Apples and orangutans

As I understand it, comparing birth in the hospital (even natural birth) to birth at home is like comparing apples to orangutans. They’re entirely different beasts. So when my mom asked if I would be OK having my midwife’s backup OB attend my birth, I told her I’d be OK, but that it’s definitely not what I want.

So what do I want? (Warning: generalizations to follow.)

I want the caregiver I’ve spent hours with throughout my pregnancy to be present for the duration of my labor. This does not happen in a hospital. I want a human monitoring me, not a machine. This does not happen in a hospital. I want to be an active participant in the birth of my child, not a bedridden, powerless, sick seeming person waiting for the doctor to “deliver” my baby. This does not always happen in a hospital. If we so choose, I want photos and videos taken of the birth, not to be told it is not allowed (because those photos and videos could be used as evidence in a lawsuit, and thereby making parents unwittingly complicit in covering up potential malpractice against their family). This does not always happen in a hospital. I don’t want my body and my baby to be on put on a timeline. This does not happen in a hospital. I don’t want pitocin and/or c-section to be the solution for a “slow” labor; I want to be told to get up, move around, and push my baby out. This does not happen in a hospital. I don’t want anyone I haven’t invited, especially strangers, to come into my space while I labor. This does not happen in a hospital. If I so choose and it’s not a game day, I want the entire University of Georgia football cheerleading squad to be in attendance. This does not happen in a hospital. During labor I want to be able to eat crackers or filet mignon, depending on my mood. This does not happen in a hospital. I want to eat them in bed, the bathtub, the backyard, or wherever else I may choose. This does not happen in a hospital. I don’t want my baby taken from me, not even for one minute, if he or she is healthy. This does not happen in a hospital. I want my baby to be born peacefully into dim lighting, quiet voices, and gentle hands. This does not happen in a hospital.

But this is just what I want. Others may want the exact opposite. And that’s OK. I think where complications arise, though, is when mothers want exactly what I want, but they want it in a hospital, and as the Navelgazing Midwife has said, “if you buy the hospital ticket, you go for the hospital ride.”

(While that attitude keeps my head from exploding in anger at hospital practices that go against commonsense and even research, it also grants a level of acceptability to those practices. Is it not so different from saying it’s OK for a man to beat his wife because she chooses to stay with him?)

Apples and orangutans, folks. Apples and orangutans.

The True Story of Dr Andrew Wakefield

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is the man behind the 1998 controversy saying that the MMR vaccine caused autism. The weekly produced medical journal, The Lancet supported the claim that autism and vaccines were linked, but it was later discredited. Dr. Andrew Wakefield is the doctor who gave birth to the fraudulent claim.

His “proof” encouraged parents not to vaccinate their children for the deadly diseases they prevent because of the autism claim. Many parents followed this fake news and did not vaccinate their children. As a result, we started hearing of cases of measles cropping up from this revelation of a medical travesty. Dr. Andrew Wakefield was investigated by several medical sources and his claim was found to false. The doctor was charged with medical misconduct in May 2010 and was removed from the medical register which meant he could no longer practice medicine in the UK.

The results of the investigation for the vaccine were that it does not cause autism, and getting it outweighed the risks. Lawyers that were filing suit for parents of children with autism were rejected on the premise of the fraudulent paper put forth by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. In a 2011 journal article, this hoax was called the most damaging hoax in 100 years in the UK.

After the measles outbreaks in 1992 England, British authorities showed a rise in measles in school age children. In 1994 Britain began a vigorous country-wide campaign to vaccinate every child against measles, mumps, and rubella. Every school, age child up to the age of 16 was given the vaccine. From this time on, children were vaccinated.

This “controversy” reached the United States and parents also stopped vaccinations. But in the US, if a child is not vaccinated they are denied entry to school, preschool included because of the risk of spreading the disease to others. In the wake of this fraud in the UK, many legal actions have taken place including ethics reviews. Besides the US and Britain, Italy and Japan were also affected.

Autism diagnoses increased in the 1990s and 2000s but this is due to changes in the way it is diagnosed. And advances in medical tools, used for discovering the abnormality. The outbreaks from the non-vaccinated children were in all of the affected countries and the paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The panic that ensued was directly related to his false information and fear mongering.

Concerned parents do their best to protect their children from avoidable instances and they were protecting their children, albeit based on poor information, they thought since he is a doctor it has to be true. Any parent would do this, but once it was proven that the vaccine did NOT cause autism, lawsuits were filed by parents of children who had autism after receiving the shot. The suits were dismissed once the official results of the testing and discovery were finished.

This controversial and false report is still quoted today, in 2017 as a reason for not vaccinating children so to those who refuse to be educated are still perpetuating the autism claims as real.