Part 1

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My issues with the American Health System…

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…Or should I say, the “Cover Your Ass” system.

February 3rd, at about 11:15 pm, my water broke. It was actually quite unexpected as it usually only happens in about 1 in 15 pregnancies. So I changed my clothes and got to the hospital in about an hour. Of course they had to check, because a mother may not really know if her water broke or something. They checked my blood pressure and it was high. No shit! My water broke and I had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night during a winter storm. Give me a minute.

Then the nurse told me there was protein in my urine. So I asked what are the causes of that. She told me pre-eclampsia. I said “are there any other causes?” and she flatly said no. (We found out later that amniotic fluid causes it too). Then she took my blood pressure again. It was still high. No shit! You just told me that me or my baby could die. Give me a minute. (Just a note: My husband and I were happy, laughing, and joking when we walked into the hospital).

She then proceeded to tell me that if I couldn’t get my blood pressure down that I would need an IV and that I needed to dilate quickly or I would need a c-section. What about my birth plan, the water birth I wanted, all of that? Then she took my blood pressure. Guess what? Still high. For the record, the highest my blood pressure has ever been is 120/80 –which is normal for most people.

With my birth plan out the window they took me to the labor room. During our tour of the hospital we were shown big beautiful suites and told that we could labor and recover in the same room. This room was big and beautiful. Completely remodeled as a birthing suite. It had an amazingly beautiful tub. Unfortunately I was never allowed to step foot in it, only stare at it longingly.

The nurse then told me I had to lay on my left side and not move. No walking labor, no methods I had been planning, all of those practices I had been studying and wanted to try –out the window! They started hooking me up with this HUGE IV that had several outlets. One for Saline, one for Pictocin and one for some pain killer. They were insistent on having me dilate from 0-10 cm in record time–no matter what the cost. I think all this started around 3:30 am.

They told me the dilation process was going to hurt a lot worse because of all the drugs. I didn’t have anything to compare it to –but damn! So I had to get painkillers too –which I absolutely didn’t want to do. I wanted the water to sooth me.

I began pushing at 9:35 am and SHE –yes, She was a SHE came an hour later. This was the only reward for handing myself over to stupid people. Oh my God, she was so beautiful and perfect. I had know idea I could create anything so beautiful. I couldn’t stop marvelling at her even though I hadn’t slept in over a day.

Then they moved me to an incredibly small room–with no shower (had to walk down the hall) and continued their tirades. Waking Rumi up every 2 hours to be fed when she had no interest in eating. Taking my blood pressure and doing all these things so that I couldn’t sleep. One nurse was insistent that I supplement her with formula even though I was dead-set against it. She didn’t care what I wanted, so I had to pretend, dump it, and lie to her. They said she lost too much weight ( few ounces–which is totally common–I lost a pound when I was born). It was absolutely NOT conducive for rest and recovery for either of us. In fact, Osa said said that if this ever happened again it would be a lot easier to have the baby in the African bush. When I was finally released I had us both ready at 7am –I was out of there so fast.

I regret horribly that I let these people take over and I should have been stronger. After she was born, and after I became a true mother –watch out! I didn’t take crap from anyone. They said she had jaundice. She’s a mixed baby. She has color, but it’s not yellow. They kept insisting she needed blood work –but I wouldn’t do it, and two weeks later the doctor actually said, “Oh, your husband’s half-black and half-Cherokee? That must be her natural color.” I could have hit that woman!

If you are in this situation, please, for me, stand strong about what you want. Don’t let them intimidate you. You will feel better. You know better than anyone.


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About Ryn Cricket

When I talk to people, I always hear, "I always wanted to do that," or "You're so lucky!" I NEVER want to be the person who says those things. I am not lucky, I make things work. I don't think "I want to do that." I do it. When I was in the seventh grade I wanted to do three things when I grew up, I wanted to be an English teacher, a writer and a mother. All of that traveling, adventure, and Peace Corps was just research for what was to come. After more than twenty years of being told I would never be able to have children, I had two beautiful baby girls, a year and a half apart. I spend some of my time teaching English in Shanghai, China, and the rest of my time, inspiring my two little girls, or being inspired by writing at the writers’ workshop I call “home.”

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