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43 ~*~ 30 September 2007

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In The News
  • The Obstetric-Industrial Complex

    If you go to a hospital in the United States to deliver your child, you will probably do so flat on your back -- thought by many to be the worst possible position in which to give birth short of being hung by the feet. You have a one-in-three chance of having major abdominal surgery. If you don't, you've got another one-in-three chance of having your vagina slashed with a knife. And you will have a better chance of dying, or having your baby die, than do women in almost any other industrialized country.

  • The C-section epidemic

    More women are dying in childbirth thanks to the high numbers of doctors and mothers who opt out of normal delivery, writes Jennifer Block.

  • Parents of teen 'surgeon' charged

    Police in southern India said Tuesday they had charged a husband and wife doctor team with attempted murder for encouraging their schoolboy son to a carry out a Cesarean section.

  • Federal Public Prosecutor supports Parto do Princípio and sponsors hearing on c-section abuse

    In July 2006, Parto do Princípio denounced the abuse of c-sections in the private health sector in Brazil to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in São Paulo through a 35 page long dossier citing more than 30 scientific studies. The document, amongst others, describes: the medical lobby; the National Health Agency’s inefficiency in inspecting and regulating the private health sector; the means by which women are lured to accept unnecessary c-sections; the disrespect to the majority of Brazilian women who want to give birth normally (80%) and don’t succeed; the interventionist education medical students receive; and the doctors´ lack of ethic by defending planned c-sections.

In The Research

From the Women of ICAN

From Both Sides Now

This issue features two very different stories of discussions with nurses on the topics of birth and VBAC.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The first one comes to us by way of Gloria Lemay, with permission from the original poster, an obstetrical nurse.

"Well, *of*course* the goal is a good outcome. DUH. Of Course. The question is, how are you going to define "good outcome" and what is the most likely way to achieve it?

Is it a good outcome if mother and child are both healthy and happy? Yes, I think we'd all agree on that.

What if mother and child are physically healthy, but mom has a debilitating postpartum depression? Is that a "good outcome" anyway? What if she has to be hospitalized for suicidal behavior?

OK how bout if the child is healthy as a horse and brilliant as Einstein, but mom has a hysterectomy as a result of her cesarean? Is that ok? Would your answer be the same or different if she dies of the surgery?

Yes, VBAC has risks. But so do repeat cesareans! And oh so rarely are the docs willing to talk about the accretias, the hysterectomies, the increased risk of death, never mind unpleasant things like increased adhesions and chronic pain after c-section #4 or 5 or more. No, they want to portray VBAC as the "risky alternative" and major surgery as "controlled" "easy" "quick" and with "very rare problems" That's not what the evidence says.

And if they really, really were concerned about the risks of pregnancy after cesarean, they would be doing everything in their power to minimize the number of primary cesareans. And we ALL know that they are not doing that.

I've heard many people tell the mother some version of "the goal is a good outcome, not a vaginal birth". WHOSE goal??? Does the mom get to pick some goals here or do the medical folks do that for her? Can't she say, "my goals are good outcomes for baby and me, and a vaginal birth and a good experience and no postpartum depression and a partridge in a pear tree too, if I want" Can't she have a vaginal birth as one of many reasonable goals for herself? I myself was told "you didn't get pregnant to have a vaginal birth". Well, guess what? I DID. I got pregnant to have a vaginal birth. And I got pregnant to breastfeed. And to watch my baby's first steps. And to cry when she entered kindergarten, to cry at her high school graduation and then her college graduation and someday at her wedding. Why isn't it ok that I wanted a vaginal birth?"

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The second one, a retelling of a dinner party conversation between a woman with a primary cesarean and an HBAC, and a NICU nurse:

"So... there I was... Nice neutral social occasion.

Imagine, if you will, the moment at which I realized that the woman who had been giving me gratuitous parenting advice and arguing with me about what age is right for children to attend school, is the CHIEF NURSE at the NICU at one of our bigger, more well-thought-of, local hospitals!

I couldn't help myself. I just... couldn't.

I told her about my second son's mostly unassisted homebirth after my first son's unnecesarean.

And you guys, you should have seen my hostess' face, when, in perfect pitch and harmony, I precisely said the words the nurse said "well, you're just lucky you aren't both DEAD."

I laughed. I couldn't help myself. She tried again. "You know, I see the results of these botched homebirths every day."

"Oh, yeah, cause you never see the results of the botched cesareans." Ha! She blinked first. "Well... they aren't as bad..."

Uh-huh. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure.

From that point on, the evening was totally blighted. "Now promise me," she says as I'm leaving, "you'll never attempt a reckless stunt like that again; our doctors will allow you a trial of labor in a nice safe surgery ward with anesthesia immediately available in case you rupture."

Hand to my heart, friends, I am not making this up.

"I'm so sorry... I'm a grown adult woman with a successful HBAC under my belt; I'm afraid I won't be needing any of that circus, but thanks for your concern. Now I'm going to go risk my and my childrens' lives by driving out on the freeway."


Oh, and here's the killer. After I got done explaining something about parenting, I asked if she had children. "I have 55 children in my NICU right now!" she says proudly.

I didn't throw up. Proud of me? 55 babies in that NICU right now. I wonder why?"


From The Board

From the Chapter Director

Attention Volunteers-in-Waiting! Do you live in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio???
We are looking for a Midwest Regional Coordinator to support and oversee our chapters in the Midwest region. A qualified candidate would enjoy getting to know multiple chapter leaders, motivating others in ICAN's mission, and working independently to further the goals of ICAN in your region. You do not need to have been a part of a local chapter, but familiarity with ICAN is a must. Please contact the Chapter Director at chapters@ican-online.org">chapters@ican-online.org to receive the full job description and application until October 15.


Get Active

Screenings of The Business of Being Born

Lake is a mother, former talk-show host, homebirther, and doula.
 Drawing on all of these talents and experiences, she recently
produced "The Business of Being Born", a film about childbirth in
America.  Shown at the Tribeca Film Festival to excellent reviews,
the film has recently been purchased for limited release and special,
private screenings.  If you are interested in hosting a screening
in your own town, please contact info@thebusinessofbeingborn.com">info@thebusinessofbeingborn.com.


When you are searching
online, go to www.goodsearch.com
and type in "International Cesarean Awareness Network" as the
organization to support. ICAN's main address is Redondo Beach, which
should pop up automatically (typing "ICAN" won't get it to come up).
Each search gives $.01 to ICAN. It may not sound like much, but the
add up!  Don't forget, you can add GoodSearch to your toolbar
make it even easier to search and do good at the same time!  

Talk It Up

Come together the second
Monday of every month to chat with fellow ICANers.  In a "chat
room" set up on MommyChats,
talk with fellow ICANers about birth, VBAC, cesarean healing, and
whatever other topics that come up.  Ask questions, share
stories...it's all there on ICAN's MommyChat.  The next chat
be Monday, October 8th.  "See" you there! 

Donate Now!

something to say? Tell us! eNews@ican-online.org">eNews@ican-online.org

mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary
cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery,
and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). This newsletter is
for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a
qualified birth professional.

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