17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Two very different births, naturally.

Boulder, Colorado: Home to hairy armpits, cage-free chicken eggs, organic everything, and natural childbearing.

Queens, NY: Not.

My first child was born in Utah. I was induced early because my doctor was leaving town and I'd save $500 on insurance if he was born before February. Nothing natural about it. After the birth (of which I felt nothing after reaching 4 cm.), sure I was happy, but I felt robbed of the elation, adrenalin, and immediate bond that I thought accompanied childbirth. So I decided the next baby would be without the precious epidural.

My second child was born in Boulder, Colorado, the mecca of natural everything. It was the ideal place for Bradley classes and, although I didn't have one that is where I learned what in the heck a doula was. Our natural childbirth instructor informed us of our hospital's accommodations for laboring--yoga balls, full shower and bath, and lots of mobility. She also educated us on all of the great positions to squeeze that baby out--back, side, knees, even a squatting bar was available so you could hang on and squat over the bed! Boy were we set!

Well, at 39 weeks I was dilated to a 5-6. No labor. No joke. Next week I was a six. Next week, I was STILL a freakin' six! And no labor. My doc, as though defeated, decided she'd sneak me into the already full hospital and break my water. So, I came to the hospital after a light lunch (which anywhere else is a big no no) and got into my room. Comfy, plenty of space. I had a hep-lock put in (the start to an IV, but no fluids, just the needle in case of emergency) with no problem. My man and I were prepared for hours and hours of labor (thanks to our class) but figured it'd be pretty short! Well, they broke my water and I got off the monitors, off the bed, and labored kneeling on a pillow with my arms on a chair. One and a half hours later I got back in that bed ready to push. I couldn't bear to be on my back so I pushed lying on my side. The nurse had never delivered that way and she wasn't so sure the doctor would be there on time. There's a first for everything honey, cuz I wasn't movin'!! Well, the doctor made it and so did my baby. And boy did I get that adrenaline rush, that excitement, and that bond I had so wanted. The joy after the pain. I was later escorted to my large private recovery room. I decided to stay only one day--just because that's what all these "natural" ladies did. And so it was. I had my baby girl in my room nearly the entire time and loved it. A great experience.

My third baby joined our family 10 1/2 weeks ago in the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. I thought since I couldn't make it to the cool birthing centers in Manhattan, being closer to Long Island was better than some of these scary "inner city" hospitals. And it'd be a lot like my Boulder experience, right?

So, again I'm dilated to a five and not in labor. I'm up with crampy contractions all night and decide to go to the hospital even though I'm not really in pain. Heck, if I'm going to lose a night of sleep, I might as well get a baby out of it! Dh and I go in and I measured six. Still no pain, but ain't that a great way to go to the hospital to deliver a baby? I now had to wait until someone would please break my water and get things moving. I'd already surrendered to the medical world and gotten the IV. My doctor informed me that everyone that's admitted gets an IV. Ok. Fine. I give. As I waited in the labor room I asked the nurse for a chair so I could kneel on it while I labor. The nurse was SO VERY concerned about this. She kept on asking why I needed a chair and assured me I would not be getting out of bed. We kept pressing her but got nowhere. (Why there wasn't one for my dh in the first place, I'll never know.) I told my dh that if they really weren't going to let me get up, than I might as well just forget it and get the epidural. MY way or NO way! I was very blessed that my own doctor was contacted because she was the one that gave the orders that I could "ambulate". The doctor on call even came in to ask why I wanted a chair and what I was thinking. "SHEESH YOU CRAZY PEOPLE!" THAT's what I was thinking! He consented as well saying (and I quote), "Whatever floats your boat." I wanted to PUNCH him! My water was broken and I could finally kneel by a chair. 45 minutes later it was pushing time. I got in bed and again, needed to push while on my side. A luxury that my doctor said I would not have gotten if she were not there. After the birth I got that exhilarating feeling again. Totally worth it. Well, the recovery room was far from private--it had 4 beds. The curtains separating us when closed were like overheated tents in the summertime. My husband was welcome from 7am -11pm and anyone else only from 1-8pm. And, only 4 at a time (not that there was room for more!). My TV was in between me and the mesh top of the curtain--nice. And, it came with a fee. So did the phone. The PHONE!! When I requested to leave after 24 hours I was, once again, looked at as if crazy. I was told I was "breaking protocol" and would need special permission. Oh brother. I didn't even get the permission.

So, besides the IV issue, the laboring issue, the pushing issue, the privacy issue, the TV/phone issue, the going home issue, and the fact that I had to go out into the "soup kitchen" line in the hall for breakfast, hike to the other side of the hospital floor for a shower and share an ill maintained bathroom with 2 other ladies the experiences were pretty much the same. Hey, at least I got healthy baby girls out of each!

