Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Nurse's Take on Hospital Birth

This is an extremely sobering look at hospital birth... from the perspective of a hospital nurse. Let me know what you think of it.

Don't Get Me Started: Chop Shop

I have never wanted to birth in-hospital, but her writing makes me want it even less!

"Once her water breaks, she can’t leave her bed. Once we give you pitocin or an epidural, don’t even think about moving. Psychiatric patients are never put in restraints, never tied down (except for the worst of the worst situations) because it is “cruel and unusual punishment”. But laboring women? Laboring women are put in medical restraints. Pharmacologic restraints. We pump medicine through an IV, shove it into the space in your spine and say DON’T MOVE. YOU CANNOT MOVE. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT ******* MOVING.

"We don’t care that you hurt. We don’t care that it’s better and safer for the baby and for you to move, move, move. You can’t move. It’s hospital “policy”. “Policy” that was created for the convenience of clinical staff. There is zero evidence saying this is a good idea. In fact, the evidence states quite the contrary. To move, move, move. To shift positions and let gravity help you. To take a walk and have a massage and lay in a bathtub. Actual scientific evidence tells us that this is what women SHOULD be doing. Instead, the medical establishment drips an IV, pushes the meds and takes choice away from women. Every second of every minute of every hour in this country a woman’s choice is being ripped from her."

Frankly, I hear about the following way too often:

"And after a quick nap, it’s been decided. While she was out cold, and the baby’s heart rate slowed and that little swimming baby in the happy amniotic fluid struggles to keep it together, it’s decided. She hasn’t progressed. Not dilated far enough. Not effaced. Sure the meds caused this. Sure the meds we pumped in to her to “stop the pain” pulled the e-break on her labor. The very meds we gave her, we insisted that she take, stopped the body from doing the very natural thing that we’ve been doing for millions of years. The solution? Cut her open! Yay for sugery!....

"We call them “pre-dinner Cs” for a reason. Lord knows that obstetrician wants to get home for dinner so it’s no surprise that she’s induced at 2ish and delivers via c-section by 3ish. Knocked out in another drug-induced haze. Baby ripped out of her belly, placed in a plastic bin like a bag of lettuce at Safeway. Lay her on the mother’s chest? Heaven forbid the baby’s “yucky”. Heaven forbid the baby start breasfeeding, doing that other thing we’ve been doing for millions of years."

Her conclusion is very telling:

"I make no jugements about your own delivery. If you wanted to be drugged and not “feel anything” (*ahem* a ridiculous expectation that the medical establishment shoves into women’s psyhe) or scheduled your own c-section, that’s lovely. Hats off to you. I am not pointing fingers at you and saying we all need to do it the same.....

"You know what I would do? You know what I plan to do? I will risk it all and birth on my kitchen floor before I allow any ******* person in scrubs to come near me and take away my choice. To tell me “what is best for the baby” when I know **** well they’re lying. ******* lying. Lying cause they’re impatient. Lying cause drugs have a higher reimbursement rate. Lying because they want control over my body and this process. I will push out a baby (if I am blessed with that option), in a bathtub, in a manger lined with hay before I trust a sole in the laboring unit in any American hospital."

Definitely food for thought!


  1. I can't get into the blog that you just links me to sign into my own blog. :/

  2. Here's the link, Jill.

    This is very powerful. While I know that every woman doesn't have that experience with a hospital birth, the sheer number of women that do is alarming. Laboring mothers are sometimes treated as criminals or the truly insane. It's so disturbing and sad.

  3. Thanks, Jill! Link has been corrected.

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this.

  5. Thanks for sharing my words with others.

    I know it's full of bad words (sorry!) and very 'in your face' but it is truly what I experienced on the L&D unit in nursing school. I'm not a nurse yet, nor am I a mother, but those moments undoubtedly will shape my experience as both!

    Be well,

  6. S - Thank YOU for writing such a great piece!!!


I love to hear from you! All kind and thoughtful comments will be published; all inconsiderate or hurtful comments will be deleted quietly without comment. Thanks for visiting!