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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
Hospital Birth With Forceps

By MoonDragon Midwife

My first birth was in a hospital in Eastern Oregon - February 1971. My son, Ricky, was born when I was 18 years old. I was very young and very naive about how babies were birthed.

Up to this point, the extent of my childbirth education was from my mother (who happened to live 500 miles away at the time of the birth). She told me that I was not to scream during labor. She said that she would "whinney" like a horse when it got really intense, but, she did not scream and neither did my grandmother. I was not to do this as well. That was it for labor and birth preparation. The closest birth experience I had had was at age 15 helping my mother deliver a calf when our milk cow had gone into labor - my first breech delivery with cow mucus up to my armpit from reaching in and grabbing little hooves to pull. There were no childbirth classes at this time and no other formal preparation was available. Natural childbirth was basically unheard of back then.

My labor began at home in the evening. I was not sure it was labor because it felt like a naggy lower back ache and some mucus vaginal discharge. However, the back ache came and went fairly regularly and I timed them while cleaning the house and doing my ironing. I woke up my 19 year old husband after a few hours of labor and, of course, he panicked. It was the typical comedy of "the birth ride to the hospital" scenario. During this time I continued to slowly breathe (this was before Lamaze or childbirth classes were taught at the hospital) and work though my contractions. I continued to stay calm and as relaxed as possible, concentrating on my breathing and the labor.

My husband decided that he had to pick up his mother (my mother-in-law) to ride with us so that she could keep him company during the labor. Of course, she could not decide what to wear, which upset him greatly. Meanwhile I am sitting out in our VW bug, alone, laboring away. I could hear his frantic shouting and urging to get his mother into the car. Eventually, what seemed like hours later (actually it was about 20 or 30 minutes), my mother-in-law and my frantic husband came out of the house. He is trying to hurry her and she is taking her time walking to the car.

One thing I can say about an old VW Bug... I liked the handle bar over the glove box on the front passenger side. I had a white-knuckle grip on the handle the entire ride to the hospital. After a 25 mile ride in the old VW bug floored at top speed (which was probably around 65 to 70 miles per hour for the bug), in a "ride from hell" (running stop signs, stop lights, sliding around corners, and looking at the grill work of on-coming tractor-truck rigs as my husband passed anything on the road), I finally arrived at the hospital still breathing and in one piece. I wanted to kiss the ground when we got out of the car. I climbed the numerous stairs up to the hospital doors from the lower parking lot, having to stop every few minutes and breathe through a contraction. I got inside and we had to go to the office to register (before the pre-registering days) and I sat there in the office breathing with a death grip on the chair's armrest.

We went through the paperwork at the admitting desk and the wheelchair ride to the labor ward. I was immediately separated from my husband and put into a room with several other laboring women. Some were moaning, some were quiet, and one was screaming. A little unnerving to say the least.

I was cleaned with disinfectant, my pubic and perineal area completely shaved, had an enema forced on me, and checked for dilation. My clothes were taken away. My eyeglasses and jewelry were removed, including my wedding band. I was put in a narrow, hard bed, on my back and told to stay there. It all happened about that quickly. And then I was left alone.

During the labor, the nurses were in a hurry and extremely rude. I was not told anything. In a while, someone came in and gave me a spinal shot and some demerol. I was not allowed to get up and use the bathroom so I had to use a bedpan to empty my bladder. I was not allowed anything to eat or drink, including ice chips. It was at this point that I began to loose my ability to work with my contractions. The medication disoriented me and made it harder to cope with the labor.

I kept trying to ask questions, without resulting answers, and trying to refuse to take medications, which was given to me anyway. I did not like this staff, the drugs, and wanted them to leave me alone. Of course, they did not, except when I needed them, then they were not to be found.

I had several staff (at least they had white coats!?... for all I know they could be the janitor and his buddies), male and female, coming in and checking my dilation. One group was a bunch of male medical students, who were not much older than I was. I was not introduced to any of them. I had very little, if anything said to me. They were there for a pelvic exam and I was the guinea pig. I was never asked permission for all of these "boys" in white coats to each check my cervix. The room door was open and by bottom faced the door. Everyone in the hallway had a nice view of my bottom. I was horribly embarrassed and pulled the sheet over my head. I cried.

After the medical students left, I was left alone again, still crying from my embarrassment. The sheet was pulled up tightly around me as I continued to try to work through my contractions, still feeling disoriented and doped up but still feeling every wave of pain as it came along.