Lesson learned: Share with your doctor EVERY DETAIL of your laboring and delivering wishes. Assume nothing. (And always be grateful for 4, 2, and 1 hour labors!)


  • Wow Katie. The irony for me in reading your post is that I had a very medical birth experience in a DC Hospital (induced with petocin, nubaine (never again) & epidural), and a natural experience in Manhattan (5 hours start to finish, completely private, natural, discharged within 18 hours, not EVEN a heplock (stuff that Boulder), and amazing).

    I am so sorry about what happened in neighboring Queens. And you ought to comment on what it cost you and if anyone has experienced that too...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/24/2006 10:18:00 AM  

  • After 2 births where I felt like I was being herded like cattle and treated like a "little girl who didn't understand her body" (like he's ever given birth before?!??!), I went to a NPM (Nurse Practitioner Midwife)

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful thing. I will never go back to a doctor unless my baby is dying.

    Not only did I deliver a 10 pound baby and only tear 1/2 a cm, but I was treated with respect. Great respect. And it was $3,000 cheaper. And I realized I COULD do it unmedicated. And I felt empowered as a woman. I felt strong. It hurt (like a mother! Duh...) and I had never felt so much pain in my life, but I never felt so elated at my body's ability to overcome that pain. My midwife was there the entire time. I delivered and recovered in the same hospital room. My baby boy was with me 98% of the time. Even my skeptical husband was amazed and delighted with the entire thing (especially the cheaper part :) :) ).

    All in all, it was the best medical decision I ever made.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 1/24/2006 12:51:00 PM  

  • It is amazing that there are still so many doctors delivering babies that don't get it. I had my first two in manhattan with midwives in St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital birth center. Both were natural, amazing and exactly what I wanted. I was so worried in moving here to summit county colorado that I would have a bad birth experience, but so far so good. I have a midwife, we just went over my birth plan today and she agreed with everything I said and the Vail hospital has amazing labor,delivery,recovery,postpartum, baby-room in rooms. pfew.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 1/24/2006 05:43:00 PM  

  • We should all be thankful that hospitals have come as far as they have with the whol birthing experience. I know our mothers had far worse experiences. But, it is obvious that some hospitals have not come far enough.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 1/24/2006 05:48:00 PM  

  • I got the best of both worlds. I delivered in a hospital with a Certified Nurse Midwife. I did opt for an epidural, but it started wearing off. My anesthiologist wanted to give me more right away, but my midwife suggested we check the baby and see where I was. Her reasoning was that it would be a better experience for me if I could feel some of the pressure so I could know when to push. She was absolutely right. She let all 3 of my sisters stay in the room with me, and then when Jacob was basically free, she even let me pull him out the rest of the way. I rested him on my bare skin, and he started suckling literally the minute after he was born. I held him to my skin for the first 5 minutes of his life before they took him away and bathed him, etc, etc. It was pain free, but I could feel to push, I tore only minimally, I had loving women to receive my child, and they let me hold him immediately. I loved it. It was perfect.

    Because of certain complications, if we ever have children again, it almost certainly will not be with a midwife because I'm now officially "high risk". Too bad. I really felt loved and honored by those women who brought my son into the world.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 1/25/2006 05:05:00 PM  

  • I delivered both my boys at NYU Med in midtown...I would have liked a less "medical" experience...but I was a little nervous (especially w. #2 since #1 was premature). Turns out, I got a pretty natural experience because they both came too fast for me to get any kind of pain relief...and both of my nurses were into alternative methods so I got to shower, push against the bed, etc. etc.

    My obgyn is still in awe of me...I'm the "all natural woman"...whenever I go to visit her(honestly, I don't think I could have lasted drugless through a really long labor)... I never realized how unusual natural births were on the East Coast until then.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 1/26/2006 07:49:00 AM  

  • What a crappy experience you had in Queens. But, honestly it's not all that uncommon. Pregnant women are quite often treated like sheep to the slaughterhouse- You really have to fight for what you want. I’ve always believed that women know best- for their bodies and their babies. Unfortunately many hospitals are run by administrators that have no consideration for horror-monal pregnant women.
    posted by Blogger Stacy at 1/31/2006 01:35:00 PM  

  • Wow is all I can say. Wow. You amaze me all of you. AMAZING!!! It is so interesting how different people's experiences are and yet how the same amazing feelings can come out of it. I had a purely medical experience (c-sections both times), loved it and at first couldn't understand how anyone would want an "natural" birth. You all must have a different. It facinates me so I love reading your experiences. AMAZING!!
    posted by Blogger nestle at 2/01/2006 09:01:00 AM  

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