Like a Car Wreck: Watching American Obstetrics in Horror

I am no stranger to the industry of American obstetrics. I have given birth to five children, after all. However, it was my latest encounter with my previous obstetritcian that prompted me to do more research than I ever thought I would need to do on the subject.  I  was told that I was a high-risk patient because I had a cesarean with my fourth child, and that surgery made it unsafe for me to attempt a vaginal birth with baby number five. When I questioned the unfair labelling of me as high risk I was met with a very hurried response, which had more to do with the doctor covering his own ass than my safety.   I am so thankful for my doctor’s fear of rising insurance premiums, and lack of bed-side manner. If he had not approached my longing for a vbac with such callous disregard I would have never learned what I know now.

With that in mind let me get to my point. This afternoon I was watching on of those horrid baby-birthing shows on cable. You know, those shows that make people with any knowledge of how beautiful birth can be cringe in disgust as they strap women down and perform countless cesareans to save the baby from problems that would have never happened had the doctors left well enough alone. Yes, my name is Kim and I am addicted to watching those shows. I am also guilty of yelling at the television, as if they can hear me, “no pitocin, please!”

Anyway, back to my point.  I watched as this woman was being induced due to pregnancy induced hypertension. She was very nervous. My heart went out to her.  I know that in some cases inductions are medically necesary, and I believe this is one of those times. However, my jaw hit the floor when they said they were starting her IV with Cytotec!  What!

While I can tell you what midwives across the nation think of this, I am going to give you an excerpt from the FDA’s website in regards to the use of Cytotec for the softening of a woman’s uterus to start labor or to halt bleeding following birth.

These uses are not approved by the FDA. No company has sent the FDA scientific proof that misoprostol is safe and effective for thwese uses. There can be serious side eeffects, including a torn uterus (womb), when misoprostol is used for labor and delivery. A torn uterus may result in severe bleeding, having the uterus removed (hysterectomy), and death of the mother or baby. These side effects are more likely in women who have had previous uterine surgery, a previous Cesarean delivery (C-section), or several previous births.”

You can check that out here

So here they are dosing an anxious mother-to-be with a drug that is not approved for this use.

When that didn’t work they started pumping her full of pitocin.  Well, obviously the unaturally strong contractions led to her pleading for relief, and in comes the anesthesiologist to administer an epidural. By the time it was all said and done this poor woman was sobbing and exhausted as they wheeled her to the operating room for her cesarean.

The kicker is that she thought it was her body’s fault that the medicines weren’t working. She thought she was a failure! I cried for the damage this process did to her. I wished I could tell her that she was strong, and her body fought those medicines off to protect her baby. Her body did exactly what it thought it should be doing. It held on to that baby giving the new life every minute possible in the safety of her womb.  As I watched her cry I knew she would carry the burdon of this traumatic birth with her forever. 

Thankfully, the baby was okay. Though, I don’t think we really understand the long-term results of these labor interventions that have become so common place that we barely question what is being injected in to our IV’s. 

I am filled with doubt about the medical industry. Mainly because it really does seem like an industry. Patients are rushed in and out.  People are being given medicines that have been proven unsafe so that hospitals and doctors can save money.  We are used like lab rats.  I have lost faith in the medical community.

I just wish that as patients we were given the chance to make an informed choice.   I wish doctors would say, “I would like to use a drug on you, it is not approved for use in pregnant or nursing women, nor is it even designed to start labor but it does start labor.  It is much cheaper than other induction medicines. It can kill you and your baby, or result in a ruptured uterus. Here is the info from the package, you can decide.”

When I wanted to turn my breach baby in order to avoid a cesarean my doctor convinced me that I would be taking a major risk. In fact, he said the safest thing to do was have my baby surgically removed.  Um, wrong. Furthermore, doctors will use  dangerous medicines to induce women, and let them live with the guilt of thinking their bodies didn’t work correctly, which is why they had to have an emergency cesarean.  Thus, a dangerous cycle is created where, after the woman accepts the wrongly placed blame she then credits the doctor with saving her baby and now she will face repeat cesareans because, as we all know vbacs are dangerous (insert eye rolling here). 

Anyway, I watch these shows wishing I could reach out to the women under going the inductions started with dangerous medicines and the subsequent cesareans. I want to hug them and inform them of their options.  I want to give them the truth about what is being done to them. Mostly, I want to tell them that it’s not their fault.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MamaBennie
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:03:41

    I was induced with my 1st daughter when I was 22. I was 12 days past my “due date” and my OB gave me the option of that or a section. I didn’t know better at the time. It took me a long time to not feel like a failure. After much soul searching and a lot of talking with other natural birthing mamas I learned the truth and options and I ended up having a unmedicated birth the 2nd time around. I realize now I was so lucky I didn’t end up with a section the first time. The medical industry is a joke in the US.


    • totallyattachedmomma
      Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:10:22

      I have been induced twice. It was more convenient for the doctor to do it that way. I got lucky and didn’t have any major problems, but I would never do it again. I just hate what is being done to people that put all of their faith in to a doctor only to end up with pain and guilt! It feels very unfair to me!


      • MamaBennie
        Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:46:33

        I was encouraged by my family to follow the doctor, because “they know best”. WORST. ADVICE. EVER. I actually had to change to a different OB office for my 2nd daughter because I was so traumatized by the last one. He would speak down to people and treat them like idiots. He made me feel like a horrible person for not wanting to do things exactly his way. We don’t have any midwives that will do homebirths or anything and don’t have a birthing center, so a hospital birth with doctors is what I get…at least the office I had the last time was more willing to do things my way.

  2. Sheena/H2Mommy
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:59:40

    As a mother of twins I was instantly high risk. Needless to say I was a scared women who was filled with ideas of the nicu, a ruptured uterus, stillborn children and huge complications. I had an amazing pregnancy but was convinced that I would HAVE to have a section due too baby 2 being transverse. Little did I know at the time that they could turn her after her sister was born. I was scheduled for 38 weeks (which was far too early for a normal pregnancy). After they were born I was able to do more research and was devastated to learn that what I was feeling was correct and that my children and I were put through a surgical procedure for no reason except most doctors are forced to label multiple births as high risk. The section caused huge issues with breastfeeding and subsequently my marriage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: