Tuesday 16 August 2011

Let My Baby Decide Part 2

So now that baby Ava and I initiated labor, you would think I was free from the gnawing claws of medical intervention.  So I thought too until recently when I read more about induced labor and concluded otherwise. 

For being a first time mom then, I was inexperienced not to have spent enough time discussing my birth plan with my doctor.  I just basically informed her that I wanted a natural birth without epidural and was not keen on I.V. drip as this would prevent me from moving around, except of course when medically necessary.  That’s it!  Short and straightforward.  I mean, I already felt ‘ahead of the game’ considering friends I knew never had any birth plan!  Right?!

WRONG. You would be surprised at how some doctors nowadays render birth as an illness requiring medical treatment.  The sooner the baby is out, the better.  In fact, the latest study done in 2005, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that homebirth with a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) to be as safe as hospital birth (if not even safer!). The intervention rates will be a tenth to a half of what they would be in hospital.  It also showed a high satisfaction rate for mothers. 

In my preceding article, I noted that I was having regular contractions that grew stronger and stronger at five in the morning.  By noon, the interval got closer at approximately five minutes apart and so we decided to head to the hospital - only to find out that I have just dilated 2cm.  An hour passed with another cm of dilation.  As a general rule of thumb, the cervix takes approximately 1 cm every hour to dilate.  Now dilated at 3cm, everything is supposedly going as planned.  Unfortunately, my doctor thought it too slow.  Lest she would not have told me, “this is to make your labor faster” just as she inserted a thin hook to burst my water bag.

Medically termed as Artificial Rupture of Membrane (AROM) or known as Amniotomy, it is another method of inducing labor.  It is believed to speed up labor as the rupturing of membrane increases the production of hormone prostaglandin, which then causes to speed up contractions.  But at what price to pay?  The moment she broke my water bag, I was a ticking time bomb with 24 hours or less to deliver the baby (24 hours may seem a lot but some mothers dilate at 3cm for days or even weeks!). With no amniotic fluid to protect the baby, this is more prone to infection. 

I strongly feel AROM defeats the very purpose of speeding up labor in a natural birth.  I can personally speak from experience. Here lies the BASIC PROBLEM, with stronger contractions come stronger pain.  I did not have any epidural and now I am strapped with a contraction and fetal monitor, which prevented me from freely moving around. The pain was so intense, to the point I could barely breathe and was on the verge of passing out. Through clenched teeth, I was too uptight and confined to bed - just the right concoction for prolonging labor.  

According to World Health Organization (WHO) on BIRTH IS NOT AN ILLNESS: A Fortelesa Declaration, “Artificial early rupture of the membranes, as a routine process, is not scientifically justified.” Furthermore, “Birth should not be induced for convenience, and the induction of labour should be reserved for specific medical indications. No geographic region should have rates of induced labour over 10%.”

Several hours have passed with almost no progress.  Now, the doctor decided to insert I.V. drip on what I surmise was to give me extra energy and to “prepare” for further induction of   pitocin (artificial oxytocin) and God forbid resort to caesarean section if need be.  That brought me back from my delirium.  I want neither of those.  With utmost resolve, I concentrated on riding the waves and visualizing my baby in my arms – safe and sound.  At exactly 8:55pm, the commitment became a reality.

I share the sentiment with Gloria Lemay, a birth attendant who strongly advocates natural birth:

“Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn't dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line."

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