Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1801
The average American hospital birth goes like this:
The woman is on her back with legs up. The baby's labor has been induced so that mother is likely on narcotic pain medications (epidural). Often medical caregiver has one leg and the husband or doula has been instructed to be at her other leg to push her bent legs up to her chest as she pushes. The doctor and nurses loudly instruct her when to start and stop pushing. As the baby's head emerges, the body has not yet turned as it will do so as the birth proceeds. The head is often grasped by the caregiver to begin pulling on the baby. On the push that makes the head fully out, the OB will manually rotate the head to have better visual and physical access to the baby's mother to begin suctioning. THIS process is the FIRST INJURY to the baby's head, shoulders, and hips and the foundation for many, many, many medical and chiropractic visits throughout the lifetime. Shortly the baby is born into the gloved hands of a physician and immediately a nurse begins to roughly dry off the baby with stiff hospital quality towels. With astounding skills of orchestration, the physician is clamping the baby's umbilical cord and very shortly it is cut. THIS is the most DAMAGING action a human being can do to another, a newborn baby.
Sometimes the baby is held up for the mother to see -- a swift movement from position of exiting the womb to upright in bright lights and noisy room. Occasionally, the nurse will allow the mother to have her baby up to her face for an early peek of her baby. Most often, the baby is then whisked away to the hospital cart for interventions such as increased resuscitation measures, continued scrubbing, shots, weighing, and measuring. THIS is the MOST DETRIMENTAL thing another human being can to do a mother and newborn.
What does the majority of American baby get?
Induction of baby's labor (disruption of baby's physiological need)
Mother in supine position (making her pelvic outlet up to 30% smaller)
Rough first touch by a stranger
Early cord clamping
Harsh, violating resuscitation
Separation from the mama
Today I want to focus on Resuscitation
The cord is meant to pulse in order to move placental blood to the baby. This blood is important for the baby to have now. Early cord clamping results in a disruption to the lungs, the heart, the liver, and the brain -- and every other system of the baby. When left intact the cord will pulse (move) the placental blood to the baby. This is very rich blood that is meant to support the baby during the transition from water to air breathing. The blood enters the lungs and begins to filled the collapsed alveoli sacs and to push the the amniotic fluid from the lungs so the baby can take first breath without fluids in the lungs. This often takes minutes to complete during which time the newborn is "breathing" through the umbilical cord. When the lungs are ready -- blood enriched, fluid removed -- the baby takes his or her first breath of air. Medical caregivers initiate panicked maneuvers immediately to get the baby breathing with zero regard for the need for the intact cord to pump the enriched placental blood.
Perhaps cesarean born children have lifelong problems with breathing because their lungs never cleared the fluids. Compression of the chest during vaginal birth prepares the lungs for expelling fluids and cesarean born child do not experience this and their cords are clamped immediately because of the need to close the mother's incision. It seems possible that there might be away to keep the cord intact and remove the placenta attached -- if there were a will to do so. Either way, cesarean birth is quite inherently dangerous to both mother and baby and clearly, is the cause of many lifelong physical and medical issues. I will refrain from launching into the emotional and psychological experience of the mother and baby during this.
Dr. George Morley, an obstetrician, is dedicated to the need to stop the early cord clamping that is happening routinely. I met Dr. Morley in April, 2005, at the Future of Birth conference in Columbia, MO. He stole the show and a new break out was created for him to continue. Most of us have had disrupted birth and our transition to air breathing was very violated. Spiritually, in every religion, there is reference to breath as our connection to our Maker, God, or whatever name to which one refers. Our human search for connection with our Divinity and to God, I believe, is found in the breathe. Our struggle and seeming inability as humans, I believe is related to birth and our early cord cutting experience -- that coincides with harsh, rough handling by medical caregivers and separation from our mother, the safe God(des) we have known in our journey from a spiritual world to this physical body sustained only by her. In modern life how could our mother be anything less than the most important person in our life from whom we are challenged to separate and at the same time so mysteriously drawn to stay so connected with?
