Five Alarm Birth

An internal exam found that I was still at 1 cm. Previous surgeries had formed a thick layer of scar tissue, which was preventing me from dilating. He informed me that once I broke through the scarring, I would progress rapidly. I was to stop focusing on timing the contractions and come back only if I couldn't walk through them anymore. Dr. Schmuck then tore off the belts and threw them over the monitor before huffing out of the room. The equally disgusted nurse told me to follow-up with my doctor on Monday.

The hour drive home brought the contractions closer together and much stronger. I laid on the couch for back and belly support while breathing deeply through the pain. A desperate phone call to hubby's aunt begging for advice (she works in a labor and delivery ward in another city) prompted us to call Dr. Schmuck's office and ask when we should return to the hospital.

The nurse told us to wait an hour and call her back if the contractions were still as strong. At this point, my mom and her friend decided take my daughter for lunch to get her out of the house. She was getting very upset by my tummy ache and I needed some time to stop trying to smile through the increasingly painful contractions. My comfort was to grab the back of the couch and pant by now.

An hour passed and we called back. The nurse told us to come into Dr. Schmuck's office for an exam instead of going to the hospital. It was a long, painful ride. I waddled through the clinic to his third floor office while my contractions were a steady three minutes apart. I was so embarrassed to be parading around trying to hide my panting from everyone else.

His nurse came to bring me back and insisted that I get on the scale, which is important when you are in labor I guess. I was having a contraction at the time, so I was gripping the wall in order to maintain my balance when she informed me that I had to let go so she could get an accurate weight. The Dr. Schmuck arrived to tell me that I was still 1 cm. I asked him how I would know when to return since the contractions were already so painful and close together.

He answered, "I have no idea." Then I told him that I hadn't slept in 4 days and how worried I was that I wouldn't have enough energy to push if I had to suffer this level of pain for days longer. I tried to explain that I had reached my pain threshold and I couldn't do this anymore. His brilliant idea was to prescribe some sleeping pills and send me home.

During my next contraction he put his hand on my belly, rolled his eyes, and told me that it wasn't strong enough to be real labor (later I was told that doctors are experienced enough to determine contraction intensity with external exams). It was 4:30 pm when we left the clinic. The hour ride home was horrific. I yelled at hubby for every bump that he went over, sure that he was hitting them all on purpose and taking his sweet time getting home to boot.

When I walked in the door, I was shaking and our family friend asked me if I was cold. All I could say was I don't think so (Hindsight observation -- I was in transition). I spent some more time on the couch trying to pretend that I wasn't in pain because my daughter was still watching and getting very scared. She insisted on lying next to me to help. I was squeezing someone's hand very tightly to get through the contractions at this point. I decided that a warm bath would ease the back pain.

My daughter, never one to let a chance for a bath pass her by, decided to get in with me. One of the most outstanding moments in all of this is my daughter and I in the tub together a mere thirty minutes before giving birth.

Exhausted from four days of intense contractions, I began to get incoherent and frantic as I entered the last stages of labor. I had to get out of the tub since my daughter began drinking the bath water and I didn't want her to swallow my amniotic fluid.

I decided to go into our bedroom and shut the door because the pain was so intolerable that I couldn't hide it from my daughter anymore. I remember mumbling and crushing my mom's hand as I worked through the contractions. In between them I would tell her over and over that I couldn't do this anymore. She would answer that I could and I had to. I told her that I couldn't focus anymore, so she asked if I wanted my Grandma to come over.


Your story really illustrates the fact that in our society, birth no longer belongs to the woman in labour.

A different read on your story would be that you were having a rather normal (though long and difficult) labour and were completely equipped (as most women are) to deliver your baby without any instrumentation (as you finally did).

It is unfortunate that you were made to feel so powerless and inappropriate by the doctors and nurses you encountered. Home births are really not that unusual in theory.

My take really is that doctors should only be involved in a birth when there is clear evidence that something is going wrong. Otherwise, there is very little that they can do for a labouring woman.

I certainly hope you did not pay the bills for this guys bad decisions.

What an amazing birth story! Kudos to you!