Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Isn't that special?

So I was sitting around today at lunch, minding my own business, when I ran across a link to this Andrew Goldman article on home birth and midwifery in the New York Magazine. It's titled Extreme Birth, and essentially covers how one New York City midwife, Cara Muhlhahn, has differing views from many midwives and obstetricians of what is safe and what is risky when giving birth.

The article introduces the BOBB movie and how this particular midwife is well recognized as a result of appearing in the movie. Goldman does state that Muhlhahn's views are not typical of midwives, but doesn't work too hard at it - no other typical practices are outlined. Neither does he outline a part of the movie where Muhlhahn refers a patient to hospital with good reason, and without making her labor at home forever - it was clear in the movie that a quick diagnosis of something bad was made, and that she recognized she could not care for this woman at home. Why mention that when you're trying to make a point?

The finale of the article is the possibly life saving c-section his wife had to deliver their child.

Congratulations Mr Goldman on taking the classic attack of picking the out there wingnut to represent and diminish the whole group. I'm not sure Muhlhahn is a wingnut, but you represented her as such, and home birth advocates as having a lot in common with her. Way to demonize the practitioners who are helping the low risk women have a safer, more empowering experience.

And yes, I figure home birth is safer for most of us - out of the reach of the impatient, drug pushing obstretician urging c-sections.

I think Western medicine can be great. Last week, when I was checking myself into the ER, I thought this could be it - something could be arising that makes me no longer a good candidate to have the baby in the birthing center. I'm going to have the baby in a hospital, totally out of my control. I sort of got to a point where I accepted it, grudgingly.

When that resident essentially told me to suck it up, I'll be fine, I was initially offended, as I felt like she was saying that my pain wasn't real or valid. But in retrospect, I'm glad. She could have looked harder for some pathology, and she might have found it.

If I do wind up having to have a c-section or being taken to hospital for some complication, I'll be glad to have the Western medical system as backup. But until there is a pathology - a problem, a complication - giving birth doesn't seem like something that needs to involve an IV and sterile environment. If it did, how the heck did we all get here before hospitals were invented?

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