Saturday, August 14, 2004

Mixed Feelings

Monday, August 16 at 6:00 a.m., we're due to arrive at the hospital to start the induction. We have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, we're excited about finally meeting AXE. On the other, we are not happy about having to induce. Christine, in particular, is sad about it. For those of you who've never experienced an induction--it's often more difficult than a natural birth. The drugs are strong, and make your contractions very powerful. Many people who are induced have babies very quickly, but it is quite painful because all that hard work is compressed into a short amount of time.

Once you start along the path of intervening in the normal birth process, there is a risk of creating new problems. This is called the cascade of intervention--where each intervention creates a problem that must be solved with another intervention.

The ultimate intervention is the ceasarian section. Our hospital (the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics) boasts a 25% c-section rate. This seems pretty high to us. The March of Dimes collects stats on delivery methods in the US. In 2002, US c-section rates are at 26.1%. The American College of Nurse-Midwives believes that ceasarian delivery rates are too high.

I've heard it said that older first-time parents like us "over-think" childbirth. But isn't it possible that these high rates of intervention might be the result of our caregivers over-thinking childbirth, along with their patients under-thinking about the consequences of these interventions? Over and over I've heard people say things like, "Why wouldn't you want [insert intervention here]? It's so easy!" or "I would never give birth without [insert intervention here]!" These people may not be thinking about the complications these interventions can create: antibiotic-resistant infections, slower labors, risky transfusions, etc.

Perhaps the risks are relatively low, but that would be small consolation were we to be one of the unlucky couples for whom interventions proved troublesome. Our plan is to combat these risks by asking questions, and putting off interventions if there is no immediate need (we'll wait and see if they are truly necessary).

Sorry if you were expecting a positive, upbeat "I can't wait for the baby to be here!" post. But if you've been puzzled at our reaction to your "Are you excited?!" questions, now you know why. That being said...we can't wait for the baby to be here!

1 comment:

Christine said...

I want to add, even though I am sad about being induced, I have good faith in my care providers. I agree that, by 13 days late, it's time to step in and push me along. I am just sad that it has become necessary. As one of the midwives said, it really stinks when you have to mess with a first pregnancy.

The OB staff are wonderful at UIHC (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)-the nurses, midwives, the few physicians I've met. I think their overall philosophy of birth is really reasonable and matches mine pretty well. I keep telling myself that the most likely results will be an uncomplicated birth
(and a healthy mother and baby) and I do believe that. It's just that everyone admits my chances of problems are increased because I will be so late and be induced.

I keep hoping my labor will start on its own in the next 40 hours and all this anticipation and these damned, random, unpatterned contractions are making me anxious. I think when Monday morning comes, I will just finally relax. By then, I won't be waiting anymore and I'll be ready to stop waiting. That's when I'll get excited.