May 18th, 2011 at 10:00 am
Two Hour Birthing Limit
Wolf's Birth Story
Why I Broke Up With My OB and Chose To Birth at Home
Paul's Birth Story in Photos
Kate Tietje is a food blogger who focuses on natural food and cooking. In addition to Modern Alternative Mama, she has contributed her writing to the Parenting and Pregnancy channels on Babble.
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I delivered my son in a birth center with a midwife, but for insurance reasons this time we have to go to the hospital. Actually this is probably the worst thing I could be reading right now because I’m terrified of having to go to the hospital. I hate confrontation, too, and I really don’t want to have to argue with anyone about how I want my daughter’s birth to go. I am writing up a detailed birth plan, and we’ve hired a doula. I’m hoping that will help things go as smoothly as possible at the hospital. Wish I could afford a home birth!
I have 3 births under my belt, where I was bullied, because I didn’t know better, and wasn’t brave enough to stand up for myself during labor. My 4th, hubby and I stood our ground, and then got kicked out as patients from the OB we used. (We refused interventions/precautions, and they didn’t like that). Now we are expecting our 5th baby! We have a friend that is a doula with a lot of midwifery training, and she and hubby will be the only attendants at our unassisted homebirth. My labor is generally fast and problem-less, and we don’t have the money to pay for a midwife. That doesn’t mean we can’t have babies, though! In the end, we have peace that, if something happens to the baby, God intended it from the creation of the baby, and we can’t let the fear of the small posibility of a difficult labor run us away from birthing peacefully and naturally – the way all women should!
Thank you for sharing your story. This really helps me understand your stance on home birth. In retrospect, it seems like if you had spoke up and asked more questions of your doctor, you could have switched or avoided some of the bad experiences, but obviously, you said you’re not a confrontational person by nature. I think I’m the same way and I’m very glad to have read your story. I have my 20 week checkup later today and I’m writing down a list of questions do ask my doctor today. My MD seems much more open to discussion than yours did, she always ends each appointment with a smile and asks if I have any questions, which I really haven’t until now. Even with her friendly, open personality, I am still afraid and intimidated to ask about birth-plan, typical labor and birth, etc…because it implies that I don’t trust her. But honestly, I have only known her for a few months and I think it is my responsibility to get over my fears and just ask. The worst that could happen is that she would completly blow off my concerns which I would rather know now than in a few more months during labor.
I wish you’d shared this earlier. That was a terrible experience and it’s a shame there are practitioners like that out there. It’s also a shame you weren’t able to or did have better advocates for your preferences (Or even have those preferences asked about). I tend to think your experience was the exception and not the rule – and about as different from my own experience – but then I was 37 when I had my daughter. I wonder if being that much younger also played a factor in terms of speaking up, challenging ‘authority’ and being willing to be confrontational. This parenthood thing is tricky. Five months in with our daughter, my husband and I kick ourselves for waiting so long to meet her. On the other hand, we might not have had such a good experience if we were so young. I tend to share <1 % of your opinions about things but now I know where you're coming from.
Oh dear, that’s rough. You really truly did get stuck with a lemon for an OB(and from my perspective as an RN, the bad ones average about 1 in 10 and are usually easy to spot because they have nearly all medicare patients because private pay preggos don’t have to put up with it and choose someone else. The good ones, sadly, meet their medicare quota quickly, to the misfortune of the disadvantaged women). If you should ever become somewhat high risk o (and, at some point you really might considering you’ve got plans to be a grand multip and you certainly started early enough that this could be a very real option for you) or decide to go back to OB care, please don’t be afraid to ask the right questions up front.
I had an amazing OB (I hand picked him based on how I saw how respectful he was to the nurses and his patients and how he treated his patients like individuals when I worked in L&D prior to graduating nursing school) for my first baby. He actually didn’t end up delivering my son (he was leaving for a mission trip when my water broke) but his partner delivered him and was equally wonderful.
We moved to a new town 6 hours away and I immediately got pregnant again (I swear I have a point here and I’m getting to it). In our new town there is one hospital system, one hospital that has L&D and only one huge OB group. I asked around and noticed that all the happy faces (all from completely different walks of life and this is exactly what you want) had Dr. P. Unfortunately, Dr. P was not accepting new OB patients at the time so I settled for someone else. This someone else took a very paternalistic “I’m right, I don’t have to explain anything to you, You don’t need to know everything about every abnormality I may have found amongst any of your work-ups” attitude. Luckily, I was only 3 visits in when I discovered this. So, I switched. I made a follow-up appointment with Dr. P and asked him point-blank if he would take me on as a patient. And he said “Yes”. Sometimes, All you have to do is ask. You have the right to be treated like an individual and the right to make informed decisions.
