I was 41 weeks exactly, and was scheduled to be induced (which was not a part of my birth plan lol). But the morning of my induction, my water broke and there was no need!
When I got to the hospital, none of the doctors or nurses even bothered to ask if I'd prepared a birth plan. Instead, almost immediately I was offered medication.
I wanted to deliver naturally, or go as long as I could without medicine. It was important to me, but instead of being understanding I was berated by doctors. I was told there was 'no need to try to be a hero', and 'once baby is here, it won't make a difference'!
You can imagine how discouraging and frustrating this was. Eight hours in, I'd decided to get the epidural. My husband and sister were asked to leave the room, and while alone with the doctor he antagonized me. He continued on the entire time he was administering the epidural, saying "you see, I'd knew you want the epidural. I'm going to deliver a c-section, if you'd waited any longer you wouldn't have been able to get the epidural. You should've just listened to me..."
I was alone, in pain, and ready for it all to be over. A few hours later, my baby was ready to see the world. I told the nurse, but she dismissed me saying that I wasn't far enough dilated but she called a doctor to check again.
I listened to my body and just began to push! By the time the doctor arrived, I was crowning! I remember being in so much pain and crying out, but the doctors told me to stop screaming... Imagine? Never feeling anything like this before and being told your natural reaction to is wrong?!
After 45 minutes of pushing, my daughter was finally born. There was meconium in her amniotic fluid and the doctors worried she could have ingested some of it, so she was wisked away to the other side of the room.
For 10 minutes, I couldn't hold or see my baby. Everyone else, my husband, sister, and mother all got to see my daughter. My husband even got to do skin to skin bonding with her, before I even got to see her face!
There were many instances where I should've spoken up more, been more adamant, just did more... But looking back, I fully realize that creating life is all encompassing and it's hard to do that, and advocate for yourself...
As a Black woman, I already had to fight the stigma of medical professionals not taking our needs or concerns serious. As a first time mom, I had my inexperience thrown in my face.
No woman should experience this, ever. This is why I became a doula. I want to help women through this miraculous and joyous time. I want to provide you all with the knowledge to prepare, deliver, and care for your children with confidence.
Dayelle Harris is the owner and visionary behind In Day's Care, LLC. She is an author, herbalist, certified Meditation & Crystal Healer, Labor and Postpartum Doula, and certified Usui Reiki Healer.