This is the story of how I was conned into a cesarean section by a provider I should have been able to trust, and how I was empowered with my second child to take control of my birth. These are my birth stories.
Part 1 – Phoebe’s Birth
With my first child I learned at my 15 week appointment that I had placenta previa. This diagnosis came right at the heels of a conversation my OB and I had about an all natural, unmedicated delivery. She replied with confusion and disfavor, “Why? We have pain medication for a reason?!” In retrospect, I should have fired her right then and there. Her blatant lack of support for my wishes and desires around my birth are obvious too me now.
Throughout my pregnancy I prayed, rubbed, and talked to my placenta in hopes that it would move up. I researched everything about my condition with the hope that there was some trick to get my body to cooperate. The one thing I regrettably did not research was my OB, including her csection rate, and rapport with other patients. I wish I had gotten a second opinion. I felt like she didn’t advocate for me, but rather only for her own birthing preferences and beliefs. Still, my husband assured me I was being a hormonal pregnant lady.
At my 36 week appointment, the ultrasound technician discovered that my placenta was three centimeters higher. She said the OB would be happy with that for a vaginal birth and I was ecstatic! I told my husband “I told you my body knows what it is doing!” Unfortunately, my OB was not on the same page. She told me that the change was not significant enough and a csection was still necessary. I asked if I could at least try to labor to which she dismissed saying, “absolutely not!” If the placenta snapped I could bleed out AND lose the baby! That wasn’t a risk she was willing to take. Reluctantly, I came to terms with the fact I was having a csection.
At my 38 week appointment, which was on a Tuesday, I saw the other doctor in the practice. When he evaluated me, he was worried that I was not measuring big enough and scheduled an ultrasound appointment to have my fluid checked on Friday. It was very confusing to me that he would not do the ultrasound that day; if he was so concerned there might be a problem, one would think that an ultrasound would be needed immediatly. Later, I found out that Fridays were their day for scheduled surgeries.
On Friday, I returned and guess who did my ultrasound the same OB I saw on Tuesday. He said I was losing fluid (oligohydramnios) and had to speak with my doctor. Minutes later she came in and said “you are having the baby today!”
I began to ask questions, “Can I hold the baby right after birth?” The answer was no; this was due to hospital regulations. I would have to wait until I was out of recovery. Later, I discovered it was her regulation, not the hospital’s much to my disappointment and anger.
As we prepared for surgery, my husband waited outside the operating room. Inside, I curved my spine, hugging a pillow for my spinal. As soon as I laid down, my husband was permitted to join me.
The doctor stepped up on her stool and started cutting. I could feel a pinch in the sides and I told her this. She replied, “There is no way you are feeling what I am doing.” Then I started to feel nauseated and told the anesthesiologist. She gave me something to fight it.
I started to panic a bit and told my husband to talk to me. With a smile on his face, he said, “I can see your guts” Really, dude? Can we talk about the Yankees or something?
The doctor interrupted. “Here is your labor,” she warned, and I felt an uncomfortable amount of pressure in the top part of my abdomen. It took my breath away and I grunted loudly. It was then that I heard a sweet, sweet cry – like none I had ever heard before. It was the sound of love, joy, pain, and disbelief.
My emotions and the baby’s cry were swept up into one big bubble. My husband announced that we had our beautiful baby GIRL and said, “Phoebe Elizabeth.” That was the name we were throwing around as an option and I said, “No, she is too sweet to be a Phoebe.” (We ended up naming her Phoebe Sophia).
He cut the cord and the doctor handed my baby GIRL to my husband. He brought her to me to kiss her face. My tears started flowing uncontrollably. I was so overwhelmed with emotion. I was instantly in love with that little face!
The doctor demanded I stop crying so she could stitch me back together. My husband was the one who got to hold her right after birth while I was in recovery. As soon as I came out, I held my precious daughter. We were immediately skin to skin and she latched on with no problems.
While the surgery did go smoothly, I was devastated to have a csection. I cried for weeks and felt like I failed my baby. Perhaps the surgery could have been avoided if I had been I more educated and did not fall for my doctor’s scare tactics. To this day I am bitter. I didn’t know how important it was for me to be an advocate for myself.
My baby girl was born at 11:54 a.m. on April 2, 2010. She weighed 5 pounds and 11 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. At that minute, the anxiety, pressure, and disappointment over my csection were temporarily gone, but the impression it left me would last my whole lifetime. With my next child, my determination and empowerment grew. I was insistent on a natural delivery with my next.