then many died and were injuried fighting for their basic human rights. To turn around and use their struggle in this manner to get blog hits is very exploitive! It’s like the public figures, Glenn Beck I’m looking at you, who inappropriately use the term “Nazi” for everyone and everything they don’t agree with. It’s belittling to Jews and this blog post is belittling to African Americans!

          • Guesteleh

            Thank you for the explanation. That makes sense.

      • R T

        You know how people like to toss the word “Nazi” around for everything these days? Yeah, that’s what you’re doing here!

        • Siri

          No, RT, that’s what YOU’RE doing. She is doing nothing of the kind.

          • R T

            I believe she is. Do you really think the family of Emmett Till, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman etc would agree comparing the NCB movement to the to the atrocities of pre-civil rights America is spot on? This is disrespectful, at best, to the history of those who truly faced struggle and racism!

          • Young CC Prof

            Is it racism like an unequal justice system or employment discrimination is racism? No, I agree, that’s not so. Perhaps cultural appropriation, reflecting racist attitudes would be more accurate?

          • R T

            Yes, it would be more accurate! She literally said NCB movement is “just like” black face! No, no it really isn’t!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Did I compare the NCB movement to the atrocities of pre-civil rights America? I said that the NCB movement is based on the ideal of the noble savage, a thoroughly racist idea. Racism isn’t restricted to physical violence.

          • R T

            I don’t take issue with your entire idea. I take issue with the comparison to black face. Black face was meant to be demeaning just as the portrayal of Asian Americans was during the same time period. It was used to reinforce prejudices and stereotypes, it was a form of propaganda meant to further the idea minorities were ignorant and inferior. It is not in anyway, shape or form, an appropriate comparison here! Is the idea of the “brave native” the NCBers use racist? Yes, in an entirely different way! Black face was done with malice and with the intent to portray minorities as ignorant and inferior racially and socially. It was open mocking and degradation. As I said, it was also done to other cultures and to some extent is still done by the exaggerated portrayal of homosexual men, Asian and Indian people in film today, but that’s going way off topic!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Blackface began as a way for white people to portray black people. It was only in the 20th Century that blackface was recognized as racist because of the way performers used it. Similarly, natural childbirth began as a way for white women to emulate their “primitive” sisters. That emulation, just like the blackface portrayals, is inherently racist because both caricature black people.

            I can understand that having a philosophy that you cherish exposed as racist is embarrassing, but that doesn’t change the fact that NCB involves privileged white women mobilizing stereotypes of passive, accepting black “primitives.”

          • R T

            Blackface was always a mockery! It was never done to portray Africans in a positive light or done to emulate them out of some sort of respect. It was always done to portray them in a stereotypical negative way. Black face actors were clowns, playing characters meant to get a laugh who were always lazy, cowardly, lying, stealing etc. It wasn’t simply the way for blacks to be portrayed, it was the way to potray them in caricature in a very negative light. It like comparing propaganda that Hitler and the Nazi party published portraying Jews as dirty, smelly, cheating, lying scoundrels who have no morals, will do anything for money, run the pornography industry and are genetically inferior to some one in modern times writing a blog saying Jewish mothers are more protective of and and expect more from their children. It’s like saying those two beliefs and history of use and desimination of those two stereotypes are just alike. I think we can all agree one is much more serious and damaging than the other with a much greater likelyhood of having contributed to atrocities commited against people.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            First of all, the original history of blackface is NOT one of deliberate mockery.

            Secondly, a philosophy that rests on portraying black women as primitive, simple, and insensitive to pain as well as unafraid of childbirth IS racist, regardless of whether privileged white women are admiring or mocking. Claiming it isn’t racist is like claiming that “jewing” the price down isn’t anti-Semitic if you love a bargain.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Wow, you let your own prejudice lead you to see only what you wanted to see.

    • Karen in SC

      I’m happy you got the birth you wanted. Another black mother experienced discrimination and substandard care at the hands of her white midwives. One of her twins died. Her experience allies with the claim of NCBs being an apropriation by white privileged mothers.

      Read her story on her blog: http://dreahlouis.blogspot.com/

    • Amy M

      Do you think it is racist if a privileged white woman says “I want to give birth like the natives in Africa. They do it traditional, natural way, the way it’s meant to be done.”

