Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
My other experience that is worth noting doesn't have to do with birth but women's care. I had gone to see a nurse practitioner to... I guess to have a pap, and that evolved into the whole exam including a breast exam. She was very abrupt and sort of snorted when she found I'd had my babies at home. She mauled my breasts (so that I ended up with an infection) then asked what birth control we were using which I was kind of taken aback by, because really, if I wanted to talk to her about it wouldn't I bring it up? It felt kind of intrusive and condescending, like she needed to cover all the bases for my sake, it's her job to make sure I'm thinking about these things, you know. I should have just said that I had no concerns or needs regarding that but she was really into the "I am the expert you are the patient" mentality and I was too cowed to assert myself. So I simply answered, said we were using condoms. She said, in this very condescending tone, "well you can't do that forever. You're going to be fertile for a long time and you need to think about more reliable methods of contraception." !!! Here I am, an adult woman, and she's lecturing me! I wouldn't set foot in her office again if she were the last pap smearer left on earth. But I should have written a letter. Not that it would have done any good, probably, but I still should have.
I know you're wanting to talk about birth specifically, but this brought up something that happened to me when I first moved to the state where live now.
I needed my annual pap and used the GYN recommended by the primary care physician we had picked. I was young, 22 maybe. So, I go into the office, fill out all the paperwork and then the nurse comes to get me. She weighs me in the public hallway and then starts discussing my answers with me there also. She gets to the part of the questionnaire that asked about BC. I had put none b/c altho we were doing NFP, we weren't completely on board with it yet and it just wasn't worth getting into; I knew that much. So, in the public hallway, she says really loudly, "So, you don't use any BC?" in that accusatory, condescending voice. And I say, "No, I'm in a committed relationship and we are actually thinking about starting a family soon." She says in the most horrified voice ever, "Well, committed or not, that's no guarantee you won't catch something from him and we really need to get you on some BC pills. I'll make sure to tell the Dr. to give you a scrip for them." I guess it doesn't sound so bad now in retrospect, but I was humiliated. It was done in a public hallway with people walking by and then she doesn't even know me, this was the first time I'd been to that office, nor did she know my partner/DH. And how dare she make any judgements about how we're handling starting a family. I never went back and when I changed the name with my insurance, I gave them an earful. I should have written a letter to the office tho and now I wish I had.
Also, something that I always think about WRT women's healthcare. My grandmother fell ill several years ago (I was pg with DS at the time) and spent nearly a year in and out of various hospitals. At one point, I was the only family member staying with her and boy, did the drs treat us like we were lower than scum. First off, you're stuck in a hospital all day with no access to any kind of medical information; you only get what the drs tell you. And I'm not stupid; I know I'm only getting what they want me to know. Even when I would ask questions, they'd treat me with a "how dare she question me" attitude. Then, I was pg and I look young anyway, so they wrote me off as a hysterical, non-thinking pregnant girl, like I lost my brain when sperm met egg. Then, this dr wanted to do a spinal tap on my 80 year old grandmother, who looked absolutely terrified at the prospect. He says to her, "Dear, it's not so bad. Thousands of women choose this route over the pain of childbirth every day. Wouldn't you have wanted that option when you gave birth to your sons?" Well first off, I was fully informed as to the risks of spinal procedures (having done my research on epidurals already) and my grandmother never gave birth - my dad and uncle are adopted. So, it was just wrong on so many levels. Anyway, I told him we weren't going to agree to that procedure yet, that I needed to research it, and he tells me he's going to schedule it anyway b/c he's sure that I'll come to my senses or something like that. I go to my hotel, do some research, realize he's a complete a$$ and go in the next day and cancel the procedure. He comes in in all his glory and tells me that unless we agree to this particular procedure (which he wanted to do for his research grant purposes, NOT for my grandmother's health) he will drop us as patients. That time, I had my voice and told him he'd better fill out the forms for a transfer because I was moving my grandmother that day. He was stunned. And then it turned into this whole other thing, but the point of that big long story is that we were bullied, treated like idiots and then threatened. When my dad and uncle showed up, that dr was completely kind and patient with them and very apologetic that we hadn't agreed to the procedure or he wouldn't have had to file those transfer forms.
That experience solidified my resolve never to have my babies in the hospital.