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Monday, January 4, 2010

Childbirth turns tragic, then joyful—a Christmas Miracle! or The Dangers of Epidurals?

Alarm bells went off when I read this amazing story of a mom and her baby miraculously coming back to life after “mysteriously” dying during childbirth. I knew there had be some reason her heart stopped (like all the drugs?!) I couldn’t find it though—the doctor kept on reiterating what a mystery it all was.

Well, turns out she was induced and had an epidural. So why wasn’t any of this mentioned in the media or by the doctors involved? Have these things become such a common part of birth that no one even thinks of them as unnatural? I am totally baffled and appalled.

Henci Goer explained how epidurals can cause cardiac arrest in a blog post this week:
Her Survival Was a “Christmas Miracle,” but the Disaster Was Man-Made

Every woman needs to know all the facts. When I voiced my concerns for the epidural to my OB, he patted my knee and said “of course you will have it!” The same way he patted my knee and said I would have a repeat c-section instead of a VBAC for any subsequent births……

My point to this is not that epidurals are across the board wrong or bad. They can be very helpful when someone is at their breaking point, too tired, too scared, or in my case pumped full or Cytotec and Pitocin and totally unable to handle the pain. Everyone should be able to decide if it is time. But we need to know the risks! We have a right to know the risks. We deserve to know that it isn’t a miracle cure that will make childbirth a piece of cake.

And maybe we should be really alarmed that a doctor made no mention of this when she said her patient's death was a mystery.

I am glad she and the baby survived, but as a birth activist, a VBACtivist, the end does not justify the means. Our experiences matter.

1 comment:

SheGotHipsLikeCinderella said...

Great post Heather!! I'm glad you brought attention to this!!