Well, I definitely experienced it in a US hospital birth.
Interested to see it addressed in this NIH editorial.
Abuse in Hospital-Based Birth Settings?
While the first time around I consider it more neglect than abuse, although neglect is abuse technically, I do feel somewhat abused the second time.
The first time around I was young, naive, and uneducated (a.k.a. ignorant). The midwife tried to be as natural as possible with me but I was so scared. She did the IV and continuous fetal monitoring and Hep-Lock and broke my waters but she asked me if I wanted to get out of bed and squat for pushing and showed me the placenta and put my son on me right away and asked if I wanted to breastfeed. She also denied me the Epidural (which I am actually grateful for now) even though I begged and instead she gave me Demerol which just took the edge off the pain (by making me utterly drowsy), but didn't take the pain away. My son was born asleep (but alive) and blue which she said was normal but my research suggests that color is an indicator of oxygen deprivation and may be one of many culprits for my son's current dysfunctions. I remember the nurse reminding me over and over about how "the baby is more important than you now" which is what I wanted to begin with and didn't need to be reminded of.
The second time I was still young and naive but had experience and What to Expect When Expecting. I had a membrane sweep 5 days before my "due date" and began labor the following morning. 4 days later things picked up and got more intense so we left for the hospital. Soon after we arrived they broke my water by pushing down on my belly hard during and between contractions (trying to hurry up) and asked if I'd like the Epidural (multiple times, like I wasn't sure what I wanted) and I refused but once things got unbearably painful I requested Demerol. Soon later I had the nurse coming in and out flipping me over and checking the monitor. The baby's heartbeat was going down. They gave me oxygen, put in an internal fetal monitor, and a catheter and IV fluids. The urge to push came on literally like a punch in the stomach. The nurse was a little taken aback by the noise I made and called the doctor. She checked me, threw my legs in the air, and demanded me to push. I couldn't do it. I wasn't having a contraction. So I told her "I can't do it like this". She left me alone. The baby had his umbilical cord around his neck. My husband wasn't "allowed" to cut the cord. She demanded Pitocin for me and pulled out the placenta. My baby was placed in a warmer and every time I asked for him they said "he wasn't warm enough yet" or "he hasn't gotten his bath yet. He was 4 hours old when i held him and he had no issues, he was in my room that whole time. i wish I'd have gotten him but I was afraid and didn't think i was allowed to.
After that I went on to have 2 more births, drug free, out of hospital. They were the most empowering experiences of my life. I'd do it again in an instant and wish I'd have known the first two times that I had a choice, a voice, and options. I am planning on becoming a doula and for now am a natural birth (among other issues) advocate.
6/2006 11/2008 7/2010 10/2012 8/2015
I have suspicions that I was given an episiotomy during my first delivery because I was an annoyance to the OB (on-call for my chosen OB who was out of town that weekend) and I'd requested not to have one.
DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
Yes, misinformation in birthing class, inattentive prebirth appts, and most horribly, being treated like a farm animal by both drs and hospital staff - as much as I wanted my child, I was also part of the picture! But the medical staff either ignored my comfort and participation or yelled at me and scolded me. The only "people" (in their eyes, it seems to me) during the birth were the father, his "pal" the Dr, and the baby. I was literally ignored. Virtually no postpartum care or tips for for me, only for baby.
It still is with me, and prompted me to respond to this thread. One of the worst experiences of my life :(
Divorced father 6 mo after birth. I think that was a big part of it. He treated me with contempt and (so?) the staff & Dr did too. In any case, it was awful.
I've had other very bad experiences with US health care in other circumstances. The birth experience was the worst, though.
What a shame that this thread exists! Tears and love for mommas who have experienced this!
Second birth, totally awesome amazing unassisted birth. Zero vaginal exams. Zero comments about me. Zero directions. Just so calm and amazing. (We called mw but she arrived 5+ minutes after Dd flew out). I think about her birth now, two months later, and it brings a smile to my face. I know now that birth is natural and each and every interference will make it more difficult and more dangerous. Obviously sometimes there is a true emergency where a hositpal is necessary, but this is rare.
I'd rather eat horse shit than give birth in a hospital again, especially now that I know what I know.
