Recently, we had a “super moon”. I was on call for this night, and I prepared for the worse. In residency, as in all folklore, there are days when you don’t want to be on call. Those include full moons, Friday the 13th and New Years eve. I was on call for the super moon. NOTHING HAPPENED!!
I don’t mean that it was a normal night, with healthy multiparous women labouring spontaneously. I mean nothing at all. That day, only one woman delivered. For the record, she was a first time mom, low risk, in midwifery care. She did not have an epidural. I, the obstetrician on call, was consulted for a dose of fentanyl, which I was happy to prescribe. However, by the time she was to get the medication, she had progressed too far, and went on to have a completely natural, unmedicated delivery, with midwives, in hospital.
Now, according to some, this event alone is rare as a super moon, or a blue moon. Or is it as rare as a super moon on the solstice? Nope, it is as common as any Saturday evening. To all the NCB crowd who say you cannot have a natural, unmedicated delivery in the hospital, I say you are LYING. Women delivery without intervention all of the time. Women with induced labours frequently forgo epidural. Women with induced labours deliver vaginally more often than they have a C-section. The whole point of inducing labour is to facilitate a vaginal delivery, we induce labour in a timely fashion so that the baby and mother will tolerate labour and have a vaginal delivery. If I wanted a mom to have a C-section, I wouldn’t recommend an induction, I would recommend a C-section. I don’t want to do a C-section on a laboring women at two in the morning any more than the mom wants to have a C-section at two in the morning. Of course, there are some women who would want that C-section, I am there to help, when needed.
That is the point. I spend 24 hours in the hospital, about once a week, just in case someone needs my help. I spend that time away from my husband, away from my children, not because I am making a lot of money, but because I want to be there if someone needs my help. I tell patients I see in clinic I hope I don’t see you in labour and delivery, because that means that things are not going as easily as they could.
This myth that women don’t have natural deliveries in hospitals is frustrating. Only a small proportion of women even want to have natural deliveries. Why should women care how other women deliver? If a women wants an epidural, they should get one. If a woman wants an unmedicated birth, they should be supported appropriately as well. If a woman wants a C-section, and they are appropriated counselled, they should have one. If a woman wants to have a vaginal breech delivery, a vaginal twin delivery or whatever, go for it. I am there to help you and your baby if needed. I truly hope you don’t need my help. How someone else delivers has no impact on your life.
All that matters is that mom was respected, safe decisions were made and the baby is well. That is a great delivery, and it should not happen just once in a blue or super moon. It should happen every day.