I came onto shift to a woman who had been stuck at 7cm for 6 hours. The baby looked like it was doing fine but the mom had developed a fever which means she could have an infection going on. The epidural she had was beginning to wear off and she did not want to be feeling any pain.
The doctor I was working with was pretty patient in waiting but because she was getting a fever he was more worried. After 7 or 8 hours at the same dilation it was decided to do a c-section. I actually think the mom was wanting one way before that. I could tell she was tired of waiting and did not like feeling any of the pain she was having. Because the doctor kept putting it off though the decision to have the c-section came much later than she would have liked(I'm just guessing this by how she responded when it was finally decided...as if she was breathing a sign of relief).
Everything was going pretty fine until they started pulling the baby out. She started say that she could feel that. I could hear the panic in her voice. We asked if it was just pressure or the pain. I didn't hear the rest of the conversation but it sounded like it was mostly the pressure of the baby being pulled out that scared her(it can be a pretty intense feeling). Right after the baby was born I glanced at her and saw tears in her eyes. I came over and told her how beautiful her baby was. But she just nodded a sad little nod.
As soon as the baby left the CRNA called me over and told me he was going to put her under general anesthesia because she was starting to feel everything. He had me hold the oxygen mask on her as he was getting other things ready. I looked in her eyes and she looked terrified. Things had been explained to her but I'm not sure she really understood what was happening. The CRNA gave her some medication to put her to sleep and as he did so she began to shove at my hands to get the mask off. At this point if I had taken the mask off it could have harmed her but I hated holding it on her when she was so frightened and obviously didn't quite get what was going on.
Everything turned out ok...sort of...mom was healthy baby was healthy. But psychologically I'm not so sure. This was a c-section that might have been prevented(she was induced early used an epidural was not able to move around to help dilate her cervix). These kinds of things are all so iffy though. Things might have turned out exactly the same. Her wishes were respected...she wanted this c-section...I guess she thought it would be easier.... Did she really understand the implications of a c-section...did anyone talk to her about the complications...no. We never do. We shove a paper in their face and ask them to sign it. There is no discussion of the pro's and con's.
We didn't do such a good job of being with her through this particular journey. I think this journey turned into a bit of a nightmare for her....and I don't want to forget that....I don't want to forget that this hurts women psychologically...and while I did a horrible job of being there for her I want to do better next time. So I don't want to forget her fearful eyes or the horrible feeling of forcing the mask onto her face when she didn't want it or didn't understand(even though it was what she needed to stay alive). I hated that feeling...I don't want to feel that again....I'll have to decide what I need to do so that next time my own feelings of distaste for my part in this can become something better. I want to become something better than this...and I sorry a woman had to be hurt at my ineptitude.
I'm sorry for all those who've had to suffer at the hands of those they once trusted.