I recently attended a birth that was strongly desired to take place at a local birth center. In an effort to preserve the emotions we encountered, I'm not going to give away the ending (although I'm sure you can gather a bit from the title;-) I am of the opinion that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" in regards to fertility and birth. I firmly believe that when birth takes place at a hospital, the staff is so "on the alert" looking for problems that unnecessary interventions occur far too often resulting in more harm that benefit to both the mother and the baby. Many movies and books are dedicated to the cause of raising awareness of the way technology has been and is being misused to help inform women and couples of their real options (as they are sometimes lead to believe they have none). This story is a bit different. We (who were in attendance at this birth) are very much against unnecessary intervention...that's what drives me to do what I do as a doula and to continue studying to become a midwife. But sometimes, as you will read, there are situations that need and will benefit greatly from certain interventions. There is a proper time and place for the use of technology and medical intervention, but a woman or couple who is to going give birth should be well educated in all the options (both natural and medical) in order to make the best choices when faced with the need for intervention. The couple in this story were exactly that: well educated and well prepared (for a natural birth). The only sad thing was that their education was lacking in one aspect...they were not emotionally prepared for necessary intervention because of the negative connotation associated with "intervention" itself. Since it is misused so casually and haphazardly, it is perceived as a "failure" on the part of a dedicated, natural birthing woman when intervention occurs. Some will say, "oh, I knew you couldn't make it through without pain medication," or, "I told you it wasn't safe to deliver outside of a hospital," etc., etc. That is a maddening thought when your only desire is to have a natural, vaginal delivery then suddenly and unexpectedly, intervention becomes absolutely necessary. My hope is that this story will inspire people (both those who have preconceived opinions and those who haven't yet formed an opinion) to see natural birth and out-of-hospital birth in a new light. The desire and goal of out-of-hospital birth experiences it to avoid unnecessary intervention, and this environment is the safest place to begin that journey (with high hopes that it will end there as well). Judgment need not be placed on the couple for any interventions that they may need to endure to ensure a healthy birth. The ultimate goal is "healthy baby, healthy mother", and this story should help you understand that, sometimes, the choices leading up to that end can be difficult and emotional to make.
(The Birth of "Baby J.", part 1 will be posted soon)