Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Signs I missed That My Practitioner Would Not Support A Natural Birth

It’s been eleven months and two and a half weeks since I gave birth to my son Oliver. Almost a year now and I am still not able to talk about my birthing experience in any detail. To say I was disappointed with my birthing experience is a gross understatement, and as the months go by and I start to open up about that experience more and more I am coming to realize that I am not the only one.

I have read a lot in the past year about the business of birth; about the rising cesarean rate, about women being refused their right to informed consent, doctors and nurses who do not take a woman’s autonomy seriously, women who have their children taken from them for refusing to allow that autonomy to be ignored. and about women who's birth experiences go far beyond disappointment and trauma. It seems to me that what should be one of the greatest days of a woman’s life is too often a nightmare. I was vaguely aware that stories like these existed before I had Oliver, but I am realizing that I was not really as equipped as I could have been to prevent it happening to me.

I am still not ready to talk about my birthing experience in detail. But nearly a year later I have begun to look back at the months leading up to that experience. Hind sight being 20/20 I have come to realize that there are quite a few signs I missed that my OBGYN and I were not on the same page, or even reading the same book, when it came to my labour and birth. I am sharing these flags in no particular order, and hope that it may help others to accurately gage whether the practitioner they are choosing is right for them.

1) When I stated my intention to breastfeed and informed my practitioner that I would like to forgo an epidural to ensure my child and I were alert and healthy enough to do so immediately following birth I was told by my practitioner that an epidural, or even the type of birth I had would not have any effect on breastfeeding.

Despite all of the reading I had done about breastfeeding from a number of valid sources that said otherwise, I believed what my doctor said to be true. After all, he was a doctor right? What I did not realize at the time was that my practitioner was either ignorant to or lying about the risks and side effects of the epidural and other interventions.

2) At one point, I asked my practitioner what his cesarean rate was in an effort to gage the likelihood that he would intervene unnecessarily in my labour and birth. Looking back I now realize that he never did give me a straight forward answer, but instead told me: “I don’t want you to have a C-Section, because then I wouldn’t get to deliver your next baby.” This answer was comforting to me then, it made me trust him, made me think that he and I were on the same team and that we wanted the same things.

But, as any woman who has ever had or planned to have a VBAC or HBAC knows, this answer was probably the worst one my practitioner could have given me. The fact that my practitioner was either unaware of or did not believe that vaginal birth after cesarean section was an option, despite mounting evidence and changing perceptions in the medical community, should have made it glaringly obvious to me that my practitioner would be making decisions based in myth and tradition and would not be providing me with evidence based care.

3) When I first heard of a Doula I had no idea what a Doula was for, so I asked my practitioner. “You don’t need one” he said “That’s what your husband is for”. I should have laughed in his face, instead what happened was my husband turned to me and said “I’ll be there for you honey, you can trust me to take care of you”.

I really do trust my husband to take care of me, and when it came time he did the absolute best that he knew how. But here’s the thing about relying on your partner to act as a doula: Not only does your partner likely have the exact same amount of knowledge and experience with labour and birth as you do, it’s also incredibly unfair. Chances are the birth of your child will be just as emotional, overwhelming, and life changing for your partner as it will be for you, you cannot expect them to give you calm and rational advise 100% of the time, and you cannot expect them to know how to help you in every situation that could arise, especially if anything goes wrong, they will not be capable of providing a calm, and rational opinion for you.

My practitioner was either relying on those facts to make sure he wasn’t questioned or stood up to in the delivery room, or he really didn’t understand the roll of a doula. Any practitioner who downplays or doesn’t understand the roll of a doula, or worse isn’t willing to work with one, is likely not interested in giving you the birth you want.

4) As my due date drew closer and closer and I started to get more and more nervous about giving birth I wrote myself a birth plan. It was a large print colour coordinated spreadsheet with very clear wording about what I did and did not consent to during my labour and birth. My practitioner never once used the word “birth plan”, he called it a “wish list” and told me to keep an open mind and be flexible just in case something went wrong.

I am sure now that he didn’t even look at let alone the laminated copy we gave him to put in my file. I know this because when the labour and delivery nurses called him to tell him that I was at the hospital and in active labour he told them to offer me an epidural, despite the fact that my birth plan stated in bold red letters on the very front page not to actively offer me pain relief and that I would ask for it if I wanted it.

A birth plan is so very much more than a wish list, and the fact that my practitioner was not interested in what *I* wanted or what *I* would or would not consent to should have been the biggest warning sign of them all. It should have been obvious to me from that moment that this man had no intention of respecting my autonomy when I went into labour.

I am not sure why I didn’t see these signs for what they were when I was pregnant and preparing for birth. It takes a great amount of effort not to blame myself for the way my birthing experience turned out because I didn’t notice these things.

Maybe I went into it a little over confident in my own strength without really appreciating what it would mean to give birth. I truly did believe that it didn’t matter what my doctor wanted, that I could just say ‘no’ to anything I didn’t want, even if I were scared, vulnerable and overwhelmed. Maybe I was unable to see these signs, or somehow chose not to see, or repressed them because of all the stress and anxiety I was already feeling.

At the very least I know now what I need to look for in a practitioner when we decide to have another baby. I will know next time that the practitioner you choose does have a very large part to play in the kind of experience you come away with, and that pure stubbornness isn’t enough to rely on.

I still struggle very much with how the birth of my son played out. I imagine it will take me a very long time to work through the self blame, and the anger, and the sadness and disappointment, but I do look forward to the next time. I feel as though I have learned a great many lessons from that experience. Not only about the kind of practitioners I want to help me the next time, but about the things I want to get out of my birthing experience and my own strengths and vulnerabilities. I cannot change the birth I have already had, but I feel very hopeful about the next one, whenever that may be.

68 comments:

Melissa + Tiffany @ Home Grown Families said... [Reply to comment]

Disappointment is a huge understatement. I live with it 3x over. My first resulted in a section and because of it I almost lost my daughter after my previous incision tore open. I think I took it for granted too, and sadly I was naive. I thought they knew best- only God and myself knows best. My body was created to birth. Unfortunately for me, I will never have the chance to "birth" a baby the way God intended for me to. I need however give LIFE to all 3 and that is what I focus on. Good luck with your journey.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you, you are so very right, it is so helpful to focus on the life that we created and nurtured within us, and though the details of their transition from womb to arms may not be what we wanted or imagined, and may even be painful to think of, we continue to nurture them without regardless.

