You are sitting at your favorite in-door play area with your little one, talking to another mother who frequents the spot. She just had a baby and you are super excited to hear about the birth. She begins to tell you that at her 38 week check-up her OB said the baby was measuring big (oh boy, here we go), and so an induction was scheduled. Of course she remarks on how the doctor said it was safe and she was full term, so she agreed. By this time you've kept that smile on your face, but are feeling you could easily continue this story for her. She goes on.
At 6am (why are those things scheduled so damn early in the morning), she arrives at the hospital, does the paperwork, changes into the gown, blood work, yada, yada, yada the doctor comes in at 9am. Wait, why did she have to come in a 6am? Oh well, you keep nodding. The doctor decides because she a multip (she tells you admitting she didn't know what the hell a multip meant, but didn't ask either) and already dilated to 2cm that he would break the water and start a low dose pitocin drip. You nod at her, but your heart drops inside.
So she talks about how as soon as that pitocin was put in she is deep pain. She kept wanting to get up, but the nurse kept telling her no. She says the nurse said the best thing to do was to get the epidural, but she would have to wait until she was 4-5cm. Of course, she thought that was pure torture, but she made it. She got the epidural and everything was copasetic. She tells you how she was playing cards with her husband, chatting on the phone, and it was hard to believe she was actually in labor, because with her first baby, she didn't get the epidural until she was 8cm. Wait, why did she get the epidural at 8cm? Never mind that's a whole different story.
So, by now it's 7pm and she has been stuck at 7cm. You nod, ready for what you've known was coming. Yes, you guessed it. Decels! The doctor tells her that he will give it one more hour. Wow, a whole hour really? And by now your friend is getting really scared. She says she didn't know what to do, but understood that the doctor knew what he talking about and decided to try and relax and pray.
So the prayers worked because in an hour, she became fully dilated. You perk up again, happy to hear that she wasn't sectioned! But wait, baby is hasn't moved down the birth canal. Oh, yeah, she's been laying her back this whole time. So after 2+ hours of pushing it's c-section time because after all, that is a big baby in there.
So you ask. How big was she? When the mother tells you 7lbs 8oz you force a smile and say she is so precious, because, what else can you say?
So you ask your friend how she feels and she says good. She is just happy the baby is healthy, and nothing bad went wrong. She completely understands that those things happen, and that's why she chose to birth in the hospital with a doctor in the first place.
When you re-tell her story to your group of natural birthing advocates, the first thing you say is, How do I tell her that her c-section was unnecessary? And therein lies the conundrum. You don't, because quite frankly, did she ask you? Telling her that is tantamount to telling her that her choices were wrong. She doesn't feel that way and it certainly isn't anyone's place to try and convince her otherwise.
Almost everyday I read something like this from one of my colleagues and associates and I am frustrated on two levels. I am frustrated for the women who got put through a system that doesn't always have the best of interest of her or her child in mind; and I am also frustrated by the advocates that seem to forget that it's not about changing a person's mind. It's about educating women, giving them all the facts so that they can make the best choice for them and on a bigger level it's about bringing change to that system.
I would ask myself if I were the woman listening to the mother's birth story; Did I offer up information, advice, resources to this woman while she was pregnant? Did I talk to her then and really listen to her? If you did, in the end, that's all you can do. It's her choice. If a woman makes a choice to be induced, knowing the dangers of induction, it's still her choice. Just as it the woman who chooses not to be induced, or to have a home birth or an unassisted birth. Are we really advocating for choices, or just the choices we would make?