Childbirth is dangerous

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Natural childbirth advocates are distressed that in the space of one week The New York Times published my piece on the dangers of homebirth and The Washington Post published my piece on the role of shame and guilt in promoting the natural childbirth industry.

What seems to make them most upset is that I point out that childbirth is inherently dangerous. It is a reflection of their profound ignorance of the medical and historical reality of childbirth that they are unaware of this basic fact. Sure, childbirth seems safe to them, but they are clueless that it only looks safe because of the liberal use of the routine interventions of modern obstetrics.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The risk of a baby dying on the day of its birth is greater than the average daily risk of death until the 92nd year of life.[/pullquote]

Perhaps they’ve never considered how the many tiny graves in old cemeteries got there or why family genealogies tend to be full of forefathers who survived to old age having buried two or three young wives along the way.

In that respect, the natural childbirth industry has a lot in common with the anti-vaccine industry. Both looks at the US as it is, with low rates of death from vaccine preventable diseases and low rates of death from childbirth, and imagine in their naïveté that this is how it has always been. It’s the intellectual equivalent of pretending that we know no longer need to use car seats for babies because the motor vehicle fatality rate for infants is so low. Both modern obstetrics and vaccines are the equivalent of car seats. Take them away and the appalling death rates will return.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

The dangers of the day of birth was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Februrary 2014. One of the authors wrote about it on his personal blog.

The authors recognize that most people in industrialized countries think that childbirth is safe:

… these risks are generally perceived to be low, and as a result many parents resent the intrusiveness of hospital birth, fetal monitoring, and other recommendations…

Much of the risk of childbirth remains concentrated in a relatively short period: the day of labour and delivery. In addition, when death occurs so early in life it results in more life years lost on average than when death occurs at an older age.

We speculated that expressed on a daily risk scale, instead of as per thousand births, childbirth risks would appear very different. We aimed to calculate the risk of dying on each day of your life, and compare these risks with other activities or events that an individual may encounter. This information would then be used to calculate the loss of life expectancy sustained with death occurring on the day of birth.

What did they find?

Even with modern obstetric practice the risk of a baby dying on the day of its birth in the UK is greater than the average daily risk of death until the 92nd year of life. We have shown that this risk is comparable with many other high-risk activities, and results in many life years lost.

So childbirth isn’t safe for babies. It is quite dangerous, comparable to the risk of death for the average 92 year old adult and comparable to the risk of death for those facing major surgery. The graphic representation is impressive:

image

The risk in the US is even higher as a result of a higher rate of risk factors and a lower rate of health care access than in the UK.

And that’s the risk when the baby has access to immediate life saving care. The risk at homebirth is higher still.

When natural childbirth or homebirth advocates tell you that childbirth is safe, show them the graph, and see what they have to say then.

If they still tell you to trust birth, you have learned why you should never trust them.

 

Adapted from a piece that first appeared in April 2014.

  • mandy jones

    I’m all for natural childbirth as long as the woman have professional help(who are also able to hand childbirth emergency) and are equipped with supplies. And if the doctors give women freedom to move around or allow her to change her position. She in a position that make it hader to see the baby? Well change your position or the beds position. You know what? I don’t care as long it is not the lying in your back position. Another thing ob gyn need to do is to women control over their bodies,stop rushing in the labor and birthing process. Her body would push the baby when it’s ready too.

  • mandy jones

    I am not repeating myself again. →http://www.skepticalob.com/2016/07/why-is-lamaze-desperate-to-pretend-homebirth-is-popular-when-its-not.html

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    So much for birth being “as safe as life gets”, eh?

  • Roadstergal

    Not at all OT – new mom Desi Lydic on MomSplaining and MomShaming on The Daily Show yesterday. I wonder if she’s come across Dr T’s book:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfI0TsHj9MY

  • SporkParade

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this is why we were the flunkies in my natural childbirth class. We came in very keenly aware that an unmedicated vaginal delivery was not synonymous with either a good experience or a good outcome.

    • Roadstergal

      It’s a symptom, not a determinant. If everything goes really well, a vaginal birth will just happen. Forcing a vaginal birth won’t make everything go well.

    • I didn’t even bother with the birthing classes. We chose to do infant CPR and first aid instead.

      • SporkParade

        We were mostly there because I was told an epidural might not be an option for medical reasons and wasn’t feeling very keen on placenta-crossing narcotics. I don’t think they expected someone who would ask, “But wasn’t there a randomized controlled trial that proves that castor oil doesn’t induce labor? And is it really safe to try to induce labor naturally?”

  • Rosalind Dalefield

    Are there any data on what the neonatal and maternal mortality rates would be if there was no obstetric intervention available? The reason I ask is that I read these stupid posts on Facebook about how ‘95% of women can give birth with no assistance’ and it would be useful to have some back-up data to support my reaction which is ‘Absolutely false!’

    • Azuran

      That number might not be that far from the truth. From most sources I could find, death rate for mothers used to be around 1/100 live birth.
      So I’m not sure if they don’t count a mother’s death if the baby died as well. And it’s not clear what counts as ‘assistance’ ?

      Neonatal mortality (death in the first 28 day) was around 10-14% from what I could find. But those numbers are approximation since they are from 100 years ago and people were not keeping a really good tab on those. A stillborn was likely to not be reported back then. But I did find a report about scottland where they made stillborn reporting mandatory and they apparently had a rate of stillbirth at about 3-4%.

      So yea, 95% of women could probably give birth to a live baby with very
      little assistance (since there wasn’t much you could do back then except
      pull on the baby) How long the baby stayed alive afterwards is another matter.
      But it also means that around 3-5% of pregnancy ended with either a dead mother, a stillborn or both. And really, having 3-5 people dying for every 100 births is an insane number. I don’t like those odds.

      • BeatriceC

        I think that mortality rates only show part of the picture. We also need to look at the rates of significant morbidity (brain damaged child, physical disabilities caused by birth in both the child and the mother, etc.)

        • Azuran

          Of course. But unfortunately, such rates are hard to find for today, they are impossible to find from the early 1900s and earlier.

        • Rosalind Dalefield

          Oh, they never even mention neonatal mortality. For the sort of people who make such posts, it’s all about the mother.

        • Charybdis

          OT: *clears throat*

          Happy Birthday to you
          Happy Birthday to you
          Happy Birthday dear Oldest Kid
          Happy Birthday to you!

          Hope you had a good day!

          • BeatriceC

            Thanks! We did. My ex-husband FaceTimed us this afternoon and followed my rules exactly. Everybody was more than a little nervous, but it actually went pretty darned good. I got a little teary when I realized the timing. The last contact he had with them was a phone call on oldest kid’s 4th birthday, and contact was re-established on another of oldest kid’s birthdays. Then we had a nice dinner with me, MrC, the boys, several of their friends (one of whom forgot to mention he was a vegetarian, so I had an interesting time pulling together something he could eat), and one of my step-daughters. Oldest kid’s girlfriend baked and decorated a rather phenomenal cake. He’s got a thing for penguins, so this was a penguin theme, and was very well done. We had an extra cake, but I served that one instead of the other one, because it just seemed like the right one to serve. Everybody just left a few minutes ago and I literally just sat down after cleaning everything up. I’m exhausted, but it was worth every bit of effort.

          • Amazed

            Happy Birthday to Oldest Kid! All best wishes for him and all of you guys. Happy that you’ve had good time. And yes, the timing HAS to mean something. Something good, you know.

      • Amy M

        Would looking at stats from developing countries give an approximate picture? Granted, stats from those places aren’t always the most reliable or complete, but CDC has charts and tables with info about maternal/perinatal mortality. I don’t know about morbidity, and we’d have to assume low levels of assistance because there’s really no way to know. Maybe some places track Csection rates, but of course that’s not the only assistance.

        • Inmara

          NCB folks would argue that big part of their death stats is lack of hygiene and sanitation (that’s a popular belief among anti-vaxxers too – see their trope of “measles was down before vaccines because of better hygiene”), which is partly true but doesn’t cause all perinatal and maternal deaths anyway.

      • Amy

        Exactly. I partly blame the typical grading system employed in most schools, at least in the US and Canada. 90% or higher gets you an A– so some people hear “success” rates over 90% and think that’s good. But it’s actually terrifying.

        5% of the four million births that occur each year in the US is 200,000– more than the population of Akron, Ohio. That is a LOT of dead mothers and babies.

        A 5% failure rate on a contraceptive method means that one out of every twenty couples using that method will face an unwanted pregnancy within a year.

