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Old November 3rd, 2004, 11:13 PM   #1
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Location: Iceland
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My name is Helga.
In December of 1999 I gave birth in Iceland ( I am Icelandic)
Over here there are very few options when it comes to birthing.
In 1999 there was basically only one option, hospital.
There was a new program MFS, which stands for Pregnancy, Labour and aftercare.
This program was focused on natural childbirth; it was the first of its kind.
One visits the same midwife through out the pregnancy, and if it is possible that same midwife is percent at the birth.
The system is how ever that you are attended by the doctor and midwife on duty.
Water birth is not allowed in the capitals only hospital.
The care of labouring women is in the hands of both midwifes and doctors.
The midwifes are very restricted by the orders of doctors.
Everything that is ?unconventional?, or non clinical is frowned upon by the medical administrators.
The midwifes here are now fighting to make homebirth a real option, for now only women with perfect track records are considered and only women who have given birth vaginaly already.
We do have a medical system that is supposed to be very good, it is almost free, and the statistics are very impressive.
Excellent prenatal care and an excellent monitoring of infants and toddlers.
Seems they just forgot to take care of this mother.
The mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world.

I hand a very good pregnancy.
A little heartburn was the only uncomfort I had.
I was in MFS, my midwife was Rose.
She was to say the least wonderful.
Until about two weeks before my due date everything was just wonderful.
It was then that the Braxton hicks started.
At first they were not so bad, just some mild contractions every now and then.
But around my due date, they started to get rather strong in my opinion.
Strong enough to make me have to breathe my way through.
My mind was not at ease when these BH were 6 min apart for 12 hours.
But I was always told that these were just BH and that I ought to relax.
One time I had just come from an examination with Rosa, I stood at the elevator when a BH hit, it was so strong I had to lean up against the wall, and concentrate one my breathing.
A midwife that was heading for the elevator stopped and asked me if I was having pains, I could only muster an ?umhmm?.
She put her hand on my belly and said ?Gosh its hard?.
I had just been told that they were only BH so I went on home.

I was not in a good mood those last days !
Constant pain, I could no longer drive my self around due to the pain.
I was not getting much sleep, and could hardly walk half a block to the store.
But they continued to tell me these were only BH.
I did not agree, but what was I to know, I had never been there before.

I was getting so sick and tired of it all.
And then one day it happened.
A small gush of water.
I was so relived.
My bean as I called her had not yet engaged, so I called the hospital.
?Come on in and let us take a look at you?.
And so we did, we waited and waited.
They finally got around to taking a look at me and then they sayd it
?nope, this was just inter membrane fluid.
I was so frustrated !
Over the nest few says I had regular gushes if inter membrane fluid
To give you a mental picture.
Me sitting on the sofa talking to my best friend Ella on the phone.
And then I go ? hang on? I put the phone down, grab a role of paper towels , role upa bunch stuff it down my trousers and sit back down on the towel.
As I get back on the phone I say ?just a little inter membrane flood?.
Ella howled with laughter.
The BH were not getting any lighter, no dilation.
I was starting to despair.

We had already gone to the hospital once thinking the time had come.
Some 12 hours later, we were sent home.

The night of the 26th of November we decided to take a walk downtown, I wanted to see some of the Christmas displays.
That walk ended with my falling badly, I was is so much pain.
There I stood, in the street in so much pain I could not walk.
My boyfriend ran to get the car, I just stood there grasping a light pole and cried.
( People up here do not get married a lot, we are just as committed to our relationships, we just skip the marriage bit.)
I did not want to go to the hospital, I was tired of these people that just did not listen, and constantly told me to relax.
But my boyfriend took charge, and to the hospital we went.
By this time my face was a frown when ever we neared the hospital.
The deadline for induction was drawing near, the baby had in theyr opinion now engaged.
They gave me the once over and sent me home to relax, just that word had taken on a negative and disrespectful meaning to me.
The pain was more than usual that night, but I was becoming a veteran at this.

27th of November
I had contractions all day.
Rosa came to my house to examine me.
Dilated 1 to 1 ? and not effaced at all.
ARG I was so tired and annoyed.

28th of November
We went to the hospital one more time.
They striped my membranes and sent us home.

