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It is terribly sad but, in my last 17 years as a birth doula in Canada, I would say this is the norm rather than the exception... Especially when a woman ask questions, or requests more information/informed consent, many Dr.'s will coerce her cooperation by playing the 'dead baby' card. And even though the woman may be really well informed and sure of the evidence, most often she will give in... After the c-section (for which the card is played most often) it is doubly sad to hear the new mom defend her acquiescence by repeating that the 'baby would have died' if the intervention hadn't happened.
One of the hardest parts of having a VBAC after a traumatic first labour at the hands of some truly incompetent and uncaring health professionals, was being told in graphic terms that my baby could die as a result of my choice to have a VBAC, to stay sure in myself was one thing, but also to at the same time still place my trust and my baby's welfare in the hospital system a second time.
When I was told my baby may have been having some issues with her heart rate, after 60 hours in labour, I know in that moment I'd still laid down and let them slice me open a second time to save my baby. Fortunately it didn't come to that and I did get my empowering VBAC.
But Birth Trauma is so complex, because almost everything that happened with my first I agreed to, or I complied to, "to save my baby", but he was only ever at risk because he was put at risk by the decisions THEY made for me. So while one person could say "well you consented" on the other hand as far as I'm concerned I had no choice - because I wasn't given correct information in a timely manner. And by the time it was apparent that they'd made the wrong choices for me, the s* had hit the fan and the time to talk about options had passed.
My OB pulled out the dead baby card -along with the "low amniotic fluid" card (even though it was within normal range)- at my 41 week appt. She was desperate to deliver my vbac baby via c section. I had already canceled 1 c/s she insisted on putting on the calendar for 40 weeks 5 days, and put up with her trying to scare me into a cs based on my baby measuring big on a late u/s.
The dead baby card and the low fluid lie caused me to fire that b**ch. I switched to a new ob that afternoon, went into labor 2 days later.
I found it hard to believe that anyone associated with childbirth, in terms of empowering women, would actually use the words "dead baby card". Then I googled it and found a number of articles including this one.
You do realize that every 20 minutes in the US, a baby is born still? That one in four pregnancies end in loss?
For those of us who have lost babies this term is exceptionally insulting. My daughter is not a "card" used to manipulate someone into a course of action against their will.She was a human being.
Please try to think a little before using this term, and maybe find a better way to phrase your title.
Sarah, of course your baby was a human being, and a beautiful and unique one whose loss is an utter tragedy.
This article though is intended to highlight how the fear of such a horrifying result can be used as a weapon against women whose babies are actually in no evident danger.
This can result in unnecessary interventions which can create negative consequences in themselves and also result in a very traumatic birth experience. This can leave women traumatised and feeling violated and betrayed long after the physical scars have healed, as well as leading to postnatal depression.
It is for those women, failed by the medical system which was supposed to protect them, for which this article is intended.
I have lost babies myself and I don't find the term insulting but rather hideous. But it is the term used by some unscrupulous medicos and these types of practices are important to bring to light and discuss if they are to be stopped.