My Birth Story …Was the Doctor incompetent, cruel, or is this considered "normal" in a hospital? :( — The Bump
Natural Birth

My Birth Story …Was the Doctor incompetent, cruel, or is this considered "normal" in a hospital? :(

DouladadDouladad member
edited March 2015 in Natural Birth
Hey Bump community!  I am posting this as a "Doula" dad :)  who has been supporting my partner throughout the pregnancy, birth, and b.    Here is our birth story…

Labour going great initially and we were at 5cm when we arrived at the hospital.

2 hours later at 7cm and progressing great!   :) 

another 2 hours and Doctor made first visit and we were "stuck" at 7cm.  She immediately suggested 'breaking the waters' and warned that a Cesarean would be imminent if we didn't speed things up.

Twice I pushed the doctor back against breaking the waters (having read that at best it 'may speed up labour 40minutes' but has way more disadvantages - better to wait for nature).   Both times they were very aggressively threatening us with Cesarean if we didn't agree.    At one point while discussing with doctor, my partner was moaning in pain and Doctor says "Ok I"m going to go ahead and break your waters, Okay? Okay!"    I said "whoa whoa whoa!" and asked my partner again so she could hear.  I thought that was super sketchy.

Finally after 4 hours more labouring (still 'stuck' at 7cm supposedly).  Doctor putting heavy pressure on us to break waters, so I specifically called her out and asked the doctor if it was "medically necessary" to break the waters at this point.  She stated that it absolutely was, although wouldn't look me in the eye ever when talking (kinda unsettling..).   

Broke waters and dialation progressed slowly to 9cm.  At this point my partner felt urge to push at one point, and doctor elected to "push through the cervical lip"  (I was under the impression that it is better to wait patiently so it can naturally dialate to 10cm, without forcing the baby through…and causing problems).

In our birthplan we wanted to push when the mother felt like it, but at this point.. after about 10hours in the hospital, and my partner labouring with no pain medication (just gas). we were both exhausted and Doctor just aggressively went right at the start with "Directed" Pushing - very aggressive - telling my partner to hold her breath and push with all her might and strain as hard as she could.   The doctor & her assistant so excited they were even yelling to PUSH PUSH PUSH when there were no contractions…     I helped by telling my partner to actually breathe when she was struggling.   The doctors were forcing my partners legs open "Open your legs!" 

During this process Doctor had 2 fingers in vagina pointing down and appeared to be Pushing down Very Hard on the Perineum.  "Push down here where you feel my fingers"  at some times pulling as hard as she could on lower part of the vagina to 'open it' 

Really hard to watch.   Of course the baby became "distressed" with a lower heart rate at some point, and before we knew it there were 7 people in the room and baby was being Venthouse (suction cup) extracted.    Doctors pulled very aggressively "PUSH PUSH PUSH!" and 'ripped' the baby out as fast as possible.

5min later..  Doctors yelling "Push push PUsh!" again and they grabbed umbilical cord and yanked out the placenta.

Aftermath - 1 healthy baby (but a bit shocked) and one mother with severe tearing.

This was our first birth, but I can't help thinking "This doctor not only rushed things along, but made a few mistakes along the way…. " 

Please provide feedback, comments as we are both still trying to put this together.   Is this a "normal" hospital birth, or was that doctor out of line? 

Re: My Birth Story …Was the Doctor incompetent, cruel, or is this considered "normal" in a hospital? :(

  • First, congratulations! Second - I am so sorry to hear that you were treated in this way. It sounds like the doctor really went against your wishes. Good for you asking for medical necessity of each intervention. I would say in answer to your question - yes, the doctor was out of line, and yes, it sounds (unfortunately) like the norm. I hope the tear was not on the cervix? 
    I feel for your partner and wish I could give you both hugs! One thought that may be a nice consolation - Ina May Gaskin says that tearing is far preferable to being cut. I hate the thought of the rushing around but at least your wife was not given an episiotomy? 
    Yanking out the placenta by the umbilical cord sounds INSANE. 
    I really recommend finding some people to share your story with and commend you for supporting your wife so much. Please let her talk about her birth experience and find people who will empathize and listen. So sorry you went through this, again. 
    LaurenNKmommyxthree2020
  • WDDCHWDDCH member
    Sounds like a mix of my first and second births. Both experiences of which I felt like a circus display rather than a respected person with emotions and preferences. My first birth they ripped the placenta out without warning. Second birth they pulled my baby out aggressively and broke her collarbone (she wasn't stuck - the doctor was impatient). I felt like my babies were violated and mistreated. I felt as though I was violated and mistreated.

