Posts Tagged ‘ medicine ’

Home Birth–I Don’t Get It

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Enlighten me: what is with the home birth movement? I don’t get it.

With my own baby coming out in about 6 weeks, I started to think about the whole birthing thing again. Then a friend sent me this article and I just kind of started to get annoyed with the homebirth thing, and got on a roll…err, maybe I should say rant. I’m sure many people will be offended by my thoughts. But again, I’m just trying to understand: why would anyone want to do this?

I mean, home birth seems incredibly risky to do and even selfish on part of the mom. Why would you put your baby (and yourself) in harm’s way all so that you can have this “experience”? And what is this “experience?” The ambiance of giving birth in a four-poster bed? In your home? Your bed is for sleeping, sex, and relaxation. Not birth. Ambiance is reserved for romantic restaurants, rustic cabins with fireplaces, a bottle of wine, and intimate conversation. But creating an “ambiance” for birthing a baby out of your vag? Complete with poop, goo, screaming, and unheard of pain? Not to mention the mess that looks like a murder scene in your house? Seriously, explain to me: what is the point?

If you want to do it natural, meaning no drugs, (which I can understand a little more) we have beautiful birthing centers throughout this country along with some of the best medical care there is. Why would you NOT want that? Birth is 24-48 hours of your life…and can be life-threatening. Even the best-equipped midwives can’t possibly bring all of the sophisticated monitoring equipment to your home that doctors have at their disposal in the hospital. And what’s so bad about a hospital bed and doctors and nurses at your beck and call anyway? For the next 18 years you are going to be at your child’s beck and call. Take the 2-3 days and enjoy it.

When I was pregnant with Fia, I went to yoga classes constantly. For 9 months I heard the women, the doulas, you name it, talk about how all the drugs you take during labor get into the babies system (even though there is no medical proof—and it has been studied), makes them groggy, and often makes unable to latch on. And that having a C-section can prevent mother-baby bonding.

My birth story started with the idea of trying to hack it natural…then it all went to hell. Not only did I have an epidural, but I also had barbiturates for my C-section, Percocet for my pain, and an incredibly trying emotional and physical toll felt in every bone of my body. Fia came out alert and latched on instantly. And from the moment I saw her, we were deeply and indescribably connected. As relieved as I was, I felt a little “had” by the natural birth community. Nothing they said would happen did. But what did happen is I had a healthy, happy baby. If it weren’t for the excellent doctors (who did all they could to try and give me a vaginal birth) I could have ended up with a dead baby.

I also want to point out that if I hadn’t had the epidural and been able to sleep/relax, I wouldn’t have had the strength to push for those 2 hours. Even though Fia never dropped or rotated, at least I had it in me to give it my best shot.

But let’s step away from those facts and look at the facts of third world births. According to Unicef, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in a developed country. The site goes on to explain that most of these deaths and disabilities are preventable, being mainly due to “insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery.”

Okay, so if you take care of yourself and are low-risk, then maybe home birth isn’t as dangerous. However, they state “…About 15 percent of pregnancies and childbirths need emergency obstetric care because of complications that are difficult to predict.” This is the part that scares me most. Like I said in my birth story, no one predicted Fia wouldn’t rotate into the birth canal. She simply didn’t and got stuck above my pelvic bone. If you’re with a doctor, nurse, or midwife at a birthing center, you at least have supervision and immediate access to proper equipment and supplies. That includes lifesaving drugs, antibiotics and transfusions–and the ability to perform C-sections and other surgical interventions.

This site has stats from the CDC, which state: “Homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death to double or triple the neonatal death rate at hospital birth.”

Like many of you, I watched the Ricki Lake movie, The Business of Being Born. I’ll admit, I thought the birthing methods of earlier generations, where mothers were drugged out, seemed barbaric. I would never think that way would be beneficial to anyone. How do you push when you’re unconscious? Other than that though, the movie really irked me. Even her producer ended up in the hospital—and thank god—or she could have had a tragic outcome.

I know doctors make mistakes. I know neonatal care can be improved. Hospitals are petri dishes. And far from perfect. But none of that outweighs the risks of a homebirth. In my, ahem, humble opinion.

If you must experience natural childbirth, for god’s sakes…and your baby’s…do it in a hospital—or a birthing center connected to one.  I’d like to start the anti-home birth movement today.  Call it BYOB IH– Birth Your Own Baby In Hospital!

Moms, Dads, Doula’s, Midwives, Doctors: What do you think?

 

Sketch of Mom and Baby via Shutterstock.com

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Pregnancy and Drugs–A Good Website

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Just a quick follow up to my follow up (follow that?) on taking Antidepressants When Pregnant. I met a second time with this amazing Reproductive Psychiatrist from NYU. In talking to her, I explained how even though she and many other widely respected doctors have told me the facts, I still easily freak myself out about my decision to stay on my meds. Most of my doubt and angst is directly related to Google.  She suggested this website as a great go-to resource that states THE FACTS on just about any type of drug, drink, herbal concoction—even hair dye–that has been studied in relation to pregnancy. She explained it’s not a fear-mongering site, (like many of them are), so stop googling to save your sanity!

It’s called otispregnancy.org.

