Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Life Story: My Evolving Birth Story


It was always with great dramatics I was told my birth story. I was born during a huge snowstorm in Denver. The cars were packed on the roads, steaming and stuck. Snow was hanging off of every branch and fence post. Snow, snow, everywhere snow. My mother watched it from her window at the Swedish Hospital, even though we were clearly Norwegian...
My mother gave birth to me without medication, and with horrible back labor, after many hours I emerged, eight pounds and five ounces. A group paramedics asked if they could observe my birth for training services. In my mind those paramedics were like the shepherds at the creche. They represented the good men of earth who showed up to watch something holy happen. In my mind, it was simply seraphic.
But last night, on my couch in the front room, my own baby cooing and drooling on my chest I started to think about my mother and my birth and that snowstorm and everything changed.


First of all, I was born on March 11, this means the epic snowstorm that swept me into mortality was one of those spring snowstorms, heavy and wet and entirely unwelcome. As far as seasons go, by March 11th, no one wants to wake up to a snow with its added frustration of travel and expense. By March 11 we crave birds and blossoms, yellow, waving tulips and brave blades of seaweedy grass.
I picked up my phone and called my mother to ask specifics,
"Oh well," said my mother about the storm, "I thought it was exciting."
"Of course," I replied "it was the very thing that put you in labor, wasn't it?"
"Actually," she corrected me, "I was two days over due so it was decided I would be induced."
"I was induced?" I said, understanding what that meant being somewhat a veteran of birthing myself.
"Yes, and it was horrible, your labor was one of the worst I ever had."
She was wheeled in, hooked up to IVs and with chemicals running through her veins she pushed for hours until I reluctantly made my way out of her body. There was actually no feelings of sanctity or holiness, my mother admitted to me last night, it wasn't the glorified event I had secured in my mind. My mother felt lonely and scared, cursed with no options but to fight her body until the end. Last night, as I connected the dots in my mind, aware of what these emotions and terms mean with this version of my birth story, I am so grateful my mother is willing to be honest about it. She's telling me exactly like it was in her mind, no longer needing to appease my childhood cravings of wonder. I was born with pain and anguish. I was born when it was convenient timing for someone, though I don't think it was my mother's. And it certainly wasn't mine.
After an hour on the phone I hung up and handed Chup my baby who he bounced and cradled in his arms while I recounted my birth.
"No wonder inductions make you sad," he said.
While I understand the need for inductions in high risk situations my heart always breaks when I hear of them as normal procedure. I want to feel like I can trust my body with its innate knowledge of timing and truth. But even more than that, I don't want to rob my baby of the first gift of mortality: agency. If I were to induce my body into labor I would send a message of distrust to both me and my baby. Birth is not about control, it's about something so much bigger than control.
"No wonder I was a horrible baby," I said to Chup, my mind reeling in these new discoveries. "I'm sure some babies don't mind the chemical push, but that sort of thing would've just made me mad."
"It still makes you mad," Chup said standing up, taking the baby to bed.
I thought about my mother's experience in childbirth and I thought about my own. I thought about how it's frustrating these days to have an opinion about birth, there's a fear that being passionate about labor choices makes you somewhat of a birthing bigot. But at least I live in a day where women can have opinions about labor, my mother made it sound like there wasn't much enlightenment. There wasn't really an opinion to have.
I followed my husband and baby up the stairs --the baby who was delivered by her father, in the very bed where she was made. I thought about how different her birth was from my own, how I wasn't just two days late on the pregnancy calendar, but three weeks. And I remembered how I felt ridiculed at times about waiting for my body and baby to decide the time was right, and how, when it was, the birth was just an hour long, and practically pain free, until at the end when I battled fear for a few minutes. And I thought about how my mother's doctor during my pregnancy (but not actually birth) was Robert. A. Bradley (another detail of my birth just revealed to me last night) of the Bradley method, a doctor who dedicated his life to helping women achieve pain-free, natural labor and who, like me, had very strong opinions on the intimacy of birth--an essential component being the father's involvement as explained in his book Husband-Coached Childbirth.
My birth story changed for me last night, but I am not devastated by it. Now I realize my own childbirth ideas and opinions came from something that started long ago, with a mother who didn't know she could have better and a doctor who championed just that.


For more on this topic:
Erin Caroline's Birth Story


113 comments:

Vanessa Brown said...

I get a bit sensitive about the inducement subject. My body, won't, can't go into labor. It makes me feel like a huge failure, like I can't even birth like a normal woman. I hope other women that have this issue too don't believe that they are taking away their child's first choice/experience into this world. It isn't like that at all.

I am happy for women that now they can have opinions, have different options and not feel shameful about it. I hope more women can feel like that...it seems like it is starting to change. Just as I know with everything in me that my babies are to be born in a hospital and that their mama needs an epidural. And for their daddy not to pass out that it is really the best. I also know and respect that other women don't induce, don't have any drugs and birth at home. And I believe that it is 100% right for them. Sometimes I enjoy reading people's different points on the subject but sometimes they can sting a bit.

Because some of us sadly don't have other options. Or maybe the option of having the baby in the hospital, with medicine IS right for them. Which is why hospitals, doctors, nurses and modern medicine CAN be beautiful. My births, my babies and my experiences are beautiful to me.

I am loving reading your life stories, I feel like you are back and better than ever. Which I didn't know could be possible.

Theresa Santoro: Give Your Family Roots and Wings said...

I so agree with what Vanessa is saying. And I honor C.Jane's choice to birth at home. I love the beauty of choice.

13 pregnancies for me. 8 ending in horrible miscarriage. Plus one with Trisomy 13 dying the day she was born. And finally with successful pregnancies on board, I was rewarded with 9 grueling months of 24/7 sickness. But with me now are 4 amazing human beings that were heaven sent in HIS time. My Catholic faith showed me the way on many hopeless days, just as your Mormon faith sees you through.

Thank God for modern medicine, for epidurals, and yes... even pitocin (although, I do believe once it has started its job, it should be turned off). Kids come into the world in the most amazing miraculous ways. It is what we do with them, once they are here that matters most.

I look at my oldest now in Law School, and remember the days doctors suggested I just give up. Our second will graduate college in a month. One in high school, and our youngest is about to finish middle school. Each a miracle to me. And I tell them so every single day.

God Bless your beautiful family.

Matt and Tiana said...

I agree with Vanessa. Inductions are part of agency and can be just a beautiful as a baby born on your bed.

The birth of a child any way they come into the world is just plain beautiful. That spiritual moment when heaven and earth meet as your baby takes it's first breath isn't less important or less euphoric because of where you give birth. Period.
Signed 4th child of 8 and mother of 3.

Jill said...

I've given birth to my three babies at home. All wonderful experiences. Reading your story made me think about how the way my mother described my own birth to me influenced my own choices. And also, if through your mothers cleaned up version did she perhaps unknowingly give to you what she had hoped for her self (do you know what I mean).
My mother told how she had my older sister in a hospital and could hear her crying down the hall but no one would let her hold her baby How, after that, she never went back to a hospital to have a baby. I was born in a "birthing center". More specifically a large storage closet because the rooms were full and I came in under 3 hours total. It was quick and easy and on the way home they stopped by my dads work to show me off and my moms makeup was still in place.

How significant was this story to my view of birth. Interestingly enough, when I announced I had chosen home birth my mother was not pleased. She was scared and nervous and thought I was being reckless. Was my own story "cleaned up". Interesting.

Amelia said...

I gave birth four times without pain medication. The first and the last were accompanied with pitocin and those were my most difficult births. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but if I had the chance to do it again, I would not use the pit unless is was absolutely necessary. Those labors were excruciating!

Elizabeth said...

I believe that those things that mark us in our childhood, even in our birth stories mark us for life. The love our mother's have for us or the way in which our father tell us stories mark our existence. So your birth story marked your desire for giving birth. My mother's hope was to have natural and drug free births for all of her three daughters, but because of her something that happened while she was in-utero she was not able to give birth without a c-section for any of us. Because of this my older sister as a mother wanted to have the birth she was unable to have. She did so with her daughter. I to in my first pregnancy want to do the same. I want to allow my body to do what God has intended it to do, to give birth when it is ready. As a Christian I believe that God has given women the miraculous ability to carry children as a part of our creation. I know this is not possible for all people, but I do believe that we as women should embrace our creation and not fear what our bodies our designed to do. Thank you for sharing this. In October when I give birth to my first child I hope to experience the beautiful birth stories you were able to share with your 3 children.

Bits and Pieces of Me...Emily! said...

My first birthing experience was one of expectations and fear of the unknown. My husband and I both walked in thinking, this is going to be easy. I was getting induced. The doctor was nervous, the baby was big, and getting bigger, and I am a petite lady. So, inducement seemed like the best option. Twelve hours of horrible chemical induced contractions later, I was in the OR waiting for a c-section. Turns out, my pelvic bone is too small to pass babies. I would have never been able to have my baby the "normal" way at all. But I think as women, we need to know what is right for us. I hated being drug filled and loopy, and trying to recover from surgery, while taking care of a newborn? Not the best situation. All I wanted was to take care of my baby and leave the pain at the hospital. My second baby was born with major health problems, so a c-section was the only option, and again, it was for the best. I applaud those ladies, like yourself, who have the faith, courage and ability to home birth. I love that we have that choice.

Jeanna said...

I am one who, without the miracle of modern medicine, specifically c-section, would have ended up like the many women of earlier days who succumbed to the process of childbirth, and likely my baby too.
I can respect your views and opinions on what the birth process is for you. But you need to leave room for and respect those who choose differently. Which, I believe you do, even though it didn't seem so in this post.
For me, it wasn't about robbing my child of agency or being able to immediately hold and nurse and bond with my baby- it was about survival!

Suz said...

Heavenly Father is still in control... with or without medications. He Knows when we will arrive... for this I am sure. Surely none of us think we have more control than the great creator just because we have pitocin! I know He is ever mindful and grateful for mothers who are willing to sacrifice their bodies and lives for the little spirits He created so that they can have bodies. There are few things more contraversial than labor choices... Strong opinions come with each choice. They always make me comment for some reason!

turleybenson said...

Your post is beautiful, and just fine. I had a c section and a traumatic home birth, and yet I am in no way offended by your words. We've lost faith in our bodies, bottom line. Thank you for sharing YOUR story.

Alison said...

My first child was the only birth in which I went into labor naturally...and it was horrific! Long, painful, and full of drama in which she nearly died.

My second child was induced after I was a week overdue. This during a pregnancy in which two (TWO!) of my dear friends who had been due at about the same time as me had lost their babies to nearly full-term still-birth. I can honestly say waiting another day to deliver wasn't an option...all I could do was worry.

My third child was induced for no other reason than convenience. And I am totally okay with that. His was a wonderful birth...calm, planned, nearly pain-free. It was kind of like how you pictured your birth...a holy, beautiful moment. I don't feel like I denied him his agency. It made a birth that could have been anxious and stressful just the opposite.

My fourth child was an elective induction a week early. I knew she needed .to be born. My doctors fought me but I insisted. I knew she was big regardless of what their ultrasounds showed. She was nearly 9 pounds and although I was able to deliver her, it was SOOOO hard. I actually tore my rotator cuff in the process (leading to a future surgery adn months of physical therapy) and it was a long recovery for my whole body. If I had waited til she came on her own who knows how big she could have been and what could have happened to her during the delivery.

I am thankful that you are able to make your choices and thankful for mine. I am ALSO thankful for a kind and loving Heavenly Father who (I am convinced) inspired those who invented the epidural!

Melinda said...

I couldn't agree more about inductions. You said it way better than I ever could have.

Brittney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison said...

Just reread my comment....ooops...my fourth child was nearly TEN pounds, not nine.

I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with number 5. He is going to be big, as is already obvious. And yes, I am already planning an induction and an epidural. Please don't be sad for me...all of my births have been nothing less than divine. And, just as you can be thankful for the knowledge that your births were right for you, I can be thankful knowing mine were right for me. I LOVE being in the hospital, knowing that medical professionals with the same desire I have (healthy baby, healty mom) are there to help me. It has never ever made me sad to hear that someone has chosen a natural home birth. It does take me aback that you might feel sad because I have chosen something else. And as I look at my four wonderful children and anticipate my fifth, I have to say that the manner in which they arrive in the world is far less important than the rearing that happens next.

Marlise said...

I have had 3 home births and I LOVE IT. I personally wouldn't have it any other way. But I believe every woman needs to do what's best for her--in order to have a great birth experience, for her.

But regardless--this isn't my life story. It's Courtney's. And Courtney--you should write what you think and feel, truly. Because we are all reading it, thanks to your generosity--but that doesn't mean you have to write it FOR any of us. It's for you and yours and we can read it and enjoy it--and if we relate to ot like certain parts and don't relate to others--so be it. It's YOURS. And you do a beautiful job expressing yourself.

Natasha said...

"Birth is not about control, it's about something so much bigger than control."

I feel like this sentence sums up my entire theory (and experiences) of giving birth. We humans like to think that we can control our births but we really can't. I always said, with my first, that "we were having a planned hospital delivery with a midwife" which was very unusual in our province, but I acknowledged that "Attila (our nickname for our fetus in utero) will have the kind of birth that Attila decides to have." That totally turned out to be true as we had a 3 1/2 hour unplanned home birth where my husband ended up delivering our son because the midwife didn't get there in time.

With our second we decided that, given the quick birth of our first, we would have a planned home birth with our midwife. Although once again we acknowledged that the baby would have the kind of birth the baby decided to have. Again, our birth was NOTHING like what we expected, a 12 minute labour start to finish with my husband, once again, delivering our daughter.

Neither of these births were what we planned but they were the kind of births the babies chose. And I'm okay with that because in the end I have two healthy children and that's what pregnancy and birth are all about -- the end result.

Woodengirl said...

I think it is very important for each woman to have a choice about childbirth, and I feel that each choice should be respected.

I gave birth to my 4 children in a hospital, but they were all natural, peaceful, beautiful births. I am watching the trend for home births with interest and some concern.

Recently Caroline Lovell, a passionate advocate of home birth, died, following the home delivery of her second child. She had an undiagnosed heart problem that made home birth especially dangerous. Home birth isn't the only answer for those who want a special birth experience, and for some, it can be extremely risky.

I am sharing this because I feel that the current trend is to glorify home birth, and to look down on hospital births. That kind of social pressure can eat away at our true choices.

Birth is a difficult experience at best, and there is no shame in needing assistance or a mdeical team to help you get through it.

Tina Bee. said...

Your freaking awesome sister!
Lucy

Tracee said...

My body too failed me. I wasn't able to make an educated decision regarding delivery because we never were able to get pregnant.

Instead, we agonized for years waiting for a referral from China for a baby girl. Longest pregnancy of my life! Totally worth it!! My Lillian was 6 months at referral and 6.5 months when we were united with her on Christmas day in 2002.

Everybody has a different birth story.

Raevan Blake said...

Thanks for the comment Natasha because when I read that sentence again, it hit me as an answer to prayer. I have health issues and am simply grateful that I live in a time of modern medicine that helps me to have babies. I am currently 17 weeks and I recently had to make a decision in regards to medication I need to be on, it is extremely difficult to be on this medicine and also means I will need to be induced. I prayerfully came to the decision that I truly need to be on this medicine. I have been lamenting over this as I have been induced and gone into labor on my own and much prefer the latter. This post initially made me even more let down about it until I again read "Birth is not about control, it is about so much more than control" It just hit me so hard that I feel upset because I no longer have a choice, but it is NOT about control! It is about so much more, an alive and breathing baby and a mother to be there to love that baby. Thank you C. Jane for your inspiring words of comfort, even for those of us in very different circumstances!

Raevan Blake said...

Sorry, I didn't quote it right! "It is about something so much bigger than control."

Lindy said...

When you are told by a perinatologist that you need to be induced TODAY to allow your first child a chance at surviving, it kind of scars you in terms of how you view your future births. Knowing my body "gives out" in the end and stops providing the nutrients my babies need, induces panic and stress those last few weeks (pun intended). I always feel like "what if I wait just one day too long..."--which means, in your terms, I have stopped trusting my body. But my and my doctor's vigilant care also mean I have four healthy children for whom I am eternally grateful. And yes, one day they may have harsh feelings toward inductions (just like I do toward epidurals due to my own birth--being born in a drug-induced sleep), but I still would NEVER take a chance on their lives just so I could feel like I was providing a perfect, "sacred birth." My babies would not have survived being three weeks overdue (and my "bag of steel" probably would have forced me to be), and I am grateful for inductions and the four perfect souls they brought safely into my life.

The Bears said...

I know you're probably going to get a lot of comments from women saying they had to be induced... and maybe they did. I do believe doctors quite often make things seem imperative, that are just more convenient for them and I also believe that pregnancy, but especially labor is one of times where we women are easily influenced. I was born at home and my dad delivered me. My whole life I have been taught it was safe and beautiful and complications might arise (which they did) but they might arise at the hospital too and are quite often caused by the escalation of hospital interventions. I'm glad for your voice on the subject, because I think it's really important that people know how amazing it is and that they have options, but I often feel so judged when I speak about my birth story, because women can be so defensive, so most of the time I stay quiet. I don't care how anyone decides to have a baby, I just want the decision to be made from something more than pressure from doctors, status quo and fear.

Kylie said...

Just chiming in on the debate - hopefully in a respectful manner. I truly did have to be induced. Without the help of blood thinners it is dangerous to my babies to be inside me because of the risk of blood clots. But if I stay on those blood thinners through a birth - you imagine what the outcome could be. Like others have said, I don't feel I stole a choice from my son. My labor was only 3.5 hours and not excruciatingly painful. My baby is an angel.
I completely respect your life choices, and hope that we can all respect each other and understand that birth can be a beautiful thing no matter where it happens and under what circumstances. A sweet, innocent being being brought into a loving home - that is what is important.

Janeal said...

I feel the same way about inductions! In too many cases, they are done for convenience sake. I believe the timing of a delivery is not only physical, but also spiritual. Thank you for your wise words.

Broken Reality said...

I don't think you're trying to slam against inductions, but I am a woman who wouldn't have 2 children if I didn't have an induction and a C-section. I love modern medicine because it makes it possible for me to be a MOTHER. However, I respect those that are wholly into natural and home childbirth. I just wouldn't want a woman to feel that she is less of a mother or less strong because she needs modern miracles. I can't go into labor and the C-section was the most heavenly experience in my life. After a 4th degree tear and reconstructive surgery, complications from Crohn's disease, I welcomed the C-section, it was fabulous. I am a good mother and my children are lovely- no matter how they needed to be brought into this world. I respect differing opinions but I'm sure glad there are options- and that the possibility of dying in childbirth is no longer so common for most.

Janie said...

Inductions make me sad too and for every woman who says "I never go into labor on my own" I wonder how would you ever know? some women go 4 weeks past their due date naturally - but women are seldom afforded that options these days unless they demand it.

"birth bigot" yes I have been accused of that myself. It feels from the advesary to me - choices are robbed from women daily in the sensitive time of birth but if you try to educated otherwise you are being insensitive to the women who had to have inductions and csections.

not true I am only upset with a medical community who is robbing this power from women.

what are Ina May the renowned midwives rates - like under 2% transfers and 1 in 300 csections - because why these women are better made women than the general population.. no. There is more merit to natural childbirth than the experience and I just wish more women faith in it.

PS. Dr. Bradley - HOW COOL!!!! boo-hoo on the induction though.

having done both, being overdue is never, ever as bad as being induced

Raevan Blake said...

Ahh the joys of blood thinners, but we have BABIES!!!:) Something much bigger than worrying about being induced!

reen said...

I was induced with my first baby. He was three weeks late. Labor and delivery were difficult. But I'm still convinced that baby was NOT going to come on his own. If it had been up to him we'd still be waiting for him, he'll be 30 next month. Yeah, 30 years ago today I was STILL waiting to go into labor. He was 10 lbs. 13 & 1/2 ozs. While it wasn't pleasant to be induced, I'm glad I was. Neither of us really needed to wait much longer.

This Girl loves to Talk said...

I have nothing against inducements (almost had one with my first - but she came on her own!) but I have noticed that in australia you do have to be 2 weeks overdue before they induce you. I seem to notice many americans seem to have inducements a day or two after due dates. due dates are not an exact 'your baby will definately come out' they are a gestimate. I do think people whose children arent in medical emergency inside them should think more about doing it so early

Vanessa said...

CJane wasn't insensitive. She did bring up bthat inductions (am I spelling that right?) make her sad so now all of us that have had to have them now have to say something :) Oh and yes some of us know our bodies and KNOW we had to have them.

@Janie I know my body won't go into labor because three times I have waited and waited. Never even got to a 1 and then pop out babies that over 10 lbs, have health issues due to being overdue and rip me apart. That is good enough reason for me. I am convinced that if I lived years ago---I would be one of those women that died because the baby never came out. Convinced of it.

When my girls get to the birthing stage of their lives I want to guide them through all the choices and be supportive of whatever one they chose. I want them to learn to stand up to whoever and go with the choice that is right or them. I think it would be BEAUTIFUL for one of my girls to be able to do home births. Beautiful. CJane's home birth experience that she wrote about with her last baby doll is one of my favorite stories of all time.

Amy said...

Courtney, Thanks for your judgement-free opinions and views. I am down with strong opinions as long as someone doesn't judge me for doing something different.

Life happens. Not always the way we want. I had to have a c-section due to placenta previa. It stunk, but my son is alive and happy and healthy. I've got three fab little ones. I think we tend to obsess about EXACTLY how our kids are born etc, but the reality is, the most important thing is how you raise them. In the long run no matter how they are birthed they will be able to be married, go to college, and live a happy life. Sometimes when our kids are still little we think if we don't have birth X way, or nurse for X amount of time LIFE IS RUINED FOR OUR CHILDREN FOREVER. Thank goodness that's not true.

I laugh because having a baby at home is the LAST thing I ever wanted to do. To have an epidural, and to be at a hospital where someone else did the laundry, changed the sheets, made the food, did the dishes and all I had to do was sleep, eat, and care for a baby-- ecstasy, honey!! Pure ecstasy!!! When they give the awards out for the moms who gave birth the perfect way (whatever that is), I will gladly hand mine over. I'm happy as a clam and my kids are thriving.

Heather said...

I can honestly say that all my births are horrific stories where my mortality was close to ending, and my childrens. 4 crash emergency c-sections places me in the group that doesn't remember anything from her childrens births. I know from my hubby that none of them every cried, atleast for the 2 he was present for and the other 2 we were told they didn't cry. I think people get to caught up in the actual birth. Who cares, what matters is that mother and baby are able to go home at some point. I left the hospital one to many times without my children. Having to return and return to care for them. I just think people put too much stock in HOW it happens. There is a reason the mortality rate for mothers before modern medicine was over 50%. It is a dangerous endeavor and "trusting" our bodies to do what they are "supposed" to do is ignorance. Just my two cents. For whats it worth, which is not a whole lot.

Kelley and Chris said...

I have to say, Courtney, that I have read your blog for quite some time, along with your sister's. I think you certainly have a knack for the written word. However, you are certainly 0 for 2 as far as your 'memoirs.' Although you certainly dont mean to, you are coming across as a little "holier than thou." As someone who has gone through more hell trying to become a mother (loss after loss after stillbirth after almost another stillbirth) I have to say that your posts inadvertently come off a little offensive. The birth of my son (the one and only living child I have) was actually televised on national TV and proves that a medically induced, pitocin-filled labor and delivery was one of the most sacred, awe-inspiring, beautiful moments that one can hope to witness. The love of a mother and her newborn is the same, no matter the means to that end.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

(Sorry, my typo bothered me).

I was nearly born in the toilet. How is that for a birth story! My Mom had, what is insensitively called, an incompetent cervix. All of us babies came FAST.

Jen said...

I loved giving birth in the hospital and would never, ever, ever do anything differently. I loved my doctor, and ultimately his partner who delivered my first (and so far only) baby. My water broke thus compelling me to go to the hospital. 5 hours later my son was born and I could not have done it any other way than with an epidural. By the time I finally got my epidural an hour after my water broke, I was dilated to an 8. I honestly think I could not have handled it without an epidural.

I respect people who have home births, but I know I will never choose that option. My father is a doctor and I just believe too much in the medical system and that God inspired people to be doctors and to invent medicine for a reason. I know I would never have another baby if it were not for the miracle of the epidural.

Dustin and Laura said...

Loved this post! I am passionate about birth and I have had epidurals, hospital midwives, and homebirths. I loved how you worded your view on inducements. It's never seemed right to me either and you articulated what I was feeling perfectly. I love how you fearlessly stated you opinion. I know that everytime I say to anyone that I've had homebirths I always get the same judgmental remarks over and over. And yet when I state my opinion of natural births people always get offended. It's like I'm supposed preface my opinion with "I respect everyone else's right to birth the way they want (etc).... but what is right for me is..." everytime I open my mouth or post an article on facebook. Anyway, great post and I love reading your blog.

Kara said...

Birth is such a sensitive topic, but I do happen to agree with Courtney on induction. This is her blog and she is free to write her experiences and opinions whether or not people agree with her. That is what make life so beautiful. Sharing and learning from other people... whether or not people do things the same way as us or not.

Jed and Lizzy said...

Birth DOES matter. If our bodies are temples than the womb is a veil and we are veil workers in bringing spirits into this world. How and where we do that work is important. Kudos to the commenter who said that competent midwives like Ina May have extremely LOW rates of transfers/problems/c-sections. Our bodies do work and do know how to birth naturally if we choose those methods. Complications are very rare in prepared/healthy/supported women. I am passionate about a woman's right to choose their birth story and don't take offense at others' belief that the hospital is the best place to birth. -Mom to 5 under 8.

Life between the Blips said...

I wanted so bad to have a "natural" childbirth experience...no drugs...immediately breast feed my child. I needed pitocin, and had an unexpected c-section and was unable to breast feed. I felt like a total loser...and I was judged by many in the mothers group I so badly wanted to be a part of. 26 years later your post brings up the same feelings of being judged less than a perfect mother because of how my child was born and because I could not breast feed him. Obviously this is your blog -- a vehicle to share your thoughts, your emotions, your experiences. And obviously anyone who doesn't like what you write can/should just click away from it. I do wonder though why in addition to sharing your thoughts about YOUR experience you needed to put down those who have a different experience. It truly hurts.

Laura said...

@Vanessa- that is exactly what my body does, and I've never heard of anyone else like me! I never, ever, go into labor and dialate effectively, days and days of labor, hard labor that makes me pass out, and I never dialate, and then nine pound overdue baby rips me open and we both almost don't make it. It is horrible and traumatic, and not at all how anyone wants a birth experience to be. Inducing actually gives me a more calm, natural birth experience, and THANK the HEAVENS for modern medicine that has allowed me to have three healthy living children, when, if not for medical intervention, neither me or my babies would be alive. I respect everyone's right to agency, but just as a home birther wants us to respect their choices, so they too need to respect the NEED and choice of some women to be induced. Respect and tolerance is needed both ways.

Tiffani said...

I chose and epidural with all 4 of mine and loved it! My second child was the best labor. Started contractions at 8am, go the epidural around 9:30am. The nurse and my husband were placing bets at what time she would arrive. I said around 2pm and my husband said,"12:24pm." Sure enough she was born at 12:24pm on the dot. She came out bright red and screaming. The best labor I ever had. She is also my most responsible, faithful, compassionate,independent, and on time child.

If I am blessed with another child I want to go for a natural birth. I think I can do it! With my third child, the epidural wore off during the pushing stage, and I handled it well.
Both my older sisters had natural births and I want to experience it!

hilarye said...

I completely agree with your views of induction. I really feel that we need to trust our babies and trust our bodies to tell us when they are fully developed to be born. I once heard that when a baby's lungs are developed enough they release a hormone and that lets your body know when it's time to deliver. I let my first decide when she was ready to come and I was stuck in early labor for three days. Three days I labored day and night and did not progress past 2 cms then I went to the hospital and they gave me the smallest dose of pitocin and baby was born in less than five hours. I know it was because she really was ready she just needed my help. I was beyond horrified when I found out with my second that they would deliver her three weeks early via c-section due to placenta previa. Lots of prayers said that baby would be developed enough. I HATED and still hate the thought that my baby was sleeping and happy one moment and then yanked out the next unwillingly. I know it was for both of our safety but it makes me sad she wasn't able to choose her birthday. I am grateful for modern medicine because in the old days we would have just died but I think in the instance of healthy mom and healthy baby it will always be better to let nature take it's course. Every woman needs to pray and understand what the right choice for her and her baby is. No birth story and circumstance is the same.

Jena said...

I think people get offended when they read something that (although unintended) makes them feel like their birthing experiences have been demeaned.

We all have our different backgrounds, likes, dislikes, fears, hopes, dreams, etc. and we should just respect each other, and be grateful that we're all unique, special individuals. I had my baby in a hospital bed, you had your baby in a tub at home, and she had her baby in space -- Wahoo! That is great! YAY for babies and motherhood! Yay for personal opinions, and yay for respect.

CJane, you are a rockstar!

C. Jane said...

@Heather, I think this line "It is a dangerous endeavor and "trusting" our bodies to do what they are "supposed" to do is ignorance." Is the saddest thing I have ever read and I hope to God my daughters never hear it.

jenifer said...

