Saturday, August 18, 2007

A nurse's guide to managing failure.

Take a pregnant woman and randomly jam a pitocin line into her arm. She is here today for failing to birth before it is the time for the baby to be born.
Strap her down
poke her skin
repoke her skin and muscle.
Stab her and say sorry hun you got bad veins. Everything about her veins, in fact, reveal failure.
No, she cannot have food or drink. Remind her that she is in fact, here for failure, and failure is not rewarded with goodies. Besides, she could choke or aspirate, and be a failure at not throwing up only bile later tonight, as is preferred.
Flip her upside down and dig around in her pussy and tell her she is most certainly failing so far.
Dig harder, higher, rougher to ascertain that yes, she is still failing.
Stick a crochet hook inside of her body, up past her cervix and snag and rip the very sphere of protective fluid that encases her baby. Break it. Stare at it. Wipe at it in a manner that will ensure she knows that she is a bad girl for making a pissy mess. Note the color of the naughty piss outloud, twice.
Dig around in her pussy and tell her and the doctor and her attending support team that she and her cervix, as of yet, are still failing.
Force the mouth of her womb viscerally open, to encourage violent reaction. Show disdain when it occurs. Send for the silver tray man and the angry helper. She is clearly failing at not scaring the other patients with her screams.
Force her to lean forward, forward hun, that is not forward, reprimand her to curl her back, curl forward. Puncture spinal chord. Legs twitch. Naughty. Failure to motionlessly accept puncture wound to the spine while being silent during chemically induced uterine contractions.
Flip her back upside down and re strap.
Dig around in her pussy to ascertain and announce current failure levels.
Cram rubber tube up her pee hole before anesthesia takes place. Failure to relax and open yer legs wider, hun, just let them fall apart is noted.
Remind her that moving around will only make her velcros fall off and that she is indeed failing to care about the velcros and the plastic disks at this time.
Dig up into her pussy with fistfull of metal, past her cervix, into the baby's SKULL ITSELF, and screw an implant into the SKULL of the baby. Mom failed to care enough about being still for the plastic disks and so we have to have a read-out of the babys heartbeat. Use of regular doppler or fetoscope to the tummy somehow is not appropriate, as it would require human care and not machine monitering.
Baby is failing to enjoy his SKULL IMPLANT and his heartrate is up.
Mom is failing to enjoy her multiple massive puncture wounds and urethra, vagina, arm veins, hand veins and spinal chord being intubated, and her heartrate is failing to behave.
Her body temp and b/p are failing to behave.
Her mood is failing to behave.
Her white blood cells are failing to behave.
Her blood sugar is failing to not crash.
Her tears are failing to not cascade.
She is failing to be out of pain and failing to be quiet.
Administer a little something to take the edge off.
Mom is failing to not vomit spasmodically.
Moms catheter is failing to stay in during the vomiting.
Administer a little something to stop all that failure to react appropriately to the narcotics.
Mom is failing to be able to cope with this world and appears to be falling asleep. what she is really doing, which is dying, a true spiritual death. Shutting down. too much trauma. Passing out.
Dig into her pussy and scream at her that itistime hun itis time hun, noting her failure to get what you are saying.
Scream at her to push way down in yer bottom, hun. Way down in yer bottom.
Failure to push way down in her bottom is noted.
Reprimand and threaten.
A few things you might want to say are "doncha wanna see yer baby, hun" and "Yer gonna have to gimme alot more than that if you wanna see yer baby".
Another helpful phrase is "You gotta gimme a couple real good ones, hun, otherwise I dont know if your gonna be able to do this natcher-ull or not

(Remember, nothing by mouth. Very important.)

Failure to birth natcher-ull-blue-gown, hat and shoe-covers must be distributed at this time to all members of the room.
Pull up bars of the miniature slab-bed to ensure the safest ride down the hall.


Angi said...

I know its not meant to be funny, but I have to laugh a little(maybe to keep from crying)because this sounds EXACTLY like the nurse I had with my second baby, who is my only out of four with an OB. It was utterly traumatic at the time to feel so out of place and unwanted at the birth of my own child. My firstborn was so completely different and beautiful it left my head spinning that this was supposedly even in the same realm. If you had just added my hysterical mother who had never seen unmedicated childbirth and was fighting with the already horrible nurse (not helping her mood one bit) and yelling at my well-meaning hubby to stop saying I was doing a great job "you're being condescending!" You would have it just right!

Laborpayne said...

Wow, the whole time I was reading this I was thinking, "Why can I write shit this good????" As a former labor and delivery nurse, I have been this nurse. I know what you are saying is true. Sad, but true. It's also why my own babies have been born at home. I refuse to ever have another shitty birth, or be forced to make someone else's birth a shitty one.

Kelley said...

Oh, this makes me so sad for all the mothers who have been forced to experience this. I have not ever had it this bad, but I know so many who have. It makes me want to cry and cry for them. I don't know what else to say.

Andrea said...

