Warning - episiotomy w/o consent! - Mothering Forums
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Birth and Beyond > Warning - episiotomy w/o consent!
MamaE's Avatar MamaE 04:31 PM 04-25-2007
I know many here choose homebirth and/or midwife, but for a variety of reasons, I had an OB attended hospital birth. This is a warning for mamas who choose hospital births:

I came within an inch (literally) of being given an episiotomy I didn't want. The picture is still the most vivid and upsetting one of my birth experience last Friday. As my son was crowning, the OB pulled out her scissors. It was sheer luck that I had my eyes open at that moment and looked down right as she was opening the scissors about an inch from my perineum. I yelled, "No! No episiotomy!" She said, "Well, you're gonna need one!" I said again, "No! Don't cut me!" After that, she said "OK, I didn't." and put the scissors away (reluctantly).

I still can't believe this almost happened to me. I was naive enough to think she'd have to ask my consent first. Honestly, I can't believe she would even think of doing one on me - I had a 9 lb, 1 oz baby the first time with no cut and only 20 min of pushing and then, once all was said and done, this baby (9 lbs 3oz with a huge head) slipped out with one small tear and about 6 minutes of pushing.

I don't know what to think of my OB now. I feel betrayed and (nearly) violated by her. I'm trying to focus on all the other positives of my birth - I did it naturally with no pain meds and I think, overall, I was a champ. But having been nearly cut really frightens me. This is just a warning to other hospital birthers who might naively think their consent will be asked for interventions. The other thing that was out of my control was my position. When I arrived, they told me I could squat, but once it was time to push, they wouldn't let me. I was on my back and I had to beg to be allowed to sit up a little even.

FTR, I wanted a homebirth and my DH didn't. If I do this again, I know at least that I will not choose an OB!!

If you are planning a hospital birth with an OB, be very, very clear before labor begins what you will agree to and what you will not. Even then, know that the OB and the nursing staff end up in control. Sad, but true!

QueenOfThePride's Avatar QueenOfThePride 04:42 PM 04-25-2007
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alegna's Avatar alegna 04:48 PM 04-25-2007


Happens ALL THE TIME. A big reason I would never birth in a hospital short of an emergency. Luckily dh is on my side, but if he wasn't it would be tough luck for him.

-Angela
AbbieB's Avatar AbbieB 04:49 PM 04-25-2007
You are one lucky momma! Good for you for speaking up and sticking to it.

Of all the interventions I fear in the hospital I think the episotomy is the biggest. (Mostly because it is IMO it is a pointless, barbaric, and dangerous thing to do.) It is something that always happens at the last minute, without consent and often you are unaware of it (it's not like you are focused on what the doctor is doing when you are crowning.)

Most other interventions take some time and you have a chance to say NO!

I'd take the tiny tear (trough skin) over a big incision (trough skin and muscle) any day. Oh! the pain of recovery.

The idea of someone cutting my yoni just freaks me out!
Wugmama's Avatar Wugmama 04:49 PM 04-25-2007
I'm so sorry that happened! Thank goodness you were able to stop it. yeah, I'd have serious trust issues with that doctor after that. Hopefully she didn't get out her scissors and go after your baby (if it was a son)!

I had a hb that turned into a transfer after 3.5 days at home with a broken water. They were great at the hospital and my mw was right at my side and very involved in the birth, including communicating with the doctor who was on call when we arrived. When we were alone in the room though before the baby was born I grabbed her arm and said, "Don't let them cut me" and she said very seriously she would never let that happen. I had this mental image of her throwing herself on top of me to protect me. Luckily it never came to that - they had a pretty enlightened hospital staff.

~Tracy
merrick's Avatar merrick 05:02 PM 04-25-2007
This happened to me as well. Unfortunately I didn't even know it happened until he started stitching me up and I asked my sister why. Ridiculous. I know it was not necessary at all. I only had to push three times and she was out. DD was a small baby and I'm sure I wouldn't have torn, at least not much anyway. I was pretty pissed. To make matters worse the sOB had one of the nurses hold his cell phone up to his ear so he could talk while he was stitching me up! I couldn't believe it! My regular doc was out of town so I got stuck with this UA violation who I had never met before. I'm not planning any more children, but if I ever do it will NOT be in a hospital with an OB.
georgia's Avatar georgia 05:34 PM 04-25-2007
I refused one, informed the OB at each prenatal and was cut anyway.

It happens all the time Many OBs feel the need to do "something."
Marlet's Avatar Marlet 05:38 PM 04-25-2007
Same here. Luckily DH stopped the dr. and asked me. I still ended up with one but at least we were involved in the decision.
cottonwood's Avatar cottonwood 05:47 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaE View Post
I don't know what to think of my OB now. I feel betrayed and (nearly) violated by her.
I hope you'll tell her that?

