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Susan's Third Birth: Stolen Triumph

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Guest post by Susan Peterson


Birth #3 Stolen Triumph. In which I get very very angry at Dr. Brew.

So here I was, pregnant with baby #3 while still tandem nursing. Even my La Leche League friends asked me if I were going to get a breast transplant so I could nurse three kids at once. My oldest son was over three now. I told him that I couldn’t nurse him and Winnie and grow the new baby. I told him I would nurse him to sleep one last time, and then we wouldn’t do it any more. He said “What about Winnie?” and I said, well, you nursed a long time before she did, so she is going to nurse a while after you stop. This seemed like justice to him, so he agreed. I nursed him to sleep one last time. A few days later he walked into the room while I was nursing Winnie and I tensed up. He said “Don’t worry, Mommy, I won’t ask for breastie.”

I just had to get that story in here.

I went back to Dr. Brew for baby #3.  This time I took the bus into DC and walked from the bus stop to his office. I still remember the little import shop on the way where I bought a delicious imported German mustard.  I made myself walk up to his second floor office right to the end, even though I hit 220 pounds at the end of the pregnancy, and the elevator was tempting. This was the pregnancy when people stopped asking me if I were going to have twins and started asking about triplets.

There was some talk early in this pregnancy that I might be able to have this baby at home.  Dr. Brew thought that once the uterus had proved itself the risk was much less. I don’t know what happened to what he had said to me during the last labor about only being able to push out a tiny baby like a twin.  But anyway, he didn’t do homebirths as far away as Annapolis. The midwives at Maternity Center Associates did, but I was outside their parameters. One of the midwives (CNM’s) said to me “If he thinks it is safe, let him do it.” So we were at an impasse.  While I fantasized about being left alone and just giving birth, I really didn’t have confidence yet that my body could do it. After all, I hadn’t yet pushed out a baby. So I planned another hospital birth with Dr. Brew.  I got Dr. Brew to promise that if I could push the baby out myself, that I could deliver in the labor bed.  Back then the usual thing was to be taken to the delivery room, which was something like an OR, for the actual birth, and I did not want that. He seemed to promise this without any great hesitation.

The last visit before the birth was with Dr. Brew’s partner whose name I can’t remember. He was a much less flashy doctor not featured in any books, but in retrospect I imagine that I would now personally like him better than Dr. Brew. At the time I was probably too attached to Dr. Brew.  I was very much the kind of young woman to look for father figures and lean on them.  In fact I had one unpleasant moment with Dr. Brew in which I looked for assurance that he would be at my birth.  He said something not very nice along the lines that I could call him but if he were not on call he was not going to land his airplane to come to my birth. Apparently he owned a small plane and liked to fly. I was rather taken aback and reminded him that in my previous pregnancy he had assured me that he would be at my birth. He said that that was because of the VBAC, no one else would do it.  But now I was just an ordinary pregnancy, he said. “It is much better not to be interesting, you know.”  This may be what led to my making an appointment with his partner.  So at my appointment with the partner, he came over and put his hands on my belly, above and below the baby, what I now know is Leopold’s maneuver. He looked startled, straightened up, went over and read my chart. “Well, you do have large babies,” he said, “but I think this one might be bigger. You need to consider that this may not work out the way you want it to.”  I blithely assured him that the baby would come through my pelvis, the question was just whether I could push it out.  He kind of raised his eyebrows and left it at that. Perhaps later he passed his concern along to Dr. Brew and got him worried. I can only speculate.

