09/08/2014 02:22 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2014

On Hospitals' Dominance of Birthing & Inducement

I'm sharing a letter from a friend who's just had her second child --
at home, sans drugs -- and now realizes how badly the medical industry
managed her first delivery.

I was both delighted and heartbroken when my old friend
shared this with me, and with her permission, I am publishing
this, which may be of utility for other Moms-to-be.

Dateline: London, England 09/08/14, 12:18 GMT

Yeah I'm good. Just settling into our new life.

So much better than last time, physically and emotionally. I can actually
sit down and walk and reckon I might even be able to have sex in the
not-too-distant future, too! It took 8 months last time, I was so mutilated --
basically, because I was badly managed by a midwife.

It was a thoroughly empowering birth, not just because I did the whole
thing in my own home with no drugs, but mostly because I was proven right
and the hospital proven wrong. The baby showed no signs of being overdue
and the midwife said my placenta was the healthiest she'd seen in ages.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get with the way they [hospitals]
deal with you. I was told by one midwife: "You're 42 weeks, so you have to be
induced." When I disputed that, she admitted, "Well, of course, it's your choice"
but I was made to feel like I was genuinely putting myself and my baby at risk,
despite having been monitored and measured and assessed and nothing found
to be amiss. To reach 42 weeks is still within 'term,' so I wasn't even
officially overdue at that point.

[My husband] said if it had been him, he would have gone for the induction,
as he would have been too scared. And that is the response of most women.
There's so little data on women who go post-term, because of this automatic
bureaucratic medicalization of birth, which is purely aimed at avoiding
litigation and following protocol, rather than taking each pregnancy case-by-case.

Total bullsh*t.

Luckily, [my husband] didn't express this and was thoroughly supportive of my
decision, though I knew he was nervous.

I actually went to see an acupuncturist on the advice of my midwife and,
regardless of what she did with her needles (which were strangely powerful,
though I'm not a real believer), she was so encouraging and supportive and
gave me some really good advice on how to deal with the hospital. I started
having contractions a few hours later.

Anyway, the whole thing was a fascinating adventure, which could so easily
have been another bloody nightmare. I'm so glad I stood my ground, but I
worry about the women who don't have the support to follow their instincts.
In the end, having a healthy baby is the only thing that really matters, but
I still think it's damaging to have your natural power stripped away in the
way I felt it had been with [our first child's] birth.

Rant over.