How many parents hate their newborns?

Men's Health has an article today (July 31, 2008) titled, "I Hate My Newborn Baby!": A new dad confesses: They're not always bundles of joy

It is true: babies are not always perfect. Sometimes the babies are wonderful, but our expectation of what babies actually are is often unrealistic. However, in the case of this article, which is heartbreaking and all too common, the suffering of the baby and the parents was probably avoidable.

How many parents think it's 'normal' for babies to scream in agony for 19 hours a day? How many sleep deprived parents schlep to the doctor's office on weekly basis switching formula in an effort to stop their baby's pain due to "a little intestinal distress" that "is fairly common and nothing to worry about".

Eventually, the doctor decides perhaps the baby has a milk allergy and switches to a soy formula, which makes the baby so much worse the parents decide they'll have to take him to the E.R., but just before they leave, he falls asleep and all is well from that point on.

A milk allergy. That's sort of an understatement. Human babies are not designed to consume cows milk, which is what formula is made of. In fact, the advice is to not give babies under one year cows milk. But because it is common for parents to give babies artificial baby milk to infants, newborn pain and suffering is now considered 'fairly common and nothing to worry about'.

Parents need to know that it doesn't have to be that way so they don't have to feel the guilt of hating their babies.

Surprise! Baby born at campground.

The FDL Reporter carried the same story over two consecutive weekends (July 20, 2008 and July 27, 2008): A woman who didn't even know she was pregnant gave birth while camping.

The short version is she didn't know she was pregnant. While camping, she experiences some funky stomach cramps and her boyfriend goes to get her some OTC medication to make her feel better. She goes into the camp bathroom and births an 8 lb. baby girl. The screams of the mother and boyfriend bring a nurse running, and according the nurse, she saves the baby's life because the baby wasn't breathing and the nurse, "...doubts the baby would've survived until an ambulance arrived."

This is an 8 lb. baby later pronounced healthy.

Healthy babies have an instinct to breathe. A natural birth stimulates the baby to breathe. Babies delivered surgically sometimes don't breathe on their own. Babies born with narcotics in their system sometimes don't breathe on their own. Babies coming from a uterine environment that has been hyper-stimulated by pitocin may have experienced distress (like cord compression), meaning they may need help to begin breathing. Premature babies may not be able to breathe right away. Babies sick with RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome) may have breathing difficulties at birth. Babies who have been through a long hard labor due to malpositioning or something may be slow to start.

Healthy babies who are still attached to a pulsating cord may take their time in initiating breathing because they are still getting oxygen from the placenta and cord. Sometimes people who are not familiar with natural birth assume a baby isn't breathing because she isn't crying, which isn't always true. (And people assume that because a nurse knows how a healthy, undrugged newborn looks and acts, but this nurse was a geriactric nurse. She provides nursing for the elderly. And even if she was a neonatal nurse, I just had a client who had a HypnoBirthing(R) at an area hospital and the nurse commented afterwards at how inspiring and unusual it was, because in 4 years of maternal nursing, she'd not seen even ONE natural birth; not ONE baby born unaffected by some sort of drug.) Sometimes they are just acclimating slowly and looking around, but they have a strong heartbeat and they are indeed breathing. Even if they aren't, if a mother were to pick up the baby and hold and talk to the baby, they would cough and sputter and begin breathing.

Babies who essentially fall out after an essentially painless labor? It's unlikely she 'wouldn't have made it'. However, it is too bad the mother didn't know what to do. As I've said before, I think it's crazy that women don't have a clue how to follow their own instincts in the event of a quick and easy birth because they've just expected someone else to do everything for them.

Now, in this case, the woman says she didn't know she had a wiggling 8 lb. baby and, oh, probably as least 10 lb. of water and placenta inside her. I don't understand that, but others have claimed it, so I take her at her word. However, I find it very interesting that she gave birth quickly and easily to a healthy 8 lb. baby and she said if she had known she was pregnant she would have gotten 'proper care'. Interesting because there is the assumption, like the assumption that birth is dangerous and painful, that seeing an OB 14 times per pregnancy means better babies. According to the American College of Physicians, that's not true. Lots of visits and lots of tests does not translate to better outcomes for mothers or babies.

Ultimately though, the reason I wanted to blog about this birth is that the mother is quoted as saying that her friends are jealous that she didn't have to feel "that pain". This is a perfect example of how, if a mother doesn't know she is "supposed" to feel pain, she doesn't. She wasn't afraid because she didn't know she was in labor, so she considered her 'cramps' only worthy of an over the counter remedy. I couldn't think of a better illustration of how many ways we CREATE pain in labor from our expectations and fear of a perfectly natural physiological process.


