I just served as doula for the third time the other day! Hoorah! I've had my own birth, and have attended 3 others and I just HATE the medical model of care. I can not possibly put enough vemon into the word hate where this is concerned. This is what's been going on:
My mate and I have been doing a lot of research (to the point where I dream of birth on a nightly basis) for our upcoming UC in december. My mate is beginning to waver, after our midwife brought up the what-if factor. But I understand that she is not doubting my ability to birth. She atteneded my last birth and it was completely complication-free, and no one did anything more than listen to a heartbeat periodically. Anyway, I've been trying to calm his worrying by explaining how much safer we are at home, and how much more comfortable everything will be without any hovering over us at any point. Anyhoo, I digress.
Yesterday I got the call from my friend+client that she was being induced at 38 weeks for high blood pressure. This, for one, is irritating because she was told to be on bedrest, and never listened. When she was lying down her BP wasn't high, so had she just mellowed out for the last two weeks odds are she would not have been induced, but whatever. So I arrive at the hospital, which is easily the worst of the 5 hospitals I've been to. No security of any kind on the labor and delivery floor. No joke. How do you get in? Usually there's a buzzer and someone beeps you in. Not here. Take the elevator to level 2 and there you are, free to roam around. Also, no tub or shower for relief. No small room set aside for people as a rest area/snack area so they can grab a drink or have a bite to eat without eating right under the mom's nose. (STUUUPID that they "don't allow" women to eat in labor btw) No birth ball. No birth stool. So they've got her on pitocin, with a 3cm balloon in her cervix, and she's trying to deal with the contractions but after a few hours the pit is really starting to wear her down. And she hasn't eaten for ages. Ans because of her high BP they "won't allow" her to stand, or leave her bed so she is more or less stuck laboring in a supine or sidelying position. Which is horribly uncomfortable. And of course the OB makes her appearance, all fake smiles, and says "honey, there is not prize or medal for suffering. an epidural will make you wonderfully comfortable. You're going to be in pain like this or worse for hours and hours, why not just have the epi so you can rest and relax?" To make it worse, she didn't just make her suggestion and then give her a few minutes to consider it. She sat there and stared at her until she agreed to it. Even though she didn't want a medicated birth... Then, 2 hours later (after they've upped the pit to max) they say "you baby is showing late decels which is a sign of distress. YOu're going to be laboring for a long long time and the baby will be distressed and you're going to need a c-section. If I were you I'd just get one now and spare yourself and your baby." This is about the time that I wanted a 10blade to ram through this stupid ob's face. The baby's heartrate was great. Why on earth were they surprised by the fact that the baby was having a hard time when she was on max pit??? Anyway, she ended up with a c-section. It was so textbook. Pitocin, leads to epi, leads to more pitocin, leads to distress, leads to c-section. It was like something out of some sci-fi horror movie. I wasn't there for the c-sect, but at one point there were IVs in her arms, the epi in her spine, the catheter in her bladder, the bloodpressure cuff on her arm, two fetal monitors in her vagina, just ugh tubes and cords and beeping things and blinking things and when nurses came in they would ask other nurses "how is she", not ask her "how are you dear". That and the fact that her room had FOUR doors through which various people where in and out on a constant basis.
Just the worst damn thing.
What kills me most was the OB, with her "no one gets a medal for suffering" argument for the epidural. It's not about the "suffering" that most educated women don't want it, it's about trying to avoid interventions that lead to other interventions. Which obviously didn't happen. Poor thing she seriously got steamrolled. It is her responsibility to take her birth and make it want she dreamed, but ugh, it was terrible. They were just on her like white on rice. And I tried to help, and feel guilty that I couldn't prevent that for her. But it's my job to be encouraging, comforting, and to facilitate what the mother wants. If she doesn't take a stand or express any of that to her OB how to I support her? Arg...