My unfortunate birth story (incl. Hypnobabies experience) — The Bump
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My unfortunate birth story (incl. Hypnobabies experience)

It has taken me awhile to get around to writing this all up. I'll warn in advance, this is long. I hope it provides some lessons to other FTMs planning a natural birth in a hospital with an OB (or other not-so-natural-birth-friendly medical professionals).

Our daughter, Daphne, is now nearly 2 months old. We're so thrilled with our daughter, and happy she's healthy. However, we are anything but thrilled and happy about how the birth went down.

We had planned for a natural birth in a hospital. I used to be one of those women that thought women who birthed naturally were nuts, and that I'd want "to be pumped full of drugs the moment I went into labor". Then I got pregnant. As I started to research, I quickly began to realize that drugs and interventions were not the answer, that I could absolutely do a normal, vaginal birth without medications, and that it was most like the healthiest option for both me and my baby.

So, I presented this to my OB. The first time I brought it up to her, she told me that "a lot of FTMs think they're going to go natural, but they have no idea how painful it will be" and that "you need to know that there's a point at which you can no longer get an epidural". I left the appointment feeling really discouraged by her.... However, I chalked it up to me coming across as "wishy-washy" about a natural birth. At that point I still was doing my research, and didn't have my heart fully set on it, and I figured she picked up on that and thought I was wearing rose colored glasses about it, and wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into (first mistake: giving the OB so much benefit of the doubt, and so naively). By my next appointment with her, my mind was solidly made up, and I had even begun drafting a birth plan, which I brought in to start discussing with her. She seemed more supportive that time, although still reluctant. She agreed to a number of things in my birth plan, but then selected others to refuse. For instance, she said she "requires" all her patients to have continuous fetal monitoring, because "you could be monitored for 20 minutes, but I have no idea what's going on and if the baby is okay the other 40 minutes" (I was just asking for intermittent monitoring). By my next appointment after that, I came in with a printout of ACOG's recommendation that CFM not be used for healthy, normal pregnancies, and that intermittent monitoring was favored. My OB backpedaled after reading it, and agreed to the intermittent monitoring "as long as there are no complications". Other prior points of contention on my birth plan were dealt with similarly with her, and by the time we were close to our due date, I felt like we had negotiated the birth plan to a point that I was satisfied with, even if I did have to make a few concessions (lesson two: my birth plan was not at all unreasonable or "out there", and I shouldn't have needed to "negotiate" with her -- and the fact I had to should have been a major red flag).

Granted, I knew by about the halfway point in my pregnancy that my doctor was very conservative, and was going to make things more difficult. I was not afraid of a natural birth at all. I was only afraid of my doctor and the hospital, and what they might do. I trusted my body -- I did not trust the medical staff. However, we have an HMO that pays for everything 100%, but limited our ability to switch doctors. We really couldn't switch unless we also switched medical groups (and thus lost all of our other doctors, who we really, really like), or went really far out of our way to a different office of this medical group. (Lesson three: don't let anything get in the way of finding a doctor that respects you and will provide the kind of care you want/need). I figured my doctor was young and fairly fresh out of school (practicing only 3 years), and that maybe my birth would help her see that natural birth wasn't so bad. (Lesson four: don't think, for even a moment, that you're going to change anyone's mind).

As we approached the due date, my doctor started doing things like ordering NSTs as soon as the day before my due date, and trying to talk me into scheduling an induction (originally she wanted to do it a week after my due date, but I argued for a delay, so she "gave me" until 10 days past my EDD, and I figured the baby would either come by then, or I could try to stall longer). The only reason she gave me the 10 days? Because "there are already a lot of inductions scheduled for Friday" (which was the day she originally wanted to induce). That should have been another huge red flag that things were not going to go well.

As our due date came and went, I was excited for the birth, but pretty relaxed about when it might happen. Things started Tuesday evening (4 days after EDD) at about 5:30 pm, with my water breaking but no contractions. I decided to hang out at home, to avoid going to the hospital and being put "on the clock" and having vaginal exams that could introduce infection, and possibly wind up with unwanted interventions. Contractions finally started around 9 pm (although I hadn't said anything to him just yet, because I wasn't 100% sure). My husband and I ate a quick dinner, and then headed to bed. My contractions were too close together for me to get to sleep though, so I wound up laboring around the house (while I let my husband sleep, unknowing) until about 4am. Contractions had been 3-4 minutes apart, lasting 45+ seconds for at least a few hours at that point. I felt like I was getting close to being ready to go to the hospital, so I woke my husband, and we ate some breakfast, showered and finished getting ready. We got to the hospital and in our room by 6 am. (Lesson five: wait longer next time... this can be such an individual thing, and for me a lot of it was not knowing what to expect, but retrospectively, I really wish I had labored at home longer).

