Please Sign Here; You Have No Rights (Updated)

by Birth Without Fear on January 21, 2012

women's rightsFor those that want to say that medical care is not intrusive, that women are just whining and should not complain about hospital birth, think again. One of our BWF Mamas recently emailed me describing her recent hospital visit. This is COMMON. Many women do not realize they even have choices . Those that do, if they don’t have a supportive CNM or Doctor, this is what they go through. Tell me, is this not a women’s right issue? I think it is.

“Last night I had been having contractions every 4-5 minutes for about 3 hours, and was starting to feel pressure so decided it was best to go in and get checked.

It was bad from the beginning.  I had to go check in at the ER since it was already 8:30.  They brought a wheelchair for me and I told them I prefer to walk.  They said I couldn’t, because something might happen on the way up to L and D.  I told them they could hold my arm and they said no, they can’t do that.

So, I get to my room and wait a HALF HOUR for a nurse.  She comes in and doesn’t even apologize for the wait, starts  bossing me around immediately and telling me what to do.

She leaves, I put the gown on and wait again. Fifteen minutes this time.  When she came in things got worse.

She starts handing me the paperwork for an epidural, episiotomy and c-section. I explain to her I am planning an unmedicated birth and she asks what I mean. After I tell her, she says “Oh so u mean natural?!”   She says, I need to sign for the epi in case I get to uncomfortable and change my mind.  Ummmm NO!!!

Then I tell her I do NOT want an episiotomy, I prefer to tear. She tries to tell me that it is best, because it gets the baby out faster, less chance of baby getting stuck, and easier to heal.   I don’t think so!

Then, the c-section is for emergencies only that may include: failure to progress, baby is stressed, something wrong with me, baby getting stuck, I don’t even remember the rest.  I told her I am FINE with a c-section if it is to save my life or my son’s ,but that’s it.

She then checks me and I told her that because I am only in early labor, I prefer to go home and she tells me she doesn’t think it is “allowed”.   Then the doctor comes in and was a total ass. He told me I cannot leave because I am in labor and 2nd babies come fast.

I don’t know how I managed to stay calm with them in the room, but I did.  However, the minute they left I lost it, told my husband we are LEAVING and that is exactly what I did!!!  No consent or anything!

It took 2 hours for them to call and see where I was.  The nurse asked if I got lost or was squatting in a corner.  The hospital is 3 stories, I did NOT get lost and if I was giving birth they obviously were NOT concerned if it took 2 hours to call.  They were not even busy last night they had 3 patients with me included.

Around 4a.m., my labor pretty much stopped a few hours (not surprisingly with my stress level and fear).   I have been feeling menstrual type cramps all day and a few contractions here and there.  Around 5 this evening I began to lose my mucus plug and still continue to lose it, as well as my bloody show.  Contractions are slowly but surely starting to pick up.

I am really feeling scared and alone and don’t know where to birth my baby.”

You can’t make this stuff up. It happens ALL.THE.TIME.! Put a women in a wheel chair and make her submissive right from the start. Then mock her, laugh at her, treat her like an idiot and have her sign all her rights away. Then tell her she no longer has choices and is not allowed to leave or do anything else without their consent. It’s quite disgusting.

CNM’s, Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals: Where is the common ground? Where is the respect? Birth with a doctor in the  hospital…fine. However, respect the woman and the choices she makes regarding her body and baby. Have a little patience and give yourself an opportunity to participate in empowering, natural birth. Intervene only when truly necessary.

Women: Educate yourself. Hire a competent, respectful and supportive care provider. Know your rights and make informed, fearless choices! Prevent this from ever being a situation your find yourself in.

*Picture from here.

***Update***

I sent an email to check up on this mother. She had not written me back because she felt ashamed. Ashamed of how her birth went. After I let her know that she should NEVER feel ashamed (and much more), she shared with me the details of her birth. Without compromising the feelings of this sweet mom, I will share just enough.

When she arrived at the hospital in labor, her Dr. checked her. He then left her in the care of a nurse. This nurse treated the mother like a 2nd rate citizen. She did not listen to her, give her or her husband the space they needed to labor and spoke down to her.

It all happened so fast. From the time her Dr. checked her to birth was an hour. In this hour the nurse told her she couldn’t handle it, lifted up the sheet to check her and no matter how much the mother screamed for her to stop the painful vaginal exam, the nurse did not until she was finished. The mother then felt broken and got an epidural. Before the epi took effect, she was pushing out her sweet baby.

As a mother and woman, she feels GUILTY this happened. She feels it was her fault. While we are responsible for our births, other people are responsible for their actions as well. The doctor did not stay by her side. The nurse chose to abuse the mother emotionally and physically. The mother and her husband tried their best, but had no other support available. (They had a doula, but no time to call her and get her there.)

This mother is strong and after emailing back and forth, she has gained courage, insight and has inspired me. She is contacting the hospital and her state’s medical board to file complaints necessary to try to at least keep this nurse from harming any more women.

Never be ashamed and do not feel guilt. You are not less of a woman if your birth was not ideal or others chose to hurt you. Please, if this has happened to you, REPORT the midwife, nurse or doctor is at fault.

Here is sweet baby Alex, born weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and 19 inches long.

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