From Dr. Morley's amazing site: http://www.cordclamp.com/Why%20Do%20Babies%20Cr1.htm
Although the pulmonary vessels are fully developed in the fetus, only a tiny amount of blood (about 5% of cardiac output) flows through them due to intense vasoconstriction of the pulmonary arterioles. The nutritive blood supply to the lungs is from the bronchial arteries that arise from the aorta. The collapsed alveoli (air sacs) are filled with amniotic fluid.
Oxygenated blood is red, de-oxygenated blood is blue, and at the moment of birth, a normal newborn is circulating a mixture of blue and red blood. The color (lips and tongue) of a healthy newborn at birth is a pinkish purple; the child has been this color for nine months and normal placental function (cord pulsating) will maintain this color until the lungs function.
When the lungs are functioning, the umbilical vessels close, the ductus venosis closes, the hepatic portal vein is open, the foramen ovale closes, the heart is two sided, the cardiac output from the right ventricle (blue blood) goes through the lungs and is oxygenated, the left ventricular output (red blood) goes through the body, the ductus arteriosus closes, the pulmonary arterioles are open, the alveoli are full of air and the child turns from purple to pink. All of this complicated process is coordinated and controlled by the child’s reflexes; it usually happens within three or four minutes of birth. What makes it happen?
All babies are born soaking wet, and on meeting the atmosphere, the skin cools; this triggers two reflexes:
1. The cold crying reflex – cold, wet diapers produce the same result, crying.
2. The cold pressor reflex – cold skin raises blood pressure.
In order to cry, the child must first take a deep breath, and an inspiratory “gasp” is often the first sign, triggered by cold, that a child is going to cry or breathe. Contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles increase thoracic volume and create negative intra-thoracic pressure. Once air is in the lungs, another reflex is triggered that relaxes the pulmonary arterioles; this causes an enormous increase in pulmonary blood flow.
The cold pressor reflex increases the blood pressure in the aorta, and this may be sufficient to reverse blood flow through the ductus arteriosus causing more blood to flow through the lungs.
The cord is also cooling, and the cord is a well-designed self-refrigerator. It has no skin and blubber to keep it warm like the child. It contains only the cord vessels surrounded by a watery gel, Wharton’s jelly, covered by a single layer of cells, the amnion. Water evaporation cools it rapidly, causing the vessels to constrict; this further helps to raise systemic blood pressure and to reverse ductus arteriosus flow.
At the same time, a large transfusion of placental blood is being forced into the child by gravity and/or by uterine contraction, greatly increasing cardiac output and pulmonary blood flow. The net result of these changes is a large amount of blood flowing into the left atrium from the lungs, which raises left atrial pressure and closes the foramen ovale – the heart changes from one-sided to two-sided. The lungs are now oxygenating blood that is pumped round the body by the left ventricle – the child turns pink.
I believe how babies are treated in their birth coming into this world is CRIMINAL CHILD ABUSE by medical caregivers from beginning to end -- labor to leaving the hospital. I believe the message in the experience of leaving the mother's safe womb and coming into this world message is "Welcome to the cold, cruel world, kid." The handling by strangers who are hurried and disregardful of the sacred baby and the early cord clamping causes a horrific violation of the baby physically and spiritually and leads to the separation from the mother which is a tragic scar in the mother-baby relationship.
The medical caregiver (doctor or nurse) has only to pass educational and licensing requirements. They are not checked out like I have to be to work with children --- fingerprints, background check. One does not know who is caring for her and her baby in the medical system. It is rampant with drug addiction and people with serious personal problems just like in every profession and walk of life. Medical caregivers are self-overseeing of what happens in medicine and the focus is self-preservation. There is no standard of medical care for pregnant and laboring and birthing women and babies. There is no standard for even reporting medical treatment and mortality -- it is reported that infant and maternal mortality is severely under reported. The foxes are allowed to manipulate and create the illusion of what happens to the hens who disappear.
Steve Harris, MD - arrogantly BOASTS about law enforcement looking the other way: "Without enforcement, there is no law. Without law, there is no crime. These are elementary principles. Get an adult to explain them to you."http://groups.google.com/group/misc.kids.pregnancy/
Just this week I found another writer, Dr. Todd Gastaldo, (above reference) who has also been writing about this as child abuse. He has written about how "Medical associations/societies fail to protect "pregnant" women and the "newborn" citizens." I have have written much about the need for malpractice reform to include the poor, non-science based protocols and treatment of women and babies, and the need to somehow come together to create a way for the obstetric medical system to stop what they are doing without an all-out litigation war.
