May, 2052."You're fortunate to be living in this era," says Nonna, brown eyes Brown Eyes (브라운 아이즈) was a Korean musical duo, specializing in ballads. Although both members have powerful voices, they were initially disregarded because of their physical looks. twinkling above the dimples in her wrinkled cheeks.
Rachel sips at the red raspberry leaf The Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is a pale-green leaf produced the Raspberry plant; an upright shrub with perennial roots and prickly, biennial canes. The leaf has many medical uses due to its rich content in vitamins, minerals, and tannins. tea, the cup clinking clink 1
intr. & tr.v. clinked, clink·ing, clinks
To make or cause to make a light, sharp ringing sound: clinked their wineglasses together in a toast.
n. against the saucer as she sets it down to respond. Her grandmother is already talking again. "When I gave birth to your mother," she goes on, "I was not allowed to eat or drink."
Rachel's eyebrows shoot up. "The whole time?"
"That's right. Back in those days, all babies were born in hospitals--even healthy babies. Laboring mothers weren't allowed a single sip of water. I was so thirsty my tongue was swollen and sticking to the roof of my mouth. After many hours, I was given ice chips, but even that was taken away when I was caught swallowing some of the ice to stave off the gnawing hunger."
"That's horrible," Todd interjects, dropping down to perch on the Victorian loveseat beside his wife. "Having a baby is like ... running a marathon. What athlete would attempt such a feat dehydrated de·hy·drate
v. de·hy·drat·ed, de·hy·drat·ing, de·hy·drates
1. To remove water from; make anhydrous.
2. To preserve by removing water from (vegetables, for example). on an empty stomach?"
Nonna chuckles at his analogy. "You're right, of course. But you see, laboring women were not treated like athletes. We were treated like sick patients, like there was something wrong with us. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the doctors, our 'condition' was best treated with narcotics narcotics n. 1) techinically, drugs which dull the senses. 2) a popular generic term for drugs which cannot be legally possessed, sold, or transported except for medicinal uses for which a physician or dentist's prescription is required. , opioids, and surgical intervention. By 2005, the c-section rate went through the roof, with nearly one out of three mothers sliced open for delivery. From the doctors' point of view, laboring women were all potential targets for expensive surgery. That's why they starved us."
Rachel scowls, rubbing puffy hands over the swollen full-moon belly. "But labor can go on for hours--or even days," she notes.
"Especially when you're lying down with feet in stirrups stirrups The footholds in a lithotomy table , pushing uphill," the old woman acknowledges.
"That's absurd," Todd murmurs. "Why not let gravity work?"
Rachel shakes her head. "That position was designed to benefit doctors, not women"
"You're right," Nonna answers. "It placed us at a great psychological disadvantage, too. It allowed medical staff to treat us as objects, paying attention Noun 1. paying attention - paying particular notice (as to children or helpless people); "his attentiveness to her wishes"; "he spends without heed to the consequences"
attentiveness, heed, regard only to the 'business end,' as if we had no face, no heart, and no mind."
"I'm so glad no caregiver would think of using stirrups today," Rachel sighs, rubbing her belly again. "It's a wonder women were able to push at all."
"The doctors had ways of speeding up labor artificially," Nonna answers. "But the drugs sometimes caused uterine rupture Uterine rupture is a potentially catastrophic event during childbirth by which the integrity of the myometrial wall is breached. In an incomplete rupture the peritoneum is still intact. , killing the baby or causing permanent brain damage. One drug, Cytotec, was not even FDA-approved for obstetrical obstetrical, obstetric
pertaining to or emanating from obstetrics.
an anesthetic procedure designed especially for patients undergoing cesarean operation or intrauterine manipulation of the fetus. use. Eventually they had to stop using it." Rachel smiles, her face transformed. "So they went back to the natural ways?" she guesses.
"Not at first," her grandmother answers. "At first they skipped the contraction drugs and resorted to the knife much sooner."
Rachel looks down, distracted for a moment by the contracting of her own womb. "I'll go heat the rice bag," Todd offers, trotting to Nonna's kitchen with the hand-made cloth pouch. Nonna watches him round the corner, thinking how glad she is for Rachel.
At last Rachel's attention comes back to her grandmother's wizened wiz·ened
shrivelled, wrinkled, or dried up with age
Adj. 1. face. "Why did the women allow it?" she asks.
Nonna sighs, holding out empty hands. "We just didn't know better. Our own mothers were knocked out for birth. We thought we were making progress just by being awake. Some women realized things should be different, but it was a constant fight. I chose a hospital that was supposed to be supportive of natural birth. They still pulled the ice chip stunt. Before I registered, they said they allowed 'rooming in' so I would not be separated from my baby girl. But right after birth, they whisked her away! I begged for her, but they kept her 'under observation' for four hours. They also gave her sugar water against my wishes, and pushed to inject her with vaccines just hours after birth."
