Monday, April 2, 2012

The Pink Room, birthing theatres

As I am sitting at the computer, I hear the TV news. In Australia, The mother of a baby who died during an unassisted water birth said the newborn's umbilical cord was pulsing moments after she was delivered, a coronial inquest in Sydney has heard.

Roisin Fraser died during an unassisted "free birth" at the Sydney home of her parents, Janet Fraser and Trevor Stokes, in March 2009.

Following the birth, which took place in a purpose-built pool, the baby girl was red in the face, limp and unresponsive.

Ms Fraser had written and published articles in favour of free births since 2003 on a website called Joyous Birth.

She had given birth twice before, once via caesarean section and once by unassisted free birth.

Ms Rees said Ms Fraser found the experience of giving birth by caesarean section traumatic, describing it as "birth rape" on her website.

Out of my mum's 9 children, I was the first of four babies born in the hospital. I was born in Borneo. My mum was a great believer of hospital births. She said the doctors and nurses were experienced, and the hospital had facilities. Do you know how much work is involved in a home birth? Mum asked. Helen, the second baby of our set of twins would have died, if she wasn't born in the hospital without the quick thinking of the mid wife.

When it came to my turn to deliver my babies, I was in New Zealand. It was getting fashionable for natural childbirth in 1984. National Women's hospital modified a theatre to make it as much like home as possible. They called it The Pink Room. I wasn't offered this option, as it was my first birth, and I was 30, an old first birther. They played some music, and I don't think they had water births then.

After my first delivery, I told my daughter, I wanted to kill her. Her 26 hours labouring almost killed me. Had I chosen to stay at home and have a free birth, both mother and baby would have died. I had a dry delivery, my water broke a day early, and when she came, there was no water to provide the lubricant to help slide her out of me. Few hours prior to that, a nurse used a contraception to remove the water that remained, otherwise, according to her, labour won't begin and I risk infection. It was excruciating, and I can still feel the churning of the egg whisk inside me, and the sound cruck cruck. By the time, she was coming, I was too tired to push, she was too tired and looked like an old dry prune.

Of course, you all have read about Andrew's birth. If I had him at home, he would have died perhaps 1 hour after birth and not after 55 days. I had that 55 days to love and cherish him.

Last year, I met up with Andrew's peadrician, Dr Salim Aftimos. I asked him about the new system that midwives delivered babies. He said, if there was no complications, things would be fine. But who is to tell, many of the complications don't make a prior appointment. If it happens, it is too late. He has daughters, and he strongly advised them to go to the doctors.

I am an advocate of hospital births. I am a member of Sands. I meet with newly bereaved mothers.

Why these photos of the pink curtain? The pink room!!!! I teach ESOL at Mt Albert Baptist Church. The space I use is actually the Music room or Music storeroom. The pink drapes hide the paraphernalia of the musicians. When I am there, I think of the other Pink Room.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you that it is only a good idea to give birth unassisted if you are certain that there are no medical complications. I think it is irresponsible for a doctor to allow any mother to give birth unsupervised if she has had the slightest problem. Having said that my second child was born at home and I personally did feel safer then. During the hospital birth of my first child, mothers were left alone and screaming for long periods, and it was very distressing and I was terrified that I too would be left alone with nobody coming no matter how I screamed, and nobody being there perhaps even when the baby was being born. It was like a baby factory.

    The doctor and midwife were with me at home for the birth of my second child, and I felt much safer as they only had me to focus on.