I Got Yer Consent Form Right Here

There is a great post here by a woman fed up with lack of patient rights when it comes to childbirth... I can't help but agree. How can it be that we have the right to refuse treatment for illnesses but not unnecessary over-treatments (in some hospitals) for a naturally occurring event such as childbirth?

I am not speaking for all women, but, as a populous, we are enabling our medical system to put these strictures, these regulations, on our bodies and birth. I am not talking about medically necessary cesareans... but about a growing number of hospitals that are 'disallowing' VBACS or optional epidurals (you heard that right - a growing number of hospitals** requiring epidurals for 1st time moms, moms of multiples, and as a term of allowing a trial of labor for VBACs) with no good reason.

My body, my birth, MY choice.

**added for clarification: I have attended 2 births in Tennessee (same hospital both times) that the nursing staff, as well as the practitioners repeatedly stated "we pretty much require first time moms to have epidurals in place because we don't know if you are going to a) be able to stand the pain and b) be one of the 1/3 that need surgery." Nursing staff even went so far at one of those births to state "if you want to have no medication, your doctor has to let us know, otherwise you get an epidural at 4cms".

In addition to this I have spoken to scores of women whose spouses were in the Army, Navy, or Marines that gave birth on base. Frighteningly, many stated that they were forced to have epidural medication. None of these women knew each other. (And, on another hand, other women that I have spoken to who have given birth on bases have been refused medication).

Finally, we all know women, I am sure, that have 'fired' their doctors for saying that they had to have an epidural to have their twins vaginally or to have a trial of labor for VBAC.

Sorry no linky for this stat, simply word of mouth and personal experience... Bottom line, many medical facilities are toeing the line when it comes to our rights.


Jill said...

Whoah. Are you serious about the epidurals?? have a link? That is some messed up ish!

Mrs.B said...

That is so very sad, I so would love to take midwifery training as I had to fight for my Vbac, policy is no vbacs, you have to drive hundred of miles to get one, or just be a bugger that won't give up at the hospital. Went in in labor , they said they would have to do a c-section and I said they could not do one without my consent and I would NOT consent to one. So they had one Vbac birth in the hospital that year. And I have had ladies who want one ask me how I got mine, but they said they can not do what I did.
Thanks for posting this link.

Oh also I have 4 daughters and i am so concerned about the type of care they will be forced to have when they start bearing children


Cilla said...

Hello, can you post a source for hospitals REQUIRING epidurals? I am appalled!

SUPER MOMMY! said...

REQUIRING epidurals..... That is ridiculous! That makes me angry.

Wendyrful said...


This is about the worst thing I have heard (lately for sure!). You have to be so strong today to even have the chance to give birth these days! Like the one comment said, she had to just 'refuse' a c-section! I've known someone who had to do that in order to get a vbac as well. However I believe that on the ICAN list someone once told of when they were saying/screaming, "I do NOT CONSENT to a cesarean!!!" but they raced her down the hall into surgery anyway (even as she was yelling refusal!). So sometimes even that doesn't work!
I too am worried for my daughters (I have 5), and for all our sisters, and daughters, and how hard we seem to have to FIGHT to be able to give birth in a NORMAL Natural way! Soooo sad!!!

Wendyrful said...

hey, what area of TN are you in?

sfmommy said...

I am de-lurking after reading your blog for at least a year. :)

Almost two months ago, I delivered my second daughter. It was a somewhat reluctant hospital birth (home birth wasn't practical for me where I live right now and the local birthing center was a horrible fit for me and my husband). I did a TON of research on the four hospitals in my city and finally settled on a midwife/MD group that practices at one of them. I bypassed the docs entirely and only saw the midwives during my pregnancy. The midwife who ended up on-call when I went into labor was the 1 (out of 6) that I hadn't met during my prenatal appointments.
We gave her our birth plan and she went over it line by line with us during my labor and affirmed each and every goal we had.
I am happy to say, my birth experience was absolutely magical. MY husband and I are still marvelling that it was so incredible in a hospital setting. We were allowed to labor almost unassisted and the midwife only stepped in occasionally to offer great suggestions. IT culminated with me pushing on a birth stool, welcoming our precious, healthy girl right into my arms (the midwife was the one who encouraged me to reach down and catch my baby).
While we were incredibly blessed to have good midwives (Despite the hospital setting), I do believe that the thing that made all the difference was my husband and I being educated enough and...well...pushy enough, to assert OUR wishes for the birth. We had a bad experience with our first birth where there was a lot of pushing and bullying from the nurses and the doctor. This time we both felt armed enough with information about childbirth and justified by the knowledge that what we wanted was SAFE and best for our baby, we were ready and willing to PUSH BACK against any nurse or hospitalist who started trying to intimidate us into doing something we didn't want.
A friend of mine gave birth a few weeks after and had an absolutely horrific experience. She was met by the old-school male doc who'd never met her or her husband. Pushed into getting an epidural, pushed for an hour, then the doctor gave her a giant episiotomy and didn't direct her pushing at ALL after that, so she blasted baby out in one push that caused massive internal and external tearing (requiring almost two hours of stitching after the fact).
MY heart breaks for her knowing the kind of pain and helplessness she felt. But in both her case and my case, education about birth made all the difference. She and her hubby were not prepared (admittedly) for the birth (their first) and couldn't possibly combat the onslaught of "We know best" that came from the medical team attending their birth. My hubby and I knew to expect that from our first birth and so we came armed for battle and were blessed to not need many of our "weapons" for the birth of our daughter.

I am so sad that for so many women (like my friend and myself), the first birth is like a trial birth...

Sarah said...

I am not surprised about the base/post hospitals. IME I have been through so much with them that we even refuse to go to one particular post next because of their h9ospital and my stay there. We aren't sure if we will have more kids or not, but there is NO WAY we want to have to deal with that again if we do. So no Ft Hood for us!!

Here's one for ya... I have a persistent streak, so if this happened to ME and I couldn't even fight it, you know it has to be horrible for others that aren't as mouthy as me. With baby #5 I was "required" to sign a consent form allowing whoever was in the delivery room to be able to do an episiotomy at their discretion. This form was REQUIRED to be signed at the 32 week appointment....32 weeks!!!!! I didn't even know who I was going to get delivering me until the delivery day, so how exactly was I supposed to just blindly trust some 30 or more dr's, all with totally different outlooks on that aspect of delivery? I refused to sign it at that appointment, and at my next appointment I was told that my care would be stopped and I would not be allowed to deliver there if I did not sign it. I still tried to refuse, but 45 minutes later, me in tears, three dr's, two administrators, and a lawyer later, I ended up signing. I just prayed for following weeks that whoever was in there didn't push for that. God was gracious though, and I had a very good dr, and even the one hospital staff MW that day! Even through cord prolapse issues and me delivering at 8cm, he did not do one. The MW worked very hard to stretch me out good enough, and I didn't tear or need an episiotomy. I think God for that one and for the dr that was there. He had a gut feeling that something was going to go on, and he stayed in my room talking to us for two hours (leaving only to check on the others). So when Justice descended and his heart rate dropped, the dr was right there and ready. (He was a Christian, so I think it was God letting his spirit know that he needed to be extra attentive). Anyway, all worked out good, but the requiring of that form to be signed so early was INSANE.

So far the best military hospital I have had to deal with is Landstuhl Germany. They were awesome with baby #3's birth!!


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