      • poop on dr bitch amy

        no thats not racist. it would be racist if she said i want to birth like the blacks in africa, their way is better.

        • Young CC Prof

          But the point is that that’s what’s often implied. Or comparisons to Native American traditions, often unspecified or just plain wrong.

          • Poopy Siri

            Plain wrong? Or just plain poopy? Ner ner ner ner ner YCCP, bet you’re too inhibited to type the word poop(y). Go on, prove me wrong! :-b

          • Young CC Prof

            I have a child in diapers. Poopy is an important part of my vocabulary.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

            Why did the superhero flush the toilet?

            Because it was his doodie.

        • Guesteleh

          a) How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when your username sounds like it was made up by a four-year-old?

          b) Ways in which Amy M’s example is racist:

          - Africa is a huge continent with 47 different nations and thousands of ethnic groups each with their own languages, culture and traditions. When NCB folks say they want to give birth like natives in Africa, exactly who are they referring to?

          - The word “natives” is coded language for primitive, uncivilized people. It’s a word associated with colonialism and all kinds of problematic.

          - Saying it’s the “traditional, natural way” glosses over the fact that African cultures can differ radically in their birth practices and that none of them can really be described as “natural” because they are all culturally mediated. That’s also why you can’t say “the way it was meant to be done.”

          • Amy M

            Thanks Guesteleh, this is an excellent breakdown of the point I was trying to make above. (I was attempting to summarize the point of the post for “A black mother” but it is not clear to me if she is the same as these other weird names or what?)

          • doctorex

            Ahh, Thanks. Another anthropologist?

        • Your a poopyhead (Siri age 4)

          I know you are, but what am I?

        • Jessica S.

          It’s essentially the same thing! WTF? Come back with a reasonable screen name and then I can perhaps take you seriously.

    • Trixie

      Karen beat me to it with Dreah’s story. Talk to Dreah over on her blog and then get back to us.

    • PoopDoc

      I’m glad your birth went well. And I’m happy that there were no complications issues. I suspect that you had other options as far as where to deliver and how to deliver your children. I’m sure you were well educated and well aware of the degree of risk you were willing to accept in exchange for the ability to birth in a non-medical setting. You were fortunate that it all went off without a hitch. I’m sure you are willing to stand up as an example for other women willing to participate in the natural childbirth movement.

      Dr. Amy is not referencing people in your situation. She is talking about women who have no choice in the matter and would rather have access to medical resources in the event that something go wrong. She is discussing a population who are being exploited when they are used as an example to try to exhort other women to choose something that they themselves had NO choice in.

      • Young CC Prof

        Well said. I feel the same way about privileged first-worlders who reject vaccinations vs parents in other areas who would love to have them but lack access.

        “It’s natural! Isn’t it wonderful!”
        “It kills our children and we hate it. Shut up.”

        I wonder how much European measles vax rejection had to do with the lethal epidemics this year in the Philippines and Vietnam, for that matter. I know the earthquake and resulting displacement of people was also a factor, but still.

        • Jessica S.

          Good question. On a side note, I didn’t realize that the earliest MMR shot is at 12 months! I thought it was much earlier. That’s a terrifying prospect considering the pockets of measles outbreaks. :S

          • Young CC Prof

            Terrifying indeed.

            HOWEVER, if you discover that your not-yet-immunized baby has been exposed, you do have options. Call the pediatrician (call and explain, don’t just bring the child in!) Babies under 6 months can get immune gobulin. Babies over 6 months can be vaccinated, although the vaccination will have to be repeated later after the first birthday. The vaccine is effective at preventing disease up to 72 hours after exposure.

            In fact, if there is an outbreak in your community and you have an infant between 6 and 12 months of age, ask your pediatrician about early vaccination.

          • Jessica S.

            I will, thanks so much! That’s a relief, knowing an early option is available if necessary.

    • Life Tip

      Point. Missed.

    • Carrie Looney

      I don’t understand this comment. I don’t know how ‘black educated women can be just as poor at risk assessment as white educated women’ is an effective counterargument to ‘the NCB movement is heavily influenced by racist tropes.’

    • Jessica S.

      Yeah, you really missed the entire point. But I’m glad you read into it whatever best reinforces your views. Sheesh.