Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It goes around, it comes around

I've always held the belief that there are very few quick fixes, and even something as simple as taking cold medicine comes at a price. One of my friends told me, many MANY years ago, that while cold medicine does offer some relief, you're really just pushing the symptoms off rather than allowing your body to work through the virus naturally.

Another typical example of payback might be the hangover. Drink too much? You wake up feeling like crap.

Sometimes you're trading one problem for another. My husband suffers from allergy-induced respiratory issues. He is feeling the effects of the great outdoors right now and was debating whether to take Benadryl before bed. If he takes it, he wakes up feeling fuzzy for awhile. Fortunately, he rides the bus to work. If he doesn't take it, he wakes up stuffy.

Obviously, there has to be a cost-benefit assessment with every choice made. It wasn't too long ago that they made it acceptable for drug companies to advertise on television. It is exciting to watch--they talk about this wonderful fix-all-better pill for 10 seconds and spend the rest of the time talking about the side effects. Your acid-reducer is going to give you diarrhea and make you anemic? Oh boy!

My favorite (or least favorite) example of the perceived fix-all-better is the epidural in childbirth. I don't understand how it can be painted as so easy. Even when the laboring mother first gets it...I've never had one so I don't know, but from what I've heard, it sounds like a pretty awful experience just to get it in there. Cost-benefit, as painted by the medical professionals: it is uncomfortable, but once you have it placed, you get to just sit there and wait to push your baby out. And if you have to have a C-section, oh well, that's pretty routine anyway. The hospital where I had my boys had something like a 50% C-section rate. Granted, some mothers go there specifically because they are higher risk, and I suppose that some of those high-risk cases result in C-section more often.

I have heard a few different stories over the past few weeks. One was an older woman marvelling at how easy it seemed to be, her daughter's birth experience with epidural, and how wonderful it was. She said she couldn't believe that people would choose any other way; I told her that I had done it without the drugs and it was perfectly fine, and the epidurals can cause more problems than they solve, so I was glad that her daughter didn't experience any issues. Another was reading a friend's horrible birth story, where she was stripped of her dignity the moment she entered the hospital, coerced into getting an epidural, and ended up with a C-section. Yes, she ended up with a healthy little nursling at the end of the whole ordeal (including an infected incision).

Why, though, are mothers treated so poorly? Why are we expected to lie there and have someone "deliver" our babies?

Why don't we take some initiative and THINK about the choices that we make? For every action, there is a reaction. For every pill, a side effect. For every caffeine jolt, there is a crash. And let's not get started on the foods that we eat. Sometimes, a headache caused by dehydration should be cured with water, not medication.

Sometimes, medication is the thing that does the trick...but beware the side effects.

I'm a cancer mom--I'm very aware of side effects.

What Happens During An Epidural

Informed Parenting on Canada's rising infant mortality rates


Elana said...

It's almost for this exact reason why I'm going to be delivering with midwives at a different hospital than where I delivered the twins. Sure, something horrific could happen again and result in another completely necessary C-Section, but I want to be treated like a "normal" person. Plus, I want someone who is supportive of natural childbirth...laboring in water...birthing in all sorts of positions, etc. My OB is certainly none of those things. I love her dearly for taking good care of me during pregnancy, but this baby will be birthed out of her reach. I hope she doesn't take offense, but I really don't have another choice. I'll blame it on the fact that her hospital doesn't have tubs. :-)

Jennifer said...

I chose to get an epidural 2 weeks ago with my little man (well 9lbs 6oz man). I had major blood pressure issues (very low). Now I keep wondering if they were due to the epidural and should I have not gotten one. He ended up being face up (posterior) which caused me to push for almost 2 hours. Then I wonder if it would have been that much harder without the epidural or would it have been less pushing. I don't know. I had an epi with my DD, but it didn't work all the way. I didn't have any blood pressure issues then and only pushed 45 min with her (my first) and she was only 6oz smaller. Of course she was facing down.

I may have some questions for the OB at my follow-up.

A friend had her baby the same day and her birth story was so beautiful (all natural, in and out of the tub, etc). I wasn't even allowed to get up because my water broke.

Christine said...

I didnt have an epi with either of mine, for the record, they were 9pounds 4 ounces and 10 pounds. However I did have a shot of neubaine during labor. That being said, the epi scared the crap out of me...I heard so many horror stories.. This time around (we are pregnant again) I am going to try and just go fully natural, no drugs at all..

I do think that the epi is almost the go to thing now. In child birthing classes I think there was hardly one other mom who even intended to try without. I have nothing against a woman getting an epi...but I mean give it a go beforehand... JMO