I had regular contractions all that night, when we came back to the hospital the next morning they were getting weaker.
We were put in a regular room, which was disappointing for us since we wanted an MFS room, they are very homie, with a regular bed, soft lighting and good chairs for the dads.
My membranes were striped again.
And then we played the waiting game, we thought we must have mastered that game, but no.
I walked around, up and down the stairs, and every hallway.
My BF was not handling all this, he had been in some sort of denial most of the pregnancy. Had not wanted to take classes or read up.
Now this was getting overwhelming, so he fled to the land of dreams.
In the afternoon the contractions (that remarkably felt exactly like the famous BH) were again dying down.

It was now about 24 hour?s since active labour had started.
Oskar my BF had gone twice to my mom?s house,( she lives close to the hospital) to grab something to eat, and then he slept for most of the time, it seemed to me.
His snoring was driving me up the wall.
But then again his breathing probably would have done the same had he been awake.

30th of November
They decided to rupture my membranes.
Easier said than done.
They were so thick.
The midwife tried time after time with the little plastic ?nail? they put on theyr fingertip, no luck.
So she takes out this HUGE steal instrument, it looked more like a murder weapon than a gynaecological instrument.
I looked at that thing and asked ?Are you REALY going to use that on me?
Ahh well I tried to relax and prayed that it would be over quickly.
After several tries the gush finally came.
The amniotic fluid had a greenish tint, but nothing that made them concerned.

The contractions were about 4 min apart.
They told me they were giving me two parkodin and a sleeping pill.
( I found out from my chart later that they gave me Pethidine and some tranquilizers
We were moved to an MFS room, which made me very glad.
I managed to sleep for 2 ? hours.
I thought it was rather remarkable how little I was tired.
I managed to relax during contractions, and the pain was very manageable.
I had dilated to a ?full? 4 cm.
We started seeing the same people that had been on duty the day before.
Some commented along the lines of ?are you still here!?
Each examination was more painful than the last, and more mentally taxing.

I had gotten tired of the music we had brought, and I had gone through all the reading material I could.
No one seemed to have the time to properly talk to us.
No one told us that there was still hope, and that some times these things just take this long.

The day went along; I was no longer keeping track of time.
(In December there is very little daylight, it is sort of dusk for 3-4 hours, but otherwise dark, so day and night can just blend into one)
It was dark out and I no longer knew if it was 8 in the morning or evening.
They had now concluded that my little bean had not engaged!
I was at 6 cm.

We were moved again to a regular room.
We did not bother getting our stuff out of the bag again; there was no point in settling in.
I was exhausted; no one was allowed to touch me unless they were examining me.
I growled at all hands that approached me.
(In hind sight, I find it odd that none of the midwifes ever did try and touch me except to examine me, there were no foot rubs or back massages, nor an encouraging pat on the back.)
Oskar took a nap in my bed; I think he felt unneeded or unwanted.
None of the staff directed their words to him, and when he tried to get any answers out of them he got none.
As he lay sleeping I stood in the hallway.
I could hear the sounds of women giving birth.
I was afraid of the birth it self, and so disappointed that things just were not happening in my body.
I felt like a little child lost in a crowd on the fourth of July.
Everything was in motion around me; I did not know what to do, or how to get to a safe place.
I slid down the wall, and ended up sitting on the floor with my face in my hands sobbing.
After some minutes a cleaning lady came by, she quickly got a midwife.
I was dragged into my room; Oskar was thrown out of the bed and I was ?thrown? into it.
And then she left again, no comforting words, no reassurance, nothing.
That was the moment I gave up.
I stopped complaining about the pain, I stopped asking for anything.
I just disappeared inside my self.
I don?t think anyone noticed.
I just lay there physically and mentally drained.
My spirit was broken.

Oskar told me that I slept between the contractions for some time.
During the contractions I would let out loud moans, and sometime I opened my eyes for a moment, and then a second later, I was snoring, he he.
I snoozed that way for about 3 hours.

At that time I was getting rather bored and frustrated with the situation.
I just knew that nothing was happening.
I had dilated to 6 or 7 cm.
I could handle the pain, but mentally I felt defeated.
Next it was decided to use pitocin.
We had to change rooms yet again.
Lucky for us that we had not settled in the last time we were moved, now at least we did not have to pack everything up again.
So they put in a line and started the flow.
And set up an epidural.
They called for the best anaesthesiologist, especially for me.
They had probably figured out that I did not have any endurance left in me, and that this epidural had to go in smoothly.
And that was probably right, I probably would have lost my mind if he would have had to stab me more than once with that needle.
This is not the most fun thing I have had done to me, and it hurt!
I seized the opportunity, looked deep into Oskars eyes and said with deep conviction.
He did not mind my words on bit, but the anaesthesiologist did.
He decided that those words were meant for him and was pissed at me for the rest of the whole thing.
Something which I still find funny.