And, perhaps what it would take is the onslaught of litigation based on the REAL transgressions in obstetric care. Dr. Todd Gastaldo suggests "Pardons in Advance" would be fair for medical malpractice. (Google his name or visit http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/chiro-list/message/1897.) However this would be addressed, the other concern I have long contemplated is how for doctors, nurses, and consumers to go beyond that to the actual forgiveness for co-creating it. One has to remember that doctors and nurses are themselves so brainwashed and indoctrinated that they have also allowed their own children to be birthed in this violating system -- without knowing it is violating. The American society is the walking numb from decades and decades of birthing under the influence of narcotics. We are the proverbial tale of the frog sitting helpless in the boiling pot of water. http://www.boilingfrog.ca/why.html
Over one hundred plus years of increasing medical technology and the decreased mortality rates from the forties to the fifties -- because of antibiotics, sanitation, and nutrition, more than saddleblocks , forceps and surgery which are more the reason it has NOT continued to decline like in countries where natural birth with midwives is the standard. Most of us did not feel the heat getting hotter and hotter. Unbelievably to me, is that even now, the average person, not even the medical caregiver THINKS, FEELS, SEES, or PROCESSES what is going on, what they are participating in, and promoting. It is mind-boggling to me to hear NURSES forcing the medically, ethically, and morally CONTRA-INDICATED treatment of a baby. Today nurses really, truly believe that they MUST roughly, harshly scrub the newborn within seconds of his or her entrance to STIMULATE them to breathe. They have never seen a placenta pulse for thirty minutes as the MOTHER'S BODY cares for her struggling newborn --- JUST LIKE IT DID FOR TEN PREVIOUS MONTHS. A baby with a low APGAR has that score most likely BECAUSE of some aspect of the BIRTH experience. He NEEDS his mother's body to regulate him.
From one of my readers in London:
I'm in the UK so things are a little different here. The majority of women are cared for by a midwife, and if there are medical circumstances that might permit the need for an OB, then the midwife refers the woman to an OB [this is in the context of a hospital birth, not birthing centres/home birth etc] I remember watching US birth shows, and was pretty shocked about how intervention friendly it was out there for circumstances that didn't need it. Is it about money? The way doctors are taught out there? I haven't watched Pregnant in America yet, but I'm hoping that'll answer some questions. Not only that, but in some programmes I saw, the staff were so disrespectful, I'm amazed they allowed it to air [2 residents doing a ventouse delivery, one saying, "What's that, that's weird!" while staring at the pushing woman's vulva. I honestly had no words at the time, my jaw just dropped]
Something very serious is happening to us in America -- that we allow our babies to be so man- and woman-handled by medical caregivers. I have said this before -- modern obstetric birth is creating warriors. The focus is now on peace and ending this war --- Peace IS the absence of WAR. We can't seem to have "peace" without having the war. As a society we need to focus on creating HARMONY in our homes, our lives, and with the birthing of our children -- not starting wars. Harmony is more of a state of being, not an absence of war and conflict either within or throughout the world. Such simple things in birth, such as letting the cord complete pulsing really could change the world.... one baby at a time.
IMAGINE the world we could create if every baby:
- is conceived wanted and welcomed at conception by two loving adults who are physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially prepared to be parents
- has complete nutrition and a toxin-free womb in order to build a healthy, fully functioning brain and body
- felt safe and protected by parents, and without stress throughout pregnancy and birth
- was connected with and nurtured by parents throughout pregnancy, at birth, and beyond
- has his or her own biologically programmed impulse and timing for birth while in continued relationship with the mother and safety of the father
- completes the biologically programmed “self-attachment” sequence of coming to the breast in his or her own timing – resting in the arms of the mother and father, without interventions
Oh, what a wonderful world it could be .......... and it can only happen by reforming obstetric medical care to give the power and control back to birthing women, by legalizing midwifery in a REFORM that includes a national STANDAR OF CARE in maternal and newborn care.
We need to create LAWS based on physiology and science to be enforced in the care of women and newborns.