True stories about birth and giving birth

Day 972. White hawk (Ákos’s birth)

Day 972. White hawk (Ákos’s birth)

Long time passed since the birth of my little son, more than 19 years. I’m aware that since then both the doctors and hospitals attitude changed a lot towards giving birth and birthing. The occurrences already began with becoming pregnant. In spite of that I was healthy and young, I remained pregnant only after one-and-a-half year of trying and because of the regular spotting bleeding between the weeks 8–12, as an endangered pregnant I wasn’t allowed to work. Soon after this, my doctor, who I was seeing, told me straight that one visit is 2000 Ft by him and he usually gets between 20–50 thousand forints for a birthing. All of this 19 years ago, when it was a remarkable amount. I didn’t go to see him anymore which led to a horrible explanation and a terrible dressing down when registering for prenatal care at the doctor’s practice. Among others, the doctor on duty at that time asked me how I thought they could look after their families on that small salary if patients wouldn’t pay them gratuities. I had nothing to ask anymore. I was just stammering, and realised that it was a huge mistake to tell the truth. But it was too late… My thousand apologies and my meek, subservient behaviour took its effect on him in the following months, he became willing to treat me as a normal, regular pregnant woman.

After the 13th week the spotting was gone so I only had to attend the regular examinations and slowly we got to the point where, at my request, on the 32th week he also told me the sex of the baby with a smile on his face! The following months of the pregnancy went on without occurrences, apart from the sickness which was over around the 20th week.

Then on the 38th week at a visit, the doctor suggested hospitalization. Before that, of course, with an exclamation of “let’s help the baby a little bit!” he gave me a thorough “examination”. As a result of the “examination” the mucus plug came out but I didn’t experience any other changes.

On Monday I arrived to the hospital, unpacked my stuff and completely unsuspicious I laid down on the bed meant for me. About after one and a half hours later, the nurse turned up and told me to go to the examination room, to be presented to the head physician. I went. Eight lab coats were standing there, among them my doctor, who said: “Let’s see where we are, up on the table, Mother!” – he meant and pointed to the examination chair. I was terribly ashamed, I climbed up to the chair where it turned out that I was wearing pants. “But, mother! What do we need it for here? And if there was something wrong, should we struggle with that as well? Now, just drop it down nicely!” In this “joking around” manner three of the eight doctors examined me. Again, I couldn’t escape the unreasonable, painless dilating by the hand which was terribly painful, not only for my body. And I was also bleeding pretty well because of it. After a short discussion, THEY decided to wait until Wednesday and if there are no changes, they would start the birth. To my timid question they told me offhandedly not to eat and drink anything on Wednesday. That was all the information I was given for my questions of what was going to happen, what to prepare for. I felt horrible, I cried for hours that night.

On Wednesday morning I asked the nurses what the situation was, what I should prepare for. The answer was a short “I have no idea”, I would be told, I should wait patiently, and, incidentally, “you obviously will give birth, mother”. I was waited until 11. By then I was very hungry, I didn’t get anything to eat, I wasn’t taken anywhere, I wasn’t told anything – I got fed up! I found my doctor and asked him if I had to expect to be forbidden to eat for long, because then I’d rather go home right away, not caring about what happens. After a bit of rush and indignation it turned out that I was forgotten, but no worries, I would be examined and yes, I can eat now. I didn’t go back to the examination room, I sat down to eat, no one at all was looking for and missing me and at least I avoided the examination, which I dreaded by then.

Next morning came. At 5.15 (mean quarter past five in the morning) the nurse wakes me up, saying the day has come, I should get up, go for enema, shaving, my doctor arrives in about 20 minutes and I would be put on infusion.

A little side story: Before my son was born I spent only a short time in hospital, if I had questions, there was nobody to ask. Unfortunately, because of my family background, I grew up like weed plants, and it’s not an exaggeration. I didn’t know much about giving birth, I bought a book on pregnancy and read about what happens within my body, how my baby grows, what people learn in the school is not too much for a curious mother-to-be. I was totally naïve, I thought what everybody else thought, because that was fostered in them, that doctors are for you, they do everything for your wellbeing. I wasn’t practised in how to ask the doctor what I wanted to know, I had implicit faith in them. My mother-in-law, after having four babies who were either miscarried, still-born or dead within two-three days after prematurely born, said the point is that the baby be healthy and make it to the next morning. I never dared to ask anything else from her. During the examinations I was absorbing all the dropped pieces of information like a sponge, but because of my history I didn’t really ask questions. I started off giving birth armed with this “knowledge”, fondly, trusting everybody else but myself.)

And it started. With the enema. Mothers-to-be who got enema could only go to a specific toilet, and others didn’t go there. No wonder. I could never imagine such conditions in a hospital! You neither, perhaps only in the “Balkan” or in the railway station loos, famous for their bad condition. And I can’t tell anything more about it!

After I finished, shaving came. In this hospital it was done by a midwife, whom I hadn’t met before, she was doing her job in silence, didn’t ask anything, didn’t encourage me, didn’t say anything except which bed to lay on, after she finished and gave me the infusion as well.

There were four beds in the delivery room, separated with curtains, the door was in front of the beds where people were walking in and out, next to us was the labouring room with two beds. It was much more separated, it could only be accessed from the birthing room. I wasn’t laid there but on the bed directly opposite to the door. I’m not prude but still felt uncomfortable.

As a result of the infusion the labour pains started. It was 6 in the morning. From the first pain to the last one, when my son came out, I had pains of five minutes. Although they differed in strength and length, I didn’t experience the classic 20-15-10-5-3 minute pains. And I couldn’t rest in between them.