        • guest

          I’m a teacher, and when my RE told me there was a 30% risk of twins for a procedure, my mind said “that’s an F” and didn’t consider it significant.

          • Daleth

            I had at most a 1% chance of twins, since I did an eSET (elective single embryo transfer), and I had identical twins. Teacher numbers and medical numbers are very different. 🙂

          • guest

            Clearly! And I wouldn’t have made any decisions differently, but in my head I heard 30% chance and felt confident I would be in the 70% that doesn’t have twins. And I was wrong (double embryo transfer on RE’s advice.)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I consider anything above probably 10% to not at all surprising.

            Consider, would you think it was surprising if a 1 came up when you rolled a dice? It’s only a 16% chance of it happening.

            30%? That’s basically 1/3. You feel confident of only a 2/3 chance of something happening?

            I wouldn’t feel confident of that at all, I’d be extremely unconfident.

          • guest

            Well, I would be surprised if I rolled the dice and I *wanted* a 1 to come up, and then it did. I’m a pessimist.

            I’m not arguing that your way of looking at the numbers is wrong, though. But when you spend a lot of time grading papers your mind gets stuck in “30% is really low, because that’s an F” mode. It’s the wrong way to look at odds in pregnancy, but it was a carryover from my day job. That’s all.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            The problem is that the 5% or 90% or whatever is not comparable to what we see as teachers.

            Those percentages are a description of the group, not an individual.

            That 5% chance of a problem doesn’t mean that the birth scored 95/100. It means that 95/100 births passed, and 5/100 failed.

            I don’t know about you, but in fact, I pay close attention to my failure rate. In my course this spring, I had 4/175 failed. Two of them failed because they quit coming to class after the first exam and never dropped the course. One other quit coming after the second exam, but at the time was projected to pass. So of those who completed the course, 171/172 passed in some way.

            As an instructor, if 30% of my students have some specific issue, I absolutely take it seriously.

            That 5% we are talking about is not based on partial credit. That is the pass/fail rate, not the line for what constitutes pass.

          • guest

            Of course! I was just noting how our particular experiences color the way we understand statistics. If 5% of my students failed my class, that would be no big deal (in fact, it’s common). Now, I prefer that no students fail, and it is possible to have no failures in a class at least for some classes, but our goals as teachers are different. First, the 5% of students who fail do not die. They can retake the class again, and the second grade will replace the F on their transcripts. But more than that, when grading my job is to rank students’ abilities, and they aren’t all the same. Someone has to be the worst (which doesn’t necessarily mean an F). But with scientific statistics, perinatal death rates, and likelihood of multiple gestation, doctors aren’t ranking pregnancies, and the consequences are potentially far more serious. At least, I’ve never heard of anyone dying or having life-long health issues as a result of failing Englit 101.

          • CharlotteB

            I think a yes/no (pass/fail, except that I don’t think you fail as long as you put the health of your child first) idea would work so much better for childbirth!

            Going into labor, I didn’t consider stats, because personally I figured everything was a 50/50 chance, especially C-section. Either I’d get one, or I wouldn’t. It’s a yes/no question. I wouldn’t get 30% of one, nor does somebody else’s c-section impact my need for one.

        • Azuran

          A 5% failure rate on just about anything is horrible. But somehow, that fact passes right over CPM and fans of natural birth.
          Would you get on a plane if if had a 5% chance of crashing? God no.
          Granted, today the death toll of homebirth is lower than it was 100 years ago. Because when things go wrong, most mothers and newborn will end up being transferred to the hospital where they can be properly treated. But it’s still a huge risk to take with the life and neurological function of your baby.

        • Jules B

          The birth control analogy is actually a great one – most people who really do NOT want a kid are not OK with a method that only has a 90-95% success rate. They want as close to 100 percent as possible!

    • Irène Delse

      Another way to look at it: we often don’t know in advance who is going to be in the 95%. For instance, first time mothers don’t know before trying to give birth if their pelvis can let a baby through, which is why they are not good candidates for home birth. And there are potentially life-threatening problems that can be caught in time but only via fetal monitoring, which is another good reason for going to a hospital, out a birth centre working closely with a hospital team. And then, there’s the totally unpredictable and devastating PPH, where you need to be in the hospital or very close to one… The odds don’t look so good!

      • Daleth

        Exactly. A, we don’t know who’s going to be in the 95% vs. the 5%. And B, five percent is a lot!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          C. The consequences of being in the 5% are dire.

          I’m not willing to be one of the 5% when it comes to my child.

          • Rosalind Dalefield

            Well the 95%, even if it is accurate, is the mothers, not the babies. There is generally no mention at all of the neonatal mortality.

      • Beth

        yes, exactly. people look at this as “you’re going to 95% ok.” In reality it’s, most people are going to be 100% ok, and the other 5% are going to be 100% dead.

        If you’re in the 5%, it really isn’t going to matter to you that the other 95% are fine.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I just wrote something like this below – more verbosely of course.

      • Rosalind Dalefield

        However my impression is that 95% is way too high an estimate in the first place.

        • Irène Delse

          It’s certainly optimistic.

    • Squillo

      My answer would be that, if 95% can do it, that means 1 in 20 can’t. Would you walk into a room with 19 other people knowing that one of you would be shot?

      • LaMont

        Yet another example to pile on – if someone hooked me up with a connection to Hamilton on Broadway where I’d have a 5% chance of getting an affordable ticket, I’d never stop crying happy tears.

      • Gatita

        I love this. People don’t understand that 5% isn’t a small number.

        • swbarnes2

          5% means even if it’s not you, then it’s someone you know. 5% means that EVERYONE would know someone affected.
          Or, ask a D&D player. The critical fumble rate is 5% in some systems. Having a high level character you’ve been building for months be one critical fumble away from death…most players would avoid the hell out of that scenario.

      • Rosalind Dalefield

        My feeling is that 95% is way too high an estimate in the first place, though.

    • Roadstergal

      “95% of women can drive their babies around unbuckled.” I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a little higher, actually. People don’t get into accidents all that often (shockingly, considering the lack of real driver training in the US).

  • D/

    Update: Well, the newest little addition to our family has arrived! … and his prognosis at this point is much better than originally expected 🙂

    His is a perfect example of what would have been sad story of a baby who would have had literally no possibility of survival without the miracles of modern obstetric care. His need for such miracles was discovered through routine screenings. Intentional decisions not just for a hospital birth, but for birth at a facility best suited for addressing his many needs, were made immediately. Continuously-disruptive-to-trusting-birth monitoring by maternal-fetal-medicine specialists allowed the perfect balance of an as-late-as-possible but still preterm delivery to give him the very best odds. At least weeks in the NICU will take priority over his mother’s wish to bond with him at home.

    He still has a long road to a hopefully normal life, but *only* because his very young, very scared mother made the very best decisions to improve his chances. I fully intend to hug her (first) when I see her and tell her what a brave, smart, wonderful mother she is and how proud I am of her for doing everything right for her baby… and will throat punch anyone who ever tries to make her feel otherwise!

    • demodocus

      congrats to your family and I hope the little guy is on his feet soon. (metaphorically!)

      • D/

        Thanks so much for the well wishes. He was finally stable enough for a bit of a cuddle today. Seeing the very best hugger I’ve ever known finally getting to hug her very own baby … completely melted my bitchy old heart 🙂

        Hope things are going better for you too.

    • Amazed

      Congrats! I hope all goes the best way possible VERY soon!

  • Jules B

    I remember when I was 16, we went to visit my extended family in England, and one day we did the tourist thing in the city of Bath (went to see the Roman baths etc). We visited Bath Abbey while there, and I remember looking at some of the memorial plaques on the wall. The one I remember vividly had multiple children listed on the plaque – I think there were maybe seven or eight children listed who had died before their tenth birthdays, a few of those being infants who had died on their birth days (or before in utero, I suppose). And all from the same family (same mother and father – and yes, the mother died relatively young, too). I just stood there and stared at this list, thinking, “How is can that be??” It was an oddly good lesson for me to have at that age – the idea that not that long ago (the family lived in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s) babies just died. Like, a lot of them died.

    • Sean Jungian

      The town I grew up in had some very old, very beautiful cemeteries which my friends and I would frequent due to our being oh-so-mysterious (this was before “goth” was a thing so we were just being weird). Hanging out in an old cemetery, you can’t avoid seeing how MANY of the graves are tiny, with little lambs and such. So very many babies.

      • Roadstergal

        When I was a kid, we were still taught that little bedtime prayer that would have been creepy if we had thought about it – “…and if I die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take.” Kids died a LOT before modern medicine. Birth through childhood, they might be gone in a heartbeat.

