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Fighting Intervention Harassment

January 17, 2010
by

Desirre Andrews made a fascinating post over at PrepForBirth that itemizes interventions that often aren’t necessary but are often pushed, subtly or not so much. Because I’ve now dubbed what I went through during my second labor “intervention harassment,” I’m going to encourage you to read her post and then come back here to see how many of these things I either endured (in bold) or refused (in italics).

* The uniform
* Who’s on first?
* On a short leash. (I was on a medium one, actually, only confined to bed 20 minutes out of every 2 hours.)
* The big drag around – I was browbeaten for refusing the IV and finally consented to a heplock just to shut the frackin’ nurse up.
* Staying put
* Ice chips and Jello I didn’t even get jello.
* The marketing tool – Nah, I didn’t feel like getting into the shower, honestly.
* One is enough They would have let me have a second person, but what they had in place was frustrating. Absolutely no one but those two people, and no one under 18 for our entire stay, which put the kaibosh on the kids meeting their baby brother.
* I know more than you– I got this, but in a defensive way, not an offensive way. I had come up swinging as soon as she ordered pit the first time, and she felt like she had to remind me that she had gone to school for this.
* If you don’t… – I can’t count the number of times she came up with excuses to intervene. The most absurd was her combing through the monitor print-out, and pointing to an instance where the baby had moved away from the transducer as evidence that the baby was in distress. I actually laughed at her. “If it happens again,” she said, “you’re getting the pit.” I spent the next two sessions on the monitor panicking over what she might do every time his heart beat slowed down even a little.
* Attitude and atmosphere – My day nurse seemed almost terrified of me, and because I was getting a rap as an uncooperative patient, I spent most of the day miserable–and progressing slowly. When the natural-birth-fluent night nurse came on, the energy changed, and I opened right up.
* Only if you ask – Kind of. There were things I should have asked for, but it wasn’t until the night nurse came on that I realized what I should have asked for.
* Bait and switch – Thank goodness, not for me. But I did notice something about the childbirth ed class: they talk about all this walking around you can do, and gloss over the fact that once you have an epidural, you’re not leaving the bed. Considering that everyone in the class but me was planning an epidural, I felt it was irresponsible of the educator to be singing the praises of walking during labor–so I pointed out the incongruity for the benefit of my classmates.
* New with bells and whistles – I don’t think they were pushing interventions for a better bottom line.
* Routine vaginal exams – I refused all vaginal exams after I got to 5 cm until I felt the urge to push, but getting to 5 was a battle because of the environment.
* Pushing the epidural – Didn’t apply to me since I had refused the basics that were needed for an epidural. but omg, the pit-pushing! That I refused it four times still blows my mind, and I’m starting to feel like the pressure to accede to these procedures constitutes intervention harassment. And while I’m sure there are folks that say, hey, at least you fought it and won.. there was this horrible hour between 6 and 7 when I began to doubt myself.

In other words, that harassment almost worked, and if it hadn’t been for the night nurse, it might have.

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