Monday, December 9, 2013

Your doctor does not hate you

Being a cloth diapering mother has given me a desire to reach out and connect with other fluff-obsessed mothers, and that has largely been a good experience for me.  Unfortunately, it seems some people who cloth diaper do so because they are head over heels for the earth and just must have everything in their lives be "natural" or "chemical-free."  (Point of clarification: I am not talking about the people who just like natural.  I'm talking the crazies who want to put a lead-free pencil point in your eye if you skip over the Seventh Generation and grab a bottle of Tide.)

Me?  I love chemicals.  You give me a toy that has just been slathered in some random kid's saliva at the local playground and then joyfully passed back to my child, I am not going to be looking for some natural cleanser.  I am reaching for the Lysol in all of its glorious chemical goodness.

And I just do not get the obsession with everything being natural.  People seem to think that if something fits into that ill-defined category, it is automatically good and superior to other things, but that is NOT the case.  Take, for example, childbirth.  I went through about 5 hours of back labor in the hospital before I got my epidural, and I can tell you that the natural part of labor was awful, and the part where I had numbing agents coursing through my body was awesome.

As part of the "let's be natural" movement, I find a lot of people who seem to have the idea that American doctors - specifically, OBGYNs - uniformly possess the following characteristics:

  1. An intense desire to identify their patients' birth plans, goals, and wishes and then pursue any means necessary to ensure they are not fulfilled.
  2. Extreme laziness to the point of ordering random C-sections in order to make their lives easier.
  3. An unholy and disgusting lust for C-sections.
There are so many posts on the various groups and websites out there about doctors who are pushing patients towards unnecessary C-sections.  I think much of this stems from the popular documentary "The Business of Being Born," which paints an obscene picture of doctors as C-section-happy little monsters who run up and down the halls of the hospital, terrorizing young unsuspecting women into foregoing vaginal birth for no apparent reason.

As someone who had a C-section, I will attest that this is simply not the case.  Sure, there may be a few doctors out there who just LOVE cutting open their patients instead of letting them deliver their babies, but they are certainly in the minority.

After about 25 hours of labor, including 2 hours of pushing, my doctor asked me about doing a C-section.  We knew going in that my son was on the larger side, so a C-section was always contemplated as a possibility, but I really wanted to try to deliver him vaginally first.  My doctor, who I later discovered thought I was a bit crazy for even trying, was very supportive of my decision.  When my son stopped progressing, she gave me her opinion, which was that if I continued pushing, my son could get stuck, which could put him in distress.  I immediately said, "Let's do the C-section."

To me, any risk to my child was way too much.  I did not want a C-section, but I was much more willing to have one than to put the health of my little boy on the line.  When I told the doctor to go for it, she took the time to talk with me some more and asked me if I was sure that was really what I wanted to do.  There was no pressuring whatsoever, unless you count me saying, "Yes, let's do this.  Come on!"

Doing a C-section did not seem like laziness on the part of my doctor.  Cutting me open, extracting a human being, and then putting my insides back together properly was a pretty big deal, I think.

People often cite the fact that the United States has a high rate of cesarean births compared to other western countries.  Perhaps so, but let's stop for just a minute and think about why this might be.  In the United States, doctors tend to be very risk averse.  Why?  Because (a) they do not want to maim or kill patients, as a general rule and (b) they do not want to get sued.  And why would they get sued?  Because they took unreasonable risks with the health of their patients and their babies.

If you look at it that way, it is obvious that most doctors are simply trying to avoid any risk to babies.  I would rather have 10 unnecessary surgeries than put the life of my child at risk.  Could I have delivered my son vaginally if I had kept on pushing for another hour or two?  Perhaps yes.  Perhaps no.  But the most important thing is that my son was born healthy and continues to be healthy.

If your doctor really is putting all this pressure on you, go find another doctor.  Otherwise, stop and consider that maybe, just maybe, your doctor is looking out for you and your child instead of trying to ruin your life.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, enjoyed this post, which made me giggle. I remember the late Ray Stedman saying once how the devil always tries to push attitudes to one extreme or another. Which is why you had the prudish Victorians, followed by the post-WW2 generation of permissiveness and anything goes. This is certainly a susceptible point for any of us - to be fanatical about something.