        • demodocus

          At a baby group, people were quite surprised that was the version I know. Apparently, there are several gentler versions now, lol.

        • Valerie

          My parents taught me “angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light,” but I got the other version when Grandma babysat. I did find it disturbing!

  • Anna

    After the birth of my daughter the older women in my community started telling me about their own birth experiences more candidly than they did before. Well…
    1. My MIL passed out from pain shock during the crowning phase and couldn’t get up for two weeks, luckily hubby was OK and not damaged.
    2. My aunt hemorrhaged so badly that she had to get a massive blood transfusion as a result of which she became infected with hepatitis.
    3. My mother’s friend was overdue and when she started labor on her own her daughter had already died inside, she never got to have living children.
    4. My grandmother had an uncomplicated delivery but hardly any milk, so she had to supplement with goat milk, which proves that easy delivery does not equal easy breastfeeding which could lead to tragedy in the days when formula/donor breastmilk was not an available option for many.
    All these women had straightforward (non-instrumental) pretty much unmedicated vaginal deliveries with pretty much no interventions. So yes, birth no big deal. All was “just fine” before the modern medical system with it’s “unnecesssary precautions” was established.

    • Sean Jungian

      My mother had stillborn twins and also required a transfusion that resulted in hepatitis. This would have been in 1970. That birth and almost losing my mom hung over our entire family her whole life.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        My mom went into labor a few days before her scheduled C-section for placenta previa and persistent transverse lie (my brother would NOT turn!) I was 4 and we lived at my grandmothers house. My mother started bleeding heavily and my grand parents carried/dragged her to the car and gram floored it to the hospital (3 miles away). My mom had endometriosis that, unbeknownst to the doctor had damaged her uterine wall. When they opened her up to do the emergency C-section her uterine wall was beginning to rupture. They did a hysterectomy after they got the baby out, because they could not stop the bleeding. This was 1966. My mother lived to be 86. My brother turned 50 this year and he’s smart, funny and annoying, he’s a vet tech.

        I thank modern medicine and OB medical advances every year. The day my brother was born is one of my clearest memories from my preschool years. It is easily one of the most frightening.

      • Amy

        I know several classmates who WERE twins, but the twin died at some point during pregnancy or birth. I’m 38, so this would have been in the late 70s.

        • demodocus

          Mom said my younger sister was a triplet and the others long gone when they were stillborn. I remember when she lost our little brother’s twin sisters. That was 87

  • Ayr

    Childbirth is very dangerous, and highly traumatic for both mother and baby, even with today’s technology and medical advances, anyone who thinks or believes otherwise is a fool.

  • crazy grad mama

    I think the homebirth folks genuinely don’t believe that the risk could be out of their control. They’re told that if you do everything “right,” then you’ll have a healthy baby and a great birth “experience.” If something goes wrong or you need medical intervention, well, it must be your fault! (Or more likely, the fault of that nasty doctor who didn’t “understand” birth.)

    After my son flipped breech, I was astounded by the number of resources that tried to make his position into MY fault. Apparently I didn’t sit up straight enough during pregnancy or some such nonsense.

    • Megan

      Too many evenings sitting on the couch watching Netflix! Tsk tsk…

    • Ayr

      I did everything right prior to and during my pregnancy, I ate right and exercised and still ended up with severe morning sickness that left me sofa bound for the first half of my pregnancy and then diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My son was early term, he was 8 lbs. 9 oz.and thankfully I had a c-section because his torso was so big it would have been stuck in the birth canal because my hips did not open or widen enough to allow him to pass through. And yet somehow, in some people’s eyes, I did something wrong otherwise I would have had a perfect healthy uncomplicated pregnancy. If it hadn’t been for my doctors, my mother, and my own research, I might have believed it. Yeesh! Child bearing is nothing like it is portrayed in Hollywood people.

      • Old Lady

        I had very little morning sickness and only threw up once for my first and a few times the second. I would guess it’s genetic since my mom didn’t either. Actually I was a little worried that it was a bad sign since I had read about that study that said morning sickness lowered the chance of miscarriage. I never read the study itself though.

    • Marie

      I did everything right too. I even bought into the woo and did acupuncture, drank weird teas, etc. It still took 3 years and 5 miscarriages until I conceived my son.

      I ate healthy and walked every day while pregnant. I still had bad morning sickness that sometimes kept me home from work. I also had an early term baby who was 8lbs11oz.

    • Sean Jungian

      I think the control aspect is central to their beliefs. Not having control IS terrifying! It’s reasonable to fear it, to fear not knowing how things will work out. That’s why NCB and other woo correlates so closely to religion, particularly (in my view) the “Prosperity” gospel-type beliefs. That if you simply want something badly enough, and ask the cosmos for it enough (key word: ENOUGH) everything will go as you hope.

      I could never buy into “The Secret” and the Prosperity gospel because of all the instances in which God (or whatever superior power you believe in, “Nature”) does NOT answer prayers. Are you saying starving people don’t want food badly enough for their prayers to be answered? What about abused children who pray for relief from the abuse? They just don’t want it badly enough? They don’t ask for it correctly?

      • Bombshellrisa

        Truth! The people in my community are both religious and very into Abraham Hicks “Law of Attraction”. The talk about “being open and receptive to prosperity/abundance/joy/goodness” is constant. They talk about asking the universe for cars, vacations, whatever and have those things “granted” and leave out the part that if most of these people are making six figures a year, those things are going to be much more possible than if they were struggling at poverty level and imploring “the universe” for them. It’s like the birth affirmations, you can want a vba4c very much, be open to it and affirm it and visualize it happening and it just isn’t going to be happen.

    • InfiniteSovereign

      Yes, according to my midwife, the reason my cervix wouldn’t open was my anxiety. Thank god I was the only one out of four adults (CPM, doula, husband, me) in the apartment who had the presence of mind (in active labor) to transfer to the hospital after being in labor for 52 hours and never dilating past 4. This was after another midwife came in and checked me, broke my waters without my consent and lied about it. They told me the water had “light” mec staining. Something in me was telling me that going any further at home without my amniotic sac was not a good idea. Not to mention I was dead tired and discouraged by my lack of dilation and no longer ablet to cope with the pain. So *I* made the decision all by myself to go to the hospital, with my husband crying and begging me not to give up because he was so enamored the idea of our gentle home birth. Long story short, I ended up having a c-section. My child had caput succedaneum, but his apgars were 8 and 9 and he was fine. We are VERY lucky. But yeah, it was my fault my cervix didn’t dilate. My anxiety, you know. That messed with my head really bad until I was able to overcome my NCB programming. Then it just made me angry.

      • Roadstergal

        Ugh, there’s so much wrong with that story, but “with my husband crying and begging me not to give up because he was so enamored the idea of our gentle home birth” – he can push an 8lb baby out of his sphincter ‘gently’ if he’s so enamored of the idea. 🙁

        • Sean Jungian

          Yeah, I don’t want to malign your husband, @infinitesovereign:disqus, but I hope he apologized to you for that at a later date.

          And thank goodness you had the good sense to insist on transferring, and the strength in the face of 3 other adults (4?) who should have known MUCH better.

        • InfiniteSovereign

          Thanks. I’m still kind of mad at him when I think about it honestly. Can’t remember if he apologised or not, but at least he’s not drinking the NCB koolaid anymore.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s a blessing at least…!

          • Megan

            It does happen that hubbies can fall for the woo too. When I was having a horrible time trying to breastfeed my husband said to me, “but you have to breastfeed. Formula is too expensive.” I lost it. He has since apologized and is now thankful that I am formula fading our second daughter.

          • Sean Jungian

            When I read this I thought, “OMG he would have spent the next 3 days pulling that breastpump out from where I firmly lodged it with my foot”.

          • Megan

            Or trying out the pump himself…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            In areas for which it–*ahem*–was not originally intended, and for *very* long periods of time.

          • Kelly

            My husband was like that too. I was the one who fed him all that information as well. Since he was in graduate school and I was working as a teacher, we were pretty paranoid about not having enough money to have a baby. For me, I realize that part of my issues was that I was trying to prove I could have a baby at this time without financial help from anyone. I know this is why I pumped for as long as I did with the first one. After I developed some scary PPD with my second, he was pushing me to quit and switch to formula to help me out.

          • LeighW

            That sounds like my ex. Every time we bought formula he would complain about the cost. I got so fed up one day I printed out the child & spousal support guidelines for Ontario and stuck it to the fridge.