Quote:
The other thing that was out of my control was my position. When I arrived, they told me I could squat, but once it was time to push, they wouldn't let me. I was on my back and I had to beg to be allowed to sit up a little even.
I don't understand, were they holding you down? Threatening you?
HeatherB's Avatar HeatherB 06:05 PM 04-25-2007
I'm so glad you were able to stop the OB. This was my absolute biggest fear with my first, and while I ended up with a c/s, in some ways I was glad to have avoided "the other" cut. I told everyone that if they saw a doc pick up scissors to NOT let them do it! And it was on my birth plan, too, but I just couldn't trust them.

Fast forward 2.5 years to a homebirth, and I trusted my incredible midwives enough that I had NO trouble doing anything they suggested. And I was blessed that they really did know what I needed and helped me through an arduous but successful VBAC!

I hope you can heal from the trauma of that moment quickly and have a more peaceful birth next time!
jennica's Avatar jennica 06:10 PM 04-25-2007
It isn't just OB's that do this. My CNM gave me an episiotomy while I was SCREAMING "NO, I DON"T WANT IT".

I encourage you to write a letter to the doctor and to the hospital expressing your unhappiness with the experience. Talk about what you were told or promised would happen (as in the position you wanted to birth in), and what you assumed would happen (you wouldn't be physically violated by a scissors wielding OB), and then explain what did happen and how it made you feel.

But, I encourage you to wait a couple weeks so that you can continue to process your birth experience. You may think of more things that you want to mention over the next couple weeks.

If you decide to go back to your OB for you six week check up, you could also talk to her about it in person. You don't have to go back to her though, you can transfer your care to a family practice doc or CNM. Check out the Finding Your Tribe area here for refferals in your area.
gcgirl's Avatar gcgirl 06:12 PM 04-25-2007
That's why I'm writing NO EPISIOTOMY into my birth plan and filing a copy with my OB and my doula in advance, plus my doula will be there to look out for me. That's the main reason I'm having a doula, actually - because I will be having a hospital birth, and I want someone looking out for ME.
jennica's Avatar jennica 06:30 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post
That's why I'm writing NO EPISIOTOMY into my birth plan and filing a copy with my OB and my doula in advance, plus my doula will be there to look out for me. That's the main reason I'm having a doula, actually - because I will be having a hospital birth, and I want someone looking out for ME.
A doula can't DO anything to stop an episiotomy. I had one too, and she couldn't stop it anymore than I could. I think the only thing that can stop it is if your partner physically stops the care provider from doing it, and not all partners are prepared to do that.

I hope your wishes are respected. Good luck.
Genesis's Avatar Genesis 06:30 PM 04-25-2007
I'm sorry that almost happend to you. I'm so glad your eyes were open and you were firm with the OB about not wanting it. Good for you! Myself, I would have been quite p*ssed. Personally, I would never, ever birth at a hospital unless it was a true emergency.....but I am glad you and your baby are both okay, and no, I wouldn't ever trust that OB again.

Congratulations on your new baby!
Genesis's Avatar Genesis 06:35 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Luckily dh is on my side, but if he wasn't it would be tough luck for him.
Same here. I love DH so much, but I was the one giving birth, not him.
alegna's Avatar alegna 06:51 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
A doula can't DO anything to stop an episiotomy. I had one too, and she couldn't stop it anymore than I could. I think the only thing that can stop it is if your partner physically stops the care provider from doing it, and not all partners are prepared to do that.

I hope your wishes are respected. Good luck.
:

Which was a main reason we never considered hospital birth because of the risk of dh being removed by security for protecting me....

-Angela
Severine's Avatar Severine 07:01 PM 04-25-2007


I had an episiotomy without consent, too. I had a birth plan on file saying no episiotomy, but I had only discussed the plan with one of the 4 OBs in the group. I was *notified* that he would be doing the episiotomy as he did it... no chance to refuse. That's the worst thing about my birth experience with DD... even worse than the induction they convinced me to do and the sprial of interventions that happened because of that (internal monitoring, breaking my water, requiring the epidural after 26 hours of labor when the Pitocin really kicked in, and then he went on to cutting the cord immediately, eye goo immediately....).
noah's mom's Avatar noah's mom 07:13 PM 04-25-2007
Same thing happened to me - except it was with a CNM in a MW unit of the hospital I gave birth at. She was great otherwise and I had no major interventions other than that, but I too had written "no episiotomy" on my birth plan. I was in the midst of pushing DS's head out and didn't even realize what she was doing until after, didn't feel it or anything (was a little focused on finally pushing out my baby, after THREE HOURS of pushing!)

