Kids Motherhood

To The OB Who Delivered My Baby: I Will Never Go Back To You

Written by Her View From Home

I write this letter while nursing my perfect little angel to sleep. My fingers clutched in her tiny fist; and it pains me to have any ill memories about her birth. But I do. I wish I didn’t. I am working through these memories and past the negative emotions, but the hardest one to deal with is something that you, dear doctor, decided to do to me.

I should be so proud. I set out to have a natural child birth and I succeeded, up against great odds. It was an out of body experience and I still can’t believe that I grew this tiny person inside of me and then birthed her, and now I am growing her still with only nourishment from my body. It’s truly amazing. And If my daughter ever comes across this letter, or remembers me talking about this experience, I want her to know that regardless of the negative moments of her birth I would do it again. I would do it again everyday to have her in my life. She is worth more then anything, and I would give my life for hers. Despite the day of her birth being the physically hardest day of my life, it also had the greatest pay off. She is the best thing I ever could have done. This experience does not cloud my unconditional love for her; or my elation to have the privilege to get to be her mother. 
 
Regardless of how fantastic the experience was, it is shadowed at the same time. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 37 weeks and I was given the weekend to start labor or I was going to be induced. I was so thankful for the opportunity because I was hell bent against being medically induced. I didn’t think I would be able to deal with the pitocin without taking the drugs. so I did everything I could to start labor. Multiple trips to my acupuncturist, reflexology, gallons of raspberry leaf tea, sex. Everything I could think of! Luckily we had a not-so-lucky plumbing issue in our basement and the stress pushed me over the edge into labor. 
 
I stayed home as long as possible, and had an amazing l&d nurse. I had discussed my birth plan with all the doctors and midwives in your practice and everyone told me they would support the birth I wanted. You yourself told me it would be a hands off experience, you were just there “if we needed anything.” Were you lying to me in your office? Just saying what this silly, hormonal pregnant woman wanted to hear, because on that day I surely would change my mind? Or did you truly believe what you were telling me? Because in the middle of the night, in the throes of labor I did not feel supported. 
 
I know you are a well respected physician in the community and you have delivered hundreds of babies. Women have raved about you to me. But I do not know how much experience you have with natural laboring women. Not being a women yourself, you could never imagine what the experience of giving birth feels like, but I never thought you would make me feel so violated and disrespected. 
 
My choice to be drug free was mocked by you. When my cervix stalled at 9.5cm and you suggested “I just push past it.” I told you to leave me alone you were offended and rude. After I labored alone for awhile and finally gave into the persistent requests to be checked, I was fully open and my baby had descended to +2 station. I was exhausted but I really did not want to labor on my back or push, but I was pressured into “letting the staff help” with directed pushing. 
 
You finally agreed to let me try on all fours, but you were not supportive. You would not help me to learn how to push. This was my first baby. My first experience. I know I wasn’t in the easiest position for you and it was the middle of the night, but the hospital was empty and you promised me that you would support me. 
 
While I was on all fours trying to find the power and angle to properly push, you placed your fingers inside of me with no warning and pulled hard on my perineum. It was the most painful moment of my birth. Possibly the most painful experience of my life. You did not ask. You did not warn. You did not tell me what to expect. Why? Because this is common practice to do to a laboring woman’s body? Because if I had had an epidural I wouldn’t have felt that extreme pain and you didn’t think about the fact that I was drug less? I have relived this moment over and over again in my mind. I see myself on that bed and hear the blood curdling scream that I let out over and over. 
 
In any other circumstances this would be sexual assault, but because I was in labor it’s OK? Because I was already in the throes of one of the most intense experiences of my life it was OK? Because you thought you were helping it’s OK? It’s not. You should have given me enough respect to ask. You should have believed in me and my body like you promised you would. My body didn’t need help. It needed more time. 
 
It is bad enough that the medical community has forced pregnant women to believe that they need epidurals to get through birth; and that it’s OK tear, and that laboring on their backs is better because it’s what’s convenient for you. In fact when I told you that tearing was a concern of mine, you scoffed at me and told me we would fix it. Like my concern was silly. This is my vagina we are discussing! You believe it’s OK to make decisions for my body. Decisions that I will deal with for the rest of my life without consulting me. Second degree tears do not have to be the new episiotomy. Especially since some of them are caused not by the baby, but by exactly what you did to me. All we need is more time. More time allows the body to open naturally and for the baby to descend on their own. No forcing them out. No forcing the tissues to open. No tearing and damaging such delicate skin and muscles who we depend on for a life after we give birth. 
 
This is the worst moment of my birth. The hardest moment to move past. And even worse, you probably don’t even remember me. If you needed to recall my daughter’s birth you probably couldn’t. Just another notch in your growing list of deliveries. You and this moment haunt me, and I am not even a fleeting thought to you. There is nothing I can do to change this birth experience. All I can do is take this with me for any future births I will have, and hope that by writing this letter I will save another women the agony of this same experience. And that maybe, just maybe, you will gain a little more respect for the laboring women and their bodies that you deal with on a daily basis. 
 