Spring Green, 1332 Parkview Rd., Green Bay, WI 54304

It takes a lot to get me really mad. I'm the kind of person who doesn't often send food back to the kitchen or bother to return to a store if I later find an overcharge I think was an honest mistake.

I seldom raise my voice in anger when I get lousy customer service. I'm really appreciative of good customer service and say so when I get it.

That said, I've reached my limit with Spring Green out of Green Bay, Wisconsin. We've tried every route of resolution to deal with their deceptive business practices, and have gotten nowhere, so now I feel it's only fair to warn others of what they may encounter should they decide to go with Spring Green.

In early 2007 it was our first spring in our new home. We'd never put any chemicals on any lawn we'd maintained, but since the previous owner here had done so, we signed up for a summer program through Spring Green. They were to make several visits throughout the season. By the time we had received two applications, we had discussed the necessity of this service with our new neighbors and decided we really didn't need it and we weren't sure we like the idea of chemicals on the lawn anyway. At that time, we were not unhappy with the service; we had just decided that we'd wait and see how our lawn behaved before deciding what we may or may not need/want.

Obviously our request to cancel was received and understood, as Spring Green did not send any one to service our lawn again that year.

Fast forward to 2008. We begin getting calls from Spring Green, but we keep missing them. Finally, I catch a call, and a technician asks if we would like to sign up for the same service we had signed up for the previous year. I tell him no, we canceled last year because we just want to wait and see what happens if we deal with it ourselves. Besides, companies were offering an organic alternative this year, and we thought we might do that if we did anything at all. I'm thinking that's the end of it. Had I known I was dealing with people who would try to rip me off, I would have documented the call. However, most of the people I've dealt with in WI have been incredibly friendly and honest. I did not record his name or the date of the call. My mistake.

Weeks later, there are little flags in our yard. We figure our condo-mate must have signed up for lawn care. But later, she comes over and asks US if we did, because a bill was left on her condo. It had our name and address on it, but it was left on her door. Both of our homes are clearly marked with our addresses. We get to talking with other neighbors, and we are told that a lot of people are having this problem. My husband wants to pay it and avoid hassle. I insist that we did not request the service, it's their loss. It seems to me that they are counting on a lack of communication between condo owners, and they figure most people are just going to figure they got the service, they'll pay the nominal fee. The charge was $46.09.

MY problem with this is that if they screw enough people, they make a huge profit by being dishonest. I'm vehemently against rewarding unethical behavior just for the sake of laziness.

So, my husband writes to Spring Green and explains the situation. They insist that the service automatically continues without notification of discontinuation. After getting nowhere with them, he decides he will pay half just so they don't send this stupid bill to a collection agency and ruin our credit. He figures then he'll report them to the BBB, post our experience on Angie's List, and contact Clark Howard and any other news outlet that might be able to protect the consumer. I will add, he did not tell me this was is solution to the problem. Anyway, on July 15th, 2008 he agrees to pay $23.05.

On July 18th, 2008 we get a notice from Spring Green that we have failed to pay a balance of $46.09 on our past due account. The date the letter was drafted was July 16: the day AFTER they had spoke with my husband.

I happen to be the one to open this particular piece of mail, and I'm livid! Had we gotten service all last summer, I'd buy that they didn't know we didn't want their service. But they STOPPED OUR SERVICE AS REQUESTED WHEN WE REQUESTED THEM TO STOP. That means, there was no miscommunication. We did not fail to play by the rules. And they came and serviced the yard anyway, and then were insistent we pay for a service we didn't ask for and didn't want!

So I call and talk to LORI. (This time I got a name and a date: July 18, 2008, around 4 pm.) I explained to her we did not owe them anything, and I was about done being patient. She told ME that my husband had agreed to pay. End of story. The more she insisted that since 'the mister' had agreed to pay, there was nothing more to discuss, the angrier I got, until I finally got to the same place my husband had gotten...we'll pay the damn thing...but I was A LOT more pissed off than he ever got, I guarantee.

When I asked her why, if she had come to this agreement with my husband on the 15th, we were billed for the full amount on the 16th, she said their policy is not to show that on an invoice until the agreed upon 50% has been paid. I told her, if past actions predict future actions, I would fully expect remittance of ANY amount in response to that bill would then be used by Spring Green to somehow 'prove' we agreed to it, and I wanted EVERYTHING in writing EXACTLY as agreed. She informed me that she didn't appreciate my tone. Like having a business lie and expect compensation for it is no reason to get irate.