Ingrid said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing! I feel like I almost became a statistic myself. I did a ton of reading and thinking during my pregnancy and at 6 mos went into my OB/GYN's office armed with a list of questions, including the c-section rate one that you mentioned. She didn't give me a straight answer either on that, and basically "failed" at the other questions I had for her. On my way home from that visit I cried with my husband that I needed to change providers - at 6 mos along! Well, we thankfully found a home birth midwife with 30 years experience and I swear to GOD that is what saved me from ending up with a c-section. My son was 3 weeks late (would have been totally induced by the OB...) and I had a 43 hour labor (OB would not have stood for that either...) He was born super healthy. Changing providers midstream was one of the best things I ever did for myself and my son. But it was scary - how could little-old-me know more than my Harvard MD doctor???? I came very close to "just trusting my doctor" and becoming a statistic. But you know, it's people like you - who are being honest about your experiences and the feeling that go with them - that will help other women prevent themselves from becoming a c-section statistic as well. Thanks for sharing! And know that your mishaps will guide others... there is a reason for everything that happens to us.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this. If you can help other women avoid the experience you had it helps a great deal in the healing process.

I had that 20/20 hindsight as well and for a long time I gave myself the largest portion of the blame that I was throwing around because I didn't word my questions the right way, I wasn't assertive enough, I believed them even when I had my doubts. I'm sure you know the kind of thing I mean even without specifics.

Now when I hear my pregnant friends talk about their visits with their OB's I see those red flags all over the place. I can't help but point them out. Sometimes they believe me and sometimes they don't, but at least I know that I did what I could to warn them. And the two friends that I was able to talk into changing providers mid-pregnancy who ended up with beautiful, natural births...well I won't say they made my bad experience worth it, but it definitely made me feel like some good came out of it.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Women should not beat themselves up EVER if their birth experience didn't go according to plan. That's life, and that's kids...they don't always do things the way we want them to. Thank God for your healthy child, and focus your energies on that. I think it's wise to reflect back on where things "went wrong" and look at yourself for things to do differently in the future, but please DO NOT blame yourself. Motherhood is hard enough, I'm sure your child is beyond blessed to have you as a mother...you gave him life, even if the arrival wasn't as you'd like.

Mama Eve said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing your story. It's very well-told, and I know many others will be able to relate. I hope it reaches women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant so they can make changes if they need to based on your experience. I hope you can move past blaming yourself; it wasn't your fault. We all can only do the best we can with what we know. Prayers, love, and best wishes for healing are all being sent your way. <3

Kelly Hogaboom said... [Reply to comment]

"Thank God for your healthy child, and focus your energies on that. "

Abolutely, but no one should direct Julian where to focus her energies. Too many women are told to "get over" their birth stories and leave them behind and not speak up nor try to change birth culture. Articles like this are so important and birth activism (as well as meaningful breastfeeding support etc) is relevant and needed. So many families are being underserved so grossly in our country (at least mine, the US).

@Julian
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sharing it with others. I hope your efforts help other families. I hope more men and women self-educate in the right places. It is hard, I know.

I wish you healing regarding the birth of your son. You are not making a big deal over nothing; I have heard so many stories like yours. Thank you for your work here.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

@Ingrid - Good for you for trusting your gut and changing providers! I remember calling the midwife that I would have wanted to change to (There's only one in our area) and she wasn't taking new patients, so I took a deep breath and trusted my OBGYN instead. I honestly don't know if I would have changed anyways. I had a bad feeling, but I was still confident in myself and my ability to work with my OBGYN.

@Anon-12:05 Thank you for pointing that out. It does help a little bit to know that my experience can help, not only my own future births, but other women who may be headed in that direction themselves.

@anon-12:35 Thank you. Saying that I don't want to blame myself and actually doing that are two very different things, but I am working on it. My child is healthy, and I do thank god for that every day, and we have been pretty much care free since his birth. I am very lucky. But it's very hard not to think about the circumstances of his birth, especially this close to his first birthday.

Megan said... [Reply to comment]

My story sounds similar to yours; I read, asked all the right questions but somehow missed what the answers really meant. The result was a traumatic birth and very rough beginning for my daughter and I. I'd wanted three kids but knew a's they rolled me out of the operating room that I could never go through that again. So I dug deeper and for a while became obsessed with finding a different way. My second girl was born at home surrounded by two midwives, a Doula and my husband. The difference was amazing and the birth, though long and intense was wonderful. (you can read the birth stories here, though I'm still adding to them a bit here and there: moogielight.blogspot.com). I'm still sad about the first birth and what was taken from us, but I'm so grateful for the second and have a renewed sense of strength and peace because of that experience. Good luck; it can be better.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

@Kelly Hogaboom - Thank you very much for that. I am not sure that Anon-12:35 was really telling me to get over it. But I agree that expecting women to ignore the very real feelings that come with birth trauma helps nobody. Least of all the children they 'should be grateful for', Children need healthy mamas, and to be healthy I need to grieve, and I need to work through my feelings about Oliver's birth.

Thank you for sharing my story with others. I really do hope that it helps.

@Mama Eve: Thank you for your prayers. I really do appreciate it!

amy000311 said... [Reply to comment]

I'm sorry to hear about your experience, my first was dissapointing as well, however my next two were wonderful given my choice to not be at a hospital. Good luck to you on your next birth, you will never get back that experience that was taken from you but it is very healing to have a wonderful one the next time around!

Crystal - Prenatal Coach said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing your story. My heart breaks for you because I can feel your pain through your words but in sharing this part of your experience you are going to help many women (myself included) to feel empowered to find the right care provider the first time around. Sending you healing thoughts.

Rob said... [Reply to comment]

"Maybe I went into it a little over confident... unable to see the signs" - please don't blame yourself for what is an entrenched culture of massive power imbalance between doctor and client (or patient as they say). Even the most confident, strong and educated women can crumble in the face of a doctor's arrogant and entitled attitude towards her.

