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Getting Your Homebirth Covered By An HMO
My first birth story
My second birth story
My first birth story
Letter to hospital after 1st birth
Other Links, Books & resources
1st letter to med director of IPA
2nd letter to grieveance dept of HMO
HMO grievance panel presentation
DMHC complaint letter
Thoughts after presentation to panel

My first birth experience, in 1998 at Long Beach Memorial Hospital

This was my first pregnancy. I have to start out saying I am a petite person. I’m 5’2” and weigh usually 100 lbs. I was up to 147 lbs at delivery, but healthy, no diabetes & no swelling really. My mother is also small and had me by cesarean because I supposedly “wouldn’t fit”. I was truly freaked out by childbirth. I mean people used to die in childbirth (some, though rarely, still do). I investigated hospitals in my area and I chose the fanciest, most advanced one in my area. I interviewed an OBGYN. I read all the pregnancy books I could find. I thought I at least wanted to try natural labor. I asked around and no one I knew that had taken Lamaze classes had managed to have a drug free birth. So we decided we'd take Bradley childbirth classes. Those classes were the best decision we made!
I had a great pregnancy. I love being pregnant. I was 14 days past my due date which I knew was off by 2 days at least due to my long cycles. My

doctor was talking about induction. I had always heard that being induced made labor a lot more painful than going the natural way, I put it off as long as I could but the baby did not want to come out no matter how much I tried to get it to come out! We tried everything we knew. (there was more we didn't know, at the time, that might have worked)

My cervix was 1.5 cm and not really effaced but the doctor said it was “soft “, and that I was “definitely induceable” This really made my husband laugh because no one can really induce me to do anything If I decide I don’t want to :) To ripen my cervix we discussed 3

different methods; the gel, the tampon-like thing, and a tablet.

Aug 4th, we went to the hospital to be induced. We had to wait for a room to open up. There was a woman in labor in the waiting room - eek, that was great for my mental outlook. It had been so hot, about 105 degrees and the first room's air conditioner was broken. They sent up a repair man, he took one look at me, preggo and in a robe, turned beet red and climed his ladder :) He couldn't fix it. So when another room opened up they moved us to that room.

We had decided to use the tablet which is actually 1/4 of a tablet of an ulcer medication misoprostal (brand name Cytotech). It is not approved for use in pregnancy and the manufacturer has since sent out letters to OBGYN's saying "Do not use for induction of labor". I would not allow this stuff to be used on me knowing what I do now. This 1/4 tablet is placed under the cervix (when you lay on your back) and the dose is repeated every 3 hours for a total of 3 doses. They stick you on the fetal monitor for a while 30 min maybe then send you walking until your next dose. I walked most of the day. from about 9 am to 8 pm.

For some reason my chart said clear liquid diet, even though I had talked to my OB and he had OK’d that I could eat real food in labor If I felt like it. At the
time I wasn’t even in labor! so I had to assert myself with the nurse. She told me the standard Well, we don’t let you eat because you’ll just throw it up later.” but she called the doctor anyway. By the time that got sorted out I was out walking and missed lunch anyway. So made a stop at the cafeteria (in my robe and tennis shoes) the next time we were out walking. I ended up getting 3 doses of the Cytotech and around 7:30pm I started having contractions that were regular and came two at a time but they were not strong enough for them to be called “real” labor.
At 8:30 they started the Pitocin IV. I really didn't want to do this I was already tired. The nurse who put in my IV was nice and she numbed it really good so it didn't hurt like the last one I'd had. But in the middle of doing it she took off her gloves saying, "I don't think you have HIV." I was in shock! I should've said "Do you?"
The pitocin starts at 2 milliunits/hr and then they increase it to 4 and then, 6 and then, 12 and then I started to think ok this is the real thing, I’ve been walking all day, had a puny breakfast, decent lunch, didn’t feel like eating the dinner, the average labor is 12 hours ... Ed better go get that parking pass now. because I don’t want to be left alone later. so I sent him away to do that. He also wanted to get a newspaper of the day our kid was born for posterity. Even though the parking pass place
and gift shop are both off of the main lobby for some reason he got the parking pass and decided to come back up and see how I was doing. I was sitting there thinking now how high are they going to crank that Pitocin??? I had been told in our childbirth class that anything under 24 m/hr was bearable so I was trying really hard to not have that magic number in my mind, instead to make it 36m/hr. So I have a really hard contraction (or maybe it just seemed worse because I was alone) and Ed pops in and says “how ya doing?” I told him” that one almost killed me” and then PPppppppsssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! My water just broke” it was 8:50pm. I had hoped my membranes would stay intact as long as possible because I wanted to be in the bathtub for pain relief and I was positive for group B strep, and to just be a cushion to the baby during contractions, but the good thing is that there was no meconium in the water. Ed didn’t leave my side again
All my contractions were in my back. Ed pushed on my back the entire labor. Hard.

