Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Show Must Go On

For both classes this week I was so sick. I coughed, blew my nose and in general was a mess but I didn't want to cancel class.

I started class with a review of the first 6 weeks. I could tell it helped a lot. The students responded well to it.

Then instead of quizzing them on the week's readings, I had a review of the week's readings on powerpoint and we discussed them as a class. Doing this before the quizzes brought the overall average of the quiz grades up. A powerful indication that this change is a welcomed one.

The last hour of class I showed the amazing documentary, The Business of Being Born. I've seen it more than 10 times and I learn something/see something new every time. My students all responded very well to the film and were completely surprised to learn how horrible, in fact, last we are among developed countries for maternal health care. In other words, we lose more mothers in childbirth than any other developed country in the world. I love showing this film because it is so eye opening for so many people. So many folks the safest place to deliver your baby is an a hospital, which actually it's the most dangerous for many women and their babies.

I have one pregnant woman in my class and several weeks ago she announced that she had scheduled her baby's birth. I knew that meant only one thing, she had scheduled a cesarean section (c-section). After watching the film she explained to the class that her doctor told her she should plan on having another c-section since she gave birth to her first child that way. With her first pregnancy she had a medical necessity for the surgery--she had preeclampsia. But her current pregnancy is going smoothly and both she and the baby are quite healthy  When I shared her VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) birth option she had never heard of it. When I began to explain that she could in fact have a vaginal birth if that's what she wanted, her disposition changed and she became very animated and interested. She began asking more questions about it and even shared how scary it sounded to her because she had believed what the doctor told her and was know questioning it. She also seemed amused by the idea that she could actually give birth to her child--a thought that intrigued her.

I was horrified (although I didn't show it) that this young woman's doctor had failed to offer her the safest way for her to deliver her baby--vaginally. Instead because she had once delivered via c-section it was assumed she would do the same. Of course, c-sections are easiest for doctors, but we know from centuries of doing births, that vaginal delivery is best for momma and baby.

With any luck, this student will go out, educate herself, talk to her doctor and make an informed decision. Whether or not she decides to move forward with the c-section, I am just happy that she now how more information--what she chooses to do with it, is entirely up to her.

1 comment:

Teri said...

Interestingly enough, a day or two after I read this post and your blog, my team members, all mothers had a discussion about vaginal births vs. C-sections. One of our teammates who was on maternity leave brought her lastest addition, her third child, a baby boy with her to share with us at work. This lastest birth was a C-section for her; however, she had two vaginal births for her two eldest children. If you had heard the conversation and had never given birth before, you could easily be convinced that C-sections were the way to go. It's as if the doctors sell it to the mothers, and they go out there with the same enthusiasm because of what the doctors said. In this case, it was C-sections are less risky, healthier for the baby and the mother's body, etc. (Side note: The doctor said that there would be more bleeding involved in a vaginal birth vs. a C-section, and he emphasized that this is another good reason for this mother to have a C-section vs. a vaginal birth). In fact, I heard my co-workers (all mothers) confer with what this mother was saying about having the C-section. The belief she said is that all your other body parts such as your bladder, etc. suffer from vaginal births down the line and could fall out, etc. This is with repeated vaginal births.

I suppose this was emphasized by the doctor to justify it as well. In conclusion, this same mother made a joke and was half way serious when she suggested that a study should be done to see what the differences are between children born C-section vs. vaginal and how the woman's body is affected. Doctors do have a huge liability which I can understand, and that could be why they scare mothers into thinking that this is the only healthy option for their baby as well as their own body. After listening to my co-workers, I almost felt convinced that I should have a C-section, and I have never given birth . . . LOL! It's a good thing that we don't allow ourselves to be influenced by others and do our own research. ;-)