The nurse checked me and I was at a 4. They hooked me up to the monitor, and unfortunately the baby was "flat" (the heart rate was fine, but she wasn't having accelerations/decelerations), so my doctor ordered me to stay on the monitor (there went our "agreement" for intermittent monitoring), and also ordered an IV (which I also didn't want) because of the loss of fluids from my broken bag of waters. Contractions continued to get stronger, and baby started looking good, but my doctor refused to take me off the monitor or the IV. The nurse we had was awesome though, and she got me a wireless monitor so I could get up and move around as I wished, and never once complained about having to come in many times to readjust it.

At 1:00 pm they checked me again, and I was at a 6. I was having back labor though, which was not fun (we later learned she was posterior). But my husband and our doula provided lots of counter pressure, which helped (and from time to time I'd crawl back into bed and do the Hypnobabies stuff and try to rest -- I was starting to feel a bit fatigued).

I should mention that I was blown away at how well the Hypnobabies program worked -- at one point I was having really strong contractions, but I was apparently "snoring" and not even moving or flinching through them (though I wasn't actually asleep and could feel them, but they didn't feel like much -- they sort of felt "removed" and definitely manageable), and when I pulled myself up from the hypnosis, everyone was just staring at me with wide eyes, including the nurses and doula -- so I'd highly recommend it, and will definitely be using it again for subsequent births.

Back to the birth.... Contractions got even stronger, and soon I thought for sure that I was at or extremely near transition, based on my demeanor/mental state, the pain, and the self-talk that was going through my head. But we were working with/through it. Around 5 pm I was using the toilet when a contraction hit and I felt a sudden urge to poop, so I told the nurse who decided to check me. We were all hoping it was close (especially since I was getting really, really tired at that point). Unfortunately, she found I was still only at a 6. And that's where things started going exponentially bad.

She reported back to my doctor, who then told us that since we had been ruptured for nearly 24 hours and I hadn't made any progress in 4 hours, we had two choices: we could have a c-section now, or we could try Pitocin for an hour, but that if I didn't make progress I was getting a c-section in an hour. My husband and I started freaking out -- neither option felt acceptable, but our doctor refused to entertain any other options, despite our arguments. Finally we decided to try the Pitocin. However, I was worried that I would be unable to handle the unnaturally intense contractions it would create, especially because of how tired I was. So after lots of agonizing, I decided to get the epidural in hopes it would allow me to relax (I had been really tensing up during contractions at this point, and shaking from adrenaline from the doctor's orders and the stress that things were going sideways fast), and that the Pitocin could do its work (knowing that often the epidural and Pitocin actually counteract each other... but my other options didn't seem so great in comparison). Plus, if I did have to have a c-section, I wanted the epidural so my husband could be in there with me, because if you get general anesthesia nobody gets to be in there. (Lesson five: I failed to remember that the doctor can't do anything without my consent, and that at that point I probably could have flat told her "no", and even asked for a different doctor or something).

An hour later (spent terrified and shaking, and trying my hardest to relax -- what a contradiction), the nurse checked me... for what felt like an eternity. Unfortunately, not only had I apparently "not made any progress" (she said I was "at a 6, maybe a 7" -- which in retrospect sounds like it may have actually been a little progress after all, although slight, and possibly hampered by the swelling), but my cervix had started to swell, and the nurse thought that the baby's head may also be slightly swollen, but she wasn't sure. At that, my doctor wanted a c-section immediately. My husband and I argued with her, trying to negotiate for an hour more on the Pitocin (and even had suggestions from our doula on things we could try to help ease the swelling/progress labor while continuing the Pitocin for a bit longer), which our OB flat out rejected. And then we tried arguing for just 30 minutes more, which she also rejected.

Then she began using horrific scare tactics and emotional manipulation to bully us into it. At one point she told me if I didn't get it done now, I could lose my uterus and never have kids again. And at another point she told my husband that I could need a blood transfusion from hemorrhaging and get HIV or Hepatitis B! These are just two examples -- she had plenty more. It's important to note that all of this was over the phone... she didn't even have the "decency" to bully us to our faces. I argued with her about the risks of c-sections and asked for data on the risks she was throwing at us, and she blew it all off. Eventually we asked for a second opinion (even though we knew we'd get her colleague who would likely advise us to do it too, if for no other reason than "professional courtesy" -- which she did, but she was at least nicer about it).