I do think I understand now. And I’m sorry that you had to go through that horrific experience. What I’m taking from this is: “Trust your instincts and change doctors if you have ANY notion that something is right.” I birthed in a hospital under the care of an OB. I didn’t have to fight or stand up for myself. Nothing was forced on me. My opinions were asked and options were explained, and the choices were made based on information. I had a wonderful hospital birth experience and I’m thankful that I have an OB who sounds like (from Katy E’s experience at least) he’s in the 90ish %. Of course, he also declared that if he didn’t want random phone calls at odd hours, he would have gone into dermatology!
Plumblucky — Yes, ABSOLUTELY change doctors if you feel you should…whatever happens, make sure you are comfortable with whoever delivers your baby, because it *does* matter! I did not know…but now I do. (Hence why I’ve written extensively about how the mother’s experience matters too and so on.)
Kate, sorry you had such a bad experience with your first one—and that you weren’t a good match for your doc. My OB has a direct, no-nonsense bedside manner like yours, but as a direct no-nonsense person myself, if worked for me. And, in me giving her what she needed—my attention, my thoughtfulness, my confidence to speak up, my faith and trust that she would act in my best interest—she gave me what I needed—a calm (no rah, rah, rah) birth experience where I was allowed to be my type-A self and birth as I wished within the parameters of what was safe. She knew that I wouldn’t question her if we got in a tough spot—and I wouldn’t have. Health care is a two-way street. If you want someone to respect your emotional needs, you need to respect their practical needs—and doctors do have needs from their patients and when patients are not willing or able or aware of what is needed from them, doctors can get pushy so as to set the tone for if they really need to take over. I don’t want to blame you for your own bad experience, but in defense of all the negative things you have said in the past about doctors and hospitals and medicine, your lack of confidence is not a failing of the medical establishment. Yes, every woman should feel empowered to ask questions and have as much control as anyone in labor can have over the situation. But, that doesn’t begin in the delivery room. You’ve mentioned before that you did not take a birthing class—something I’m sure your doc must have recommended (or at least would have appreciated). Birthing classes are where new mother’s learn confidence—what to ask and say (and if need be demand) in the delivery room. Yes, doctors should be open to questions and no one should be made to feel like they don’t have a say over their body—and a woman can send a clear message about that by attending a birthing class and getting comfortable with all that can go right and all that can go wrong and knowing what she can control and what she can’t. When I have to make a presentation at work, I prepare for it until I feel ready. When I had to make a presentation with my legs spread open to birth a tiny human? Well, I prepare for that too. Empowerment can part of a hospital birth—you just opted out of that part that would prepare you for that and then, unfortunately, went on to have a birth experience you were unhappy with. The take away from your experience should be the importance in finding the right care provider and also the importance of investing time in a birth class. Other posters seem to think this story “explains” your anti-doctor attitude. I just think it shows that you are more willing to see the failings in others than in yourself and that you are still ultimately too immature and intimidated to speak your mind to someone who has more experience, knowledge and expertise than you do…I said “speak” not blog, we know you can do that.
Glad to hear your story, thanks for sharing! By the way, ALL drugs (including epidurals) cross the placenta into the baby. It is often the reason why babies born after an epidural can be groggy or have trouble latching (although in your case, such long separation from mom didn’t help one bit!). I am so glad you found home birth as a good option for you and am glad you continue to share your stoires.
Wow, I am sorry to hear that you had such a rough birth experience. I had two wonderful hospital births. Although, I do hate how they come in and check on you and baby every 4 hours or so. I would rather be left alone… couldn’t wait to get out of there! With that being said, I really do love my OB. It’s super important to find someone who is aligned with your thinking. My OB and I tend to agree on most points which makes the whole process that much easier.
Wow! I’m 2 weeks from my due date and this was a little freaky. Sorry your experience was so horrible. Know that not all hospital births are this awful! The hospital I go to is fully supportive of natural child birth methods and my OB is amazing and explained any procedure that he thought should be done that I didn’t. My water had to be broken because after several hours in labor and while I did not want this done at all, my doc explained why he thought it had to be done but left it open that he wouldn’t if I was 100% against it.
Really Bek? I’ve been told by several doctors that the epi does NOT cross the placenta.
K — I think that my personality and lack of experience as a parent, at the time, certainly affected how this played out. Now, if it’s truly important, I will stand up and fight (though I prefer not to).
hmmm..Kate, i wonder if you had my first OB..?? with my very first pregnancy we visited this OB out toward your area ONCE…before we even went in that sign on her door “pizzas are for home delivery” stuck out and i was rather put off:) now i didnt want a homebirth then, but honestly to be so condemning of what others safely choose….??? but i also though the D.O might mean she was “more natural.” anyhow, she never even greeted my husband or said a word to him…we left knowing we would never go back. i’ll have to ask you about it sometime….
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