“Pitocin is natural. It is the same thing that is in your body to make the baby come out. It even helps your milk come in! All my babies have pitocin.”
Yes, spoken by an OB. I think she even threw in a “girl,” or two into the conversation. As in, “Girl, you’ve done the natural thing long enough. Get the epidural! I did!”
This same friendly OB also ruptured membranes without consent or warning. Usually I am able to intercept a move like that so mom can give consent first, but I completely missed this one. It happened so quickly.
When the mom did get an epidural (at 8cm, AROM) after “bad cop” OB suggested it could be another “five hours of excruciating torture,” pitocin was automatically administered and cranked. The mom was progressing normally. But “good cop” OB wanted to get home. I heard her say this. So Pit was cranked. Not a gradual increase. And I watched baby’s heartrate which had been varying in the 130’s-150’s immediately begin dipping to the 100’s during the fast-peaking pit contractions.
But the pit worked quickly and soon a precious babe joined the world.
I’m thankful mom had a beautiful baby with few complications. I wish the OBs had been more supportive, encouraging, and patient. I wish there had been more informed consent. The mom is happy which is the most important thing and lets me know I did my job. It is her birth; not mine.
What can expectant moms take from this? Talk to the doulas in your community. Even if you don’t plan to hire one. Doulas know the inside scoop. We witness what happens in L&D. All OBs/midwives are not the same! I show pictures. Pictures of different styles in the birth room. A picture speaks a thousand words. Does the doctor wear what looks like a radiation suit; so covered you can’t even recognize her? Does he hand the baby to the nurse instead of the mom? My observations are just one part of the story but they are things I have witnessed. Honestly, how else is a family to know what birth looks like in different environments, with different care providers? I know one mom who wanted to switch to a more natural-birth friendly hospital but one doctor was booked for her date and the other group has a policy about taking patients after a certain date. I was really saddened that she was unable to birth at the hospital she wanted.
So, meet with a doula. Early in pregnancy. When there is time to interview other providers.