|the first picture of my daughter EVER taken - sad, isn't it?|
My hospital birth story really irritates me. My labor was short, therefore it should have been a great experience, right? WRONG! I've emboldened every single way that my labor went awry.
I get that long labors suck. I hear women talk about them disdainfully every day. I'm thankful to have had a precipitous birth. I am not thankful for the disheartening circumstances.
My water broke on 9/20, just before midnight. I called my midwife and she had told me to come into the office first thing in the morning of 9/21 if I didn't start contracting. So at around eight in the morning I went in so they could monitor my contractions. There was nothing happening. The midwife told me to try nipple stimulation at home, but if nothing happened I needed to be at the hospital in four hours for an induction. I tried nipple stimulation and when that didn't work, was told castor oil wasn't an option because it was too dangerous. I was devastated.
I packed a bag, anticipating a very short hospital stay. I would have the baby and leave - at least that was my plan. As I arrived at the hospital, a nurse took down all of my information. She was incredibly rude and even snapped at my husband a couple of times when he questioned the policies she read to us. As she began connecting the IV drips around 1:15 or so, my heart sank. Again, I sobbed.
My doula brought me her birth ball to sit on and I leaned over the side of the bed with the monitors all in place. As I was sitting on the ball, she requested a telemetry unit so that I'd be able to move freely. They didn't return, so she asked when they came back. Again - nothing. She went out to the nurse's station for the third time and demanded it. Within minutes they connected me to a portable unit. I had an immediate need to use the toilet where I sat with uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting for at least an hour. The nausea never dissipated for the entirety of my labor. I still felt sick but got in the bath anyway to try and relieve some pain. My husband sat with me the whole time and held my hand as I cried and moaned. I asked him to tell the nurse to turn down the Pitocin. She said it wasn't an option. Instead she cranked it up higher and again came more waves of vomiting and diarrhea. All I could think about was how ironic it was that castor oil wasn't an option for this very reason.
While the nurse was in the bathroom with us I asked her to call my midwife. I could feel my daughter lower, and knew I was in transition. When she said she went out to call, I asked my husband to tell her I wanted some pain meds. As badly as I wanted a natural birth I just knew the pain was too much for me to bear. And with the drugs right there at my finger tips, how could I possibly say no? When the nurse came in she told me I had to get out of the bath so she could check my cervix. I told her I didn't want my cervix checked at all and I just wanted the drugs. She told me too bad, because that's hospital policy. I was not allowed to say no to cervical exams. (talk about invasive - I'm pretty sure this is what they call molestation in non-medical environments.) My husband asked about our midwife and the nurse informed us that she hadn't made the call because she had to check my cervix before "bothering" her. Yes, she used the word bother.
At this point I was pissed. I could feel my labor progressing and knew my midwife there. I told the nurse that I was starting to feel the need to push and she shrugged it off. She coerced me to leave the bath so that she could check my cervix on the hospital bed, but agreed to finally call my midwife as I made my way from the bathroom to the birthing room. She called, and my midwife was busy installing an IUD and couldn't come right now. I threw a fit when it came time to finally hobble into the birthing room. She told me to get onto the table and I declined, complaining of pain. While holding onto my husband my body began to push. Not me - this is just something that will automatically, biologically happen in labor. My nurse screamed over and over again for me to stop pushing, but of course I couldn't stop. She ran around the room like a beheaded chicken, pushing the call button and trying to get her gloves on saying "Oh my god, oh my god, someone help me." I reached down and could feel my daughter's head. The nurse scolded me and demanded that I not touch myself. I could "get an infection." I obeyed her and got on all fours and threw up again all over the floor.
At 4:02 pm as she acted like a completely incompetent fucking idiot, I gave birth to my daughter who weighed in at 6 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inches long. My nurse didn't catch her. She fell and landed face first onto the mat (the one on the floor.) I looked back and exclaimed "Oh my god, the baby!" My husband smiled, but I could tell he was just as perturbed as I was that no one had caught her. Her entrance into the world was falling face down onto a hard surface. The nurse was a fucking imbecile!
Anyway, they grabbed my daughter who I had asked them to delay all of the weighing, measuring and cord cutting of, but what just as they hadn't respected my wishes in the beginning, they had no respect for my wishes this time either. They finally brought my daughter to me as I lay confused and saddened in the bed. They left the placenta in place for a short time - maybe five minutes. When it was delivered, the nurse told me we had to cut it and that we didn't have any choice. I told her not to cut the umbilical cord because I wanted her father to be able to do it. She had agreed to let my husband do it earlier when she was asking us questions as if it was an option. Not but ten seconds later - she cut the cord. Afterward, she offered to let him trim the stump down. I was in a rage, since this is a family tradition for us - and since we had also requested to delay clamping.
As I learned later on, we weren't able to be released from the hospital immediately after the birth. A drug test was ordered by my midwives (Womancare, in case you're in the Fort Collins area and wondering exactly who to avoid.) After my daughter was born I went to the bathroom to urinate, and that same shitty nurse chased me in with a hat like I was some kind of criminal. She watched me as I peed into the plastic container and rushed me off of the toilet so she could immediately take it away for testing. The humiliation was too much. After I was done, we were put into another room. After my daughter's first poop, I changed her diaper. That's what mothers are supposed to do, right? WRONG, apparently. About two hours later, the nurse came in and asked if my baby's diaper had any poop in it. I told her I had just changed her diaper and she flipped out and reprimanded me like I was a child. She told me that I wasn't allowed to change her diaper, she was supposed to change it so they could drug test her meconium. We couldn't wait to leave. We wanted to leave immediately after the birth, but low and behold - another way to make us feel like prisoners - they put an ankle bracelet on my daughter that would set off security alarms if we tried to leave the floor. We weren't "allowed" to leave with our baby - yes, the same baby that I had just pushed out of my uterus and carried for nine months - until her blood test results came back.
When we could finally we leave, we rushed out of the hospital. We signed paperwork that stated we were being negligent for leaving prior to the recommended three day stay. We took responsibility for anything that could go wrong at home and promised them not to sue.
What I did NOT promise, was that I wouldn't share my story in complete and utter disgust. I hope that in writing this that women will opt for home birth where they can be in charge of their own bodies and babies, or even consider a birthing center if we ever get one in Northern Colorado. Poudre Valley Hospital is a joke. It is a shit business. It ruined one of the only birth experiences I have ever and will ever have in my life.