**I felt the need to rewrite my first birth story. The first time I wrote it, I was still in PPD and was trying to make my birth seem more perfect than it really was. In order for me to fully get past what happened to me that day, I decided to rethink things and to be totally honest about the whole situation. It sure puts it all in a new perspective for me. Thanks for reading. **
Unnecessary Routine Interventions Lead to Chaos, Pain and ultimately Enlightenment
It was a Monday, and my 40th week of pregnancy. Everything was great. For the past 4 weeks, I had been 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was healthy and the baby was healthy, and in the most ideal position for birthing. My docâ€™s office called me up one morning. â€œAmber, can you please come in today for your weekly checkup? Dr. Patel is going out of town in the morning and wants to see you today instead of later on this week.â€ Crap! I was hoping to get in some really good rest that day because I was really tiredâ€¦but now Iâ€™ve got to go get ready for this appointment.
I get to my appointment, and my OB wanted to do a pelvic exam. While she was literally examining me, she said â€œOh! Youâ€™re in labor! It looks like youâ€™re going to have a baby tonight! Iâ€™ll call over to the hospital and get you a room set up. Are you excited?â€
Um, okay. I was in SHOCK. Since this was my first labor and all, I had no idea what to expect or how things were â€œsupposedâ€ to feel. I just kept saying to Corey (DH), â€œWow. I must have a REALLY high pain tolerance or something because I had no idea I was even in labor! This just feelsâ€¦NORMAL.â€ At that point, everything started to happen really fast, and I was trying to figure out everything as it was going on â€“ hard to do, ya know!
We call both of our moms, and just repeat what the OB is telling us. â€œYeah, apparently Amber is in labor and is going to have the baby tonight!â€ They were in disbelief. Well, I was, too!
We go on over to the hospital at 4:30 that afternoon (the OB made it sound like I was about to literally birth this baby and made us rush). My Mom went home to get my suitcase (we live out in the country, 30 min. from the hospital. So it was at least an hour before sheâ€™d get to hospital). I was wondering if the baby would be here before she got back with mine and the babyâ€™s clothes. When Corey checked me in, they were saying that all of their birthing rooms were full, and could I wait? Wellâ€¦they tell me Iâ€™m in labor, but Iâ€™m not in PAIN, so sure! I could wait! What was all the rush about anyway? I sat in the conference room for over an hour waiting on a room. During that time, nurses kept flying in and out of the room with panic-stricken voices â€œOh mygosh! Are you okay? Weâ€™re going as fast as we can to get you set up in a room, okay? Just relax as much as you possibly can and let us know if you need ANYTHING!â€ I just waved my hand at them and said, carelessly, â€œOh no! Iâ€™m fine! Donâ€™t worry! ïŠâ€
Finally I get into a room around 6:00 pm. Immediately, a nurse came in for me to sign about 400 pages of paperwork. I dunno. Something about if me or the baby dies, we wonâ€™t hold the hospital personally responsible. So I signed my life away in blood on the papers to them that afternoon. Then another nurse came in and checked me. Yep, I was about 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced, just as I had been a few hours earlier over at Dr. Patels. By the way, I had a TON of pointless vaginal checkups that afternoon and evening, and the nurses were ROUGH with that. It hurt so bad every time. Anyway, after the first two nurses left, yet ANOTHER came in the room, and held up a chart. It had a series of stupid looking facesâ€¦one end had a happy face and a 1 underneath itâ€¦then it gradually went up to a scrunched up, UNHAPPY face with 10 under it. She began talking to me like I was in Kindergarten all over again: â€œNow, we will be back at several different points through your labor and delivery (great, thanks) to show you this chart. We will ask you the exact same question each time: What does the pain feel like right now? Okaaaaaaaaaaay? So all you have to do is look at this chart, and tell us how you feel by giving us the corresponding number with the pain level, okaaaaaaaaaaaaay? So right nowâ€¦What does the pain feel like?â€ I gave it a 2. It was like NOTHING. And thatâ€™s because â€“ I later found out â€“ I wasnâ€™t even IN LABOR. I was just really pregnant. Thereâ€™s little pain in that.
Right after that, another nurse came in with a big pole-thing on wheels and a bag at the top of it with a tube coming down. Yes, this was the first time I had ever been around anything enema-related. â€œAll right honey, your doctor is ordering an enema for you. I know, this is no fun. Letâ€™s just get it over with.â€ So I laid on my side, got it done â€“ felt like I was about to explode (of course) and for the next 45 minutes after that, I was back and forth from the bed to the toilet. It is MISERABLE to get an enema any time, but especially when you are so very pregnant.
