Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Good Thing Gone Bad

I don't follow this blog on a regular basis, but I saw the link on Facebook and had to share.

What happens when a homebirth midwife turns out to be.... a bad care provider? It doesn't happen often, and when it does, it's so very disappointing. You can read this mama's story here:

Confessions of a Mom Who Birthed With a Harmful Midwife, Part I and Part II.

It's interesting how she saw warning signs of what was to come, for example:

"I was suddenly flooded with memories of my midwife and her assistant telling me about other women whose births they had just attended. Some they would describe as beautiful, but others they would roll their eyes at and even laugh while telling me about the noises they made, or the way they acted. 

"I hadn’t liked it at the time, but it was near the end of my pregnancy and I still really liked my midwife, and I had always assumed she was telling me these stories as a peer, being a doula.  Now I wondered what mean things they would say about me and what a bad birther I was, too."
And some of the quotes from this story are just plain shocking:

"I heard voices from the other room and began straining to hear. Even in labor, I was being nosey. I heard Cari ask if she should (or could) come in to see me, but it’s what I heard next that shattered any confidence I may have had. My midwife who had only been with me through a handful of contractions, most of which were with her hand inside me causing me more extreme pain, angrily retaliated, “This is just ridiculous, I’m not going to coddle her through every contraction!”
"There was no attempting to maintain dignity. There was no desire to impress her, or anyone else. I screamed and I begged her to stop. I tried to wiggle away and may have even tried to kick her. It was torture. I have no other word to describe it. I begged her to stop, to get out of my body and she refused, saying it was for my own good."
It's good to remember that just because someone has a title that we like ("homebirth midwife," "doctor," etc.), that doesn't mean that the person is going to act like our stereotyped beliefs of how a person of that title should act. We need to keep our ears and eyes open when choosing care providers!

I have only personally heard two traumatic birth stories that concerned bad care provider behavior or care. The first was a woman whose midwife missed signs of preterm labor, the birth ending in a preterm-birth turned crash cesarean, and the mother ended up with postpartum psychosis after the ordeal. The second birth was a homebirth in which the midwife would not budge on her strict protocols and various other details, making the birth a traumatic experience. Thankfully, stories like these are extremely rare! I am so happy that we have an awesome community of hoembirth and hospital midwives here in Arizona who make good birth experiences widely available to both homebirthing and hospital-birthing women.

Thoughts, anyone?

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