Monday, August 30, 2010

Giving birth to "near dead" babies in Italy

This set me off down an unhappy memory lane.

Doctors fighting over a labouring woman, déjà vu. Baby with a poor outcome, mum without a womb.

"Police were today questioning staff at a hospital in Sicily where a child was born with suspected brain damage after two doctors attending his mother allegedly came to blows over the need for a caesarean as she went into labour."

I had a doc and three midwives with raised voices, one midwife came in and sottovoce told my husband "for the love of god if you love your wife and child go and insist they do a C-sec, she (the doc) won't listen"

So he did, the doc came back in, examined me and yelled, "but this cervix is changing !"

Yeah I'd gone from three cm to three and a half cm in 24 hours of unrelenting, unmedicated agony and when they ran a check on my heart not an hour earlier there had been some very unhappy faces muttering at the main doc.

Sock Dropper won the argument. I have reason to be grateful for that.

I had been chatting in the nearby bar almost daily with the owner, who was almost as pregnant as I was, for the last six weeks or so before our due dates.

I went to see her at work with my few week old new baby as promised. She wasn't there. But was on her way and her husband asked us to leave before she arrived. Their baby girl died after they turned off the machines. Her husband told us that it had been chaos, with one doc insisting on going ahead "naturally" with the other screaming for an emergency C-sec now. The C-sec doc had been ejected from the room. The baby was born vaginally an hour later with devastating brain damage. Later on I saw in the local paper that the doctor underwent disciplinary procedures because all the evidence pointed to a C-sec having been the only reasonable conclusion far, far earlier in labour.

Then I moved here. There are three children around Son of Thor's age with not so mild to extremely severe disabilities, I know their mothers in different contexts, one is the daughter of a neighbour, one was a mum with a kid in the same year group, one is a friend of a friend. In every single case the unifying factor is rows between medics during labour, where one held out for "natura"l and somebody else pushing for a C-sec that either didn't happen, or happened too late. They all 3 received substantial damages as the system concluded that the hospital was at fault.

So I hate all the angst over "C-sec rates and percentages".

By all means challenge unnecessary C-secs performed on women who neither need or want them.

But don't make it numbers game or all about a  philosophical revulsion for them.

Look at the individual in front of you and think about what she and her baby needs right here, right now. Cos if that isn't the priority then examples like those above are going to keep on happening.

I joke about how I only have one kid because he was an insomniac, and it is not without some foundation. But the real reason why I couldn't face the thought of another baby was the birth. I have no issues with having had a C-sec, I was so desperate at that point that if you had told me that hurling me out of the window from the 8th floor would stop the pain and make sure my baby was born safe and sound I'd have signed off on it.

My problem with risking another birth is that I have "flashback" issues at being scared to death that both of us were going to get hurt or die, because at no stage in my labour did I feel like we were the point. We were most decidedly in the back of the queue behind birthing philosophy and hospital statistics.

I am pro more choices for women in birth. From HBAC right through to chosing to have a C-sec from the onset. What I am not up for is swopping one hard line in the sand for another and pretending that humans are carbon copies of each other so it will work out just fine for everybody.

Women and their babies should not have to risk being collateral damage for somebody who has picked a one size fits all approach to all their patients.
If we want to change birth to make it truly a feminist deal where there really is a choice and genuine, unbiased guidance and information is available from the onset as well as during labour, then we need to make it about women and their babies and not about loaded labels like “natural” v “unnatural” or lists of statistics that may bear no relation to an individual with so very much to lose.

Birth should not be a “political” arena where medics wrangle about their preference for “lifestyle” choices.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh FFS, I'll just post it here then...

this is my response to the debate on another blog, because blogger softeware is eating my posts and I will WIN dammit. I will not be silenced by an evil glitch that thinks I should be mopping floors instead of obsessing on the internet.

Eaten comment commences below


" How on earth will this 'put off' new home educators?"