The day I went into labor I was not expecting it at all. I was three days before my due date and really didn’t expect the birth until at the least the due date, and more likely a week later. It was Ash Wednesday and I had been to church and gotten my ashes. Then a friend with a floor buffing machine had come over and we did my kitchen floor. After she went home my back kind of ached, which I thought was from cleaning the floor, and my kids both went to sleep at the same time, so I took the opportunity to take a long warm bath and read. My back still kind of ached, not a familiar feeling back then, but I didn’t connect it to labor in my mind. I got dressed and was sitting on the couch, because my back ached too much for me to want to do much, while the kids, now awake, played in the room. The phone rang, and when I jumped up, my water broke, with a gush. It was my friend who was concerned that she had left something at my house. I was very distracted and had trouble concentrating on her concern. I told her I didn’t think whatever it was was here, and then I told her my water just broke. “So call your doctor” she said, and said good bye. Instead I called my other friend, the one who was going to watch my kids while I went to the hospital, and whose husband was going to drive me to the hospital. ‘I am afraid it is going to be like with Willy,” I said anxiously, “and I won’t go into labor.” Just then I was hit by a serious contraction.  She told me to call the doctor. I was still hesitant to do that, but decided to start gathering together the kid’s stuff.  I was hit by another contraction, and another. They were so strong, that at one point I felt I couldn’t stand up and lay down on the floor. Of course it hurt there also, so when it was done I got up and went about gathering their stuff together.  I told them they would be going to Peggy’s house, and I was going to go have the baby. 

I tried to time contractions and they were already less than five minutes apart, so I called the doctor’s answering service and told them I was coming to the hospital as soon as I could get my kids to the babysitter and hook up with my ride. I called my husband at the restaurant, and he asked if he could finish some culinary task-I think it was cutting up a piece of meat into portion sizes. I told him no-but he did anyway. I called Peggy again and she gave me the number of the apartment building where her husband was painting. This next never ceases to amaze me.  I called the number and got the wife of the building super, who said she had no idea where Jim was painting and she wasn’t going to go looking for him.  “But I am in labor, and he is going to drive me to the hospital!” I said, thinking she hadn’t understood. “That’s not my problem,” she said, and hung up. This was before there were cell phones. There was no other way to reach Jim, who was at least several miles away from where I was. I called again and begged the woman to help me, and she hung up on me.  My husband arrived, having walked home from the restaurant, and went to wash up.  We were starting to talk about whether we could take a taxi from Annapolis to DC, but we didn’t have that kind of cash on us. In fact it is dubious whether we had that much money even in our bank account.  If we called an ambulance they would only take us to the local hospital, not to DC. Despite all my fantasies about blizzards, it did not occur to me that this might be my excuse to stay home.  Finally I called one more time and got the super himself, who apologized for his wife and went and got Jim. We went down the three flights of stairs to wait for him out front. I remember having contractions and holding on to the iron stair railing of the concrete and brick front stairs.  Every time I visit Annapolis and go past that stair railing, I think of clinging to it while having contractions.

So then there was the 45 minute drive in the front seat of a pickup. I sat on a towel and absolutely soaked it. The bumpy ride was very uncomfortable.  I had a lot of contractions.  I didn’t bother to time them. Jim dropped us off at the ER, of Washington Hospital Center this time, since Dr. Brew no longer had privileges at Georgetown. They did the wheelchair thing to labor and delivery.  As we came in, Dr. Brew was standing leaning on the nurses station counter talking to someone.  He glanced at me but didn’t make eye contact or say anything to me, just went on with his conversation.  I found this to be very distressing. Was he trying to keep me from obstetrician attachment, as he talks about in the Home Birth book? Or was it just that this was the hospital, he was a doctor talking to another doctor, and I was a patient? You don’t say a personal hello to a patient in the hall. When you go in the room, then you pay attention to her. But I felt it personally.

