Disclaimer: I am aware that sometimes people do have positive birthing experiences in hospitals. However, I am sharing my birthing experience with my first daughter via the hospital. This is not bashing mothers who decide the hospital is the best birthing environment for them.
Friday afternoon, on May 4th 2017, my husband accompanied me to the hospital as I was 41 weeks and 6 days with no sign of dilation. We scheduled an induction to be done around 5 pm. My husband and I arrived at the registration desk, I was instructed to sit in a wheel chair (I guess for safety reasons who knows).
When we came into the delivery room, I had to answer a series of questions regarding how my pregnancy was, if I used drugs, drank, smoked, if I had a crib or car-seat, etc (as long as I wasn’t partaking in illicit activities that could potentially harm the baby I really do not see the need for them to “screen” me as it’s not really their business what I do. )
**During the screening, I explicitly told the nurse that I am desiring to have a natural birth. A natural birth in my definition at the time being was: no epidural, no medications, no IV’s, skin-to-skin, as hands-off as possible, etc. **
After the registration, the nurses began to put an IV in me. Even though, as mentioned above, I specifically told them I do not want any medication and IV’s to be done in my birth. I said , “I do not want any IV’s”. The nurse that brought in the machine simply shrugged off what I said nonchalantly and stated ,”Well, you need one”.
At that moment, that is when I knew, they heard my wishes for my birth but didn’t care to follow through with my expectations.
I knew that this experience was going to be hell.
However, at 18 years old, I was petrified to stand up for myself against what seemed to be at the time “authority figures”. As, I knew that they would just think that I am “young and dumb” and that I don’t “know how this goes”.
When she was explaining the process of the IV procedure that I didn’t consent to, I questioned her if the needle could be placed in my arm as I have never received an IV in my hand before. The thought of a needle penetrating my hand, terrified me.
Once again, I was told that “We need to put it in your hand”. The nurse began to shove the IV needle into my hand. However, she couldn’t find the vein. In pain and discomfort, I asked her if the IV needle could be placed in my arm. She replied with, “Don’t worry, I just need to find the vein”.
The nurse then proceeded to “try to find the vein” three other times. In all honesty, she was just stabbing me with a needle. After the fourth time, she stated nonchalantly ” I’ll get a different nurse to put in your IV”. Looking down, my hand was covered in blood. She did go get another nurse and the other nurse put in my IV no problem. ( I still do not understand the necessity that was stated to be there to put a needle in my hand versus my arm).
I was essentially sitting there for a good couple of hours with my husband as we were waiting for the nurse practitioner to insert Cervedil vaginally. (Cervedil is used to help dilate the cervix). The nurse practitioner arrived a little bit later, inserting the medication into my vagina then simply left.
Within an hour and a half to two hours later, I was feeling contractions. The thing is though–they were a minute a part. At the time, I knew something was wrong and that this is not usually how labor goes (even though this was my first-born). Panicking, I press the call button demanding for a nurse to take this hellish medicine out.
A nurse came into the room and told me “it’s normal”.
Quite frankly, I knew that was a lie. My instincts were telling me to get the medication out as I was reacting very negatively to the Cervedil. I demanded rice bags to help with the “back labor” as well. The nurse hurried off to get me rice bags and to tend to other patients I assume.
While she was gone, the pain just persisted and persisted. Unlike how contractions usually go until the very end, I didn’t have a break. I even screamed as that’s how gut-wrenching the pain felt.
A nurse came in and told me “Screaming isn’t going to help anything”. When she said that, I wanted to get up and punch her right in the nose. However, the pain was too great and the IV significantly restricted my movement.
The whole time, I wanted to move. My instincts were telling me to get up out of the bed and walk. Now knowing, the reason my body was demanding for me to move was to relieve pressure from my hips. Being scrunched down and essentially tied to the bed (except to urinate), is NOT how birth was intended to be.
This was the complete opposite of natural birth. For a mother’s instincts to be so blatantly denied while in labor is absolutely appalling to me.
Maybe an hour later, I pounded on the call button again. While panting, I said ,”Get a nurse.” (The nurse didn’t come until what felt like to be thirty minutes to an hour later).
A different nurse (thank goodness) noticed my symptoms. She noted that I was having contractions on top of contractions for 2-3 hours. The nurse was disgusted as well. She apologized and said , “I’ll be right back, let’s get the medicine out of you. You shouldn’t be experiencing contractions like this so early with little to no dilation”.
The different nurse that actually listened to what I was telling her, did come back, very quickly actually. She removed the terror-inducing medication. For awhile after, I still felt the contractions as they were very intense. They definitely calmed down as if they were a tide. They would come– then they would go.
Around 4 hours later, I began to feel the intensity of the contractions pick up again. It definitely was not pain-free. I was absolutely terrified. I thought that I was going to die. My husband didn’t really know what to do or how to support me. I pretty much had 0 support in the room.