So, stuck between a horrible rock and a hard place, we took a few minutes to talk privately and cry over it together, and then gave in. (At that point we felt our only other option was to get up and walk out -- which wasn't really an option).

Adding insult to injury... as they were wheeling me to the OR, a call for an emergency c-section came out, and they wheeled us instead into the recovery room to wait for that c-section to happen first. We sat there alone, scared, and my husband without a chair for an hour and a half before they took me in for surgery. At one point my doctor came in to "apologize" for the delay, and I pointedly asked her what kind of danger I was in because of this delay, since she had been telling us earlier that we couldn't have more time because all of these horrific things could happen... and she blew it off, telling us "not to worry" and everything would be "fine". WTH? (That proved right there that she was bullying us into doing things her way, and not primarily concerned with what was best and appropriate for me and my baby).

I had also asked for a few things with the c-section (I had a small birth plan prepared for it just in case -- which I'd highly advise any mom planning a natural birth have handy, just in case), including being able to see the baby immediately after she was born, which they agreed to... and then later denied me. Instead, they whisked her over to the warmer, where I could only see a part of her leg. They didn't even invite my husband over right away. Finally they let my husband bring her to me, so I could see her -- after what felt like the longest eternity ever. And even then I got less than two minutes with her (and fortunately the pediatrician took some nice photos with our camera -- which is also how I know how long I got with her), before they whisked her off to the nursery, my husband in tow (which is what I wanted... but he later told me he had never been so scared in his life leaving me, and getting no update -- despite asking -- for almost an hour. Finally they wheeled me into recovery, where I laid pretty much alone (there was a nurse on a computer across the room) until they finally brought my baby to me -- over an hour after she was born.

Our daughter was born 9 lbs 3 oz, and 21 3/4 inches long. She's a long, skinny baby. It also turned out that she was posterior (which was likely the cause of the slowed labor, the back pain, and quite possibly the swelling of the cervix due to the pitocin causing the baby to push down on it before she was ready, and in a position that wasn't favorable). They also noted that the baby's head had begun to mold to the pelvis. But no swelling of the baby's head was noted.

Fortunately we're both healthy, and I am thankful for that every day. But I'm having a hard time with the way it all went down (the first few weeks were especially hard, with lots of flashbacks and crying and anger), and both my husband and I were left feeling very traumatized, and I'm having to grieve the birth experience I had been so excitedly looking forward to, and couldn't have. We're hoping we can do a VBAC next time, but I already know it will be difficult to make happen. At the very least, we won't be using that doctor again. Especially after, at my 6 week post-partum appointment, she had the gall to bring up VBAC herself and tell me that while I could do a "trial of labor" that I "wasn't a good candidate" because of the "failure to progress" and because I had "a narrow pelvis" (which was NEVER EVER mentioned up until that point). I sharply questioned her on how she determined that, and she said from vaginal exams. And then I got her to reluctantly admit that that was not a reliable way of determining whether my pelvis was narrow (let alone too narrow to birth vaginally).


And, BTW, anybody who tries to tell you that a c-section is no big deal, is full of it. It's major surgery, with all the risks and side effects that come with it. Recovery is painful. You're given all kinds of restrictions (for 6 weeks, I was unable to drive, exercise, carry anything heavier than the baby, climb the stairs more than once a day [originally I was told no stairs at all -- but that would not have been feasible in my home, unless I was confined upstairs for 6 weeks straight, or unable to shower, access the nursery, and had to sleep on the sofa bed for all that time]). While the incision site has been healing nicely, it hurt a lot, especially at first. Moving around to handle the baby was difficult (bending over, sitting up in bed, positioning her during nursing so she wouldn't press into the scar, walking around, rocking/bouncing/swaying with her). Getting her/me to her/my doctors appointments would have been impossible without help. Fortunately my husband stayed home with me the full 6 weeks (we fought with the doctor -- who initially refused -- to sign a letter allowing him two weeks of FMLA time to care for me, since really I was disabled and incapable of fully caring for the baby on my own, although she tried to argue that I wasn't disabled, despite all of the disabling restrictions; and then he took two weeks of paternity leave and two weeks of vacation). I was a wreck emotionally, exhausted and in pain physically, and still trying to figure out a newborn. It would have been very hard without the help, and I doubt I would have healed up as much as I have as quickly as I did without the help (because it really didn't take much at all to "overdo it").

