Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Loss of Trust: My Experience with Hospitals in the US- Part 3

This is the third post in a series of posts.  It does involve childbirth and quite a bit of blood, so if that bothers you, this might be the place to stop.  The first post is here.  The second post is here.  

We went back to the hospital when I was in labor with Mae.  I’d gone in earlier in the day before (we left at 1 am) and had been told the contractions were small and that I wasn’t in labor.  I was scheduled to have a c-section in three days, because the hospital didn’t allow VBACs. 

This time I was admitted and given a bed in the operating room recovery section, because all the beds were full.  Paul was told there were no chairs for him to sit in  (something our second nurse said was a blatant lie) and was sent out to the waiting room to lay across a few chairs and wait. 

The doctor was called and the nurse returned and said that the doctor would be sleeping at home until morning, but that they had instructions to shoot me full of whatever that nasty-heart-accelerating-drug-is-that-stops-contractions-and-makes-you-feel-like-you’ve-had-20-large-mountain-dews-worth-of-caffine so that the baby would wait until morning. 

Then I was left alone.  After an hour I called and asked to be unhooked from the monitors so I could get up to go to the bathroom.  A nurse came and unhooked me and told I could plug everything back in myself when I got back.  After half an hour of trying to fit the plugs into the machine I called for help again and she came in and struggled to do the same thing.

After shift change another nurse came and checked me (she’s one of my all time favorites!  She was really great!).  However she was panicked.  Apparently, despite the medication, labor hadn’t stopped, and the sac of waters was coming through and had protruded several inches.  The doctor was in her car, half an hour away, and they weren’t sure if I, still dilated to four, was going to make it. 

That scared me.  A lot.  I’m dilated to four and they thought I might half the baby in half an hour?!?!  I’d wanted a VBAC but had been so thoroughly discouraged as to any chance of the hospital allowing it that I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for the possibility (I should have!).  And apparently the other nurse hadn’t told the new nurse that the c-section had already been ordered and that I should be ready when the doctor got there, and so there was lots of running around and stress, as all the people, who apparently lived in fear of my doctor, got things ready. 

When the doctor got there I was being wheeled in to the OR and she wasn’t pleased that I hadn’t already had a spinal.  The surgery went smoothly and she left the room.  Then things got kind of weird. 

The people remaining in the OR after she’d left and Paul had gone with the baby (the other surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses) had a conversation about how the blood I’d lost during the surgery was and I quote: “the most blood I’ve ever seen” with everyone agreeing.  I couldn’t feel anything because of the spinal, but I could actually hear blood sloshing.  I was okay, but seriously?  Kind of creepy and probably not something someone who is awake should have to hear! 

Mae was gone for a long time after she was born.  It was nearing an hour and a half when Paul dragged the nurse and Mae back into the room.  Apparently Mae was the first baby the nurse had dealt with (literally).  Paul had to stop her from putting Mae into HOT water and finally, after all that time past, insisted that she stop whatever she’d been doing and return Mae to me.  This was probably the worst part of hospital trip #2.

Although it seemed like a cake walk, physically, after my previous experience.

Now on to Part 4...

1 comment:

  1. Oh Cam, I'm sorry. My oldest was born by emergency CS. My other 3 were VBACs. First 2 births were, um, not so great (though the VBAC was better than the CS). The other 2 were much better, though I had to labor at a hospital 45 minutes away instead of the hospital 5 minutes away (the local hospital didn't allow VBACs and we had moved to a different state).

    I attribute the difference to many things, including the doctors and the hospital.

    No matter how well you check things out, the questions you ask, and so never really know until you are in the moment how things will play out. A lot depends on who happens to be on staff at the time and so on. But, definitely put together a birth plan, talk frankly with your doctor about expectations. Call the hospital and talk to the nurses. Talk to people who used their labor and maternity services.

    Best decision we made: We hired a doula for each VBAC. She was a second advocate for me and my labor needs, giving my husband the ability to support me emotionally rather than constantly worrying over the staff. Look into it.

    My last two births were nearly intervention free (I did have to wear a monitor and I always have fore-bags that need to be broken after my water breaks). No pain meds, no IV drip, no frequent checks.

    Yes, you can have a good hospital birth. ;0) But I understand why so many women are going for home births. Of course, that's not an option for everyone.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!