I was 17 when I had my first child. I had this beautiful vision in my head on how the birth would go. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I loved my baby so much and was so excited to meet him. I had no prior education on childbirth when I had him. I figured my care provider was there to help me and keep me and my baby safe. I put all of my trust into the system and they completely failed me. I was left feeling broken, damaged, and traumatized.
It was my regular 39-week appointment and my grandmother dropped me off. I was running late and had to run up two flights of stairs to get there on time. I was called back for my vitals and when the nurse took my blood pressure she told me it was abnormally high. I was still breathing heavily when she took it and explained to her what I just did and why my blood pressure is probably high. I was told to go sit and they would check again in 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes I was called back to an exam room where a doctor I've never met before and a nurse waited for me. The nurse took my blood pressure again and it was still high. I was stressed and nervous. She told me the doctor was going to do an internal exam and ultrasound to make sure my fluid was okay and that baby was a good weight for a possible induction. I was terrified at this point because I had never thought I would need to be induced.
The nurse left and the doctor told me to take my pants off and lie down. He then proceeded to strip my membranes without my consent. It was excruciating and I told him I wanted him to stop. He did and then tells me my membranes were stripped and he hopes that puts me into labor. I had no idea that he was doing that and was in a state of shock from the immense pain I just went through. He did an ultrasound and said my baby looked healthy and was 7 and a half pounds.
After that was done, he said they are more than likely going to induce me if my blood pressure was still up with the next check. My stress levels were so high and I knew it was still going to be high, and it was. I was then wheeled to labor and delivery where, alone, I was poked with needles, hooked to IVs and monitors, and forced to stay in a bed. The nurse took my blood pressure after I was completely hooked up and said "Oh, its normal now!" I was so excited and asked her if that meant I could go home. She told me I wasn't going anywhere because I was already “hooked up to everything” and I'm “practically full term” so they were going to induce me anyway. She put a cervadil string in me and then just left.
My partner was still working and my mom was home getting my bag ready and eating so I was all alone. About 30 minutes after the cervadil was inserted I started having painful contractions every 2-3 minutes. I kept ringing for a nurse but no one came.
Finally after an hour of back to back contractions, the nurse came in and took it out saying they “didn't mean to cause contractions” and they would start pitocin in the morning. Again, left alone and stuck to a bed.
Fifteen minutes later, a doctor walks in with a group of 10 residents and says he's giving me a cervical exam. There was no asking, just doing. I didn't know I had a choice in whether I could deny it so I let him do it. It felt like he put his entire arm inside of me. I started screaming "NO, PLEASE STOP. PLEASE. I CAN'T DO THIS. IT HURTS!!" He yelled at me to shut up and told me if I couldn't handle this pain then I might as well have my baby cut out of me right now. I was crying and pleading with him to stop when a nurse comes in and starts holding me down.
At this point I'm fighting to get away. I continue screaming while he continues to penetrate and explaining what he's doing to the students in the room. No one helped me. They all watched as I was being raped and violated on the bed. When he was done, I thought the torture was over but I hear him say "Okay, now you all get to try". I fought and screamed as much as I could as each student took their turn penetrating me.
I eventually gave in.
I felt my soul leave my body.
I felt like an empty shell as I looked at the ceiling, tears drying on my face, and counting the rectangles.
I didn't even notice when they were done.
I came back to reality when my partner came in the room. I looked at the clock and realized it was 8PM. I never told him what happened. I just wanted to forget it.
I rested until 6AM when the nurse came in and started my pitocin. My mom, partner, grandmother, and aunts were there as they started the drip. The contractions immediately started. I remember trying to breathe through them as I was forced to lay in a bed. It was too much. I requested an epidural when I was 4cm. I was so happy to have it because then I could no longer have to feel the cervical exams being done to me.
My labor stalled. No progression on their time line so they upped my pitocin. The pain was getting stronger so I upped my epidural. Then it stalled more. I was 24 hours in and 7cm when they upped my pitocin more and my son’s heart started reacting to the extreme contractions. I was terrified for him and for myself because at that point I was starting to feel every contraction no matter how many times I pressed the epidural button.
I was 9cm with a cervical lip when I was forced to start pushing. They shoved an oxygen mask on my face and had my mom and partner force my legs up each push. I had no energy left in me. I hadn't eaten in 26 hours and I'm hypoglycemic. I pushed as hard as I could but was continuously yelled at for not pushing the "right way". I couldn't feel my vagina at all but felt each contraction as they came.
After 2 hours of pushing I was begging for a c-section. I just wanted the misery to stop. I started vomiting into my oxygen mask and trying to take it off but a nurse kept pushing it back on my face and telling me if I took it off my baby was going to die.
I pushed for another hour after being refused a cesarean when he was finally visible in the birth canal. They wanted to use forceps but I opted for the vacuum instead because I thought it would be safer. They attached it to his head and told me to push. I pushed as hard as I could and then I heard a loud popping noise. I looked at my mom and her face was pure white and she looked scared. I started crying. I thought my baby was dying. They put it back on and told me to push again. Another popping noise. The third time it finally worked and my baby was born.
I was so excited to finally see him and hold him but instead he was taken straight to a warmer where I couldn't see anything. I laid in the bed getting stitched up. I just wanted my baby so bad. They brought him over to me, showed him to me, and then said they had to take him to the NICU where I didn't see him again for 4 more hours as I was told I had to wait until my epidural wore off completely and I could stand on my own.
When I was finally able to see him I was not allowed to touch him. I couldn't breastfeed him or anything. They told me his breathing was extremely rapid and he was having to be transferred to another hospital with a better NICU. Not only that, but the entire top of his head was bruised so bad it was completely blue. I cried so hard I couldn't breathe. I was being forced to stay another almost 48 hours to recover while my baby was wheeled off miles away from me. I could barely eat and sleep. All I did was try and hand express and pump so my partner could bring my milk to our son. He was in the NICU for 7 days and it was hell.
His birth was hell. I thought after all I endured that I would at least have my baby but I was denied that too. It took me years to recover from his birth and I still have flashbacks of the rape I endured by my "care" provider. I was so afraid to tell my story for years but now I want to scream it off every roof top. I am breaking the silence and I will never stop speaking my truth. Birth rape and obstetric violence is VERY real and things need to change in order to protect our mothers and baby's!