And Here I Thought the Kingsdale Anti-Doula Letter was Bad
Update: Apparently the Columbus media has been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of calls/emails regarding the doula ban. The PR representative from DONA International has successfully scheduled several local media appearances for this week. She respectfully asks that people now refrain calling the media at this point so that we don’t frustrate them and cause them to find doulas annoying (which is the very situation we are working against!). Thanks for your understanding and support!
Please protect yourself and your surroundings from a sudden head-explosion: the Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates Birth Decree of Doom Plan is in.
I’ve spent a good hour or two transcribing this beast, and now I fear that all my cleverness has been zapped into oblivion by its inanity.
I’ve got nothin’ left.
So I’m going to ask you all a big favor: just as I made my own “edits” to Kingsdale’s anti-doula letter, I’d like you to add your own (snarky, sarcastic, evidence-based, empowering, illuminating, etc.) edits to their birth plan in the comments section. What’s more, I’ll feature your (and perhaps a few of my) edits in my next post.
Fun, right? It will be like a carnival of humor and disgust and birth-empowerment, with a few Columbus, Ohio OB/GYNs featured as the carnival clowns.
So without further ado, LET THE SNARK (AND THE HEAD-EXPLODEY-SPLODE) BEGIN!
Kingsdale Birth Plan
The physicians at Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates congratulate you on your pregnancy and hope that your journey through pregnancy, labor, delivery and beyond is exactly what you wish for. Our primary goal is to provide you and your baby with the medical expertise, experience and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery and a wonderful experience.
We recognize that this is a very busy time for you and your family and wish to help minimize the work ahead of you by providing our advice and philosophy in this “birth plan.” By understanding how we practice and why, we feel that any other formal birth plans (often recommended by books and websites) are unnecessary. If you have specific requests not discussed in this birth plan, please speak directly with your care provider about them.
IV’s: Patients often ask us if IV’s are necessary in labor. The answer is “yes.” Although we usually give IV fluids through the “hepwell” to keep you hydrated and nourished through the labor process, the most important part is the “hepwell” itself. If we run into an emergency situation where your life (and the life of your baby) is in jeopardy, we do not want to lose time to intervene by not having IV access. This is obviously a rare occurrence, but often an unexpected one.
Nourishment in labor: We usually limit women to ice chips and popsicles during labor. This is not designed as an attempt to starve you. Women often get nauseated, and sometimes vomit, during labor, which can be not only miserable but also dangerous. In addition, if emergency surgery is required, an empty stomach will predispose you to much less risk. Of course, we will give you nourishment and hydration through the IV as necessary.
Anesthesia: We respect a patient’s desire for pain control, or lack thereof, in labor. The hospitals have multiple options for pain control including positioning techniques (birth balls, etc.), IV pain medication, and regional anesthesia. Labor, unfortunately, is a painful process. It is also an unpredictable process and we thus encourage you to have an open mind about your pain control needs. Some labors are quite rapid and tolerable while others require a great deal of patience and intervention.
Labor without anesthesia: If your goal is to labor without an epidural, we do recommend that you attend an in-depth birthing class that teaches you about focal points and breathing techniques. The labor and delivery nurses are also quite skillful at helping women with alternative positioning that will help both with the labor and the birthing processes. Although you will always be supported in your decision to labor without pain control, you can always change your mind if necessary.
IV pain medication: IV pain medication if available for use during labor. The medication can often make women a little sleepy and is said to “take the edge off.” It will not completely alleviate the discomfort of labor. We try not to use IV pain medication close to the time of the actual delivery as it depress the baby’s drive to breathe.
Epidurals: Both Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University Medical Center have anesthesiologists assigned to the labor and delivery unit who are readily available for the placement of epidurals. There are unfortunately occasional delays in placement secondary to demand, but the anesthesiologists will always respond as quickly as possible. The epidural anesthesia is the most common form of anesthesia for labor and delivery because it provides good pain control with little or no effect on the baby. The epidural will make you somewhat numb from the waist down, therefore you are generally not able to walk after placement. The nurses will continue to help you with position changes that will facilitate the birthing process.
The choice to use anesthesia or not is ultimately your choice. There may be situations where we will recommend certain pain management options for you in order to provide the healthiest and safest option for you and your baby. Ultimately, we want the birthing process to be one you can enjoy and remember fondly.
Fetal monitoring: In order to provide the safest possibly delivery, we feel that fetal monitoring is important during labor in order to assure that your baby is tolerating the process well. We often accomplish this with continuous external monitors that are placed against your abdomen with elastic belts. We will occasionally allow intermittent monitoring during walking and the hospitals have protocols for these times. If we are concerned about the adequacy of labor or fetal wellbeing, we occasionally use internal monitors, which are more precise. The intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC) is a device that goes next to the baby to monitor the strength and frequency of contractions. The fetal scalp electrode is applied superficially to a baby’s scalp to get the most accurate fetal heart monitoring. We will not use these internal devices unless we feel they are medically indicated.
Labor support: We do recommend that you have a good support person or two during labor. We recommend this person to be a spouse, partner, family member or close friend that you feel comfortable sharing such an important event with. We recommend that you choose someone who will give you comfort when needed, let you rest when needed and who will add to your experience, not take away from it. The labor and delivery nurses and doctors together act as “doulas” in a sense that we will be your advocate to provide positioning options, pain control and pushing techniques to make the process as easy as possible. Your support person should be there to do just that–give support.
Mode of delivery: Our goal is to provide you and your baby the safest delivery. We do occasionally need to do c-sections for delivery when it is necessary for you or your baby. We never do c-sections for our own convenience. If it looks like this may be needed for delivery, we will of course discuss this with you and your support person in detail. We occasionally need to use forceps and vacuum extraction devices to facilitate vaginal birth, but again, this is always for maternal or fetal indication and will be discussed with you and your support person at the time.
Episiotomies: During the pushing process, the labor and delivery nurse and/or physician will likely perform perineal massage in order to stretch the tissue to accommodate the baby’s head and reduce the risk of tearing. Although we try to avoid cutting episiotomies, this safe procedure is sometimes required to facilitate birth and to avoid severe tearing. We promise to use our medical expertise and experience to make the best and safest decision for you and your baby. The physicians at Kingsdale do not cut episiotomies solely due to “routine” practice.
After delivery: The birth of your child is truly an amazing event. We want you to be able to bond with your baby as quickly as possible. If the baby does not require immediate resuscitation, we will usually place the baby on your abdomen or chest, stimulate the baby there, and allow your support person to cut the umbilical cord. Unfortunately there are situations that necessitate quick response from the pediatric staff in order to care for your baby. This usually occurs in your room at the infant warmer. If you and your baby are doing well after delivery, we will try to keep the baby in your room with you as long as possible, often transporting both of you to the postpartum floor together. If desired, you may attempt “skin-to-skin” care and breastfeeding at this time. With c-sections it is often necessary to take the baby to the nursery prior to your own transport. In these situations, we will try to get you to your room as quickly as possible to reunite you and your baby.
We hope that this clarifies many of the questions about the birthing process that you may have along the way. Please feel free to ask questions and obtain clarification if needed from your individual provider.
“Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect. For what has happened? A miracle. You have exchanged nothing for the possibility of everything.” -William MacNeile Dixon