Visit around 8. Lots of men and women in white coats, with the powerful head physician among them. Of course they examined me, of course it was painful again, I suffered the dilation by the hand, too, but at least they asked me how I was, how I felt, if labour was all right. Hold on, they said, and I had the strength to smile when I replied “all right”.

By then, another pregnant woman got on the bed next to mine, her birthing was started as well. As she was overweight, had diabetes and was 33 years old, she was given special attention, and this was my luck and misfortune in one as once they were there, they also peeked at me to see how I was going on with the dilation.

By around eleven, I got terribly numb, I also got tired of lying, my arm in which the infusion was inserted, hurt bad, I couldn’t even bend it. I thought I would get up a bit, to stretch my legs at least. The stand of the infusion was fixed so I couldn’t walk with it. I got terribly told off. Then I climbed back and they tied my legs down.

Membrane was ruptured around 12, then my doc told me there was no return from there. I don’t know how wide I could have been opened. My pains became stronger, I was lying with tied legs and arms, opened up. For another four and a half hours.

I was crying heavily by then. I had to pee, I was completely out of my mind, I got frightened when the door opened because I didn’t know who was coming in and what he wanted, whether he would examine me again as during each and every examination they dilated my cervix by hand. I was shouting, trashing about. I was begging them to do something because I couldn’t bear it anymore. The other women next to me gave birth around two in the afternoon, I was alone and cold…

And I was frightened. I couldn’t conceive for one and a half year, I awfully desired to be a mother. However, in this half day I thought, the hell with everything, even with the baby. I will never ever forgive myself those thoughts I thought then and those feelings I felt. Of course I was scolded several times, in the end the afternoon midwife started yelling at me to stop moaning, she was sure I had not been screaming while the baby was being made!

Around 5 the doc came. He examined me! By then, the mere sight of him made me shiver. Finally he said: “Mother, we push!” and also some disgraceful shit about there finally being silence when the baby is born.

And I was pushing as if my life had depended on it. Maybe it had, and not only mine but my son’s, too!

In the meantime they never checked the fetal heartbeat, they didn’t ask if I felt the baby moving. I think they had no idea if the baby was all right or not. The doc was leaning his on my belly, pushing the baby, the midwife was straining my arm so that I couldn’t bend it because then the infusion couldn’t flow into my arm, as labour stopped even at this stage if the oxytocin wasn’t running. Between two pushes they told me to hold, not to push, it was then that they did the episiotomy. It didn’t hurt that much, just felt burning. A few more minutes and my son was born. It was 6.00 pm then. He was born in the 39th week of my pregnancy, after 12 hours of labour, with 4 kgs, 61 cm, he was given the name Ákos. It means “white hawk”.

He didn’t cry or I couldn’t hear it as my ears were buzzing so much. The midwife told me to calm down at last, he was whimpering, and a few moments later he broke out crying. I wanted to hold him at that very moment, they put him on my belly for a quick caress.

Poor him, he was terribly purple with a huge bump on his head. When I asked what it was, I was told there was a haematoma on him, my cervix was dilating so quickly(???) it created a vacuum there which sucked it. The bump was as big as his whole head, its mark would remain there for the rest of his life. He was almost one year old when it got fully absorbed.

Then he was taken away.

The placenta was pulled out of me, luckily it was entirely intact. I got some more injections, they took out the infusion. They sewed me up, I didn’t get anaesthetic, I bore it without a sound. The doc asked me why I hadn’t been able to be that disciplined while giving birth. I didn’t say anything just asked when I could get my son. I got him when they finished sewing. I put him to my breasts instinctively, they didn’t show me how to do it, what to pay attention to, I just put him there and he found it, and he was squelching happily, maybe that’s why the breastfeeding was undisturbed later on. Poor him, he wasn’t awake too long, he fell asleep quickly and he was taken away.

I was told I had to stay in the watching room for two hours, they would come for me later. I went from the room to the third floor on my own feet when the two hours were over, I didn’t say a word to anyone, just went upstairs. It caused a big hassle and fuss, they thought I left the baby there and went home.

I was dressed down again, but by then I was just crying and crying, I didn’t care what they were saying. I got tranquillizers and I was told not to go on like this because then I would be taken to the psychiatry. I summoned all my reserves and went to bed. I was woken up to go to pee because I would have to be catheterised if I couldn’t. I went and brought them the result. And I went to take a shower as well.

I could get my son in the morning again. His head was full of pinholes, they said he was a big baby so they had to exclude the possibility of diabetes(???). Blood was drawn from me as well but this was the last thing I cared for. As there was RH-incompatibility, I was given another injection. The infant nurse came and wanted to help me breastfeed but she saw everything was all right, she even commended me. From the first moment I was breastfeeding in sitting position. Maybe I wanted to punish myself with it.

I don’t know, I didn’t ask what Ákos was given to eat and drink at night, in the morning he didn’t really wanted to eat but at the following feeding he was eating nicely, he could be with me all day.

My dear got jaundice, so we stayed in for six days.

My stitches weren’t taken out by my doctor but the other doc had golden hands so I didn’t feel anything at all. I’m pretty much grateful for him as I was terribly frightened, shaking, I didn’t have any idea what was going to happen to me. He said I would forget everything, shouldn’t worry. Then we went home…

For long years I didn’t want a child anymore, it took not only a “husband-replacement” to change my mind but a great deal of inner work to process the torture my soul suffered.

Now I am a mother of a young adult. Our relationship started off difficult and it continued that way, too.

Breastfeeding: He had already been sucking in the delivery room but due to mental burdens and other reasons my breast milk dried up in the 4th month.

Cs. M.

 

Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.

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