I was in a very small labor room, less than half the size of the last one, on a rather high, hard, narrow bed. Someone examined me-not Dr. Brew I don’t think- and told me I was 7cms. That was cheering news. The nurse shaved me, being nice enough to do it in between contractions. I think I asked if they were going to do the enema next, or asked if I had to have it, and the nurse said “We don’t do enemas on women who are 7 centimeters.”  Funny that I remember that, but absolutely do not remember the two previous times when I almost certainly did have an enema. Then they started bringing me papers to sign. I was having contractions so close together that I literally only had time to prop up the clipboard again my knee and sign my name before the next one hit me.  There just wasn’t any time to read anything. I think now I could have refused to sign on that basis, and that that would have been smarter, but I just signed. Contraction, signature, contraction, signature, contraction, signature. It was like a game. Somewhere a part of me that was watching from way up in some corner thought it was funny.  After that, a tall angular young woman came into the room, ripping open a sterile package, came up to me, put the head of my bed down while I was having a contraction, opened my legs and aimed some kind of wire towards my vagina, all without saying a word to me!  I put my legs back together, pulled myself up by the bedrail, and said ‘What are you doing? And who are you?”  She said, “I’m Dr. X, I’m a resident. I’m going to insert an internal monitor.” “Dr Brew said I don’t have to have that,” I insisted. She looked taken aback, left the room without a word, and didn’t come back. (But when I got the hospital bill, the internal monitor lead was on it. After all, she opened the sterile pack!)

I had to have my husband get a nurse to put the head of the bed back up as we didn’t know how. The next intruder was a handsome young doctor who asked me from the door if I wanted an epidural. I thought, “Don’t these people know who I am? Didn’t Dr. Brew tell them anything?” I said, “No, I don’t want that.” Then, still afraid of being made a fool of by not being able to live up to my resolutions, I added, “Unless for some reason I need it.” Dr. Brew was standing behind him, and this time he actually looked at me and said “You won’t need it.”  It is sort of pitiful how appreciative I was of this.  After that I had a little peace from the hospital. Dr. Brew actually came in the room and sat there quietly the way he had the last time. I had some pretty intense contractions. I threw up, the only time I ever threw up in labor. Strangely I don’t remember being examined again and being told I could push. I remember I was pushing, with the head of the bed up, in a semi-sit position, and feeling good and strong. In between contractions I guess I was somewhere else, half sleeping or something. Then Dr. Brew came over to me and said, “You know, we only give you two hours.”  I asked him how long it had been, and he said “How long do you think it has been?”  I really thought about 15 minutes but I got the idea that was wrong, so I said “Twenty minutes?” He said it had been an hour and a half. So I got up in a full squat, holding on to the siderails, and pushed with all my might. At one point I said I felt like I had to shit. The nurse said “It’s the pressure from the baby.”

But Dr. Brew said something odd, “You just like talking like that.” Since my father once got very angry with me for saying “shit,” this was an upsetting reproach, but I was far too involved in what I was doing to give it much attention, and kept pushing.  At one point they told me I didn’t have to keep pushing in between contractions, and I said “I don’t want it to go back in!”  They told me it was normal for the head to recede between contractions, but I knew I didn’t like it. One time I put my hand down to feel the baby’s head, having read about women doing that, and felt it just for a second before a nurse pulled my hand away.  Then I started to feel the beginning of the “ring of fire” and said “I feel some of that burning stretching sensation I’ve read about.” I was just informing him so he would know what was happening. At this moment I felt so wonderful and strong, and knew I was about to actually GIVE BIRTH.

And that’s as close as I got to actively giving birth. He had me get out of my squat so he could look, and then he told the nurse we were going to the delivery room.  I wailed loudly, “But you said if I could push out the baby, I could deliver in the labor bed. “  And he said the most outrageous thing to me. “Then it’s a good thing I lied to you.”  If he had been close enough I would have hit him. As the bed was pulled through the hall I was pushing with all the anger I felt. The nurses were telling me to stop pushing and I was ignoring them. In between pushes I was yelling and cursing at him. I don’t know if that bed was used in the delivery room, or if I had to move to another, but I soon found myself exactly how I had NOT wanted to have my baby, lying on my back, with my legs spread wide in stirrups, all covered in blue drapes. Dr. Brew was at the door of the room, being dressed by the nurses as if for an operation. With my butt right up at the end of the table I was afraid my baby would fall out on the floor, so then I did my best not to push. There wasn’t even a nurse standing there.  I strained my head around to see him pulling on gloves, and yelled at him, “Get those fucking gloves on and get the fuck over here and catch this baby before it falls on the floor!” He hurried over, I guess he cut an episiotomy. I didn’t feel it. I don’t even remember feeling the baby come out. Maybe I was too angry to feel anything. What I remember next is Dr. Brew sheepishly holding up my baby to show me, and saying sort of sotto voce “Next time you can stay home.”  My thought was, “I damn well will, and YOU won’t be anywhere around.”

