The INDUCTION NIGHTMARE


by Ayla Serenemoon, Willits, California

It was June in Las Vegas and it was hot. I was swollen larger than I ever thought I could be. My ten month baby kicked and rolled, keeping me up at night and, most annoying, people (family mostly) called me daily asking, ³When are you going to have the baby?!² They werenıt used to a woman following the rhythms of her own body. My own mother had been induced and my aunt had two C sections, the second of which was scheduled simply because of the first. Two weeks past my due date the family got even more ³serious² saying amongst themselves that something ³had to be done².

At two weeks past due my midwife suggested an ultrasound, just to make sure the placenta was fine. I agreed, reluctantly, but in my heart I knew that nothing was wrong. My body wouldnıt -not- have the baby. Two weeks after the ultrasound my baby finally arrived. I took peace in the knowledge that my son had been born when he needed to, not when it was convenient for a doctor, my family or even me.

Even with that extra month my son was still only 7lbs 13oz. He was long and thin. His feet flexed back like a preemie. I shuddered to think what would have happened to him had he been forced to be born a month earlier. It was clear to me when I saw him that he just hadnıt been done until now.

When people asked me when I was due and I would say ³two weeks ago.² With a laugh, they looked at me like I was insane. ³Well certainly your doctor will induce you,² some of them would say. ³Nope, Iım seeing a midwife not a doctor,² I retorted. That would garner even more, blank, blinking stares.

Most of my family couldnıt understand why I didnıt ³get induced.². After all EVERYONE did it. Upon reflection that was true. Every single woman I had known to give birth (outside of the group I knew through my midwife) over the last five years had all been induced.

In 1981 when my mother gave birth to my sister she was induced. My sister was two weeks Olateı and they feared that my sisterıs head would get Otoo bigı for my mother to push it out. I had been a forceps baby so my mother already didnıt trust her body. When the induction drugs didnıt work fast enough, two doctors stood at the top of the bed and pushed down on my motherıs bulging pregnant belly. My sister still resisted and they pushed harder and harder causing my mother great pain. When my sister was finally born her face was so squished together my father feared she was a mental or physically disabled child.

When a relative of mine recently had her baby induced, purely for scheduling reasons, her baby was a thin 6 lbs-something and spent over a week in the hospital. (Have you noticed how home born babies range from 7 lbs through 10 or 11 lbs and hospital babies are 6 lbs on average?) My relative was unable to get a good breastfeeding relationship started and gave up when the hospital situation made it difficult. A few months before, another relative of mine was also induced although for ³medical² reasons this time. Her baby was sickly from the beginning and spent over a month in the hospital. He was, of course, not breastfed and the immaturity of his digestive tract made it so that he spit up almost everything he was fed. When my two- month-old son and I took a vacation to meet this baby who was four months older than my son we found him to be half the size of my son.

Some months later, while spending the day with my father and son, my father, a wise King-Arthur-type, sage of a man, remarked, ³ I donıt understand why women keep getting induced. In the wild we know that there is a wide variation of gestation time for animals even of the same species. Why would it be then that human women would follow a pre-set clock exactly. It seems to me that doctors should say 36-46 weeks, instead of NINE MONTHS.²

When I studied at the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute I learned about the dangers of induction. I learned that Cytotec (the drug misoprostol used for inducing) had never been approved or reviewed for use by the FDA yet doctors administered it like candy to any woman. This wasnıt restricted to women who went over their due dates. If the doctor and the mother had a scheduling conflict; induce. If the father can only get off work on Fridays; induce.

The number of babies being born on weekends is dropping dramatically as doctors try to free up their Saturdays and Sundays.

Most women trust the doctor. From the moment they find out they are pregnant they give up all their power. ALL of it. They plan their schedule around the doctors and when the doctor says they need, or should, or can induce for any reason they trust the doctor. After all, the doctor is just trying to help and he certainly wouldnıt put her and her baby at any risk, would s/he? 

Maybe the doctor doesnıt believe that s/he is risking anything but s/he is! 

There are two ways to see the issue. Number one, God (a Divine source) created humans and all of nature. Therefore, why would the divine create a womanıs body in such a way that she cannot give birth, herself, with no induction or interventions? Number two, man has evolved over millions of years of evolution. Why, if evolution can create a lizard that can physically change colors to blend into its environment to avoid predators, would evolution leave women helpless when it comes to the most important thing one can do for our species, give birth!(?)

Women are not taught to trust their own bodies. We are lied to or kept in the dark about the sexuality of our own bodies for as long as possible. Then when we are told about sex and human behavior we are told to suppress it while men are encouraged to flaunt it. When we begin bleeding we are told we must use pain reliever to cure us of our ³burden² and that we must stuff up our tender sensitive vulva so as not to get any of our ³dirty² blood anywhere. We must buy special soap to wash it and powders and spray deodorants to cover it up. We are made to feel completely ashamed of that entire area of our bodies. It is no wonder when we become pregnant we are willing to hand over this event to a man in white. Most women have probably never even seen their own vagina!

It is wrong for our society to keep women powerless when it comes to their own bodies. It is inexcusable that doctors would take advantage of this ignorance for their own convenience, putting mothers and babies at risk in the process.

Induction is just another way to make women fear birth and feel out of control. Soon women will think that no womanıs body ever gives birth correctly and every woman will be induced on a date that she and her doctor choose. Pulling women further away from natural birth. So far, that ³natural birth² will become a myth and a fairy tale of the past. 

A little talked about danger of induction is setting the precedent that your child must adhere to your schedule. When we donıt allow our babies to slowly ripen in their own time we overlook their basic needs and favor our own needs. It is wrong to pressure your baby into birth and once you have done that it isnıt much of a leap to feeding on a schedule thatıs convenient to you, forcing your baby to sleep when itıs ³time², not when heıs actually tired, etc. Soon your babyıs life is not his own, his birth certainly wasnıt.

Which leads me to another point about induction, a more spiritual one. I firmly believe that when and where and at what time a baby is born is very important. It is a pre-chosen date and time that his/her soul selected. His/her personality and direction will be aided by this chosen birth date and time. What happens then when we force them out too soon? We know the medical dangers, now what about the spiritual ones?

Your babyıs birth is the most important event in the relationship the two of you will have. It will set the precedent for your entire lives together. Do you really want it to be one of fear, both on your part and your babyıs? Do you want it to be a white, lab coat, drug-induced nightmare or a soft relaxing, low-lit, waking dream? Do you want to gaze into your babyıs eyes and suckle him or her at your breast, or do you want to lie in a bed, your ankles in stirrups, drugged out of you mind, while your equally drugged baby is whisked off, isolated and treated for all the medical issues inducement caused? Do you want him or her to deal with those issues, those horrible subconscious memories for the rest of his or her life? Of course any mother would answer, ³No! I want a beautiful birth and a healthy child!² So why arenıt women being empowered? Why are babies being harmed and even killed, why are womenıs uterusı rupturing? Why, oh why on earth are we inducing?

BREASTFEED

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