I had no idea that this was what it was like. Not a single nurse explained anything to me. I was very much alone in this traumatic experience yet surrounded by people who continually handed me intervention after intervention. They denied my body the knowledge that it already had to give birth.
They denied me the liberty of delivering a beautiful child in the intended way women’s’ bodies were made to do. The pain was too much for me to deal with. I caved in to wanting medication.
Eventually, I did cave into medication (morphine specifically). I wish I didn’t as honestly, it didn’t even help. All the morphine did was make me feel like I was in a comatose-like state. Another reason is I am so much more educated on pharmaceutical medications that I’d rather find different pain-relieving methods.
Later, I learn that taking that morphine will backfire on me causing a mother’s worst nightmare.
I finally slept for maybe a couple of hours before I was awakened by the nurses. (It definitely isn’t true as in the movies that they let you sleep). They woke me up to do another procedure (a cervical check).
I asked for another medicine that would provide pain-relief. They gave me this medicine called Standol. This medicine made me crazy! I was having anxiety attacks and even had an out of body experience, watching myself wither in pain, vulnerable on a delivery bed.
I would just remember waking up to look over my bed and start to burst internally, not fully understanding my surroundings or what was happening to me. I honestly felt like death was ready to embrace me, my brain was in full panic. I didn’t even focus on the contractions at this point as I fully believe I was having a mental “trip” over a medicine.
I then remember as it was “time for the epidural”. My brain was still fading in and out of awareness during this time. The anesthesiologist demanded quite harshly that I hold still. As a woman in labor knows, your body will be shaking as you are dealing with contractions and the rest of the preparation it takes to deliver a baby into the world.
I was trying to hold still as best as I could. He then continues to badger me saying , “Hold still.” I then shrieked at him , “You can have a little patience as I am dealing with a contraction right now.”
What did this man expect me to do? He doesn’t understand any extent of what labor is like. He is a man that just shoves huge needles into the backs of women.
When he finally inserted the ginormous needle into my back, I finally was able to sleep for a little bit. To this point now, I no longer feel any painful contractions. I was awakened for yet another cervical check (personally I see no significance of these being done as it is a very invasive procedure). It was time to push.
Throughout the pushing, I kept thinking about how unnatural this feels. Being instructed when to push and how long just didn’t feel right to me. My whole birth experience was the exact opposite of what I expected for myself. To this day, I am still disappointed in myself as I have learned so many things after the birth of my daughter.
The forced pushing which simultaneously felt like pooping, led to the birth of my beautiful daughter. She scrunched up her long legs into her stomach, balled her tiny hands into tiny fists, and screamed until her face turned beet red. The doctor put my little girl on my chest and she instantly fell asleep.
That experience of my daughter finding peace in me so quickly is the true definition of bliss.
After my daughter’s first bath, we were led to our official room by a nurse. My husband and I removed my daughter’s clothing as we noticed a little newborn rash that covered her body. Before arriving at the hospital, I had read up on the benefit of coconut oil on skin. I began to lather my daughter up in it.
A nurse walks in and suddenly stops me. She demanded to know what I was doing. I then told her I was simply putting coconut oil on my baby. She replied ,”Why would you do that?” I stated ,”Coconut oil is a good moisturizer..?” I was clearly lost and confused as she spoke to me as if I was harming my just-born daughter. She then rolled her eyes. The nurse left a little bit after this “incident”.
An hour or so later, I hear a knock on the door. My stomach begins to churn with anxiety and panic. The nurse walks in accompanied with another lady that was dressed professionally. The nurse and lady sat down on the opposite side of the room to speak to my husband and I. That lady turned out to be a caseworker of Child Protective Services.
Imagine the thoughts running in the head of an 18 year old woman who just gave birth a few hours ago and has CPS in her hospital room. Internally, I began to panic and feel uncomfortable. Apparently, there was some report of “drug use” and that my daughter tested positive for morphine in her meconium.
Let’s pause for a second. My child tested positive for morphine in her poop.
I was given morphine in my time of labor.
If you even want to know the specifics of what I did during my pregnancy: let’s just say I would freak out if I even drank a caffeine-loaded pop or ate a processed food item that wasn’t vegan.
These people were obviously “so worried” for whatever reason falsely accusing me of abusing drugs while my daughter was in utero.
Concluding, that this was done intentionally to me in an attempt to make my life a living hell for my husband and I.
After I heard the false allegations that someone apparently reported against me, my mind shut down. I blocked out the agent’s words as she was rambling about steps that would need to be taken. The only thought that continually popped in my mind was:
She is going to take my baby.
I never in my life imagined that I would have to worry about the potential removal of any of my children and especially on my child’s birthday. I was beyond frustrated I attempted to “breathe it out” as I usually do. That frustration turned into fear.