I had just gone back to bed to recover from the enema when another nurse heads in. She had some stuff in her hands. I didnâ€™t know what it was or what she was doing. â€œOkay, letâ€™s go ahead and get you set up with this hep-loc.â€ I totally admit - I was pretty stupid. I mean, I obviously wouldnâ€™t even have had any of this done if I hadnâ€™t been so stupid and gullible. I didnâ€™t even KNOW what a hep-loc was! I saw her pull out a needle from its package, and knew I needed to look away. Corey, however, stood beside my bed and watched the whole thing. So I sat there and watched his face. After a minute, I began to feel a sharp twisty pain in my hand, and then watched as Coreyâ€™s face turned to complete HORROR. I immediately looked down at my hand â€“ with bright red blood all OVER the side of the bed â€“ and the nurse was fumbling around, mumbling and saying, â€œI-I am s-so sorry! Umâ€¦let meâ€¦clean this u-up! Ughâ€¦.okayâ€¦Iâ€™ll just â€“ Iâ€™ll just get this cleaned up and then weâ€™ll, um, weâ€™ll try it again, okay? Iâ€™m sorry. Iâ€™m sorry. Hang on with me for a second. Okay, all right. Itâ€™s cleaned up now. Iâ€™ll be back again with a new needle. Hang on.â€ While she was gone, Corey told me how angry he was about that. I told him that I was upset over it, too. I thought about asking for a different nurse to do this again, but for some STUPID reason, I didnâ€™t. This nurse came back and put in the hep-loc the right way. My hand was hurting really bad. Itâ€™s bad enough to have one of those things in there, but to have it all messed up like that on you the first timeâ€¦ugh.
Then another nurse comes in and hooks up my belly to an external fetal monitoring machine. They put a clip on my finger to keep a check on my blood pressure.
I kept my spirits up the whole time. We were REALLY excited to be having our first baby! Would it be a boy or a girl? What would the baby look like? You know, there are so many emotions around that time. I had a whole flood of people come into my room that night. I remember at one point, there was a big crowd in there, and people kept asking me, â€œAre you SURE youâ€™re in labor? You donâ€™t look like it!â€ And I kept saying â€œWell, thatâ€™s what they TELL me!â€ (so whatever they tell you must be the truth, right?).
Now itâ€™s 7:30 pm. I get yet another check down there. â€œIt looks like youâ€™re heading up to 5 cmâ€. Then another nurse comes in with a bag on a pole and starts hooking me up to it. I felt like saying, â€œUm, what the CRAP are you doing to me and my baby?â€ Instead, I waited for an explanation as I watched her set it up. Nothing. I kept looking inquisitively at her. Nothing. Finally, I summoned, â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ She said in a hurry, â€œOh, this is what your Dr. just ordered. Itâ€™s Pitocin. It will help speed up your labor.â€ At that point, my gut instinct was to have her sit down with me and go over all the pros and cons of having this Pitocin stuff, and did I really need it anyway? Have all laboring moms always had Pitocin when they are having a baby? I said, â€œOkay, I didnâ€™t know anything about this. What does it do exactly? Do I have to have it? What are the negative side effects to having Pitocin? Does it hurt the baby?â€ The nurse sighed and said, â€œItâ€™s fine. Yes, you have to have it â€“ itâ€™s Dr.â€™s orders. No, it wonâ€™t hurt the baby. Youâ€™ll both be just fine, okay? Do you have any more questions? (Well, NO, that was no help what-so-ever!)
I looked at myself. My body was literally hooked up to so many thingsâ€¦all going on at at once. Something in my gut told me that this was not the best way to do thingsâ€¦it was not how my ancestors had had their babies. I hated itâ€¦
After that, the Head Nurse kept coming in my room to check the Pit drip. She said, â€œHow are you doing? I canâ€™t BELIEVE that youâ€™re not in pain! You know, this is the only floor of the hospital where we WANT you to feel pain! Iâ€™ll check back laterâ€¦â€
I started to get a pain in my left side, so I propped up left leg to help compress it. Yes, that made the pain lessen considerably. I decided to stay that way. After about 5 minutes of that, a nurse came in the room. She was fumbling with the EFM machine, then she looks over at my propped up leg, pushes it down and says, â€œNo, you need to keep your leg flat because it messes with the EFM and we canâ€™t get babyâ€™s HB reading as well, okaaaaaay? Okay!â€ When she left, I propped my leg back up and nobody said anything else to me about that.
