Lack of Informed Consent

My first birth was truly traumatic in every sense of the word. I was a first time mom and like many first time moms, I spent my time researching and devoting my time to learning how to be a mom and to breast feeding and diaper changes, but didn’t know that there should also be equal time and effort put into learning all about labor and birth. I just assumed that my doctors would know what to do and tell me what to do. Seven years and four kids later, and my biggest regret that day was being so uninformed, so unarmed with knowledge, rendering me unable to advocate for evidenced based medicine. Looking back now, it’s like watching a bad movie, where you spend the whole time yelling at the girl on the screen as she makes one bad decision after the other. To begin with, I went to the hospital basically after the very first contraction, because I didn’t know any better. I was 2cm’s dilated when a nurse told me that I should just go ahead and get the epidural even though I wasn’t even in any real pain yet, because if I didn’t do it now, I might not be able to later as the anesthesiologist was leaving to go to lunch. I had the epidural way too soon, so my labor stalled and then stopped. They then gave me pictocin to restart the labor that my first unnecessary medical intervention had stopped. The doctor came in, a doctor I had never even met before as mine was off that day, and told me there was no reason to worry and that I was progressing fine. Then, still at only 4cms dilated, they came in and broke my water, at 4cms, when I wasn’t even in active labor yet. Once the baby lost the cushioning of the water and was dealing with the stress of constant and unnaturally strong pictocin contractions, of course her heart rate started dipping. The same doctor that I had seen just two hours prior that told me I was progressing fine, came back and told me that I was progressing “unnaturally slow” and that I “needed” a csection now. I was a first time mom who had only been in labor for 6 hours, and I wasn’t even in active labor yet. They rushed me back for this “emergent” csection, and I was in a panic. We had not prepared for a csection, hell, we had barely prepared for any kind of birth, and I was scared. The drugs they gave me for the csection, like they do for many, made me shake uncontrollably and feel sick. Then, the surgery started, and without anyone asking me, or even so much as informing me, a student began my csection. I heard the doctor, whom I also didn’t know, saying things such as, “No, don’t cut there yet, you’ll cut into her bladder.” “Don’t take that out yet, take this out first.” “Do a deeper cut here, NO, not that deep.” Needless to say, I had a full blown panic attack on the table and they had to drug me up to get me to calm down. I was so drugged up, I don’t even remember meeting my daughter, but it wouldn’t have mattered because without anyone telling us, they took her away right after we saw here to the nursery. I didn’t see my daughter again until she was four hours old, and by then, they had also given her a bottle of formula, without my consent, so I couldn’t even breast feed her for the first time. I was traumatized by that birth, truly and utterly broken. It took me years, and many other birth to begin to heal from that experience.

Lack of Medical Support

My biggest things were my mom making the decision for me to get an epidural. I had been in 1 1/2 days so far and had asked for my waters to be broken because I wasn’t progressing.
The contraction after hit me hard but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Well they had a scheduled c section and only 1 anesthesiologist.
They wanted to get it in before it started.
My other was not being sent home with pain meds I have a 4th degree and was given pain meds in the hospital but nothing to take home. I spent my nights up sobbing in pain, legs swollen up like sausages from all the fluids hating life and unable to care for my baby.
Wondering if I was like other 4th degree moms who never get over the pain from it. Worried about popping my stitches and it not healing properly or getting infected.

OB didn’t seem to care

I had lost a baby at 5 months pregnant and i adored my doctor. When I got pregnant again I chose to use him as my doctor again. At 34 weeks pregnant I asked him if I needed to start seeing other doctors in his practice and he said, “unless you want to but you’re stuck with me until this baby comes out healthy! I will stay with you all through delivery. I’ll get childcare for my children if I need too. No need to worry!” So, the day of my induction I was a nervous mess but felt comfortable bc of my doctor…. sure enough come 7pm when his shift was up he bolted out of the hospital and left me with a doctor I never met or knew nothing about. It was literally right before I was about to push and my anxiety level sky rocketed when another doc walked in. Needless to say, I already switched doctors and hope that doesn’t happen again. I felt very unimportant to him. I understand his shift was over but due to our prior conversation I thought he’d stick to his word

Dehumanized

I was refused an epidural with my 3rd because the anesthesiologist said that they “knew the manner in which” my husband died and “when a partner is using, 9/10 both are.” She told me my son would be taken to the NICU to be monitored for withdrawal. He was 8lbs 7oz, my biggest, and completely healthy. Never went to the NICU and never experienced any withdrawal as I wasn’t on drugs.

Breached Consent/Obstetric Violence

I attended a birth at Mercy Hospital — a top ranking hospital in Maryland as well as nationally — where the birthing mother was vaginally examined mid-contraction while she was screaming “No! No! No!” at the top of her lungs. In any other setting or circumstance, this qualifies as rape.

Abrasive Midwife

It was one of the RN midwives in the practice and it was something as simple as when I laid down on the table for measurements and heartbeat check she pulled my shirt up and then ripped my pants down to expose my belly. Something so simple was so offensive to me. Wait the 2 extra seconds for me to do it myself. We as women need to be in control of our bodies, especially during pregnancy when a lot of us feel like we have lost some of that control. I also had to be induced for medical reasons, so when I went in the night before to be prepped and found out she was the one in house I told my husband “this is the midwife I told you rubbed me the wrong way in the office”. When she checked me it was the same hurried abrasive attitude and it was so rough and painful and when she left the room my husband said “jesus I thought she was going to lift you off the table by your cervix”.

Inappropriate Conduct/Dehumanization

My friend worked as a nurse in the office of an obstetrician in Montgomery county. She witnessed the doctor get erections while giving exams on a regular basis. And when women of color would come in for an exam, he would double up his gloves.

Placenta Delivery without Consent

I’m one among many whose provider pulled on my cord to manually deliver my placenta without consent. It was actually in my birth plan that I wanted to deliver it on my own and since it was within a couple minutes of birth, I didn’t get that that’s what she was doing until she was pushing hard on my belly and telling me that I needed to push. I, like so many others, then hemorrhaged and instead of getting to have my fresh baby on my chest, my husband had to take him while I was attended to in this provider manufactured crisis.

Lack of Informed Consent

I had never met the OB that delivered my oldest until i went into labor and was induced without the proper knowledge of what an induction was and ultimately ended in a c-section i believed was not needed. Knowledge and respect are absolutely key.

Lack of Consent

My husband was SHOCKED when my OB literally shoved my knees apart and rammed his fist into my body up to his elbow without telling or asking me. He had no idea. And this is done every day on the regular.