We plan to pursue a VBAC next time, and I'm already working on planning for that (even though we'll likely wait a year or two before TTC again). We'll switch insurance if we have to, or even pay for it all out of pocket if that's what it takes -- but never again will I accept a doctor that isn't fully on board with my wishes (without evidence-based and sound reasoning for suggesting otherwise). I wish I had understood before the birth how vitally important it is to have a doctor/midwife that you can trust and who is truly on your side. Like a naive dummy, I really thought I could "work with" my doctor to get what I wanted (especially since my pregnancy was exceptionally healthy and problem-free). But, in the end, too many things I either didn't anticipate or didn't prepare for well enough conspired against me to land me in the OR for a c-section I likely didn't need to have.

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Mama's Clone - 07/18/12

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Re: My unfortunate birth story (incl. Hypnobabies experience)

  • Wow... your title is accurate. How very unfortunate. I'm really sorry that things didn't work out the way you planned. Congrats on your sweet new baby!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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    Trying for #2 since July 2010
    BFP 8/1/10, missed m/c, D&C 9/15/10.
    BFP 1/8/11, chemical pregnancy.
    BFP 3/4/11, measured behind all along, no more HB 4/18/11. D&C 4/29/11. HCG didn't drop, Repeat D&C 6/17/11; confirmed molar pregnancy 6/23/11.
    Forced break, including two Hysteroscopies in October to remove retained tissue.
    BFP 12/29/11! Betas @ 10 dpo = 85, 14 dpo= 498, 22 dpo = 7242
    Heard HB 1/24/12. 144 bpm!

    Luca Rose born 9/9/12! More than worth the wait!
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  • I am so sorry you did not get the birth experience you wanted.  It sounds like your OB was a real piece of work. I can only imagine how frustrated and angry you are after such an experience.  Hang in there and remember you have a happy and healthy little girl!
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  • imageaylafsu88:
    Hang in there and remember you have a happy and healthy little girl!

    I am sure she forgets this all the time.

    I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience. Just remember it is not your fault. You did what you had to do with the information and resources available to you at the time to keep  you and your baby safe. It really, really sucks.

    My daughter was also flat which is why I was transferred from the birth center to the hospital. She was also OP, maybe OT-hard to say for sure. I was exhausted and we went for the c/s after 72 hours and progress to a 4.  They didn't tell my husband anything about my condition for nearly 2 hours and I didn't see my daughter for almost 3. Just because they were "busy." There is no way to know at this point whether things would have been different or better or worse if we'd made different decisions.

    You are not alone either. I would suggest seeking out a local ICAN chapter and start going to meetings. They also have an online forum, though it is slow. It can really help to talk to people who have been through similar experiences.  

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  • Thank you for sharing your story, as hard as it was to read and I'm sure to relive. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said; it's of utmost importance to choose a caregiver who aligns with your values. But it sounds like you did what you thought was the best thing at each stage of a tough situation, and faced with the same choices, I'm sure most of us would have done the exact same thing. I was so impressed reading about how you presented your OB with solid research from ACOG.

    I second the advice to reach out to ICAN. And many congrats on your baby!
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  • I am so glad you and your baby are healthy, but I'm angry and frustrated for you after reading that! I can definitely see the need to grieve over the loss of the birth experience you wanted. I wish you luck in your future deliveries and hope you find a practitioner that helps you get the birth experience you want.
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  • Ugh, I am so sorry you went through that. What a sh!tty, horrible doctor - you should really contact the hospital's ombudsman/HR contact about how she treated you, I'm sure they would want to know.

    I had an unplanned c/s with my first after pushing for 4 hours. I had a successful VBAC a few years later, with a baby who was significantly larger.

    Look up your local ICAN group, think about talking to a counselor to rule out PTSD/PPD, and look up Solace for Mothers, a message board for women who've been through traumatic births. Hang in there, it will.get better, I promise!

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I am so so sorry this happened to you.  Posterior babies are strange and labors don't fit the normal pattern.  That's probably why you weren't progressing as quickly.  It's a shame your OB wasn't patient and willing to recognize that.

    Enjoy that new baby.  Ultimately, the important thing is that you're both safe.  But don't let anyone play down the importance of this experience and tell you that you don't have a right to feel the way you do.  You have the right to be disappointed and it is healthy to talk about that.

    The doc had no right to tell you that you aren't a good candidate for VBAC.  She can't know that.  I wish you luck in your future births :)

        
  • I have nothing new to add - so sorry to read this - the chain of events is unreal! I hope things are better for you the 2nd time around.
  • Thanks, ladies. As traumatic and upsetting as it was, I know in the long run that I'll be okay. I know I need to process through it all, and make peace with it. Part of that, I think, will be trying to have things be different next time. My goal is to find a caregiver that will work hard to help me have what I want, and who I'll be able to trust should it turn out that I need another c-section. Making matters worse, I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, so this experience felt like another occurrence of an "authority figure" taking advantage of and robbing me of power over my body -- something I know I'll need to work through with my therapist.

