Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Will Hospital Birth Be Like?

This birth story was emailed to me.  I get emails like this all the time, so I know this is fairly typical. 

"I guess you might remember me, as I emailed you about my 'overdue' concerns. My baby was indeed 'overdue' 8 days,  a week before scheduled inductions my midwife suggested. My midwife wanted me to come to the hospital for testing on Tuesday evening, Nov 27. I didn't plan to come. Decided to try to labor on my own and if not confident, show up at last minute. My husband said he has no experience about birth, so would rather be in hospital.  As my midwife promised me she would be hands off, I went ahead to the hospital.

On Tuesday Nov 27, my labor started at 6:30 am. I wished all the time to have someone experienced in UC [unassisted childbirth] around me so I will be able to throw the old fears about 'what ifs' about birth and do it at home... when it was every 3 minutes labor for 3 hours, I went to the hospital.  In the beginning it was fine. I  walked around, showered and managed the pain very well. I guess this pain was because of the brainwashing about how its supposed to hurt because when they used EFM for couple of minutes, it was very interesting to see the machine draw the lines.  Every contraction the lines went sharply up and was at peak for 45 seconds to 90 seconds. I felt the pain only when it went up and half of the peak, then the second half of peak felt like just a hard pressure.

My midwife checked my dilation as I agreed, wanted to see that my body actually opens up! I was in too much hard work to bend and check inside myself! I used the bed as a laboring stool. I kneeled on it, faced the bed head, fluffed the raised bed head with pillows, grabbed it and thrust myself against it "really hard".

Also I had to walk and thrust myself hard with every contraction. I am sure my body did that to descend the baby down, through my pelvis.

I was so tired and sweaty -it was already 2:00 am. When I mentioned I want to sleep, my midwife offered a sleeping pill. I told her - sleeping pill, which will make baby drowsy and go out less fast?!  Forget it!!

(then an alarming bell rang in my mind about my midwife and was worried she will be interventive after all during the actual birth)

At 3:00 I got on the bed again and continued laboring sitting with my right foot folded under me, I leaned to my left. My midwife said, don't push the baby too soon, otherwise it will swell the cervix and prolong the labor!  I said 'No way am I gonna push! Only when my body pushes will I push!"   She was pleased with my answer.

My midwife checked me again. I was in transition 8 cm... hooray!  (I thought that transition is worse than the labor and nonstop pain for 2 hours...) then my midwife said, great.  Now I have to push your cervical lips to make you dilated 10 and push the baby out!  I said - NO!   Let me birth my baby at my pace!  She didn't listen to me; she shoved her gloved hand inside me. A nurse and another midwife came along, both grabbed my feet forcing me to sit on my tailbone having my legs pressed sideways then they forced my hands to hold my own knees, therefore taking away my option of supporting myself with hands to lessen the pressure off the tailbone, which make this semi-sitting position less bad.

Now my contractions were sooo painful. I screamed,  "Get your hand out!!! Leave my feet alone!!" (I was preparing myself to right foot kneel, left foot to squat for the birthing - After the birth, I had flashback about my dream as I birthed in that way, that's why in the end of the labor, I started to fold my right foot under me unconsciously I was preparing to that position) I grabbed my midwife's hand and tried to pry it out. She forced it in.  Next contraction my water broke. I told my midwife, "Look, you broke my water!!!"  She said she didn't.  After the water broke, the circumstance changed, and I couldn't return to my original birthing position.  The nurse and other midwife didn't do a good job holding my legs up.  If they let my legs down, it hurt worse!  I demanded them to hold my feet all time. They didn't listen to me and tried to force me to hold my feet on my own.  I ignored them.  Supported myself up with my hands lessening the pressure of my poor tailbone.  My midwife started chanting 'push push push harder! harder! your baby is getting in distress! push push push harder! harder! your baby is getting in distress! push push push!'  I felt pushy only from inside my abdomen, not poopy!  [In other words, the only pushing was from the uterus, there was no urge to push or bare down in addition to uterine contractions].  I ignored her requests.  I pushed only from my abdomen.  She gave me 'perineal' massage which I requested I DON'T WANT!  I told her leave me alone!!!   I welcomed the warm compresses but not the perineal massage!  The nurse lowered the bed head.  I screamed "Raise it up back, raise it back!!  I can't like that!!"   Now I was lying almost completely flat on the back on the lowered bed head. I strained my hands further to keep myself upright. The nurse took my hands off the bed and placed them on my folded knees.  I jerked my hands sharply and placed them on the bed again and supported myself up.  My hands were shaking from my weight.  The nurse gave up.

