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November 23, 2007



I just wanted to say that I'm glad I found your blog. I'm always looking for kindred spirits who believe in natural and gentle childbirth. Unfortunately, I recently gave birth to my third child at a freestanding birth center attended by certified nurse midwives and I have to say that natural childbirth does not equal gentle childbirth and I was very disappointed by the management of my birth by these so-called midwives. They were highly interventionist and their manipulations caused my birth to be far more painful than it would have been otherwise. I was subjected to frequent vaginal exams. I was told that I had a thick ridge of cervix left when I was 8 cm dialated and told not to push even though I couldn't stop pushing. Then the midwife made me lie of my back with my legs all the way up in the air while she stretched my cervix and I pushed at the same time; it was excruciating. I was screaming so much that she stopped but then to her surprise, the baby was crowning so then she used her fingers to stretch my perineum. It was just horrible. And the whole time my legs were being pulled apart and they were shouting at me to "push" even though my baby was not in any distress and my pushing stage lasted only 3 minutes!They were yelling at me so much that I was convinced that the baby was stuck. Things only got worse from there. The baby was fine and healthy but I didn't fare as well. The midwife pulled on the chord to rush the placenta. I suffered a postpartum hemorhage on account of a retained placenta fragment. I had to be catherized without anesthesia - more pain. Finally, I began to beg them to transfer me to the hospital where at least I could be examined and treated with anesthesia instead of feeling like I was being treated in this primitive environment. Fortunately, my bleeding began to subside and I got better but I still had to stay overnight at the birth center which was also horrible for so many reasons. Anyhow, this was my second birth center birth but my first was at a different bc that has since closed. The first bc was wonderful and I am still very much in favor of midwife attended childbirth in free standing birth centers. However, I really believe that you need to understand the philosophies of your birth attendants as they are not all the same even if they have the same degrees hanging on the wall and if complications of any kind arise, a midwife should understand that she is not a doctor and if she wants to be practicing medicine she should go to medical school.


I am saddened by your story. The most dis-heartening thing about your story is that it sounds very much like a hospital birth attended by doctors. When doctors adopt practices (like pulling on the placenta to help it out, something I see/hear of ALL the time), which often cause more problems then they fix, they at least have more tools at their disposal to fix unintended results. Midwives don't have those tools and so are required to be hands off, but the reality is that Doctors AND midwives should be much more hands off when it comes to birth then they are.
In peace,

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