I suppose I held the baby for awhile, there must have been a moment when I learned he was a boy; this is all gone from my memory. It took a while for that anger to drain out of my system. I do remember Dr. Brew asking me how big I thought this baby was, and I said, “Oh, nine and a half pounds like the other ones.” He shook his head. Someone took the baby out or to the back of the room behind my head to weigh him and came back saying “Eleven pounds.”  I think I said, “You’re kidding me!” and I had to be assured that no, they were not. He was also 22 inches long.

There was more “controlled cord traction” and the placenta was out in four or five minutes. I didn’t pay much attention to that at the time but I read it in my record later. They also showed me the placenta, which I do remember. It was very large, about four times as big as the model I once saw of a typical placenta. But it did not look nice and meaty like the last one. I remember that it looked kind of grey to me and as if it were disintegrating. I remember thinking it was a good thing the baby was born when he was and that that was probably why he was three days early.

So then we were back in the same little labor room.  I had not wanted any separation from the baby at all in the hospital, and that had been the one thing I made a point of insisting upon and planning for. I remember Dr. Brew had written in the chart “candidate for bonding” and I said to him “Isn’t everyone a candidate for bonding?” He agreed I was right but he said this was the medical way of writing that I was interested in keeping the baby with me. So he had recommended a pediatrician practice in DC, two women, and they had promised one of them would come in when I had the baby, and do anything the baby needed, right in the room with me.  I think both of them were there; there were two women there anyway; maybe one of them was a peds resident, as she didn’t say much. 

At some point they did a blood sugar test. That wasn’t as instantaneous then as it is now, and the pediatrician went out of the room to get the results. She told me his blood sugar was really low. She said, “I had to stretch it to call it 30, and at 30 we start a sugar IV.  He is only getting colostrum from you now. it isn’t enough to get his sugar up.” She explained what low blood sugar can cause, seizures, brain damage, coma, death. (I wasn’t a nurse then and had only a vague idea about this.) She said, “If we give him sugar water orally his blood sugar will go up and then it will crash back down again. He really needs to have formula.”  This woman must have been an amazing person, because she didn’t grab my baby, she didn’t hover over me as if to do so, she didn’t create an atmosphere of panic, she didn’t hint at blame, she didn’t play any guilt trips on me because she was sitting in the hospital with meat 10 p.m.  She had to be amazing because I, who really hate the whole idea of bottle feeding, agreed to this, and without a hint of suspicion that she was conning me in some way. I couldn’t bear to do it myself, and she sat there in that tiny labor room on a folding chair and gave my baby a bottle of soy formula, while I had something to eat myself. My husband had gotten two cans out of a machine which delivered heated cans of food. He brought chili and macaroni and cheese. I eagerly picked the chili, and ate it right up. Then he said he didn’t buy two chillis because he thought I wouldn’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday. Oops, I forgot, or else I wouldn’t have.

So the baby’s blood sugar came up, and we went up to our room. My husband was given a recliner. They said something like I could sleep and my husband could watch over us.  The pediatrician told us she had asked the nurses to check on us every hour during the night. The baby was born at 9 p.m. We must have gotten to the room sometime around 11.  Well, my husband instantly went to sleep. I forgot to mention that shortly before I went into labor he had given up smoking, drinking, (which he didn’t do all that much anyway), and coffee, all at once, and refused to drink coffee even for my labor. And he can always go to sleep.  I stayed awake longer, nursing the baby on one side and the other, but finally fell asleep.  At 5 a.m. a nurse came into the room for the first time, and flipped on the light.  She took one look at the baby and started practically yelling at me. “Didn’t you see how red this baby is? Don’t you see those retractions?”

