Saturday, June 9, 2007

Violation of a woman's desires.

I'm troubled by my birth experiences. With my first son, I was young and didn't know that I had any say in what was going on. Doctors are intimidating after all and we are taught to respect doctors- not something my children will necessarily be taught.

I went into very early labor at about 11pm February 12 but had yet to dilate. We went to the hospital where they had me walk and around midnight I dilated to 1cm. The nurse wanted to give me a shot of something to help me sleep. I had refused it. The nurse insisted and told me that I needed to relax so she could administer it. I kept refusing and she finally said she wouldn't give it to me and when I relaxed, gave it to me anyway. She tricked me.

The next day there was more walking. Around noon, my water was leaking, they broke my waters and I started having heavy contractions and over the next 3 hours, I progressed 3 more cms. At about 4pm, I received an epidural. I didn't ask for it-they just told me they were giving it to me. That's when my labor stopped. After a mere THREE HOURS of not progressing further, the dr came in and said "well, you're not having this baby, we'd better do something" and they whisked me off to the OR. I know now that that 3 hour period was NOT enough to deem a "failure to progress" The hospital staff just didn't want to wait on me!

I was given an unnecessary surgical procedure at the convenience of the hospital. There is no doubt in my mind that that's true as there was NO problems with my baby. He was still doing perfectly fine in there on his own. His heart rate was good and he was moving around just fine. He just wasn't ready. They forced him out before he was ready.

With my second child. I wanted a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and at the beginning of my pregnancy, they told me I was a great candidate and that they'd allow me to try. I know now that that was a lie. They just didn't want to fight with a hormonal pregnant woman. It was a false labor trip that made me realize that they weren't taking me seriously.

I was 36 weeks 6 days- which is considered full term. I went into the hospital and was told that if I went into active labor, they'd stop it. Most hospitals won't stop labor at 37 weeks because it's full term. I however would have had my labor stopped because of a day's difference. The dr followed that with "when is your c-section scheduled? We want you to make it to then". I looked right at her and said "I don't have c-section scheduled! I want a VBAC. Dr. so-and-so said that I was a good candidate."

This doctor looked annoyed and said "well I guess if you went into labor on your own we could let you try but it's really not a good idea" and she went on to tell us about Uterine Rupture (note it's less than a 1% chance) and how dangerous it is and how it can cause fetal or "even mommy" death. She NEVER mentioned that it was less than a 1% chance. In fact, she made it sound like it was such a high risk that it was almost guaranteed that I'd have it.

I had already educated myself about a VBAC so I just ignored her at that moment. When we left the room, my poor fiance was quite terrified for both me and our son. I had to calm him down. I had to explain that the doctor is an idiot and didn't know what she was talking about. That she was making it worse than it is.

When I was 40 weeks, I was told that I HAD to schedule a c-section because they "don't let women go past 41 weeks". After me protesting for awhile, he agreed to let me try, should I go into labor before hand. My c-section was then scheduled for August 28th 12:00pm, when I was 40 weeks 6 days.

On August 28th, I went to the hospital at 7am to fill out all the needed paperwork before my surgery that I did not want. I was only 6 days past my due date. After filling out all my paper work, I started having the hardest contractions I had EVER felt. They hurt but not as much as you would think by watching movies. They were more pressure like than painful. I was fairing through mostly fine, though admittedly it was hard to speak, when the doctor came in and asked how I was doing.

I told him "I'm contracting- HARD". He looked at the monitor and said "Yes you are! and they're quite regular!!" and walked out of the room without ever checking my cervix.

Next thing I know, I was being prepped for the OR. What happened to letting me try? What happened to my VBAC? What happened to my rights as a human being? They KNEW I didn't want that surgery yet I was rushed into the OR without having a choice in the matter.

I should have said something but what? I was in a hospital gown, having hard contractions. I wasn't exactly in a fighting condition. My only support system stood there completely flabbergasted at what they were doing to me. He didn't know how to react. He didn't know what to say.

My son was taken from the womb at 12:36pm. They showed him and all his baldness (so cute with his bald little head) to me and then the side effects of my spinal kicked in. I started gagging. Horrible gagging. I felt terrible. I wanted to throw up because I thought it would make me feel better. Anything was better than the gagging! I had to take my oxygen off bc it was making it worse. The nurse put it back in and I took it off yet again and told her "it's making me worse".

She was a sweetheart and told me to leave it off if it made me feel better and that she'd get me something for the gagging. Shortly after all that, the gagging stopped and the freezing and shaking started. If you've never had a reaction to a spinal then you can't understand what it's like to spend 4 hours freezing and shaking and no amount of blankets can make you warm again. You're not actually cold afterall, you just FEEL cold. I was so cold it hurt. I was in tears because of the intense coldness. It hurt. I was FREEZING.