    I am still 100% supportive of natural birth, and hope that every woman who desires one is able to have one. My experience should never happen to anyone, and if a FTM (or any mom) can learn something from my experience, and use that knowledge to get what she wants, then my experience wont have been in vain.

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    Mama's Clone - 07/18/12

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  • I am so sorry. You have every right to grieve this, and I totally agree - c-sections are major surgery. It's an insult and irresponsible for doctors to treat them otherwise. I hope your next experience is wonderful and that you can find the OB or caregiver that will respect you and your wishes.
  • Thank you for sharing with this group, D.  Your story is so powerful and your voice so important. Two months later, it still makes me cry and rage on your behalf.  I wish I could have been there, though I don't know if I could have changed anything for you.  You know you can call me anytime you need to.  I wish we had an active local ICAN chapter.  I'm working on it! :)
  • Thank you for taking the time to write this. I've sent it to my husband to read as well. We are first time parents and our pregnancy and experience with our obygyn progressed a lot like yours. I even planned to bring my birth plan to my obgyn next week and was hesitant about negotiating with her.

    In the last few days, we've decided to switch to a midwifery group and a hospital with birthing tubs, etc. Your story only supports this. I, like you, took a lot of the "blame" for how my obgyn was reacting to my wishes, etc. And your experience shows me where I was headed.

    I'm so happy you have a healthy baby and you are healing from your c/s. I believe I'd have the same reactions as you at the events that unfolded. Again, thanks for taking the time to write this for all of us.

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  • Wow. I am SO sorry that was your experience. I am actually in the middle of transferring practices to an OB that I feel will actually respect my birth plan. I am glad that you and your LO are healthy now, but what a horrible ordeal you had to go through to get there.
    On a personal note, thank you for the "lessons" interspersed in your story. They will be very helpful to me and I am sure many other mom's who read your story.
    Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers BFP #1 6/10/03 MMC @ 10 WKS 7/5/03 Please Be Our Rainbow Baby! BabyFruit Ticker BabyName Ticker
  • imagejeggomyeggo:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. I've sent it to my husband to read as well. We are first time parents and our pregnancy and experience with our obygyn progressed a lot like yours. I even planned to bring my birth plan to my obgyn next week and was hesitant about negotiating with her.

    In the last few days, we've decided to switch to a midwifery group and a hospital with birthing tubs, etc. Your story only supports this. I, like you, took a lot of the "blame" for how my obgyn was reacting to my wishes, etc. And your experience shows me where I was headed.

    I'm so happy you have a healthy baby and you are healing from your c/s. I believe I'd have the same reactions as you at the events that unfolded. Again, thanks for taking the time to write this for all of us.

    This makes me happy. Seriously. I'm honestly crying right now. I am glad that my experience may be able to help someone else avoid the same. I think you're definitely making the right decision. A doctor who you have to fight/negotiate with during your prenatal care is not going to be any easier during the delivery. Instead, your resolve, energy, ability to think clearly, etc. will likely be worse, and it'll be easier for the doctor to assert their agenda on you. 

    I wish you the best of luck for a wonderful birth!

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    Mama's Clone - 07/18/12

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  • What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • Thank you for sharing your story, D.  I teared up many times through it, and your follow up posts.  You are SO strong and have so much courage.  Big hugs.
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  • Thanks for sharing - I think it's good to have a first-hand experience to read and understand to see how some practices/docs(even midwives) are not as open and honest about all medical decisions and how a that not only affects how laboring mom feels, but also can affect how her body reacts to the situation. 

    So sorry, but I'm glad you shared.

    ...Oh and to the pps who asked about the doula.  I'm guessing the doula did not feel comfortable with the doctor either and it sounds like the doctor was literally phoning-it-in, so often the doula and DH were not on the phone and able to intervene or help deflect some of this doctor's comments.

    Two boys already - ages 5 and 3...

    ...baby #3 is here...

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  • Thank you for sharing your story.  I'm so sorry that you had this experience, my heart goes out to you.  Please keep telling yourself that how you feel is how you feel.  Never let anyone tell you how you should feel and never guilt yourself into feeling anything but how you are feeling.

    Please take care of yourself.  Enjoy that darling little girl, who I'm sure is just a little doll! 

  • imageaylafsu88:
    I am so sorry you did not get the birth experience you wanted.  It sounds like your OB was a real piece of work. I can only imagine how frustrated and angry you are after such an experience.  Hang in there and remember you have a happy and healthy little girl!

