I was due with my first child on October 15th, 2016, and intending to have a home birth under the supervision of a midwife.
I went into labour at 11 pm on the 16th. Active labour started about 20 hours later, and then pushing started a few hours after that. I pushed for about three hours at home, and had the baby's head in the canal- I could reach down and touch her hair! - but just couldn't get her the rest of the way out. At this point I'd been in labour for about 30 hours and was exhausted, so our midwife suggested that we go to St Joseph's Hospital to get vacuum assistance (meaning I'd still get to push, they'd give a little pull, and we'd have our baby in no time and still have a natural birth).
After the MOST uncomfortable car ride, with the baby's head still in between my legs and me with one leg up on the dashboard still pushing, we got to the hospital and our midwife set up us in a room. We saw the OB, who said the baby was posterior (so her spine running along mine, as opposed to her facing my spine, as it should be), and so he was going to go perform another procedure on another patient and when he returned they'd give me an epidural and turn the baby around with forceps. I asked if that was really necessary, and he said it was unless I wanted an emergency cesarean. Not what we planned for, but I was exhausted and we just wanted to hold our baby, and so we agreed.
I pushed for another three hours unmedicated, waiting for the OB to return. After being given the epidural, the OB immediately began to get to work with the forceps, at which point I told him I could still feel him touching me. He insisted it was just pressure, not pain I was feeling. I fully disagreed, and said I did feel pain, but he didn't respond.
He went in with the forceps, and then realized as he turned her, she had actually sorted herself out and had been in the right position after all- and so now he had flipped her into the wrong position! The OB said they might as well deliver her by forceps now, and said out loud "let's give this baby a little more room, shall we", and I heard and felt the scissors cut into me as he gave me an episiotomy.
The baby was pulled out and placed on my chest, at which point I absolutely refused to let any of the medical staff take her from me for any purpose. It wasn't until I pointed out I could feel each stitch he did as he was stitching me up that he believed me that the epidural hadn't fully taken effect, and he gave me a local so he could finish up.
I had wanted to have a home birth, because I did not trust hospitals to trust me or my body to manage the birth process, and oooh boy, was the mistrust proven correct. I was made to feel like a silly little child who would be punished with a cesarean if I asked any questions about the processes about to be performed on me. I felt completely ignored, like a specimen on a table, instead of like a human who deserved to be consulted as to what happened to her own body.
In preparing for a home birth, I had tried very hard to prepare myself for the unexpected; that my intentions to have my baby at home didn't necessarily affect the circumstances in which she might be born. So I was open and ready for the move to the hospital when it became necessary. But I didn't expect to be treated so poorly, to feel so ignored, to have these things done to my body without anyone explaining what was going to happen, or asking my permission.
I was in labour for 36 hours, and all of those hours combined were not as terrible as the half hour I spent in the room with that OB.
If I am blessed with a birth again, I am so hoping I get to have my baby at home with my midwives, in a respectful environment where I feel like my birth is a priority. And if I do have to go to the hospital again, you can damn well bet it won't be St. Joes.
Submitted by Laura