They brought me to my room after about an hour or so and I spent the next few hours like that. Around the 4 hour mark I started to feel better. Then they brought my hungry baby in-something that should have been done IMMEDIATELY. I had been told not to sit for 4 hours because of the risk of a spinal headache. I had been gradually sitting myself up just before then because they said they wanted to bring the baby in. They brought him in and I forced myself the rest of the way up so I could breastfeed him. Yes, I got a spinal headache.

Again, this time my baby had been fine. There was no fetal distress, he just wasn't ready and was forced out regardless.

I had complained to someone online about this and was told in a round about way that I'm selfish for being angry. That I should be happy that my babies are safe and healthy. While I AM glad that they're safe and healthy, I was violated. They were safe and healthy BEFORE my sections. The unnecessary surgeries PUT them at risk!!

This person also went on to tell me that a vaginal birth is no walk in the park and that I don't know how "easy" I had it. That if I had a vaginal birth, I wouldn't view them the same way as I do now. She also said that her future children would be born via planned cesarean section because her vaginal birth was so horrible.

I'm sorry. It's not normal for vaginal births to be that traumatic. I am truly sorry for her but her experience was not normal. A surgery, whether planned or not, is a trauma to the body. A NORMAL vaginal birth, free of any complications, is NOT a trauma to the body. The body is meant to do that. A body is not meant to be sliced open from hip to hip. Her remarks to me were rude, cruel, and hurtful.

I recently came upon this article (my comments are the ones that aren't in italics)

where in it states
After Marlowe refused to consent to a C-section and checked herself out of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Wednesday morning, the hospital took legal action against her.

This is the hospital I "gave birth" in. Is this what would have happened had I refused? Legal action? Legal action because she was refusing a surgical procedure that she didn't need?

At the request of Wyoming Valley Health Care Systems, Luzerne County President Michael Conahan signed an order Wednesday appointing the hospital as legal guardian for the unborn child.

They awarded the hospital as legal guardian? Why? Because the mother wouldn't submit to their actions?

Judge Conahan also ordered that the parents "are hereby temporarily restrained from refusing to consent to a C-section delivery of their unborn fetus if the professional medical judgment of WVHCS and the treating obstetrician is that such a procedure is necessary

So she really had no say in the matter. She was told she HAD to have a c-section or else. What happened to maternal instincts?

"They kept wanting to cut me open to get the baby. I think they may have actually sent police to our house, but we weren't home," said Marlowe. "I kept telling them I've already had six kids..."

This woman KNEW what she was doing and was being forced into something that she KNEW she didn't need. For that she was threatened and had the guardianship of her unborn child awarded to the very hospital that was violating her rights as a human being.

"I told them, forget it - I'm leaving. Then I came up here (Moses Taylor) and had my baby the proper way," she stated. "The doctor here never even suggested a C-section."

So, she went to another hospital and had a vaginal birth. A vaginal birth that she had been told would result in death. She had been told that she NEEDED a c-section yet she went on to have a vaginal birth perfectly fine- as she said she would be able to.

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital deemed that she couldn't deliver vaginally on no grounds other than the predicted weight of an ultrasound. They told her it would result in
"...unavoidable death or serious impairment to the baby,..."
Scare tactics. Scare tactics to get her under the knife that she didn't need to be under.

What gives a hospital the right to make choices for people like this? She is a human being and she should not be forced into unnecissary surgical procedures.

No one should.

I was. I won't be again. I will not be going to that hospital for any type of pregnancy related care. We are moving to a friendly Pro-VBAC environment before we even try for more children. I have spoken to many people who have had either VBA2C (vag. birth after 2 c-sections) or HBAC (Home birth after cesarean). I've even encountered a woman who had a VBAC 13 months after her first cesarean. Which means that the body hadn't even had time to fully recover and everything went smoothly with her! I also met a woman who had a HBA4C yes 4.

I KNOW it's possible with the right support system. Don't get me wrong though- if a pro-vbac doctor tells me that it's in my child's best interest to have a c-section- I WILL have one. I will not risk my child's safety- EVER but I will not be violated again.

I've been passing on this information to my friends that live in my area so that they can avoid birthing at this hospital or Mercy hospital as well.

These hospitals clearly don't care about a person's rights as a human being.

To those of you who aren't in the Wilkes-Barre area you can take something from this as well. Find out before hand if you're going to birth in a cut happy hospital. If you don't want a c-section do your homework and make sure that you'll be able to have a vaginal birth and that your hospital won't trick you into a surgery you don't need.
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