From the Diaries of a Pregnant Feminist: My Obstetrician
Date posted: May 18, 2011
From the Diaries of a Pregnant Feminist
This section is very difficult to write because my OB (Obstetrician) has been my friend since 2002! He has been very supportive from the moment the pregnancy test came out positive. I will never forget that moment; it was August 30, 2010 when I called him at 9:30 at night telling him about my late period and bloated feeling. He asked me to do a pregnancy test and I did! Those two pink lines changed my life forever! I called him crying and shivering and he told me to come to his clinic. He stayed after hours for me! By the time I got there it was a little bit before midnight. He did an ultrasound to make sure the test was accurate. A little bit after midnight, and at the very early hours of August 31, 2010, I saw my baby! I saw that heartbeat that gave me the strength and power to fight and survive for the two of us!
My OB is not some young kid who has been practicing for a few years; he is one of the best – if not the best – in Egypt! He has all the experience, knowledge, training, and talent needed for a trustworthy OB. It is not his fault that I cannot hand over power! It is not his fault that I was born to question authority no matter what form it takes! It is not his fault that I am a non-conformist! It is not his fault that I research and find my own answers to the questions that taunt me! It is not his fault that I resent parental control regardless who it came from! He did not do anything wrong! He actually did everything right; he supported me emotionally, took care of me physically, ordered the right tests, prescribed the right supplements, and followed up with me throughout the whole pregnancy. It's me not him!
When I started my fourth month I gradually changed! Bit by bit I took my birthing power back! It was my baby, my body, my birth, and no one was going to tell me how to do it! In Egypt, birth plans are unheard of; OBs do not discuss with you how you want to give birth. They believe that this is their territory. Your job is to get pregnant and follow their orders to stay pregnant, other than that, it is their business and you should stay out of it. Your OB will decide when your baby should be delivered (you have a due date and if you went past it, you get artificially induced!), how long your labor should take (12 hours maximum or a c-section is required), what medications to be injected into your bloodstream (antibiotics, pain drugs, and induction drugs), in what position you should labor (mainly on your back), what routine procedures will take place (like an episiotomy), and when it is time for a caesarian (baby is in a position that scares the OB). You should not question the all-knowing gods of medicine! It is ok to be bossed around, bullied, intimidated, and coerced into something you are not comfortable with because there is no such thing as "an informed decision" in Egypt. Like a good girl, you have to obey!
I wish birth was not so disgustingly commercial! Some big guy wants to make big money by creating waves of panic among people – making them believe that their lives depended on his product – and people in panic do not think! No one actually thought of reading the pamphlets of vaccines, epidural drugs, artificial induction drugs, and cervix ripening drugs. Who has weighed the pros and cons of such drugs? Who knows the contraindications clearly written in those pamphlets? Pharmaceutical companies are smart; they make it sound like a medical breakthrough when it is just a "gig" for them! They know that we live in a world where most people do not question authority – the authority of an all-knowing father, an all-knowing man of religion, an all-knowing doctor, an all-knowing government, or an all-knowing teacher. They know that people will do what they are told if they are guilted into it; you are a bad son or daughter if you do not do this or that for your parents; you are a bad student if you do not do this or that as your teacher said; you are a bad human being if you do not worship God in this or that way as the man of religion communicates to you; you are a bad parent if you do not do this or that for your kid as per the doctor's orders.
I am not against modern medicine! I am not a hippie – though I am very close to becoming one! I am not saying that doctors are useless and that medicine is bad for you; I am saying that health – our health – has become a lucrative business and that medicine is no longer a lifesaving profession. The medical system treats us as numbers and statistics not as individuals with unique needs and requirements. For a hospital, we are a vacant or occupied bed; we are a "paying customer" or "a worthless customer"; we are surgery-potential and incremental revenue! For a doctor, we are either a long term investment (by being chronically ill) or a turnover rate (the faster we go the more money he makes by making more room for new customers in the waiting room). For a pharmacy, we are a customer and we are only worth what we pay! This is what the modern medical institution has done to the holy medical profession!
And here I am, holding on to my birthright of freedom of choice and freedom of expression! Here I am questioning the authority of my OB and refusing all sorts of medical interventions in my birth! Here I am challenging my family and friends who refuse to question what they have been taught! When I was 35 weeks pregnant I stopped going to my OB! I just vanished. I knew deep down that if I went for one more visit, something bad will happen! No one has the right to hijack my birthing experience and deprive me of my choices and options! Giving birth to my baby is not an accident waiting to happen!
“If you get raped once, you are a victim; if you get raped again, you are a volunteer!"