That's why I chose to homebirth so that I wouldn't come into contact with doctors (or not much). I knew that despite my convictions, my instinct was to be a "good" patient and agree with the doctor! E.g. I didn't want any ultrasounds but when a doctor told me I had to, I compliantly lay down and she proceeded to cover me in gel as I was SOBBING with tears streaming down my face!! Luckily my husband told her to stop.

Recently at the university where I'm a postgrad, I saw a play by 1st-year medical students. They joked about prolapsed anuses and "marvelling" at a normal birth. Can you imagine being the person coping with a prolapsed anus with young doctors laughing at you behind your back?! They concluded that doctors and patients need each other because, "Without us you'd be dead, and without you we'd be broke."

Of course not all doctors are so immature and insensitive, but many sadly are... and they never grow up. They become the specialist who treated you with the disrespect and inhumanity that you were. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I have the same feelings...looking back at my first birth...unfortunately a home birth gone wrong. I did end up having to rush to the hospital, the doctor on call pissed because he had to leave his wife at the dinner table and the attending midwife dropping me like a hot potato...The doctor was not even willing to discuss my options. He called for a section and within the hour my baby girl was born. I did not get to touch or hold her for the first hour of her life. She was healthy but had low APGARs. Turns out that the attending midwife (apprentice) had been misjudging several signs...position of baby, cervix dilation etc...my baby was stuck and never descended all the way. I am now pregnant with my second child and the doctors and hospital where I live are not supporting or performing VBACs. I have to travel 2 hours one way to see a doctor in a bigger city. He is very supportive of my desire to have a VBAC and he is also very open to my needs and wants. I will be able to have my doula there and anything and anyone else I want. He talked to me about my options and how certain decisions could compromise a VBAC etc. I feel very well taking care of. The midwife however....I have very different feelings about...

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

I, too, had an OB I thought I'd be fine with and ended up having a birth that didn't go as I'd hoped. I did not end up with a c-section (and I thank God for that!) but it definitely could've gone that way. I didn't hire a doula either because I thought we couldn't afford one. Big mistake.

Even though I could have certainly had a different birth had I done a bit more research, a woman shouldn't HAVE to. She should be able to communicate what she wants, and the OB should tell her point-blank whether or not he is willing to meet her needs. My OB wasn't, but he sidestepped questions about his statistics and sugarcoated the truth about how things would go when I was in labor. If all doctors truly cared about women, not just "physically healthy mom and baby" but a woman's rights and personal desires, no woman would have to research like she's getting a master's degree to have a baby. Anyway, I don't think any secondhand information in the world could've prepared me for my first birth experience. I had to go through that to know what to do the second time.

With my second baby I went with a midwife and everything was wonderful. I had a home waterbirth. I hope you get the birth you want and need with your second baby!

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this. I wish we could reach more women before they get pregnant and tell them that their choice of health care provider makes a HUGE impact on how their birth(s) will go. I wish more health care practitioners would be honest about not supporting normal birth at the beginning of pregnancy instead of in labor. I hope time brings peace and healing for you.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

Great, thoughtful post, Julian. I know that looking back there were red flags everywhere. My OB said all the right, elusive things. Big hugs.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

@megan – I hear you. Before Oliver’s birth we had planned to have 2 babies 2-3 years apart. Now, just 2 weeks shy of Oliver’s first birthday I know that it will likely be longer than that before I have another. Congratulations on getting the birth you wanted the second time around.

@amy000311 – Thank you. I do hope that my next birth, with all of the lessons I learned with the birth of my first, will be a healing one. I am not yet sure where that will take place, though it would likely take an act of god to get me to labour in a hospital ever again. I am open to the idea of a home birth but would feel more comfortable with a midwife run birthing centre. While there isn’t a birthing centre here, I have been told that there is one in the city we plan to move to in the next couple years. *fingers crossed*

@crystal-prenatal coach – Thank you. I am so glad that my words had meaning for you and I hope very much that my words do help women to follow their instincts and find the provider that’s right for them.

@Rob – Arrogant and entitled is exactly how I would describe the actions of my OBGYN during my labour and birth. It was like he tore off a disguise and the easygoing, reassuring doctor I though I had was actually some maniacal bond villain. Thank you for sharing.

@anon-4:04 – I am sorry to hear that your homebirth didn’t go the way you wanted. While my practitioner happened to be an OBGYN, it is certainly possible for ANY practitioner to be unprofessional/incompetent/misogynistic/arrogant.

Thank you for pointing that out to me. With all of my anger towards my OBGYN it would be very easy for me to just assume that a midwife would mean I was safe from repeating that experience, and that I would get the birth I wanted. It is so vitally important to ask lots of tough questions to a potential care provider and really listen to their answers to make sure you end up with the provider that is right for you.

@Jenny – A home water birth sounds wonderful. I had hoped to have a water birth with Oliver but the Labour & delivery init of my local hospital was undergoing renovations and that option was not yet available (I’ve been told that it will be available at a later time).

You’re very right that no amount of study could really prepare you for what it’s like to labour. But I do think it’s important to prepare regardless. We do not witness labour and birth in our society, it is no longer part of our lives like it was when women birthed at home, when the birth of a sibling would have been something a sister witnessed, if not participated in. Some of us spend YEARS preparing for our weddings, but only a few weeks or months preparing to birth our babies. As a result we go in pretty blind the first time around.

It would be SO much easier if practitioner where upfront with their clients about the type of birthing experience they provide, and their willingness (or lack there of) to help you meet YOUR goals and expectations.

@Melissa – Looking back I can’t believe that I actually thought my choice of healthcare provider wouldn’t matter. *I* was the one who was actually going to birth the baby, the doctor would just be attending right? My doctor didn’t see it that way. I honestly do think that it was his impression from the start that *HE* would be delivering my baby with my assistance.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said... [Reply to comment]

I also had a traumatic birthing experience. I should have seen the red flags! My first child was born via c-section after an induction. I still feel like I don't really know or understand what happened that day. I really appreciate the part you wrote about using a Doula because it is unfair to place the entire burden on your husband during such an emotional experience. I wanted a very special birth with just me and my husband. My mother and my mother -in-law never had any issues during child birth and both had completely natural births (one a mother of 4 the other is a mother of 8!) So how was I or my husband to know that mine would go any different?
I trusted everything the nurses and my doctor told me. I knew the first night that there were things I was uncomfortable with and I cried all night about it but I felt stuck and like I had no choice at that point. My husband just wanted to soothe me and didn't know that I needed someone to get in the doctors and nurses face and stick up for me. (he's not confrontational at all). I blamed myself for a long time but now I know how to prepare for our next child. I will definitely have a Doula present for me and my husband!