Kindest regards,
One of your former patients 
 

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Her View From Home

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6 Comments

  • Dear writer, I’m sorry for your experience. I’m glad you journaled and took time to acknowledge your pain. Mourning a loss is important to recovery. You are a great woman. A strong one. You trusted your body and you did it. Shame on this guy for being such a d*ck! All the best to you. Sincerely, a woman who has walked in your shoes.

  • Ok, I’m not sure what kind of paperwork you have to sign, or if it’s different to do a natural birth, but the reason that feels wrong is because it IS wrong. He had no right to touch you, ever, without your permission. Lipstick on a pig is still a pig right? Well doctors are still able to violate patients. And you shouldn’t have to stand for it. You have a case, he needs to know what he did was wrong you need to be the one to tell him.

  • I am going to start this by saying I am so sorry the birth of your child didn’t go the way you wanted it, and I in no way think you are wrong in feeling upset by it. Your feelings toward what happened are very valid. You can hate him all you want and trust me when I say I agree for you to not go back to him. He is not the doctor you need if you choose to have more children. And it sounds like he had shitty bedside manner.

    I was bothered by the way you described the way you described the part to his handling of you to sexual assault. You had said, “While I was on all fours trying to find the power and angle to properly push, you placed your fingers inside of me with no warning and pulled hard on my perineum. It was the most painful moment of my birth. Possibly the most painful experience of my life. You did not ask. You did not warn. You did not tell me what to expect. Why? Because this is common practice to do to a laboring woman’s body? Because if I had had an epidural I wouldn’t have felt that extreme pain and you didn’t think about the fact that I was drug less? I have relived this moment over and over again in my mind. I see myself on that bed and hear the blood curdling scream that I let out over and over. In any other circumstances this would be sexual assault, but because I was in labor it’s OK? Because I was already in the throes of one of the most intense experiences of my life it was OK? Because you thought you were helping it’s OK? It’s not. You should have given me enough respect to ask. You should have believed in me and my body like you promised you would. My body didn’t need help. It needed more time.” It bothered me because sexual assault isn’t something that should be said lightly or vaguely accused! It is unwanted sexual contact, and for any doctor there is nothing sexual happening in delivering a baby.
    Since you had preeclampsia and not a normal pregnancy there might not have been more time to let your body do what it does naturally. If he felt the baby was in distress or he was concerned about the preeclampsia there is a chance he didn’t think to say first what he was doing, there is a chance he went into save the patient/baby mode, there is a chance what he did actually did help you. I have no idea the exact details of you medical files to know if that was the case. But many many time when doctors do things like this it isn’t a lack of respect. In an office before active labor he may have very well believed in you and your body. He may have figure you were going to have a normal and healthy delivery, but preeclampsia can be dangerously serious and it put you in the high risk category. Granted his bedside manner with you during the delivery was highly lacking and I have been there before!

    My mom was a labor and delivery nurse for years and she has said before that there is a big part in some of the education (for both patient and medical staff) missing with the whole birth plan and natural birth movement. She thinks more doctors, nurses, doulas, and midwives need to be much more clear that a birth plan isn’t a contract to do what you want, only a promise to do what you want if they can. And the only time it will work to the letter of what you want is only when you have a completely normal and healthy pregnancy and delivery, with no complications. Not because the doctors or nurses are not being insensitive or trying to dismiss the mother’s wishes, but because making sure the patient and baby are going to make it may become the #1 priority. And if that is the case doctors and nurses go into medical mode. Which sometimes means things may be done without telling the patient first, including things the are very much against what the mother wanted. I only know the details as you presented them, so I am not saying what my mom said is part of your situation. Just that you and your doctor were not on the same page on what you each consider a birth plan to be.

    I have 3 children and my 1st delivery was not great.
    My first doctor that I had when my son (my 1st child) was born was awful. I have a bleeding disorder and a few other health issues, so I didn’t consider natural birth as my choice. I had the mind set I would go in and try in and try natural but I wasn’t against an epidural (which i ended up getting in all 3 of my deliveries).
    My doctor came in mad my son was ready to be born before 10 am (I have fast labors so I was in labor a total of 7 hours with my 1st, she assumed I would take awhile since it was my1st baby), because she planned on seeing patients until 10:00am. Since babies natural move up and down the birth canal some during delivery she yelled at my nurse, in front of my husband, my mom, a student nurse observing the delivery, and me that I wasn’t further along. Apparently she wanted me to be crowning and ready to push within minutes of her arrival at the hospital. She was horrible to the nurses, incredibly rude to my husband, she was very short with me but I had tried Demerol before the epidural (which I never used again) so I was kind of out of it. My mom (the labor and delivery nurse) was furious with her treatment of the staff and her bedside manner. She said there were a few times she was very close to telling the doctor to leave and just let my head nurse delivery my son because she could tell she could handle it better the doctor was. After my son was born the student nurse asked if she was my actual doctor or if they had to pull in someone on call. I said she was my usual doctor but I wasn’t so sure about her after that.
    Once my son was born and perfectly healthy my mom said she had never seen a doctor be so rough with a baby during a delivery (and she has helped deliver a lot of babies), and if he hadn’t been born with in minutes of what she saw, she would have then definitely told the doctor to leave. I saw this doctor once more for my 6 week follow up and said I was having issue with block ducts. She barely helped me and dismissed most of my after birth concerns with “well you just had a baby!”. I ended making an appointment with another OBGYN who helped me much more with the blocked ducts. That doctor went on to help me get through a miscarriage and the births of my 2 daughters. Shortly after switching to my new OBGYN for the duct issue, I found my 1st doctor had been sued and lost. The patient had been awarded millions. I found out when I was pregnant with my 2nd child 3 years, that during those last 3 years my 1st doctor had been told to “retire” from the OB stuff. She does something with the GYN part and skin rejuvenation now. I share that story so you hopefully don’t think I am some internet troll out to say you are wrong and I am right with the stuff before. Just that there might have been a CHANCE the doctor thought he was doing what was best and sometimes in the moment they may calculate a chance of distress and do something they don’t tell you first.
    I hope if you have more children you get better experience in the future. 🙂

