As is often the case things are not as simple as they may at first appear. I posted the article below immediately after reading an article from the Huffington Post. I have since done some more research of my own and although this case is still shocking it is about as clear as mud.
The hospital, St. Barnabas, in New Jersey has a 49.3% cesarean section rate and wanted the laboring mom to sign a consent to a cesarean surgery as soon as she arrived! The also wanted a consent for an epidural, fetal scalp monitoring, an episiotomy and other procedures. This in and of itself is shocking to me and sends up many red flags.
On the other hand it is possible this women is suffering from mental health issues. Having been with many women in labor, which most psychiatrists or psychologists have not, I do not feel a woman's mental health should ever be assessed during labor. However this woman suffers from a diagnosed pre-existing condition: post traumatic stress disorder. The feelings of labor paired with the actions of the hospital may very well have provoked an episode of some sort. I have witnessed this myself with women who have suffered a trauma in the past. Labor opens many doors into the heart of a woman and sometimes her demons come out. Labor is an extremely vulnerable time. A woman with a history of trauma must be supported with understanding for her unique situation. On top of this I feel that how many hospitals treat women can bring on post traumatic stress disorder. We don't call it that; we call it post partum depression or an inability to reconcile with their cesarean experience.
Here is a link if you want to read further into this sad story after reading my original piece below.
OMG!!! I just read a stunning article about a woman who refused a c-section and although she gave birth vaginally to a healthy baby she had that baby forcibly taken from her afterwards and placed into state foster care. This is so wrong on so many levels that I am having trouble collecting my thoughts enough to write anything coherent. Tragedy; a tragedy for women's civil rights, a tragedy for this child, a tragedy for this family, a tragedy for all the women out there who may want to take a stand against their OB's "advice" but will now have this fear in the back of their minds. I am telling you the push back from the entrenched medical community against the rising tide of natural birth is very ugly indeed. It is coming at us on all levels; through the media (a ridiculous piece on the Today show against homebirth), through individual hospitals (telling women they can't give birth there if they use a doula or write a birth plan) and through individual birth practitioners (steering women into hospital based birth preparation classes and away from educators who advocate for natural birth).
Please educate yourself by reading this important article by Louise Marie Roth on Huffington Post "Is a Woman in Labor a 'Person'? New Assaults on Pregnant Women's Civil Rights in a NJ Case". Prepare yourself because this article is shocking and disturbing. Click on the Link in my Great Resources section. Continue further by reading "Controversy Sparked by a Sign on a Door", also on my Resources Links. Add that to the situation that I wrote about in my Informed Consent article. Then think about a Certified Nurse Midwife in our community, whom I respect, telling a Bradley educator during a public forum that Bradley teaches women to not "trust" their care providers. I believe this is because Bradley teaches women to be good birth "consumers"; to question, choose what they think is right for them and their baby, and to be prepared to stand up for their choice against opposition.
So why is this happening now? Money, power and fear come to mind. Could the current political climate come into play here as well? Is the right to life movement, which is something completely different, be spilling into other issues surrounding a woman's right to choose what is best for her body in other ways? For the first time women in the 'alternative' birth community are speaking up on the national stage, whether it is Ricki Lake's video The Business of Being Born or The Big Push for Midwives Campaign rallying women to speak to their legislators on Capitol Hill to be sure to include Certified Professional Midwives in the current national health care bill. The Internet is connecting women in a way never seen before and the younger women in the birth community are taking full advantage of it. Remember ordinary obstetrics is a huge money maker for the medical community but if you add in the money for inductions, epidurals, c-sections and extra days in the hospitals for moms and babies in neonatal intensive care units the fees skyrocket. On top of that birth is considered a gateway procedure. Women tend to return to the same hospital for additional births and other health issues as well as bringing their husband and kids when they have problems. That adds up to lots of money over lots of years! So what happens if women start saying no to their doctors "advice" to be induced simply because they are at 40 weeks, or work hard to not choose an epidural, or say no to having major abdominal surgery? There is so much to be lost or gained on both sides.
Please read the complete Huffington Post article then send my link on to family or friends you think would benefit. I really want to hear your thoughts on this issue after you have read the linked articles. Post a comment here.
Thanks goes out to the women at ICAN who told me about the Roth article!