The Business of Pregnancy
After our close friends were scared with a false positive from a genetic test, we decided not to accept genetic testing for our own pregnancy. Sadly, our friends spent the whole pregnancy worried if their unborn child was going to have down syndrome and guess what, he didn’t. After we asked our doctor what the benefits of knowing if the child was going to have down syndrome or autism ahead of time, was met with a tepid, “preparation,” we decided we would love our child either way and forego the extra testing. Other issues would appear in the 20-week sonogram anyway. The sonograms reported everything was okay and that was enough for us. However, it was not enough for our doctors. They seemed to push the tests in the first and second pregnancy every visit until it was impossible to take the tests and generally condescended our decision not to opt for further testing of our two little girls. For us, waiting 18–20 weeks to find out the sex our baby was just fine.
The truth is that we weren’t profitable patients.
We went to each appointment, but my wife wasn’t a high-risk pregnancy. In other words, she hadn’t had high-blood pressure, or felt pains, or wasn’t past a certain age or weight. My wife was healthy, active, and engaged in her pregnancy. She read as much as possible about her pregnancy and wanted to meet our two daughters in a healthy stress-free environment.
Sadly, towards the end of both pregnancies, even sadder for first parents because they do not know the monetary processes involved, we started to notice how our more natural bent floated with the doctors. The second time around, near week 41 my wife was sent for a sonogram, which stated that our baby was about 9 lbs +/- 1 pound. The doctor immediately said my wife needed a c-section.
We asked “why?” My wife’s first birth was vaginal. She did not have diabetes. She did not have high blood pressure. She was not overweight.
“Her frame is too small.” The Doctor said as if this information settled the debate. My wife’s mother is shorter and more petit than my wife and delivered 4 baby girls vaginally with no complications. One of her babies, my wife, weighed over 9lbs. The doctor’s standard response was that each pregnancy is different. True. But. As of yet my wife’s pregnancy had not had any complications.
If the baby did not come naturally, we wanted to be induced and try a vaginal birth first. It was a non-starter. The doctor at 40+ weeks said he was not willing to accept our treatment plan and sent us to get a different opinion knowing quite well that there was little opportunity of being seen by another doctor this late in the pregnancy. Needless-to-say, that we were perturbed.
The next morning, my wife was having contractions 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute, so at around 3 AM we drove to a hospital 40 minutes away because the nearest hospital did not accept our insurance and the other belonged to our practice where we had had a terrible experience with out first child. Once there, we explained our situation and helpful, caring, nurses went above and beyond their duty and got us in contact with a doctor that would see us that very day.
The doctor agreed to our treatment plan and warned us about the possibility of a c-section. We immediately explained we were not against the option, and if necessary we would definitely and wholeheartedly embrace the experience. However, they understood that we would prefer to attempt a vaginal birth first. They advised us that my wife was in labor and it would probably be that evening. 30+ hours later our baby girl arrived vaginally and she weighed 9.8lbs. She was huge! My wife is 5'3", and tore less than with our first 7lb girl.
The next day my wife was bathing herself. I was amazed. She couldn’t do that for a week after our first child.
My wife is a reasonable woman, she accepted an epidural when the pain became too much, but she was also willing to trust her body. She was willing set her treatment plan and stick to it and most of all seek a second opinion when a doctor could not give us specific statistics on risks that were apparently threatening her.
I write this because giving birth has become a business and, unfortunately, if one is not educated in the business of birth the doctor’s birthday, as our doctor—pushing for the c-section—admitted to us, might prompt a c-section, rather than the body and baby’s natural timeframe.