Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why We Switched to Home Birth

Solomon, a few minutes after being born

Zsuzsa's pregnancy went well as we approached her due date in late September 2001. On the morning of September 11, we were awoken by the extremely loud ringing of my antique rotary phone. It had a literal bell inside of it that sounded like a school bell. I was working nights on a fire alarm project in a school at the time, so we were still asleep when the call came in from my dad.

"Steve! You need to come over right away! America is being attacked! Planes are crashing all over the United States, skyscrapers are coming down...!" We got dressed and rushed over to my parents' house to see what was going on. We didn't have a TV, so we had to go there to figure out what was happening. It turned out that my dad had exaggerated just a little bit.

On Friday, September 21, about halfway through the workday, my wife called my boss at work telling him that she was in labor. He radioed me at the jobsite to let me know, and I left work early with a lot of backslapping, congratulations, and well-wishes from my coworkers. It turned out to be a false alarm. I was pretty embarrassed when I had to walk into work the next Monday morning and tell everyone it was a false alarm, and that the baby still had not come. The next Friday, my wife went into labor for real, and everyone at work had a good laugh that maybe I just liked taking early weekends.

When we got to the hospital, my wife was checked into the maternity ward, and we waited for things to progress. The nurses told her that she wasn't allowed to eat anything, but my mom and I made a lunch run for Arby's, and my wife just couldn't resist, so we smuggled her in a roast beef sandwich. Not long after eating the contraband, she threw up the entire thing. The only thing to throw up in were these little tiny kidney bean shaped plastic dishes that were so small, my mom and I had to bucket brigade them to the bathroom and back as she threw up her entire lunch. We quickly destroyed all the evidence before the nurse came back into the room.

"Did you have breakfast this morning?" she asked.

"No." Technically she was telling the truth because she had not had breakfast that morning, but we didn't tell her about the Arby's incident moments before. 

The OBGyn showed up at some point and broke my wife's water and put her on Pitocin. Of course, neither of these interventions made any sense, but my wife and I didn't know then what we know now about childbirth. The Pitocin brought on violent, painful contractions that Zsuzsa suffered through for hours. Still, she didn't yell as much as the woman in the room next door to us who was loudly screaming and cursing.

Finally the baby was in the birth canal, and it was time to push. The OBGyn came back at this point and after barely being there for a few minutes, she told us that she would have to cut the perineum to allow the baby's head to come through (i.e. do an episiotomy). Neither my wife nor I knew at the time that episiotomies are a ridiculous and totally unnecessary intervention, and that it would take over a year to fully recover from the painful effects of the damage. My suspicion is that the doctor was simply eager to get this over with and get on with her weekend. 

A few minutes later, Solomon was born, his cord was cut, and he was whisked across the room to be weighed, measured, poked, prodded, etc. He was screaming at the top of his lungs non-stop until I spoke. The moment he heard my voice, he instantly stopped crying and looked around to see who was talking. Then he promptly went back to screaming again. I could not believe how much blood came out of my wife after he was born. I had never seen a childbirth, so it was all a new experience for me. When the nurses were done with all of their meaningless and unnecessary procedures, they handed the baby to Zsuzsa, and both mother and baby were instantly happy. For the next few days, it almost seemed surreal that we actually had a baby. We were both thrilled and enjoying our new family.

Due to fact that we had a bad experience at the hospital (although it could have been a lot worse), and especially because of the negative effects of the episiotomy, which we later learned was completely unnecessary, my wife began looking into other options. One day, when we were out soul-winning, we knocked on the door of another young couple named Ben and Carrie Fry who had a two small children and one on the way. They started coming to Regency Baptist Church with us, and we became friends. Carrie was seeing a midwife instead of a doctor and was planning on having a homebirth. Shortly thereafter, the baby was born, and everything had gone smoothly.

At first, I was opposed to the idea of using a midwife and having a homebirth. It was such a foreign idea to me because I had been raised with the views of conventional modern medicine. Then there was the financial issue. A hospital birth was fully covered by the health insurance I had through my job, but I would have to pay for the homebirth out of pocket. However, I knew that the hospital had been a bad experience, so in the end I relented. 

After our second child Isaac was born at home, I was sold. Zsuzsa would go on to have our next 5 children at home with no drugs, no interventions, and no complications.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why We Do Not Use Birth Control

When I was 19 years old, I still bought into mainstream conventional medical wisdom. Everyone I had ever known had given birth in the hospital, and I had never even heard of anyone having a home birth. My wife and I both wanted to have children immediately, but there was one problem. I had just started a new job, and my health insurance would not kick in until 90 days after I had been hired. If my wife became pregnant before that time, it would be considered a "pre-existing condition," and the birth would not be covered by the insurance. Since we had no money and were living paycheck-to-paycheck, this would have been a serious problem.

I brought this issue up to Zsuzsa when she was back in Germany right after we had gotten married. We had obviously already consummated the marriage repeatedly before she went back, and it was possible that she could have already been pregnant, but I told her that going forward we should probably use some type of birth control for the next few months until the health insurance kicked in. If she was already pregnant, we would not be upset, and we would deal with the financial situation one way or another. She agreed and got a prescription for birth control pills from a doctor in Germany.