I normally refer interested people to your blog first, tell them to make sure they read the comments and get back to me with the ones that resonated most for them so I can hook them up with blogs and sites most suited to their tastes.

I kind of got the impression that people were pleasantly surprised to see we aren't brainwashed, "cultish", "group think" people, that in reality we are perfectly capable of hotly debating the finer points of our educational choices, rather than coming together exclusively in self congratulation or self defense.

I know that when I found your blog the huge range of issues pulled in via comment fast tracked my "education" as it were.

It let me access a range of ideas that wouldn't have occurred to me as I was knee deep in the day to day struggle of managing a huge lifestyle change and without being prodded into debate I'm not sure I would have found the time or inclination to seek a better understanding of the huge spectrum out there at such a cracking pace.

Your blog is the reason that I am working in conjunction with another Italian HEer to try and work out a road map to make unschooling a more accessible option within our tight regs, as well as try and stimulate our rather scaredycat and conservative email group into being a little less reticent about opening up discussion with the DofEd about rewording the regs to open up opportunities for people to explore other avenues that lead to learning.

If my own knee jerk reactions hadn’t been challenged by discussion here I would probably have settled for making things more comfortable for myself and not worried unduly about the issues other people were having.

I do think that for the new HEer who is at a fuzzy stage when it comes to what they want to do and what their comfort zone is, lurking during the debates can bring up points within issues they may not have considered and allow them to make an informed and confident decision because they have had the opportunity to examine it from all sides, from a range of perspectives.

I tend not to be debating so I can convince the people I am posting to, I always figure the only people who might find any of my points valid or worth taking into consideration are the silent majority who read, not post. (Which is basically a thought process I use to silence the voice in my head saying “you are wasting time on the internet arguing with random strangers, AGAIN”, cos I can turn round and insist there is a higher puprose, I am only giving back because the discussions were so useful for me. Honest gov. Nothing to do with loving debate and hating housework. It’s a totally selfless activity. ( ; )

I think the only thing that might put off new HEers (or school users who are trying to understand HE before they make uninformed knee jerk reactions) is the undercurrent of hostility that spills over in hyperbole and insults. But that is hardly an issue that can be laid exclusively at your door. Each and every person who has chosen to get personal or vicious about things has to take responsibility for sometimes making us look like a bunch of hysterical toddlers bashing each other over the head with the nearest toy. Self included.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HQ HE Italia

Oh yeah baby, we have arivvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved !!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Founding a HomeschoolyEducaty Group

After three solid days of house cleaning in preparation (it's a big house, it takes three days to get it clean even if it wasn't a tip to start with) today a momentous occasion took place.

Erika and myself founded the Pavia (today it is Pavia, but we are aiming for World Domination !!!) HomeschoolyEduGroup.

Erika is Queenie. Cos she is good with PR, like not telling journalists that evil bidellas should be rendered down for soap making purposes. I am chief procrastinator and official "wave arms hysterically whilst shouting in Italaish" Wise Elder

We had a brilliant day, mosquitoes eating us all on a nature walk notwithstanding. And I am so happy.

I am not all by my Todd, it is great to have somebody to commiserate, bounce ideas off and plot to improve our lot on a bureaucratic level.

The fact that she has bundles of energy, a great mind and vision is just a clump of cherries on the cake which I intend to eat and then make trifle with too.

I feel like a proper homeschooler now. Am off to post on homeschooly groups casually dropping "well in MY homeschooly group we did X, Y and Z and discussed W, P, melting evil bidellas into soap and T", instead of sulking on the sidelines while all the other home educators waggle their groupyness at me making me feel inadequate.

Oh yeah and thanks To Erika and her husband we also have a whizz bangy proper Home Schoolers in Italy website with like a forum and everything !!!!!!! which I will post a link to just as soon as I remember the safe place I saved it in

(happy dances into the kitchen to think about making dinner ..... and opens packets instead)


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