She said afterwards he was in distress at that moment - cord looped around his neck, heartreat dropped dramatically - and she had to get him out "quickly". I don't know... I believed her at the time but now I wonder - he was never in distress the entire 3 hours I pushed, up until that very moment? And she had been doing perineal massage during my labor, I spent an hour and a half in a waterbirth tub, you would think I'd be stretched out enough.

Anyway, can't change the past but that is absolutely one of the reasons I am going with a homebirth for this one!
kim_nz's Avatar kim_nz 07:21 PM 04-25-2007
I had written in my birth plan no episiotomy and well OB and midwife still decided to cut me without asking. At the time didnt really think much of it but now i do, especially since when i had my third at home it ripped apart exactly where the scar was.
AlbertaJes's Avatar AlbertaJes 07:40 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
I refused one, informed the OB at each prenatal and was cut anyway.
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SublimeBirthGirl's Avatar SublimeBirthGirl 08:29 PM 04-25-2007
Well, you may not know how you feel about your OB, but I know how *I* feel about her.
mamabadger's Avatar mamabadger 08:49 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
A doula can't DO anything to stop an episiotomy.
Sadly, that's true. Some of my clients have been cut against their will. In one instance, the OB prepared to make the incision, and I told him my client didn't want an episiotomy under any circumstances. He just said, "Well, she's getting one anyway" and after the birth he called me out into the hall and told me off for speaking to him about it.
mothragirl's Avatar mothragirl 08:58 PM 04-25-2007
before i gave birth last time i showed my boyfriend photos of episiotomies online and told him not to let that happen to me. i gave birth outside of a hospital and avoiding being cut was a big reason.
skyblufig's Avatar skyblufig 08:58 PM 04-25-2007
OP, that is sooooo scary! I think if I saw scissors anywhere near between my legs I'd be kicking the scissor holder in the face, hard. Yes, unfortunately, what some hcp's say and what they do are vastly different things and I almost think they count on you being so blissed out with your babe that you'll forget. But we don't, do we?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Sadly, that's true. Some of my clients have been cut against their will. In one instance, the OB prepared to make the incision, and I told him my client didn't want an episiotomy under any circumstances. He just said, "Well, she's getting one anyway" and after the birth he called me out into the hall and told me off for speaking to him about it.
I hope you filed every complaint you could think of to the hospital, his practice, etc. If you were hired to be an advocate for the patient, you were doing your job and he had no right to try and dress you down. Pi$$es me off and it didn't even happen to me! The power trips some of these people are on blows my mind...
turtlewomyn's Avatar turtlewomyn 08:59 PM 04-25-2007
When you have time, either write a letter or file a complaint against them (hmmmm.... not sure if that would be enough for a DOH, maybe if she had actually cut you.....) At least write a letter to that doctor, copy the hospital and the Dept. of Health stating that you were upset that she even tried (I assume you had a birth plan). I mean really, if someone tried to come up to you on the street with a scissors and tried to cut you that would be attempted assault, what makes it ok when they have that MD after their name?

If you DH still is anti-homebirth after this at least get him to go talk to a homebirth midwife next time before you make your decision, maybe he will come around.
HarperRose's Avatar HarperRose 09:00 PM 04-25-2007
This is horrifying that there are SO MANY of us w/ that story.

THAT is why I have home births now.
alegna's Avatar alegna 09:03 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyblufig View Post

I hope you filed every complaint you could think of to the hospital, his practice, etc. If you were hired to be an advocate for the patient, you were doing your job and he had no right to try and dress you down. Pi$$es me off and it didn't even happen to me! The power trips some of these people are on blows my mind...
In many areas doulas walk a careful line. There are whole hospitals that do not allow them at all.

-Angela
JillChristina's Avatar JillChristina 09:52 PM 04-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaE View Post
I still can't believe this almost happened to me. I was naive enough to think she'd have to ask my consent first.
With my first baby (in a hospital, with an OB - not the one I'd been seeing) I got an episiotomy w/out prior warning. : : She didn't even warn my husband or best friend who were RIGHT there watching. Poor dh almost passed out. : That is really the only part of dd#1's birth that REALLY bothered me. Having someone CUT MY BODY without even asking!! Needless to say even though I chose to give birth in a hospital the second time around, I had a midwife and EXPLICIT instructions for no episiotomy. Baby #2 was 1lbs bigger than the first and I only had a tiny tear that needed no repair. Go figure.

I'm glad you caught your OB in time.
laprettygurl's Avatar laprettygurl 11:10 PM 04-25-2007
When I had my DD I had to SCREAM at the doc to NOT CUT ME! Can you believe the UA went and sulked? :
ericswifey27's Avatar ericswifey27 04:04 AM 04-26-2007
[quote=turtlewomyn;7952557] I mean really, if someone tried to come up to you on the street with a scissors and tried to cut you that would be attempted assault, what makes it ok when they have that MD after their name?
[quote]


ITA!

Most definitely file a complaint.
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