Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Having good communication with your birth attendant is imperative to ensuring you enjoy the birth experience of your dreams. In childbirth classes I teach we discuss the importance of preparing a written birth plan. Preparing a birth plan serves two purposes. First, it gets you and your partner thinking about your options and discussing what you want for your birth. Second, it provides a written request for your doctor and others on your birth team to ensure that your wishes are known. The following story is a perfect example of why this is so important...
I hope that what happened in this next story never happens to you. Let me know if you have a birth plan you'd like to share. Now on to the story...Do doctors have a different interpretation of "natural birth?"...
When I was lecturing about natural birth classes in Egypt, I met an expectant mother from abroad. She was in her ninth month with her second child. She was very interested in the childbirth classes, however was too late in her pregnancy to attend.
I offered to meet with her and her husband and go over the highlights of the material. I also offered to attend her birth as a labor doula. She declined both services and waited out her pregnancy.
Later, she told me that she was devastated. She had a natural birth with her first child in her home country and had told her doctor in Egypt that she wanted a "natural birth." She said everything was going fine in her labor and suddenly she found her self waking up to the sound of her baby crying.
She was dazed and confused. Her mind was hazy from the narcotic drugs given to "knock her out." She couldn't understand what had happened.
Apparently her doctor decided it was merciful to "put her under" for the second stage (pushing and delivery) of her labor. Without the patient's consent, she injected a medication into her I.V. line that rendered her unconscious. She proceeded to perform an episitomy (incision in the tissue between the vagina and anus) to widen the natural vaginal opening and then inserted a vacuum extractor into her vagina. At which point the vacuum extractor was attached to the baby's scalp by powerful suction and the doctor used this tool to drag the baby out of her (because obviously, she was unable to push her baby out while unconscious).
This mother was so upset. She couldn't understand why this had happened. She asked the doctor if there was some medical emergency that occurred and required such intervention. The doctor couldn't understand her despair, after all, she had "saved" her the pain of birth.
The mother asked the doctor, "Don't you remember that I told you I wanted NATURAL birth?"
To this the doctor replied, "The baby came out your vagina, that is natural!"
What a sad story this is. Unfortunately, especially in Egypt, to be rendered unconscious for second stage labor is all too common. Sadly it's a medical practice that is considered "normal," even though it is totally unnecessary.
This mother felt robbed of her birth experience. She was cut and stitched, when had she been awake and participating in her birth, she may have been left in tact. She lost the first few moments with her newborn daughter and felt sad that she wasn't immediately able to make the call to prayer for her infant. She felt drugged and nauseous from the medication, at a time she should of been feeling exuberant and full of excitement. She found it difficult to take care of her baby in this state and feels she lost out on the first opportunities to bond.
Unfortunately, many doctors feel it's their job to interfere in the natural process of birth. Most do not sit patiently and allow nature to takes its course. Many mothers who choose to cope with their labor and birth without the use of medication find that their doctors are not supportive or in agreement with their choice. Some doctors feel it's their duty to do "something" to relieve the pain of labor and birth. Sadly, they fail to realize that the pain of their intervention is often worse and longer lasting the the pain of birth itself. A mother who has prepared herself physically, mentally, and emotionally can usually cope with the discomforts of birth and feels great immediately after.
In this case, had the mother had a written birth plan and insisted on voicing her birth vision, this may not have happened. The doctor did not act with mal intent, she simply had a different understanding of "natural birth" and did what she, sadly, considers "normal."