“I have a plan,” She thrust a few handwritten pages torn from a notebook toward me. She smiled, beaming with joy and anticipation. Her fire black hair was held tight in a French braid, her face void of make up, but she maintained that glow of most mothers-to-be. “I want the birth to be completely natural. I want Kevin and my mom with me the whole time.” There behind her stood a young man struggling with a rolling suitcase, two diaper bags and one of those strollers with a built in carseat. An older woman stood to her side speaking in an urgent tone to someone on a cell phone.
“How far along are you?” I stood coming from around the desk.
“I’m due on Thursday.” She straightened her shoulders following me to the triage room.
“Let’s see what’s happening,” I fastened the labor belts.
“Do I have to have an IV? I don’t want an IV, I hate needles.”
“I’m going to get your chart, I’ll be right back.” I quickly pulled her file from the drawer and glanced up at the clock, 6:30 pm, Dr. Blade isn’t going to like this. All was quiet in L&D until she walked in-and with a birth plan. I sighed and grabbed her notes. “All natural, no drugs, no IV, no breaking her water,” I read the plan to myself, realizing I was probably the only person who would read it. I placed the plan on top of her chart and scanned for the information I needed before checking her cervix.
“You are about a 6, 80% effaced, zero station.” I said removing my gloves.
“What does that mean?” a trio of voices chorused.
“It means you are in active labor. Dr. Blade is on call tonight,”
“Dr. Cause is our doctor!” He husband interrupted as all eyes focused on me pleading for intervention.
“She will be here in the morning,” I tried to smile. “Let’s get you settled.” I led them across the hall to one of our labor rooms.
“Can my husband cut the cord, I want Kevin to cut the cord and I want the baby placed on my chest immediately. I want to breastfeed as soon,” She sat on the labor bed as I plugged the monitor in and adjusted the ultrasound so the baby’s heart rate could be heard, “Oh, I could just listen to that forever,” She sighed a deep sigh as a contraction took her breath.
“I’ll be back to check on you in a few minutes,” I closed the door behind me seeing Dr. Blade at the nurses’ station.
“Get her an epidural, have her sign consent for a C-section-she doesn’t look like an efficient pusher to me.” He checked his watch then looked up at me as I handed him the pages from her birth plan. “Have you started the IV?” I nodded my answer, “Why not?” I pointed at the birth plan. He glanced over it then tossed it aside, “We don’t have time for this nonsense! Follow me.”
I knew what he was going to do. He walked into the room and spoke with authoritative tone. “We all want the same outcome, healthy baby, healthy mom.” He started his speech. I closed my eyes knowing the terror he would invoke. “You will be the one responsible for your baby’s injuries or death. Do you want your baby to live?” He stormed out of the room. My joyous, radiant glowing mom-to-be was now weeping along with her mother and husband holding each other.
“No, please, no c-section,” her voice barely audible as her husband and mother pleaded with her to consent.
The baby was doing wonderfully, mom was progressing nicely, the necessity for a c-section was nil, except, Dr. Blade was in a mood. Truth, he was going to cut her whether she needed it or not. “Lord help me accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference,” That’s what I need right now Lord. I pointed at the squiggly lines on the screen, “The baby looks good on the monitor, but I am not a doctor, and he may see something that I don’t.” I faced them unsure of whether I should say anything or not. Then I heard my voice say in an audible whisper, “You have the right to refuse any and all treatment, the decision is yours, not the doctors, not mine.”
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