Thursday, March 6, 2014

An Update from Alliston, Ontario

My last post focussed on the difficulty a mom in Alliston, Ontario was having in trouble accessing her preferred method of birth - a maternal request cesarean. This post is intended to provide an update.

The baby arrived the day before yesterday, after an induced labour that lead to a normal delivery. The mother agreed to be induced by her OB because then she would be the doctor on-call so that if there were any bumps the mother felt the doctor would "be more lenient" in proceeding to a cesarean. The mother was able to get an epidural, and the baby arrived without any complications.

Prior to the delivery, the mother did all she could to secure a cesarean.

But the reality in Canada, even in 2014, is that sometimes even when you do all you can - it simply isn't enough.

I am also aware that it is possible that in this case, the mother will accept how things unfolded and might even be happy with the ultimate result. I do not believe she changed her mind about what she wanted to do - rather, she gave up on thinking that anything other than a trial of labour was going to happen, and under those circumstances made the best of it by choosing to be induced when her doctor was on-call and ensuring access to an epidural. It is her birth, and her feelings around it are for her to determine - and how she feels about it now might not be the same as she feels about 6 months or a year from now. Just as many women who plan on vaginal deliveries and ultimately wind up with cesareans are accepting and even happy as a result.

On the same token - there are many women who are forced into trials of labour and vaginal deliveries they do not want and are ultimately left psychologically scarred.

In closing I'd like to wish this mother my deepest congratulations on the arrival of her child and I'd like to thank all of those who offered advice and tried their utmost to assist in this situation. I'd also like to lament the fact that yet another mother has had her right to make a reasonable medical decision taken from her, and has made decisions that were ultimately very different from the ones she would have made had she been adequately supported. The physical outcome might have been better in this case - but I am by no means convinced that the overall outcome, the one that includes psychological health and well-being is better than what would have happened had her choice been supported.

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