They could have just said, 'Gee, we're sorry for the confusion. Of course we'll take that charge off.' Instead, they stand to lose hundreds if not thousands as we spread the word of how they treated us. $20 here and $50 there over thousands of potential customers means they make money even if they don't do the work...as long as no one complains and everyone just pays it to keep their credit in good standing.

Like I said, it's not the amount. Sure, it would be easier to just pay it. Most people probably do. But the fact that this is how they handled it says to me that they aren't concerned with customer service. They are concerned with making a buck no matter how they do it. Which also suggests to me that was the plan all along, which is why I'm so upset.

So, buyer beware is all I have to say.



This is really not such a good day for doctors!

Opposition over the AMA and ACOGs attempt to make it illegal for women to hire anyone but them (doctors) or birth anywhere but thier hospitals (can you say 'restraint of trade' boys and girls?) is gaining speed as women realize what this could mean. The discussion ranges from women possibly being 'investigated' for accidentally birthing anywhere but an institution, to separation of mom and baby as parents face jail because their baby fell out on the way to a hospital, to having our children ripped away from us and placed in foster care if we choose to birth with midwives, even though we've researched our options and the science backs our decision?

Ultimately, those are unlikely scenarios. However, what WILL happen, should this AMA resolution pass, is that the highly trained midwives who could assist parents would face prison for helping parents birth safely, thus assuring unsafe birthing situations. As I see it, AMA is willing to risk your baby's life to 'prove' homebirth is unsafe...by making it unsafe. Sort of like 'proving' that all twins are early and small by removing them by cesarean at 36 weeks.

Outraged bloggers like those at Our Bodies Ourselves and The Rivers Report are speaking up and organizations like Citizens for Midwifery, International Cesarean Awareness Network, Lamaze are providing facts. If you read the message boards on the topic, doctors and midwives from around the world are stunned at this move by the AMA. England is trying to INCREASE the numbers of homebirth because it is safer and less expensive to birth at home with a trained midwive who is a guardian of normalcy.

So, there's that going on, and then today's news carries this headline: Doctors' Group Plans Apology For Racism
Ouch. Women are not the only people the AMA has repressed. Is now such a good time to be pointing that out?

Yesterday, the headline spoke to the patients doctors also try to bully with Hospital bullies take a toll on patient safety:Bad behavior by doctors and others undercuts morale, leads to errors

Really, with all these doctors behaving badly, is it any surprise that babies are getting smart and arriving so easily and quickly so they might avoid being abused! This VIDEO (sorry, I couldn't embed it) was on MSN this week. In it, one couple tells of their 'baby's choice' birth to an 8 lb. baby boy . Babies are falling out more and more often, but what made it news was that this ws the third birth in less than a week that 911 dispatchers 'delivered over the phone'.

Well, that was the way the news told it. Actually, while the dispatcher was credited with this safe delivery, the fact of the matter was that it would have happened exactly the same with or without her. She did nothing except give bad advice that her 'strict protocol and training' prepared her to give; that being to "...have her push hard to get the rest of the baby out". Hard pushing is causative in perineal tearing, shoulder dystocia, and a whole host of other issues one would want to avoid, but not only that, it's not necessary. According to one study by authors Brancato, Church & Stone published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, Vol. 37, Issue 1, 2008:

CONCLUSIONS: Significant positive effects were found indicating that passive descent should be used during birth to safely and effectively increase spontaneous vaginal births, decrease instrument-assisted deliveries, and shorten pushing time.

"Passive descent" means "no hard pushing".

But this isn't the only bad advice dispatchers give. One story I saw on the Today Show had the dispatcher telling a 12-year old boy to take the shoelaces out of his shoe to tie off the umbilical cord. Tetanus lives in dirt; dirt is on a 12-year old boys shoes for sure; the one certain place deadly infection can enter a newborn? The cut cord!

I do not doubt in the case of illness or injury 911 operator are heroes rushing in to save the day. But birth is neither an illness nor an injury. At best in these cases their assistance is pointless and these babies are surviving in spite of their bad advice.

But let us suppose for just a moment that this wasn't so. If 'phone birth' works so well, what does that say about highly trained surgical specialist (obstetricians) attending 90% or more of normal healthy births?

If enough healthy, nice sized babies choose to come this fast and easy, maybe eventually women will realize that birth is safe. Pizzas, not babies, are delivered, and only a mother births her baby.