            It helped.

      • InfiniteSovereign

        I can’t help but wonder if my midwife would’ve waited till me and baby were dying and/or dead before transferring. But it’s cool. She told me that my cervical scar tissue would probably loosen during the next birth and I could have a healing hbac with my next one, so I have that to look forward to. Ugh. Every time I see one of her posts about an hbac she presided over (“she thought she could, so she did”), I cringe. As for my husband, I really think it was some kind of mind blindness on his part. I am starting to think he may be on the spectrum (not only because of my birth). But when my mother came in after I made the call to transfer, she was horrified by how pale I looked. I learned later from my cousin who admins the hospital that I transferred to, that my midwife is notorious there for “safety issues,” which she said she couldn’t elaborate on, I guess because of HIPAA.

        • Daleth

          I doubt that HIPAA prevents them from discussing a midwife’s safety issues. It would prevent them from providing any identifiable patient info, but not from saying, e.g., “She chose not to transfer a woman giving birth to breech twins and they died” or whatever the facts are.

          • Daleth

            It won’t let me edit, but I should add that a hospital might well go overboard in its HIPAA policies, since for instance dead breech twins are unusual enough that if they told you about that you might actually know or know of the woman it happened to. So they might just have a blanket “no details” policy.

          • BeatriceC

            Small town hospitals are interesting. I had cause to call the hospital where my oldest was born, which was in SmallTown, NC. I wanted to get the hospital records for my oldest son’s birth. My memory and my ex-husband’s memory don’t completely jive (one of the topics that came up when we talked on Sunday). I wanted to see what actually happened. Anyway, I called medical records and explained what I wanted. As soon as I gave my name and the date of the delivery, the woman said “Oh, I remember you guys”. Yeah. 17 years later. We haven’t lived there since the kid was 4 months old.

          • Daleth

            Wow. If she still remembers you 17 years later, you must’ve had a very, very tough time during and after his birth.

          • BeatriceC

            At the time of his birth, the town had a population of only 8000 people. It was a difficult delivery and he was rushed to the closet NICU about an hour away. They had a great special care nursery considering the size of the town and hospital, and could have handled a 36 weeker with no additional complication, but he had a SD and was born with a heart rate of 30 something beats per minute and not breathing. It would have been memorable for a hospital of that size.

      • Fleur

        I got utterly fed up with being told by my midwife/ antenatal classes that birth will only go wrong if the mother is anxious and doesn’t trust the process. This was always accompanied by a dubious explanation about how, when prehistoric women were giving birth in caves, their labour would stall if a mammoth walked by outside the cave (how would we actually know that?). Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a good thing to stay as calm as possible during labour but, no matter how many hypnobirthing techniques she learns, any first-time mother is going to be terrified and guilt-tripping her isn’t going to help with that. Plus, sometimes anxiety is trying to tell us something. In the two months since I had my daughter, I’ve heard three separate horror stories about women who lost healthy babies at that same hospital – all were significantly past their due date and, heartbreakingly, the mothers were talked out of their fears that something was wrong until it was too late.

        • Sean Jungian

          First, congratulations!

          Second:
          “when prehistoric women were giving birth in caves, their labour would stall if a mammoth walked by outside the cave”

          BAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH omg HAHAHAHA seriously though *wipes away tear* no, I mean, seriously, this is a thing people give credence to? No, no, I’m okay *snerk* whew, no, really.

          Oh, man, I am always jumping in when people say stuff like “I weep for our planet” or “I can’t believe how stupid people are” but wow, then someone shows me something like this and I just think, okay, okay, maybe y’all have a point…

          • Irène Delse

            Wonder how the labour stalling would help, from an evolutionary perspective. I mean, will having less many live births (and some women dying) due to wayward mammoths help the tribe? And wouldn’t our ancestors have chosen a dwelling place that was as far as possible from the pathway of megamammals ?
            I know this kind of rationalisation is just wishful thinking, but at least, if they could avoid taking the Ice Age franchise as scientific documentation!

          • Sean Jungian

            Right? How close did the mammoth have to be? 10 yards? 20? If the mammoth was killed would that kick-start labor again? What if you see a spider when you’re laboring?

          • Roadstergal

            I have a mental image of a mammoth peeking into a cave – “Buh? Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to disturb you, I’ll keep moving…”

            Were mammoths big predators of humans? I thought it kinda went the other way? :p

          • demodocus

            don’t elephants occasionally attack

          • Azuran

            In some cases it could help I guess. Cats do very often stop their labour for up to 12h if they are disturbed. It’s considered medically normal for a cat to have a 12h wait between to kitten if it’s not having strong contraction during that time.
            But cats are by nature solitary creatures so they birth alone and their small size makes them also prey to bigger carnivores. So it makes sense for them to stop labour to move somewhere else if they feel in danger.

            Dogs, however, do not stall their labour like that. But Wolves are pack animals. Birthing female are protected by the pack and the pack will usually protect it’s territory. So there was no need for them to be able to stall labour.

            Humans would probably be closer to dogs in that case. Tribes would probably defend their home and fight together against larger predators, especially since we are slow as hell so running away from wolves, bears or large feline usually would end badly for the human. Stress could still probably have some kind of effect on birth (it does have effect on pretty much everything else in our lives), but it probably varies widely between women and there are a lot of different factor at play here. The generalization that stress stops labour is stupid, and women should never be blamed for it.

        • Amazed

          Oh god, pass me those woman’s contacts, won’t you? We’re always in demand of a good novel here, at the publishing house I often work with, and this lady does have the inventive brain to write one. Of course, she also has zero morals. A mammoth, oh my!

      • Valerie

        Even if anxiety about birth were preventing your cervix from dilating, it’s still not your fault, and it’s still not a solution to just “be less anxious.” Anxiety doesn’t work that way.

    • Irène Delse

      Groan. This remind me of a friend of mine: she was expecting her first baby and had been told that she probably would need a C section as the baby was breech, but if the baby turned before the due date, she’d be able to give birth vaginally. All straightforward, right? My friend was very nervous, having drank a good deal of NCB koolaid, so she spent more time than previously in breathing exercises and meditation/relaxation. A few days later (and a few days before the due date), she phone me happily, saying the baby had turned during one of her exercises of relaxation! So now she’s persuaded that the baby turning the right side down was her doing, not the natural course of things…

  • AirPlant

    When I was in engineering school there were people that told me to watch out for the first failure because that is where most people quit. The idea is that if you are smart enough to get into engineering school you have probably been at the top of the class for most of your life. You probably had good grades and you probably never had to work for them and now, very suddenly, you are placed in a room where you are not the smartest person any more. You have to learn to work hard and fight for what you want, and it normally takes one really big catastrophic failure for that message to sink in. A solid chunk of people can’t handle it and switch to another field, but if you can power through the pain of the moment and get your act together you become a stronger person and a better engineer for the experience.
    .
    I feel like that message is as true for bodies as it is for minds. We all start our lives feeling invincible until eventually our bodies fail us.
    .
    In my case I have a weak, clumsy, nearsighted and asthmatic body that has never been capable of the same things as my peers and so that message sunk in early. My expectations for pregnancy begin and end with “This is going to suck, I just hope I get a healthy baby out of the suckage.” My pregnant sister in law however has never had the experience of her body failing her. Not even a broken bone. Currently she is losing her damn mind about the severity of her morning sickness. For the record, she is six weeks in and hasn’t even thrown up yet. I am very excited for the uncontrollable farts portion of the pregnancy.
    .
    Side note, I could be salty because she turned down my offer of a baby quilt in the color/pattern of her choice. Monster.

    • RNMeg

      Who does that?? My custom baby quilts, both made by my mother for my babies, are among the things I would grab in a house fire.

      • AirPlant

        She is a monster. A terrible, non quilt appreciating monster. She doesn’t even understand what she is missing. There could have been a fuzzy minky lining.

        • CharlotteB

          When they were cleaning out my grandparent’s house after my grandma died, my sister found my grandma’s stash of baby quilt flannel and thought to keep it even though there were no babies on the horizon. When I was pregnant, she and my mom made my son a beautiful quilt with some of that material. My sister embroidered some of the squares and everything. Her daughter got a quilt from that stash too.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, man, that sounds so awesome!

    • Megan

      Are you kidding?? I have friends request my quilts!!

      • AirPlant

        I am actually really hurt! I know that it doesn’t matter and she can decorate how she likes and I won’t have to work on something that she won’t appreciate but FFS, what kind of monster turns down a quilt!