You are a brave girl to write this post. I believe God testifies truth to people he knows will share it. There are many ways to have a baby... And many who can attest to beautiful, miraculous, induced hospital births. (I've had 7.) your voice is unique and your story needs to be told to show another way. Thank you for sharing.

There is more than one right way...
For my 7th I really wanted to go into labor on my own and I wanted to vbac after 2 emergency csections. After 52 weeks I was induced ever so slightly and had an amazing pain free natural delivery. My baby was, once again, tightly knotted in her cord... I believe I needed to deliver her with the watchful eye of the doctor. But-- everyone has a different story to tell.

I LOVE reading yours.

argylesocks said...

I love that your titled your comment section "pieces of opinion", it's so fitting. Goodness we women can be testy! We as women need each other, each others stories, opinions, thoughts, care, and so much more, let's work together to make this world an amazing place. I have had three natural deliveries at a hospital under the care of three different yet all excellent doctors. I laughed and joked with them between contractions, they aided me through contractions. Delivery is HARD! It is a lot of work for our amazingly strong bodies. A good friend made a good point to me the other day. She and I have successfully had natural childbirths. Yet, neither of us could pull off running a marathon. We are all different, that is part of the plan, we need to be different. And being different if we work together we can be strong. We women are amazing. Let's see a man give birth, medicated or not!

Kindra said...

I don't understand why so many people are so offended. I think that you did a wonderful job at sharing your strong opinion but not trying to make others feel like bad mothers for having inductions themselves.

I do believe the wonderful part of being a women is that we understand our bodies. One of the most wonderful things about being mothers and daughters of God is that we have the innate ability to know what is best for our children. Sometimes they need our help,even if we'd rather not give it to them and other times we need to allow them to do things on their own even when it's difficult even when it's painful. I believe this ability begin to carry our children in our wombs. We know them better than anyone else, they are after all a part of us.

I have two children whose birth stories are as opposite as their personalities and as their mother I am learning that they need something different from me. They need me to discipline them,love them and teach them differently. They are each their unique person and needed to come to this earth in their own way and I believe that our Father in Heaven sent them here that way. But, He also knows me and He knew how I would bring them into this world.Those circumstances were exactly what I needed and what my husband needed. They were days that will forever be engraved in my mind as the best days of my life.

I am in awe of Erin's birth story and I hope that you will continue to your real and honest story with your beautiful words.

Amie said...

The interesting thing in these comments as that so many people are reacting to their own stories--the narratives they tell themselves about their own births or birth experiences. Maybe it's like the presence your mom felt where what matters in the end is how it made her feel and how she reacted to it. Is there a right and wrong? Yes, probably. Is it always the same? Probably not.

My first was a Bradley method birth in the hospital with a midwife. I arrived at 9 cm, popped out a baby, and all was well. My second pregnancy involved placenta previa with multiple hospital stays, a c-section, a preemie and a doctor who told me, "You know, this is how pioneers died. Good thing you're alive now." Both births were right for their circumstances. Like another commenter said, I just want decisions about birth to be made from something more than medical establishment pressure and fear. Educate yourself about all aspects of birth, and then choose what is both right for your situation and right for you.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

She's talking about inductions being part of agency in that you have the ability to choose them or have the medical necessity to have them. Like for Vanessa or others.

The kind of inductions which make us "sad" are the kinds which are totally and completely unnecessary and are done in order to artificially "speed up" the labor process in order to fit into someone else's timeline, such as the doctor's or Mom has to be back at work before the busy summer season. Whatever. Those are the kinds that are sad, because it starts the whole cycle of pitocin, too painful for mom, which means epidural for mom, then the pit becomes ineffective so it's upped to a level so high the baby can't tolerate it, and then they perform an emergency c-section and everybody talks about how "relieved" they are that they did the csection and saved your child, which, perhaps if the unnecessary induction had never taken place (a convenience induction is totally different from a medically necessary one, like vanessa's) then perhaps the child would never need to be brought into the world in such a traumatic way, damaging mom's body. My friend was induced, had pit, than an epidural, more pit, emergency c-section, baby was too early, had breathing problems and was in the NICU for a week. They have given her repeat c-sections with her two babies since. On her second child, they told her she could not have more than one child more because she had a uterine rupture due to all of the tissue scarring from the c-sections. She and her husband had planned on a family of 10+. Adopting 7 kids is going to be financially very difficult. They are devastated.

Perhaps they would have ended up in a csection anyway with #1, but maybe, just maybe if she had been allowed to go into labor on her own, instead of being induced early because well, they offered, then maybe this never would have happened, and her child bearing choices would have been limited by someone else's need for convenience.

And again, HUGE difference between someone who chooses an induction because that is what is right for them, or someone who needs one from medical necessity, and someone who is just told it's a good idea, or they "should" do one.

Every mom should do what's best for them and their body and that's all Courtney is saying.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

@Woodengirl

Regarding Caroline Lovell, her heart issue was totally and completely unrelated to her home birth and occurred way AFTER her child was born.

It's like saying I went in to have my tonsils removed and died from a car accident on the way home. OMG! Don't ever get your tonsils removed! They're dangerous.

It's an absurd connection. Also, that was in Australia.

Kelly said...

I am new to your blog, and just wanted to tell you that your writing is a joy to read! Thank you. I love an opinion, especially an opinion that is beautifully and respectfully expressed. Thank you for sharing yours.

Morgan Lee said...

I understand where both CJane and Heather are coming from, and here's why:

It is true that non-medically indicated inductions have become largely routine among maternal health care providers, and these inductions can sometimes go awry. Many of them ultimately necessitate c-sections that may otherwise have been avoided. Many are done only because the mother or doctor wanted control of the timing, a motivation I admit I don't get. Medical interventions, while intended to reduce the risks associated with childbirth, come with their *own* risks, and I hope that prudent doctors and informed women weigh those risks before deciding whether an induction is the right choice. I think many do, and advocating for mothers to have more information and more choice in how and when they labor is a worthy cause that has seen much progress. My mom had her first two babies in the 1960s and her stories would make you tremble with rage. Honestly.

I do not, however, worry over moms who choose induction for convenience or anything else. It certainly doesn't leave me heartbroken. Why would I be heartbroken over any labor that ends in a healthy, living baby and a healthy mom? (I don't happen to believe that fetuses have agency, or that how we come into this world "marks us for life" or impacts our personality in any way). But the backlash against pregnancy and childbirth as an over-medicalized process is to a large extent deserved. I think there is much truth to CJane's claim that we (and doctors) should have more trust in our bodies to do what they were made to do, and there are many interventions that would be best used sparingly...

Morgan Lee said...

cont'd...

That said, I think I get why Heather says simply trusting our bodies to do what they're supposed to do is ignorance. The fact is, our bodies fail us ALL THE TIME. Hearts that are supposed to beat, don't. Lungs that are supposed to breathe, can't. Placentas that are not supposed to detach from the uterus until after the baby is delivered, do it before (this is catastrophic). Placentas plant themselves over the cervix. Babies are breech at 42 weeks. Healthy women who have birthed uneventfully in the past inexplicably start hemorrhaging after a subsequent birth (my BF).

These are relatively unusual occurrences and I am sure CJane would not scorn a person who accepted medical care for any of those situations. But unfortunately a huge number of women DO exhibit that scorn and then justify it with mantras like “Trust your body” and “Trust birth.” They are all over the online motherhood/birth communities, and I have encountered a couple of them in real life. They are ideologically opposed to medical interventions, even for high risk mothers. I am talking about women who say things like, "If a baby can't survive a vaginal birth, he wasn't meant to live" and "I was more emotionally traumatized when I had a c-section that resulted in a healthy baby than I was when my second baby died during home birth" (true sentiments expressed by an actual woman).

Trusting your body to be miraculous, even in dire circumstances is foolish. Likewise with the pathological romanticizing of what childbirth was like in the past.

Let me be clear, I do *not* think CJane is one of those women (crazyballs), but their way of thinking is becoming more prevalent. Their birthing ideologies are so far across the line of reason that they have morphed into fanaticism. The "trust our bodies" rhetoric can be taken to some seriously frightening lengths. To me, suggesting that if a woman's body requires interventions to achieve a healthy baby, that the baby was not meant to be, is the same thing as those fringe religious groups who won't seek life-saving medical care, even for their children, because they think God will just wave a hand and make the sickness go away. Rather than considering that maybe the doctors are agents of God, people inspired to heal us when we are ill, they believe God heals people with magic tricks. That kind of scary nonsense *is* ignorant, and SOME of the people imploring women to trust their bodies are of that same ilk. Unfortunately.

pretty said...

Quite a few controversial statements in that post, but as someone who has never given birth or had medical training, I will leave that aspect to the others.

I do feel a bit more qualified, however, to point out the repeated typo/error confusion of 'its/it's' in this post. Maybe have a quick brush over on them if you're going to be writing your life story?
http://garyes.stormloader.com/its.html

Angela said...

@ Emily

What you described is exactly what happened to me. Elective induction (persuaded by my doctor) turned c-section. It was extremely traumatic and still fresh in my mind two months later.

I felt like a failure that I didn't just stick out the 41st week and wait for natural labor. I felt like a failure for choosing an epidural. I felt like a failure for getting to 9 cm and then staying there for hours and hours until I had to have a c-section after 26 hours of labor. I felt like a failure because breastfeeding was so insanely painful and difficult. I beat the crap out of myself for the decisions I made and it was getting in the way of me being able to take care of my son. If I kept dwelling on the maybe that you mention, I probably would have killed myself.

I'm starting to move on and forgive myself--after all, my son and I are both healthy and with a will of steel and lots of pain, I'm finally in a good place with breastfeeding.

But your comment really hurt me and scares me. I feel judgement in that HUGE difference you mention, when I cast myself in that third category. It makes me feel like a failure all over again.