    This led to us finding caring elsewhere, eventually having a birth center birth and a homebirth with subsequent babies. This current baby will also be born at home. That may not be the answer for everyone but we had happy, healthy natural births in places I felt more safe. And a woman who feels safe in birth is a great thing.

    To answer your question: I think this doctor was out of line. What the heck was her rush anyway?! I'm so sorry your experience left you feeling upset and confused.
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  • WDDCH said:

    Sounds like a mix of my first and second births. Both experiences of which I felt like a circus display rather than a respected person with emotions and preferences. My first birth they ripped the placenta out without warning. Second birth they pulled my baby out aggressively and broke her collarbone (she wasn't stuck - the doctor was impatient). I felt like my babies were violated and mistreated. I felt as though I was violated and mistreated.

    This led to us finding caring elsewhere, eventually having a birth center birth and a homebirth with subsequent babies. This current baby will also be born at home. That may not be the answer for everyone but we had happy, healthy natural births in places I felt more safe. And a woman who feels safe in birth is a great thing.

    To answer your question: I think this doctor was out of line. What the heck was her rush anyway?! I'm so sorry your experience left you feeling upset and confused.

    oh my gosh! how incredibly unfeeling. so glad you have had a positive experience since <3
  • This is why I am terrified of hospital births, but at the same time I live an hour away from the nearest hospital - so if I were to do a home birth and then needed a hospital it would be an hour until I could get that care - and in emergencies, an hour isn't a long time.  I am otherwise healthy and so far uncomplicated, but the distance makes me nervous.

    Having worked in a hospital and with doctors, though, and knowing some of the things they do without even thinking to ask ... it terrifies me.  I feel like I'd have to watch them like a hawk while trying to give birth - a time when I really don't need distractions!  Kind of a rock and a hard place right now ... but I don't want to end up with a horror story like this one.

    I'm so very sorry about what happened to you - it makes me ashamed for those in my profession that would tarnish the honor of others in the medical field that really do give competent and compassionate care.  Incompetent and downright cruel doctors, and nurses that forget that their only job is supposed to be to ADVOCATE for their patients are a plague in the healthcare system, and due to some of the regulations that have recently passed I'm afraid it doesn't look like we're going to do anything about it anytime soon. :(
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  • pixieprincsspixieprincss member
    edited March 2015
    I'm so sorry that you and she went through that. I had some similar things happen with my hospital birth with DS1. I don't think that all OBs are like this, as the other two who cycled through in that birth (which was three shifts long) were more respectful of my wishes. That said, I do hear stories like this more often than I wish I did. I wrote an article that was on Mothering.com awhile back that might offer some helpful steps when you are ready: http://www.mothering.com/articles/6-healing-steps-process-traumatic-birth/

    For me, I found that some of the things the Dr said to me were not recorded in my medical records which makes me think she just wanted to do things her way and was feeding me a line. IMO, it doesn't matter if that approach is "normal", it was unacceptable to me and I did pursue some formal complaints to the hospital and her boss. I decided to not complain to the state medical board because it was too raw for me, but if I could do it over again, I would do that, too.
    elizalegs
  • thanks for the kind responses!   (and the link - useful ) :) 

    good advice about formally complaining.  If every patient who had a bad birth with Doctor X  complained, maybe they wouldn't be doing births.

    It is funny now whenever I meet a Father-to-be (or mother to be ) I am giving advice, recommending books,  'get a doula! or a midwife'  haha   "give birth in your living room - it will be better"  

    What is is horrible is that our actual doctor (who couldn't attend the birth) - when told about our experience made me out to be some idiot who read too many books and then quoted some Birth study in Africa where women who were stuck at 7cm had a high infant mortality rate.   (Whether this study is true or not is beside the point).

    What is really scary with these bad doctors though is that they are putting the baby at risk, and causing permanent physical damage to the mother in many cases!!  My partner seems to have mild urinary incontinence now...

