Natural Birth

Episiotomy Question

 DD's delivery was kind of a nightmare.  I had a very fast labor for a first time mother (14 hours from first big contraction to DD's arrival and that includes 2 hours of pushing)  but I wound up with a 3rd degree perineal tear and from what I've seen looking now that my scar has healed, it looks like it was caused by my episiotomy.  I didn't have an epidural until I was in transition and really only took it because I was being told that it was my "last chance" and I was afraid of needing it later and not having it (stupid, I know) and that kind of led to the other interventions I didn't want and tried to refuse but unsuccessfully (pitocin, episiotomy, etc)

 I especially did NOT want an episiotomy!  I said, "no, please don't, is that really necessary?"  because I happened to see my OB wielding the scissors.  He didn't even think to mention he was planning to do one!  The response was simply "I have to" and he snipped and that ended the discussion.  I have since been told by a friend who is big on natural birth that the exact phrase you have to use to stop them is "I do not consent"  Do any of you know if this is the case?

In any event, I guess it's a moot point as I plan to go natural the next time but I was just wondering if anyone else has ever heard of having to use this phrase before?  At the risk of sounding like a wuss, I STILL feel somewhat victimized by saying no and being hurt anyway.  I've had a lot of unnecessary pain because of it.  

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Re: Episiotomy Question

  • I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry you had this experience.
  • I think, legally, if you tell them that you do not consent, then they have to stop and at least explain things to you a bit more. The only problem with an epidural is that, since you couldn't feel anything when you were pushing, you really didn't know what was going on down there. So the baby may have been getting stuck at a certain point, or you may not have been pushing hard enough, so the doctor needed more room, etc. I'm not saying that any of that happened, the episiotomy may very well have been totally unnecessary. I'm just saying that it would be very easy for the doctor to get away with making his own call at that point.
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  • I can't say for sure, because I don't know enough about your situation and I'm no doctor, but...

    I have had three 3rd deg episiotomies, none of which I wanted! I talked to my doctor about how I wanted to just tear naturally and she gave me stats on the low number of epis she does and she and I were on the same page entirely. Then, when I was pushing the baby out, she cut me! Later, it was like, "what the heck?" and she just kept trying to tell me, it never would've worked any other way. I had to believer her because I love her as my doctor and she respected so many of my wishes and this was one case where she knew better. It totally sucked, but she had to use a vacuum, too, which she felt terrible about and then my baby weighed 9lbs 11oz! And I'm kinda petite, this was a huge surprise. And I believed she used her best judgement.

    So I was less surprised when it happened again. Again, I was satisfied with everything else about my daughter's birth, but a little like WTH? Ouch!

    My third baby was delivered not by my reg OB, but another doc in the practice I'd rarely seen. I asked him  beforehand about episiotomies and could you please just let me tear. He said he always does....but then he cut me too!! Together they tried to explain it to me, but basically it came down to my huge babies heads and my own anatomy. They said there was nothing else I could've done differently or they could've done differently, besides a c/s. I chose to believe them. I'm kinda prepared for another one. But honestly, after pushing out a 10lb-er without pain-meds, recovering from the episiotomy was not so bad. Sorry your recovery sounds much worse, but maybe it was really, really necessary in your situation? IDK.

    Elizabeth

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  • I'm so sorry you had to deal with this.

    From my own situation, I can tell you that I used that exact phrase, that I did not consent, and my DH did as well - he said that we had discussed it and I would prefer to tear naturally and I did NOT want an episiotomy. However the OB did one anyway.

    I think it has more to do with the care provider and how much they respect your wishes, and less to do with any actual phrase.

    If you do a Google search on PTSD after childbirth, I have found some very helpful resources on the web. As harsh as it sounds, I have scoured my medical records and there was NO medical reason for it, so I really believe that I was assaulted in my birth. I filed a complaint with the state medical board.

  • With my dd (my first child), I also happened to see them wielding scissors. However, I did not ahve an epi and was not as polite as you- I screamed "Dont fukking cut me!!!!" And she cut anyway, didnt say ANYTHING to me before or after, just cut and was done.I didnt have many stitches but I really felt horrible about the fact she cut me against my consent while I screamed at her not to. She really took something from me I couldnt get back from my daughters birth. Before I even left the hospital I vowed my next child would be a homebirth.

    My son was born march 4 weighing in a 8lbs 2oz. My dd was 6lbs 12 oz. Even with my midwife needing to rotate his shoulders for him to be born, I didnt tear. That was my ONLY fear about the whole thing was that I was going to tear along that scarline. I was so happy I did not. His birth helped soothe my self confidence but I know I could never birth confortably at a hospital again. And given the chance if I run into that dr again, I would tear her a new one. Ive had 2.5 years to stew in my anger towards her. Im not a fan of the term birth-rape but I believe it would apply to this circumstance. Sad

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  • This is getting me all worked up at bedtime.  I am so sorry this happened to the original poster and all who posted after.  No doctor should be cutting ANYTHING without consent.
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  • I am so sorry for your experience. You have every reason to feel violated. No matter what others may say, doing anything to another person without their consent is abuse.

    I am becoming a doula (starting my training next month!) to help women have an advocate in the room.

    You need to say "I do not consent" over and over and over again. Explain to the doc before it gets to that point, that you DO NOT want to be cut and that you would rather tear naturally if you are going to tear.

    If you still get cut, complain to the hospital, your insurance company, the board of directors of the hospital, the medical board in your state...anyone who will listen. Black ball that doc with all your childbearing age friends. Fight the system. The system is there to serve you, not the egos of doctors.

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  • I'm sorry...those doctors sound like wankers. Just saying you don't want one should be enough. My mother was cut and tore all the way down through her anus too. My OB assured me they only cut if the shoulder is stuck, etc...and I think they would have taken the time to at say why if it came to that (it only takes a second).

    I had a superficial second degree tear (just felt like a little spreading "hotness" at the time, no pain)...and I'm still so glad there were no scissors involved. 

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  • I would seriously be livid and definitely taking it to the higher ups.  I'm so sorry that happened to you.

    This is just ONE of the many reasons why I am planning a HB this time around!

  • I just came from a birth center checkup and asked my midwife about this. She said that there are times when an episiotomy is necessary, because the baby needs to come out right away, but this is rare.

    She said when you go in to the hospital and sign the consent form for care, they list every possible intervention on that one form. So even if you say, "I do not consent" it doesn't matter, because they already have your signature.

  • THIS!! Only I'm not getting ready to go to bed, I'm at work! It's making me angry! This does really take the joy away from a birthing experience. I am pregnant now with my first and I can just imagine how angry and hurt I would feel if this happened to me.
    image erinb31:
    This is getting me all worked up at bedtime.  I am so sorry this happened to the original poster and all who posted after.  No doctor should be cutting ANYTHING without consent.
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  • I'm sorry....I'm still trying to wrap my head around this! Scissors?!?!!! OMGoodness! I was thinking this whole time that it was with a scapel. They snip it with scissors! Horrible!
    image jscagcia1:
    THIS!! Only I'm not getting ready to go to bed, I'm at work! It's making me angry! This does really take the joy away from a birthing experience. I am pregnant now with my first and I can just imagine how angry and hurt I would feel if this happened to me.
    image erinb31:
    This is getting me all worked up at bedtime.  I am so sorry this happened to the original poster and all who posted after.  No doctor should be cutting ANYTHING without consent.
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