Drugs or no drugs when giving birth? And why all medical sensors should be wireless!

Here’s my post on how people do not agree on what "natural childbirth" is or should be and how all my problems could have been solved with two little wireless sensors.

I was firmly against drugs during labor unless I changed my mind during labor.  (How’s that for a decision! But having never been in labor, I didn’t figure I could really decide till I was there.)  You would not believe the number of people that acted like I was crazy and tried to talk me into drugs!  I’m not a big fan of pain and I wasn’t going drugless to be natural or tough or to prove a point.  If you could give me drugs during labor that would take away the pain and still let me walk around, I probably would have opted for them in the beginning.  I believe that vaginal births work better if women can get up, walk around, use the birthing ball, or just find the sitting or standing position that works best for them.   When I’m in pain, I don’t lie flat on my bed – when my stomach hurts I usually hold it and curl around it.  Look at any kid with an injury – they don’t lie flat on their backs – they curl around the pain.

I knew the minute I accepted drugs I would be entering into a spiral that would end with me trapped in bed.  And I was right.  Once you get any drugs, you have an IV going into you and they want to keep you attached to the machine that monitors you and the baby.  So at that point you have two machines/stands that have to go everywhere with you plus at least 3 cables and tubes coming out of you.

Here’s how it happened for me:

  • My water broke,
  • Caleb was in distress,
  • They made me lie in bed while they figured out what was distressing him,
  • I wasn’t allowed to move – not even sit up, until they figured it out,
  • They attached a sensor to the top of Caleb’s head with a wire that came out and attached to a machine next to me,
  • They put a balloon like thing in the uterus next to Caleb to time the contractions more accurately, with a wire that came out and attached to a machine next to me,
  • Caleb had the cord wrapped around his neck and sometimes he wasn’t getting enough oxygen,
  • They inserted a catheter into me with a tube that came out,
  • At which point I gave up on any notions of "natural" and I asked for an epidural,
  • The epidural doctor gave me a hard time about changing my mind from no drugs to an epidural,
  • The epidural meant I had yet more tubes attached to more machines,
  • I threw up because pain killers make me sick, so I got some anti-nausea medicine which I think meant another tube but I’m not sure,
  • I fell asleep because the anti-nausea medicine makes you drowsy. 

So I had a vaginal birth.  Was it natural?  Not really.  Would I have had it any other way, i.e. less drugs or cables?  Not with the cord wrapped around Caleb’s neck!

BUT, I think it would have all been different if the sensor they attached to Caleb’s head and the sensor that timed contractions had been wireless.  Then I wouldn’t have been attached to any machines, and assuming Caleb reacted well, I could have still moved.  Why don’t they make wireless sensors when we have wireless phones, wireless computers, wireless copiers, wireless garage door openers?  I don’t know.  My theory is that the people designing the sensors never bothered to interview the women in labor, the users, about them.  The nurse tried to tell me they didn’t have wireless sensors because the heart is an electro-magnetic organ and that would some how interfere with the measurements.  I pointed out that even my heart rate monitor is wireless!

So I wasn’t trying to be "natural,"  I was trying to have the easiest, quickest and healthiest birth.  I think taking drugs and lying on your back makes it harder and longer.  I think a C-section makes the recovery a lot harder.  I think staying at home makes it more dangerous.  (We wouldn’t have known Caleb was having difficulties.) 

And I think medical device manufactures could help everybody by developing devices that take advantage of technology and deliver the best experience for their users.