Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Observer's Bias

(Obviously, I'm a terrible artist even with computer assistance.)

Observer's bias: when someone is so sure things are the way s/he sees it, s/he can't accept any evidence to the contrary. It's kind of funny in reference to fetal movement vs. a bean burrito. It's less so when you're told your shortness of breath is due to being short, or that you're young and healthy and therefore have nothing to worry about, or that you couldn't possibly be in labor yet since you haven't had any pitocin, or that if you eat during labor you will ZOMG DIE!

I was planning to post Part 2 of my preeclampsia story today, but it needs a little intro first. I've been debating whether to stick to the parts related to PE or to post the whole story. I've decided to go with the long version.

In addition to being a preeclampsia activist, I also consider myself a natural birth activist. Yes, I of all people know that sometimes intervention is necessary and wonderful. But I also know most women are quite capable of giving birth without it, thank you very much. And even when some intervention is necessary, it doesn't mean you need everything.

Observer's bias played a huge role in my second birth. My nurse in particular was so sure my birth would unfold a certain way, she simply refused to see reality. My rights were violated a number of times, and my own life and my baby's were put at risk by her incompetence as well as my doctor's observer's bias.

Yes, doctors (and nurses) are the experts in medicine, but they are human. Ultimately, you have to advocate for yourself, because you are the expert on you. Ask questions, find out the risks and benefits of ANY intervention, and make the decision that is right for you. And find yourself a doctor that isn't so convinced of his/her own god-like status as to discount the facts in front of him/her.