Warning! This is a raw one and I speak from the heart. Sometimes my heart drops f-bombs.
Sharing my personal birth story is one of the gifts that I feel I can offer other women. It’s another perspective and it’s shared with the intention of saving other women from regrets.
My personal birth story
I do not share this to shame doctors or nurses or to say that having a baby in a hospital is bad. I would do it all very differently on a next go around, however. I wanted to have an at home birth but I was told by friends and professionals that this is too dangerous. Giving birth in 2022 is dangerous and things can go badly, quickly, and that happens in hospitals all of the time.
I cannot yet speak from experience about the home-birthing process; I can only speak about my experience. I am completely amazed and admire all women who give birth to babies outside of hospitals and I want to be part of that club. I did very much enjoy my epidural. It’s not about being brave, I just want the full and spiritual experience.
I had to change OBGYN’s multiple times because everything went into total chaos when I was about 2 months pregnant, March 2020. I went from working in an office to being sent home to work and there we stayed until I quit my job in April 2021. I started out at a clinic in Atlanta. I couldn’t even get back in to see the doctor I saw the first time. They shut the clinic down. So then I was sent to another facility months later. This doctor didn’t know anything about my last visits, didn’t look at my chart, didn’t have my records and of course we aren’t given our own medical records so I couldn’t help her a whole lot. She was flustered. I can imagine why. She wasn’t even able to use the sonogram to hear the baby’s heart beat. At this point this was over an hour away from where I lived and it made sense when I was still working in the office but it didn’t make sense for me while working from home.
I found an office in the town where I lived and I began to transfer my records there. This was a huge ordeal. I couldn’t get anyone to help me with this transfer. They passed me from office to office on the phone and told me to fill out this form and send it here and then I wouldn’t hear anything. Then I’d call again and they’d tell me I did it wrong and I needed to send THIS form to THIS office. After many calls, emails, getting the new clinic to request the records, signing release forms, etc. I finally had to drive over two hours round trip to physically request my records and to get them in my hands and hand deliver them to the new place. The fact that we have to beg to have our own records is a problem. The fact that Sally, in the office, can tell me “no”and I have to fill out a bunch of forms and wait a few weeks is a really big problem. Print the f*cking documents, Sally. They are MY documents. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Only 1% of us? Ok, I’ll keep going anyway.
In the short 2 or 3 visits with those doctors they had me ‘needing to see a specialist’ right off the bat. Isn’t that curious? They said that there was a protein present in my blood work that they don’t know what it means but it has been linked to low birth weights. Also, right from the start, I tell each and every single doctor that I am under the care of that the dates are wrong and that I know when I conceived. I know that the dates are two weeks off. Every single doctor says “that’s nice” and proceeds without changing the dates. Every single doctor also tells me that my baby is small and measuring about two weeks off for the remainder of my pregnancy. Boy I tell ya, it must really be difficult to spend over 8 years memorizing systems and biological processes to graduate and to not be able to critically think or to truly listen to your patients. A+B doesn’t always equal C in science, also if your patient is telling you that the answer is C and you are still wondering what A+B equals, maybe consider that your patient might be right?
I was a healthy 32 year old woman in pretty good physical and mental shape and I immediately stopped using anything potentially harmful to my baby. I was pushed and fear mongered the whole time that I was pregnant by these professionals. The next doctor’s office I went to saw me once and then they said in order to see me at the next appointment, coincidentally the appointment where I was to find out the gender of my baby, that I needed to pay for half of the hospital expenses up front. So I needed to come up with over $2,000 at my next appointment or they wouldn’t see me anymore. I learned that this was common practice for many hospitals but I felt it was very manipulative and I said no thank you. I switched offices again. The last office that I went to I stuck with. It was OK. I continued to see the specialist for the majority of my pregnancy. At some point the specialist declared I had placenta previa and that it was very unlikely to change. By 7 months, I think, they told me I was going to have to have a c-section because the placenta was not going to move this late in the game. I stressed about that. I had a doula that I met with virtually at this time. I consulted her about it. She said that it could still move. She had also not heard of this situation with the protein being associated with low birth rates. At this point I’m being pressured into scheduling the birth and once again I’m telling them that the dates are two weeks off and that I’m not having my baby two weeks early. They tell me more scary things like the placenta can stop feeding the baby and we just wouldn’t know it. These are reasons why we shouldn’t wait. Essentially, I was told that by letting things evolve naturally I was putting my baby at unnecessary risk. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Ok, still just the 1% alright. I’ll keep going.
Essentially, I was told that by letting things evolve naturally I was putting my baby at unnecessary risk.