I was able to briefly see my husband a few times (after yelling for him several times). He was only there a few minutes before a nurse would rush him out and back into the waiting room where the fathers were supposed to be. I would continue to try to work with the contractions, squeezing my husband's hand tightly whenever he happened to be there. When he was not, I gripped the bed railing and hung on through each contraction.

At about 6:30 in the morning, the doctor came in and checked dilation and broke my bag of water. I was told I was 6 cm dilated at that point (I tend to stay at 6 cm with all my births until my water breaks and then boom, the baby arrives). I had been in labor for about 10 hours. As soon as he left, I was hit with several very intense contractions, one right on top of the other.

After about half an hour, I called out for a nurse. I felt an intense need to push. Of course, I was told that was NOT possible, that I had just been checked and was not nearly ready to push. After an argument, the nurse, with an attitude like I was inconveniently messing up her routine, roughly checked me. A look of panic swept over her face and without saying anything to me, grabbed my knees, holding my knees together and yelled for another nurse to find my doctor. He had already left the hospital and had to be located. She was shouting at me not to push, that the doctor had to be found and that I was NOT to have this baby in the bed without the doctor. Of course, I was more than a bit upset and the pain was enormous from her holding my legs to keep the baby's head from coming out.

My husband, noticing the commotion outside the room, was upset and literally fought his way from the waiting room. He was stopped by hospital staff and sent back to the waiting room without explanation.

Some orderlies came in with a gurney and they quickly moved me into the delivery room. The ride was very uncomfortable, bumpy, rushed and scary. The nurse continued to hold my legs together during the ride.

The delivery room was not ready. It was dark, cold and unprepped and I was alone with these masked strangers. I was placed, flat on my back, legs up over my head and spread wide in leg stirrups. My legs and arms were strapped down. Someone grabbed a gas mask and forced it over my face. I kept fighting the mask and telling them I did not want it. It made me sick and unable to work with the contractions. I wanted to be aware and awake for my baby's birth.

The doctor came running in wearing a quickly donned sterile gown and mask. I felt him cut me and a great deal of pressure and pain until someone gave me more localized medication. My son was delivered a few moments later by forceps. I heard him cry, but could not see him. Without my glasses, I was unable to see much of anything.

I was repaired with 103 sutures (according to my medical records, later obtained) taken in my perineal and anal region. I had what is now called (unofficially), a "vaginal cesarean"... he literally cut through not only the perineum (pelvic floor muscles), but also the anal sphincter into the bowel. I still have problems to this day with my lower bowel and sphincter. Thanks doc... I wish I could get you on that table for a few minutes for an episiotomy pay-back!

I was very woozy from the gas and blood loss, my stomach was upset, and I was freezing cold, but I did briefly see my son's face as he was whisked over to the neonatal exam table. I was not allowed to see him close-up or (heaven forbid) to touch him. He was then rushed off to the nursery to be examined, poked & prodded, and circumsized. I was taken into the recovery room, where I slept for the next few hours.

I was not allowed to see my baby until 12 hours after he was born. I wanted to breastfeed my son, but was totally discouraged by the nursing staff with comments about "WHY?" and "For what reason would you want to do THAT" along with looks of utter disdain from the hospital staff at the thought of breastfeeding my baby. I was given pills to dry up my milk. He was given sugar water and formula while we were in the hospital.

I was scolded when I finally got to see and hold my son. The first thing I did was undress him. I wanted to count fingers and toes and see my baby. The nurse got very upset with me for un-swaddling him and whisked him away.

After three days in the hospital, my milk came in full blast. We were released and sent home, extremely sore, engorged, depressed and totally unprepared. I continued to struggle with breastfeeding my son. I had no help from family members since neither my mother and my mother-in-law had ever breastfed a baby. Of course he was now used to the bottle and the formula I was forced to feed him when I could not get him to breastfeed. I developed postpartum depression for several weeks. My bottom was sore for many weeks after the birth and when the pain subsided from the healing sutures, I was unable to have sexual relations with my husband for several weeks after that. They did a number on my bottom. However, With a great deal of trial and error, I managed to get him to partially breastfeed for the first six months.

This was the birth experience of my firstborn. I had two more babies at this hospital (it was the nearest one to us (it was a very rural region) before I said enough of hospitals and doctors. I had my last two babies born at home. These hospital births were the reason I chose to follow the midwifery path... to help other women prevent these kind of things from happening.

Articles Index: My Story Birth Stories

MoonDragon's Articles: My Story - Rio's Birth (Hospital Birth - Fast Labor With AROM)
MoonDragon's Articles: My Story - Robby's Birth (Hospital Birth - Natural, NOT!)
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