        • Sean Jungian

          I would be hurt, too. Whatever with the decorating and all that. My son is 14 and his favorite blankie is STILL the fleece one my sister made for him. Who turns down a handmade quilt INDEED. She’s a monster, I hope she farts as rampantly as I did through pregnancy.

          • AirPlant

            I am quietly wishing every single gross but non-life threatening pregnancy complication that I can think of on her. Like I hope she gets constipated for the entire third trimester.
            .
            And it is petty, but she was being super snarky about her MIL shopping for baby clothes because “You have to dress a girl like a girl and a boy like a boy!” and I am just like DUDE. They are going to shit through three outfits a day. Accept the loving gift and chill.

          • Sean Jungian

            Really? We’re going to start right out of the gate with the gender binary baloney? Oh, man. You got a dud for a SIL!

          • Roadstergal

            “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world…”

          • Gatita

            God I love that song.

          • Gatita

            If there’s any justice Prince will be reincarnated as her child and she’ll get to see her little boy wearing lace blouses and full makeup with heels.

          • Azuran

            Me and my boyfriend have made a pact that if we have a little baby boy,
            we are going to dress him up in a pretty dress to go eat at his
            mother’s house.

          • AirPlant

            From your fingers to god’s ear. I just want to see how she would cope with that perfect mixture of flamboyant androgyny and aggressive heterosexuality.

          • Dr Kitty

            DH and I watched the Sign O’ the Times tour video last week.
            Peach matador pants, a matching cutaway top and high heeled boots with a matching peach guitar is a look that takes serious cojones to pull off!

            The nearest I’ve got to actively cross-dressing my kids is considering putting my son in tights, because I can’t keep socks on him. He has worn several of his sister’s baby outfits (she wore a lot of green, yellow, purple and red).

          • Gatita

            I got to see him live twice. He was freakin’ amazing.

          • Mishimoo

            My youngest wore a lot of leggings (including ones from the girls’ section) because he hated the way that jeans felt over his nappy. If tights would work, go for it! There are black, navy, and green ones; he could rock them.

          • BeatriceC

            Middle kid has some of those traits, though not nearly to the same level Prince did. He’s loud and obnoxious, figure skates because he likes it dammit!, and is on the far end of the scale when it comes to adolescent sex jokes. He likes to push boundaries far more than almost any other kid I’ve ever met, and that includes the thousands of middle school students I had move through my classroom when I was still teaching.

          • Gatita

            Flamboyant androgyny and aggressive heterosexuality is just about the best description of Prince’s awesome that I’ve ever read.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Or a cosplayer. Some of the guys I’ve met have some wicked eyeliner game that makes me green with envy. Add in that cosplay costumes, especially if we’re talking about something like Final Fantasy, can be incredibly flamboyant. Feathers, faux fur, leather, purple lipstick, giant hair, and mixed prints everywhere!

          • LaMont

            Yeah the whole not-appreciating-gifts thing seems to be the way worse offense than freaking out about morning sickness – while I definitely understand that some people just haven’t dealt with enough to know how to function, I can sympathize with a high-neurotic, freak-out-at-all-times mentality too (my flowchart of “how to feel today” has all roads lead to “freak out at least a little” so I’m biased?). What I can’t understand *at all* is how someone snarks at or refuses gifts!! WTF?? Also the sexism. From before birth. I die inside.

          • AirPlant

            I will freely admit that I am being a bitch about the morning sickness. I am salty as hell about the quilt and being childish. A bigger person would acknowledge the negative emotion and move through the experience without sabotaging my in law relationship.
            .
            I am a small person so I am just drafting plans for the birthday toys this eventual child will receive. Like you don’t want a quilt? I guess you are getting a drum set!

          • Charybdis

            Oh, how about one of those little push or pull toys that have little balls inside and sound like popcorn when they are moved? Those are good for little ones or one of those ball popper things?

          • Glittercrush

            Target sells a cat keyboard in their toy section. The thing is a monster. It plays notes in piano, organ, banjo, aaaaaaand cat meow. It also come preprogramed with songs about cats. It is horrid enough to make your ears bleed. The kicker though is if you leave it turned on but dont touch it for 5 minutes it starts purring and meowing on its own. I have almost crapped my pants in terror hearing that damn thing go off when I had forgotten it was on. Not that I want to give you ideas or anything.

          • Azuran

            I checked it out on youtube and OMG I WANT THIS!

          • Glittercrush

            You can have ours.

          • Mariana

            That’s just perfect! Sweet revenge!

          • Anne

            Don’t forget about hemorrhoids.

          • AirPlant

            The gift that keeps on giving.

          • Chant de la Mer

            Even worse, a thrombosed hemorrhoid!

          • Chi

            Ouch. I had that at the beginning of my 3rd trimester. It is painful. And for me it required surgery.

            But it was kinda awesome, because instead of doing it under general anesthetic, they used a spinal. And they had the on-call OB coming in at intervals to check on me and the baby both before and after the procedure.

            Best service and attention I’ve ever received in that hospital.

          • demodocus

            my daughter will mostly be wearing her brother’s clothes. THe main reason why we’re getting her anything of her own is the temperature issue; he was born just after Halloween, and she’s due just before Midsummer’s day. That and I just had a weird fit of girliness over this little dress. It’s white corderouy with tiny purple flowers.

          • BeatriceC

            A friend of my sister’s lost her first born (a boy) at 9 days old. She had her second child a couple years later. She got some really sweet pictures of her daughter wearing some of the clothing that had been bought for her son, but never worn, with pictures of her son in the background edited to look like he was a guardian angel. They were really very sweet. She didn’t use most of her son’s clothing day to day, but did reuse some of the plain onesies and gender neutral stuff.

          • Mrs.Katt the Cat

            Weird fits of girlyness abound in my house now. Before the Mini, I might wear a nice purple, but mostly darks and neutrals. I was anti-pink.
            Now? OMG look at the little foofy hearts and flowers! And butt ruffles! And useless tiny baby socks!

          • demodocus

            They don’t abound in me! My husband, on the other hand, adores pink. i’ve knit that boy 4 pairs of socks, a sweater, a cowl, and 2 pairs of mittens, all predominantly pink. uurghhh.

          • Mrs.Katt the Cat

            LOL. I don’t think my house had any pink in it until the Mini came and we were gifted soooooooo many clothes.

            I made her a onesie- black, with “Daddy’s little Apprentice” if that gives you an idea of our pre-baby house . . . now that she is a size up I get to make “Momma don’t raise no Jedi” 🙂

          • Dinolindor

            Yes, I was all about putting my daughter in my son’s hand me downs – and largely do, and absolutely love the tomboy-ish-ness of it all. This past winter I called her my little blueberry in her brother’s old blue snowsuits and puffy winter coat. But in my last trimester I got hit with wanting something specifically *for her* and found these adorable embroidered blue and white ruffly playsuits. I justified it as her being a summer baby while my son was born during a blizzard, so she NEEDED summer baby clothes since apparently the short sleeve onesies I put under his fleece playsuits didn’t count. It’s funny how these latent things come out when it comes to offspring.

          • demodocus

            🙂 The boy’s onsies were mostly long sleeved, so she actually did need some short-sleeved ones. (we’ve plenty now) I’m debating the merits of shorts versus nekkid legs.

          • Charybdis

            Nekkid legs, all the way! It is one less thing you have to remove to change a diaper.

            Unless you were talking about yourself….

          • demodocus

            Not mine, Dahling. Don’t want to blind the neighbors with the sheer beauty of my person. 😉

          • Bombshellrisa

            It sounds precious!!!

          • Bombshellrisa

            I had those grandiose thoughts when I was first pregnant. Every outfit would be well thought out and everything would be able to be coordinated with everything else in the closet so my child would never look like they picked a bunch of random junk and wore it. Hahahaha! Lately I have been just trying to keep clothes on my two year old. Not to mention that anything nice is programmed to attract and hold stains like nothing else.

          • Azuran

            I’m all for pyjamas all day long when I stay home all day.

          • Charybdis

            When I was more in charge of picking clothes for and dressing DS, it was awesome. As he got older and started having opinions on what he wanted to wear outside of school (he’s worn a school uniform since kindergarten), I’ve pretty much let him choose his clothes (with some parental guidelines) and dress himself. If we are going to a nicer occasion (Christmas Midnight Mass, Easter Mass, dinner out for a birthday, etc) he has to dress appropriately. Otherwise, he lives in rash guards, shorts, compression leggings and t-shirts. Most of which are in neon colors: orange, yellow, green and blue. He looks like a freaking highlighter.

