NPR -Doing a GREAT Job With Articles

Npr has been having a plethora of articles on labor and birth. The Baby Project. They are packed full of information and power for a pregnant woman. Here is one that a client sent to me to help understand her fears of her upcoming labor. The article seemed to resonate with her concerns. I am going to address some of the things and how they could be handled differently. This is the second half of a birth story that was begun in a previous article. The Broken Epidural.

“However, due to HIPAA regulations, I was separated from Frank while a nursing assistant asked me 100,000 admission questions. Didn’t we pre-register to avoid this? I constantly repeated to anyone who would listen: “My husband has a copy of my medical records.””

Recently a mom came in in active labor to the hospital with me along side of her- her doula. The mom’s husband was moving the car and she wanted me to stay with her. But due to the privacy act of HIPPA, I was asked to leave the room. She was about to be alone with a nurse she had yet to learn the name of and answer questions of a personal and private matter. I had been hired to help her with pain coping techniques and this nurse was dismissing me. I asked later what we could have done to avoid that as this had left my client feeling abandoned.

You can waive your privacy rights and tell the staff that you want your doula or partner to stay with you. It is your right to waive them. This could have been offered to her but it was not. But knowing this now- I think it is important to understand it may be hospital protocol to have your support people leave, but you can refuse it.

“Yet the hospital’s system required that I give fresh answers to inane questions such as, “Do you remember when you had your last period?” while I was having intense contractions. There were also incredibly vague questions like, “Do you have any medical issues?” Later, a resident came in to ask me the same questions yet again and when I mentioned a tonsillectomy a few years back, the nurse’s aide admonished me, “You didn’t tell me that!””

You can refuse to answer questions in the middle of a contraction. Yes it is horrible that they have to ask you questions that immediately draw you out of “laborland” out of your right side of the brain back into the logical left side of the brain- thus interrupting the ability for your body to rely on the natural endorphin release that is offered when you stay in the right side of your brain. And the truth is you can refuse to answer questions- but often these questions are important to your medical care. And often your partner or doula do not have the answers to these questions. You can ask, can you only ask me questions that are medically necessary, can not be found in the medical records you already have, that my partner does not know and only when I am not contracting.

“Finally, the room emptied of staff and Frank hurriedly tried to set up the laboring system we had used at home. Out came the yoga ball, my iPod and speakers. In our bedroom, I had been bouncing along to my “Rock This Baby” play list, but I suddenly felt self-conscious about singing along loudly to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and The Ramones’ “I Believe in Miracles.” Was I disturbing the other moms? Were the staff members laughing at my warbling?”

I often remind moms that these staff members will probably never see you after today. They will not invite you to their home and they are not supposed to reveal any private information to others. So think about it. Who cares if they are laughing? If it works for you, do it. If they made the walls in the room too thin and it will effect others, that is their problem- not yours! If it is working for you- do it!

” On our birth preferences sheet, we requested a nurse who supported natural childbirth and at 7:30 p.m., my dream nurse walked into the room.”

This is a great idea- not always possible- but a wonderful idea! I have never understood the gift bags- bribing nurses who are not assigned to you does nothing for you I believe. Treat your nurses nice and if they are not nice to you- fire them. Ask for the charge nurse and have your partner explain your concerns and get a new nurse!

“As expected, breaking my sac allowed the baby to move down, but Dr. Y was concerned my contractions weren’t strong enough to complete the job. She suggested a small dose of oxytocin to advance the babe down the canal. Oh heck, I’ve gone this far down the intervention road to ruin, why not?

Dr. Y hooked me up to the bag of oxytocin and things were fine. Until she was called to the OR and everything went to hell.””

Inductions are not without risks! Not sure what the doctor was running off to the OR to do. Perhaps one of their other patients had been induced and the baby had not tolerated this intervention.  Risks include the intervention escalation that has a domino effect and can result in a trip to the OR for a surgical birth. Inductions may have become common place- but so has the rate of cesarean births! More than one in every three women today in the US has to have her baby cut out of her!

“Then she said what no one wants to hear when there is a catheter in your spine: “Where is it?”

My epidural had broken and so had my spirit. I sobbed and wailed into Frank’s shoulder, “No one listened to me! I told you something was wrong and no one listened!””

Always listen to a mom in labor. Always verify if there could be an issue when she complains about something. Trust the mom’s words until you know for sure what is really going on. Sure it could be fear and not reality based- but dismissing her leaves her feeling powerless!

“My truth is no matter how much support you have, giving birth is something each woman faces alone. No one else can do the work of birthing. My extreme pain narrowed my view to a tunnel of isolation. And now that it is over, the worst part is trying not to beat myself up for not speaking up sooner or not speaking louder or not being more demanding — for not listening to my gut when I knew something was wrong and how this all could have been avoided if I had just been better at giving birth.”

This is exactly what FEAR to FREEDOM the technique for birth preparation course that I am now teaching with Charlotte Scott addresses. A woman today is not taught that her gut is actually a great guide! I can not tell you how empowering it is for a woman to learn to listen to her own true nature- the gut instinctive voice is amazingly powerful. We have been taught in this very patriarchal scientific society that our instinctive voice really can’t be right! If she walks away from her birth learning this, even though she feels great emotional pain and remorse from her birth experience, she has gained a wealth of wisdom.

Back in the hands of the team of women I trusted, my body relaxed beyond the limits of the drugs in my system.

It is quite nice to be able to fully relax when you trust those around you. She mentioned earlier in the article she wrote, ” Fate sent us the doula we could not afford on our own.” But I have to wonder if the labor would have been different if she had had a trusted doula with her throughout her labor, guiding and supporting her without shift changes, someone she had developed trust in along the journey of pregnancy, if some of the agony she experienced would have been different.