As I go back through the emotions of my first birth, I realize just how much fear and uncertainty I had going into it.
I was so excited to meet my baby and already loved her. I was also trusting in my doctors and nurses that they would help and support me the whole way through.
I had an extremely long labor over 3 days. I was totally exhausted once I was in the hospital.
Then I fell into the intervention snowball.
-Strapped to a monitor on a bed- no movement or food allowed.
-Exhausted, fearful, in pain, pressured to have the baby fast.
-Not really knowing the best support I needed, taking the only thing they offered- the epidural, which slowed labor down.
-More pressure to labor on someone else’s timeline.
-Pitocin was next.
-And then laboring flat on my back with my legs up in stirrups, held by my husband and mom because I couldn’t feel them.
-Someone else coaching when to push- because I couldn’t feel anything.
-Doctor giving a huge episiotomy because he didn’t have time or care to stretch or work with the perineum, and wasn’t giving counter pressure or doing anything, for that matter, to help.
- Holding baby for only a few moments before they whisked her away to the nursery for a bath and all their protocols.
-Baby coming back exhausted, too tired to try nursing, even though we tried hard.
-Nurses feeding her a bottle without permission.
-The hospital staff totally undermining every effort to breastfeed, then giving me glucose to feed her because her blood sugar was low.
-Recovery from that huge episiotomy taking a full two months while we struggled the whole first month with breastfeeding, and I worried if she was getting enough.
Thankfully we finally figured it out, and were successful with breastfeeding for a whole year. Thankfully, my baby was healthy and a bright spot of joy in my life. I loved cuddling her and smelling her and taking care of her. The rewards of having a child and of breastfeeding are plentiful!
But I was left feeling unsupported, undermined, betrayed by the medical community. They did not act in my best interest. They did not act in my daughter’s best interest.
From what I’ve seen, my story is not uncommon. In fact, it is way too common and often the cascade of interventions ends in a c-section- which is major abdominal surgery that takes a long time to recover from. Doctors get paid a lot more for that, and every intervention is more money for the system.
How about we leave the money on the table and just do what is actually best for moms and babies? I’m all for that!
I wrote about this birth and my 4th birth which was a completely different and positive experience in the book Finding Strength in Unexpected Pregnancy. Read the full story here.