Thursday, April 3, 2008

The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach

This will be difficult to read.

If you have eaten recently you might even want to wait a few minutes before continuing.

Onc time, I learned something about a younger OB(obstetricians) that really got to me. While chit-chatting around the nurses station, I heard one of L&D(Labor & Delivery) RN's lamenting about her poor patient's bottom. Well, we've all seen terrible stitch-ups post episiotomy, so I wasn't that alarmed. But, this nurse just kept going on and on about it.
What's the big deal? I asked.
She's probably going to be fecal incontinent forever, or atleast for a really long time!
WHAT? What's up, what happened? I asked.

All the nurses just stopped and stared at me, Don't you know how Dr. X delivers? I was quizzed.
No, I replied, I guess not.

He inserts his entire hand inside the rectum to push(from inside) the baby's head along the curve as it's about to deliver!! Not just a finger, not a couple of fingers, he inserts his entire hand up to the wrist inside the mother's rectum just prior to delivery.
I countered, well, surely he only does this "intervention" if the mom has been pushing for hours, is fatigued, baby's having trouble descending, etc...

NOPE! I was quickly corrected by all the L&D nurses surrounding me, this is standard procedure. He does this with EVERY delivery. This is Dr X's special quirk.
What? This can cause terrible trauma to the delicate pelvic floor and the anal sphincter!!!
WHY would this ever be done routinely???
No one had an answer. I stood there in a circle of 5 women, all RN's with college degrees. None of us had a good reason for this doctor's abusive practice. None of us could stop it either. I had learned that "golden rule" of Obstetrics years earlier, the Doctor is always right.

For a long time after that day, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. A few weeks after learning this, I was discussing postpartum mother-baby care with a woman delivered by this particular Dr X. She was embarrassed because she was having incontinence issues. I wanted to scream from the rooftops that her idiot doctor is the one who should be embarrassed for his battery and abuse.

Women need to be warned. Women need to KNOW about this sick man and his sick "trick" to deliver babies just a few seconds quicker. Is his time so precious? Is his 60 seconds saved worth a lifetime of incontinence?

Women need to be told that "routine interventions" range from harmless to harmful to deadly and they need to be told the truth about birth in Hospitals.

I am creating this blog to tell the truth about what I have witnessed in hospital birth. I have been a Registered Nurse for 8 years. I have worked at 3 different hospitals in Texas in Obstetrics. I have worked with Certified Nurse Midwives, Obstetricians and Doctors of Osteopathy. I have sat with women as they breathed, screamed, cried and pushed with all their might. I have met many brave and beautiful women over the years. While I have attended many joyous moments of birth, I also have many painful stories to tell. Stories of unexpected C-sections, babys and moms separated, mothers in tears.

For me, each story has a face behind it, a face that is asking for the truth.


Pinky said...

You and I work in very different places. I work in New England. I noticed you said you worked in L&D as in past tense. What is your position now? Are you still doing L&D?

Mary the Birth Goddess said...

Yes, if you say that your OBs are not doing episiotomies anymore- we DO work in very different places!!
I worked in L&D from 1998-2001, moved and did other women's services areas for 3 years overseas, then worked in L&D from 04-07, hence I "give" myself 5 years in OB total. I guess it's really more like 5 1/2 years. Since 07 I have worked as an LC in the same hospital where I had been L&D, so I know all the nurses and am definitely "in the loop" as far as birth practices, deliveries etc, so I am a "spy" still!
This is all stated on my blog header, by the way, I make it clear that I COULD NOT STAND to work in OB anymore and am no longer an OB nurse.

Luezette said...

hi. i hope i'm commenting in the correct area. also, my last child is 23 yrs.old but i remember many much like it was yesterday. for example, the topic on breastfeeding. i breastfed her until she decided she had enough. yes she weaned herself actually at 18 mos. but i recall that at two wks.old the doctor had exclaimed that she's losing weight. ok. he told me to stop breastfeeding and put her on formula. are you kidding? i went to another doctor and he told me that in his country (India) women breastfeed until the baby is 3-5 yrs.old. he then said to get a pump, extract some milk, mix with a little rice cereal. i did. i also contacted a breastfeeding organization and was told how to hold her in a certain way to make her suck harder to get the heaviest part of the milk. i did that too. took her back to her original doctor. not only did she gain the weight she lost but gained additional weight too. i never told him i didn't put her on formula. let him think what he wanted to think. i advocate breastfeeding as much as possible.