"That's horrid," Rachel clucks. "Why didn't women just stay away from hospitals? Have their babies at home?"
"Well, in Georgia it was illegal."
Rachel laughs. "How can birthing a child break a law?"
"Oh, it was not homebirth that was prohibited, so long as we did it alone! It was homebirth midwives they outlawed."
"So women could birth at home--but only without help?"
Nonna nods. "Things were different back in 2007 when your mother was born," she says. "For one thing, 8 out of 10 lawmakers were men. There had never even been a woman President. Women only earned 70 cents on the dollar. We didn't have the kind of power you gals have!" She beams at her granddaughter, so young and confident. "My next child--your Uncle Tim--was born at home with an 'illegal' midwife."
"Wow," Rachel whispers, throwing a glance at Todd as he tucks the warm rice bag into the small of her back, "There was a black market for midwifery midwifery (mĭd`wī'fərē), art of assisting at childbirth. The term midwife for centuries referred to a woman who was an overseer during the process of delivery. In ancient Greece and Rome, these women had some formal training. ?"
"Certainly. There were always women who refused to be mistreated, and there were always midwives willing to skirt the law to give excellent care. The legal risks were high for those midwives. Once in a while, a baby dies during birth. It happens sometimes, no matter where women give birth. In a hospital, these deaths were considered a statistical eventuality e·ven·tu·al·i·ty
n. pl. e·ven·tu·al·i·ties
Something that may occur; a possibility.
pl -ties . In the early 2000s, no one was charged for hospital deaths, even when the damage was clearly caused by uterine-rupturing drugs or overuse overuse Health care The common use of a particular intervention even when the benefits of the intervention don't justify the potential harm or cost–eg, prescribing antibiotics for a probable viral URI. Cf Misuse, Underuse. of pain-killers. It was extremely rare for a baby to die in a homebirth setting--but when it did happen the midwives were charged with manslaughter. In other cases, overdue women were jailed for refusing to have a c-section. It was actually against the law to disobey dis·o·bey
v. dis·o·beyed, dis·o·bey·ing, dis·o·beys
To refuse or fail to follow an order or rule.
To refuse or fail to obey (an order or rule). a doctor's orders "Doctor's Orders" is the title of an episode from the third season of the television series . Its episode number is 068, and it first aired on 18 February 2004. Plot summary
This is a summary of the beginning portion of the episode. ! Eventually it was the women who turned the tide."
"Through lawsuits?" Todd guesses.
"That was part of it." Nonna nods thoughtfully. "The studies showed clearly that it was doctors' drugs and fasting that caused most of the 'danger signals' (like blood pressure drops and changes in babies' heart rates) that led to the c-sections. But that went unreported for twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. ! It was not until women stood up for themselves that things changed. Women reporters talked about the studies on the six-o'clock news. Women journalists wrote about the prohibition of home midwifery and the barriers to natural childbirth natural childbirth: see birth.
Any of the systems (e.g., the Lamaze method) of managing birth without drugs or surgery. All begin with classes to teach pregnant women about the birth process, including when to push and what . Women doctors watched the signs instead of the clock. Business women opened natural birthing centers. Women were elected to office and they legalized homebirth midwifery in Georgia, and later nationwide. Most of all, laboring women refused to let their needs be sacrificed to hospital protocols and doctors' schedules. We had to insist on change!"
Nonna sets down her teacup. "We insisted on dignity. We did not let doctors push us into inductions or surgeries just to accommodate their schedules. Women who still used hospitals refused the wheelchair and the gown that were presented at check-in. Women refused to be starved, or to have their veins punctured with unnecessary IVs. Mothers refused to let doctors break their waters or insert electronic monitors in the baby's scalp. When we pushed our babies into the world with our own fierce power, then we refused to let them out of our sight."
Nonna smiles. "Eventually even the medical community came to recognize that birth is an act of motherhood, not an act of medical science. Today a laboring woman is not regarded as a body on a table, as if she and the baby needed some doctor to 'deliver' them from each other. Today women are honored as life-bringers."
Editors Note: This piece was originally published in a Georgia newspaper, The Catoosa County News. We found it inspiring, as well as a good reminder of what we are working towards--even though at this moment the state of birth in this country does not seem to be improving.
Jeannie Babb Taylor is a feminist author and entrepreneur from Ringgold, Georgia Ringgold is a city in Catoosa County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,422 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Catoosa CountyGR6. . Her weekly column, carried by several local papers, can be accessed at ontheotherhandcolumn.blogspot.com.