Vanessa S. said... [Reply to comment]

Thankyou so much for sharing your story. It so thoroughly hit home for me. I have been in what I describe as 'grieving' for almost 2 years from my labor and delivery experience. My son is almost 20 months and I still cannot 'kick' these feelings of regret, guilt, anger, hurt, frustration, disappointment, heartache... If only I knew what I know now... If only I could do it over again. I can't talk about my experience without feeling violated all over again and anger swell up inside of me. I've though of writing my OB at the time of delivery a very long letter, but haven't brought myself to it and I'm sure she wouldn't care too much anyways. Right after birth I had these strong feelings and desires that I HAD to have the chance to hurry up and do it all over again, the RIGHT WAY, just so my heart could be at peace and it could be done how I wished and how it SHOULD'VE been. My experience was one of the most horrible experiences in my life when it should've been the happiest. My son was a miracle conception in the first place, the baby I longed for but thought I'd never receive, and then for it all to turn out the way it did has seriously become a pain I deal with regularly. I find myself thinking it over and over and reliving steps and parts of it all. I repeat the same stories and facts of my birth experience to my close friends and family so often and I know they're sick of it. I'm sure it's my mind and heart trying to deal with it all. I just can't shake it and almost still feel as though I will never fully recover or even begin to walk down the road of 'healing' unless I am allowed to have a 2nd chance.. I've babbled on, but once again, thankyou so much for sharing this. I have felt alone and like the only one who has gone through this all many times, and I see that I most certainly am not alone-although I hate that any of you went through anything similiar... Thankyou so much.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Do you have a healthy baby? If yes, get over it!!!! You picked your OB, he did not pick you. If you let yourself feel guilty for not having "the perfect birth" (which by the way, does NOT exist in a hospital setting), then you are going to be a very depressed mommy!

Enjoy your baby and have no regrets - maybe try a midwife (certified nurse midwife) next time around!

Heather said... [Reply to comment]

I had a doula. I had a birth plan, an easy labor (if seriously long), an active understanding of my rights and typical OB scare tactics.

It didn't save me.

I knew I needed to transfer my care and I tried twice to do so. Both times I failed. My OB kept bullying me and got angry that she couldn't change my mind, that my husband couldn't be persuaded to her side, etc.

She wasn't even THERE the day I went into labor. Maybe she actually would have supported me. Maybe not. I'll never know. The fact is that I still ended up with a cesarean from exhaustion when I was coached to push at a 10, even though I wasn't ready. And when my body screamed at me to stop an hour later, I tried, but was threatened with surgery, so I kept pushing. Finally, after another half hour of my body saying STOP and just being too exhausted (and at this point TERRIFIED), I gave up.

My VBAC was far from ideal. Largely due to things that weren't iatrogenic or preventable. But some of the care I received in labor definitely contributed.

I will always wish I'd just stayed home the first time, or at least not been scared off when insurance stuff went bad when trying to transfer my care the first time (the second time, the midwife abandoned me at 38 weeks because I was afraid to confront my OB and tell her I was transferring my care).

Amy said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this information. I am passing this along and I know it will help many women avoid these same mistakes. Unfortunately I hear these stories often. You are not alone and very brave for speaking up about it. It is healthy to process the emotions you feel and know that while it was not your fault what happened should not have. Having a healthy baby at the end is not all that matters, of course you should be thankful for your baby but it is okay to mourn the birth experience you did not want. Hugs and again thank you for sharing your story.

Kara said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous, it does no one any good to ignore someone's feelings or tell them to "get over it". The very least you could do is acknowledge the writer's feelings even if you don't agree with them. The whole "the only thing that matters is a healthy baby" phrase is crap, imo.It would be like saying to a bride-to-be that her wedding doesn't matter - only the marriage does. And while the marriage is the more important of the two, something fundamental changes on the day of the wedding and it's a special day that deserves to be set aside as a treasured memory (even if everything isn't perfect...it sounds like the writer's experience wasn't just a few flubs here or there.) That's how birth should be seen too. The mom's feelings, physical health and labor/birth experience matters.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you all so much for the comments and support! I am NAK right now so I won't respond individually to everyone like I have been. at least not at the moment. But I just really wanted to thank everyone who has shared this article, or commented with their support.

Thank you for sharing your own stories with me in return, and thank you to those who understand that Morning the loss of the birth I wanted, and dealing with the emotions resulting from the experience I DID have, do not negate my love and thankfulness for my healthy child.

@Anon-10:10 What happened to me, and what happens to far too many labouring women around the world is wrong. just 'getting over it', just ignoring my experience and pretending it didn't happen because my child is healthy and unharmed, would not only be denying myself the right to find healing and closure, but would deny other women validation, and allow these same things to keep on happening.

Maybe the 'perfect birth' doesn't exist in a hospital. Maybe it doesn't exist at all. every woman, every pregnancy, every baby is different, and there are bound to be variations.

I don't expect a 'perfect birth', I never did. What I expect is to be treated like a human being. What I expect is for people to understand that 'no' means 'no' even in a hospital, even if that person thinks that what he or she is doing is 'for the best' or what they think is right. What I expect is for professionals to be honest with their clients, and remember that THEY work for the CLIENT not the other way around. What I expect is for those professionals to respect their roll as 'experts' and practice that roll with responsibility.

I will not just 'get over it', and I am sorry but it is so incredibly inappropriate for you to even suggest that I do so when it is obvious from the other 23 comments that I am not alone in my experience. That there is obviously something wrong happening that women need to be aware of, prepare themselves for, and recover from.

Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I ask that in the future you try to do so in a more mindful and respectful way.

meghann said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, I truly hope you have a better experience next time. By picking a different practitioner, perhaps even a midwife and including a doula...I'm sure you'll be able to have what they call a 'healing birth'. I just gave birth to my 3rd and although my second birth was awesome too, it really was a healing...completely what I wanted and so empowering (so opposite from my first birth in the hospital)

Kudos to you for sharing your experience and perhaps helping others realize and see that their doc is not really advocating for them when they think they are.

paule bézaire said... [Reply to comment]

i'm so sorry you had to have such a birth. i wish we were taught early on that women KNOW how to birth, and that they don't need someone else telling them how to do it. if birth was not safe on it's own we would NOT have survived, right?
thank you for sharing your insight ~ it means a lot to many women. we can make a difference! blessings
paule

Brenda O said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this with us. I had a similar experience to Heather's VBAC (but without the emergency c-section) and it seems that, more often than not, things don't go the way you wished they would, but life generally doesn't so I suppose we can't expect labour and birth to be any different.

In my case, I was in a country where midwives are the norm and yet things still didn't go according to plan...I was induced 24 hrs after my waters broke because nothing was happening, I (like Heather) had to push even when there were no contractions/my contractions had stopped, I had the most excruciating vacuum-delivery because I couldn't push her out without contractions and (same as my 1st) was nearly 2 pounds heavier than she was predicted to be, and finally, nearly 3 years after the birth, I'm about to (hopefully) undergo surgery for uterine prolapse, rectocele and cystocele as a result of the vacuum delivery.

Were I to have my VBAC over, I think I would have elected for a C-section had I known then what I would go through after the birth...in a country where they just didn't give a damn because I was a foreigner with temporary residency, health care providers completely ignored these post-natal problems and denied their existence. My husband and I have tried (unsuccessfully) to have sex less than 5 times in the last 3 yrs. I have lived for 3 yrs with the agony of a prolapse and knowing that my daughter's lives are being impacted by this. I have finally been on a surgery waiting list for 6 months and my surgery is scheduled for 4 Oct but I'm still not sure whether they'll do it or come up with an excuse not to (they prefer you to just "live with it" in Scandinavia, especially because it's a social health system). I'll only know on 30 Sept who my surgeon will be and find out whether he or she thinks they're willing to go ahead with the surgery.

But then, I wanted a VBAC, so why am I complaining?

Try not to idealise the way you were hoping it would be, because (statistically, at least) it's doubtful that your next birth will live up to that. However, I do hope it goes the way you plan!!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Julian, Hello. I am one of the women for whom you are making a difference. I am 33, and not yet pregnant, and we have not yet even tried. Your words reached me because I have an acquaintance from childhood, now living 3000 miles away who posted your blog on facebook today. In the course of the last 30 minutes, my life has changed and my vocabulary has been increased and updated. I am inspired to visit the birth center in my town (until now I had absolutely taken it for granted) and investigate and explore options. I want you to know that I feel a kindred with you, the way your story unfolded (even minus the specifics). I could see myself in your place, and the emotions came on fierce. And so I want to send you love and thanks, for your ability to share your story, and for your level-headed and compassionate response to comments. May you be granted the blessing of peace of mind for you and your family. Love, Amy (Edmonds, Washington USA)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

You weren't over confident in yourself; you believed that your wishes mattered. Guilt will not help you, but informing others will.

Forgive yourself and keep writing!

Helena said... [Reply to comment]

We need to keep telling our stories!!!
We don't need to judge each other but listen and understand. It is hard to work through the pain (physical and emotional) of a birth where you were not respected and nurtured. Birth Rape is a reality for many women and we cope the same way at times (suppress, rationalize, blame ourselves, etc.) It is hard in the few months preceding the birth to learn to stand up to authority when all our lives we have been trained otherwise. and not trained to trust ourselves and other ways of knowing, like intuition.
I have rarely witnessed true informed consent in the medical setting. A few practitioners do but they are just that- few.
We need to share our stories and speak up loud and clear for what we need. Help your sisters be educated and strong. We have mother courage to do the best for ourselves and babies. Natural birth is the safest for both. It is rare that all the medical intervention is needed.
We need to be friends with our bodies. Love them, in fact! Have confidence in them to do what they are designed to do.
It is so worth the search and money to have an attendant who knows how to help you have a natural birth. I would say aside from your own determination, this is the biggest influence on how a birth might unfold.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I cannot really even say I understand, as I have had 2 wonderful births, but I fear for my family as they reach their childbearing age. My young sister in law has had one awful birth and is now expecting her 2nd. She says she wants a better birth, and I try to give her research to read, and recommend the best midwife in our area (hospital midwife, as she still lacks the knowledge on homebirth, so she is scared of it), I have offered to be her doula (for free) and if she is uncomfortable with that, I tried to stress the importance of at least finding one. However, her awful, selfish husband doesn't want anyone else in the room...not her, her husband, because...you know, he is the one pushing the baby out *rolls eyes*. I am so sad reading these stores, because I just know it will be her. I hate hearing sad birth stories, but most of all in the world, I just want those close to me to experience the beautiful births that I have. They have been the most wonderful, amazing experiences of my life, and I just want everyone, but especially my family, to get to know what that is like. I hope that it can happen for her this time, but I have low expectations :(

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Big hugs, Mama.

I was especially struck by your comments on 9/8/10 @ 6:36PM, where you talked about your doctor tearing off a disguise. I think those are the words I've been searching for to describe what happened with my doctor.

I wrote my doctor a letter telling him how disappointed I was, and then gave permission to VBACFacts to post the letter, so other women might know that they are not alone in how they feel (you can read it here: http://vbacfacts.com/2009/08/26/an-ob-you-like-or-who-makes-you-comfortable-isnt-enough/).