A new shift arrived.
I now had a new midwife, and a student midwife. ARG
Not that she wasn?t nice and all.
But she was constantly in my face.
I was tired, sad , angry and scared.
And there she was, she could not conceal her excitement and wanted to do everything possible for me.
The thing was at this point I just wanted to be left alone!
The epi was a ?walking epi? I could get around, but just barely.
I had to use the bathroom, number 1 and 2.

?no sweetheart? the midwife said ?it is just the pressure?
Hell no, I thought, that is it.
?No you don?t have contractions, just BH?
?No you water has not broke it?s just inter membrane fluid?
?No you don?t have to go, just pressure?

Well god da?. it I had to go, and I was going.
I was so pissed.
They realy did not want to let me out of bed.
But I made it to the bathroom, with all the Iv?s and epi in tow.
And there I sat for a while.
God da?, fu? #%?#$#%$#%.
I had nothing to release, the midwife was right.
I tried to stand up but my feet would not let me.
So I called for Oskar.
And who do you think came rushing through the door.
The student midwife, she must have sprinted, at least she got to the doorknob first.
I must have looked like some daemon as I growled at her.
The poor girl stumbled back and Oskar helped me to bed.

It was time for reinforcements.
I called my dad.
It felt so good when he arrived.
He has been at 5 births, with 3 different women, so he knew what to do.
He sat him self down and calmly waited.
I was in no condition to chit chat, I was just somewhere inside my self, trying to stay numb.
Yet another exam, this time by a doctor.
No answers, everything they say was some how vague and left me feeling even more in the dark.
I finally gave up, and asked if this would not end in a C-section.
The doctor mumbled something and then said probably
Finally a straight answer!

So they started prepping me.
That went just fine, they upped my epi, shaved me.
And then someone said they had to put up a catheter.
I freaked.
I begged them not to do this, I started crying hysterically.
My dad came over to me; he cupped my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes and said.
?Sweetheart, it?s going to be ok, you just hold on to me?
Then he put his arms around me and put mine around him, I cried so hard as the put that catheter up.
I did not even realize that I could not feel a thing, due to the epi.
It was just another invasion to my body, and it was high time to have a good cry.

It was around that time that my mother came over.
She brought me my gift.
She and my sister had been waiting on calls and info all this time.
When they heard where things were heading, they decided it was time to give me a little moral boost.
It sadly did not work.
I only remember her kissing my face, and me wishing she would stop touching me.
(I usually am a very cuddly person, and I can imagine that not being affectionate to ones child in that state is impossible for a mother.)

They took me to the OR.
Everything was made ready.
I remember how cold I was, numb emotionally.
It felt so uncomfortable to have my hands strapped down.
And then they started, our music of choice started playing when she was about to enter the world, a rock song, every one was amused by our choice.
I felt this immense pain in my chest; it was like everything went into slow motion.
I heard my heart rate slow down.
I was convinced that I was dying; all I could think was that I would never be able to let my baby know how much I loved her.
The fear was so intense that I could not utter a word.
And the it happened, my daughters first cry filled the room.
WOW,,, that got my attention.
December first 1999 at 18:15.
She came into this world with style; first apgar was 9 and second was 10.
Lucky for us.
Because they let her wait in the recovery room until I was out of surgery.
My dad was with her until they had finished patching me up.
When I came out of surgery, I was in shock.
I shook all over, and felt in a word awful.
She was so ugly, no kidding.
The nose all squeezed from being in the wrong position, but she did have very cute ears.

There were some mistakes made in the time I was in the hospital.
I was not given enough pain meds; I was told that I would just have to endure.
On the second day after her birth my best friend came over for a visit.
She asked me if I had been out of bed yet, (the rule is to get women out of bed with in the first 24 hours, to decrease the chance of blood clots and hasten recovery) I told her no, no one had been there to support me out of bed, she got me on my feet.
When I saw the bed I almost threw up, it had not been changed for almost 48 hours.
Needless to say it was soaked in blood and gore.
It was my friend who went straight to the nurses station and asked them to change the bed, they told her it was not their job, so she did it.

