Assisted Reproduction

Mamas on Bedrest: Don’t Miss the Boat! There is no shame in “Assisted” Childbirth

November 14th, 2011

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A man was advised to leave his home as a storm was coming and everyone was to evacuate. He refused, but as the storm swelled, he found himself trapped. In an effort to “go above the rising waters”, he climbed up on his roof and begged God to help him. Not long after, a boat came by. The driver told the man to climb in and he’d take him to safety. The man refused saying, “God is going to save me.” The man in the boat continued on. After another couple of hours with the water reaching the eaves of his roof, the man again pleaded, “God, Please Save Me!” Then Emergency rescue personnel arrived and offered to help the man down and take him to safety. Again, he refused stating, “God is going to save me.” Shortly thereafter, the man perished. When he arrived in heaven, he asked God, “God, I begged and pleaded for you to save me. Why didn’t you?” God replied, “I sent you a man in a boat and a rescue squad, what more did you want?”

As humans, we often question and wonder why things happen the way that they do. When I was struggling to have my children, I often cried out to God, “Why can’t I have my children normally like every one else?” Normal is a very relative term.

There is a movement within the birth world to “return birth to its natural state”. I’m all for that. But not all women are going to be able to have the picture perfect pregnancy and birth. Some of us will require medication to become pregnant. Some of us, like me, will require medication (progesterone in my case) to remain pregnant. Others will require assistance to deliver their children. For example, my sister was a preemie born at 6 1/2 months. When she was having her children, she never went into labor. Her obstetrician “learned” (and I have no idea how they figured this out) that she did not receive the “signals” from her babies that would initiate labor. They summized that due to the fact that she was born early certain systems didn’t develop. (She was also born without a common Bile duct, so when she had her gall bladder out, they had to “reconstruct” one for her!) No matter what the reason, she has two healthy grown men now, thanks to “God’s provision” in the form of obstetrical care.

Sometimes life just doesn’t go as planned.  I am so thankful that there are skilled physicians because without them, I would not have my children. While I wonder about the effects of bed rest on a mama’s body, I also know that in certain cases, it is the one thing standing between life and death for both mother and baby. We do far too many cesarean sections in this (United States) country, yet, had I even tried to deliver my daughter, she likely would not have survived, I likely would have hemorrhaged to death and my son wouldn’t exist either. Three people now live and are able to bless this world because there are skilled physicians who intervened on our behalf. They were blessed with skills. We are blessed with life.

Recently I posted a message about classes that I am offering for mamas on bed rest. I got this response from a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife):

I don’t believe in bedrest, so none of my clients would be on it. I believe it only prolongs the inevitable. Barring an incompetent cx, if the baby is healthy, it will stay in until its ready, if its not, might as well let nature take its course and get it over with.

Wow. That’s all that I can say. According to this woman, nature will always work and when it doesn’t, we should just let it go. I am here to say that I wholeheartedly disagree!! For me, the difference between having two healthy children and losing two pregnancies was progesterone. The difference between hemorrhaging to death and surviving were the skillful hands of my obstetrician who was able to manage my bleeding so that I live today! The difference between many women having children and not is the skills and care that many obstetricians and reproductive endocrinologists provide for them. So now it is wrong, somehow “unnatural” for those of us who need that assistance to forgo it, demanding instead “God’s provision in the form of a “natural” pregnancy and birth?

Every one is entitled to their opinion and this CPM is certainly entitled to hers. But I want to reach out to Mamas on Bedrest and to mamas who may not be on bed rest, but needed “a little help” to conceive or to deliver. There is no shame in assisted reproduction or in assisted childbirth! I am sure that like me, many of you prayed long and hard for your children. Are we now to refute them or the methods used to get them here? Of course not!

This woman’s words struck a cord in me because I have had many people comment that I am helping or encouraging women to go against nature. I totally disagree! I believe that if there is a path to your heart’s desire that is legal and effective, Take it! If I can help a woman to have a healthy child by supporting her through the tough patches, then I am going to do it. I see this as no different than helping families with children with special needs or helping a person with an illness manage it so that they can live a quality life. I know that I am speaking to the choir here, but for those of you feeling “less than” because you did not conceive naturally or deliver vaginally, look at it this way,

At least you didn’t miss the boat!!

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