        • Megan

          I would also be hurt. I made a quilt for my friend’s daughter and she still talks about it and proudly displays it on the nursery wall right above the crib. I told her it was meant to be used but she says it’s too pretty and special. I’m sure your quilts are too!!

          • AirPlant

            Like this in my stuff, but we are supposed to be family and I just feel so rejected. I have been nothing but kind to this girl despite us having absolutely nothing in common, and she is just acting like I am some girl off the street. Like I want to be all cool and blasé about it, but I am really close with my family and I want the same thing with my inlaws and they are all just treating me like it is a freaking charitable act to make conversation with me.
            .
            And my quilts are freaking adorable. I just finished one with a sexy lumberjack theme and it is a tiny piece of livingroom magic.

          • Gatita

            Um, can I get a quilt from you? Because that sounds amazing.

          • Sean Jungian

            Aw, hang in there. That sucks, it really does, because you sound totally cool! SIL sounds kind of young, maybe she’s just spoiled and blithely unaware. You just be your cool rad self. Make a quilt (for the BABY) ANYWAY and she can always shove it up her overly-puckered a$$ if she doesn’t like it. Maybe she’ll have a cool kid who will appreciate it, like mine does. They might come around and they might not, but nothing wrong with hoping.

          • FormerPhysicist

            Yeah, make a quilt, and hold onto it until child can make that decision.

          • AirPlant

            Aw, Thanks! I think I am pretty great, but I am for sure an acquired taste. She is very young and she comes from a family that places basicness on a pedestal. When you are told your whole life that the most important thing is to be pretty and bland it is natural to look down on people blessed with an excess of personality.
            .
            I thought about making something and presenting it in a super public way, but it won’t buy me anything and there are much nicer things to spend the money on.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Rejecting hand made presents, even if they’re kind of meh, is one of my biggest taboos. Meh or not, time and effort went into that! Even if it’s neon green and fucshia haphazardly sewn together by your six year old cousin, be gracious!

            Something that is exquisitely made? Rejecting something like that is flat out wrong.

          • demodocus

            *especially* if it’s from your 6 year old cousin.

          • BeatriceC

            If you need a reason to make a quilt, you can make one for my middle kid. He loves quilts*. Though a baby sized one would be too small and one big enough for the 5’11” child would likely be way too much work for you.

            *He rolls himself up like a burrito in blankets. He likes quilts because they’re warm like comforters, but not as bulky.

            Edited to Add: I’m actually about half serious on this. We should talk about it if you’re interested, and how much you should charge me, as I would never ask for something like that for free.

          • Sean Jungian

            My kid does the same to this day. I swear he looks like Gloria Swanson swanning about with his blanket-robes. We get the quilts at the church sales around here (you can’t swing a dead cat in Nodak without hitting a Lutheran church).

          • demodocus

            Quilting is very serious. I generally don’t do commissions myself because it takes me years. Seriously. I have what we (on my crafty sites) jokingly call crafting ADHD and project polygamy.

          • demodocus

            …I should probably finish my aunt’s wedding quilt before their 10th anniversary next August

          • BeatriceC

            I can barely sew a straight line, so I totally understand the time and effort involved in making those things. That’s why I added the edit saying I was half serious/half joking and that if AirPlant was actually interested, we’d have to discuss payment, because there’s no way I’d accept a gift like that from an internet acquaintance. It’s just too much work.

          • demodocus

            The main pleasure is giving to someone who’ll truly enjoy it. 🙂 But most of us will be making 1 or 2 or 37 anyway, so a lot of quilters aren’t too bothered by the cost.

            Cotton’s over $10 a yard these days for the good quality stuff, and it normally takes over 6 yards for an adult’s quilt (depending on the bed size). That’s not counting batting, thread, the inevitable new needle, and time.

          • BeatriceC

            I figure an adult sized quilt would probably be worth a minimum of $300 when one accounts for material and time. Probably more than that. I’m not entirely sure how long it really takes.

          • demodocus

            Depends heavily on the individual quilter’s speed and the complexity of the pattern

          • Megan

            Actually, I one time sat down and figured out the actual cost of one of my quilts for a friend (with hand dyed cotton and all of my time) and it was over $1000

          • BeatriceC

            Yikes! I was actually thinking inexpensive cotton and a simple pattern, nothing fancy.

          • Megan

            Well, this was a very large quilt too. My friend is over 6′ tall and I wanted it to be long enough to cover him up to the neck and go under his feet so he could nap with it. I picked the hand dyed cotton fabric because it was super soft. I would never charge anyone for my quilts; I just figured it out for fun. The only thing I like in return is to know someone enjoys it. My friend told me he still naps with it every afternoon and his girlfriend has to coerce him to wash it. That was payment enough for me!

          • Megan

            I embrace my project ADHD and try to always have a project in a different phase (cutting, piecing, basting, quilting, binding) so I always have something to work on to suit my mood. Unfortunately cutting never suits my mood…

          • demodocus

            I hear you. I hate basting.

          • AirPlant

            If you are going to spend the $300 I would actually recommend getting a cheap machine and learning! I am clumsy as anything and all thumbs most of the time, but sewing is so much more forgiving than any other hobby that I have picked up and a beginner strip quilt is actually crazy easy to make. With all the stress in your life right now I imagine having something to do with your hands would be cathartic.

            .

            My favorite beginner blanket is one my mom makes. If you google “Raw edge strip quilt” you can get an idea what it looks like.
            .
            You make it like this:
            .
            1. Get a bunch of flannel and cut it into 6″ strips of about the same length.

            – Plaid flannel is great because once you mark the length you just cut along the pattern.

            -The width of the strip is the width of your quilt, so plan accordingly.
            .
            2. Pair the strips and lay one on top of the other so that the pretty side is facing out on both sides
            .
            3. Start sewing the strips together along the long side.

            -Your seam should be about 1 inch from the edge and all your raw edges (the extra fabric generally on the inside of a seam) should be on the same side.

            -Your goal is to create a bunch of colorful horizontal stripes with one side smooth and one side with all the seams showing.

            .

            4.Once your blanket is long enough for your liking trim the sides so that it is straightish. Fabric is weird and so the stripes never go together quite right and a bit of trimming is always needed. This blanket is kind of a woobly blanket so it doesn’t need to be perfect, just evenish

            -If you are motivated you can bust out an iron. and flatten your seams down. I do this because I am neurotic, but it isn’t strictly needed

            .

            5. Sew a line along the outer perimeter of your blanket the same 1 inch that you used for your seam. Then come back with a scissors and start cutting notches into the raw edges. There is no art to this, just every inch or so cut into anything that is sticking out and try not to cut your stitches. It seems crazy and feels really dumb but I promise it works out just fine.
            .
            6. Run your blanket through the wash. This will take all the raw edges and the notches you made and fray them so you have sort of fuzzy lines running along your blanket.
            .
            7. SNUGGLE.
            .
            I promise instructions are always longer that they sound, it is actually crazy simple. For me this is a one afternoon blanket and it will be a hell of a lot cheaper to do it yourself. Plus you get full creative control which is always great.

          • Charybdis

            My mother made a couple of “faux quilts” back in the 70’s. She found a flat sheet with a design/pattern she liked and a coordinating flat sheet in a single color. She then laid out the solid sheet, rolled out the batting, then covered that with the patterned sheet. She pinned them together and pinned at intervals on the pattern. She then stitched them together using a chain stitch (?? it looks like a dotted line) and when she was finished: Voila! A Faux Quilt. She used the yellow butterfly one for her and dad’s bed and my brother got the one that looked like denim.

            It took work, but it didn’t require cutting, piecing, basting, stuffing, etc. She used it for YEARS. Plus it was easy to wash.

          • demodocus

            Oh, I’d consider that a whole cloth quilt. 3 layers sewn together! THere’s quite a tradition for that.

          • Charybdis

            Really? It’s an actual thing? I just figured she did it that way since my brother and I are 371 days apart in age, were less than 5 years old and she didn’t want a lot of pieces and such to keep track of.

            Huh. Learned something new today!

          • demodocus

            Not so much the sheets, whole cloth is usually a big white piece of fabric that was never intended to be a sheet. But they were technically quilts. 🙂

          • AirPlant

            My favorite part of quilting is the cutting and the patchwork. Other people are in it for the actual quilting. Both techniques are valid ways of getting one without the other 🙂

          • BeatriceC

            You overestimate my ability to sew. I have many talents. Sewing is not one of them.

