Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Monday, March 21, 2011

Something's Gotta Give

Ok, bear with me here. I was watching Pregnant in America last night, so obviously the ridiculously high cesarean rate was brought back to the front of my mind....ok, so it never really left, but now it is in the blogging portion of my mind.

So, it got me thinking, for the umpteenth time, about why this is. Well, truth be told, we know why this is.  One in three women absolutely do not need to have their babies via cesarean.  The neonatal mortality rate proves that we aren't saving babies here.  So, why so many cesareans? And how do doctors sell women on this when it is not--in a lot of cases--truly the safest for mom and baby? Obviously, on the doctors' side of the issue there are things like convenience and liability concerns.  Why go in on a Saturday to deliver a baby when you could spend that time with family? And our society is so litigious I understand why doctors have a CYA attitude sometimes. But has it gotten to the point that creating a good defense in a malpractice suit is worth more than the cost of a mother's or her baby's life?  Because, y'all, that is what's at stake here.  Sure, the risk of an amniotic fluid embolus resulting from an induction may be small, but so is the risk of uterine rupture (especially catastrophic uterine rupture)--and doctors are often quick to sell induction while being more reluctant to attend VBACs (again, speaking in generalities here.  I, of course,  know there are exceptions to the rule).  Then, on the mom's side you have a trained professional, upon whom we are taught to rely from childhood, telling you that you can schedule a day to meet your long anticipated arrival with relatively low risks--what they don't mention is that there is about a 50% chance that you will end up in the OR if you go that route.  But no matter to them, they can perform a cesarean relatively quickly and they have ultimate control in that situation.  No long laboring mothers or babies with a surprise presentation.  And, for the mother, no one will blame you if you make a choice that, even if people don't acknowledge it, endangers your baby's life and the baby ends up passing away.  I think they mentioned this in the documentary--when you choose to birth at a hospital, no one is going to place blame or responsibility for a tragedy on you.  It is assumed you made the safest choice by choosing the hospital even if you consented to procedures that have a proven risk of danger to your or your baby's health.

So, what's really going on here?  And how do we fix this?  I am doing the best I can sharing my story as openly as I can, to the point of annoyance to some, I'm sure.  But what is it going to take to get the birthing machine back on track?  This is such a complex issue with, I think, money at the root of it all.  And as long as financial concerns outweigh human ones, I'm not sure things will change.  Please remember that hospitals are businesses, people.  Sure they help people out, but in the end they have a bottom line.  And we the patients are consumers.  We can effect change by demanding it with our dollars, but enough of us have to care.  And as long as we accept our doctors' words as gospel, unfortunately, I don't think our cesarean rate will be dropping.  I can only hope it doesn't continue to climb. Because, women, listen.....this issue is not only affecting us.  It will affect our daughters, and our daughters' daughters, and our daughters' daughters' daughters.  And that's the truth.

Ugh, this was a little heavy even for me.  I'll try to be funny again tomorrow or later this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment