My Birth Story and the Reasons Why I Became a professional in The Childbirth Field
My Journey to become a Doula, childbirth educator, and breastfeeding consultant began over 14 years ago, right after the birth of my own child. As a young woman about to become a mother, I did read everything I could find about newborns and becoming a new mom, however I didn't educate or prepare myself about childbirth, which was my mistake.
One thing I knew, I didn't feel comfortable going into a hospital here in America, so I decided to have a home birth. I chose a midwife and waited for the moment with all excitement. Choosing a home birth is actually the best decision a woman can make. It is also the most challenging.
If you prepare and educate yourself about the process of labor, childbirth and choose the right support team and professionals to be with you, you are about to have the most amazing and satisfactory experience of your life. However, if you don't prepare yourself no matter where is the place you choose to have your baby, you can have one of the worst experiences of your life as well. Unfortunately, that was my experience.
I was for twenty-four hours, in active labor at home, surrounded by people who did love me but who didn't prepare or educate about the journey they where about to experience.
They didn't know how to support me or help me, all the while, my midwife kept falling asleep, since she had a birth the day before, and was very tired.
I found myself alone in a room full of people that were feeling as lost as I was. At one point and after 24 hours of active labor, I couldn't take the sensations my body was feeling and didn't know how to ease them.
I decided I wanted to go to the hospital. I thought they (physicians) would help me and ease my discomfort.
Had I known at that moment of decision what I was about to experience, I would have never stepped a foot in the hospital.
My rights as a laboring woman from the moment I entered that hospital, were violated by doctors and staff alike. Not only didn't I have the support I was looking for, I was emotionally and physically abused; and used as a "model" patient for all the residents in the labor and delivery floor. I had all kinds of routine intervention, and was tied to a bed without possibility of moving.
I experienced the gamut of "western conventional medical approach"; the external monitor, internal monitor, pitocin, epidural, other different pain medications (which were negatively affecting my still unborn child. Instead of going down, my baby was going up my stomach trying to get away for all the medication, I had in my body. He started to kick me with his legs and dislocated my left rib) and had to take over the counter medication to bring down the infection I got, caused by all the vaginal exams I had from all the different people there, doctors, residents, or whoever they were because at no moment was anyone introduced to me, or asked me permission to put their hands inside me.
After eighteen nightmarish hours, the Doctor decided to do a C-section. On my way to the delivery room, I was pushing like crazy because I felt my baby was coming.
In the delivery room, the doctor sat in front of me on the side while giving directions to a new resident in how to perform the delivery of the baby.
When I screamed that I could see my baby's head reflect in the resident's protecting glasses, I had two men on top of my stomach with their hands pressing my stomach pushing my baby down, I really thought they were going to break me in half. Then the resident suddenly did perform an episiotonomy on me. I was cut from my vagina all the way to my anus.
Then they used a vacuum at the same time to pull my baby out. All this was happening at the same time while I was seeing the horrified eyes of my husband, which was next to me and my sister, and midwife who were outside because they were not allowed to come in and film my birth on video which was my intention and totally my right. They witnessed the labor looking throught the operating's room glass window.
As soon as my baby was born, they took my baby right away and left me alone with my husband there for what felt like an eternity.
My sister told me later, that she was horrified at seeing everything that happened through the glass window. After who knows how long, a young physician or intern came in, to perform the "repairs" on me. When he sat in front of me and I looked athim. When he looked at my vagina, I did feel like it was the first one he had ever seen, at least in those conditions. Now I know that it was probably his first episiotonomy repair. Consequences? Well, this young man disfigured my vagina and for almost two years I could not be intimate in my relationship and was in continuous pain.
I went to see two OB/GYN about my problem, they told me that I needed a surgery but that they could not guarantee anything. On top of that they wanted to charge me ten thousand dollars for the surgery. I was desperate. Then is when I found doctor Eden Fromberg.
She is the most amazing OB/GYN in NY and to this day, I work with her on occasion. I needed to have two surgeries for the reconstruction of my vagina just to be able to feel like a woman again.
She took my case to heart, and didn't stop until I was totally fine. A very important thing to say, is that she didn't rip me off like the others wanted.