This is an amazing piece of writing. It made my heart hurt for all the hospital-birthing mamas, even if they think I'm crazy for staying home.

Rebecca said...

I would imagine it HURT writing something like this, much less living through it or caring it around as a memory. I am so sorry for all the women who have had this experience. And yet I am so amazingly grateful for those women who have shared their nightmare hospital birth stories. As a result my first son was born gently and lovingly at home. And the baby in my belly right now will not be born at a hospital either. Even though we have just moved to a state where homebirth is illegal (Nebraska). We are searching for alternatives. So, thank you Housefairy for protecting my belly and my baby. Thanks for speaking out!

CNH said...

I lived that birth. Oh God, it was my first experience with the amazing thing that birthing is. I went and did it a second time before I wised up.

Jeanette said...

I have chills. I feel ill. I feel violated just from reading.

I just found your blog via SageFemme tonight, and so know nothing of your story. Is this post your reality? Oh please, although I don't know you, I pray it is not. But yet - how could you write that if it wasn't.

Truly, this is one of the most primal and powerful pieces of birth writing I have ever read. I am moved, I am sickened and mostly, I am so, so, so very sorry.


marybeth said...

wow. thank you.


Housefairy said...

Well, I sat down to try to write some "informative essay about elective induction" but that just isn't my forte.

So I started to write a train of thought style piece instead.

This has all happened to me, I am very starkly and frankly sad to report- in all three of my hospital births, with very slight variation.

Somehow my first baby was born vaginally through all of that torture, so I did not get the ride down the hall.

I felt iffy about saying "Nurses", as I know they are just carrying out orders, but jeez oh petes were they the ones who always came in and 'brang the next round of nightmare, so I said it.

Molly said...

This is such an awesome post--potent, powerful, and profound. Wow. The sense of violation is intense.

I really believe that so many births are actually human rights violations. :(

Lil said...

I am so sorry. :( I avoided all of that by angrily ignoring the doctors and nurses.

At one point they were pretty much ready to strap me down and haul me down the hall- they were monitoring MY heartrate instead of the baby's and kept ignoring my requests to please move the blasted monitor off of MY PLACENTA and put it on the other side as I requested. The only thing that stopped them was I grabbed the monitor and moved it myself, and they actually brought in an ultrasound machine to make sure that what they were listening to was the baby. :p

Hospitals are horrid.

CreepyUCMama said...

Amazing as always. Though it just made me relive my son's birth...I seriously feel like I need a shower and I want to cross my legs so tight that my bones break. I can't even go into the feelings right now. The short version is that my hospital "birth" was a violent and horrible rape and I have been avoiding thinking about it for too long, I just want to wipe my memory sometimes. I am off topic now.

Red Pomegranate said...

Two Words: Birth Rape

Jer said...

I "survived" this ordeal as well... I'm having flashbacks just reading this. The fallout from that delivery-- which did end in the trip down the hall and surgery under general anesthesia and massive PPD and PTSD-- haunts me to this day.

I took my anger and grief to the war zone. I'm a nurse now-- not THAT nurse, I hope!!-- and I take care of new mamas and babies. The damage, too often, has already been done... I try my best to support them and help them through.

Oh, yes-- and I had my third baby peacefully and beautifully at home, after 2 c-sections, in my living room. :)

Pudelz said...

My God- this was BOTH my first 2 births. I FAILED. Thank you for putting those feelings into words. Thank GOD I didn't repeat it for #'s 3 and 4- I had 2 HBA2Cs and I could never go back to birthing at a hospital. Never.
Thank you.

michele said...

Wow. I was totally there in that horrid hospital room all over again. That was exactly how it felt for me. A rape. A belittling, violent, soul crushing, dirty rape.


Sarah said...

I felt sick just reading it. I wish it didn't happen. I wish that optimistic, naive, trusting, uneducated moms weren't sheep going off to the slaughter. They don't want to be warned. They "trust" their doctor.

What you described is legalized medical rape.

Wani said...

Its so sad that this is so real a happens all the time. I wish we would train and employ people in the line of aiding women in the natural birth process. Oh wait, they're called midwives! I don't understand why there isn't more cooperation between OBs and midwives. Midwives Rock! Our bodies Rock! We are designed to make and give birth to babies.... the health care system has ceased to treat it like a normal process - they generally treat labor and birth like something we need "cured" of. Its so sad that those of us who choose not to follow in this line of reasoning are considered freaks and accused of taking unnecessary risks when I personally think that having a baby in a hospital is a unnecessary risk. Anyway.... I could go on and on but I'll stop at that.
I just want to make myself available as a resource to those considering homebirth. I’m the oldest of five kids - all born at home. My husband and I tried to have a natural birth in the hospital with a doula for our first son in July of ‘05 and it ended in an unnecessary cesarean section. Our midwife and doula attended HBAC in March of ‘07 was a healing experience for everyone. I have both birth stories in word docs if anyone is interested.

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