Well I thought now the rough stuff is over, and we will have smooth sailing ahead.
And so it did appear, I went home from the hospital on the fourth day, we both seemd to be doing well.
We went home and life looked good.
I had some strong cramping, but thought it was normal.
On December 11th I was putting her into her crib, and I felt a gush between my legs.
I stood there in a pool of blood.
What I was thinking I do not know, but I calmly went to the bathroom, changed, and the cleaned up the blood trail I had left.
I rang my bf at work and asked him not to take any overtime.
My sister wanted to come over with her kids; I told her I was feeling kind of under the weather.
(What the hell was I thinking!)
My bf came home in the evening, and he did not like the sight of me one bit.
Around 10 in the evening I called the hospital.
I explained that I had gone through 7 monster sized pads, and was now starting to cloth diapers.
I had apparently awoken the good doctor, he sounded really groggy, he told me to come in tomorrow at 8.
So the night went on, I bled, and I got weaker.
Around 6 in the morning I got up to use the bathroom, and I saw my lips were gray.
That did it for me.
I rang the hospital again.
By now I could hardly talk properly, walking was a strain.
The nurse told me to come in NOW!
So we did.
It turned out that there had been a tiny piece of the placenta left behind and there for I had bled into my uterus.
I lost a little less than 2 litres of blood.
I had to have an operation to clear out my uterus.
My daughter got to stay with me, and we went home the next day.

The Next 6 weeks I was in and out of hospital with a severe infection.
Countless mistakes were made; I did not get to bring my daughter with me to the hospital.
In the end here I am, I have scar tissue inside my abdomen due to the infection.
It wraps around some organs, which makes my life a living hell at times.
I have had two operations since, where they have gone in and cut away these tissues but they just grow back.
My fear of childbirth is almost paralyzing, now that I am expecting another child.
I have no trust in doctors or medical staff.
And to top it all of, I will have to be in a clinical birthing room this time.
And there will be lots of those people, who the first time around could not pick up my chart and read it, and have left me scared for life because of that.

Thank you for reading my long long story.

Please send me any feedback you have, this is sort of a first draft, so every comment is welcome.
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Old November 4th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #2
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WOW Helga, I'm exhausted just reading your account. I am so sorry your birthing experience turned out to be so grueling! I can certainly understand why you don't trust the medical staff to take good care of you.

From experience, I can tell you that each birth is different and should be easier the second time around. I hope that you can express your fears to your new midwife and that she can help you through this. I know how important relaxation is to get you through those contractions but I can imagine how difficult that is for you. A good midwife should be able to give you more confidence and coping skills.

Wishing you a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery.
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Old November 4th, 2004, 10:44 PM   #3
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Cod is right each time is different.Hopefully you will get a midwife that will be there for you thoughout the process. Good luck.
This time you will be aware of the braxton hicks although you do not get them with every pregnancy. I had three C sections and each one was better than the other. Proberly due to the fact you
are more aware of what to expect.
Again good luck. Hope all works out well for you.
Smiles are contagious. It's ok to pass them on. *
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Old November 5th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #4
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Talking Hmmmm here is some food for thought

Sounds like to me you had a scarey first pregnancy and delivery. I have had three pregnancies myself. After the first one, the second pregnancy was good as well as the time frame of delivering. However, the third one was longer yet the delivery and baby turned out fine. I spent seven months total days in the hospital waiting for my first born. During which time I learned a lot. I would suggest that you go to your local library and grab as much material as you can to read up on pregnancies and deliveries. You are one step ahead by the experience you went thru with your first pregnancy and delivery. Also, write down any medical terms and at your next appointment with your midwife ask for answers. If your midwife doesnt give you any, return to your library or look it up online. EIther way you go, the more you know the better you are to handle it. Plus, let the doctors and their entire staff be aware you are not going thru what you did the first time. No one touches you unless they tell you why and what they are doing. Next any words or statements they make of you, you want it explained. I did have a midwife and she was a great experience. I wish you the best keep in touch.
Have a great day!
~*~ May you walk in the Shadow of the Creator!~*~
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Old November 5th, 2004, 07:54 PM   #5
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Wonder if Helga came back to read our responses?
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Old November 5th, 2004, 08:11 PM   #6
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(((((((( Cod))))))))) I know she read yours she said so in chat last night.
She asked me if I was you. Told her you are much, much younger, and better looking. That I was just me (G)
Smiles are contagious. It's ok to pass them on. *
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Old November 5th, 2004, 09:26 PM   #7
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LOL ((((Irish)))) thanks!

I'm glad that she checked back. It makes me kind of sad when people come in needing help and we all try to send support and then mysteriously we never see them again...ya know?

You know how soft we Irish people are, eh?
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Old November 6th, 2004, 06:29 PM   #8
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Of course I came back.
I am in here every during my workweek.
Cant keep away from the good company.