Instantly, I began to shed tear after tear, stating ,”You’re here to take my baby from me. I didn’t do anything. I don’t drink, smoke, or use drugs. I had a strict diet and exercised up to 32 weeks. You are going to take my baby.”
The agent immediately began to explain the opposite. She explained that removing a child from a parent is a lot harder than what individuals believe. She then proceeded on saying that she would only have to remove my child from my custody if she felt that I was “unfit”. Settling down a little bit, I nodded my head understandingly.
After the discussion with Child Protective Services, the agent and my husband went to our apartment. She had to come to the apartment to essentially determine if I had everything I needed for my baby. Pictures were taken of everything: light bulbs, water, formula, baby clothes, bath supplies, diapers, wipes, etc. Later, I even found out that they took a picture of my daughter.
After the house visit, I was then notified by our potential caseworker that someone will be following up with me when my daughter and I arrive home.
The rest of the hospital stay, I tried to keep my calmness and sanity for the sake of my daughter’s well-being. However, the times that she would fall asleep, was when I would exhibit the fears, sadness, and rage I felt towards the hospital. Not only did they steal my birth experience, but now they were trying to rob me of my daughter.
Heck, I even thought of leaving the hospital as I was so enraged.
The only time that I would feel tranquility and bliss was when my daughter would fall asleep in my arms. After the thoughts of the possible last time I will see my daughter withered, I too fell asleep with her.
One of the times that my baby and I slept together, a nurse walked in. She instantly told me to put her in her bassinet. I then told her that I wasn’t sleeping as I didn’t want to hear anything else. As apparently wanting to be attached and have a bond with your child is considered a sin nowadays.
Anyways, she then proceeded to lecture me of the risk of SIDS and saying how she needs to be in her bassinet. I just nodded my head and said okay in hopes of getting her out of my room so I can finally sleep.
During the hospital visit the nurses feel the need to intrude on everything that a parent does. At one point when I told a nurse that my daughter was only eating an ounce every 3 hours she then told me that I need to “make her eat at least 2 oz”.
Are you kidding me?
You as a registered nurse are telling me to force-feed a newborn?
Even if they are full?
You do realize force-feeding can result in choking and stretching of their stomach?
This was the last day that we were staying in the hospital (thank god). I was then told that she would have her last round of tests that day. I was alone in the room the majority of the time, caring for my newborn. Later on, she and I fell asleep.
The last feelings I remember before I drifted off were pure happiness and gratefulness for the ability to carry a healthy child who so clearly loves me and to experience this relationship as a mother.
Suddenly, I awoke to another knock on the door. I look to the bassinet– my daughter was gone. I go into full fight-and-flight mode. A person who brings food to the rooms was present at the door. I wasn’t looking for food. I was looking for MY baby.
When I opened the door, I practically yelled ,”Where is my baby?!”
He then stuttered around ,”I’ll go get a nurse”,
Five minutes pass, a nurse hadn’t arrived. I shove my finger onto the call button and demanded to the nurse at the desk as to what had happened to my baby. The nurse nonchalantly replied, “She’s getting her tests done. She is in the nursery right now, get a shower and then I’ll bring her to you.”
I understand the possible good intentions of telling me to shower and take some time for myself. However, you took my child while I was asleep without my consent. Child Protective Services came the day before in regards to my child.
I don’t care about the tests that needed to be done, when a baby is in a mother for 10 months I don’t care if you went to school for 8 years to be a N.P: it is NOT your right to remove a child without a mother’s consent- EVER.
Eventually, we were discharged. Everyday after, I lived in paranoia. I awaited for them to show up like they have in my dreams and snatch my baby from my arms. I received a call regarding a follow-up visit a week later, scheduled for 3 P.M. That Friday, an agent showed up at 1 P.M.
She was a very nice lady, she just gave me a drug test (like at the hospital)and asked me questions about my well-being and how my daughter was. Since then, I haven’t heard a peep from Child Protective Services.
No one understands the impact Child Protective Services can make on parents. Months later, I still live with the fear that they will take my baby. Heck I didn’t and don’t do anything wrong that will warrant them a visit to my household.
However, when they have become involved in your life (especially for no reason), it makes a person fearful of losing their child. It makes a parent have to think of the possibility of their child being removed from their care.
Before having children, I never knew how births were or how they were supposed to be. I never even knew people had traumatic experiences as I did. I only heard of the risk of mothers and babies dying.. Now, I get severely anxious for people who are expecting. I go into a small panic when I drive by that Hell Hospital.
I am petrified to ever trust another medical professional with my child and I. I personally don’t think I ever can. People talk about the luxurious hospital birth experiences they had and I unfortunately cannot relate. The only good out of my birth experience was my child and the official beginning of motherhood. Everything else, was absolutely unpleasant.
How was your birthing experience at a hospital, birthing center, or home? What did you learn through this experience?