Choosing Your Birth Place: One Mother's Experience

If you follow the blog you have probably noticed that I really try to focus on positive birth stories because there is so much negativity surrounding birth. Lately however, I have wanted to share some birth stories that "teach" even though they aren't all roses. This is a great example of how important birth place choices are and how advocating for yourself and having supportive people around you can make such a difference. It is heartbreaking to me that women have to fight to birth how they wish and that care providers can be so disrespectful to a birthing woman at such a vulnerable time.

Thanks for reading! Hope it is helpful.

"We took Bradley classes just outside of Dallas. They went really well and even though I was admittedly scared, we felt ready. Though our instructor encouraged us to find a midwife and switch to a birthing center, we decided to stay with our OB, get a doula and have a strong birth plan. We really thought that would be enough but we were very wrong.

I went into labor at 2:16 AM as my water broke. My contractions started almost exactly one hour later and were 3 minutes apart for the next 7 hours. My husband and I stayed home and tried different positions, doing whatever we could to help me get through the contractions. We never did play the music we planned to play or do any special massage techniques, he just held me through the pain and it felt right. During this time we were in constant contact with our doula, but we were doing so well at home we didn’t feel like we needed any help. It was going so perfectly well and I was surprisingly calm.

At about 7am I started feeling like I was going to throw up and when I ran into the bathroom, even more water rushed out of me. We both looked at each other and decided to head to the hospital, where we would meet our doula. When we got to the hospital, despite having “pre-registered” and obviously being very close to delivery, the staff insisted I sign paper work. I could barely stand at this point, but they made me sign. Finally they ushered me into delivery.

Once we got into the delivery room, we handed our birth plan to the nurse. She was actually supportive of our plans, but the rest of the staff was not. My husband fought them off as they nearly shot me with pitocin on multiple occasions. We did not want an IV or fetal monitoring but somehow they managed to tangle me up in wires. As I tried moving around to stay comfortable, I literally got trapped in the cords. It was terrible! During all this, an anesthesiologist came in to get me to sign even more paperwork, just in case I eventually needed surgery. At one point a nurse tried holding me down during a contraction so that she could talk to me and try to hook me to an IV. I remember screaming “please get her off me!!” It is sad, but the second we got to the hospital our entire peaceful birth went out of control.

At about 10am I started pushing. My little angel was sideways and struggling to come out. The OB who was covering for my regular doctor, who was on vacation, made an appearance about 30 minutes into my pushing. She yelled at me for screaming, yelled at me for risking my baby’s life by not having an epidural, and yelled at my husband to get off me and leave me alone. She then proceeded to tell me that if I didn’t have that baby in 15 minutes, I was getting a C section. Apparently she didn’t understand pushing a baby out sideways wasn’t easy. After she walked out, the delivery nurse told me I was doing great and gave me a position to try to get the baby to turn. It worked and 15 minutes later she was in my arms!

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. As I was being handed my daughter, my doula noticed a nurse about to stick me with pitocin to get the placenta out. My husband was distracted, arguing with the OB about not cutting the cord until it finished pulsing. Luckily our doula got his attention and he stopped the injection! The OB continued arguing that if I wasn’t induced for the afterbirth, I would bleed to death. He tells me within a minute of the cord stopping to pulse, my placenta was delivered. I never felt it; luckily I was given the opportunity to have skin to skin with my baby for hours after I delivered and I was concentrating on her.

My birth was wonderful, but the hospital intervention attempts made it more stressful than it should have been for my husband and I. We now know that giving birth in a hospital is too risky for our next baby. We aren’t sure if we will do a home birth, but we talk about it. It is so sad that the medical community tried to make us feel we were doing something wrong to our daughter by birthing her free of drugs and interventions. If we hadn’t taken the time to educate and empower ourselves, I probably would have had a C section. And I didn’t even push for an hour!

I hope my story helps someone who is on the fence about switching from their OB and hospital. We really thought we wouldn't have any problems, but the medical community just doesn't know how to handle birthing without drugs. It is much too rare and they obviously find it threatening. We are lucky everything went just right!
Thank you for letting me share!"


Momma Jorje said…
Terrifying! I lucked out and got midwives through my local clinic, but their plan is for me to birth in a local hospital. I'd been thinking of asking the midwife what options are available to me (NO insurance). I'm not sure I could convince my husband for a home birth, but birthing center would be nice.

My hospital births have, thankfully, gone very well. They have not, however, been without some extra stress.
Rachel said…
I think this lady hit it on the head when she said that the medical staff did not know how to help with the birth without medicine. When I worked as a nurse, that is what I would come across a lot. The only answer many medical personnel had was to use medication. For those that didn't want that, many would flounder as to how to deal with it.

Hospitals and docs need to put a lot more time into educating themselves about normal physiological birth.
Donna Ryan said…
They were well prepared and had a fabulous doula. Dad did a great job, too. Darling couple. That class had terrible statistics (lots of c-sections) and I'm so glad this wasn't one of them, even though they were close! There are so many great options in the DFW area. Next birth will be different. I hope others learn from this story, too. I very rarely have someone have a good positive labor and birth with an OB. Sad.
Joy@WDDCH said…
This post just leaves me flabbergasted. Our birth system needs a major overhaul. Holding women down, making them sign papers when they arrive (even though they pre-registered; duh, isn't that the point of PRE-registering?!) and screaming at the momma? Seriously? OBs need better training!