My Empty Carriage

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Birthing self esteem

It has been some time since I have been able to write. I recently came across the word birth rape and it struck a cord with me. I believe that rape is when something is taken from someone against ones will. So the definition is not exactly the same as an actual rape. But the word is clear to create a feeling amongst woman who have gone through a difficult birth. I am one of the many out there who had a crappy birthing experience. I felt like something was taken from me from the doctor who delivered my baby and to the nurse who was his assistant or accomplice.

I will take you through my experience.
I was 36 weeks and experiencing full blown contractions. I went to a top nyc hospital that begins with a W. I was met by triage nurses who said you have no idea what true pain is. Go home, you are not ready to deliver it’s too early.
I did go home and began to bleed. I called my Dr and said I am in agony. And his response to me was ” since I like you, have a glass of wine and zanax, you are experiencing contractions but there is no dilation of your cervix. This happens to some unlucky woman.” I said ” how long will it last Dr?” Dr” It could last a few weeks.” I first of all had no idea this was a possible scenario for giving birth. I called my mother who was an rn nurse. She said it sounds like labor. I went back to the hospital only to be sent back home again.
The pain was excruciating and the contractions were minutes apart. I settled in for the night, taking steaming hot showers every 15 minutes to ease the pain. I meditated and cried and showered all night long. Finally at 5 am I felt myself pushing. At this time I woke my husband and said I think the baby is coming. And yes I let him sleep because I was so irritable and in so much pain, being alone was what helped me get through the night.
I was too embarrassed to bring my overnight bag that was packed. We also did not bring a camera with us.
I felt already shamed by the nurses in triage and my Dr, so we just brought ourselves to the hospital.

At this point walking was close to impossible. My husband and I shuffled to the nyc streets and it was rush hour at this time. A man jumped in front of us and stole our taxi. I was in full blown labor at this point. Thats the kind of day I was having. We eventually got to the hospital and the Dr looked at my face and said ” it looks like you are in pain now, more like labor.” And sure enough I was 10 cm dilated. At this point I was exhausted, shamed and fearful. They said I could still get an epidural as the baby was high. So I went for it. They tried over and over and said we have to get the head Dr in here. it is a teaching hospital. If I had know this I would have demanded a senior Dr and not a resident. I was told by the head doctor that my back was “unfavorable”. I did not know ones back could be unfucking favorable. He managed to get the epidural in, after traumatizing my back and me.
Well, when it came time to push I was told that my breathing technique sucked. Those were the words of the nurse to me. My Dr was so annoyed with me he picked up a people magazine while I was pushing. He could not deal with how crappy I was doing, threw down the magazine and said ” I do not have time for this bullshit.” Then he left the room. At this point I looked at the nurse and said “what is wrong with him?” Her reply to me was ” He gets very involved he treats it like a baseball game.” I was in disbelief, shock and once again felt shamed. How could my Dr talk to me this way. At this moment I truly felt something was taken from me. Something that was already hanging by a thread and needed tending to and coaxing. My dignity, my birthing self esteem.

I did finally deliver my baby to his threat of ” If you don”t push this baby out in the next hour you will get a c-section.” I did not need tough love, I did not need a nasty coach. I needed time and compassion and love. My baby came out. She was the wrong way up or sunnyside up. I found out this would require a c section in most cases. My husband said that he took out his scissors like they were his guns from a western. He went in a cut and stitched without really consulting me. He also cut the umbilical cord and did not wait for my husband. This story rings true . It sounds so harsh but I know that birthing does not have to be this way. I went on to have 2 more children in a loving relaxed environment. I felt this Dr was so out of line and unethical. I was in no danger nor was my baby. I did need to be made to feel like an incompetent idiot. It all happened so quickly that neither my husband or I was able to see what was going on. It has all replayed in my head like a horror movie. Some people say but you got a healthy baby and you were fine. But I feel so much more is required for one of the biggest moments of your life. I feel humanity is necessary for labor. I feel compassion should be present. And yes even when things go wrong these ingredients should be a part of the birthing experience. I knew in my heart that what happened was so wrong. And so I made it my business to find a Dr that would give me the qualities I needed. I did go through quite a few obgyn’s. And some friends said to me “are you ever happy? Why is something always wrong with the Dr’s, did you ever think it might be you?”
This comment did give me pause to think is it me? And what I came up with is no, I knew what I needed and I felt I was worthwhile enough to search for it. I wish I knew all of this before I had a baby. I wish I knew I could say No. I do not like how this is going. I do not like how I am being spoken to. I want another Dr and nurse in here. I would have loved to have taken back the power I turned over to the team that delivered me. I feel like many woman out there have gone through birthing trauma. It feels good to share my story.
xClaudia

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