I Told You So

5 May 2011 at 3:28 pm 4 comments

It’s not that fun to sit here thinking I-Told-You-So. I mean, I did, but in cases like this, there’s no joy in it. My smart friend who went into her hospital birth unprepared and unreflective had an awful birth: she got an epidural upon arrival at the hospital, and then everything slowed down (of course). AROM, Pitocin, and then maternal fever after twelve hours on the epi, all of which led to a sudden panic to “get the baby out” because of fears of infection and failure to progress. The c-section led to baby being delivered with a collapsed lung, and the baby was whisked away to the NICU, put on antibiotics, and given formula. My friend was completely unprepared to pump (recall that her doctor had said not to pump for the first two months, without explaining any reasoning); a nurse handed her a manual pump and an instruction or two, and that was it. By seven days after the birth, when they were finally discharged from the hospital, the baby hadn’t nursed at all, and my friend was going cross-eyed from the different advice from the lactation consultants and nurses on call. At home, they got stuck in a rut of formula-feeding and then pumping a little breastmilk (I think she finally did get an electric pump, but not until later than is ideal when her baby had never latched). She was wiped out from the c-section recovery and the long hospital stay, the baby had a terrible diaper rash (my guess was thrush/yeast from the antibiotics), and things have only gotten marginally better from there.

I passed on the name of an excellent, top-notch lactation consultant who makes housecalls, and my friend—after investigating with her insurance company—decided not to call her because it would be $150. I mentioned how much formula costs, each month, but didn’t want to push things. After the birth experience she had, I just feel so bad for my friend—I would not want to be trying to start off your baby’s life, and your own life as a mother, with this many challenges stacked against you!

Of course, it didn’t have to be this way, but like I said, there’s no joy at all in trying to say I-Told-You-So in a case like this.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. al  |  6 May 2011 at 2:48 pm

    As a woman who birthed naturally, with no drugs, and breastfed toddlers, I understand your point of view. What I am trying to understand is whether you support women’s choices especially when childbirth doesn’t follow a “natural” course. How fortunate that you were able to birth naturally–many are indeed able to–but what of those who run into complications? Are you qualified enough to judge her birth experience? I wonder whether or not your friend will read this. And, if she should, if she will feel supported and able to take advice from you.

    • 2. Christina  |  7 May 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Yes, of course there are cases when medical interventions are truly necessary in childbirth–no one’s saying that isn’t the case. But knowing how broken our maternity system is, it makes me sad when women don’t educate themselves enough about birth to know which questions to ask or which interventions to refuse.

  • 3. Joy  |  9 May 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I agree with the previous poster. Just because your friend didn’t feel like taking advice from you at her baby shower doesn’t mean she was “unreflective.” Just because her birth didn’t go as hoped doesn’t mean you are correct in thinking that it all could have been prevented if only she’d “prepared” more.

    Plenty of informed, reflective, prepared women choose to have hospital births. My labor was excruciating, and I would have felt massively betrayed and angry if people had only told me to expect “pressure” or if I hadn’t had a backup plan that included drugs in case the pain was too much for me to bear. I had an epidural, and I had what I consider to be a perfect birth experience. With the help of the epidural, I slept overnight through the majority of my labor and dilation, woke up refreshed in the morning, and pushed for about an hour or so before delivering.

    If your friend is going cross-eyed from differing advice from multiple lactation consultants at the hospital, I certainly don’t blame her for not wanting to pay $150 for yet another opinion.

    You say there’s “no joy in trying to say I-Told-You-So” here. I hope like hell you don’t actually try to say such a thing to her. Her experience might never have been like yours, no matter what kind of birth she’d tried for. I hope your judgmental attitude about her birth doesn’t get in the way of you being the friend she needs at this time.

    • 4. christinamichaud  |  10 May 2011 at 8:44 am

      Really, there’s no judgement meant here at all–I truly feel bad for my friend!

      Yes, many women choose epidurals, and that’s fine, but I think reading a bit more about your options can only be a good thing: knowing to ask, “I’ve heard that epidurals increase my risk of getting a fever during labor. What does that mean for me and the baby?” and then listening to the response, and pushing harder if the caregiver is flippant (“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll take care of you both!”) really leads to better results.


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