I had been sitting up in bed, or sitting on the side of the bed when they made me be
on the fetal monitor. Most of the time I was on the toilet. I would stand up at the peak of the contractions. Laying down was just impossibly painful. I had
three giant poop attacks one after “dinner” and the second 15 minutes after my water
broke (9:05) and third at 10:20 the nurse was in the room for that one I told her I needed
off that dumb monitor because I needed to poo she told me that wasn’t poo that’s the
baby’s head moving down. I told her it wasn’t and I really did need to poo, I think she did
cut me loose at that point and after my poo (I think it was then). I got into the tub and I
tried the shower spray on my back but it was not hot enough. (in hindsight I do remember
the first nurse saying you had to really let it run to get warmed up- oops I guess Ed didn’t
remember that at the time either) so I plugged the tub and tried submerging to stay warm
but that didn’t work/help either so I sat on the plug with the tub water running on my back
that was OK. The whole time trying to maneuver my fat self with my IV arm hanging
outside the tub.

Ed called my mom from the room to let her know how things were going while I was in there. I know I yelled “hang-up” at one point because I wanted him to push on my back. A nurse came in then and yelled “ Oh God, you're not supposed to be in there, your membranes are ruptured! But at least you’ve had your antibiotic” I told her I was getting out anyway because it was just too cold. Imagine a hospital floor with no hot water!?! If it would’ve helped I would’ve stayed in (tub use was ok’d by my doctor) I got backup on the bed for the monitoring ( I could’ve ripped those belts off me, I probably should have a few times) the baby’s heart rate never dipped even during the contractions.

That time in the tub was transition. I asked the nurse when they would check me as they hadn’t since starting the pitocin. I had twinges of downward pressure during the contractions on the bed. It was more like 2 individual muscle fibers contracting, to this day, two years later, I can tell you exactly where they were on my belly. I said “Listen you have to check me!” she did and I was 9 cm!!! with a little lip in front, With the light behind her blonde hair she looked like an angel to me at this moment! I didn’t believe her! she had to convince me! She said to roll from side to side for the lip. The doctor appeared after a few more contractions (he must drive really fast). I couldn't
even recognize him, he was covered up in gown, mask, hat and face shield! That caused me a little freak out thinking who the hell is that? The nurses were telling me to push for 10 seconds take another breath and push again for 10 seconds, while one started breaking apart the bed. I expected that’s what they would say

and I pushed only as much and as hard as I felt like and I made her leave the bed in one piece so I could lay on my side. Then I turned right side up to see if I could see the head, and someone took the bottom of my bed away- darn! I couldn't see much because the doc and
Ed were standing in front of the mirror. I told them a few times to move over. :) It felt like a hard coconut in there. I was distressed at one point when the doctor had his finger in my rectum. I was asked the nurse what he was doing down there. I had to ask twice before she said he's helping the baby come out. It didn't feel like help to me. Then the head came out, and that's where my angel nurse turned to satan, she said "c'mon push" and like a highly suggestible woman in labor I did, even though I desperately didn't want to. I knew pushing hard at the end meant tearing. And yup that's some pain, On the video I say "get it out" and I squeaked as I tore. OUCH! Corinne Rose was born at 12:47 am. (all 9 pounds of her)after a half hour of my half-hearted pushing and IT WASN’T THAT BAD! :) I never felt like I would die. I didn’t feel the “burning ring of fire” with the head that everyone talks about. But I felt the tearing. While the doc was stitching me up I held my baby and the staff took guesses at her weight. The placenta came out easily. One of the nurses (the nice one) said "that was fun." I agreed :) (with the exception of the sodomy and tearing). What a hormonal endorphin rush! I was buzzing like a wildman! I just had a baby!! WOW. I can't describe it. There's a book called Hard Labor by Susan Diamond with a great description.