I looked at her feeling stupid and bewildered. I didn’t know what retractions were. And it had been dark, and the baby was cuddled against me nursing. I wasn’t looking at him. I looked at him, and he really was close to the color of a beet. The nurse pushed some kind of button and it seemed as if instantly there were many people in the room. They were taking my baby away.  They were saying “life-threatening” and giving me papers to sign.  I thought my baby was going to die. I thought, “Ash Wednesday, remember man that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return” and it seemed as if this must have been a prophetic way to begin that day.  What he had was polycythemia, too many red blood cells, and it is life threatening because that thick blood can clot much too easily, causing a heart attack or a stroke. I learned this later from the neonatologist. They didn’t know what caused it but it was associated with big babies and the babies of diabetics.  What they did was untie the umbilical cord and use it to remove some of the blood, replacing it with plasma. The neonatologist said that when he was in school they used to spin down the baby’s own blood to remove the red blood cells and give him back his own plasma, but now they just use plasma from the blood bank. I wished they had given him his own, not liking the idea of some stranger’s plasma in my baby, something that didn’t come from me.  Afterwards they brought him back and let me nurse him, said he was fine now - he would have to spend a day in the “Transitional Intensive Care Nursery” but I could go down there and nurse him.

My husband had to go home at that point. I don’t remember how he got home, but he had to take care of the other two kids. He had a hard time; my daughter was sick and throwing up. She had thrown up on all the crib sheets and he had used up all the diapers and had no laundry detergent,-I had meant to go buy it the afternoon I went into labor- so he put her in a back pack and Will in a stroller and went down to Rookies, the small upscale grocery facing the dock in Annapolis. On the way back, she threw up all over him. At one point I tried to tell them that I had to go home because my daughter was missing me so much she was throwing up, and they told me it was better I didn’t take a baby into that situation, as they saw it as a GI bug. Which I guess it probably was.

So I was going down to the “Transitional Intensive Care Nursery” every few hours. They tried to put me in a tiny room all by myself with the baby, but this was insanely boring. I said, “Can’t I just sit in that rocker out there and nurse him?” I thought they didn’t want me to watch them or hear what they were saying. But it turned out that they thought I wouldn’t want to nurse with doctors (male) walking in and out, while this hadn’t even occurred to me as a consideration.  It took a while for us to understand each other, but I got to sit out in the nursery. At one point a nurse said to me “You mean the doctor got that big baby out without breaking his collarbone?” At that point I don’t think I had ever heard of shoulder dystocia, so I really didn’t understand her remark.  Another time a baby came into the nursery and a nurse said, “This baby was born 45 minutes ago. That doctor has been letting that mother hold the baby all this time. Common sense would tell you that a newborn baby belongs under a warmer!” Common sense told me that babies had survived for a long time before there were electric warmers and it made me wonder about the commonness of ‘common sense.’ There was one baby there who didn’t look like a newborn. They sat him up in a baby chair and had a mobile hung in front of him. They explained to me that he had been a preemie whose mother left the hospital and never came back for him. He couldn’t be adopted until she was found to sign papers. (I don’t know why not foster care.)  They had been told that he needed ‘stimulation’ so they sat him up with the mobile a couple of times a day. I thought, why don’t you carry him? Why don’t you talk to him? I wanted to take him home myself. There was also a tiny little girl baby, about four pounds, in the little plastic bed next to my son’s.  She looked so delicate and pretty. There must be some kind of postpartum openness to baby impressions, because I felt in love with her also and have never forgotten her.