    I know what you are saying is intended to be supportive and the first part of it is.  But for a lot of women reading/hearing things like, "You have a happy and healthy baby," is not helpful, in fact usually it is the opposite.  Women need to be allowed to grieve and being reminded to 'look on the bright side' can make them feel as if there is something wrong with how they are feeling.  Again I know this was not your intent, but a statement such as that can really be hard for women to read.   

  • imageridesbuttons:

    What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    This makes me angry.

    A doula can only do so much. She can remind the parents of what their preferences are. She can give information. She cannot make decisions and she cannot kick the doctor out. Seriously, when you are told your baby is going to die and you haven't slept in four days nothing makes sense. She and her husband handled themselves the best they could.

    And I am so confused about your flippant recommendation for therapy. Planning a VBAC in advance is not something that warrants therapy. I'm not even sure I am having a second and I still am interested in the topic. The OP did not need such a nasty response when she's in a difficult place.  

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  • Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing! I admire you so greatly for having the courage to write about your experience. I'm coming to view that sort of undermining of pregnant women as a a similar phenomenon to what is known as 'gaslighting'.  Here's a link to an article that I wrote about midwifery history that you may find interesting https://scu-au.academia.edu/CarolynHastie/Papers/688180/Midwifery_women_history_and_politics  Would you mind if I shared your story on my blog? https://thinkbirth.blogspot.com Women would really benefit from reading your insights. I'm so sorry your 'care' provider treated you as she did. I don't know what's happened to modern obstetrics, they have taken the wrong path completely and lost any idea of the therapeutic use of self.

    Congratulations on the birth of your precious baby. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. I wish you all the very best in your healing journey and your VBAC.

  • imagepepomntpat:
    imageridesbuttons:

    What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    This makes me angry.

    A doula can only do so much. She can remind the parents of what their preferences are. She can give information. She cannot make decisions and she cannot kick the doctor out. Seriously, when you are told your baby is going to die and you haven't slept in four days nothing makes sense. She and her husband handled themselves the best they could.

    And I am so confused about your flippant recommendation for therapy. Planning a VBAC in advance is not something that warrants therapy. I'm not even sure I am having a second and I still am interested in the topic. The OP did not need such a nasty response when she's in a difficult place.  

    I'm not sure what that therapy comment meant--on one hand, maybe the pp was trying to be sensitive and suggest that some women benefit from therapy?  Studies have shown that a statistically significant number of women with traumatic birth experiences do experience PTSD...but I wouldn't tell someone they needed therapy without them expressing that they were finding it difficult to cope.

    Sorry, all that to say--OP, if you do feel you need to talk to someone, no shame in that at all.

    And seriously, I want to punch your OB in the nose.  Yeah, I know that's not very classy.  But the only thing I really can't stand in a person is bullying, and that's exactly what she did to you.  Wrong on so many levels, and from someone you were supposed to trust.  Thank you for having the courage to share this, and I admire your positive attitude about your baby and seeing this as a learning experience so much.   

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  • imageThinkbirth:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing! I admire you so greatly for having the courage to write about your experience. I'm coming to view that sort of undermining of pregnant women as a a similar phenomenon to what is known as 'gaslighting'.  Here's a link to an article that I wrote about midwifery history that you may find interesting https://scu-au.academia.edu/CarolynHastie/Papers/688180/Midwifery_women_history_and_politics  Would you mind if I shared your story on my blog? https://thinkbirth.blogspot.com Women would really benefit from reading your insights. I'm so sorry your 'care' provider treated you as she did. I don't know what's happened to modern obstetrics, they have taken the wrong path completely and lost any idea of the therapeutic use of self.

    Congratulations on the birth of your precious baby. Your husband sounds like a wonderful man. I wish you all the very best in your healing journey and your VBAC.

    Sure. You are welcome to share my story on your blog. Thank you for the link to your article as well. I will definitely read it.

    It's interesting you mention "gaslighting". It's a concept I'm quite familiar with, in a different context, but it does fit quite well in this context too. It's actually a helpful association to have made, because I know well how to cope with gaslighting in that other context, and am sure I can extract useful coping techniques for this situation as well. Thank you for adding to my emotional processing journey with that thought. 

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    Mama's Clone - 07/18/12

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  • imageridesbuttons:

    What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    In brief, our primary doula was not available for our birth (for legitimate circumstances), and we were provided with a backup doula who was a doula in training, and may have been dealing with circumstances she wasn't entirely prepared for. However, the other poster was right that ultimately the decisions were ours to make -- and we did what we could with the information and resources we had on hand. Certainly, it angers me, as I research what happened, that things possibly could have been different. But, I can't change it. I can only try for better next time.