She truly loves women and gives 200% of herself while working with them.
I can say with all my heart that Dr. Eden Fromberg did "save and change my life. I totally recommend Doctor Eden to any women ( in NY city) contemplating the idea of natural childbirth, still wanting to be in a hospital environment.
On the other hand, the hospital where I had my baby, sent me a bill for almost eleven thousand dollars.
If you think my nightmare did ended there, you are wrong. Right after the birth of my son, I was so weak because all of the blood I lost on the ER table, and the cut I had in bewteen my legs, that I couldn't even move. I couldn't get out of the bed, walk and even eat. My husband was feeding me liquid foods with a straw. I told the nurses that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby and didn't wanted for them to give the baby any formula or sugary water. Believe it or not, to my surprise, they couldn't care at all. Not only they didn't bring my baby to my room to nurse, they told me that at nights I'll have to go to the nursery myself and nurse the baby there if I wanted. I ask them, how could I do that if I couldn't even go to the bathroom by myself. They told me that they sorry but it was the hospital's policy and they would not bring the baby at night for me to nurse.
I tell you this, I'm not from this country. I come from Europe, "Spain" and I can tell you that in my entire life have I witnessed this inhuman care in the "health care system" of a country. I wanted to breastfeed so badly, that I remember getting myself out of bed at nights, crawling down the hall, holding myself against the hospital's wall, trying to make my way to the nursery. Nurses come and go and no one will stop to help me. In the nursery, I was tired, in terrible pain and seating on a chair was almost unbearable. Still, I wanted to nurse my baby. No one will help me, no one will teach me how to correctly position my baby to the breast. They will come and look and say... the baby is nursing ok.
It was Not until I become a professional in the childbirth field, is that I learned that you can NOT know how well a baby is latching on the breast, just by overlooking a woman for a minute. I even had a nurse tell me that they could not help me because they were very busy and didn't have enough employees. Bottom line, I couldn't find no one to teach me and help me make sure I was correctly breastfeeding my baby.
My baby was eager to nurse and graved my breast immediately. The problem is that I wasn't correctly positioning my baby right onto my breast. Since he was moving his mouth and against my breast, I thought I was doing it alright. what I thought was normal initial pain, transformed into my breast to be cracked and bleeding. When I asked the nurses to please take a look at my very sore nipples, they told me that it was normal to feel pain the first few days. let me tell you this, the two days I was in the hospital trying to breastfeeding my baby, I let my baby completely destroy my nipples. I left the hospital with cracked, bleeding nipples, so painful I could not even stand for my clothes to touch my breast.
When I got home, my nipples where in such a pain and bleeding so much, that I could not nurse my baby for the first two weeks of his life, the time it took me to heal my nipples and bring back my breast milk supply. I had to seek the help of a Chinese doctor, a breastfeeding consultant and an Herbologist for the next two weeks.
I was committed to heal my body and develop enough breast milk supply for my baby. My son's father is a chef that specializes is healthy whole foods. With his help focusing on my diet, an especial herbal formula that I drank day and night and my Lactation consultant next to me, I was able to heal and successfully breastfeed my son. Not only I was able to increase my breast milk supply, I breastfeed my son for over two years and a half, and exclusively for the first 9 months of his life.
Is this a horror story? Unfortunately, yes, it is. It's also more common than what most people think. This type of medical malpractice happens all the time. Also I believe not only based on my personal experience, but latter on as a professional, that Latino and black people, or the so called minorities, are not treated equally in this health care system.
After seriously thinking about what had actually happened to me, I began a long research process about Childbirth in America, especially about hospitals and their procedures and policies.
I then became a professional in the childbirth field. As a Certified Labor Assistant, childbirth educator, and Breastfeeding Consultant, just to make sure that I'll do anything in my power to educate women and help them as much as I can, so they will never have to experience anything like I did.
There are many things I do in life. My work as a Doula, breastfeeding consultant and a wellness consultant is much more than a job for me. It is My Passion. It is My Mission.
Today, working to help women and my son, are my passions in life.
In Light, Love and Health,
Ana Sola, CLC, CLA, CHBE,