We invite you to share your thoughts on A Good Birth, or offer your reflections on your own Birth story or the Birth you hope to have one day. We sincerely hope you've experienced A Good Birth!
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Like Anne I am an OB/GYN i love delivering babies and feel priviledged to have shared in so many special moments I have two children both boys .Being rather of a late starter I was 39 years old when my elder was born (Do as I tell you not as I do, i.e. start younger). The pregnancy had been stressful after a mid trimester miscarriage in the first pregnancy. I worked too hard and too long and vomited almost everyday. It is safe to say I was paranoid about something going wrong. Fortunately I had a consultant who I had complete confidence in. I knew he would take no risks and he knew that i trusted him implicitly to care for me and my son. Induction was organised 2 days short of my due date due to age, my blood pressure and anxiety. I was lucky from the start of the induction to delivery was 13 hours. Not bad for a 39 year old. Not much happened for 7 hours and then it was all on. Both the midwives looking after me were wise and skilled. Contractions picked up but sons heart rate caused concern so a quick trip to delivery suite on the bed hoping I didn't meet too many people I knew as i tried my hardest to stay calm. Membranes were ruptured scalp clip applied and an IV and epidural all inserted in what seemed a simultaneous action. I could see the contraction pattern and Fetal heart rate on the monitor. The baby was fine but the contractions didn't look that great. From time to time the heart rate wasn't as good. "You wouldn't mind having a caesarian section would you?' asked my midwife. Hell No I thought. Extremely surprising after only 2 hours I was fully dilated 2cm to 10cm. Fantastic and reassuring words from the OB that he could deliver the baby vaginally if he had to. Some pushing which the baby did not like and time to get him out. Personally i would have delivered him 4 contractions earlier but I was biased I think it was a straight forwards forceps delivery but I will never know because i had my eyes shut. I didn't want to see into the OBs eyes in case the look wasn't good or his eyes showed any concern. You can keep your voice calm and your face but not your eyes. The most gorgeous sound was of Dylan crying and the Paedatrician proclaiming he was fine, normal and healthy. I opened my eyes. My obstetrician missed his dinner but it was a good birth. We were all safe Almost exactly 3 years later we were there again. Induction again and we should have learnt from the first time again no action for 7 hours and then labour hotted up. My midwife seemed determined for me to have a natural labour. After an hour of strong contractions I had had enough pain s an epidural was called for which i never got. 4 cm when the doctor entered the room. 15 minutes later an almighty cluncking sound and a check fully dilated. Go away he was told. I wanted that epidural even more because it was hurting. This son was bigger than his brother so I decided that it would hurt less if I put my bottom in the Air. The Ob helpfully suggested in answer to my suggestion for him to get him out that all I needed to do was put my Bottom down and push. You never can get an OB to do what you want. I knew how babies come out. This time I had my eyes open. All was well and the Ob had a delayed dinner. Another good birth. Everyone was safe and healthy A good birth to me I agree is feeling safe, trusting in your care givers and being treated with respect. After that what will be will be.
Great to hear your stories Margaret -- thanks so much for sharing! No doubt our "expertise" carries us just so far when we are the ones giving birth. Take care, Annie
My birth story is one that is hard for me to tell. However, it needs to be told. Women who have had similar experiences need to know that they are not alone. My labor wasn't what you see in movies. You know, the woman, obviously in pain, but able to talk, and joke with nurses and her husband. She might scream, and yell at him, but once the baby comes out, they are all hugging and crying with pure happiness and joy. "Look at this little miracle that we created. Look what we made! She's finally here!" I wish I could say that was my experience, but it wasn't. It all started as I had expected. Contractions, slowly increases in frequency and pain. I held out for 24 hours before I felt that it was "time" My husband and I headed to the hospital and this is where it all began to go downhill. I was taken through triage, and of course, my contractions slowed down. I'll spare you all the details but they sent me home. I was annoyed, disappointed and sad. Three hour later we were back at the hospital, being told that I wasn't really in labor (my contractions slowed again), but my blood pressure was high and they had to induce me. It wasn't and they didn't, but I didn't know that at the time. The reality was, I was somewhat of a "problem" patient, and they just wanted to get me in and out. The hooked me up to machines, pumped me full of pitocing and told me that I couldn't get out of bed. This was quite opposite of what I had hoped for. A natural labor in a hospital setting. Walking around, laboring naturaly, minimal intervention, no medication (until absolutely necessary) An hour of so later the pain was unbearable. I asked for some narcotics to take the edge off. They didn't work. I just