My mom went over to the machine and grabbed the printout. â€œWow, Amber. I can not believe you! When I was this far along in labor with you kids, I was writhing in pain! And youâ€™re just sitting there like itâ€™s NOTHING. Okay, here comes another contraction. Get ready! Can you feel it? Breathe! Oh my goodness! I canâ€™t believe you!â€ I just sat there normal the whole time, listening to her and trying to figure out what the big deal was. Another nurse came in later and mom talked to her about it. The nurse said, â€œWell, that printout doesnâ€™t measure the level of pain that she might experience, so keep that in mind.â€
My Grammy called at 9:15 pm. While I was chatting away on the phone with her, my water broke. Things started to feel different. Without saying anything, I handed the phone over to Mom. Then I felt a gush of water and a nurse confirmed that it was amniotic fluid by another check down there. I immediately began having hard, hard contractions out of NOWHERE and thought I couldnâ€™t breathe through them. It hurt so badly! My mother was on the left side of me and Corey was on the right side and they were helping me with the breathing techniques. I had asked Corey previously to get everyone out of the room when it got serious. So the grandpas and kids left, but my sister-in-law (Emily, 15) and my mother-in-law (Regina) were still in the room. Emily was at the foot of my bed with her hands cupped over her mouth in horror watching all the pain I was in. Regina was putting wet washcloths on my face because I was sweating like crazy! I thought that it was all making me feel worse though, so Corey asked them to leave.
I had contraction after contraction and I thought that it would never end. Those PIT contractions were making me insane and I asked for an epidural. The nurse checked me. "Nope, sorry," she said. "But you're going way too fast and you'll be ready to start pushing soon!" I was at 9 centimeters and in excruciating pain. They decided to give me some Demerol, which basically made me like a dumbed up momma in horrible PIT pain that could no longer speak about how much pain she was in! There were more contractions and when the nurse checked me again, she said, "Your cervix is almost ready but there is still a little bit of a lip to it and when it gets a little softer, you'll be ready to begin pushing." Again, there were more contractions and I was falling asleep between each one. The last time she checked me was about 10:30 p.m. and she said that she would phone the doctor because I was ready to have this baby!
I began to feel nauseous, but could barely speak. I started blubbering about feeling like I was about to throw up. The nurse looked irritated that Iâ€™d be making a mess. Corey ran and got me a bed pan. I threw up in it a few times. Then the irritated nurse came over with a HUGE needle and â€“ like she was murdering my leg â€“ she STABBED it hard into my left leg - - through the sheets, my hospital gown - everything. She said nothing. I felt nothing for all of the pain from the PIT contractions. To this day, I have no idea what she injected into my leg.
They hiked up the bed and took off the end of it. They turned on the spotlights from the ceiling. The Head Nurse began to instruct me how to push. She said, â€œWhat youâ€™re going to do is when we say go, you will grab your legs up, pull them INTO your chest, and bare down pushing as hard as you possibly can for a count of 10 seconds, okay?â€
How can I push? I feel SO worn out from those horrible contractions! My uterus literally felt like it was about to fall apart from all the stress it has been under these past several hours.
I never felt the urge to push, but I began pushing and she said that I was doing great. They slowly counted up to ten while I pushed and pushed. I could only make it to 7 or 8 before I had to let go because I didnâ€™t have it in me. This went on and on for about 30 minutes.
The doctor came in with her splatter shield (yes, it literally said SPLATTER SHIELD across the top of it). The Splatter Shield looked somewhat like a welderâ€™s helmet and freaked the mess out of me! She urged me to push harder and harder. My husband was fanning me like crazy and kept watching down there so he could see it all. Finally he said, "Oh, honey! I see the head! The baby has a head full of hair!" He was so excited! I was so tired! It wasn't over yet, though. I pushed and pushed some more, and the doctor told me that I was going to have to have an episiotomy, which shocked me, and I wanted to protest, but didnâ€™t have the energy to even speak. I felt her stick me with the needle about 8 times down there, and she kept on after that but I didnâ€™t feel it. Then she got out the scissors and started cutting away my perineum â€“ all the way down and over to the right into my butt cheek.
I pushed and she pulled the baby out at 11:02 p.m. Our baby was finally born and we were surprised with a baby boy! My husband cut the umbilical cord and he was so happy that he was crying! It was so sweet. They asked me his name and I told them with slurred speech, â€œEttthan Mattthew Davisssâ€. I didn't get to hold him, though, and that made me very upset. At that moment, I kept passing out from all of the pain and the huge blood loss. I thought I might slip out and die, honestly. I donâ€™t even know what all was going on around me at that point.