OH mamas, I'm so sorry ;-( I haven't had near the experiences that many of you have, but they are painful for me none the less and I seem to have severe anxiety and PTSD. I was very young, and very naive when I had my first, 12yrs ago. A hospital birth was all I knew and all I expected. I was harassed, belittled and stabbed in the flank by the guy giving me an epidural, because I was terrified and crying, he stabbed me in the side with the needle and then said, SEE, that doesn't hurt...strapped to the bed by monitors, not allowed to walk or eat or do anything but lay under awful bright lights until they told me to PUSH, on my back while my ex and a nurse held my legs up. I was given staydol initially then the epi after that and it wasn't a strong enough dose. I told the nurses constantly and begged for more pain relief which I needed desperately due to the pitocin. Finally after hours and hours they gave me TOO STRONG of a dose and I couldn't feel ANYTHING from my chest down for HOURS after the birth. I remember trying to get up to pee and falling. It was a dehumanizing experience. I was given w/o consent or warning an episiotomy, all I knew is I saw the Dr. lower the metal scissors and bam it was done. Treated like an animal seems very appropriate as well. I feel very lucky that I was able to breastfeed w/o problems and healed (physically) w/o complications. Mentally however, I went into a severe PPS that took yrs to recover. Looking back, my hormone levels should have been monitored as I feel that's when my thyroid troubles started, but no one even mentioned anything other than zoloft and seroquel. Because I wanted the mental pain, severe anxiety and hallucinations to stop,. I took the meds and abruptly weaned my ds at 6m. Something I regret to this day.
So, NOW. I am due in september with my second boy. My husband isn't my first sons bio father, but HIS DAD, none the less WE ar ea family and we are all very excited to welcome this new one into our hearts and home. I have a lovely experienced, kind and crunchy midwife who is as hands off or hands on as I want her to be, and plan on having a rocking, healing, sacred home water birth. Unfortunately, I am also doing "shadow care" at a local OB, she's nice enough, but it a huge area of anxiety for me every visit.
Thanks Viola, I'm so glad your second was healing. I'm looking forward to this and feel it WILL be healing for me also. Yeah, the line, "the most important thing is your baby" is BS in my book, YES, the babe IS important, but NO it is NOT the ONLY important thing. NO mother should have to be unnecessarily traumatized during birth, such a vulnerable time and event... I feel like a cat that just wants to hide under the stacks of hay out in the barn to birth, where no will see find or hear me.......I don't live on a farm anymore or I might be tempted to bed down a stall ;-)
Thats cool! I totally wouldn't mind. I've raised horses and pigs and helped with a few calvings, so barn birth isn't anything I would be opposed to. ;-) Hmmm, shavings or hay? Maybe peet moss? lol a girl can dream!
Viola, that IS awesome and so so lovely. Yeah, I feel the same way, the ONLY way I feel comfortable "transferring" would be for a Csec, and I plan to avoid that like the plague. My midwife has an 11% transfer rate and that includes mamas that aren't transferring for emerg. reasons such as fatigue, or want to be medicated, or what not. She's confident that I'll birth easy and be able to do it in my home where I am comfortable. So far, I think the plan will be to birth in a rented pool in our bedroom/nursery. It's a sizable room that used to be two until the previous owners blew out the adjoining wall. I picture candles, music, incense, warm water, and being left the hell alone!!!! lol.... my 12yo ds will be back in school by then and I KNOW he wants to attend, but the more I think about it, the more I think maybe just keep him home from school for it or send for him since the schools only 1.5 miles away and in the house, but not close so I'm not feeling like I have to attend to anyone else besides myself and the task at hand, YKWIM? I've seen other mamas on youtube and what not that have their toddlers around, in the pool, ect ect ect... and I think that just isn't me.
I was also on the fence about having my other child attend and in the end decided against it which was the right decision.
how old was your other child at the time? It's SO personal and SO different for each mama. I know ds will be crushed if he doesn't attend, and I REALLY REALLY want that for him, he's a very empathetic and empathic young man and I know he would do anything to help.. it's ME I'm concerned about.... maybe a wait and see approach with lots of prior discussion????
I strongly believe that you have to put yourself first and not try to cater to other peoples needs for security, participation, or whatever. I think putting other people first runs the risk of creating a birthing environment where the mom feels less comfortable, which I believe increaes the likelihood of intervention (sometimes stuff happens even though mom was as comfortable as possible, I realize that). I have a friend who made her husband leave the birth! I think it's very primal and if your instincts tell you that your son shouldn't be there then you should listen to that for sure. Maybe your instincts say he should be there and in that case is listen to that too. But just because he's your son and you love him more than anything doesn't mean you owe him a spot or that it's best for him to be there.