UPDATE: The Petition reached 35,000 signatures and is now closed! Way to go, supporters!
TRIGGER ALERT: Although I do not get into much of what happened, the summary can be upsetting enough.
Are you familiar with the news about Olivia Marie Coats? She was a perfectly healthy baby being born, until the doctors used forceps to pull her from the womb. Her skull was crushed and spine fractured. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened. And equally unfortunate, is the fact that many babies “survive” the use of forceps to enter the world, however, they suffer permanent or long-term brain damage, blindness, bleeding in the skull, seizures, facial injuries etc.
This is a tough subject. I’m sure there are many instances where forceps saved their child’s life, and/or mother’s life during delivery. It is difficult to say anything against those instances. I don’t know anyone personally who has shared their positive forceps experience with me, but I hope to hear them sometime. I imagine it is difficult for a doctor to make the call of emergency c-section versus an assisted extraction. In any case though, I simply find it so odd that it was ever decided that something like this picture below would be a good idea to use to pull on a baby’s head. It looks more fitting to serve a salad.
Although there are dangers to the use of vacuums too, they make a little more sense to me. What makes the most sense though is giving women the freedom and encouragement that our bodies were MADE for that moment. Well-intentioned (usually…I hope?) doctors have taken over the reigns with today’s interventions. All women should see The Business Of Being Born, in my opinion. This documentary explains how medical interventions are a slippery slope to go down. One often leads to another, and another, and another. Childbirth is HARD. Duh, right? No, I mean besides the mother’s physical labor…the entire ordeal is difficult because there are so many variables to it between the parents, doctors, midwives, doulas, providers, insurance, family, location, resources, and the recovery…emotional as well.
Something I struggled with is reflecting on the path I took during labor. I know exactly when everything went downhill…did my decisions ultimately lead to my c-section? Or was it inevitable? I’ve searched for answers that are not mine to find. Perhaps my baby really was mal-positioned and too big for me? Maybe it wasn’t “my fault” that I listened to them and got the epidural when they suggested? I like to think about how maybe I didn’t have an “unnecessarean”, after all. It comforts me to think that, despite my c-section and its rough aftermath, continuing to push with Tangerine stuck the way he was may have resulted in the use of forceps, or worse…and who knows what could have happened. There can always be “should haves, could haves, and would haves”, but nothing I can do about it now though. Some people get “lucky”, the stars align, and labor/delivery goes just fine, or even better…AMAZING. More and more though, interventions are becoming the norm. I always come back to, “if only I had known more”, but that makes me feel guilty and angry. Angry that plenty of people don’t know anything and it works out just fine, so why not me? Angry that I expected to be in the hands of experts. After all, they do this everyday. I should believe them, I thought. That is not always the case. While I don’t believe doctors are evil and uncaring, the issue(s) seems to be bigger. Legal, financial, pharmaceutical, political.
Anyway, I digress to connect this to me, and it’s not about me. It may not be about you, but it could be in the future it affects your future children, grandchildren, loved ones. I have been haunted by Olivia’s “story” for days and simply cannot imagine the pain her parents are in, as well as the numerous families affected by a birth-related injury at the “hands” of forceps. A childhood friend of mine is currently dealing with the ongoing medical treatment of her son, delivered by forceps causing skull fractures, intercranial bleeding/swelling, and brain damage. My heart breaks for her, her sweet son, and their family as they continually go through procedures, surgeries, tests, etc. She has shared a petition with her online friends to help make a change. Please consider signing this petition to ban the use of forceps, and spare other other families from these accidentally inflicted sorrows.
Maybe it’s the educator in me, but I am big on reflection. I think everyone should reflect, ponder changes, and grow. Simply because these tools have been included in the childbirth process somewhere along the line, does not mean we should accept them forever without question. With increasing instances of issue, perhaps it is time to reevaluate forceps, and many other aspects about childbirthing in America. I’m not sure where I stand on them being completely banned, but I do believe there should be some investigation into how they are currently used and serving birthing mothers and newborns. Please sign this petition for my friend if you think that forceps do not belong in the delivery room. Thank you for your help in increasing awareness!This is my necessary disclaimer that this blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure. I am only a mom with an education background. I must let you know that any essential oils statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. I simply approve for myself and family of such things that I deem safe, effective, and positively life-transformative. I encourage you all to be informed and empowered with your health. Also, some of my posts may contain affiliate links. When you click them, you help me to cover a small portion of the cost of this blog. I appreciate your support so that I can continue to do what I love. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Odds & Evans’ ideals, my personal use, and those I believe would be of value to my readers.