Attempted Coercion

I had my very first doula client and she was doing wonderfully! She had been vocal and very clear about not wanting an episiotomy. The doctor on call for her practice, gave her and her husband a whole long talk about how much better it is to cut instead of tear while they were in triage and I was waiting outside. They both stuck to their guns and said no thanks. Fast forward 6 hours. She is pushing. First time mom, no epidural but still scared and having a hard time finding a flow. Towards the end, the doctor turns to his sterile field, grabs scissors and faces her. He looked at her dead in the eye as a contraction began, open and closed them repeatedly so they click clicked and said, “So, are we gonna do this your way or mine?” She groaned Noooo as she was beginning to push and I just about turned in to a mama bear and yelled at him saying, “I think she has made it pretty clear she does NOT want to be cut!” He rolled his eyes at the nurses and the baby was born less than 5 minutes later. 2nd degree tear and now that I work in the field, I know he could have given her alot more local than he did.

Weight Gain Shaming

I expect there to be far worse experiences than mine, but I will say at my I think 13 week appointment I was ridiculed and scolded repeatedly over the 10 pounds I had gained.
As someone who has struggled with disordered eating most of my life, this was absolutely horrific for me. Not only did I feel a deep amount of shame, I literally was terrified my entire pregnancy to eat anything or gain too much. Each visit was a source of dread/stress after that appt.

Lack of Informed Consent

My drug screen at FMH was 12 years ago and they didn’t even tell me at all. I only found out because I asked for an itemized bill for a secondary insurance.

No Informed Consent

My water had broken and there was likely meconium in it, so I waited for my husband to come home from working all night and headed to the hospital. When I was admitted they ran a full drug screen and I didn’t learn until later that this wasn’t standard procedure. Of course the skeptic in me assumes it’s because my black husband was having trouble keeping his eyes open in triage. When the nurse came into my delivery room to report the results, she almost seemed surprised that the screen came back negative.

Degrading Experience

When I was 5 months pregnant with my 2nd, I had a day where I was concerned about decreased fetal movement. I was planning a home birth so I contacted my CNM. She offered to have me come into her office but it was a Friday, late in the afternoon and I didn’t want to fight rush hour traffic to her office that was an hour away. So she suggested I go to my local hospital.
I went into the ER and was directed to report to L&D. The nurses there were immediately rude and kept asking me why I was at that hospital if my provider was located in a different city. I was also told several times that I was careless for planning a home birth and careless for not coming in sooner to get checked out.
When I got into a room I was told to change into a gown. While I was changing my husband was asked if I was on any drugs. (They ran a full drug panel on me without telling me)
I was asked several times if I “bothered to get any prenatal care or a 20 week scan. When I said yes to both of those the reply was “well since you are choosing an unsafe option, we have no proof of that”. I was told I was not going to be discharged until they did an ultrasound on me.
After all that, the OB on call finally came in to see me and told me that I needed to carry all my prenatal records around with me because they have no way to access them. He then literally patted me on the head and said “your baby has no pattern of movement at this stage so don’t worry so much next time”.
It was one of the worst most degrading experiences and a major reason why I don’t have my babies at the hospital.

Crushed Dreams

After 50 hours of unmedicated labor I knew I was going to end up with a c section. At 11:00 PM my midwives brought in the doctor that would be performing my surgery. She was short and cold towards me, as if I was interrupting her beauty rest. She asked if I had any questions and when I asked the few I had she turned me down for each one
1. Can we do kangaroo care? No.
2. I plan on encapsulating the placenta, is that still okay?
No, it has to be sent to the lab for biopsy
3. Is there any other option that isn’t an epidural? (I was terrified of that needle going in my back)
Do you want to be awake when your child is born?
I was taken back and surgery was started almost immediately and I didn’t even realize it. It happened so fast that my husband was forgotten and wasn’t in the room yet. Poor guy walked in when my insides weren’t inside anymore.
Baby was brought in to the world safely and healthy but apparently I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery and it took a while to put everything back together. When she was done stitching me up she came around the curtain and said “You can NEVER have a vaginal birth” I replied with okay because I was high on pain meds, exhausted, and just wanted my baby. She then repeated “No, you will DIE if you try one next time around.”
Little did she know she crushed every dream I had ever had. I wasn’t the little girl that dreamed of a princess wedding. I was the little girl that watched Bringing Home Baby and dreamed of having a water birth someday. She didn’t ask how I was feeling, explain how things went, or even congratulations on your baby girl. It was try that shit again and you’ll be a goner

No Informed Consent

About 6 years ago I went in for my yearly exam, no babies yet and still pretty uncomfortable/modest with everything. I called last minute and just asked for first available instead of waiting for my normal PA that I liked. A male doctor came in followed by a female nurse, I was instantly nervous as I had never had a male doctor before. He, what felt like, ripped my gown open to do the breast exam. My entire chest exposed, both hands going to town, and staring at my chest. The female doctors and PAs in the past had lifted one side and turned their heads away during the exam. He then proceeded to do the second half of the exam and before he began he said “just pretend I’m not down here.” He’s lucky I didn’t have much of a voice at that point in my life because I would have torn him to bits had he done that to me just a few years later.

Obstetric Violence

My delivery (and the recovery) was so traumatic for both my husband and I that we decided not to have another biological child based primarily on this. We honestly believe that the medical system is this most dangerous part of having a child, particularly here in Frederick. I won’t even go into the details here, but after an easy, feel good 9 months all the way for both of us, it was terrifying. Traumatic is not a strong enough word. And we have suspicions that it was even worse than we realize, both for me, and my son, as our son has life long issues that we believe may have resulted from the delivery…but we’ll never be able to prove or know for sure. I still can’t talk about my birth without crying, after almost 3 years.

Continuous Problems

in talking with my husband about this thread this evening, he made this comment (VERY TELLING):

“that’s why L&D has the second highest rate of code green calls, only after the psychiatric unit” ..code green is the call regarding combative patients.. in the case of L&D, it’s most likely the case that this code is called because women aren’t falling in line, or are fighting for what they want, which goes against the grain of the doctors’ and nurses’ interests.

Lack of Empathy

My placenta wasn’t out yet and she was stitching me up. She reached in and pulled my placenta out without telling me. Maybe it’s totally normal but holy hell it hurt and was really unexpected. When I was moved to the family center, there was a CNA that was working one evening when (I thought) my son was having a hard time breathing. I called the nurses in and she came running in. Apparently he just had some leftover fluid in his lungs and it was totally normal. She literally berated me for calling her in because he’s MY child and there’s other kids who are “actually” having breathing problems so I need to handle it on my own. Mind you this is my first child and I have no medical experience whatsoever. I didn’t know and it was so embarrassing.