    • I am a doula, have worked with many women and have seen the abuse – which YES, should be classified as sexual because it happens to a sexual part of a woman’s body that happens to be passing a baby. The trauma that a woman experiences in labor or birth can most definitely be ranked as horrific as sexual abuse and the medical issues the writer experienced should IN NO WAY be elevated above her rights as a human being. If there was a true medical emergency, there are always ways to communicate that – even as a procedure or intervention is taking place. I’ve seen EXACTLY the sort of experience happen the writer describes and there was no reason for it in the case I witnessed as well. We must stop victim shaming laboring women and realize the system in which 99% of women choose to birth is patriarchal and broken beyond repair.

      And if you believe that male doctors have all their male-ness medically trained out of them… https://www.google.com/amp/s/forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/amp/?client=safari

      • I meant to reply and some how accidentally deleted my first comment, because of course I did. Ugh sorry it make your comment seem like it came out of no where.
        I shouldn’t do things like when I am on the verge of a migraine, I have totally deleted or made other weird mistake like that because I am click happy and add an almost migraine to that and click happy equals click the wrong thing.
        Long story short, I wasn’t trying to victim shame or saying doctors don’t have their male-ness trained out of them. I made sure to say for most doctors before, because I am fully aware there are some creepy doctors, men and women, in all fields of medicine. The post you shared doesn’t really prove anything because it is one person’s story that means nothing could be real in it or everything could be real in it. Are there creep male doctors of course there are. There are also some amazing male doctors. Just as there are some horrific female doctors and great ones.
        My first delivery was with a female OBGYN and this story could have been about her. She was horrible to every one nurses, my husband, she was somewhat nicer to me. But if I hadn’t wanted an epidural I am sure I would have been in horrific pain based on how rough she was with me. I found out later she was sued and lost. I am very thankful I have an amazing healthy 9 year old son today.
        Was this woman’s? Who knows. He would never admit he was annoyed by her natural birth plan and did whatever he wanted. A female doctor who did this would never either. My shitty first doctor never would have, I bet she probably think it is crap she lost her law suit. My OBGYN for my kids I have had since is amazing.
        I simply tried to point out another side because of how she wrote every thing as questions. If she really wanted some possible answers to those questions it is possible he didn’t mean in any way to make her feel violated. That he was concerned about her preeclampsia. She didn’t post any thing about about her body or the baby’s were handle that part of the delivery, so I don’t know if he was possibly acting on a concern for that OR because he was a doctor who prefers his patients to get an epidural and lay down. Which I am fully aware there are doctors out there that are not fans of the birth plan.
        Which I honestly was totally ok with the epidural when I had my kids, between having a bleeding disorder than meant I had to be in a level 3 hospital to deliver and a serious chronic pain condition (not migraines, I have just a whole mess of crap wrong with me) I tried to labor naturally for awhile with my first and just couldn’t hack it already going in to starting labor in a lot of pain.
        But I also think it is amazing if you can do it natural and there is no shame in breaking your birth plan do to your choice or serious medical need, (like if you don’t have c-section the baby will die kind of stuff).
        It should be the woman’s choice either way. My mom (who was a labor and delivery nurse) has said that there is a big part in the education missing with the whole birth plan and wanting a natural birth movement. She think more doctors nurses, doulas, and midwives need to be very clear that a birth plan isn’t a contract to do what you want, and is only going to really work how you want if you have a completely normal and healthy pregnancy and delivery. Not because the doctors or nurses are not being insensitive or trying to dismiss the mother’s wishes, but because they go into save the patient/baby mode and that becomes the #1 priority. That things may be done without telling the patient first, including things the are very much against what the mother wanted.

  • Dear new mother,
    What a courageous stand you have taken in sharing this experience. So many women have endured the same abuse and thought it was “normal” or had a “purpose” in the moment. Thank you for speaking out and shining a light onto the heartaches so many other women experience. You have made my birth-heart mourn with you and my woman-soul ache to hold you and fight for you. Thank you for your bravery and I wish you blessings and healing as you continue on your path. <3