Keep writing about it. By doing so, you are dispelling the myth that "You had a healthy baby, and that's all that mattered." That's not true. You can't justify atrocities committed because in the end you were able to recover from them. It DOESN'T need to be this way. Shouting from the rooftops about how unhappy you are with the care you received is letting providers know you want something different. Sooner or later, someone will listen and patients will flock there.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

To the person that is telling her to get over it: This is not something that can just be "gotten over!" How can you say something like that to someone who is STILL HEALING. You are a rude, and arrogant jerk, that obviously has no idea what you're talking about.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I am so sorry that you didn't get the birth that you hoped for with you baby. I hope that you can forgive yourself and let go of the anger that surrounds the birth. Unfortunately your story is quite common as women it is really hard to get all the information you need for your birth. I was very lucky to find hypnobirthing which taught me how to have the birth I wanted and questions to ask my Ob to make sure that they support my decison to birth in this way. I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I can relate. I had 5 babies and felt pretty good about those hospital experiences and my own power to say "no" when I needed to. Then with my 6th I had an oncall OB and a terrible overbearing nurse. I thought I would be able to speak up for myself but to my horror I found myself to want to comply. It must be that pain can numb a person to fight? I did stand up for myself early on in labor, but as it went on began to act like a scared animal and just froze as the nurse did intervention after intervention. I began to agree to things thinking, "it will be over faster if I just do what she wants." This was not true as my baby was in an OP position. Finally, the OB discovered this OP position and encouraged me to move, and my baby was born 10 minutes later after a long pushing stage (for a mom having her 6th? My babies usually are born with just a few pushes...all of my other births added up to less time than that 6th birth). I felt overwhelmed after the birth, happy to have the baby, but so sad because I had not been treated with respect, and guilt for not standing up for myself. I finally realized this nurse had pushed me and I had lost my identity as a woman and leader in my home during the birth. There was no reason for most of the interventions, just nurse preference which she even said herself toward the end of the labor. Next birth I had a midwife if only to have a provider stay with me and protect me from the nurses. Of course, before, I usually had pretty good nurses and even if they made mistakes, they were not overbearing or abusive.

I hope you can heal, and have a healing birth in the future.

Blessings!
Dawn

Shanon Pruden said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing... As a new Doula and a former "unhappy birther" I can relate. :( It's all very sad what is taken away from us... I wish to help as many woman as possible trust themselves and trust their own knowlegde!

Maria said... [Reply to comment]

My daughter is 5 and I still have overwhelming guilt and disappointment in myself for being unable to stand up for myself, and not knowing exactly what kind of fight I was in for.

Pamela said... [Reply to comment]

I, too, will probably never "get over" my first birthing experience. I should have followed my gut and found a different physician when my provider's answer to one of my questions at a prenatal appointment was, "Use the KISS method. Keep It Simple, Stupid." Really what a naive soon-to-be mother wants to hear, right? I'm starting to get the baby itch again, but I am terrified of living the hell that was my c-section again. :( It is comforting to know that I'm not alone in my inability to "get over it," though. Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I had a wonderful birth experience, which I am very greatful for... Even in a miltary setting. However Birthing babies is not so cut and dry as we all would like to think. I didn't have doula and didn't take a birth class. But my husband and I made it very clear waht we wanted when talking with the nurses and doctors. I was induced for Sever high blood pressure, they did everything they could to prevent me from having to be on magnesium. even though I never meet the doctor who delivered me he was amazing and respected my wishes. I don't know maybe working for Ob's gave me the strength to say what I wanted and what I didn't, and sticking with it. I did end up getting an epidural, but My daughter was very alert and ready to feed. I no longer think about my birth Just that I now have this amazing little person, She dosen't care how she arrived jsut that she was warm, safe and taken care of. Take what you can learn from it and move on dwelling on is not healthy either.

Vivian said... [Reply to comment]

These heartfelt stories are being told all over the US and the world. I believe as women we should have the right to choose a safe place to birth and also a choice of health care provider-one who listens and understands that our bodies are sensitive, powerful and made to birth. In the US our choices are limited, restricted and controlled. I believe it's time to start a revolution, but it must be led by women's voices and our stories (like the one's on this blog). Go to the websites of childbirth connection, Where's my midwife?, American College of Nurse-Midwives and womencarepa,org. It's time for women to stand up and deliver!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Epidurals DO NOT interfere with breastfeeding! I support everyone's decision in how they choose to birth their children, but please do not scare women into thinking they cannot breastfeed if they have an epidural. That is NOT encouraging.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

Anon-7:24-

I do not believe that I said women COULD NOT beastfeed if they get an epidural. but to say that an epidural doesn't effect or interfere with breastfeeding is wrong.

The side effects for mom including shaking, vomiting, and swelling ALL effect her ability to hold and nurse her baby immediately following birth. (The best time to initiate breastfeeding)

The side effects to baby, including raised body temperature and drowsiness can effect a baby's interest and ability in finding and latching on to his mother's breast.

Are their plenty of women who opt for or have an epidural who go on to breastfeed their babies? Of course their are, I am one of them.

But it's hard enough to successfully initiate breastfeeding in a hospital setting, so I wanted to avoid the epidural to give myself a better chance.

I am glad that I did know the side effects and didn't believe people like you. It allowed me to work through and breastfeed even after all of the above side effects prevented us from successfully latching and feeding for nearly 12 hours. Without that knowledge I may have just assumed that my baby 'couldn't latch' instead of realizing that the hole body swelling due to the epidural made my nipples too flat and my breasts too hard for feeding.

when I couldn't keep him skin to skin on my chest because of the shaking and vomiting he was unable to regulate his own temperature and they whisked him away to NICU. Luckily I knew that this may happened and my husband and I had already decided that he would go with Oliver in case that happened. It's a good thing he was there to tell the nurses NOT to stick an artificial nipple in his mouth.

Had I just believed my OBGYN that epidurals DO NOT effect breastfeeding I likely would have fallen pray to any number of booby traps because I wouldn't have had the knowledge to fight back with.

I absolutely respect everyone's decision of how they choose to birth their children. If you read the post again you may realize that the POINT of this post was to tell my story about how my doctor DIDN'T respect my choices. And encouraging women to arm themselves with fact based information that may help them when the time comes.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

I just want to say that I am very sorry to everyone who commented that I did not respond to individually. I have gotten behind and with my little guy finding his legs and toddling about the house I am a little strapped for time.

But THANK YOU for sharing your stories. I DO read every one of them, and so do many other women who may be struggling with their own stories.

Please check out today's post by Jenn about the Stronger Together Online Quilt. share your art and images about birth trauma, disappointment, and PPD and help us create something beautiful!

