Pratyusha had a very traumatic first birth experience. A full-term unexplained stillbirth at a well-known local hospital. She was a victim of obstetric violence and disrespectful care. Labour was induced, and she was left alone with her husband Nagaraju. The nurse would come in at intervals to increase the oxytocin IV drip. However, the nurses did not look, talk or touch Pratyusha during their visits into the room. Pratyusha was not allowed to drink or eat during her eleven hours of labour. The young couple were scared, helpless and lost. They sought comfort in each other.
Pratyusha had many sleepless nights following the birth of her stillborn daughter. She longed to hold her baby girl, breastfeed her, watch her grow but all she had were memories of a traumatic birth experience.
15 months later she conceived again. She booked with us at 20 wks. A month later, she was found to have gestational diabetes and required insulin to control her blood glucose levels. This time Pratyusha and Nagaraju decided they would do things differently. They wanted to be better prepared with knowledge and be more in control. They attended our childbirth classes and also booked a Doula. At 33 wks she was admitted with threatened preterm labour and was managed conservatively.
In view of her past history and requiring Insulin for control of her gestational diabetes, Pratyusha was scheduled for an induction of labour at 38 weeks. At 37 weeks memories of her previous loss overwhelmed her with fear and she became very anxious. So, Pratyusha and her family decided to get admitted as the couple felt safe with regular monitoring of both mother and the baby.
Pratyusha was induced at 38 weeks. She spontaneously released her waters and soon began with her waves, which were growing intense. The baby’s heartbeat was being carefully monitored by the Midwife and her birth team helped her with hot showers and other comfort measures which helped Pratyusha relax. The birthing room was made just like she had wanted it. Pratyusha and Nagaraju worked together, rhythmically swaying following each wave. Nagaraju was an amazing birth partner. He was breathing with her and just following each wave, one at a time. Pratyusha was finding it difficult but she was progressing too. She took the entonox gas for pain relief and instinctively turned to the all-4’s position on the bed. Soon she began to bear down very gently. She then rolled on to the left lateral position and birthed her little baby boy into this world. She held her baby close to her chest and could not stop crying…tears of happiness, tears of contentment, and tears of relief. Almost immediately and so naturally, Little Jay latched on and started breastfeeding.
How women are treated during labour matters, the kind of support provided to them matters, their choices being respected matters, because after all “BIRTH MATTERS”!