Next day we were back in the room. I was being given methergine because I was still bleeding heavily, which they told me was because I had such a big baby. They were weighing my baby before and after feedings and telling me he only got a quarter of an ounce. His blood sugar kept dropping, so each time after I nursed him, he had to get formula. I guess I must have given him bottles- I sort of hope I didn’t make those busy nurses do it- but if I did, I have blocked out the memory. I later found out that methergine keeps the milk from coming in.  I was visited once by Dr. Brew, who I could tell was really interested in this problem my son had had, but he did say to me “I told you it was no fun to be interesting.”  He also told me, “After this it is clear, size is no object for you obstetrically.” I said, “There must be some limit.”  And he said, “ I’d guess it’s somewhere up around 15 pounds.”  I was also visited by a neonatologist, accompanied by the nurse.  The nurse started to say that things like what happened to my baby were why babies should be in the nursery at night, and the neonatologist said to her, “No, things like this are why we should have followed the orders to check on the baby once an hour.”  I certainly appreciated his saying this.  But as a nurse now, I realize that if they were staffed for having all the babies in the nursery at night, it was probably quite a burden to just drop on them the requirement that they go out to a room once an hour, and of course, to chart on it. I have thought about this while working night shift, on some busy nights when I didn’t see one of my patients between my initial rounds at 11:30 after report, and 5 am.  Then the neonatologist went on to tell me that any more babies I had would probably be bigger and have these same problems even worse and that I shouldn’t have any more. He was surprised when I was upset by this. He asked if I had planned a large family.  I was thinking of six, actually, but I just said, well, I wasn’t thinking of this as the last one.  He said something like, sometimes events change our plans.  I didn’t argue any more with him. But I had no intention whatsoever of not having any more children. Luckily my husband didn’t hear any of this.

I had had a GTT after the first baby was 9-6, which was fine, and I had one in the second pregnancy, which I passed. So they didn’t bother to do one in this pregnancy; it wasn’t routine then. After the dire warnings of the neonatologist, I went to a doctor billed as a nutritional specialist, thinking to find out what was wrong with me and fix it, so I could have more kids. She turned out to be what seemed to me to be wacky, with signs about legalizing laetrile (supposed cancer treatment made from apricot pits) all over her office. But she did send me for a full 6 hour GTT which was all normal; in fact she said I was using sugar better than average. I didn’t go back to her because she asked me if I had sore throats and when I said yes she said I shouldn’t eat cantaloupe because it had yeast in it. I wanted to eat cantaloupe. And I didn’t think she was going to tell me anything useful.

The last day I was in the hospital I had to go down to some office to sign financial papers or something like that. I guess usually the husbands do it, but mine couldn’t come. So after I nursed him, I took the baby to the nursery and asked them if they would give him his bottle while I went downstairs. When I got back, his little plastic bed was by itself in an area away from the other babies, sort of like a hall, but inside an area with a big sign saying “HOSPITAL STAFF ONLY!”  He was crying. I stood there at the door, listening to him cry, and no one came.  I looked at the sign. I was really scared to go in there. But he was still crying. My heart pounding, I ran in, grabbed the rolling bed, and pulled it back to my room. No one even said a word to me or asked how it got back there. I always remember that as a kind of paradigm of how difficult it feels to disobey institutional order, and how possible it really is to do it.

When I went home from the hospital my hemoglobin was 9. I looked very pale and pasty. A woman I knew only slightly, who had seen my husband after my daughter threw up on him in front of her house, came to get me.  The hospital sent me home with a whole bunch of the soy formula my baby had been getting. I left it in her car.  Once I got home, with no more methergine, my milk came right in, and there was no further nonsense with bottles and formula.

When I got home and showed the baby to my two oldest kids, my daughter kind of shrank into herself and said, “But I’m a girl.” It turned out she though we chose which kind of baby to get, and that this meant we liked boys better. Of course I told her otherwise.  But she became very withdrawn, and I had to make a point of going to find her when the baby slept and offering her the breast. With this, she gradually became happy again.

My first postnatal visit at two weeks was with Dr. Brew’s partner. When I walked in the room, I started saying ‘You were right, he was bigger.’ and at the same time he was saying “You were right, you had no trouble delivering him.” He started telling me, I am not sure exactly why, about a conference he had just been to out in California. “All these young obstetricians are saying that we should deliver all breech babies by C-section. I’ve delivered hundreds of breech babies and they were all just fine. That’s what you need an obstetrician for. They want to turn us into just surgeons. So then nobody will know how to deliver a breech baby and they will have to be C-sections.” He shook his head.