felt sleepy and out of it. Eventually the pain was so bad, I asked for an epidural. The epidural didn't work (They missed, and refused to believe me) They topped of my epidural multiple times. It never took effect. During this time my eyes were closed, and I barely spoke to my husband. There was no "Good job honey!!!" accompanied by a back-rub. It was just me, in my own world, in agony. With my husband watching, terrified, not knowing what to do. It came time that I knew I needed to push, but obody believed me. I screamed for them to trust me, to check. They told me I couldn't know since I had an epidural, I wouldn't feel it. They refused to believe that the epi had not worked for me. Finally my doctor came in. She checked, and discovered that I was at 9.5cm. From 4cm at 730 to 9.5cm at 9pm. They could see her head. At 9:30pm they let me start pushing. After a couple pushes I asked "how much longer?!?!" and my OB informed me "When you see my get my mask and gear on, you'll know it's close" One push later, she was asking for her "gear." I pushed once more, I pushed as if my life depended on it and at 9:50pm my daughter was born. When they put my daughter on my chest, I wanted so badly to have that emotional, bonding moment. But I couldn't. Not at first anyway. I just kept thanking God, that it was over. That I had survived it. That I wasn't in pain anymore. My labor was quick, yes. (if you don't count the 24 hours that I labored at home) But the fact that it progressed so quickly, and was so painful, and I felt like I wasn't respected by my doctors, made it seem more like a trauma than a miracle. I don't think it's fair that society ignores the fact that labor can be traumatic for women. I know that I am not alone, as I have spoken to other moms who feel "cheated" or "sad" because labor didn't go the way they wanted. We are made to feel bad if we don't have a happy little story to share. I think every woman should feel comfortable and safe in sharing her labor story. No matter what her experience. Women should know they are not alone if they had a "negative" experience. It shouldn't be something they feel they need to hide. Women need to know that it isn't just like we see on tv. It isn't always perfect. We feel things. It's OK to feel things. Even the "ugly" things. It's OK. It doesn't make you a terrible mother. It makes you normal....it makes you human. Of course I feel blessed to have a healthy, beautiful baby girl. I look at her with amazement every day. I'm in awe of her. I know it shouldn't matter HOW she got here, all that should matter is that she got here. Period. I just wish it had been a bit more "beautiful" for me, a bit more Hollywood.....more "romantic comedy" and less "horror" I hope other women can feel more empowered to share their birthing experiences without shame.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sarah, and I am so glad this feels like a safe space to do so. We shouldn't feel like we need to turn away from sadness some of us feel in birth -- it can take a long time to make sense of it, even find wisdom in it. And providers need to understand better the ways in which they are a part of it -- women offering reflections like yours I think is key. Wishing you the very best. - Annie
I’ll never forget the day my first-born came into this world. I had false labor off and on for three weeks, so I was beyond ready. I experienced 31 hours of intense, painful labor. When it came time to push, I thought it would only take a minute. TWO HOURS later, I pushed so hard, and felt something rip. I was in so much pain, I let out a blood-curdling scream that felt like it shook the maternity ward. Then the pain lifted and my body went numb. The doctor held up our beautiful baby boy. I felt nothing but joy when I saw his sweet pink legs, fingers, toes and gorgeous face. My husband and I looked at our son, then at each other and we both cried. He was finally here! All 8 lbs., 9 ounces of him! Then, seconds later, the doctor shouted, “My God, she’s bleeding to death. I can’t stop the bleeding! Call for back up!” I’m lying there on the delivery table, holding my baby, trying to comprehend what was happening when five more doctors come pouring into the room. I never put my baby down. I just held him close to my chest, looking into his blue eyes. I remember whispering to him and puffing up my blanket to block out what was happening. There were clear tubes, suctions, loud machines and blood everywhere, but all I could focus on was my baby. My husband and I were both mesmerized by our newborn, and a little confused about what was happening. It turns out I was hemorrhaging after the delivery due to complications with my cervix. I lost so much blood, I almost had to have a blood transfusion. The doctor told my husband that our son was healthy, but I might not make it. But I did. Because we are in modern times, I lived to tell about it! I'm so incredibl grateful to all the doctors that day. They saved my life. I had about 30 stitches and had to lie flat on that same hospital bed for three days. I lost so much blood, I was dizzy for weeks. But eventually, I healed and life went back to normal. (As normal as possible for a new mother!) And my baby boy? He is as healthy as can be.
What an amazing story, Jackie. I always wonder as a doctor what we can do (beyond the medical) or say to help women feel safe when complications like the ones you endured happened. Sounds like holding your baby was a big part of that, for you. - Annie