by Angela, USA
My due date was April 26, 2006. When I woke on April 6, I felt a bit tired and run down so I decided to call in sick to work. My husband went out for bagels and orange juice, but I was only able to take a few bites. At 9:00 a.m., I thought I may be having contractions and suggested we start timing them – they were 5 minutes apart. At the time, we lived in Queens, NY and had to make it to midtown Manhattan to reach the Birthing Center we had selected for our birth. My doctor instructed us to come into her office. Since I was 3 weeks early and this was my first child, I (along with my husband and doctor) thought we had time. I took a shower and by the time my husband packed and loaded the car, the contractions were very strong and I had difficulty walking.
We arrived at the midtown tunnel to slowed traffic. I panicked thinking we would get stuck in the tunnel, so my husband asked the police for an escort through the tunnel. At first they agreed but then decided to call an ambulance and have us wait for them to arrive. BIG MISTAKE!!! As we waited for the ambulance, my contractions were now only 3 minutes apart. I was strapped to a gurney and placed in the back of the ambulance with a 20 year old male EMT while my husband raced to the hospital ahead of us – yes, I said hospital because at this point, the ambulance driver refused to take us to our birthing center saying we did not have time and it was too far, so we were taken to the nearest hospital – Bellevue (although they didn’t know how to get there), where we knew no one and no one knew us.
I was still on the gurney and wheeled through a metal detector, whereby the EMT's smashed my hand and we had a confused nurse who didn't seem to know where to take us. Once we arrived in the delivery room, we were asked questions such as: does my husband (who was standing right there) beat me; do we use intravenous drugs; had we had any prenatal care; are we HIV positive? In between my contractions, a nurse was asking my information to fill out the forms – when my husband tried answering, she said I had to answer them and continued to state: it's easier for me to get this done before delivery as opposed to after. During this time I was going through the transition stage and she was worried about getting her forms done. When she came back 10 minutes later asking the same questions, she admitted to losing my chart and said I would need to answer all the questions again – I refused and told her to go find her chart. Meanwhile, my obstetrician had faxed over my history so they had our complete information.
Next, the “doctor in charge” walks in and says, “You want an epidural, right?” When both my husband and I say NO (emphatically), he winks at my husband and says, “I'll send the guy up anyway.” Mind you, I was all ready 7 – 8 centimeters at this point and he was willing to give me the epidural anyway. As I was on the bed, I kept asking if I could go to the bathroom, saying I had to pee. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy and said of course I could not get up out of bed; instead, they gave me a catheter. When I advised them I was going to be sick, again everyone just looked at me, until I vomited all over the floor. At one point I looked up and there must've been 20 people in the room watching me. When I asked why there were so many people, they advised me it was a teaching hospital and I advised them all to get out immediately. Oh, at about this point, in walks the anesthesiologist, ready to administer the epidural. Imagine his confusion when a screaming woman (myself) tells him to get out.
Ok, so no epidural…the doctors must come up with some way to get money out of this delivery! In comes the “doctor in charge” to advise that we must do an internal monitor immediately because I, heaven forbid, keep moving around and the external monitor won't stay in place. Again, my husband and I shout emphatically, NO!!! Again confusion and the question why on earth would we not want an internal monitor for the safety of our child? My husband plainly explains that he will not allow the doctor to screw something into the top of our unborn child's head. At this point, the “doctor in charge” gives up and leaves the room.
At 1:30 pm I feel the urge to push (yes, all this occurred within 4 hours!). A nice female doctor is there to catch my baby. In between pushing and contractions, my husband and I are telling her our birthing plan: no episiotomy, do not cut the cord until it stops pulsing, place the baby on mom immediately, etc. I am pushing for a good 15 minutes and can feel my baby moving down the birth canal. When I ask if the head is visible yet, the nice female doctor smiles sheepishly and tells me, some first time mothers push like this for hours. My husband says my face, at this point, becomes one of focus and determination. Seven minutes later our son is born. I had a slight tear that required a few stitches and the nice female doctor obliged to all of our wishes.
I started labor at 9:00 a.m. and my son was born at 1:52 p.m., a total labor of under 5 hours. I realize I am very lucky in that arena, but for a while I was upset that we had missed the whole birthing center experience. The reason I outline all of our complications is because my husband and I were fully informed and educated as to what kind of birth we wanted, and that was an un-medicated, natural childbirth. Although we weren't able to have it under calm, serene circumstances, we were able to stick to our guns and not let fear or intimidation alter our course. Taking the Bradley classes, learning the techniques and truly believing in them helped us achieve our goal of natural childbirth. We hope to have a home birth, using the Bradley Methods, with our next child.