    As for therapy, I have already been in contact with my therapist, and am working through things emotionally. While we would likely not start TTC for at least another year from now, we both feel it's important to be prepared to pursue a VBAC before we get pregnant. In the area where I live, it is difficult to find hospitals and providers for VBACs, and I don't wish to spend a lot of time during a pregnancy seeking these things out. Additionally, we are prepared to change our insurance plan (my husband's employer offers a few different options, as does mine) so that we can most benefit from it, in the context of having a VBAC. That's surely not something we can easily change (if at all) once we begin TTC. So, preparing for a VBAC now seems the prudent thing to do -- not something that suggests I am unreasonably coping (assuming that is what you are inferring).

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    Mama's Clone - 07/18/12

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  • Oh mama, I feel for you. I could relate to several things from your experience from DS1's birth: the difficulty of an OP baby, having a back-up doula, having an OB that sees herself as NB-friendly but is anything but, having an OB utilize threats and negativity, the flash-backs and panic attacks afterward. I had signs of PTSD for many months after the birth and ultimately joined a birth trauma support group. I also considered counseling and hypnotherapy. I had a vaginal birth, so I didn't feel like ICAN was the right fit for me, but it may be a good support system for you either with online community or a local chapter.

    You articulated yourself so well in your story. If the writing was cathartic, you may want to consider writing a letter of compaint to your OB or her practice. I ended up doing this when DS was about 7 months old in hopes that no other woman would have to go through what I did. About a year after DS's birth I obtained my hospital records that contained the nurses' notes in addition to the doctor's records and it helped fill in some gaps for me (and also raised some new questions). It probably would've been better to do this before my complaint letter, but I didn't know when I wrote  my letter than hospital records were different from my normal medical records from my doctor that I'd already obtained.

    For me, healing was a long and hard process but, peace--or at least acceptance--has been possible, finally. I hope the same is true for you, with time.

  • imagepepomntpat:
    imageridesbuttons:

    What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    This makes me angry.

    A doula can only do so much. She can remind the parents of what their preferences are. She can give information. She cannot make decisions and she cannot kick the doctor out. Seriously, when you are told your baby is going to die and you haven't slept in four days nothing makes sense. She and her husband handled themselves the best they could.

    And I am so confused about your flippant recommendation for therapy. Planning a VBAC in advance is not something that warrants therapy. I'm not even sure I am having a second and I still am interested in the topic. The OP did not need such a nasty response when she's in a difficult place.  

    Get angry if you want.  My therapy suggestion is not a flippant bump eyeroll 'you need therapy' comment.  It is a legitmate course of action for someone who is distressed, and the OP is obviously still in distress regarding the events around the birth of her child.

    I stand my my doula comment.  Out of the entire story the OP had, the only mention of the doula is that she applied pressure during contractions.  Otherwise she appears to be a voiceless person in the scenario. 

    Mental health is a serious issue that affects millions of people and many, many mothers.  If you think a suggestion for therapy is a nasty response, you need to rethink your position on mental health in general.

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • Thank you for sharing this story.  I am sure it was hard for you to reflect on, and I am sure you are still healing from your traumatic birth.  I am so sorry that you had this experience, and I think it's a damn shame that care providers are so flippant.  You are a person at the very least that is paying for a service.  Regardless of their opinion of the service, it's what you want.  You don't need to take any of the blame for your OB and her actions.  I wouldn't want into my stylist and ask for purple hair, and because she says she doesn't like the color purple dyes it pink instead and expect to be satisfied with my experience. I'm not trying to downplay the importance of birth, by any means, but when you look at the context, it makes sense that you would be upset.  Add the fear tactics, because any parent is just trying to do what's best for their child . . . and I just get fired up.  You are absolutely right to feel angry and upset.  I hope you are able to process this in a way that works for you.

    I think it is also good that you are sharing your story so other moms might be helped. Thank you.  

    Hypnobabies is a wonderful tool, I am glad you liked it (I'm a Hypnobabies mom) and I hope you are able to achieve the birth you want with the support and love that you need in the future.

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  • imageridesbuttons:
    imagepepomntpat:
    imageridesbuttons:

    What were you paying your doula for?

    Considering you are already planning for a VBAC and yet at the same time you are not going to TTC for a couple of years, I would suggest therapy in the interim.

    This makes me angry.

    A doula can only do so much. She can remind the parents of what their preferences are. She can give information. She cannot make decisions and she cannot kick the doctor out. Seriously, when you are told your baby is going to die and you haven't slept in four days nothing makes sense. She and her husband handled themselves the best they could.

