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Friday, March 4, 2011

First membrane sweeps without permission, now cesareans

I know I'm supposed to be working on this dreaded pregnancy book series, but something else got my attention: the other day someone posted a link to the VBAC support forum on BabyCenter, where a mom had been denied a VBAC and had a "horrible experience":

Before the monitor was even plugged in, we were told that we were going to be moved to the OR "just in case" while being monitored more closely.  The midwife had called an OB to consult & we expected to meet him in the OR. 
On the way to the OR, my husband was sent to a dressing area to change into scrubs & I was sent straight into the OR.  My husband & I were seperated. 
As soon as I reached the OR, the staff began prepping me for surgery.  I stated that I did NOT want a c-section.  I demanded to see my husband and stated that IF I was to receive a c-section my DH & I would make that decision together.  I was told that my husband was on his way.  I was also told that my baby needed more oxygen & I was told to breathe deeply in a new mask because it had a better seal on my face (the oxygen I was breathing before was thru a smaller mask).  The new mask wasn't oxygen, I was gassed against my will.  I am unaware of what was done to me from the time I was gassed up until I awoke in recovery.  I am assuming that I only had a c-section.  Any further details have not been shared with me.  
That's not even the entire story. For more, go here.

Honestly, horrible isn't even the word for it. This sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone. This is Bait and Switch to the nth degree: this is coercion, assault and battery, and malpractice.

To preface the story, mother was told (after switching physicians) that she was a good candidate for VBAC, even waterbirth. Upon arriving at the hospital in labor, she was 4 cm, and progressed to 6 cm with SROM. Some decels were noted, and a monitor was placed. Then all hell broke loose.

Not surprisingly, readers were shocked into an almost stunned silence. I could feel my blood boil as I read her story, and was even more surprised that her entire post wasn't punctuated with expletives or at the very least, a million question marks and exclamation points.

Her one support system, her husband, had systematically been separated from her - because he was, as the hospital staff knew, the last line of defense in helping his laboring wife get her much-desired VBAC. What if she had died? How were they going to explain that one?

The woman is asking for her medical records, but honestly, I don't know that it looks very promising. As The Navelgazing Midwife noted, charts are not always an accurate representation of what really happened, although you'd think it would be hard to hide this one: a glaring abdominal scar - which opened and got infected - should give them away immediately. No consent papers, no discharge papers that indicated instructions on how to clean a surgical wound, no nothing.

I can't wait to see how this one turns out, and I hope to God this woman takes her case to the nearest TV station, and then to a lawyer. People who think this "never happens!" need to pull their heads out of their collective butts and realize that yes, it does - even here in the United States - even though it sounds like an experiment only someone like Dr. Mengele could perform on someone.

My heart and soul go out to her.

Update: Another article has been brought to my attention - this one dealing with the removal of the child after the mother refused a cesarean. In the comments section, a mother gives a chilling, horrific story much like the one here - and later, someone confirms that she committed suicide. Curious, I just googled her name and came across an obituary for someone with the same name, of childbearing age, who left behind two children - one of whom was a nine-month-old infant. 

We cannot ignore or underestimate what these experiences have on a woman's psyche. Nor can we hide behind the happy, chirpy shroud of "At least you have a healthy baby!" 

More reading:
Birth Sense: Five Reasons Your Doctor/Hospital/Midwife May Not Want You To See Your Medical Records