I'm around 37 or 38 weeks along now, and it's mind-boggling to think how soon we are due to meet our newest arrival. On the one hand, I can't wait - on the other hand, sometimes I can't help but wish we had just a bit more time... a bit more time to learn, to prepare, to research. Either way, of course, the baby will be coming at the perfect timing.
Today, when we took Shira for a few check-ups, I picked up a magazine while waiting in line. It was an old one, back from 2001, but it featured some very interesting stories. A tragic one spoke of a woman who delivered a healthy baby but died soon after because of an uterine rupture caused by pitocin administration. The uterine rupture went undetected for a period of time which could have been crucial to intervening, because the effects of her epidural didn't wear off yet.
Pitocin and epidurals, probably the two most common birth interventions, which are supposed to be completely "safe" but obviously are not - and in the case mentioned above, their combination caused death. When a deadly complication does occur, the hospital speaks out saying that "complications are extremely rare and could not be predicted". Of course no one can predict who is going to be the victim of such a tragic outcome. But you know what? If something carries risk, however slight, you do not use it unless there is an obvious and unequivocal need. Isn't this plain common sense?
In most cases when pitocin is applied, it is not because there is an obvious and unequivocal need to use it. It's usually because a woman went past her due date (which, let's face it, can be a pretty random number) or because her labor slowed down once she arrived in the hospital (no wonder, with all the poking and prodding it can get extremely stressful - a hugely important factor in determining ease and efficiency of birth. Any veterinarian can tell you that, but when we're dealing with humans we forget it for some reason). And epidural? There is never a real "need" for one (in a normal, unmedicated, naturally progressing labor). It does nothing for the actual well-being of Mom and baby or for advancing the labor - on the contrary. But it's very convenient for the staff and we've been convinced into thinking we can't ever do without it.
Even if the risk is "minimal", why take it when it's possible to go risk-free?
Here's a link to a blog I discovered today, called Midwifery Ramblings. Read the lovely home birth post and the post on the dangers of pitocin.