Saturday, October 27, 2012

Laboring under misconceptions

Have you seen this going around on Facebook yet? I saw it the other day, and it really ticked me off:

"Can I labor over there?
Can I labor on the chair?
No! No labor over there!
Don’t labor on the chair!
Sit there, sit there, you will see,
You must labor with this IV!
I do not like this sharp IV!
I need to move, to dance, to pee!
...Doctor, Doctor, let me be;
Say, get your pesky hands off me!
No! You can’t move, or dance, or pee!
You must labor with this IV!
Not over there, not on the chair,
Not with the ball, you’ll have a fall!
Can I labor with a doula?
Can I use some calendula?
Can I labor on hands and knees?
Can I birth just how I please?
No! Not with a doula!
No – what’s calendula?
Lay back, lay back, count to ten,
Breathe – he he hoo – push again!
No thank you, doctors, nurse, and crew,
I’ll go and labor without you.
I’ll labor here, I’ll labor there!
In the shower – everywhere!
I’ll labor standing, squatting, sitting
I’ll labor on my couch while knitting!
I’ll have a doula –I’ll have three!
They’ll let me eat and bring me tea.
Try them! Try them! You will see!
You can go shove that darn IV."
- author unknown
This is in no way representative of my three birth experiences in a hospital, or of the stories submitted here, and it irks me that this is being passed around as what typically happens at a hospital. (I'm not saying that it never does, but I have yet to have a woman relate an experience like this to me that happened more recently than the 1970s.)

The part that struck me as funny about this is that I specifically did all of those things in my last labor, with Natalie -- I asked for a birth ball, and they brought me one promptly.  I asked to be in the shower, and they happily unhooked my IV (I was GBS-positive) so I could go stand in there as long as I liked. I didn't have a doula, because I didn't want or need one, but I had one at my first birth, and everyone was very welcoming of her. I don't recall sitting in a chair, but I DO recall doing some bellydancing-type hip circles quite a lot. I pushed when and how I wanted, in the position I wanted. And yes, I most certainly peed. (Good lord, where is this hospital that doesn't let laboring women PEE, for crying out loud?)

If you are passing around this sort of thing, please call and find out what your local hospital actually DOES. If they are not allowing laboring women out of bed, and most particularly if they are not letting them even PEE, then take it up with them -- please. You have my blessing. Heck, drop me a line, and I'll write them a letter, too.

But please be aware that hospitals that have these sorts of policies are the tiny, tiny minority nowadays in the U.S., and you are in great likelihood spreading misinformation in the name of "educating" women.