Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Tacit or Terse: Gaining Hospital Approval of Birth Pools

A woman in Murphy, North Carolina, called today and asked me to help her convince the local hospital to allow her to labor in water. Not an easy task considering the hospital administrative supervisor has already misrepresented the midwife and physician and flat out told the pregnant mother to "take her business elsewhere!" That manager was terse, but it is not advisable to respond with that same energy. What you want is the tacit (silent, but acknowledging) approval of your birth nurses and managers.

I did discuss whether is was feasible for this family to hire a midwife and stay at home, with a realistic look at what options would be available to her. No home birth midwives within a 3 hour radius. The hospital is clearly being discriminatory. The mother is on Medicaid and could never afford a home birth, even if she wanted one and there was a midwife available. So, we took a different tack and discussed the power of numbers.

"Go to the local grocery store on Saturday morning and talk about your desires for a water assisted labor with every single woman you know and even those you don't," I advised her. Find out what women think in her area and if there are more than a few women who would want this option, ask them to sign a petition. The hospital will find it much harder to turn down 10 or 20 women. The other advice was to find out where the nurse manager attends church and start a petition in that church after the service. Ask women what they think of water assisted labor and if they would consider going to a hospital close to their home if that hospital offered this service and the other one didn't. Talk to mothers about the value of keeping labor drug-free and how water assists them the most of all pain management modalities. And work with the local hospital midwives and family practice doctors to get their support.

I hope to get a report back from our experienced pregnant mother in a few weeks after circulating through her small town and speaking to women about birth. This is an example of "being BOLD" and speaking up for what you want and know will be good for you in your labor and birth experience.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello all, talk about deja vu. I am a midwife in the Riverland South Australia and have a very determined primip 32 yo who wants desperately to have a water birth at home and an enjoyable life experience. She has come to me at 30weeks and has begged me to help her. I have not delivered a baby since 1995,and had my last baby in 2004,but I am sure ,as in nursing, the basic human physiology has not changed ( not since I looked! LOL )I was lucky to have trained both nursing and midwifery hopital based in a very pro midwife environment , we also had a NICU.
I am confident of my skills as I have worked in the outback where you are it most of the time until a doctor can be found or flown in. I desperately want to help this woman and am afraid she is so determined that she may go thru with it at home with her partner unassisted. I have said that I will provide her antenatal sessions and info privately ,she is being lectured by both midwives and doctors re her wishes,pressure she does not need. Then she informed them she was going to be having antenatal sessions with me and I have received phonecalls from a particular doctor (who was a sit in med-student for my first pregnancy!)at home basically warding me off. He also contacted the South Australian Nurses board and gave my friend the name and number of someone there to contact regarding waterbirth and I can only assume me. I am due to renew my prac certificate this month and anticipate having some problems!?I also had my CV into the Regional hospital for a casual midwife position and have been informed off the record by a very sympathetic midw manager that my services although needed would not be considered if I continued to support this delivery choice. I discussed the whole circus with the woman and her partner in question so they could vent their
concerns. I was so internally enraged that I told her I would be happy to assist her delivery at home in birthing pool and suggested they might return to the doctor concerned and tell him that they had a change of heart and would be now delivering in hospital. I added if she felt uncomfortable with going about getting people off her back by having to lie then that was ok by me also. I, like this woman petitioning in question, am at my ropes end. I would really like to know how all her petitioning served the cause.
Nat Petri RN RM