Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Confessions of a Mom Robbed of Informed Consent

© Brandi (last name withheld upon request) 2011. Brandi provides perspective on how medical providers might treat birth as routine to the point of removing informed consent and human respect. The following passage may be triggering and is divided into two parts, as that was how Brandi wrote it. Part One:

His hand, his foot, and 2 shots of his beautiful, perfect little chubby face.

“I never actually wrote out Logan's birth story. After 3 years, I have finally gotten the courage or strength or whatever you want to call it to actually type it out. I can't even begin to explain how it hurts me that the day I became a mother was anything but exciting, happy, and beautiful. It stings to think that I completely failed as a mother, who is supposed to protect her child and do her best. It gnaws at me that I look back and remember I felt absolutely nothing for my own child for weeks, even months. How I wish every single day for just one more chance to make it right. Just reliving a single moment could have changed it all!
Hopefully by putting this out there, somewhere besides the innermost memories of my mind, I can make peace with it all. I've already, probably on purpose subconsciously, forgotten so many details. Here we go...

Surprise positive! A couple weeks later, I see my OB because of some bleeding. Ultrasound reveals a sac, no fetal pole. My OB explains that it is probably a blighted ovum and I may not really be pregnant. A week later, another ultrasound shows a teeny little Logan :) I receive regular ultrasounds after this point and experience several more bleeding episodes. My OB later concludes that the placenta began to separate from the uterine wall. My husband is deployed through all this. 

In February, Raymond comes home from Iraq and several days later I'm in the ER with contractions at about 28 weeks. They shoot me up with terbutaline [the FDA recently warned clinicians to stop using this after a specific time period due to cardiac complications: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737609.] Then they pump me full of water and send me home. I see my OB later that week and am 3cm dilated.

Brandi at 29 weeks, not long after being released from the hospital. 

This is where it goes downhill. I'm given the steroid shot in the butt and put on bedrest. About a week or so later, I'm admitted to L&D because the contractions won't stop after several injections. Now, they pump me full of magnesium sulfate. I'm so sick I can't move, I can't eat, and I can’t keep my eyes open. I'm swollen; my lungs fill up with fluid thanks to the magnesium sulfate. I get a BPP done, as well as a "tour" of the NICU. I get a beautiful ultrasound picture from the BPP at least! After I'm sent home, I'm put on Procardia (used to control blood pressure and chest pain) every 6 hours and terbutaline every 4 hrs.
Easter 2007, just a couple days before Logan was born.
I take myself off the meds at 36 weeks, then I'm given the go ahead to stop taking them a week later I am HUGE, uncomfortable, can't breathe, can't walk, just miserable. Contractions start but stop at the mere thought of going to the hospital. At my 38-week appointment, my doctor strips my membranes and assures me he will see me in L&D later that night because I was ready.
Yeah, I was past ready. I was done being pregnant and I wanted my baby out! I walked; I did housework, whatever I could. Some mild (in retrospect) contractions started, so I rushed to the hospital. I believe it was around 4 or 5 that same day. I'm at 4cm, so they let me stay. They give me the typical monitoring and I walk the halls with an IV and ugly gown. I’m not allowed to eat, but someone whose name I shall not mention brought me some fries from McDonald's.

My contractions are not good enough for the doctor. After about 2 hours of being there, in come the Pitocin, the AROM and internal monitoring. They didn't ask, didn't tell me why, and didn’t tell me what was about to happen. Not long after that, I'm in pure hell, begging for drugs. I remember that pain like it was yesterday and it still makes my insides cringe. I don't know how long it took the anesthesiologist to get there, but it was too long.

I didn't feel the needle in my back. I didn't feel the catheter being placed. The contractions hurt too much for me to care about anything that was going on at the time. No pain relief. None. Although, within a few minutes, I couldn't move the lower half of my body and my chest became very heavy, making it hard to breathe. My face was tingly, and then went numb.

I remember the nurse gave me a funny look and told me she had no idea why I felt that way then stuck an O2 mask on me. She didn't seem concerned at all. About an hour later, the anesthesiologist came back to fix his error. This time it works and I can breathe a little better and finally rest a little.

Around midnight, the nurse comes in to check my cervix. I don't remember her telling me I was complete, but she did say my baby wasn't moving down and was in a really funky, crooked position. She told me we were going to try pushing to see if he would turn and come down. So I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, for almost 2 hours. The epidural stopped working. Perfect timing! Right when Logan was crowning, they screamed at me not to push, wait for the doctor. Those of you who have had a baby without being drugged know what I'm talking about here. That is NOT possible.

He finally gets in there, gets dressed up, gloves on, and everyone is getting everything ready, while I'm trying "not to push." The doctor sits down as Logan is coming out and I'm trying to refrain from kicking this man in the face as he tells me I need to relax and calm down. He picks up his handy little scissors and cuts. And snips. And cuts some more. I don't know how many times he cut me, but I remember wondering if I'd have anything left. He didn’t ask. He didn’t even tell me what he was doing.

Logan's head is out and then another small push and his little warm body just slips right out. They toss him, screaming, onto my belly for a second while they scrub him with that sterile blue paper and cut his cord. He looks up at me, trying to see while being rubbed raw. I can see that my poor baby is scared. He was ripped from his warm, safe home and tossed around and manhandled in a cold, cruel place. I see confusion; I see fear in my son's face as he screams. I can't touch him, I can't hold him, and I can't kiss him. This is NOT how it’s supposed to be. Then it’s off to the warmer table while Raymond follows with him.

Brandi will share more in Part II.


  1. I'm so sorry, Brandi. This is breaking heart.

  2. When people use the term "Birth Rape" this is EXACTLY what they are talking about. My heart goes out to you Brandi. I hope that writing this has been healing for you. It sickens me that things like this are "okay" in our society. "But you got a healthy baby out of it, right? You should be grateful!" barf.

  3. My God. I'm so so sorry this happened to you and your son. And I'm even more greatful to have had a homebirth with my daughter. Thank you for sharing your story Brandi. May this help mamas make informed choices for their births.

  4. ...
    I don't have the words. I hope you and your little guy have been able to start healing