Thursday, November 3, 2011

Divorce and My First Time as a "Birth Support"

Not too long after the birth of my fourth baby my marriage went from bad to worse. It was riddled with domestic violence, bad vibes, and a total lack of respect. I really wanted to leave him but was unsure I had the ability to since I had 3 kids and no job. Eventually Allah made it easy for me and he ended up arrested again and would be doing a lot of time so it was the perfect chance for me to get away.

I ended up in a shelter for victims of domestic violence for three months while looking for work and a house. While I was there I met a girl that was about 7-8 months pregnant with her first. I was very upfront about my birth experiences with her and since we spent a lot of time together and she was about to have a baby that seemed to always be the topic. Eventually it got to the point where she wanted me at her birth. She wanted me to be there to support her.

She ended up needing to be induced due to high blood pressure so they gave her cervadil overnight and I came to the hospital the next day. I have to say that even though I totally had bad experiences I was beyond shocked at what I saw transpire for this woman. I was not there to be pushy I was there to support her and what she wanted.

They came in and said they wanted to give her cytotec (only they called it misoprostol). Now I was aware of the use of cytotec and what the risks were in comparison to other induction methods from my own research ( , FDA warning label on use of cytotec in pregnant women , , FDA Warning) It has not been FDA approved for use as an induction drug, it has caused fatal uterine ruptures in first time moms, it warns of the possibility of birth defects on the label if taken by pregnant women, etc. She looked at me because she knew I had done a lot of research. I didn't want to be her voice though and I really wanted to see what the doctors said to her when she asked what the risks were. So I told her that she needs to ask them what the risk factors were. When she asked them the response was "It's no riskier than any other induction method." and that was pretty much it. She gave no specific risk factors at all. This is NOT informed consent.

****I am going to take a time out to state that cytotec is NOT like any other induction drug which is what makes it more dangerous. Number one cervadil and pitocin can be removed or turned off if there is over-stimulation of the uterus or if the mother or baby have a negative reaction. Cytotec cannot be taken out. It is a pill that dissolves and is very rapidly absorbed into the body. Once it is in your system that is it. There is no stopping the effects. There have also been no FDA guidelines for OBs to follow regarding induction so there is no way of knowing how much may be too much for one woman's uterus. There are documented cases of death and catastrophic ruptures with the use of Cytotec. When my friend asked her doctor the risks this should have been discussed completely. Instead the doctor avoided the question completely and made it seem like it was no big deal at all. ****

Because the doctor didn't really give her any reason to say no she agreed to take the cytotec. I had to leave for the night but her baby's father was going to keep me informed about what was going on. Overnight she progressed pretty quickly and got to about 8 cm. I went back to the hospital the next day and when I got there they were saying they wanted to now give her pitocin. They told her they were starting her on a low dose and that they would up the dose every so often. My friend was having a lot of pressure and the contractions were pretty intense for her even with an epidural. They then lied to my friend about how high the dosage was that she was getting. They told her it was only half of what she was actually receiving. I was right next to the IV monitor and could see the number of units she was getting and it was more than half of what she was told. WTH???? Why would they lie to her about that?

The next part of her experience infuriates me beyond belief. They checked her cervix and she was 9 cm with a lip. They came in and said "Well I think we have done all we can. I think we should probably go ahead and do a c-section now. I just don't think the baby is coming out." By this time my friend in her vulnerable trusting state said ok.

I was beyond pissed off for her. Number one I have had a lip of cervix left with all 3 of my VBA2Cs ( at the time had only had 2 VBA2Cs) I pushed through the lip both times and had vaginal births. These assholes didn't even give her the CHANCE to push before giving up on her and thus making her give up on herself.  The way maternity care is handled in America right now is truly a travesty and is such a huge disservice to mothers and their babies.

After watching that I knew for sure I did not want to deal with OBs or the hospital when it came to birthing any future children. And honestly after watching that I wasn't sure I would ever be able to handle being a "birth support" for a hospital birth ever again. This did become somewhat of a driving force for me to be more vocal about my own experiences. Surely I wasn't alone in feeling bullied into a c-section, feeling betrayed by someone I should have been able to trust, feeling lied to, and just downright mistreated. I couldn't be the only one.

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