People tell you that you have to consent to a c-section before they give you one or they have to get a court order. What they don't tell you is that doctors and hospitals get away with doing what they want. Why? If you or your child aren't physically injured, then there's not much you can do. Good luck getting an attorney or lawyer to take your case. Even if you suffer from PTSD or PPD due to how your birth was handled in the hospital, you're on your own.
I should know. This is my story.
I was planning to have a home birth after c-section (HBAC) to avoid what ended up happening to me anyway. I was told throughout my entire pregnancy that if I didn't do what the doctors wanted me to (gestational diabetes test, etc.), my baby would die. I'd be "allowed" to go to 41 weeks before I'd have to have a c-section. I was afraid. I was tired, I was in pain, and I'd had "YOUR BABY WILL DIE!" pounded into my head for so long that I did something I knew I shouldn't.
I tried to help the labor along at home by using herbs. I kept going in and out of active labor, and it was the worst when I'd try to sleep, so I was exhausted to the point of nausea. With the 41-week mark just days away, no one to care for my 3-year-old until I was in labor (when my husband would be able to take time off), being extremely sleepy, and afraid of my baby dying for any reason, I gave in to the induction idea.
The induction worked but my body was too tired to do the job. After two days of labor, my doulas helping immensely, going in and out of the pool, having a reiki (spiritual healing in simple terms) try to help -- all of it came to a head on the second night. I was still not feeling the need to push but instead felt the need to keep the baby in. My water was broken; I was fully effaced and dilated. I wanted sleep. I felt like my c-section scar was going to explode with every contraction. I felt my contractions nowhere else. I gave in to the idea of an epidural and OBs.
At the hospital, I was told that she was in the wrong position (which explained why my body was going through starts and stalls of labor called prodromal labor). She was sideways, facing one of my sides rather than my front or back. I got IV pain relief and it didn't work. They sent for the jerk anesthesiologist to give me the epidural I'd been asking for. He flexed his muscles by telling me that I was lucky he was doing the epidural at my stage, that it probably wouldn't work but he'd waste his time on me anyway.
He made me sit upright for two contractions without shaking, vomiting, vocalizing, and without support or counter-pressure. I could feel him watching me. His hate and satisfaction from my suffering were radiating from him. After he got the needle in my back, I vocalized a bit and he basically told me to shut up. I got louder just because I could. The pain relief was practically immediate.
The doctor came in discussing how he'd have them "pump up" the epidural in the case of an emergency c-section. He started talking about how my baby girl's heart rate was dropping and had me push while lying on my back. I questioned him because I knew that was one of the worst positions to push from, and my pelvis would have to stretch more than would normally be needed for her to get through in her sideways position. Her heart rate dropped down to the 70s and 60s without picking back up. I knew enough to fight over the EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) readings before, but this was as low as I could go. I knew she had to come out.
I cried and consented to the cesarean. They wheeled me off and told my doula and husband to stay where they were. My husband was arguing about how we were told he could go with me but now they weren't letting him. The nurse said she'd eventually get him his scrubs but she never did. The jerk anesthesiologist asked, "General?" and the OB confirmed.
I lost every last shred of control I had. I begged, cried, moaned, and reminded them that I didn't consent to general anesthesia, that the OB told me they'd pump up my epi. I begged for my husband, to tell him I loved him. I didn't see my son before I left for the hospital and I was afraid of dying without a parting word to anyone that I loved.
I fought as much as I could with my legs deadened by the pumped-up epidural (amazing that they could strengthen it enough to keep me from moving my legs in such a small amount of time but not let me be awake for my baby's birth!). Sleepless and laboring on and off for days, I was exhausted.
The nurse behind me was trying to catch my face with the mask and saying how I needed to let them do this so they could get the baby out. I told her my fears. She laughed at me and caught my face with the gas mask. I was out.
The baby was born perfectly fine and healthy with not so much as a hair out of place. Her APGAR scores were great; she came out screaming. I got an infection in my incision, PTSD, and PPD. I had to force myself to recognize my baby as being MY baby. I've tried to contact attorneys/lawyers to show these people that they broke the law but no one would help.
Women need to know that this stuff happens and it needs to be stopped.
Do you have a birth story you want to share? PM me or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Birth Story" in the subject line and I may feature you next.