Author Archives: investigatingbirth

About investigatingbirth

My investigations of birth began in 2009 when I was trained as a doula. I helped women consider the evidence on common interventions, and helped them prepare for the physical and emotional challenge of giving birth. After some time it became clear to me that there was another type of challenge that I was unable to adequately prepare them for, the challenge of the maternity system. But it was only after my own traumatic birth in 2013 that I realized how little I had understood. I began to ask questions that few around me - doulas, nurses, midwives, doctors - were comfortable hearing. Questions like: Under what circumstances, and for what reasons, do doctors not practice informed consent? How do hospitals deal with other patient populations vulnerable to abuse? How does loss of professional autonomy, for obstetricians, and professional authority, for midwives, impact the quality of care they are capable of providing - regardless of their training? This blog will collect noteworthy information that attempts to answer these and other questions. Most of what you see here will be aggregated from other sources and analyzed. You will also see original interviews, and the occasional opinion piece or personal story, as I try to piece together a clear picture of the system in which American women give birth.

Week 40: Birth

The birth story of my second child had its beginnings in many places – in the birth stories I heard from my dad who was a natural birth advocate and family doctor in the 70s and 80s, in my mom’s … Continue reading

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Week 39: Midwifery vs. OB models of care

I am shocked at the differences between midwifery and OB care. The 39 week appointment is always a time of trepidation for me as a doula and for my clients. It’s the appointment where providers order ultrasounds to check for … Continue reading

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Week 37: informed consent

Informed consent. I had the GBS screen but didn’t have the results yet (later came back negative), and I asked my midwife what her recommended protocol was if it should come back positive. She said this: “I don’t have a … Continue reading

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Week 36: A flashback

People talk about how the birthday of a child born violently can be triggering and traumatic – but I have not had this happen with my toddler’s birthdays. It seems to me that his birthday is his day, and my … Continue reading

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Week 35: No big deal

Amazing – I had the GBS test and the midwife had me do it myself. No big deal.

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Week 34: Don’t touch me

I’ve been introspective over the last few days, ever since I realized that much as I trust my midwife, I’m not ready to let her touch my vagina, and may never be. And even I have had to convince myself … Continue reading

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Week 33: A trigger

Ok, now I am freaking out just a little. I was sort of psyching myself up to the GBS swab for this entire pregnancy, and also sort of ignoring it. Now I found out there is not only a vaginal … Continue reading

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Week 31: Poem for mother blessing

In the form of a pantoum and whimsically adapted from some birth plan musings:   Song of Welcome   This is my song of welcome Where once I walked alone I ask you for protection I want you to hold … Continue reading

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Week 30: More birth art/meditations

Me as a tree Me as a mountain Me as the atmosphere

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Week 29: Transformation

I want to explain more clearly why I have been considering unassisted birth. I have considered it to be my safest realistic option because I have not trusted birth attendants, and while I fantasized about finding someone trustworthy, I acknowledged … Continue reading

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