Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Getting the Word Out ~ from Midwifery Today

A note from Jan Tritten, Mother of Midwifery Today:
I have joined Facebook in an effort to connect with other birth change agents for the goal of changing birth practices around the world. I am also blogging more regularly for the same purpose. I invite you to read my blog (which is also pulled into my Facebook page), comment on it and link to it from your Web site or blog. Let's become "friends" on these sites!— love, Jan
Check us out:
Jan's blog
Jan's Facebook page
Midwifery Today on Facebook

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mother, Newborn, and Child Health Conference

For those of you in Utah who may be interested, the law school at BYU is hosting a conference on Mother, Newborn, and Child health on April 4, 2008. I will post any technologically available information that I can. Topics at the conference will include:

v The impact of culture and lifestyle on women’s and children’s health outcomes
v Family health history as a prevention tool
v Infectious disease impact on mother, newborn, or child health
v The role of NGOs in meeting global MNCH challenges
v The impact of primary health care on maternal, newborn and child health
v Health outcomes in resource-constrained areas
v Global health and diversity maternal/newborn/child issues

Should be a great conference!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Business of Being Born

It's like my economics professor always said, if twenty dollars is left laying on the ground, you are likely to never see it because someone else will almost always pick it up before you get there, and if you have an idea, odds are that someone else has already thought of it and is already doing something about it.

Like most prof's, he was right. A few months ago my wife started collecting information for a book about unnecessary medical intrusion in childbirth. Just two days ago I started this blog, and tonight on Larry King Live, Ricki Lake introduced her new movie, The Business of Being Born.

One of the things that Ricki discussed with Larry King was the extensive employment of C-Sections in the medical field, not out of medical necessity, but as a legal shield against potential complications in natural childbirth. The reasoning goes that doctors have more control when they do C-Sections, and are therefore likely to encounter less complications that might lead to injury, which might lead to lawsuits. So, to avoid liability for personal injury in childbirth, doctors across the US are cutting women open at a disgusting rate 31.1% of all births in 2006!

I'm not normally a litigious person, but perhaps what we need is a spate of lawsuits against doctors for pressuring mothers into unnecessary C-Sections...

Why Granola????

Why Granola you ask? Because Granola is the very word that sparked the idea for this blog. About a month and a half ago, a friend, who also happens to be a nurse, blogged about her experience nursing in delivery.

If I can find the post again I will link to it here. Suffice it to say that her post was nearly shocking. She described actual hostility (most of it veiled and "behind the back") towards mothers who chose to have a natural birth. Specifically, she quoted comments like "She's so granola." "What, does she think she's going to get a mother of the year award?" "She must think she's better than everyone else." You get the point.

While lying in bed that night (you know, the time when the brain really starts to work) I thought, hey! granola! What a great idea for a blog! A month later a friend of ours had her first baby via totally natural birth. Although she mused that she didn't feel granola (makes me think of that line from a Van Halen tune "I don't feel tardy" Anyway...), we still selected her for the first ever Granolie award for Rookie natural birth., and then we started this blog.

Yep, it's Granola...

My First Birth Experience

When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant we were excited! I thought I had found a Doctor that supported my beliefs in having a natural birth. Everything leading up to delivery was as my Doctor said "poster perfect pregnancy". I measured exactly where I should be. The heart rate was right where it should be. Everything was going great. I wrote up a birth plan. I had my hospital bag packed weeks before my due date, just in case. Then the exciting time came. I was out playing with our neighbor's dog and POP! Just like the book said it would happen. My water broke. We called the hospital. The nurse on duty was studying to be a midwife... she said, "Stay home. Sleep and eat normally. Things can wait until tomorrow." (OH HOW I WISH SHE WAS THERE MY WHOLE TIME I DELIVERED!) Then we went into the hospital the next day. The nurse studying to be a midwife was so nice and soothing. Then it all changed. My contractions stopped at 6pm. Shift Change! The new nurse was crabby and wanting me to get things over with. My Doctor that I had trust in started to put pressure on me. I was not dilating 1 cm per hour. Things were not progressing as they wanted. My water had broke and they were checking me every hour. They said there is a fear of infection, problems with the baby, etc. (If you weren't "checking" me every hour there wouldn't be such a risk of infection!) My Doctor said that I should have a C-section. I said no! He kept mentioning it. I said I wanted a second opinion. He responded by asking, "at twelve o'clock at night!?" "Yes!" I said. "You want to cut me open. I don't care what time it is." I did not want an adversarial role with my CARE giver. My family notoriously has long labors. I was prepared to have long labors. Then he brought in a panel of Doctor's and Nurses that all said I should get a C-section. I asked is there something else we could try? They gave me petocin. That hurt! I had a C-section.

This blog has come about because I wanted a voice! And my husband is the best IT guy! : )

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Welcome to Granola Forever!

Welcome to the first ever post on a new blog that is dedicated to pregnancy, birth, parenthood, and life!

After a brief one and a half month gestational period (gestational periods for ideation are much shorter than that for children, and the birth far less painful - we'll see how the early years compare) we are finally launching a blog that is dedicated to evoking thought and enabling choice among young parents.

First, let's get it out of the way that I am a man, and this does in fact seem a bit of a weird subject for a man to begin a blog about. Frankly, I have no idea how much I will or will not post on this blog. Hopefully whatever I do place on here is of some small value to the community that embraces this blog, but my premise for creating this blog was not to provide an outlet for my ideas - it was to provide an outlet for my wife's burgeoning passion regarding the lack of information that most women seem to have about the pregnancy and birthing process, and the general obliviousness of so many young mothers regarding the choices that are available to them. I just happen to be my wife's personal IT support staff, which means that I get the job of set up, and then she gets to play with it however she wants :)

The fact of the matter (at least regarding our personal experience) is that underidentification* is a HUGE problem in the medical field, especially among obstetricians. (I can't wait for some doctor to jump all over me about this one.) What is underidentification, you ask? Put simply, underidentification is a phenomenon than occurs among professionals where they fail to identify with a client/patient as a human being and instead identify with a client/patient as a problem that needs to be solved. When this occurs, rather than explaining possibilities and revealing choices in medical care, a doctor tends to explain the doctor's preferred choices and steers a patient towards a pre-set solution based, not on the patient's wishes, but on the doctor's comfort level. While the end result is likely a medically positive result, it is not necessarily the best medical and psychological result, and in the realm of pregnancy and childbirth, such an approach can leave a young mother feeling objectified and violated.

The hope of this blog is to help young parents avoid these types of situations, not by telling them what to do, but by helping them to ask the right questions, encouraging thought, stimulating research, and promoting the type of assertive conversation with doctors that will empower and enhance an experience that should be one of the most joyous experiences in life.

Oh yea, the purpose is also to have a good time exchanging ideas regarding parenthood, life, and all the groovy stuff that goes along with it.


* Both the label "underidentification" and the concept taken from Susan R. Martyn & Lawrence J. Fox, Traversing the Ethical Minefield: Problems, Law, and Professional Responsibility 130-31 (2004) (citing and quoting John T. Noonan Jr, The Lawyer Who Overidentifies with his Client, 76 Nortre Dame L. Rev. 827, 833 (2001)).