Wendyrful said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful, thoughtful post! Thank you

inkmyth said... [Reply to comment]

I thought I had it all planned out too! I had the midwife, the tub, the home birth was going well, until she got stuck, which now looking back I could have gotten her through with the Gaskin manoeuvre.. but I digress. My husband told me later, when I told him I was going to home birth baby number 2 (who hasn't even been conceived yet) that the doctors know more about birth than me. So no, you can't rely on your spouse, or what have you to be your support, they get bullied just as much as you do when the ob says 'your baby will DIE if we don't intervene!!!!!111!elventyone!'

Allison Lyons said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing these insights! I am a mom and a new doula who had a lot of the same intentions for the birth of my son, who asked a lot of the same questions of my physician, and who wound up with the same types of answers. Needless to say, my birth didn't go the way I had hoped at all, and I still struggle with guilt over how I handled everything and grief over the loss of a birth experience that felt like it was mine.
I would like to share this post on my fb doula page, if you don't mind. I think it'll really help a lot of moms figure out if they've got the practitioner they need.

CK said... [Reply to comment]

WOW. This is SUCH an IMPORTANT read. SOOO important for any I-want-a-natural-birth Mom.
Thank you Thank you!
I can really connect with you because I had my first birth in a hospital (by a not so natural birth friendly doctor) and my second and third birth at home with a superb, awesome midwife. I totally missed all those signs with my first birth but figured out more of what I wanted in my second and third birth. Hopefully that is encouraging. You can do it!!!
I caught this link off my midwife's facebook.
I will DEFINITELY pass it on. It is so enlightening.

THANK YOU THANK YOU for taking the time to write this and feeling the courage to post it!!!!!

-CK

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I had a traumatic c-section birth. Your article started by saying your birth experience was 11 months and 2 weeks ago, and it took me right back to mine. I had an incredibly tough time on my son's first birthday- it hit me like a ton of bricks in a way I wasn't expecting. I managed to "fake it" for part of the day, but eventually I just went to bed and cried. I felt terrible- here was the 1st birthday of my baby boy, and I was a mess. I just wanted you to know it might be that way for you too, and that's ok!
I have since gone on to have a beautiful HBAC, after getting some marvelous therapy for PTSD from an amazing therapist. It was incredibly healing for me, and I wish the same for you as you continue your journey!

jo said... [Reply to comment]

The only way that we will be confident in our choices is to to allow open speech about this subject. Too often we feel that the professionals know everything and we dont take enough responsibility educating ourselves. Also, it could be that the information is not easily available.
Thank you for sharing this, when we tell our stories, we help others to do the same and when millions of women speak loudly, we create a roar that no one will be able to ignore.

Tipper said... [Reply to comment]

I don't know you, but I want to give you a big hug right about now.

I thought I was strong enough to stand up for myself, too, but the funny thing about authority figures is that they have "authority" (or so we think). I'm just grateful I didn't end up with a c-section, though I was on the road to getting one.

I hope that you find the healing you need and deserve.

Christy said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have heard so many such stories from women I know personally. I think doctors and hospitals who don't turn birth into a freak show are few. I love birth as I have had 1 at a birth center and 2 homebirths. I know how awesome, sacred, intimate, powerful, and profound birth is. I am a natural un-interfered with homebirth activist as a result.

I witnessed a hospital birth last month for the first time when my best friend had her first baby. I was her labor support and did stand up for her to the doctors and nurses and sometimes made them very aggravated and upset with me. Despite my best efforts to protect my friend, they still essentially did whatever they wanted to her. It was very traumatic for me to watch them do so many horrendous things to her. Her labor and birth and postpartum experience was a nightmare. She was induced at 37 weeks for supposed pre-eclampsia, even though she was not in imminent danger. She was hooked up to numerous tubes and machines, confined to bed, constantly bothered by staff so exhaustion due to lack of sleep soon set in, given stadol which caused an hour long terrifying bad acid like trip, had the extreme pitocin contractions with no break at all in between, epidural, birthed on back in stirrups, baby vacumed out, severe tearing and hemorroids, separated from baby for 15 hours due to low blood sugar due to her not being allowed to eat all day, refused to allow her to nurse prior to separation, etc. The only thing she did escape was the c-section. All this happened despite my unofficial doula efforts. I managed to tick the doctors and nurses off at times, yet they still did what they wanted.

I have another friend who did successfully insist upon a natural hospital birth, but the staff was furious with her, so she had to battle them throughout. One nurse even jabbed a rubella vaccine into her arm while she was insisting she was NOT going to be vaccinated!!! Another friend truly thought they were trying to kill her during her birth.

I just don't see us changing the hospital environment any time soon. I think except in a true emergency, pregnant women should stay away from OBs and hospitals! You couldn't pay me to voluntarily enter their torture chambers. If my or my baby's life was at stake, I would endure the hospital, and I am thankful we have hospitals who do save lives. But, for anything but a dire emergency, I'm staying home, and I hope many more women realize their bodies are perfectly designed to birth and choose to stay home as well.

Jo said... [Reply to comment]

I linked to this post, hope that's ok!

www.minnesotajo.com and the post is dated today. Can't link to it though as it must be disabled? Thanks!

Joy Long said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You really don't realize by you posting...you are healing. It is so true that we just don't know what to do and we trust our doctors to tell us. It is only when we get a doctor that can not think outside of his/her box that we have problems. This was me and it took 4 chldren to finally find a group called Birth Matters of Virginia. I went to free educational meetings that taught me what I needed to be armed with before I went into labor. It was because of them I had a painless,joyful, pleasant labor of my 4th and final child. I try to tell all of moms that have had a bad experience..just look at it as a learning experience, next time make it better!

scarlet said... [Reply to comment]

your story could be my own. the little boy the ripped from me by a doctor i trusted is now 3.5 and his little brother is 1.5. i knew the right things to say/do/advocate for myself the second time around. my vbac didn't fix what had happened the first time, but it did heal me in ways that i can't completely describe. I hope and pray you reach the same peace.

Jessie Y said... [Reply to comment]

I agree that posting is part of the healing process. Slowly but surely it will happen! I am still healing after 15 months... not from a horrible birth but with problems breast feeding. I told everyone I wanted to breastfeed my daughter for at least a year. I had chronic low supply and was never able to exclusively breast feed. Our breastfeeding relationship ended at 8 months much to my dismay. I blame myself and used to spend hours researching low supply and trying to figure out what was wrong with me. My doctors were of no support (which has made me look for alternative options ie a midwife for my next child) and the lactation consultants didn't give one crap about my problems. They were too interested in helping the moms with easier problems. I'm praying that with my next child things will be different and I will be able to redeem myself! I'll be praying for complete healing for you. I know what it's like to not be able to be completely myself and try to give my all to my child when I don't even have it all. Best wishes!

