Monday, October 22, 2007

worries and fears

I read articles like this one, and am sad. Sad because I feel I have little choice. The article talks about giving birth in the US, and how obstetricians and hospitals often make decisions that are more out of convenience for their own sake, rather than what's best for the mother and child (such as trying to speed up labor by giving pitocin, which can bring on stronger, more painful contractions and increases the risk of needing a c-section quite a bit).

I figured being in Europe would mean I'd have as much access to a natural, hippie-type birth if I so wanted. I've always assumed that I'd want to give birth in a hospital because, well, what if something goes wrong, right? However I do want to give birth naturally. I don't want to be induced. I don't want to need a c-section. Why does it feel like, even here, when I express those desires people look at me as if I have 3 heads?

Apparently we're just in the wrong part of Switzerland for this. The German side seems to be much more progressive, with things like birthing centers and water births being much more common. But as I was told when I visited La Tour, in Geneva and the Suisse Romande they're much more old-fashioned and conservative. And so, I feel the pull-- go to the public hospital, which every local recoils at the thought of, but which seems to be much more likely to allow the kind of birth I want, or go with the fancy clinics, which yes are much prettier and everyone approves of, but where I'll likely be strapped to a bed and where medical interventions are more common?

(At least here they're still extremely pro-breastfeeding. I was shocked while talking with some local new mothers and found out that other European countries, such as France and Great Britain, are practically pro-formula. I understand that not every woman is able to breastfeed and all, but shouldn't it at least be encouraged for everyone, seeing as how it's so insanely good for both baby and mom??)

And so, this is what scares me the most about giving birth-- that I won't be in control. That I'll be there at the hospital, and I'll be told that x or y needs to be done, and that I won't be able to speak up b/c I know how I am in those situations-- I defer to authority, even if I don't like it. And the language barrier may not help, either. And maybe things aren't progressing well so I'll need something to "speed things up." Which will cause worse contractions, meaning going with an epidural. Which can then slow things up again, and before you know it I'm in an operating room, getting cut open.

And maybe that's not so bad as long as I have my healthy baby boy at the end of it. But are those things really necessary? Doesn't Mother Nature kinda know what she's doing? It reminds me of the whole formula vs breastmilk history-- how formula came out and people assumed that, b/c it was made by scientists, we must have improved on nature's plan, right? And yet we had not. And maybe we think all these things are improvements when they're not. That maybe we should just leave things be, intervening only when truly necessary.

EDIT: Here's another article, listing the increased rate of c-sections as one factor in the increased rate of women in the US who're dying from childbirth. Lovely.

1 comment:

  1. i think your fears are totally valid. im not sure if you have looked into this already but there is a midwife clinic on the street by my work, maybe its possible to take one of them with you to the public hospital?
    or have you looked into the possibility of giving birth in France? since you are so close, and the insurance isnt a swiss one maybe that would be possible? i know the hospital in our town is actually quite large (otherwise there is always Annecy which is only 30 minutes by car) and everyone I've talked to who has given birth in France has loved the experience. (and since the birth rate is so high here they have lots of practice!)



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