    One ironic quote during the birth  "Don't worry, I'm not going to assault your Girlfriend"  - Doctor


  • I know, it seems the more you read and the more informed you are, the more derogatory they are towards you!  Ask for the reasoning behind a proposed medical intervention and they look at you like you'd just slapped them.  I can just see it in their brains, "What?  Be accountable?  To a mortal?  Nonsense!" lmao

    One thing I will say, though - devils advocate a little here - is that the demands made on a doctors time are ludicrous, you would be horrified at their schedules.  So patient education, the type that involves going over complex reasoning for an intervention to a nervous mother takes precious time they likely were never given to begin with.  I do feel entitled to know the who, where, when, what, and why about my care of course, I'm just saying there should be a better system to deal with that.  I think if doctors could take as much time as needed with each patient without worrying that they are not meeting the right quota we might see a shift in doctors' collective attitudes.  This goes with nurses, too.  Maybe we could stop, smile, and listen more if we weren't caring for 40 people at a time, lol.

    Also, many doctors are just plain jerks and are only in it for the power trip/money/prestige.  Let us not forget that. :D
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    Dad: Toby, 36, army veteran and woodworker
    First time pregnant and so excited! 

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  • My grandmother was an NICU nurse for 50 years. She says plenty of babies die from people thinking they know more than the doctor. Just saying. Congrats on your healthy one.
  • Kitta+1 said:

    That was about the most offensive thing I think I've read on here yet.  So basically, we're all idiots and shouldn't be asking questions because of course all doctors know best and they are all diligently looking out for our best interests - lazy or out of date doctors are of course not a possibility.  Makes sense.


    Personally, I think I'll stick to researching and trying to figure out what's best for my baby myself.  I'm not an idiot.
    FYI I flagged that post which you're referring to. It's absolutely mind-boggling that someone would come here and say something so demeaning and ignorant.
    mommyxthree2020
  • Hehe well worded.  I like you. :D  Good idea flagging - I can think of absolutely no reason to post something like that other than to instigate ire.
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    Mamma: Kitta 25, Activity Coordinator and Nurse at a school for mentally disabled adults 
    Dad: Toby, 36, army veteran and woodworker
    First time pregnant and so excited! 

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  • yeah so the flag was rejected. apparently her comment was inoffensive! go figure
  • That's disappointing.  I'm not sure who wouldn't take one look at that and realize the intent was to offend.  Oh well. :(
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    Mamma: Kitta 25, Activity Coordinator and Nurse at a school for mentally disabled adults 
    Dad: Toby, 36, army veteran and woodworker
    First time pregnant and so excited! 

  • Haha as a nurse the above comment is so laughable. Seen plenty of doctors screw up and some are total idiots
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  • Congrats on the baby! I had a hospital birth with an OB. My situation was entirely different. My OB was great and respected my wishes. The staff was wonderful. There was only one nurse and the OB in the room with me. The OB let me push when and how I wanted. I refused and IV, I ate, etc.

     It sounds like the OB was the main problem. She sounds pushy, in a rush, and threatening. I am so sorry you and your partner had to experience that. I would highly recommend finding another OB/practice. There are plenty that will make you feel like a person and be respectufl to you during L&D.


  • I'm responding much later but I want to express how horrified I am at your birth experience! I can't believe the doctor was pushing to rupture the amniotic sac only after a couple hours at 7 cm! It sounds like a lot of bullying and attempts to steamroll the patient. The part about stretching the perineum and indicating that's where to direct pushing does actually sound normal, but perhaps a terrible bedside manner when going about it. IMO, everything should be explained and asked permission before doing, unless it is an emergency situation. Which I don't hear anything about this being an emergency.

    I echo PP's suggestion to most definitely file a complaint with the hospital! Not just for yourselves but to prevent this sort of traumatic experience for other laboring parents. And, if you have more children in the future, and god forbid you get another rotten egg, you certainly have the right to - and should! - request a different doctor. 

    I also want to add that this experience is not at all my own experience, and I hope you don't assign blame to "hospital births." This isn't about hospital births, this is about that doctor (and perhaps some of the staff, too?).

    Just to share my own hospital birth experience, I also arrived at the hospital at 5 cm and didn't have my daughter for another 33 hours. I was never rushed. I got stuck twice... including for 10 hours at 9 cm. Every staff person who entered my room read my birth plan and truly honored it. I was treated gently and respectfully, and everything was explained thoroughly. Nothing was done without my permission. All the staff at my hospital work in shifts and are paid a salary. In other words, they're not paid per procedure and they don't have to stay until the patient delivers. So it was the third shift of staff that ended up delivering my baby. I had a great experience and I plan to deliver at the same hospital with this kid... any day now! 
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  • I think unfortunately, your case is all too common,  but definitely does not make it okay. I was with my sister during her entire labor and birth, and almost strangled the doctor and the nurse. Constantly threatening C-Section and the nurse making wild statements about position of the mom (they kept her on her back unable to get out of bed after 5cm) It only solidified my resolve to have a home birth.