I wanted to let the cord stop pulsing before we cut it. As soon as we cut it they took my baby to the table and suctioned her out, and wiped her off. Her apgars were 9 and 9. She was so fat and cute! I couldn't believe it. They let us hang out with the baby for a while. While this automatic blood pressure cuff checked my blood pressure every 10 minutes. We have a great video of me saying it wasn't that bad. My husband asked me If I want to have more and I remember my first reaction was "Oh yes!" and thinking to my self "If I say that He'll think I'm nuts" so I said "not for a while". What a liar ;)

Then the nurse came back and said she had to take my baby to the nursery. I told her I wanted to keep my baby with me all the time, what they call complete "rooming in" but she said we have to check her blood because big babies sometimes have their sugars drop and may have diabetes. I really didn't want her to take my baby. I asked her if she could do that here and she said no. The D word was enough to freak out my husband, he'd just had a cousin die of juvenile diabetes. So I sent my baby with my husband and the nurse. I tried to pee with the nice nurse that had said "that was fun" but there was no peeing gonna happen there. I lied and said I thought I went some. There was no way I was going to get a catheter up my torn up front if I could avoid it.

Then my mom showed up right before this total hag from logistics came to move me to my postpartum room. She started scolding me (with sighs) for "bringing too much stuff". All I had was one diaper bag with my clothes and one baby outfit, and a video camera and a still camera, and one pillow. I looked at her like she was nuts. I had a giant birth ball IN THE CAR that I never got to use. If she only knew... She wanted me to sit in the wheelchair I told mom to pile that all on my lap. She thought that was no good so we had a fun disscussion about that while the hag kept sighing. We got to my room and I asked the new nurse for some food I was starving!!! she brought me a turkey sandwich, a cup of applesauce and 2 shortbread cookies (which I hate) I sucked down every crumb!!!! And I sent mom to get me a real coke. Then I said I have to go find my baby so we walked down to the nursery. They were finishing up drying her off after her bath. Her sugar levels were fine. The nurse checked it again by squeezing her heel, she'd stuck it before and apparently instead of poking her again she'd squeeze the old one. I think that was more painful than just another poke.
I claimed my baby and husband and we went back to my room and tried to nurse. I needed help latching her on. By now Corinne was 4 hours old and HUNGRY! She was a pro sucker though.

I couldn't sleep all night I was so Amp-ed up. Every time I tried I could hear the beep beep beep of the fetal monitor in my head! At dawn I told Ed to take the bed. There was no way I was sleeping. He was trying to sleep on this folding chair bed thing and his back was already in a spasm.

The next day a nurse came and took my baby (again) for a weight check and shift change. I noticed that she didn't have the special badge with the pink background that meant that she was a nursery nurse. I panicked of course and went after her. I found her in the nursery and said where's your ID badge? She pulled it out of her pocket and told me "Oh we're just supposed to carry it incase you ask for it." That was SO wrong! I was really angry; My baby could've just been stolen!!!!! and I'd let her take her! Like an idiot I didn't make a big stink of it then because I saw no one on my way back to my room. I later wrote a letter though.

Hospitals are no place to get rest. They kept waking me up to take my temp or some stupid thing. They told me to call the nursery when she fed in the middle of the night. After I'd turned on the light to find the number and called then the nurse told me oh I'll be in your room in a few minutes anyway you don;t have to call. UGH!

When I saw my doctor on the second day he asked when I wanted to leave. I said "As soon as possible." Then we still had to wait for the baby to be discharged.

The nurses checked on us now and then but really gave us more privacy than I had expected (or they were ignoring us). I think the Bradley classes are really great I think it’s better to know what’s going on, instead of going in thinking ignorance is bliss, beacause then you get to feeling pain then that fear-tension-pain cycle can set in and then you’re in real trouble. One thing that did surprise me was the swelling and general soreness there afterwards. The swelling lasted 3 days but the soreness lasted probably 10 days -2 weeks. I had 2nd degree tears (maybe 1/2 inch long, mostly inside my vagina) and peri-urethral tears too. The stitches took a long time (about 5 weeks to be completely healed and absorbed) too. Can you say sitz baths? They are stiff! they feel like fine wire. 6mo later I could still feel *something* in there.

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