I felt like in trance, like I am looking through a dark tube. Between each contraction I was sleepy.  I ignored what my midwife chanted all time.  My baby's head was at perineum.  Felt like stretching (no ring of fire! but the perineal massage was irritating me!!).   My midwife pressed inside forcing me to push further. Finally I felt like poopy, I had no control. Pushed the baby out in 2 pushes in 5 minutes.  (My midwife thought I was pushing for 35 minutes from the moment they grabbed my feet till birth)  My baby had fist by face, my midwife didn't know how to 'deal' with it, and the baby was 'huge'  [to them] a whopping 8 pounds 4 oz (SO?!) so she explained why I tore.   I was grateful she at least listened to me about no episiotomy.  Such a surprise could cause me to tear badly if I had episiotomy!  I tore superficially,  got 10 stitches. (but I would have torn less if my midwife wasn't bothering me to not birth kneeling/squatting!!) She said I was too 'weak' for that - an excuse for interventions!).

I got the baby on my belly.  Let her nurse right away.  My midwife went ahead and cut the cord despite my protest.  She said, the blood isn't pulsating!!   I said "Let it go out before cutting!!"  She of course cut anyway.   Then she pumped the blood from the cord stump hanged from my yoni.  ( I thought, how in hell she has blood there if it isn't pulsating?!) Then she told me I have to push out the placenta.  I wasn't ready yet.  I told her, let it go out on its own!! Otherwise I will bleed too much!  She went ahead pushed on my achy tummy and pulled at the cord with her scissors. I grabbed her hands aggressively off my tummy.

She forced pressing her hands on my tummy.  It hurt like hell.  I forced her hands off.  I screamed, "Let me get up so I can push the placenta that fast if you don't have patience to wait!!"  She told me, "No! you stay lying down. It's not the same like birth."   I thought what in hell is she babbling about!!  I went ahead and got up.  I felt pushy again and pushed the placenta out.  It was too late, I was bleeding badly.   I realized they whisked the baby.  I demanded the baby. My midwife was discussing with the other midwife of giving me pitocin to stop the bleeding. I told them, "Look - I want back my baby, the bleeding will stop then!!"  They ignored my request.  I started screaming, "Give me the baby!!!"  I flailed my hands and didn't let them touch me.  Finally they gave up and brought the baby.  As the baby got skin to skin with me, and nursed, the bleeding stopped.   My midwife was amazed how well it worked.

She hugged and kissed me and congratulated me.   She is nice lady just trained so she doesn't know any other way:-(

My midwife mentioned about a c-section if the baby was 10 pounds. I stared at her like "I am gonna c-section you!"

My own commentary on this story is:   It is sad that a midwife who promises to be "hands off" finds it necessary to force her gloved hands inside a woman who doesn't want it, does perineal massage which the client previously indicated she did not want, tries to force the woman to birth in a position that she did not want and was not comfortable to her, and who would not allow the placenta to deliver naturally on its own.  These procedures are not "hands off", they interfere with the woman's own intuition.  In this case, the woman's intuition told her that a certain birthing position would be less painful, not to push until she had the urge, and to allow the baby to nurse to stop her bleeding.  It is common knowledge that these things are the healthiest and most natural things to help the woman's body during labor and birth, and it is alarming that a midwife, who is supposed to be trained to know how to accomplish birth with the fewest interventions, would be so surprised at this.  Although the midwife kept chanting that the baby was in distress, no such distress existed, and the baby was fine.  One cannot trust Electronic Fetal Monitoring to reliably diagnose fetal distress, since even experts in EFM technology disagree about what the readings mean.  And to arbitrarily state that a ten pound baby must be delivered by c-section is ludicrous.  They are born safely all the time at home, a truth which I myself can attest to.  My last baby was a ten-pounder, born at home!

And, did you notice the power struggle that was taking place right in the middle of this woman's birth?  How can a person give the appropriate amount of concentration to her labor contractions and the well-being of herself and her baby if she has to argue all the time to get the hospital personnel to pay attention to what she wants?  Or to get them to leave her alone?  This interference is one reason why so many complications occur in hospital births.....the woman is distracted from the simple, quiet, intuitive process of birth by too many people around, too much commotion going on, too much interference which makes it impossible for the woman to pay attention to the signals being sent to her by her body and intuitive senses.

You might want to look at  You and Your Birth Plan: How Do Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Staff Really Feel?
To find out what home birth will be like,  click here.

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