Johanna said... [Reply to comment]

I began my prenatal check-ups with an OB/GYN group of about 8 physicians. They wanted nothing to do with my plans for a natural birth. I saw this and quickly researched to find the best (no lie) group of midwives in the world. I successfully birthed my almost 10-pound son (my first) naturally. Throughout the event of pushing for only 30 minutes, my son's oxygen level was dropping quickly. His tiny fist had a firm grip on his cord and his fist was lodged between his head and the wall of my birth canal. So, in addition to the humungous head coming through, there was his fist as well. He was clamping down on his cord. He was "sunny side up". They told me I had a few minutes to push him out. As a result and after serious consideration that I was about to die, I did it. Afterwards, I had 7 suture kits to complete about 45 minutes of internal reconstruction. I was so angry about this part of my labor and delivery until time had passed. Two years and one subsequent miscarriage later, I finally realize that my son and I are fortunate that he did not suffer a dislocated shoulder or brain damage from low oxygen levels. LADIES, PLEASE REMEMBER...we sign ourselves up to mother! If your babies make it out of your blessed wombs healthy, that is TRULY all that matters. I would give anything to thank the Lord for my son...even a million more suture kits in the netheregions! If you have suffered battle wounds on the field of labor and still have a babe to rock to sleep, THANK THE LORD. Don't get to caught up in being the superhero. You already are one. Love ya all!

Kacie said... [Reply to comment]

I just wanted to jump in with an e-hug for you. I hope that you, in time, are able to heal and process what happened to you.

You posting this will help other expectant moms evaluate their birthing options.

Also, to Anon at 9/8 at 10:10, you are a turd.

Stephanie said... [Reply to comment]

So sorry that your birth experience didn't meet your expectations! I think it is completely reasonable to "grieve through that process.

I bet your next birth will be wonderful, peaceful, powerful...now that you are armed with knowledge and confidence.

Thank you for sharing this!

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I went into my birthing experience knowing there was more... I did everything I could to educate myself so that I could make decisions based on what was best instead of following the leader. I never expected to be the minority! I've gotten judgment for wanting to go naturally, for switching midwives and hospitals in the third trimester, for making a birth plan, for nursing my son for as long as I have, etc.

I'm so grateful that I went to a Bradley Birth class and asked questions. I don't even want to ponder how my birth experience would have gone if I hadn't had that support. Before I took the class I had a general idea of what I wanted, but after the class I was aware of how many things I could affect for my vulnerable little boy and myself for years to come. (And I was flabbergasted to watch people around me believe everything they were told without researching it themselves, following the crowd like robots! Even my best friend tried to convince me I was making a huge mistake by opting out of the epidural--only because her doctor told her it was safe.) I believe in people's right to choose. But choose a direction YOU decide on, not 40 others in front of you.

My experience wasn't what I had planned, but I knew it wouldn't be. I'm still surprised about the amount of emotion that surfaces thinking about it, and my son turns 2 on Sunday. I'm still praying that my next birth experience is not as shocking as the first, because I still believe there's more...

Julian, I want to commend you, not only for sharing your story, but also for standing your ground with those thoughtless enough to criticize your healing process. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this experience, but I do think you are doing a wonderful thing in talking about it--both for your recovery and for others who have experienced the same thing. You're also helping save many from the torture you went through. Thank you.

If there are any of you who plan on experiencing a birth in the future I encourage you to take a class, ask questions, research, and decide for yourselves. YOU are the only one--not even your husband can decide for you--who can make decisions that can impact both your life and your child's life for a long time. And if things don't go as you planned, remember that you did all you could with what you had at the time and forgive yourself your limitations.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I don't know if you had a cesarean, but if you did I've heard that ICAN is good support network for dealing with the trauma and empowering you.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you everyone. I am still amazed every day at the response this post has recieved, and the comments that are still rolling in months later.

the huge mushy cloud of love that surrounds me when I read all of these comments is a healing experience in itself, and I can't help but feel solidarity with those who have experienced similar births, and those that work to change the systems that causes them.

THANK YOU!

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I did not read all the comments, so maybe this was already posted. If so, I'm sorry. The first thought to come to mind after reading your story (besides that you are SO right) is that maybe you would benefit from some professional help to deal with your feelings surrounding the birth of your baby. I'm NOT saying that because I think you are weak or anything like that! But because if you still can't talk about your birth experience a year later, maybe it affected you more than you think - PTSD, maybe? Anywho. Just a stranger's 2 cents worth. I wish you all the happiness in the world with any future pregnancies!!!

navi said... [Reply to comment]

um... one thing - epidural has risks, but it is not likely to interfere with how alert the baby is. Because my first two births knew I was trying to avoid it, I didn't have it for the first, and the second, I didn't have it right away. They instead tried an alternative pain medication, which made me feel loopy, and most definitely sedated my baby. My third was more informed, and I made it clear that I wanted the epidural, but not until right before the pushing stage, when my anxiety would override any ability to calm myself into not needing medication. It worked wonderfully, and I was perfectly alert for the birth of my daughter, and she was alert, as well.

hcm28 said... [Reply to comment]

I didn't have the chance to read all the comments, but I wanted to say something. First, Julian, thank you for sharing these things about your experience.

Also, patients should always be wary of a doctor that won't directly answer your questions. If they won't tell you the truth, or that they don't know, then you don't need them as a doctor. The more knowledgeable that patients become the better our experiences should be, but sadly that isn't the case.

Liz said... [Reply to comment]

This evening I come across your blog. Kellymom.com had posted your subway snack story on their facebook page. Then I found this story.

It takes a lot of courage to share what you did. I hope you found a place of healing.

Rachel Lewis said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this. I too, felt like I could "just say no" and that my husband could be my doula, but I think we need to get the word out that's not how it works - both the Mum and Dad are too busy birthing to be able to do the job of a doula, a very very necessary job in today's birthing environment! I wish I had hired a doula myself.

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