So, I’ve written before about medically-minded midwives, but in talking with a friend recently, I heard about her experience with possibly the most medically-minded midwifery group ever.
My friend has a four-year-old child, born in a hospital with midwives, and is now pregnant again. “Hey, you had a homebirth, didn’t you?” she said to me, when we were discussing her upcoming birth. “I would have LOVED to have had one, but it just wouldn’t have been possible for me.”
I knew what was coming, so I tried to look neutral and non-committal. My friend went on to say that her water “never” broke and the midwife “had” to break it for her after 4 hours of labor (mine broke after 5 hours of hard labor, and you can read Henci Goer on the myth of the necessity for artificially rupturing membranes). Also, she “never” dilated beyond a 4 until they gave her Pitocin (I never had internal exams, which often cause infections, nor did my midwife give me numbers like that, which are often unhelpful to women). Also, the baby’s heartrate wasn’t looking right during pushing, and the baby had the cord around its neck when born (midwives can usually suggest another position for pushing that puts less stress on the baby and regulates the heartrate, and about a quarter of babies are born with the cord around their neck, which usually does not pose a problem). And so on, and so on. . .
It was a tightrope-walk of a conversation for me, as I tried to point out what the research says about risk and safety and best practices while not pointing any particular fingers. My goal, of course, wasn’t to make my friend feel bad about the birth she did have (with IV narcotics, Pit, continuous fetal monitoring, frequent internal exams, AROM, lack of changing positions, and newborn baby whisked off to the NICU “as a precaution” because of the low heartrate after contractions) but rather knowledgeable and empowered about her upcoming birth.
But yeah, whoa. . . those are clearly some medically-minded midwives!
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