    And I am so confused about your flippant recommendation for therapy. Planning a VBAC in advance is not something that warrants therapy. I'm not even sure I am having a second and I still am interested in the topic. The OP did not need such a nasty response when she's in a difficult place.  

    Get angry if you want.  My therapy suggestion is not a flippant bump eyeroll 'you need therapy' comment.  It is a legitmate course of action for someone who is distressed, and the OP is obviously still in distress regarding the events around the birth of her child.

    I stand my my doula comment.  Out of the entire story the OP had, the only mention of the doula is that she applied pressure during contractions.  Otherwise she appears to be a voiceless person in the scenario. 

    Mental health is a serious issue that affects millions of people and many, many mothers.  If you think a suggestion for therapy is a nasty response, you need to rethink your position on mental health in general.

    Suggesting therapy is not nasty. Your post was nasty.  It was flippant and rude and completely lacking compassion.  

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  • ^^^^

    Now this is an eyeroll-worthy post.

     

    promised myself I'd retire when I turned gold, and yet here I am
  • OH my goodness!!! That is absolutely horrible! This is why my husband and I recently changed our minds to choosing a birthing center instead. Screw the "doctors"!! They just want the bed turned over for a new patient and of course they want surgery.. that's what they went to school for! They don't care about the way birth should be, they want the "action". It's a real shame. I hope next time is a million times better for you!
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  • Thank you so much for sharing. I'm just ttc right now, but already researching natural childbirth. I (like you) never considered nb originally, but now that we are in "baby mode", and I've started reading everything I can (and lurking here), and I'm definitely going the natural route. I'm sorry things did not go as you planned, but you have certainly given me some things to think about as we move forward. I learned a LOT from reading your story, and am taking some lessons with me for my journey. Best of luck to you and your new lo! Congratulations!
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  • I am so sorry you were robbed of the birth experience you were so hoping for. I truly hope you can make peace with what happened and not blame yourself for any of it, although I can imagine that might feel impossible. You were very trusting of your doctor as we all are (even though you still questioned her a lot of the time) and you were trying to make the best decision for you and the baby at every corner, and you made the best choices you could at each moment, you cannot blame yourself for that. Your doctor took 100% advantage of her power and she is to blame in my opinion. Using scare tactics and flexing medical muscles at a woman's most vulnerable time in her life is just awful.You can go on armed with more experience and knowledge and hopefully teach others what you have been through. I hope you get your VBAC and a doctor or MW you want and deserve. ((HUGS)).
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  • I really appreciate your story.  It is very unfortunately, but thank you for sharing.  I feel my story is starting out the same as yours.  I am 30 weeks and I am trying to switch OBs.  I have known in the back of my head that my doctor is not right, since about week 20, but I kept pushing those thoughts back thinking I'm crazy.  there are just too many red flags with my doctor also.  They told me they induce the DAY AFTER MY DUE DATE!  (Isn't that insane??)  I told her absolutely not.  Then yesterday at our 30 week u/s baby is measuring in the 90th percentile.  She told me to possibly plan for an induction or scheduled c-section because he will be a big baby.  I told her no, that is not happening.  Every time I want to talk about anything my birth plan or any questions about natural birth it just seems to be swept under the rug.  Oh, and in the 30 weeks of my pregnancy I have actually only seen my doctor once, I always have to see her nurse practicioner. I have asked to see the doctor and they just tell me that they schedule it and then the Dr. and the NP split up the appointments so there is not way to schedule it with just my doctor.  I am afriad if I don't change then my labor will look a lot like yours.  Again, I am sorry you had to go through all of that.  It probably woulnd't have been a big deal for woman wanting an induction and epi but for us women that want to do it natural, it is far to much to ask.  I understand that sometimes these steps are necessary, but I agree with you that in your situation it was not necessary.  I am sorry and good luck with your VBAC! You will do awesome :)
  • My god, this read so much like my birth story except the c-section ending. In the "hour" that my doctor gave me, I had the baby.  HORRIBLE experience :( I'm so sorry girl.  It will take a lot of time to get over it and let it go but I HIGHLY recommend switching practices immediately.
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  • Thank you for sharing your story. I read this at 35 weeks when I was having a similar prenatal experience with my OB. I experienced all your red flags and had similar thoughts about showing the doc how great a natural child birth could be. Your story inspired me to change to a new OB in a new practice with only 5 weeks left in my pregnancy. My new OB was a bit confused that my birth plan didn't have anything abnormal in it that my old OB should have needed to say no or negotiate on. Because of my new OB natural child birth support, I was no longer scared / afraid of the hospital and staff. I was able to relax and have the birth that was meant for my son and my body.
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