The final doctor who delivered me pressured me about whooping cough vaccines and c-section deliveries and all the things. She said she wouldn’t deliver me vaginally at this point because I asked, what happens if I just don’t agree to the c-section? So if a woman shows up in labor and says no I won’t have a c-section you will refuse to deliver her? My former friend, who is a Labor and Delivery nurse, told me that I was being a ‘problem patient’ and that I was making a bad wrap for myself there in the office by being difficult with all of this. She is also the one who talked me out of a home birth by telling me scary stories about women almost dying where she worked. We had lived in a 3rd world country together. We had hitchhiked on the back of fish trucks together and had a few adventures that involved walking for miles with no shoes or a 2 a.m. puke and rally when we had an 8 a.m. bus to catch. I thought, “we’re both tough women so if she is telling me this I better listen.”What I wasn’t yet fully aware of yet is that she was indoctrinated in her nursing school. Like all the rest, she was taught to memorize, do and do not question. She was taught to see things from one perspective and one perspective only. She was taught to not ask what had put these women in this dangerous situation but what did these women do to put themselves in this dangerous situation? When you see and admit that the same people who own the pharmaceutical companies are also the ones behind the writing of the text books and the ones writing the biggest checks to the medical schools then you start to see why a hospital birthing experience is spiritual warfare. They go against everything that is natural and tell you that anything outside of this is irresponsible and risky behavior on the part of the mother.
There are several more instances with this final doctor that were shit interactions. One example is that I asked her if the hospital had nurse midwives or doulas. She looked at me blankly and said “what is a doula?” I don’t remember when exactly but somewhere after month 8 the placenta moved. Everyone was completely stumped like they had never seen that happen before. I told the specialist that I was done there. I wasn’t going back. He made sure to tell me that I still had that protein which was associated with low birth weight and that I still needed to be closely monitored by a specialist. I said no thanks and took his disapproving and questionable look as a compliment. At this point, I don’t even know what the f*ck this protein is. It’s all a scam. They knew it and I knew it and I was fed up with it. I go back to my regular doctor’s visits only. And can you guess what happens next? She wants to schedule and induce a vaginal delivery. Isn’t that amazing? When I asked why she just said the baby is small and we don’t want to take chances with the placenta not doing its job and feeding the baby properly so it’s better to get her out and to not risk anything happening to her or the placenta. I said no. On the final visit to her office she walks in with her clipboard and says, “We have you scheduled for an induction on the 21st, I see.” Mind you, this is before the baby is even due. I started to get upset with her and to argue with her about an induction and that no, I was not agreeing to one. She then says ,”ok well just lie back and let me check you.” She does the vaginal exam. Something else I didn’t know about and won’t do in the future- no vaginal exams during the pregnancy. When I get home I go to the bathroom and there is a bunch of mucus and blood in my underwear. I panicked and called the doctor’s office. They said this is normal but if anything changes to let them know. The next morning I’m in labor by 9 a.m. My water never broke. I never experienced Braxton hicks or anything like that. I just started having contractions that were 5 minutes apart and then 3 minutes apart. I stayed calm. I had taken all of the classes that I could take through the hospital. I had consulted with a doula throughout the pregnancy. I knew that this was going to take a while. I was 36 weeks pregnant (38 according to the doctors). Her due date, according to doctors, was October 22nd and it was October 8th. I didn’t have a hospital bag packed or anything. I had two dogs and two cats to care for. I was still working. I was actually in a virtual meeting when I went into labor. I told my coworker that I thought I was in labor and I hung up. I took a little time to think and to breathe. I got to the hospital and they took a while to check me then they said I was in labor. They then took even longer to check me into the hospital. It was a pretty easy experience from there.
The doctor who delivered me was a much sweeter, gentler human than the one who I had been seeing me during the pregnancy. She talked me through everything. She still gave me pitocin because she was worried about a dry birth.. I agreed. After laboring since 9 am. I took an epidural around 4pm. It did wear off somewhere during the delivery and I did get to feel real labor pains. They suck. They suck real bad. They beefed it up again and I got to be in the drug induced nirvana once more. Viv came out healthy and beautiful. We did the delayed cord clamping (though now I know I should have delayed this by hours not minutes), no bath and immediate skin to skin where she stayed for the next 5 months of her life. I wore that naked baby against my skin as much as possible. It was a decent hospital stay except they forgot to bring me dinner the first night I was there. They also insisted upon pricking my angel’s foot every hour. I argued and argued this. I should have just told them to get f*cked. I just would have had such better care at home with my own team of people and it’s so clear to me now all the pushing and poking and prodding to manipulate you into doing things that are convenient for them.
I realize in writing this blog how raw some of these feelings still are for me. I realize how much I avoid thinking about a lot of it and how angry I actually felt for parts of my pregnancy with the medical care I was receiving, with my job that kept demanding more and more and more of me. This experience lead to my greatest awakening. There’s no turning back.