Pregnancy amazes me. Our bodies know intuitively how to grow babies. Cell by cell, we don't have to think about growing our baby's kidney, God's amazing design takes care of that for us. I have a similar perspective on birth. Women's bodies were designed with amazing qualities specifically for birthing. Given time, nourishment, and support - most women are able to birth vaginally, many with few or no interventions.
The Resident, a television medical drama that I've been hooked on tackled an incredibly important topic with their latest episode. You might be wondering how the heck a television show ties in with a blog about motherhood and natural living. Well, keep reading to find out. *Spoiler alert* if you aren't caught up on the show...you might want to watch before you continue reading.
I'm an open book about my daughter's belly birth - she was born via cesarean section, just like the woman in the show that gave birth. Aside from saying the babies heart rate was lower than they'd like, we don't know the exact cause for the woman's surgical birth. While we both had our babies via c-section, our stories have very different endings.
The woman in the show ends up having a complication as a result of her birth, one that is dismissed by her main physician and the nurses are very busy and write off her exhaustion and pain as "normal post c-section." As the story unfolds the mother is rushed into emergency surgery due to internal bleeding. Doctors are too late to intervene and despite their best efforts, the mother dies. Dies.
The father is looking at raising a new little babe by himself and it was shown earlier in the episode that they also have a toddler at home waiting for them. A toddler that wasn't going to get to see her mom ever again. Tears streamed down my face as I thought about their fictional family because for so many in our country it's a reality.
The chief of the hospital accurately says in one of the final scenes "The United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in. There's no excuse for that."
How is it that our country has become the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in? The CDC reports an increase of maternal death of 26.6% from 2000-2014 - with up to 50% of those deaths being preventable causes such as hemorrhage or sever high blood pressure.
We are failing mothers.
SO, what can we do? Oh, how I wish the hospital in The Resident was a real place because they talked about making changes to protocol to prevent future deaths. Similarly to Grey's Anatomy back with Arizona Robins came up with emergency carts in every maternal delivery room stocked with supplies to increase response time in maternal distress. Sadly, these aren't reality for most hospitals in the U.S. So instead we can surround mothers with support.
Support during their pregnancy by visiting and checking in with them, but even more support during birthing and postpartum. Advocating for a birth team that includes extra support such as a doula. Bringing nutritious foods to heal and support their bodies. Having more support to speak out when things aren't right.
Until the medical field has some major shifts - we have to continue speaking out and sharing stories. Talking about these real life tragedies to prevent more families from facing the harsh realities.
Motherhood is an amazing thing and mother's deserve to be there for their babies. Lord, let your peace surround every person feeling the heaviness of maternal loss. Be their strength and light as they navigate their new normal.