When he examined me, he said he didn’t like to put his hands in the vagina this early, before six weeks, while there was still some bleeding, as he thought it was a risk of infection, and that he did rectal exams instead. I thought that since my husband and I had already had sex, he was being a lot more careful than I had been. But I didn’t tell him that. They also weighed the baby, who had already gained six ounces.

At my six week check up with Dr. Brew I timidly asked him why he had taken me to the delivery room contrary to our plan. He told me that he realized how big the baby was and he was afraid of shoulder dystocia and wanted to be where he would have room to do what he had to do to get the baby out. I asked if he had had to do anything special and he said no, there was no problem. He told me that when he was in training he wound up being the only one there to deliver a baby, before he had been taught how to handle shoulder dystocia. The woman was anesthetized and couldn’t help at all. The baby, who also weighed 11 pounds, died. So that is always a panic situation for him. And there was one home delivery of a 11lb 6 oz baby, where the shoulders got stuck and the woman’s bottom was just too far down in the bed and he couldn’t get at her. They put pillows under her and he got the baby unstuck and it all turned out fine. But it is just a trigger situation for him. I murmured that I wish he had told me, and he said there wasn’t time. I never got an apology out of him for saying what he said about lying to me. I have wondered for years what could have made him say something like that. I finally think I understand.  As a doctor he was under a lot of pressure from his colleagues, for doing home births, for supporting midwives, for not doing electronic monitoring, for doing VBACS.  He had done a couple of those things for me in particular. He had lost his privileges at one of the city’s two big hospitals because of what he had done for women.  Didn’t he deserve to be trusted? Didn’t he deserve to have me believe he had a good reason for wanting to take me to the delivery room? Did he deserve to have me acting as if he had lied to me and was going back on what he said for no reason at all? I think that is how it must have felt to him. Alright, I get this now. But it has taken me more years than I had then yet lived to get it. Was it up to me, a young woman on the verge of pushing her baby out, to be able to moderate my emotional tone so as not to hurt him? It would have been better if I could have, for sure. But it was way beyond my level of wisdom. My six week checkup was the last time I ever saw Dr. Brew. When I Googled him, one of the two hits mentioned him as “the late Dr. James D Brew.” Requiescat in pace.

After this birth, a “spontaneously completed vaginal delivery” I had more postpartum depression than after the other two, and I obsessed about the birth, about not being allowed to push him out at the end. My husband failed to understand what the problem was, why I wasn’t satisfied, and he made some unpleasant remarks which made me more depressed. So then I kept my thoughts to myself, but went on having them.

So now I knew I could push a baby out.  But I had a new problem. Would all my babies now really have such serious newborn issues that it would be dangerous to have them at home?

Stay tuned…


Susan’s Stories:

Giving Birth in 1973: Susan’s Story

Susan’s Second Birth: “A Step in the Right Direction”

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Good for you! My babies have all been 8lbs 4, 8lbs 4, and 7lbs 9 respectively and my OB was starting to fixate on the size of my 4th already. Telling me the Ultrasound showed him in the 95% and that I should think about induction when it gets closer to my due date. She wants me to have the baby on her schedule, flat on my back in stirrups, covered in blue paper. I just can't do it again. I was threatened with being restrained at the hospital with my 3rd because I cried and pleaded them to let me off my back because of the back pain I was having. Nobody cared. I am hoping for a water-birth with my 4th, but since it is illegal in my state, I will have to cross state lines to a birth center. I will never again confuse the term "Birthing Inn" with doctors and nurses that are caring and want the Moms and Babies to have a positive experience. Thanks for writing this, my son had a very mild shoulder distocia, so I've been concerned about that this time since this is another boy, and my 2 between were both girls!

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

I love reading Susan's stories--how fascinating!

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAugusta

An excellent look at the way OB thinking (about breeches, c-sections, etc) was changing at the time. And just a great story period. Thanks for sharing it!

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

Your stories are lovely to read :) Thanks for sharing them!

October 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFogedaboudid
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