Since the birth I have been reading like crazy !
I think I have cramed everything I can into this brain of mine, with out becoming an OB/GYN.
But that does not seem to matter, every time I question something and give an argument it gets shot down.
I have decided to start taping every conversation.
And take my mother( a very strong willed person) with me on each interview.

Here is the thing.
I cant choose a midwife the is with me through out the whole thing.
There is no such thing as personalised care.
I get who ever is on call at the hopital at the time.
I went to a midwife at the hospital to try and work out some of my fears, and found out that I will not be allowed to be in the MFS program, I will not be allowed to give birth in a cozy birthing room.
I will no be allowed to stay at home after I have gone into labor. etc etc.

I will basicly have to be in a clinical room, in the same hallway as the OR.
I will have to be on a monitor the whole time.
Basicly, they will govern this whole process.
Since they did such a crapy job last time, I am gona fight this tooth and nail.
I dont trust theyr judment on anything on little bit.
They will be made to explain every little bit.
And they will hate me for it.

And I found out last week that nothing has changed.
The scar tissue have been causing me alot of pain.
The pain is worse if I have gas, and some hours before I have a BM.
So I called the hospital after I had been in imence pain for two days.
I called in told him I was 7 weeks preg, and that I had scartissue in my abdomen after a c-section.
His very quick responce was that it was just my uterus growing, I told him I knew the pain from these scar tissues.
And hold on tight,,, he asks me if I have ever carried a child before.
I was stunned, I had just told the man I had a c-section, I dont know of any human who has had that opperation while not being pregnant.
I pointed this out to him, he got miffed and told me that I could come in the day after if I absolutly wanted to.
HA HA,,, NOT, I wont go near these people.

I am starting to be affraid that I will knock out people when I get in there, he he.
I hope mom and bf will do a good job restraining me.

Seriously, I know it will be a hazzle and I know I will get irritated.
But it will be safety first, and I will be logical.

Than you guys so much for your input.
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Old November 6th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #9
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namo, I don't know much bout your medical system but it sure sounds wacky to me. I had good treatment when I was pregnant. My nurse practioner told my son's bio father if he couldn't stop making me cry he had to leave the room during my exam, that was the first time I saw her too. Of course the jerk hasn't been around since I was 3 months pregnant, but that's another story
I would tell your doctors it is your body, if they can't treat you with respect maybe they would like to talk to the medical board about their license. You shouldn't be treated like that. I wouldn't trust doctors after what you have been through if I were in your shoes.
" Life is what you make of it"
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Old November 8th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #10
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Well Helga,
Make sure to take Mom with you as well as find out what rights you have as a patient. Then find out who you would report information about the care and treatment the Doctors give you. This will make the doctors take more seriously. As well that the more you know the more empowered you will be. Then just in case get a lawyer. Either way you will be protecting yourself and your unborn baby.
Good Luck!
Have a great day!
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Old August 20th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #11
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Question childbirth

I saw this forum about childbirth, had to jump in! Does anyone have an opinion on natural childbirth? (loaded question, I know.) I'm pregnant with my first baby, and I really want to go natural, is it worth it? I'm afraid of the pain...
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Old August 20th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #12
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Welcome, jilliandepauli!! I hope others can come in and give you advice on natural childbirth...I ended up having to have an emergency c-section, so I'm not the best to offer advice!

Glad you found WOW and the boards, and hope you enjoy it here!
Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it. -- Pope John Paul II
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Old August 20th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #13
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Good Morning! My first child was a natural birth only because I didn't have enough time for them to administer anything - 1 hour 15 min from start to finish.

My second child I had an epidural and let me tell ya, if I'd have had that with my first she'd have been out in even less time!

The best idea is to speak with your OB and get the ins and outs of the drugs they use and such before you make any decisions.

Good Luck!
"Life is a flower of which love is the honey." Victor Hugo
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 12:25 PM   #14
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Speaking with your doctor is a good idea. I had both mine natural and have never regretted it. I wouldn't know if drugs would of been good for me or not. I just never chose that option. Good luck with whichever you choose.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 02:30 PM   #15
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(((((all)))) Yes, check with your obgyn to be sure that is an option for you. If it is ask about the classes for natural child birth. I went with my daughter to hers and it was worth it. I was her coach but when the time came she knew just what to do and didn't really need me.The nice thing about it is if the pain gets to be too much, ask about an epidural most times you can have one. But if you know the proper way to breath, it makes it much easier.
It feels like home to me. Bonnie Rhatt
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