@ cjane

I don't mean to start an argument or anything in your comments so please don't delete this. I love reading your blog and I LOVE that you have opened up comments again. I just wanted to share my experience, which is vastly different from many of the women who posted, and hopefully inspire empathy rather than judgement.

Plus I'm breastfeeding my first, who is only 2 months old, and I might be a little hormonal. Maybe. And sleep deprived. Definitely.

Kim said...

I have dear friends who are labor and delivery nurses and they have horror stories of women who were so focused on the perfect birth that they denied medical intervention to save their babies' lives. I definitely understand that having a birth story you are comfortable with is important, but it is most definitely not the most important thing. The most important thing is doing everything you can to bring home a live baby.

And as far as agency goes...I disagree that induction takes away agency for a newborn. Going into labor is a mechanical and chemical process, not something a baby gets to decide on. I firmly believe that a sovereign God knows when and how a baby is going to be born, regardless of our medical technology. But he also allows us to use the medical technology for good.

I love that you have had three successful births! I love that Erin was delivered by her daddy. And I absolutely agree that induction shouldn't be our first choice with women. It's hard on bodies and the rate of c-sections is much higher in cases of induction. But I guess I also think that I'd rather be wholly unsatisfied with my birth story if I still had my baby and my health when it was over.

Stephanie @ dial m for minky said...

For the record my first was breech and jacknifed both I us wouldn't be here if it werent for C-sections. And his baby brother wouldn't be either. For me, my c-section was the hand of God. That knowledge, those doctors did Gods work assisting my sweet boy into this earth. And let me
Tell you that section SUCKED. Long recovery. Ugh.

That being said these are COURTNEY's memoirs. No one else. Not a missive on birthing practices. Her memoirs. And she can write whatever she like.

Holly said...

That's funny, inductions make you sad, they make me glad!!!! :)

(Though, I think a lot of women are being induced before their bodies are ready resulting in c-sections. I have called a c-section every time when I hear the details of how friends' pregnancies were developing at the end, and hearing they would be induced.)

Yikes! @Janie - "having done both, being overdue is never, ever as bad as being induced" I'm hoping you just meant personally. My sister was induced with five children and she didn't have epidurals, and they were fast, easy labors.

I have 10 lb + babies, and I'm pretty sure being overdue vs. being induced would have been pretty miserable...

I went into labor a week early with my first. Water broke, labor moving along nicely, then it stopped. They gave me pit. finally. Thank goodness. Anyway, he had shoulder dystocia. He was blue, I never heard him cry, they had to rush him away. The nurses told me later how very lucky I was, they had seen similar births that didn't result in the same way.

My body makes extra large babies, and doctors and myself wanted to reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia again. So with my other two I was induced a week early.

Honestly, I walk around with contractions for a month, I feel like my babies are ready to come, they just need a bit of help. Every time they have hooked me up when I go in to be induced, they come back in after monitoring me, and say, "You're already having regular contractions!" I look at them, "no kidding?" (I wish there were a sarcastic font, I really do...)

My 2nd - Pitocin, great labor. Especially compared to the first.

My 3rd - They put that pill thing in me the night before, and that was all I needed to get my body moving, so I didn't even need pitocin. My body just needed a little boost.

To say never ever are inductions better than being overdue? A little strong.

I wouldn't have liked my 10 pound babies to be 12 pound babies! I mean 10 lb. + babies do enough damage on my body during labor already... broken tail bone and more!

So, with my next, if they haven't come and it's a week before my due date, I will be singing my praises to being induced!! Hallelujah!!

I love Erin's birth story. It is absolutely beautiful, I would love that to be one of my stories. After the experience with my first, and the damage big babies make on body, I just could never risk it. But, how totally wonderful that you were able to have that experience!!

I feel like this is one of those topics that create such strong feelings like the stay at home mom vs. working mom, and I just don't get why. I mean we should all be celebrating that we have a choice, not telling each other which choice is better, even though we all have our preferences.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

(Not that I ever would - gross!)

BMarie said...

Your mother being induced isn't as dark as it may seem-- God knew when you would be born. You were born the day God intended you to be. Induction was just the means.

God bless.

Kelley and Chris said...

How rude Courtney! You post your opinions on your blog and open up your words for comment/praise/criticism. I agree with Heather. If I had trusted my body to do what it is supposed to do, my son would be dead. Thank God my Dr. induced me at 36 weeks. I already have the ashes of one son on my nightstand in an engraved urn. I have those ashes because my body didn't do what it was supposed to do. I pray your sweet girls NEVER have issues like me, but if they do (heaven forbid) I certainly hope they are smart enough to let Dr.s take over when trusting nature doesn't work.

Raevan Blake said...

I have to wonder if alot of people just skimmed over the part where she said she wasn't talking about high risk situations? If you are high risk like I am, then we can assume she is NOT talking about us:)

Janie said...

Oh Cjane.... you know what I don't know... how do you do this? How nice it is when women get offended and they resort to making fun of your life story... really? 0 for 2? I didn't know life stories were only valid when it was exactly what everyone wanted to hear...

I think the beauty of your writing is that if your story was to remain childless or adopt or birth in the ocean - it would be a great thing because it would have your spirit.

I don't know what deserves more kudos, ditching the book and writing your memoirs on you blog or leaving the comments open.

You prefaced your opinion well in this post but still the uber-defensiveness wins out in the comments. And sadly they show me that women have been taught to be afraid of their bodies. And more trust lies with doctors than intuition. How many doctors see truly undisturbed births? not many. Its not consent when they make you scared to say no - and there is always the "baby's health" to consider and doctors get to play that card everyday.

Our csection rate is well over double what it should be, so defensive or not that means one out of every two sections did not need to be.

Our pitocin usage is estimated at 80% by some. Even when women are not induced they are put on pit frequently. And when that stresses the baby... ta-da csection

I honestly think women do deserve COMPLETE agency in childbirth choices. I stand behind the first time mom who wants an elective csection just as much as the one who wants to do it unassisted. I just think both should be educated. And most of the time it seems the ones putting 100% faith in the doctors are not fully educated about birth. You can tell that just by some of the comments here.

Epidurals have risks. Pitocin has risks. Csections have tons of risks. We are more likely to die in childbirth than our mothers were! (there is a reason many of us are abandoning the hospital... and its not to get the natural childbirth medal or to look down upon your birth)

Mothers died frequently in our pioneer past mainly from poor nutrition and infection. Making those claims today is not a banner saying see, see here women's bodies are incompetent they always have been because that is just not true.

And why I think being induced is worse than being overdue: the baby's sake. Barring any medical concern (like the blood thinner issue not "big baby" card)there are two reasons:

The trigger for labor comes from the baby's body. There is a removal of agency for that baby when chemicals are introduced instead of the natural process that should occur.

And the methods for induction that OB's turn to are much harsher than the methods of midwifery. Often causing a cascade of intervention. And a more painful birth. That was the case for me.


One last thought... about your birth being embellished by your mother in childhood.... yes sigh.

I have a hard time telling my induced baby's birth stories without embellishment - its hard to say well the doctor said "monday is it" we got a time on a schedule and they forced my water to break I was in agony, I was cut, you were born. And you were almost 2 lbs smaller than their estimate... and then you had severe jaundice for three weeks because you weren't ready to be earthside. I can't go there hardly without tears so I embellish and maybe one day I'll tell how I view it truly and teach her about the power in a woman's body and maybe her births will be different.

VS. my natural birth where I waited anxiously for labor - it came your dad coached me and the midwife massaged my back and you came out almost 10 lbs, no one cut me and you were so alert because there wasn't a single drug in my body or yours, you got ALL your cord blood and you never had a speck of jaundice.

ALL births are a enormous spiritual event I don't think anyone especially Cjane is arguing that - some are just mucked with when they should be left to blossom.

CharlieM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CharlieM said...

CJane, I'm so disappointed. Could you sound any more arrogant and self congratulatory? I don't know if it was your intention to offend a large portion of your readers, but mission accomplished. For the record, I *used* to have similar views to yours regarding inducement. When I was pregnant with my first I was sure that I was going au naturale- no drugs, no pitocin. You know, all that stuff you've been preaching from atop your soap box. Being my first, I wanted to deliver in a hospital, but that was as much intervention as I desired. My due date came and went. My OB pressured me to be induced. He warned me that going more than 2 weeks past my due date increased the risk of placental abruption, meconium poisoning, etc. I refused, thinking that the Lord had his own plan for my little one. In my naive innocence, I was sure my faith and the faith of my congregation (my husband is a Youth Pastor) qualified us for as many miracles as we would ever need. I had heard horror stories like the ones you portrayed regarding an induced labor. I didn't want to take away the agency of my dear baby. 2 weeks and 6 days after my due date, despite the pressure and the constant nagging of my OB, I was still holding firm to my ideals. However, when I awoke in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, I knew something was wrong with the baby. I was rushed to the hospital where I was checked, and told that the baby had no heartbeat. I delivered a beautiful, red-haired angel of a girl. I named her Mary, after my grandmother who also had red hair, and then a few days later I laid her to rest in a family plot. The official cause of death was never determined, but as she was born with a great deal of meconium, it was assumed that she must have been poisoned. Nothing could have saved her, except to have followed my doctor's earlier advice to induce. To this day, 5 years later, I am haunted by thoughts of "what if."
Incidentally, number two and number three were delivered via induced labor safely. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, it was totally worth it.
I truly wish that instead of preaching your own often ignorant and dangerous beliefs as the "one true way," that you would open your mind and write for a broader audience. Furthermore, I hope that if you ever become pregnant again in the future, that you won't gamble with the life of your child. If a medical professional suggests that inducement is your best-case-scenario, it probably is, whether or not you think you know better. The fact of the matter is, you are in no position to be giving women advice about their bodies or their babies, seeing as you are neither a trained therapist, midwife, nor a medical professional.

Jennifer Bowman said...

I LOVED this for so many reasons!

