Saturday, September 18, 2004

A slightly more detailed baby update. We went to the clinic yesterday afternoon, braving hurricane leftovers on the way, to see how Lenise's blood pressure was doing (it had been pretty high last time) and to get further assesment on the best course. Her BP, swelling and weight were all down, which is good. However, her pelvic exam showed that she had a pretty low likelihood of successful delivery. Wrong shape, it seems. The doctor encouraged us to think about a c-section delivery. We had been talking about this in the car and Lenise was fine with the idea of a C-section. As long as we get a baby out of it, the exact method doesn't seem to be of critical importance.

What really struck me in this exchange, and what I had also noticed throughout childbirth classes, was the tremendous emphasis our medical culture places on "personal choice" these days. Even though in our case every piece of available data suggested that c-section is the right and wisest and safest choice, the doctor wouldn't directly recommend it to us. He didn't ask us if it was ok to schedule it. He merely mentioned it as an option and pointed out that natural delivery would be rather difficult.

This whole thing seems misguided to me. When you have a situation where you have very unequal knowledge, i.e. trained medical staff versus patients, those with the knowledge should be in a position to make recommendations. I don't think the idea of patient choice should be eliminated, but the way things are now just seems irrational.

I think the issue of breast feeding is similar. I don't see why someone would CHOOSE not to breastfeed. Of course circumstances might make it impossible or impractical, and there are options for those cases. But I don't know why the medical staff always asked us, "are you planning to breastfeed?" Seems equivalent to me of saying, "are you going to use your sense of smell?"

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