Now I will admit, the whole alcohol intake thing on Otis did scare me a bit, because I do have the occasional glass of wine. However, like the study states, they don’t know how much alcohol is too much, thus the reason to abstain completely. They refer to heavy/regular drinking, so I guess that depends on your definition of “regular”. For me, at my doctor’s approval, it’s maybe a glass of wine every week or two–if I feel like it (I often don’t. Well, actually, yes I do). But logically, I think many of us would agree that a glass here and there or an occasional beer is not going to harm a baby. Hmmm…I feel another controversial blog post brewing (thought this subject has been debated to death!) Let me stew on this for a bit! Cheers!

 

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Dealing With Depression While Pregnant–Your Comments

Friday, August 19th, 2011

It’s almost the weekend and I’m just getting up to speed after having my computer crash. It crashed right after I posted my blog about taking antidepressants while pregnant. I was able to read all of your comments and then boom. I was in the dark. Until now.

I was so incredibly blown away by how much we all opened up to each other. The thoughtful, lengthy, heartfelt comments really touched me. Thank you for taking the time. For all of us who are struggling, let’s commend ourselves for having the courage to open up. We shouldn’t be living in a day and age where there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues.

Some of you are still battling the beast. Others have risen up to see the light after weeks and months spent in darkness.

Was curious to hear from @Meredith about what your doctor said in your follow up visit. You mentioned you were feeling pretty down again towards the end of your pregnancy and wanted to see if he/she offered any ideas.

@Heather actually gave me a name of an amazing reproductive psychiatrist at NYU who I’m going to see. I have taken my dose down in the past 2 months and I can feel the pull to the dark side. I can handle it at this level, but any lower, and I fear I’d be miserable.

@Mae—you and a few others made the excellent point that if you were diabetic during pregnancy you would take insulin; if you had a heart condition you would take medication. Why is treating depression any different? For those who haven’t experienced it before, I can tell you first hand it’s not a choice any of us make.

I would urge @Jessica to consider that analogy. Are you saying people who have depression and need meds shouldn’t have a baby? Remember, it’s a proven chemical imbalance. A problem that is treatable just like the examples above.

There were a few nasty comments, of course. It wouldn’t be a proper blog without. To those who have clearly never struggled with depression and said that if we take pills for it, then we shouldn’t have children, I’ll happily tell you my opinion: your judgment is incredibly small minded and cruel. Not to mention ignorant.  I’m not commenting any more than that, as I don’t think it’s worth wasting my energy on.

I’ll end with two comments from my readers. And @Liz you are welcome. It was an honor to put my story out there, especially when I discovered I have kindred spirits like all of you by my side. But for the grace of god, go I…

By Liz

Thank you for being a voice for those who may suffer in silence due to fear of the unknown. Going through a severe depression myself, which began, in early pregnancy I can totally relate. I would not have gotten through it without the help of medication. Depression is a serious illness that one can only truly understand if they have been through it themselves. The risk of what could have happened had to seriously be weighed against the risk of what my anxiety and depression could have done to my unborn child. And FYI she is a healthy happy baby girl.

By Emily

I was just reading in The Economist of all places about research showing that babies born to mothers who were depressed or under extreme emotional stress during their pregnancies have actual changes in their brains that make them more prone to anxiety and fearfulness. I don’t have the article handy now and can’t remember the exact scientific details, but the gist of it is that there is a STRONG argument to be made for treating depression and anxiety by any means necessary during pregnancy, not just for the moms’ relief and ability to function, but for the babies’ functioning later in life. I started Zoloft when my youngest was 18 months old, and my oldest was 3, and my only regret is why did I not start sooner? I was functioning more or less OK, but experiencing no joy in life. What kind of mom is that? So glad I got over my fear of side effects (which have actually been non-existent, as far as I can tell) and can now enjoy life!


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Ruling Out Genetic Disorders When Pregnant And More…

Friday, August 12th, 2011

I don’t want any surprises with my pregnancy. Didn’t with Fia either. I want to know the sex, I want genetic defects ruled out, I want to know how and when I will labor (and that includes drugs). For Fia I didn’t have a crystal ball for this one. But for baby #2, I know how it’s going to happen. Or at least what we’re planning for. Will save that for another blog.

For those who don’t find out the sex because “it is one of life’s few surprises” I say a) you’re much braver than, b) much more patient than I, and c) it’s still a surprise when you find out! I just get to find out 30 weeks earlier and get my plan in place.

When it comes to genetic testing, all I can say is thank god for modern medicine. If I had lived in any other time period I would have worn a chastity belt to make sure I never got pregnant. Or joined the convent, though I’m not sure I would have been a very good nun….

For the above reasons, at 10 weeks, 5 days I had a CVS. Also had one with Fia. It’s as accurate as an amnio but you do it much earlier and the results come much faster—within 48 hours. It tests for the major genetic disorders, like Down Syndrome. The specialist (and you should go to a highly trained specialist if you have this done. I went to the dude who basically invented the technique) takes a needle and aspirates some cells in your placenta. Apparently when you get pregnant, half your cells go to form the baby, the other half go into the placenta. It is 99.99% accurate. It doesn’t test for neural tube defects, but a blood test at 18 weeks does that.

Yes, there is a small risk of miscarriage involved. 1-2%. But it’s almost always operator error. That’s why I feel very strongly about going to a specialist for something as important as this. You don’t want to mess around.

At any rate, I am now relieved to know that based on what they can genetically test for, Baby Oops is a-okay. What am I having? Did I say what I want to have? Stay tuned!

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