Then the doctor started tugging on the placenta and said that it wasn't going to come out on its own, so she had to pull and rip it out. That was extremely painful! Then she reached way in (she had small hands) and said that there were still pieces of it inside of me and that she was going to have to scrape it all out with her hands. She also stated that my blood was clotting like crazy. So she kept reaching in there and scraping over and over and over again for almost an hour after Ethan was born. I thought that it would never end and I was screaming in pain! I had NEVER heard of anything like this and had NEVER been in so much pain in my life. It was so awful that I literally wanted to die. I could not believe it. Finally, at midnight, it was over. After all that, I felt like I had just given birth to 200 babies that night. Then she stitched me up and I waited patiently in my bed to see my beautiful baby again. At this point, I was in so, so much pain, but didnâ€™t feel like I was about die anymore.
After what seemed to be an eternity of me waiting totally alone in my birthing room, they brought him to me and I tried nursing him for about 15 minutes. He did so well! It felt so good to have him in my arms because I had waited for this moment for so long! Ethan weighed 7 pounds even and was 19 1/2 inches long. He had dark skin, a head full of hair, and was just as beautiful as could be!
That night, I tried to sleep, but couldnâ€™t. Every time I would close my eyes, I would hear, see and feel Dr. Patel cutting me open, pulling the baby out and then scraping the inside my uterus out with her hands â€“ over and over and over again. I was totally traumatized. I felt victimized, but didnâ€™t know how to put it into words.
Little did I know that I was heading straight into severe post partum depression that would last for a solid 2 years after Ethanâ€™s birth. Little did I know all of the truths behind my birth experience, and how none of the horrible things that happened to me and Ethan that night HAD to happen; those were all choices that my doctor made FOR me for HER convenience and comfort - - not for mine or my babyâ€™s. I wish I knew then what I know nowâ€¦how being artificially induced ups your pain levels GREATLY, and that it is also a huge, huge risk you are taking. It is dangerous for your uterus, as itâ€™s not made to contract unnaturally hard or fast like that, with little to no breaks in between. It can cause your uterus to literally rupture under those kinds of drugs. It greatly ups your chances for having a C-section, a very risky surgery. It can cause the babyâ€™s heart rate to change to dangerous levels because of the hard, unnatural contractions. That was one of the reasons why I had to have an episiotomy.
I learned that my doctor put me on my back to labor and push, which caused the babyâ€™s heart rate to go down and that was her reason for wanting to get the baby out fast. That was why she wanted to cut me open down there. It took me a full year to recover pain-wise from the episiotomy. However, it has been over 6 years, and my body has not recovered down there, and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll ever be the same. How can I after being cut open so badly? My muscle was literally snipped in two.
I learned that birthing flat on your back is the WORST position for pushing a baby out. It keeps the pelvis from opening up all the way and can also change the babyâ€™s heart rate.
I learned that one should never tug and pull on the placenta. In fact, it is very dangerous to do so. It can cause a woman to hemorrhage and bleed to death. I DID hemorrhage because my OB pulled on mine, and almost had to have a blood transfusionâ€¦I almost bled to death. Thank God that I didnâ€™t! My mother works with a woman who has a daughter that was under my OBâ€™s care. She was having her first baby. After she pushed the baby out, Dr. Patel pulled on the cord. It caused the woman to hemorrhage. She started gushing out blood. The Dr. wheeled her straight into the operating room and performed surgery, removing her uterus. She had to do it to save her life. The OB created the problem in the first place, then had to take away any chance of this womanâ€™s right to ever bear children again in order just to keep her from DYING. This woman is now trying to sue Dr. Patel. But that could have so easily been ME. I feel sorry for her.
I thought of thisâ€¦all through pregnancy, your doctor tells you about certain things. Donâ€™t take unnecessary drugs because everything you ingest goes to the baby, too. Halfway through your pregnancy, they tell you not to lie on your back because baby doesnâ€™t get as much oxygen that way and it is dangerous. Yet what are the two main things that most doctors and hospitals do to a laboring woman when she checks in? They plop her on her back and give her TONS of drugsâ€¦stating to the woman that all of this is okay for both Mom and baby, when REALLY â€“ that is a LIE. Itâ€™s not okay and it leads to loads of problems for both Mom and baby.
At first, I never wanted to have another baby ever. I thought that all of that stuff was something that we as women HAD to go through in order to bring a baby into the world. For the longest time, I didnâ€™t even look into it or think about it. However, after I got over PPD and started settling into life as a Mom, me and Corey started thinking about another baby. It was then that I started my own research to find out the truth about women and childbirth. I wanted to know what ALL of my options were and wanted to be completely accountable for my own choices. I wanted to MAKE my own choices, not give that over to somebody else to do for me â€“ while I suffered through the consequences. I will NEVER go back and birth a baby the traditional American way again. Itâ€™s the worst and most dangerous way to do it.