Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Amnio for Me!

First of all, I want to thank y'all for the support. Absurdist Lover and I went in to the doctor's on Monday and expressed our concerns about the amnio. The doctor affirmed that the only reason he was advocating it, since we have no intention of aborting, was because "it's good to know what you're getting" -- that is, if the baby is going to need an operation or neonatal intensive care, then one can make better choices about where to have it. This is the only reasoning that made sense to me, which left me in a conundrum. But that morning I had made an appointment to have a tour through one of the only birth centers I could find in this town (so strange to me since this state has such a granola-y reputation, yet birth centers have gone by the wayside big time here). So I called them and asked about whether because I am thirty-five they'd have reservations about my giving birth in a birthing center. They said that if I were really worried about the baby that I could have a 3-D ultrasound, something my doctor hadn't even mentioned! The people at the birthing center told me that if the state had found my AFP test to be abnormal, even they wouldn't send me directly to have an amnio, which costs between $2,000-3,000 -- the state would get me a 3-D ultrasound next and only if that showed bad findings would I get an amnio. But my AFP was completely normal, and the state isn't advocating or paying for any further studies. "It sounds like your doctor is just advocating a very invasive procedure," the birthing center people said. Yes, yes, and yes. I know he's doing his best, but going through an amnio because I'm thirty-five and this passes some artificial line in the sand is ridiculous. I cancelled my amnio.

Absurdist Lover and I went to our tour appointment today -- and this birth center is pretty wonderful. The birthing rooms basically look like bed and breakfast rooms. It's pretty amazing how totally different the center is from the doctor's office. We spoke with the midwives and others -- it looks pretty wonderful. Of course, we have to figure out the money. Absurdist Lover is being pretty amazing about the whole thing. Though his other two children were born in hospitals, he is totally supportive of me having the experience that I want to have. He doesn't demean my intensity about finding an "alternative birth" at all, which I find amazing because a woman I know well has told me that the birth experience really doesn't matter at all -- at the end of the day you have your baby. A friend of mine said that she wanted to have her baby at home, but her insurance wouldn't pay for it -- and it wasn't worth it for them to pay the extra $4,000. I must be a class A bangladeshgranolahead, because I think it does matter. I think the baby will have an easier time of it if I'm as mellow and relaxed as possible. It's my body that this baby has to get through and if I'm tense and worried and scared because I've made this kind of huge compromise and feel I'm out of control and in the hands of over-zealous doctors who look at me as just another pile of flesh, well, I just think that the baby will have a harder time. Whatever. No one else really has to understand, except that we're going have to borrow the money to pay the birth center upfront and then get reimbursed (somewhat) by the insurance. But I'm not going to deal with that today. Too tired now.

But here's an interesting scary disgusting fact: the midwife said that as of June 2008 Urban Home City has a 70% Caesarean rate. (Can I just say that both of the women I mentioned earlier had Caesareans? One had an emergency C-section and then a second scheduled one, by her own choice because she could have tried for VBAC. The other had a C-section for her second baby with a vaginal delivery for the first.) Even if that figure is totally high, 30% would be too much. I've read some articles on the internet about the vast popularity of C-sections, as a choice! Oy! Not what I'm looking for. Not if it can be avoided.

(I guess I find a lot of this just shocking. I grew up in the 70s, and I guess I expected that once we'd started figuring out that there wasn't better living through chemistry that we'd continue on a natural, organic, green path. Organic is so trendy now, but natural childbirth is somehow out of fashion. It's more fashionable to schedule your C-section around your travel schedule. You can go to Whole Foods on a regular basis, concerned about your health and the environment, but birth centers are closing. Gas prices are through the roof, every other car is a Prius, but people are going crazy and declaring it an "epidemic" that tomatoes farmed in industrial pesticide-laden big business farms have been swimming around in vats of salmonella'd water. Don't we all know that we should be eating local organic produce anyway??? That the tomatoes making the news are not from your local farmer's market. I'm so confused.)

In other getting-our-shit-together news, Mr. Tabby has an appointment with a new doctor, recommended by my sister. Strangely, he does not seem to be excited about this news. Can't say as I blame him.


gwoertendyke said...

the rate of C-sections is way up all over the country--faster, you see, more predictable, more control by the doctor, in-and-out.

my daughter (first born) was a C-section and i was so upset-it could have been avoided. my last two kids were v-backs, in a birthing center, no drugs. the recuperation is so much faster and you enjoy it more (well, pain has its down sides, of course!)

anyway, keep going with your gut. everybody tries to scare new moms, it doesn't stop with pre-natal care. i've always done what feels right and it works.

i'm sorry you have to deal so much with the insurance. this country sucks.

congrats on it all! it is wonderful! oh, my last child was born when i was 35, no amnio, they are scary and invasive.

Sisyphus said...

I think that the granola-y, "let it all hang out the natural way' stuff has been increasingly under attack by the people who understand that it involves a rejection of products, a rejection of body services and management, and thus is a threat to capitalism.

I mean, if you found meaning in experiences and being together with people and making your own stuff and wanting less, how's that gonna move the consumer goods?

It all ties together --- if you can be made to believe that c-sections and expert-led procedures are normal and necessary, you won't balk at getting massages, pedicures, botox, etc etc etc...

Just my cynical two cents.

Earnest English said...

Sis: Of course I get what you're saying, but it seemed to me that people HAD started capitalizing big-time on organic, granola-y, green, hempy, natural stuff. There are all these magazines and products capitalizing on "natural" stuff. Though of course botox, spa treatments, gahhhhhhhh: you're right.

AW: Yay for birthing centers! Thanks for telling me about your experiences -- I didn't know. I expect that doctors and others with something to gain from scaring new moms to try to scare me. What's surprised me is how other moms react to my desires to have a natural (not "alternative!" I swear women having been having babies for thousands of years!) birth! Good to have more people in my corner (though my sister is great for saying I should totally fight for what I want because she Still feels ripped off!)

Maude said...

i'm so glad that you're moving in a direction you want to move in. even though SB and I are a long way off from having kids, i've already begun preparing him for what i want--birth center, midwife, doula, no drugs, and i totally pump my midwife friend for info on a daily basis to build my arsenal of knowledge (you know me and my lack of self-confidence--i have to start prepping now even with no future of kids in sight). plus, i'm also compiling this info from her in case you need it, too. :-)

i think it's wonderful that AL is on board with you and that you have the support you need with your sister and others it seems. good for you.

Jen @ said...

Hi! I just wanted to share that some insurance companies do cover homebirth - mine did at 90%! For more information, go here: You can read why I chose to homebirth here: and the whole story here: You might also find this article interesting: Best of luck in your search!
Big hugs,