Why, why, why must you try to scare moms?  Why can’t you just say “It’s hospital policy”, or give them pros and cons rationally, then let the mom decide.  Why lie to them?  Why bully them?  Why treat them like they are a stupid child? It really is starting to make me MAD! 

I am a birth doula, I have the honor of helping families during the birth of their baby.  In each birth I see different things.  I also have seen a few different types of births in a few different hospitals.  (I have my first homebirth coming up in March).  I have enjoyed many nurses and care providers and been shocked by others.

The problem with a hospital birth is you have little control over who you are going to get when you go into a hospital.  Having a doula does help… but there is a limit to what we can do, we can do clean up and encourage moms after a negative experience… but as a doula, I can’t ask for a different nurse or care provider, that is up to the parents.    

It is amazing how much of an impact the nurses and other care providers can have on a birth.    I saw this at the last birth I attended.  This mom was subjected to quite a few different scare tactics/tirades to try and get her to bend to the will of the hospital/nurse.  The OB was actually ok with some of the things C. wanted, but the nurse wasn’t.  So she made it difficult.  I mentioned a few times to C. and her husband they could ask for a new nurse, but they chose not to. 

This nurse was efficient and had some good ideas for positioning with pillows.  (Mom had an epidural and I am used to helping moms without epidurals)  So I learned some good ideas from her and she did get a bit nicer after C. complained to the OB about her. 

Here is what happened… night shift was great, very supportive of C and her needs.  Morning shift came on and everything changed!

When the nurse originally came in after shift change, I made a comment about going to get C. something new to drink.  The nurse FREAKED OUT!  She wasn’t calm and nice saying, “that is against hospital policy”, she was in C.’s face saying, “You are a high risk mom as a VBAC, your uterus could rupture at any time and you would need an emergency cesarean.  If you eat you could aspirate your vomit…” and on and on… leaning over C. lecturing her.  She must have said emergency cesarean at least 3 times in 3 minutes. 

I didn’t help, because I made a comment about the studies say it is safe.  Well, that was the wrong thing to say. The nurse said we should ask our OB.   Which we did and the OB said it was fine to drink water.  So there!  Not to mention of course it is safe to eat and drink during your birthing time.  Study after study have shown that it is safe.  The nurse brought me the form I needed to sign as the doula saying I wouldn’t interfere with the staff or I would be asked to leave. 

C. had explained about the pains in her legs breaking through the epidural.  The nurse said she would send the anesthesiologist in.  Well, he was the biggest pompus donkey’s bum.  He called himself the candy man.   He was condescending and outright rude to C.  He started off ok, talking about the epidural asking questions and saying that we might need to replace it if the next bolus didn’t help.  That she was no longer having a natural birth, so she might as well do whatever they say.  Then he started lecturing C. about how she needed to listen to the nurses and do what they told her.  How she should have gotten the pitocin last night and she needs to be a good girl.  Then went on to explain how she can’t eat or drink because she might need a cesarean and might need general anesthesia and would need to be intubate and if she vomited she might aspirate.  I SO wanted to say, “So you are an incompetent anesthesiologist, because that is pretty rare if things are done correctly.”   BUT I didn’t. 

After he leaves C. says, “I do not like this day shift!  I am going to talk to Dr. H. about this.”   I again said, “We can ask for a new nurse!”  Dr. H. comes in around 8 and C. explains what happened.  Dr. H. says that shouldn’t have happened.  She said it was ok to drink some water.  Then goes on to say, “well, you are doing ok, but this is a big baby, that is my only worry that you might not be able to push this baby out.  This could be a 8 pound baby.”  C. and I look at each other speechless… hello!  Wasn’t C. just explaining how we didn’t want the negativity.  C. says, “I am NOT worried about the size of this baby or pushing it out.”  Dr. leaves and C. says, “I don’t believe that big baby bull**** I can push any size baby out.”  I told her what a great VBAC patient she is not believeing or accepthing any of the fear they are trying to push on her. She really was AWESOME.  WE kept saying “Bubble of Peace”  I loved that she didn’t let any of this crazy attitudes and negativity around her get her down. 

The nurse she had the attitude “It’s all about the baby”  Basically mom didn’t matter in her eyes.  A few times C. said, “Can you wait to do that until after my pressure wave?”  “No, I need to make sure your baby is safe, that is more important!”  How is C. supposed to respond to that?  “No I’m more important than my baby!”

Well, yes in many ways she is.  She is at least AS important as her baby.   Baby wasn’t showing any signs of distress, she had just fallen off the monitor. Baby was always doing great.  So the nurse could have waited for 40 seconds!  I had already had an altercation with the nurse earlier in the birth and was a bit worried she might try to kick me out. So I just encouraged C. verbally through these few time when the nurse told C. she didn’t matter throughout the end of her birth.  (She didn’t want to be touched at all during pressure waves and that should be respected above all else.  I guess I could understand if the baby was showing signs of distress, but again, baby was fine.)

