Love and smiles
I went into the hospital armed with a perfect natural birth plan outline and my husband. My doula was on her way after getting the call that I was being induced due to low amino fluid according to an ultrasound that morning. We were greeted by nurse Diane who took one look at my birth plan and immediately said, “This is not good.” Wow… what? I worked on that for MONTHS… she was referring to my insistence of no medical pain relief, and request that if I ever cave and ask for pain relief they were to make me wait through at least two contractions and then see if I ask again. I tried to let her comments roll of my back. I was already pretty stressed out worrying about induction and shocked that I was going to be having my baby soon. Butting heads with her did not help any! I mentioned to Diane that my doula would be there soon, to which she responded “Your what?” It was at this point I really should have asked for a new nurse, but I was just not in a place for standing up for myself. I couldn’t believe she didn’t know what a doula was… she had mentioned earlier that she had worked in Labor and Delivery for 25 years… and during our prenatal classes we were told that all the nurses were required to go through the weekend doula course at this particular hospital. I stuck with Diane for the next 7 hours until her shift was over. During these 7 hours I am now convinced that she tried to rob me of my birthing experience. She didn’t come sneaking in dressed in black with a mask covering her face, but she came in with a smile and claimed to be doing what was necessary to save my baby. What could have been taken from me is one of the most precious things on earth – the right to give birth to a child my way.
About an hour after getting to the hospital my labor was progressing naturally after having my membranes stripped by the doctor and my water bags broken by the nurse. Diane mentioned that I was progressing so well that it was possible they were not going to need any pitocin. Hip Hip Hurray!! I swear… not 30 minutes later she came back and appeared to just be checking my IV when she made the announcement, “Lets have this baby”. It was an odd thing to say… and then I saw it… a bag of pitocin hanging there being pumped into my body. I’m sure my doula wanted to cut Diane’s throat open… but laws are pretty strict here and they are not allowed to speak to the medical staff on behalf of the patient. They are just there to make you comfortable and help with different positions and relaxation. I wish she could have attacked the nurse for me! I should have ripped the IV out of my arm… but I just laid there and took it. I was being told by a professional that this was necessary to save my baby – whom I was already worried at been living in a “dry dock” with no amino fluid for days.
Diane came back into the room every 30 minutes like clockwork and increased my pitocin. She would make comments like “You’re still smiling, it must not hurt enough” and “I want to make sure we have this baby before midnight so your doctor gets her beauty sleep”. The pain was unbelievable and I had thoughts about asking for medicated pain relief… but lucky for me I’m stubborn and I have an amazing pain tolerance. I had abdominal surgery in 2003, which could be equivalent to a c-section and took nothing but ibuprofen after leaving the hospital. I’m tough!
Around 8pm there was a shift change which I think saved my labor from turning into yet another statistic disaster emergency c-section. The new nurse, Katie, looked at the pitocin levels. Got wide eyed, announced she was cutting the dose in HALF and that “This is your labor we are going to do it your way.” I HEART KATIE!! My labor ended so quickly that it was almost done without any doctors. Katie had to push the emergency button that sent about 5 male resident doctors rushing into the room to witness my crowning crotch. My son was born 10:15pm and delivered vaginally with no drugs other than pitocin. He was one week early and weighed in at 5 pounds 10.2 ounces. Love at first sight.
You’d think that earlier that night I had seen the last of Diane… but oh no, the next morning I bumped into her in the hallway while going for a walk and she proclaimed “Wow, up walking around? You weren’t a c-section? I thought you to be a guaranteed c-section the second you walked in the door.” Nice Diane…. Real nice. I always questioned the actions of Diane, but I never knew it was a real thing until now – 18 months later. There is a great blog done by a nurse (someone like Katie) that outlines her struggle with getting doctors to stop this horrible practice. She also has some great tips for how to protect yourself against this and other harmful interventions.