I asked my friend if I could share her birth story after helping her revise her version for the Alabama Health Committee hearing on Wednesday. She passed out a brochure asking the committee to approve HB 284 and sharing her traumatic birth story. Unfortunately on Wednesday, they did not vote; however, there was positive news articles and support of the bill. Usually the bill doesn’t even have a hearing, so Wednesday was a big deal.
I am in awe of my friend. She has been so courageous throughout her family’s loss. Here is my revised version of my friend’s birth story:
On Saturday, July 25, light contractions began. My family of three decided to spend the day celebrating the anticipated arrival of Eliza. I decided to labor at home due to an unsatisfactory hospital labor and delivery with my first daughter. At home, I was able to control labor pains and progress calmly, without medical interventions. Early morning July 26th, my contractions entered the active labor stage. Due to current laws, I was unable to hire a medical professional, such as a Certified Professional Midwife, to assess my labor progression at home. My family traveled to the local hospital. Upon arrival, an L&D nurse took me straight to the delivery room due to my obvious active labor signs. After an assessment, I was 8cm dilated and processed into the maternity ward with an IV placement and attached to monitors. All unnecessary medical interventions that I didn’t want; however, had to follow because of hospital policies. Then, I was told to stay in bed, which decreased my labor progression. I repeatedly told the nurse I preferred a natural, un-medicated birth and needed to walk around to progress labor. They recommended Pitocin via the IV, which I declined and asked, yet again, to use different labor positions and walking for progression results. My requests were dismissed. The nurse returned a short time later unsatisfied with my minuscule progression and expressed Pitocin was needed again. Feeling unsupported and defeated, the Pitocin was administered via IV. The contractions came continuously and intensely. Although I asked for an epidural twice, I was administered Nubain, Demerol, and extra fluids for several hours in rotation. I, again, asked for an epidural instead of the pain medications that heavily sedated me. I asked my OB about the side effects these medications could have on my unborn daughter. To which he replied Narcan would be given, if she was born “dopey”. Again, I asked for an epidural instead. Finally, I was given more IV fluids to prep for the epidural. Several hours passed with minimal progress with the Pitocin. Now exhausted and traumatized, I had been in the hospital for 16 hours and still measured at 8cm dilated. As a last ditch effort before prepping me for a Cesarean section, the nurses allowed me to lay on my side, the exact request I asked for hours earlier. Labor instantly progressed, within 30 minutes I was dilated to 10cm, and ready to push. Now, early morning July 27, I am exhausted from the previous medications and stress, and my pushing was determined insufficient. The OB used a vacuum after I asked for another chance at pushing. Eliza was expelled via the vacuum. Her umbilical cord was immediately clamped and cut due to low oxygen levels, although I expressed my desire for delayed cord clamping and cutting. The medical staff immediately transported Eliza to the NICU. Unaware of the severity and fragileness of Eliza’s condition, I and my family was relieved and excited to meet her. A nurse notified us that Eliza required emergency transportation to another hospital in Montgomery or Birmingham. We were confused and devastated by the news. The next update we received stated Eliza’s oxygen levels increased and her overall health improved. I was transported into a recovery room and eagerly waited to hold my newborn. Next, a pediatrician informed us in medical jargon, we did not understand, that Eliza would not live unless she could endure a transfer to Montgomery. We were told she was being prepped for the move and we could hold her prior to departure. Expecting my newborn, the pediatrician returned with the horrific news that Eliza died at 5:09 am. The reality of never being able to hold her, rejoicing her life, and watching her grow with her sister devastated me, and my family. Eliza should be alive today! My birth story would be different if I was given the option to hire a Certified Professional Midwife in Alabama. I do not want another woman to experience what my family has. Please support HB 284 today!