Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Loss of Trust: My Experience with Hospitals in the US- Part 2

This is part two of a series of posts (the first post is here) about my experiences and the fears I'm struggling with after having a series of very negative experiences at hospitals during childbirth and miscarriages.  It might be a little gory, so if you want to avoid that this might not be the best post to read.

In a nutshell, after five hours of pushing, Sadie was born by emergency c-section.  Except apparently she had finally begun to move down, so that when the doctor made the incision, her mouth was right along the incision line, facing up, and she had to be pulled back, cutting her little head on my pelvis.  I understand that these things happen and I’m grateful that Sadie and I survived.  However, I’m not grateful for the events that led up to the c-section.

Warning #2: If you don’t like talk of womanly issues or “pushing” this might be a good place to stop.  This may not be the post for you! 

When I first entered the hospital I was checked and told that I was 5 cm and that my water had broken, so I could stay.  I was also told that my baby was “sunny side up.”  From what I’ve read, if I’d had a midwife they likely would have tried to turn the baby.  Instead I was given an epidural (which I was okay with at the time… if I could go back I’d change that!) and labor progressed quickly.  Then at eight centimeters it stopped completely.  Again, this may have been a sign that something was wrong.  This was probably a pretty good time to try to turn the baby.  Instead I was pumped full of pitocin.  When Sadie’s heart started slowing down with each contraction the epidural was turned off (so those five hours of pushing… after it had worn off…). 

For five hours I pushed and she never moved down.  I’ve read about the many techniques that are used with women who were in my situation in places outside the US (or in the US with midwives).  The top of the pelvis can be pushed on to make the bottom wider. 

Instead I was left to push with the pitocin still on.  I asked for the doctor, who was in the hospital sleeping, after a couple of hours of pushing.  I was told we’d let her sleep until it was time for the baby to come. 

After four hours the doctor woke up on her own and wandered in.  She asked the nurse how long I’d pushed.  I’d been using the squatting bar and pretty much every position we could think of.  Nothing helped.  The nurse said something like less than two, and I, in my “I think I’m about to die after four hours of pushing” state couldn’t even think to figure out it had been quite a lot more than two hours.  The doctor told her to turn the pitocin off and ordered a c-section immediately. 

There were no anesthesiologists available.  We waited through another hour of pushing.  The doctor came in as we were being wheeled out and saw that the pitocin was still on, full blast (it had apparently been turned up, not down) and was furious.  The nurse was told she would not be coming in to the OR when she asked.  And because the contractions were not ending due to the pitocin, I got to sit still for a spinal during a contraction. 

But mistakes happen, right?  The nurse was brand new and told me she “still had a few tests to take” (I do wonder why the heck she was left alone with me for hours if she “till had a few tests to take!”).  

It was pretty awful and incredibly painful and drawn out (more than it had to be)... On to Part 3...


  1. YOu have my sympathy. My first two were midwife directed and the first of the midwife directed births were in a birthing center RUN by the midwives. Both were good experiences.

    But I have been to the hospital for other things and when the OB sent us in for blood pressure issues they insisted on taking ALL the BP with me laying down-- except what I had reported was that my BP was VERY HIGH when I SAT UP, and would drop to the normal range when I lay down-- so the #$$%$%^# idiot of a nurse, no matter how we explained this, kept saying-- we always to BP laying down, we NEVER take BP sitting up.... WASTE OF MONEY!!!

    I've seen a nurse, still wearing the gloves she was wearing to re-bandage a would that had MRSA open the door, cross the hall (where I was sitting while she changed the bandages) and use those same gloved hands I had just seen remove the septic bandages to punch the code and open the door to the room with the STERILE materials, and come out with more gauze, then go back into the room...

    Another nurse did not wait for the alcohol to dry before taking the blood for a blood sugar check on the same severely diabetic man! Thus giving them a false reading and him the wrong insulin shot....I complained that time, and was treated with suspicious hostility by the head nurse. She actually demanded to know "how I knew that" about the alcohol and false readings. My response was that he had been diabetic for a lot of years and HE knew it was done wrong.

    Another time when sitting my the bedside of this same friend, two nurses came in, about an hour apart, and gave him a strongly sedative/pain medicine shot... fortunately he had a high enough body weight that it did not over-dose him-- but HE knew he got the same shot twice...

    Since he had spent long times in the hospital, he insisted that I not report the nurses because he knew from experience that his life would be made hell if any complaints happened. I think I should have complained loudly but did as asked. Trouble is, the nurses just say that you, a non-medical person, don't have a clue.

    Thankfully, my only c-section was on short notice but decided on before I went into labor for a whole host of valid reasons (REALLY high BP and amazing swelling) and I did not feel "right" so rather than push it when I felt something was so wrong, we went directly to a C-section and that went well.

    YOu have my sympathies because I think it best to stay as far away from medical people as possible most of the time. Too many OTHER bad experiences.

  2. Wow! Those are all so scary, but especially the MRSA part!

    We had a similar story with a diabetic mishap when my mom was at my grandfather's bedside and they brought in a large dose of insulin and were about to give it to his roommate. The does probably would have killed the man. I just shudder whenever I think about it!

  3. If you think hospitals are bad. Try working in a nursing home and knowing that your co-workers are wrong but not being able to say anything because your not a nurse and your brand new. (One of the many reasons I no longer work.


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