          • Charybdis

            My mother has always sewn (as a baby and toddler, she made a lot of my clothes, including smocking), crocheted, knit (although she prefers crocheting), and did a lot of needlework (cross-stitch, counted cross-stitch, bargello, embroidery, etc). I did not inherit her knack and enjoyment of doing such things, any attempt I have made to do something along those lines has made my hair itch and makes me feel like flying to pieces. I greatly admire those who can enjoy it, though.

            She also makes pickles (bread and butter and dill), cans, makes a fig jam she calls figgyberry, bakes, makes candy and has a killer vegetable and flower garden.

            I inherited exactly *diddly squat* of her enjoyment of doing all of the above. I can mend tears in clothing and dog toys, cook fairly well (chicken cordon bleu is a favorite), bake and make candy. I just don’t enjoy it. At all. Plus, all plants hate me and die if left in my presence (I killed a cactus and it wasn’t from over-watering). I’m fairly sure that, on some level, she despairs over the fact that I don’t/won’t do these things.

          • BeatriceC

            I love to bake and I’m quite good at it. I hate cooking, but I’m fairly competent, not bad, but not great either. I can, however, build a house from the ground up and do most of the repair work on my vehicles (most of what I can’t do involves tools I don’t own, which is the reason I can’t do it). I’m a bit afraid of electrical work, but I can do it if I have to. Otherwise, there’s not a single thing that could go wrong with my house that I would be uncomfortable fixing. I’m also a plant killer and have also killed a cactus because I forgot to water it (for about 3 years…I did dust it though). I’m really good with animals of all kinds, I can sing and was good enough at the oboe to get accepted to the Juilliard School before my mountain climbing accident ended my music career. I’m good at math and, I’m a pretty damned good math teacher, if I do say so myself. I cannot, however, sew even basic stuff, and even if my life depended on it. My mother could sew and my grandmother crocheted, and they tried to teach me, but I was an abject failure at it.

          • Megan

            That quilt sounds awesome! If it makes you feel any better I often feel like my family doesn’t actually like me as a person and only want my children. I’m pretty sure they’d give me back if they could now that they’ve seen the finished product. I’m actually much more comfortable and fit in personality wise with my husbands family and I really look forward to those get togethers.

            I’m just looking forward to the days when my kids are old enough I’ll have more time for my piano and quilting again. In fact, I’m hoping one of them at least will want to learn.

          • demodocus

            My problem is that Mr. Wiggles wants to run the “Sew’ ‘Chine!” I don’t want to discourage him, but it is awfully hard to get a good seam around his efforts to help.

        • guest

          I would have LOVED a handmade quilt for the babies!

          • AirPlant

            God, you know? I would make a quilt purely in trade for photos of babies enjoying it.

        • demodocus

          I didn’t turn down afghans and I make both quilts and afghans! (no one offered a quilt though.)

        • Jules B

          I would but only because my mother-in-law is a major quilter and our house is stuffed to the brim with quilts ;-).

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I would be hurt, too; I love making quilts for friends’ babies! And, I should add, I love it when friends make quilts for my babies! How bonkers do you have to be to say “no” to one, ESPECIALLY when the sewer is happy to follow your specifications on it?!

        • Amy M

          One of my coworkers makes it a point to make a quilt for anyone in the group who has a baby. It’s funny, because she’s not the friendliest, but she likes quilting I guess. Anyway, she gave me a quilt each for my twins, and I still have them because they are just lovely.

    • FormerPhysicist

      I’ll take the quilt!

      Seriously, the first failure explains a lot. My SIL was so anti-“medicalization of pregnancy” (and poor thing ended up on hospital bed rest in the high-risk ward). I was like, “eh”. But my c/s was my 4th surgery, I think. Maybe 5th. I just wasn’t worried about surgery. I was worried about the baby, but wasn’t scared of hospitals or medical professionals.

    • Sarah

      I’m very excited about the uncontrollable farts portion of every pregnancy. That was the most fulfilling aspect of my parenting journey so far.

      • AirPlant

        My favorite part of marriage has been that my husband thinks that I am cute when I fart.

        • Sarah

          That one’s a keeper.

          • AirPlant

            He is my very favorite person in the whole wide world. He almost makes up for the shittiness of his family.

      • Old Lady

        I didn’t even know this was a pregnancy thing until I read this blog. I’m thankful it didn’t happen for me. Honestly I really lucked out for pregnancy symptoms.

        • Sean Jungian

          To be fair, I am a prodigious farter in non-pregnant life as well!

        • Sarah

          I would regard that as unlucky, myself.

    • Toni35

      In all fairness to your sister in law, I never threw up through any of my four pregnancies, but the unrelenting nausea with my second, and even more so with my third? I wanted to die. I tried, multiple times, to make myself vomit, in the hopes it would relieve the severe nausea, even if only temporarily, but I couldn’t manage to make myself yak no matter how far I shoved my finger down my throat. Nothing helped. But since I never actually threw up, I didn’t get any sympathy either. Nausea sucks and is exhausting physically and emotionally. At least after you upchuck your guttywuts you feel better, even if only for a short time.

      • Gatita

        I took a road trip with hubby my first trimester and spent my time in the car sucking on a ginger lollipop and trying not to barf all over the interior. Not. Fun.

      • mythsayer

        Same here…morning sickness without throwing up is horrible.

      • Heidi_storage

        Ditto. I’ve had both types–severe nausea without throwing up, and (curiously) slightly less terrible nausea with throwing up. Occasional puking (not hyperemesis, that’s a whole ‘nother level of awfulness I’m thankful not to have experienced) is preferable to nausea without vomiting.

    • demodocus

      I rarely threw up, but crazy stuff still makes me feel seriously nauseous even this late in the 3rd trimester

      • Chant de la Mer

        I can’t believe you’re already in your third trimester! It’s seems like it was just last month you announced your pregnancy! Best of luck with the last bit of pregnancy.

        • demodocus

          lol, she’s due next month. Thank you. 🙂

          • Azuran

            Holy crap time goes fast. I’m with Chant, feels like it was yesterday. Good luck with everything. Don’t forget to take care of yourself #shitmom

          • Megan

            I can’t believe it’s so soon! Then again I guess it would be since mine is now two months old. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? 😉

          • demodocus

            Or groggy from sleep deprivation 😉

    • Jules B

      A friend of my sister’s had “natural” births with her first two kids, the second in a birthing pool at home. She was deep into the woo – talked a lot about positive thinking, trusting birth, all that jazz (and is an anti-vaxxer, I might add. My sister has had throw-down fights with her over that, but I digress). With both births she had easy, quick and uneventful labours, which of course made her feel like her body was a perfect birthing machine. Anyway, she is pregnant again now and seemingly everything is going sideways for her this pregnancy. Horrid morning sickness (which she had not had before), random bleeding, weird stuff on ultrasounds (so far baby is OK), and she just got diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My sister says she is freaking out, blaming herself for doing something wrong – and my sis, to her credit, said, “You aren’t doing anything wrong. Pregnancy and birth are unpredictable. Sometimes shit just happens, regardless of how much yoga you do. You just got lucky with the first two!” BAM!

      • Who?

        Your sister sounds like a v nice person.

        The ‘virtue equals success’ line is such a lot of nonsense. For one thing, define virtue. It seems to change regularly depending on who is talking.

        It’s like investing money-past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

      • 3boyz

        This happened to me! (Well, minus the woo). I had 2 perfectly easy pregnancies and vaginal deliveries.My second birth was precipitous and therefore completely unmedicated (gave birth 5 minutes after entering the hospital). My third pregnancy was also going swimmingly, then it all went to $hit at 27 weeks. First, I got GD (that was diagnosed at 26 weeks), which wasn’t the worst thing in the world because we caught it, and it’s fairly simple to treat. It was shortly before Thanksgiving, so I was a bit peeved knowing I’d have to skip the pumpkin pie (or keep it to just one bite), but really not a big deal. Then a week later, I had a partial abruption, which was terrifying. Baby was almost delivered that day, but miraculously, I stopped bleeding, and they let the baby stay inside with lots of monitoring. Spent a week in the hospital, then dispatched home to total bed rest (not cool when you have 2 little boys at home). Baby stayed in till 37 weeks on the nose, when the placenta failed, abrupted completely a few hours later, and that was a crash c section. I’m ok, and the little guy is ok too, though he did have to be in the NICU for a bit over a week. Modern medicine FTW (and although it’s not popular on this forum, I credit God too. Modern medicine couldn’t have stopped the bleeding without delivery, and the fact that the placental failure was caught during one of my biweekly scans is the reason why I was already in the hospital when the full abruption occurred, would have been very bad for both of us had it happened at home. some call it lucky, I am a person of faith). It’s really not predictable, and even having a generally good obstetric history is no guarantee that it’ll stay that way.