The anesthesiologist came back in when C. needed another bolus.  He proceded to tell her how it would hurt while she was pushing, that if she didn’t push well, they would have to turn the epidural down so it would hurt more.  C. just stared at him.  He then said, “Are you listening to me!?”  She nods yes.  After he left we asked that he not be allowed in the room anymore. 

  At 1:20 C. was feeling a LOT of pressure and after breathing through it for awhile, asked to get checked.  She was 10 cm still 0 station, so they didn’t want her to actively push yet… labor down.  So for an hour, C. struggled to breathe through her desire to push.  I said it was ok to push if it felt better, so she did push sometimes, but tried not to. 

Then 2:20 the nurse decides it is time for a practice push.  C. did great and nurse sets up the stirrups.  She gets her up and then C. does 1 push and the baby starts crowning.  Then the nurse has her wait there while she finishes setting up the room and calls for the OB.  I was trying to help C. just pant through it telling her she was doing great, because there wasn’t anyone even standing there in case the baby came out.  I so wanted to go and catch that baby.  She just NEEDED to push!  Finally the OB gets there, puts on her booties and then C. is saying I need to push the baby out, I don’t care who catches.

Then they have her purple push 4 times in one pressure wave and the baby is out.  I don’t understand this…. WAIT for 20 minutes while the OB gets here, but then when the OB is here, you have 1 minute to get the baby out.  PUSH PISH PUSH… come on you can do one more push.  I had to remind her to breathe, they didn’t even give her a chance to breathe. 

Then the baby is on her.  The baby nurses are hovering like vultures.  C. says I want to keep her for awhile.  They leave her alone for maybe 5 minutes and then they come back… we just need her for a few minutes she’ll be right back….  Swoop and she is off.  C. then has to just lay there while she is stitched up alone on the bed.  I talk to her and help her focus on something else, but if she had her baby in her arms that would have helped more. 

The baby was 9 pounds 6 ounces.  19.5 inches.  What an awesome job C. did proving that she COULD push out any size baby!  Baby latched right on and nursed like a champ when she got in her moms arms. 

What I love about C. was that she didn’t believe a word they said.  IT just made her stronger and more determined to get her VBAC and she did!  She ROCKED!  It sucked that the end was her waiting in such an uncomfortable position for so long.  I wish I could have gone and caught that baby for her. 

Things did go well overall, but C. would have had a much better experience if her care providers trusted birth and were KIND and respectful to her.      

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8 Comments

  1. Isn’t it just amazing that even a “successful” hospital VBAC has to have so much negativity too. Big congrats to your client for not letting the bad stuff in and have fun at your homebirth in March — you’ll see why there’s no such thing as a “homebirth at the hospital”, no matter how good it might seem.

  2. I’ve been reading for a little bit, first comment though.

    Just wanted to say “Oh boy, yet another case of a woman managing to own her birth experience DESPITE her care providers, not BECAUSE of them.”

    She did rock, I am glad she was so strong through all that. It’s truly traumatic to be treated like you don’t matter, and that your feelings and wishes and all that can’t be respected. It’s just not right!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, it’s very encouraging to VBAC women (especially the part about the 9 lb 6 oz short little fat baby coming out – oh goodness – The Vagina!!)

    And something else that frustrates me – the woman IS important during the birth, because if SHE is in distress, the BABY is in distress!! So it should be the OBs and Nurses and everyone elses FIRST priority to make sure she is happy and comfortable and gets her ice chips, her comfy pillow, whatever it is she wants or needs… but of course no one thinks of that. For some reason there is a separation between mother and child in the eyes of the Providers, that they are two completely seperate entities, and that nothing they do to the mother will adversely affect the baby.

    *sigh*

    I truly enjoy reading your blog. And thanks for what you’re doing for all those mamas, as a doula.

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  4. River Eden Doula

    “I made a comment about the studies say it is safe.”

    Yeah… that was the mistake.

    Its best to just smile and nod at whatever they say (its hard!) and tell your client what absolute crap it is when they are gone and their options.

  5. Us hospital nurses have our standards and protocols that are thrust upon us, and backed up with evidenced based nursing research, and affects how we practice nursing in the hospital setting.

    Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with the baby – now, or in the future – and the parents sue, we can only go by what our protocols state to do, and whether we followed them to a T or not. If we don’t follow them, then the blame gets shifted….”why didn’t you do this?” to potential charges of malpractice against us, the nurses, for not following protocol and policies.

    Yes, obstetrics – for physicians and nurses – all boils down to defensive care. If we get sued, and we lose, we lose EVERYTHING. Our livelihood, our homes, our careers.

    I’m not saying it’s right. Because it’s not.

    ::sigh:: I purposely turn the other cheek over minor issues, like food and drink in labor. I tell woman, I can’t force you to not drink or eat, can I now? And if I don’t see it, I don’t know about it.

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