Today is the one word Dress Down Friday Special.
Thanks everyone for links this week.
Emily and I have been doing our birthing classes for the past three weeks preparing for birth. We are taking the Bradley Method classes because we’re both interested in having a natural birth (or at least as much of one as is possible). But that’s where we’re running into some difficulties. We’re finding that the less-than-helpful medical system of which our insurance company has thrust us into isn’t as pro-natural birth as one would hope. One problem is that we have an HMO that offers no alternative to a hospital birth. There are not separate standing natural birth centers we can go to (and be covered) and the insurance company knows of no doctors who are “friendly to natural birth.” We have a lot of friends who have had natural births but they are either PPOs or on Medicare (so far as I know). It just seems really weird that within a 30 mile radius of where we live there isn’t one place covered by our HMO that is on board with this stuff. I mean it’s not like we live in the boondocks. And how does a healthcare group really not know if any of their doctors do take natural childbirth seriously?
Secondly, when (in our very limited experience) asking a doctor if they are “friendly to natural birth” gets you a strange look and a less than satisfying answer, you start to get a little scared. Why is it that in our society we are obsessed with the over medicalization of everything? The current doctor we’ve been seeing (our second so far) said she is “sort of friendly” to natural birthing methods, but when it comes down to it, she’s actually not into it at all. For instance, we learned yesterday that the doctor has a c-section rate of over 30% in line with the rest of LA and its everything pristine, Hollywood mentality.
In the LA Times recently a woman said:
Too many caesareans are literally medical overkill. Yet some U.S. hospitals are now delivering half of all babies surgically. Across the nation, 1 in 4 low-risk first-time mothers will give birth via caesarean, and if they have more children, 95% will be born by repeat surgery. In many cases, women have no choice in the matter. Though vaginal birth after caesarean is a low-risk event, hundreds of institutions have banned it, and many doctors will no longer attend it because of malpractice liability.
Not only is a C-section arguably more risky but it’s just not necessary most of the time. This website points out that for patients of natural birthing methods, those who are well practiced and prepared for birth, their c-section rate is closer to 4% (a majority being to due to complications). It says:
Of 11,814 women admitted for labor and delivery and attended by midwives to 84 free standing birth centers in the US, 15.8% were transferred to the hospital and 4.4% had a cesarean section. Although the women were lower than average risk of a poor pregnancy outcome, their cesarean rate is one-fifth of the national average.
For us it’s hardly about just c-sections, though I find the study of its growing popularity fascinating from a cultural standpoint. The bigger problem is that we want to feel like we have the freedom to have a baby naturally without being pressured otherwise. Overall, this doctor has requested some things of us, done or made suggestions that have made us feel rather anxious about having her as the doctor who will see the birth of our baby through. Will she push unnecessary medicine on Emily in the heat of the moment? Will she demand inducing birth if the baby doesn’t come “on time” (she already told us she will)? Will we be able to keep the baby after birth? Will she respect any of our wishes when push comes to shove (no pun intended)?
I am realizing these are important issues for all of us to think through. As the church we’re called to be a contrast society in the world, that can at times mean asking uncomfortable questions and being irritating to the “professionals” of the world. But if it means that we can be honest about how our faith and choices work together (and sometimes don’t) and ride against the powers of our culture then it seems worth it to us. Having a first child is really exciting but we’re finding it’s also really scary. We want our daughter to be born in a way that is safe and healthy, as well as not over medicated or unnecessarily unnatural. I don’t believe these two things don’t have to work against either. Let creation work its magic. Do we really need intervene when it’s not necessary?
We heard while we were in the UK that Holland doesn’t offer any kind of anesthesia or any other drugs during birth unless it is medically an absolute necessity. They recognize that women have been giving birth since the beginning of time, and that maybe our interfering has negative repercussions we don’t see. So we’ve adopted the saying “remember the Dutch” as a way to remind us of this simple, yet important point: creation has a powerful magic of its own.
Religions are seen as comprehensive interpretative schemes, usually embodied in myths or narratives and heavily ritualized, which structure human experience and understanding of self and world. Not every telling of these cosmic stories is religious, however. It must be told with a particular purpose or interest. It must be used, to adopt a suggestion of William Christian, with a view of identifying and describing what is taken to be more important than everything else in the universe,??? and to organizing all of life, including both behaviors and beliefs, in relation to this. If the interpretative scheme is used or the story told without this interest in the maximally important, it ceases to function religiously. To be sure, it may continue to shape in various ways, the attitudes, sentiments, and conduct of individuals and of groups. A religion, in other words, may continue to exercise immense influence on the way people experience themselves and their world even when it is no longer explicitly adhered to.
Nature of Doctrine, George Lindbeck p.32)
Tomorrow marks the beginning of another year of school, our fifth year in California, the (School) year our daughter will be born into and the year in which I come very close to finishing my course work. Of course, it also marks all sorts of things I have absolutely no idea of. Since Emily and I both run our lives by school schedules the educational calendar is in many ways how we order are lives. And every year there is a fresh excitement in the air and a feeling of reliance upon God for all the unknowns that are about to present themselves.
Adam tagged me in a “show your computer’s desktop” meme. So here it is.
I am using this guy’s photo for my desktop at the moment. And I don’t normally have my dock showing but I turned hiding off so you could see it.
Every week I post a random assortment of links, videos, pictures just for fun. In this week’s edition of “Dress Down Friday” I have found some fun stuff this week ranging from LA Metro/Google Map Mashups and new solar powered messenger bags!
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In one more week the masses will pile into Fuller’s bookstore, library, classrooms, and student lounges as the first week of the 2007-2008 school year begins. This is a big year for Fuller, its 60th anniversary. The first week of the fall quarter is always the busiest of the four quarters on campus, all kinds of people trying to get the hang of grad school, living in a new city, and not knowing anyone (one way to find our about people is to visit the Fuller Blogger’s Page or Fuller’s Facebook Network).
I thought it would be fun to write some advice to new students, offering tips, ideas about what supplies you might need, and other advice that could come in handy. As a Fuller student (and employee) for four years now I feel like I’ve had my fair share of “Geez, I wish I knew that a year ago” that I thought it might be fun to share some of the stuff I’ve learned.
To be authentic, mission must be thoroughly theocentric. It begins in Gods redemptive purpose and will be completed when that purpose is fulfilled. The God-given identity of the church thus arises from its mission. This order of priority is foundational. Yet for some sixteen centuries Christians have been taught to think of church as the prior category and mission as one among several functions of the church.
Wilbert Shenk, Changing Frontiers of Mission, 7