    • Bombshellrisa

      What kind of monster turns down a custom quilt?
      When I was born, two different people made quilts for me. I still have them. They mean so much to me.

    • Amazed

      She turned down a quilt? What an idiot!

      Truth be told, I’ve often wished I had the balls to turn down offers by loved ones to make something for me when they do offer. The rub is, once they make the thing, it’s ALWAYS good and great and I happily use it and display it. Must be the good wishes they put in. I’ve never regretted not turning down such an offer.

    • Mariana

      My body had never failed me before I decided to have kids. Then I had to deal with fertility problems, labour that would not happen (not even pitocin game me contractions) and very low milk supply. Now I know better… My body is not invincible…

    • MI Dawn

      WHAT? She’s nuts. Who turns down a custom quilt? (My mom also quilts.)

  • namaste863

    I’m beginning to think that the “True Believers” are more than aware of the risks they take, and they just don’t care. Take, for example, the woman who described her VAB2C as a “Triumph.” The fact that the baby was born dead was beside the point (Available on Dr. Amy’s facebook page, if you’re interested). Or else, there was the mother who refused vaccines for her baby, despite the fact that the child has Cystic Fibrosis. And then of course, there’s Lisa Barrett, Janet Frasier, Meg Heket, Laura Shanley, and of course, Ina May Gaskin. All of them have presided over the preventable deaths of babies, or sacrificed their own children on the alter of “Natural” birth (A designation, by the way, that is completely arbitrary and at best vaguely defined). Most of them have done both. I just dont understand how anti-vaccine ideology could be prioritized over preventing the wreckage that a vaccine-preventable illness will wreak on a CF patient’s lungs. Or how the birth of a dead baby could possibly be construed as a “Triumph”. As far as I’m cocrned, its the very fucking antithesis of a triumph.

  • Mel

    I’m feeling quite grateful to modern medicine right now. My sister-in-law has struggled with pre-eclampsia through her entire pregnancy with my nephew.

    Not only has modern medicine kept her from stroking out during her first-trimester (yeah, she had BP that high), modern medicine has allowed doctors to keep a close eye on her and the little guy.

    So when her NST at 37.1 came back in the “Alright, but not optimal” range, modern medicine is able to schedule an induction for later this week.

    Birth/Nature was more than willing to give our family two new graves to dig in the family plot. (And I’m not being overly literal; our family does the sexton job at the local cemetery. My father-in-law would have to bury his daughter-in-law and grandson. Or my husband would have to bury his sister-in-law and nephew. Or one brother-in-law would have to bury his best friend’s wife/sister-in-law and nephew. Or the grieving father and husband would have to bury his entire family. Which version of hell do you want?)

    Modern medicine is giving us a happy mom and baby.

    Any more questions about why I choose modern medicine over trusting birth?

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      None whatsoever. My punchline to DD’s birth story is usually some version of “so instead of making funeral arrangements for his wife and daughter, my husband’s biggest concern 72 hours after she was born was picking up the correct brands and amounts of formula and chocolate.” Not a bad tradeoff, in my admittedly highly-biased opinion.

  • Angie Young-Le

    I believe there is a typo in the 4th paragraph. “…pretending that we know no longer need to use car seats …” Now instead of know makes more sense. Sorry, just want to help 🙂

  • jsterritt

    “What seems to make them most upset is that I point out that childbirth is inherently dangerous.”

    I respectfully disagree. What seems to make commenters most upset is that you criticized the amazing choices they made when they had a healthy, uneventful homebirth. While tagging you as a “frump” for making a “hysterical rant,” the true feminists in the WP comment section had no problem speaking for all women and condemning all doctors (“due to the arrogance of doctors, women had to stay home to have the births they want”). People hate being told their good luck isn’t proof of their inherent awesomeness. Sigh.

    • sdsures

      A “healthy, uneventful homebirth” is pure luck, not proof of their inherent awesomeness.

      • jsterritt

        My point exactly. The dismaying comments at WP were largely informed by anecdote and the fairytale narrative of the alt-birth retail experience (i.e., that uncaring doctors in antiseptic hospitals “pathologized birth” and left “thinking” mothers with no recourse but magical thinking about unsafe homebirth practices).

    • FEDUP MD

      Don’t forget, the patriarchy, even though most OBs are women too. That doesn’t fit the narrative.

      • canaduck

        Obviously the ‘natural birth’ enthusiasts are both dangerous and wacked out of their minds, but I thought I’d point out that the fact that most OBs are women doesn’t negate the influence of the patriarchy. We live in a patriarchal society, so affects all of us to some degree–regardless of gender or how aware we are of it. That’s why internalized misogyny is a thing.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    What exactly is a “micromort”?

    • Cartwheel
      • sdsures

        Please help me understand – the chart in that page with people walking, a motorcycle, a car, etc. Is it saying that, with each of these types of conveyances, 1 in roughly 80 miles of travel has a chance of being dangerous or injurious?

        • Valerie

          A “micromort” is a one in a million chance of death. The first chart is saying that you have to travel x distance to get a one in a million chance of dying from it.

          • sdsures

            Ah, I got it now. Thanks!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I agree with sdsures, though. That chart says NOTHING about what a micromort is. Your first sentence does.

  • guest

    It is dangerous. I wanted to say, though, that fetal monitoring would have been a lot less objectionable if the straps to hold the monitors in place weren’t so damned itchy! I had a high-risk pregnancy and then I developed pre-eclampsia, so I had a *lot* of monitoring, and the sessions were torture.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Some hospitals use monitors that don’t have straps, they just tuck the transducers into what looks like a tube top that you wear around your stomach. It’s still a little uncomfortable but felt better than those straps.

      • guest

        That sounds much less itchy.

      • That’s what I had. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it also wasn’t very secure. More than once I had worried nurses run into my room because they “lost” my baby, when actually the monitor had just slipped. It was still working — not beeping or anything, so I didn’t even know anything was wrong, but had moved far enough out of position that it wasn’t reporting to the nurses’ station.

        • guest

          The straps kept losing my baby B throughout my pregnancy – sometimes it’s the baby moving.

    • The tube top thing was maddeningly itchy. But it saved my baby’s life so ya know, I got over it. Seriously could they not make it out of a nice soft jersey or something?

    • demodocus

      my straps didn’t bother me. The electric bp monitor, however, has my undying hatred.

      • Megan

        Ugh. Tell me about it. I HATED the constant BP monitoring. The cuff wouldn’t stay on my arm, pumped up or deflated and it always turned on during a contraction. I had so many blood pressures taken too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I was monitored and well cared for, but that cuff has my undying hatred.

        • demodocus

          Yeah, mine left me with a gigantic bruise on my upper arm, and I don’t bruise all that easily.

    • somethingobscure

      Weirdly, they never bothered me. I had cordless monitors during my entire first labor, and I barely even noticed the straps. The contractions were a pretty good distraction! As was my baby’s rapidly dropping heart rate!

      • guest

        All the cordless monitors were no-go for me, because I had twins. I think I may have had a contact dermatitis thing going on with the straps as well.

        • Amy M

          • guest

            I don’t know what you mean by that. I had an itchy rash that waxed and waned in the second half of my pregnancy, which corresponded with the time I was getting more fetal monitoring as well as wearing a support belt. It may or may not have been contact dermatitis caused by the belt or the monitor straps.

          • Amy M

            Sorry–accidental post, I didn’t mean anything! I started to open the reply box, and then had to go off and do something

          • guest

            Oh, no problem. I have a friend who uses “…” to indicate she’s speechless by something I’ve said, so I was confused.

    • Ayr

      I hated the fetal monitors! My skin was already perpetually dry throughout my pregnancy then on the day of delivery they put on those monitors and the straps just made the itchy dryness even worse!

      • BeatriceC

        To this day I have a callous on my belly from the permanently attached monitors from the almost two months I was hospitalized with my youngest. But my baby’s life was worth every second of misery.

    • Mad Hatter

      By the time my baby was born, I had the monitor cords and probably IV tangled and wrapped around me at least once. There was also the pulse/ox cord. They were long enough, thankfully, and didn’t really bother me, since I knew they were needed. I just found it amusing to watch the nurses untangle them!

      • guest

        When the decision to section was made, whoever was trying to transfer me to the OR was cursing whoever put all the monitors on tangled. It was a mess of wires.