After the 90 days were expired and the health insurance became active, she stopped taking the pills and immediately got pregnant. We were both happy and excited, and my boss even gave me a raise when he found out! However, our happiness was turned into sorrow when my wife miscarried the baby on Christmas day. A miscarriage is always a sad thing, but when it is your first child, it is even worse. My wife was horrified at the thought that maybe she would never be able to have children. Maybe she would always miscarry every child.

Thankfully my wife became pregnant again the very next month. She was still nervous about miscarrying, so she began to do a lot of research on pregnancy and miscarriage. This was in the very early days of the internet, so research could only be done by going to the library and reading books. My wife checked out every possible book that had anything to do with pregnancy and read them all. From her research it became apparent that her miscarriage had probably been due to the birth control pills she had just been taking.

We had no idea how birth control pills even worked and had just foolishly used them assuming that since other Christians were using them, they must be okay. Through reading the library books and the package insert of the pills themselves, we became aware of how the pills "prevent pregnancy" and how this related to her miscarriage.

Hormonal birth control methods, including all types of birth control pills, the “patch”, hormone injections, implants, etc., perform two primary functions:

1.) They suppress ovulation. No egg is released; therefore, pregnancy is not possible. Depending upon which particular method is used, ovulation is suppressed 40-95% of the time. The other 5-60% of the time, an egg is released and can be fertilized.

2.) They thin and harden the lining of the uterus. This makes implantation of the conceived, 7-day old child virtually impossible. All hormonal birth control methods have this effect on the uterine lining 100% of the time.

Simple logic tells us that if an egg can be released and fertilized 5-60% of the time, and implantation is being prevented close to 100% of the time, a silent abortion is taking place 5-60% of months a woman is taking the pill, because the 7-day old child is unable to implant and dies. The “morning after” pill functions after the same principle to destroy the lining of the uterus, but in a shorter period of time due to higher concentrations of the same hormones.

The 5% figure is based on the use of the “combination” pill, which is usually a combination of estrogen and progesterone. The 60% figure is based on the use of progesterone only pills (“mini-pills”), the “patch”, or progesterone injections/implants. Therefore a woman taking even the combination pill for only two years statistically will have one chemical abortion during that time. A woman using a progesterone only method for two years could very likely have 12 silent abortions during that period of time, or one every other month. These are the most conservative estimates available. Other research indicates that women taking the combination pill could be ovulating up to 50% of the time, and that 70% of women taking the “mini-pill” could be ovulating every month. In almost all cases these babies would not be able to implant and would die.

“With over 17 million American women using the Pill and other chemical abortifacients, it is estimated that breakthrough ovulation and pregnancy occur so often…that between 7 to 12 million newly conceived children are killed by chemical abortions in the womb each year. And most of these women never even knew they were pregnant.” (“Infant Homicides Through Contraceptives,” 1994 by the Study of Abortion Deaths Ad Hoc Commission – Bardstown, KY. Ph: 502-348-3963.)

“In America, chemical abortions are estimated to kill more than 7 million babies each year – while surgical abortions kill about 1.5 million babies each year.” (“Birth Control Pills Cause Early Abortions” – J.T. Finn, 2005)

“Scientific papers suggest that escape ovulation occurs 4-15% of all cycles in patients taking birth control pills. Thus, as this booklet points out, early chemical abortions are a real and significant concern.” (Paddy Jim Baggot, M.D., Ob/Gyn, Fellow of the American College of Genetics)

The term “birth control pills” is accurate since they do not prevent conception, but birth. The reason that many pro-life Christians accept birth control pills as an acceptable form of birth control is that they have been deceived into believing that conception never takes place when they are on the pill. Christians are firm in their belief that life begins at conception, so in order to fool them, the medical establishment has begun to change the definition of conception. The biblical definition of "conception" is fertilization (when the seed from the man fertilizes the egg from the woman). That is why in Hebrews 11:11 KJV, the Bible speaks of Sarah "conceiving seed." If conception meant implantation, this would make no sense in light of the fact that the seed is long gone by implantation. The seed is present at fertilization, not implantation.

Dr Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was asked if hormonal birth control pills cause abortion. Her response was: “No. Abortion ends a pregnancy. [Contraception pills] work before a pregnancy begins. Pregnancy begins with the implantation of the developing fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus.” Yet in the next paragraph she admits, “…implantation doesn’t occur until five to seven days after fertilization.” This viewpoint represents the medical world’s current view of when a pregnancy begins. As Bible-believing Christians, however, we believe that life begins at conception (fertilization), not implantation.

Since birth control pills thin and harden the lining of the uterus, becoming pregnant directly after taking them can often lead to miscarriage, which is why even those who promote birth control pills recommend waiting a month or two to get pregnant after discontinuing use of the pills. If one becomes pregnant immediately, the residual effects of the birth control pills will often linger and harm the pregancy.

As soon as my wife and I learned these facts, we confessed our sin to God and never used birth control pills again. Although we had sinned through ignorance, we had still done wrong by using the pills. We never used any form of birth control ever again.

If you would like to know why we believe other methods of birth control are wrong (barrier methods, abstinence, nfp, pulling out, etc), you can listen to the following sermon called "Birth Control Deception." Also, my wife's article on Lactational Amenorrhea is a must read for anyone interested in more information on this subject.