So what has led me to ICAN? First I will share the birth story of my daughter Elizabeth.
I come from a long line of women who have quick, easy births. My mother barely made it to the hospital with me and labored all of 30 minutes. My mother was born on the hospital stairs because her mother couldn’t get inside fast enough. My grandmother was born in an outhouse. Needless to say, I was somewhat worried about getting to the hospital in time since it was 30 minutes away. I figured if I ever needed a c-section, it would be a true emergency like my mother’s last child (my little sister) who was born by c-section due to placenta previa. “Failure to progress” couldn’t possibly happen to me.
About half way through my pregnancy, I switched to using the midwife group at my ob practice thinking that would ensure the ideal birth. My pregnancy was completely uneventful up until the end when I passed my due date. I began hear the word “induction” mentioned over and over. Two weeks was the most they would give me. I scheduled a prenatal massage and reflexology to get things going about 9 days passed my due date. It worked! By 11pmthat night, my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart. We called the midwife. Figures it was our least favorite midwife, Mary, on call. My husband is active duty military and she had a hard time concealing her disdain for his profession. She asked me what I wanted to do and finally suggested that I hang out a little longer. By 3am, I decided we needed to head to the hospital and we called her back. She sighed and said, “You want to go to St. Peter’s don’t you?” We had talked about this endlessly during our appointments. While the other 2 midwives left the hospital choice up to us (the midwives deliver at 2 different hospitals while the doctors only go to one) Mary tried hard to get us to deliver at the other hospital. We explained over and over that we were more comfortable at St Peter’s since I had surgery there a year ago and things went quite well. Admittedly, we also felt comfortable knowing one of the doctors would be there in case of an emergency since that’s where they did all their deliveries.
We met Mary at the hospital at 4am. I was hooked up to monitors and my contractions were every 3 minutes. Whew!!! We made it just in time or so I thought. She told us we’d have a baby by lunch time. At 6am, she did an internal which revealed that I was only 2.5cm dilated. I had been 2cm in the office a week before. All that labor for half a centimeter! We walked around and I sat on the birthing ball hoping to get things going. At 8am, I still hadn’t progressed so she manually tried to dilate me which made me scream and wince in pain. She then suggested a “whiff” pitocin to get things going. By 9am, I thought I was dying from the pain and the nausea. She told me she could take all that away with a shot of stadol. Things got pretty fuzzy after that. She was annoyed that I still screamed when she did internals trying to dilate me so she ordered an epidural at 10am so that she could “bump the pitocin all the way up.” By12pm, she began getting very concerned that the baby wasn’t descending properly into the birth canal and that her head was beginning to swell. At 1pm, she brought a doctor in who promptly did an internal and announced, “You have about a 5% chance of a vaginal delivery. We can do a c-section now if you want. Or we can wait until later this afternoon. I have 2 other c-sections scheduled and 3 d&cs.” I didn’t even thing to ask how he came up with the “5%.” All I could think about was this doctor’s routine day of cutting women open and inducing miscarriages. While I know d&cs can be done for a variety of reasons, missed miscarriage is a common one. All this was just another day for him yet it was going to be the worst day of several of his patient’s lives.