I have had 3 kids. With my first baby I was induced (not by my choice but rather forced upon by my doctor at that time) I really did not want to go that route but felt pressured into it as a first time Mom I decided "dr knew best" It was a long gruelly birth in which I had an epidural. I of course was over the moon to have my beautiful daughter but felt a bit saddened at my doctors seemingly need to control the situation and my inability to know better or stand up for myself at the time.

My 2nd I decided I would not be pushed around anymore, switched doctors and had a drug free, fast wonderful life changing labor.

My 3rd I went into labor but things were just not moving along and he was having trouble so I was given pitocin. Still I was able to have him naturally and he was by far my fastest labor and delivery!

Now I am not taking away anything from my birthing experience that first made me a mother. However the following two births of my sons I left feeling so empowered realizing I was made to do this, born to do this and my body knew what to do on it's own!

It was a life changing thing for me. I will teach and always let my daughters know the beautiful side to child birth. The empowering wonderful amazing things our body are created to do and that it is ok to trust yourself, your body and know what is best for YOU. And of course to always always stand up for themselves!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject!

Cheryl said...

My #1 I went into labor on my own, it was 12 hours of labor. I can't say I remember every detail or much about it other than I got a beautiful, healthy baby at the end.

My #2...I was induced when I was a week overdue (the horror). It was for my convenience as well as the doctors. I was dilated to a 3 and 60% effaced. My labor lasted 5 hours and was lovely. Again a healthy, lovely baby.

My other 3 I had to have c-sections due to medical problems. And no this was not the medical profession forcing this upon me, this was the only way I would have been able to have any more children.

I consider my last 3 to be the greatest birth stories of all in spite of the c-sections. They are my little miracles and tender mercies from God because I was told I would not be able to have any more.

All of us have our own story, let's not take offense where offense wasn't intended.

Holly said...

@Janie - I agree with almost everyting you wrote - I'm not offended by cjanes great writing, or anyone's comments. we're all going to think and choose differently. But, to lump all inductions into a "bad" category just isn't so.

Even if I do play the "big baby card" my body and my spirit tell me it's the right thing to do. I mean, I'm walking around for a month with regular contractions, my babies are definitely saying, "let's get this party started!" And, when I walk into the hospital to get induced I say the exact same thing.

I prefer vaginal births, and I know if I were to go over due (which I'm pretty sure I wouldn't anyway) and a complication came in my labor, I know the Doctors would be all too quick to rush me into a c section because they already know my baby is big. Especially considering all Doctors have suggested I have C sections after my first was born, which I have politely declined. (All of my ultrasounds at the end of my pregnancies have been spot on! Pretty amazing.)

I feel extremely lucky and am very grateful that I've given birth to three HUGE, healthy babies, no C sections, and quick births. (though my nether regions don't feel that way... TMI?) I'm grateful that I can be induced with just a pill, and after my water breaks, my body says, "oh, thank you." My body just needs help moving the party along.

Saying, "never ever is an induction better" is like saying "never ever wear a sweater." Sometimes it's cold...

:)

Heather said...

Since I am the only person cjane called out I felt I should respond and maybe defend my position and in the same breath state that I love cjane and her blog. I even met her in Days Market last June with my sister,who was mortified that I just walked up to her and said hello.

Okay now my thoughts. Our wealth as a nation has given us the unique position of knowledge and increased agency. With that comes the idea that I know better then so and so or I know more then science. I am a member of the LDS faith and hold personal revelation as sacred but also equally weigh science with it. Having just spent 6 mths in the Philippines with my family, all 4 toed head kids in tow, I have a totally different perspective on this. The idea of having a home birth is mortifying. They have seen the death and pain that comes. They relish in the "modern medicine" that allows them to live. The idea of vaccinations is a God send. We put up our noses and blame them for causing autism. Meat is a blessing. Being vegan or vegetarian, unheard of.

We live in a time of unheard of modern conviences. Why we would willing and openly place ourselves in danger is beyond me. Just like the reader stated before about the home birth advocate who died after giving birth to her 2nd child at home is paramount. She had no idea she had a problem. Thats just it, you don't know until its too late. Women who birth at home take that inherent risk more then those who birth in a hospital. The risk is there for both but less in the company of doctors and a hospital. Is a c-section that horrible? If it gets both you and your baby here and alive, does it really matter?

I had 4 crash e-mergency c-sections. There were no singing angels, thinning of the veil, or sweet sounds of the babies first cry. I was asleep, but they are here and healthy and the rest is history.

Women place too much stock in how perfect their birth stories can be and then feel the huge let down when it doesn't hold up.

I believe in erring on the side of caution. That is another 2 cents. For whats it worth.

Oh I will keep reading and maybe keep my big mouth shut next time.

I am LoW said...

I went 2 weeks and 6 days past my due date also, with baby #3. Babies 1 and 2 were indused 2 weeks past due. I TOTALLY went against the doctor and held out. I am not saying others should do as I did!!!!! But I get what you are saying, CJane!!! I hear you!!!

I am LoW said...

by the way, my MIL swears that if it weren't for pictocin, she'd still be pregnant with my 45 year old husband. :)

turleybenson said...

How do you do it? How do you open yourself up to everyone's criticism? I wouldn't blame you one bit for closing comments.

Cheering you on...

Mike and Adrianne said...

What I find interesting is that you mention being ridiculed by others for your decision to wait until your body and baby were ready and yet you are ridiculing others for their decision to be induced. Really, what it comes down to is that everyone has a choice to do what they feel is right for them. I think that instead of judging someone else's choice to be induced, you should consider how you felt when people judged your choice. The amazing thing about being a human, created by God, is that we are given choices and that we are given the spirit to guide those choices. I applaud your ability to make the choice that was right for you and your family and I wish you could do the same for other women. Regardless of your personal opinion on the subject, what ought to be applauded is the fact that women have choices and that is part of being a mother--making choices with guidance from God--that allow us to do what is right for us and our families.

Janie said...

Holly you misunderstood me, I am taking about exactly what Cjane said - inductions excluding high risk situations.

from my research big babies are not high risk, watch all the you tube videos of mothers delivering babies over 10 and 11 lbs with midwives without a single tear. There are also 4th degree tears with 7 lb babies, how your nether regions fares has so many factors in play there ... being flat on your back, being told to purple push by nurses, pushing stage rushed by pit and doctors pulling babies with hands forceps or vacuums or taking a scalpel to your perinuem, etc.

The big baby fear is what drives A LOT of modern inductions. And works so easy - tell a mom the baby might be 10 lbs and she's signing on the dotted line

I share the same sentiments over my birth that cjane does, My mother was pushed into a csection because "I was too big and her pelvis was too small" how long have ob's played that one? She couldn't wait to see me in labor and said longingly "I never felt a single labor pain" with sadness in her eyes.

Your particular case might be thought out - like I said I support educated decisions. I do not support a doctor saying this baby seems big - time to induce and a mother saying "ok" because she's done being pregnant - with no research or prayer.

because you know what-- that person was me. I would have loved the perspective of natural childbirthers then - but maybe they kept their mouths shut as to not offend.

so Cjane - keep on talking girl, someone is listening. I betcha.

As far as childbirth being dangerous.... life is dangerous but beautiful and fear never helps, education does.

Morgan Lee said...

@Janie -- "And sadly they show me that women have been taught to be afraid of their bodies. And more trust lies with doctors than intuition. How many doctors see truly undisturbed births? not many. Its not consent when they make you scared to say no - and there is always the "baby's health" to consider and doctors get to play that card everyday."

I have a problem with this line of thinking and the constant reference to doctors "playing the ____ card."

Some women can birth a 10+ pound baby with no problem, and some cannot. Some babies go safely to 42 weeks, and some die when they're in utero that late. Some women's bodies go into labor without help, and others' don't.

I am not sure why you think you're in a position to decide, based on what a woman says on a message board and having no other information/understanding about her situation to go on, whose medical intervention was necessary and who was just too dumb to "trust her body."

You know nothing. And your statements are just as harmful as a doctor who bullies a woman and denies her the information and choices to which she is entitled.

If women believe (and many women who participate in these birthing communities do) that any time her doctor advises her about possible dangers to her baby that he is simply "playing a card" and trying to get to a cocktail party, our perinatal death rate is going to get worse, not better.

Paola said...

Some of this comments are hilarious! Why do women always have to take things personal and feel criticized when another person tells their experience? For some people scheduling their induction is heaven, for others using a little bit of medication is heaven and there are some to who delivering in the comfort of their home being assisted by their husband only is the ultimate heavenly experience people! Get it?

I think some people are missing the point that this is a memoir and with that you have to write down your own points of view and not what others want you to say or what is politically correct.
Thank you for staying true to who you are. I am reading this just like I would have read the hard cover version, enjoying your creativity and talent with words. Maybe that's why I love your blog so much, because you are a writer and not only a blogger. You keep going C.Jane, I can't wait for the next chapters!

Jill said...

No one ever need apologize for or feel a need to justify a birth choice or birth experience. Nor should we ever judge another on her most private circumstances. Nor should we boast about things for which we should be simply and profoundly grateful. We can, however, openly learn from each other, mourn for each other, and rejoice with each other.

Jennifer said...