    I am sorry you went through that. But it sounds like your wife had an amazing partner to help her. Good for you!

    And as for the comment about the NICU nurse...yes it was dumb, that grandmother also was a nurse when they put acid in your eyes to clean them and turned many babies blind...so take that with a grain of salt when you even acknowledge what they said, but I think the focus on this great doula dad is more important! It's great to see father's stepping up like this! Informed and helpful...not helpless ;)
  • I'm so so sorry to hear that! Big hugs to you both! Though my experience wasn't nearly as bad I shudder every time I think that DS was close to being born in the shower as the nurse at the hospital didn't check how far along I was dilated after my morphine shot and I got sent home for the 3rd time. I DO have to say though that my OBGYN and her team were absolutely amazing and made me feel so confident in what I was doing. It's such a shame that more doctors can't be as encouraging and I sincerely hope that any other babies you might have are born under better care. Lots of love!
  • I'm so sorry you had that experience! Congrats on the new baby, though! 

    My hospital experience wasn't quite aggressive like that, but the staff definitely made me feel as though I had no idea what I was doing, and was making all of the wrong assumptions and calls. However, they also tried to tell me I wasn't actually in labor and that my waters hadn't broken, and the baby came less than 2 hours later. lol. Anyway, 

    I definitely agree with complaining about the doctor. Even google+ is a great way to get that out: they need to be held accountable, even if it's just online! 
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  • So sorry for the upset. My OBGYN was a bit late so my nurse told me not to push when I was ready - you've heard how that's silly too. Thankfully the OB heard and said "she can push". My OB massaged the perineum (which I've read mixed things about). I was told to push hard and I had a 4th degree tear. Given my mom had bad tears with home births I kinda of think it's our body type, and given I had a LGA (large for gestational age) baby also (which I "blame" on my DH's genetics) I wasn't particularly surprised. But I wonder if it was the hard pushing. I don't recall how the placenta came out; I do recall the OB saying "she's bleeding", "she's still bleeding". After beating on my abdomen to release a retained placenta, she reached in ripped it out (along with uterine muscle). I stopped bleeding. Thankfully a hysteroscopy confirmed I healed fully and it didn't have a negative impact on a subsequent pg. The 2nd L&D I had a m/w (at hospital) and pushed with appropriate encouragement - the babe was even larger and I tore (2nd degree?), which was expected. Folks aren't kidding when the say the body will never be the same after pg. Yikes! Congrats on your babe! (Sorry again for the upset.)

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  • Kitta+1  I had a thought regarding your being over an hour away from the nearest hospital…My midwife services a large area and sometimes will have two births around the same time.  When this happens she will ask the Moms if they will come to her home and give birth there.  If you could find someone who would do a home birth but at their home or at the home of one of your friends or family members who live much closer to the hospital that might elevate your fears.  All the best!
  • This type of abuse happens all too often. Thank you for sharing your story - it must be tough to put into writing. 

    My amazing doula, Dawn Thompson, founded ImprovingBirth.org. You may want to visit their site - there are many resources for healing from a traumatic birth, filing complaints, etc. 

    You may also want to search for Red Tent events in your area. 

    Wishing you and your family all the best! 




  • I couldn't figure out how to explain to my midwife why I wanted to see a midwife vs. an OB (I'm a registered nurse who works in critical care) and she summed it up beautifully for me:
    "Doctors tend to treat pregnancy like a disease that needs to be treated. There's nothing wrong with you!!"

    PERFECT!

    I'm so sorry about this rotten experience, but good job sticking up for your sweetie!!! Definitely file a complaint about that doc!
    Kay6519
  • There are a lot of speculations here from several people. There is no evidence, that medical radiography causes cancer - this is just not true. Poor nurses do not put acid in babies eyes to blind them - it is an urban legend. If something like that happened, it was a mistake. Thalidomide did have those horrible side effects, but no one new about it then.
    OB did sound very rushed. Normal labor first time lasts over 20 hours and if they monitored the baby and was no signs of distress, there were no need to rush the delivery. 
    To know more try to read some OB textbooks, then you would know for sure what to tell next OB
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