Trusting our bodies is one thing but trusting our bodies along with not considering that our bodies could "fail" us isn't the smartest plan either. Our bodies fail us all the time. As we all know becoming pregnant and having a baby grow inside us is truly a mircle. But mircles dont happen everyday to everyone. I think the best advice I received was during childbirth class, which really was childbirth advice class. The birthing coach was supportive to all types of births but she said...just because you created and wrote your birth plan and plan on giving the plan to the doctors and nurses upon arrival, don't be so stuck on that plan that you dont "hear" what the doctors are saying if your birth plan doesnt go exactly as planned. In other words, have a plan but be open to what needs to be done to bring a healthy baby into the world. Yes birth is Mother Nature at its most glorius but Mother Nature sometimes goes haywire. In order to have a successful birth listening to our bodies also means accepting that our bodies sometimes need help. There is no shame in needing help. Do I think that CJane was saying home birth and drug free bith is the only way to go, No. But she has decided that is what feels the best for her and that is great. It sounds scary to me, I didnt have the courage, I felt I needed to have the medical intervention as a backup. Do I feel less than a mother, no. Do I think I failed, no. Is my child less perfect because I gave birth in a hospital with mild pot. because my body was failing and causing me to almost have a stoke. No. Everyone has their reasons for choosing the best childbirth for them....even if our bodies sometimes makes our choices for us.

john's mom said...

context (briefly): i am a mother of one who was blessed with a very easy, under five hour delivery to a small, healthy baby boy, in a hospital, but with no drugs and the coaching of a doula.

i think what is far more important than the specifics (inducement vs. not, epidural vs. not) is to understand that as the vessel bringing these human beings into the world, we can ask questions. many woman think they "must" have an induction because the doctor said so. MY doctor said she wanted to induce. i asked why, and she didn't really have a reason. when i asked if we could go into wait-and-see mode and let my son come on his own time, she shrugged (literally), said "sure!" and we waited. and he came.

that doesn't make my story the best story for anyone else, but i would suggest that ANYTIME a doctor suggests a procedure that hurries along, slows down, or otherwise alters what is fundamentally a natural process, you should ask questions. if the answers tell you in your heart that your doctor is right, then go for it. if it's an emergency and you must do something, then do.

but DON'T think that just because your doctor told you so means there is a compelling medical reason for something. be educated, be informed, and be yourself.

and blessings to all of the mommies who feel so strongly about all of this, because it shows we are so passionate about the little lives we are so responsible for.

StickyLittleFingers said...

I adore you C.Jane. There are many posts that you have written that made me feel uplifted and inspired. This one did not. I feel discouraged after reading this. I know that is not your intention. I have one child and the entire pregnancy went great. The reason I induced was simply because I wanted to. Somehow you are tying inductions and the childbirth experience into a moral issue when it isn't. We mothers are already too hard on ourselves about our parenting and making sure we are doing enough. Adding childbirth to the list of things to beat ourselves up over is not a good thing. Before I went to the hospital to willfully be inducted to have my baby, my sweet husband gave me a priesthood blessing. In it I was told that angels would be there to bear me up. Although there was not medical need to become induced, angels were present. I'm sorry you were a "bad" baby, for being induced. But my baby was induced and he is a good baby!

Seth and Peggy said...

I love this. I love how everyone got all defensive! ha ha. You did leave room for medically necessary inductions to be alright with you in your article, and I totally get that. I loved the whole thing. You have said what I have felt so much!

NestBliss said...

ick. I am usually all up for your personal stories but the language used in this felt much more sermonish at the end than anything I have read in a while - like more of a personal testimony of how you did what is right than a story about how you did something that was so right for you. Just left me feeling really ick. Obviously, it made people 'feel' and comment which is good writing though!

SLPAlex said...

I really enjoy your blog, despite some fundamental differences. I just have to say that I am surprised that you really waste energy on being mad about other people's inductions! (and perhaps I misunderstood!) I think this is one of those issues that might seem super important while your children are babies but in the scheme of things, there are far more important issues in the world. How about infant mortality in third world countries where women don't have access to medical care when they need it?

SLPAlex said...

Well, Paola, it was a memoir, but it did stray a tiny bit into the arena of judgement. Which is fine I guess...

Vanessa said...

I think I completed missed the "understand the need for inductions in high risk situations" part of this post. Now I feel a bit like a bumhead.

Holly said...

oh my word... i rarely comment on blogs, this may be why.

i think if we as women were to sit around and have this same discussion in person it would go so differently, because in comment sections, we can't read body language, and people don't feel like typing out all details, and maybe i wouldn't feel like i needed to defend that i'm an educated woman...

I know all of those things about lying flat on her back, purple pushing, being cut etc. Trust me, I thought I was educated before my first, but when he almost DIED from shoulder dystocia (even tiny babies can get shoulder dystocia, just being larger increases risk) I became a lot more educated. My labors were pretty textbook minus the pit. with my 2nd and the pill they insert the night before with my 3rd. I labored beautifully, dialated beautifully, my last one being 10lbs. 7oz. and only had to push for maybe 20 - 30 minutes. No pitocin pushing it along. Just me, and I felt it, and my tail bone felt it too... (and actually still does occassionally 2 years later...) No forceps were ever used, no cutting, no nothing. It still takes me for-ev-er to recover. FOREVER. We aren't talking weeks here we're talking months. I would go into details, but I'll spare everyone. I feel so silly typing this all out as if I need to defend my intelligence about my birthing choices and how my body handles birthing 10 pound babies. Really?

@Morgan Lee summed it up "Some women can birth a 10+ pound baby with no problem, and some cannot. Some babies go safely to 42 weeks, and some die when they're in utero that late. Some women's bodies go into labor without help, and others' don't."

I was just responding to the comment "inductions can never ever be better..." statement. Never ever is a strong statement, so I had to comment. And I did. Now I'm done. :)

Jen said...

Well. I may be in the minority here, but I don't remember my own birth, so I doubt very highly that the circumstances surrounding it (natural, induced, meds, etc.) directly impacted the person I became.

My birth was pleasant - from what I've been told - and I turned out to be a pleasant individual, but I find this to be entirely coincidental.

I'm here. You're here. We're all here. That's what matters. If you wind up with a doozy of a birth story that positively affects blog revenue and is worth telling future generations, well, that's a lovely bonus!

I love a good discussion and I love when things get a little heated, but I do not love divisiveness. Not in blog posts and not in comments.

Ohm.

L said...

I think what we are all forgetting is that each of us are beautiful and unique and the way we came into the world is the same. Every one of us is blessed to be here no matter how the circumstances. I have birthed 3 babes, one in every category you all are talking about, easy/difficult, with/without meds and even one induced but all 3 are the greatest gift I could have ever received. And I don't feel shorted in anyway by how these blessings came to me. I am just grateful they came.

Pepper said...

Just close your comments. I don't to hear any of the other LDS opinions of what they think is right or wrong. It's your memoirs we are here because we love the way you write. I love the vivid pictures I get in my head when I read your stories. I have my own opinions but I've never been so offended or disgruntel at your story so that it would make me come on here to comment and disagree on YOUR Story. The only reason people should be on here is to tell you how wonderful your writing is and to encourage you with positive thoughts. If they have strong and sensitive feeling about the inducement subject maybe they should take it to their own blog.

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

My first baby was induced - 13 days over due....the intention was just to break my waters but for the convenience of the nursing staff they decided that wanted my baby out by the shift change that night!! I was put on a drip and they cranked it up - I went from zero contractions to 2 minutes apart intense ones...I was scared, overwhelmed and I hated that it was so unnatural, forced. I wish I had the the confidence in myself and my body to stand up for what I wanted knowing that my baby would come when he was ready.

Ashley Harris said...

I think it is so weird that the only comment you replied to was Heather's - and you were so mean! And she was very logical and very nice in her comment & you were ... not so nice.

When I let my body do it's own thing - my twins came 6 weeks early. I was in labor for 47 hours and afterward I was so exhausted and had lost so much blood I was not able to see or hold my babies until 16 hours after they were born. It was horrible. HORRIBLE.

My last 2 deliveries I chose the day (based on birthdays easy to remember for a lifetime of filling out forms & convenience with my husband's work schedule) time (so I could work out childcare for my other children) and place (hospital, epidural, pitocin= thank you modern medicine!) My labors were 7 hours for child #3 and 5 hours for child #4 and were so beautiful. Serene. Perfect. Sacred.

To suggest that I took away my infants' agency is laughable. Especially because I take away my children's agency every day! If left to make all their own decisions they would have nothing but candy for every meal, watch tv constantly and never ever wear shoes.

I don't know if I have to say the prerequisite "I love you so much CJane" but I do. I love reading your blog but you're a very smart woman and much of what you wrote is offensive and you know it.

Let's do this - I'll not judge you for choosing to have your baby at home and you not judge me for choosing to induce when it was convenient. We'll just be happy for each other that our choices resulted in beautiful memories and perfectly healthy children.

Shelleycee said...

I rarely comment here, but I feel the need to say that although it is nice to believe in and trust your body, I think that I would prefer to believe in and trust God and his plan. Whether or not you have a home birth when the baby decides to come, or you have an induced birth due to medical reasons, emergency c-section, or planned c-section or even induced labor because it will "help you get back to work quicker", the truth is that GOD has set this plan into motion and he is the one who decides the time of one's birth. Even though you all think you are choosing, you are not. Enjoy your own birth stories ladies, appreciate those of others and just be happy that you have the children that God has blessed you with, no matter how they got here..

Megan said...

Courtney, I'm sure that many of these comments feel like direct attacks at you, but I think that most women just love talking about their own birthing experiences. I have often noticed that it doesn't take much coaxing (or none at all) to get a woman to share every last detail about her experience with labor, delivery, or adoption. It is simple to see why: whether receiving your baby from a birth mother's arms, induction,c-section, or without intervention, at home, in a car, or in a hospital bed; welcoming freshly baked life into this world is one of the most extraordinary things any of us will ever experience.

You are treading a new path with your writing medium, most authors write what they will and send it out into the world as an archived product. Your pieces are different, they sputter up out of you and into the world still warm and incredibly vulnerable. You are also in a strange position of not only instant, sometimes unsettled feedback hot off the cognition from your readers, but you are hearing from a crowd that often feels unheard and unrecognized. You have given them a safe place to feel heard. When women read your naked, unapologetic thoughts, they want an outlet for theirs as well. Maybe some of the commenters can't articulate it the way you can, but what you are receiving are women uncovering themselves along with you. This is a different medium, it is a different creature. I think even the angry ones are just standing up with you and being heard, unapologetic and unfiltered, like you.

You might think you are writing your memoir, but the truth is most of these women aren't reading because your life is so interesting or so much different than theirs. They are reading because your writing creates emotions in them and coaxes memories from them that hadn't bubbled to the surface for a while for inspection. That isn't meant to be insulting, what you are doing is valuable, I believe, but the reasons why may not be what you thought.. Even if they don't realize it, your work is less about the way they feel about you, and more about where it leads them, deep within themselves to dust off and inspect what they find there.

it"s me said...

I am so grateful that I didn't follow your line of thinking. Had I made that choice I would not be a live today nor would my son. I know the exact day I conceived, thus my due date, yet my doctor allowed me to go over my due date 16 days. I ended up in ISCU along with my son in the NICU and we barely came out alive. I had developed severe pre-eclamspsia and was at stroke and coma level. Had I elected to stay at home I would have had no idea as it comes on extremely quickly.
Fortunately I had an emergency c-section and tragedy was adverted.

Beth Allen said...

Women are very sensitive about their birth stories, eh?!! You are brave, Courtney. I admire you. While I agree with the fact that modern medicine does miracles for many women who can't give birth without help(I've been learning a lot about obstructive fistula via a project I am working on) I do strongly believe that inductions and c-sections/elective births are abused. There are many women who do need help, but there are also many women who just want to be in control of every aspect of the situation. Unfortunately, birth and motherhood in general, is about letting go of that control and sacrificing for what is best for your children. Of course every birth is special, but there is something to be said for natural birth. It is empowering, spiritual, and if it is safe for the mother and baby, I believe it is the better choice. Giving birth to my 4th child naturally was by far the hardest thing I've done, but it made me realize how much I am capable of.

Amy said...

Yes, women ARE very sensitive about their birth stories, medicated or 'natural', whether they breast or bottle feed, circumcise or not.

I think this is because we just want SO much to do what we feel is right for our babies.

I also found that instead of always having the support of women when my children were young I felt judged for whatever reason. Judged by the woman at the grocery store telling me I should cover my baby up more, the one who told me I had to many blankets on him/her. The looks I got while breast feeding, the looks I got while bottle feeding. How both my sisters were depressed and felt like failures when their first born NEEDED to be delivered via C-Section.

I think it all comes down to we are so PASSIONATE about our babies, wanting to do right by them and needing to have the courage to decide what is best for them in our opinion and not letting others hurt us with their beliefs.

Ideally we would all do what is best for OUR baby and respect what others are doing with theirs.

Not a slam to anyone. Just a reminder that we have to be true to ourselves, our situations and OUR babies.

Hoping this whole controversy does not sway you from continuing to write Courtney, I am so looking forward to reading your memoirs.

i'm lindsey. said...

thank you for writing, thank you for sharing, thank you for being so beautifully open about such an amazing life experience. i'm just laughing at how many people take the time to write such negative judgmental responses to you.....i'm quite sure they are the ones choosing to read :) for those of us that love your writing.....please write on sweet girl, you inspire.

jess said...

I too am obsessed with my birth story.. my mom always tells it to me on my birthday and it never gets old.. I turned 30 this year!! I loved hearing your story.. just as I love hearing all the stories you have to tell.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

All of life and each birth is a true miracle. How the birth plays out ultimately does not matter in the end. It is important to not get self-righteous, angry or judgemental of how the birthing stories play out in daily life. Ultimately it is God and not ourselves who is in control.

The Spice of Life said...

Obviously your opinion means a lot. Everyone wants you to share the same opinion as they do! I love hearing birth stories, is that odd? I love the stories about babies being born on the side of the freeway, babies being born at home, babies who come quick and easy in the hospital. I don’t have to know if you were induced, received an epidural, or if you went all natural etc. I feel the spirit just hearing/reading about the miracle of birth. Keep the comment section open.

ltk said...

I Love your writing. I agree with the other person who said it causes us readers to experience all different yes of emotions. I do think you have a very romantic vision of giving birth--and tend to over romanticize it. I loved your Erin's birth story but lets face you and Chup were banking on the odds that everything would go okay and thank god they did. I was on the edge of my seat when I read that story in part because it was so beautiful and in part because I was so nervous for you guys. But do you really think your intuition will tell you everything and will always be right? With my second son, my Dr. mildly suggested that I consider being induced because of a blip on the fetal monitor. I wasn't at all worried about the blip but agreed for entirely other reasons ((my oder son was home with a sitter that could stay over night). My baby came out swimming in meconium and needed medical intervention. My intuition told me nothing. What if people follow their intuition and things go horribly wrong--how does your theory work then? This post was a little to preachy/over romanticized(and possibly a tad bit irresponsible?!). Feeling sad for babies who are induced? What about preemies--are they determine themselves that they need to come out?
The story of how my children came into our lives and the day I met each of them of very special but it like the wedding day--it is not the part that really counts.

Chatty Natty said...

I just read this post and am sure by the number of comments that you have hit a nerve for many here. You know I love you but there are many things I strongly disagree with what you write and this is one of them. You statement "I don't want to rob my baby of the first gift of mortality: agency" is both ignorant and shallow as is your calculation that induction was the sole reason you were a horrible baby. C- perhaps your feisty personality is a better explanation.

I appreciate your opinions, choices and most of the beautiful way you can retell your life experiences. However, it's not always about trusting our bodies and God then all will work out perfect in the end. We are given a choice and with choice comes consequence - sometimes what we want and all to often what we don't want.

For the record, of four successful pregnancies I have been induced twice, gone into labor twice, had an epidural, natural birth, pitocin and no pitocin. They were all beautiful and perfect. My easiest labor was #2, induced BY CHOICE and with an epidural. It was the quickest, painless, best recovery not to mention my most calm, easy going baby/child. Therefore, I find no validity to your theory or opinion.

Just like your heart breaks when inductions are a normal procedure, other hearts break at some of the things you write. The beauty of life is we all have choice, we all have opinions and with those we can all have genuine respect for each other. Don't feel sad about others' choice because in then end it is their choice and not yours.

Smooshy said...

I very much need to point out that once a pregnancy becomes postmature, i.e 42 weeks plus, you are essentially high risk, even if you wouldn't have been classed as such during the rest of your pregnancy.

After 40 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta begins to break down. This carries big risks for both mother and baby. When a baby is born even a few days overdue, you can more often than not clearly see slight to moderate calcification of the placenta: Imagine how much worse that could be by the time you get to 42 weeks.

Your baby will be continuing to grow, with the effect that by 42 weeks the risks are now a longer, more tiring labour, a bigger baby to push out (with an already fatigued mum), the possibility that the baby just wouldn't come at all, and add to that the breaking down of the placenta, that baby is in serious danger of becoming extremely distressed and may suffer asphyxia or meconium aspiration.

At the same time, the mother is now exhausted from going weeks overdue, pushing out a larger and distressed baby, and has now got to use her energy to expel the placenta, which has begun to break down and may well not come away cleanly, running the risk of a retained placenta, infection, and PPH.

Furthermore, some women simply do not go into labour, ever. As CharlieM and others have shown, this is a real thing and it does happen, with utterly tragic consequences. So, as there may be no medical 'need' for induction, as mother and baby both appear healthy, do we just let the pregnancy continue until they'e no longer healthy and in great danger?

I compltely understand where you're coming from CJane, as any unnecessary intervention can take a labour and birth down the wrng path entirely. But, sometimes they are necessary. Not just for traditionally 'high risk' women, but for those who go overdue, or whose waters have broken without contractions starting (risk of infection), or VBACs.

I understand that this is YOUR blog and therefore a platform for YOUR thoughts and opinions. But please don't take that as an excuse to be dangerously misleading, and in some cases even offensive.

If it weren't for medical intervention, my mother and I would both be dead. The same can be said for many millions of mothers and their children. You have been incredibly lucky; please remember that you are the exception, not the rule.

Fig said...

Courtney, I got it. This was beautiful. Thanks.

CB said...

Pregnancy and birth are great equalizers ... we all kind of look the same pregnant, and the baby comes out in one of two ways ... but there are so many variations to the experience!

BUT my main question is why-oh-why wasn't dear Dr. Bradley there?! (I read Bradley everything before giving birth to my first ... <3

Leora said...

I always enjoy your blog. However, "I hope to God" neither of your daughters ever had Placenta Previa or something else that would require a medically necessary c-section. If you push your ideals on them as strongly as you do on your blog, not only will they feel like they completely failed themselves but also that they failed their mother. And there's no worse feeling.

saylorj said...

Wow Courtney. You need to get over yourself.

Melissa said...

Cjane,

I hope to God your daughters never hear, "I'm sorry. Your child has died."

Home birth and hospital birth are both very valid, equally fulfilling choices. Birthing decisions are intensely personal, and should be made based on common sense and personal revelation.

I feel for you, Heather.

Unknown said...

I'm glad that everything went well with your home birth, but I have to agree with Heather. My husband is an ER doc and has had several cases that ended tragically. We all want to put our baby's needs first. For me, that would mean being surrounded by medical professionals with all the technology that comes in a hospital environment.

Brooke said...

I get you C. Jane. Unnecessary inductions make me sad too. Most of the time, they make me sad/mad at the doctors/caregivers, not the mother. "Competent" medical professionals regularly induce for non-health related reasons. To me, it feels like manipulation. And I do NOT like being manipulated. After a very kind, but manipulating Ob/gyn induced me leading to an unneccessary c-section (and NICU time for baby, caused by the c-section), she told me I would probably never have a vaginal delivery because 1." I just couldn't go into labor on my own" (I was only 7 days late) and 2. I was just "too narrow". Two years later, I turned the tables on her and had an uncomplicated, unmedicated VBAC.

So, unless inductions are truly warranted, they too make me sad because they put the doctor in charge, when really the human physiology is what God organized to be in charge of the process.

Katie @SwimBikeQuilt said...

I am happy that your birth experiences went the way you had hoped. I think it is naive to think that everyone's bodies work the way yours does.