Saturday, November 23, 2013

Midwife Horror Story

This is the story INCLUDING PHOTOS of our experience with a "midwife" we hired here in Costa Rica. She is Canadian. She has an english speaking partner and they advertise heavily on the internet as midwives in Costa Rica.

It was a horrible experience and I am posting it to warn EVERYONE who might be considering an at-home-birth to be extremely careful about the midwife you hire to help you.

The story is a long one...but needs to be read and passed on.

Be sure to check out all the photos!!!!

Midwife Horror Story

Our amazing grandson, Joe Julio Jones, arrived on Friday, Nov. 15th, 2013!!! He is absolute perfection and the most beautiful baby in the world!!!

Strawberry blonde hair,  blue eyes, 8 lbs 8 oz, 19½ inches long.
We thank God for this beautiful blessing!!

Our beautiful daughter-in-law, Maillyn, was a real trooper and amazed us all with her strength!!

Although our plans all along, were for me to deliver the baby, we had all agreed that it would be prudent to have an experienced midwife standing by to assist in case of complications. The original choice was an elderly woman, from our town, who has delivered three thousand babies. Unfortunately, she became ill, when Maillyn was about 7 months along, and had to cancel.

My son went online and found a midwife service here in Costa Rica. Two NON Costa Rican women who have partnered to perform at home births. 
Their website is very professional and says all the right things. They tout themselves, on the internet, as being very experienced and they claim to have delivered MANY MANY babies. The partner nearest us is Canadian and speaks English. We were happy about that because, even though our daughter in law speaks Spanish, our Spanish is limited.

At our first meeting with the midwife, for which we paid $90.00, Maillyn explained to her that she wanted me, her mother in law, to be the one to bring the baby into the world and for the midwife to assist in case there were complications. The midwife looked at me like I had three heads and said, snidely, "YOU won't be delivering the baby. Maillyn will."

Thinking she meant in the "technical" sense of the word I said, with a smile, "Well, I'll just be doing the catching."

Midwife said, "No......you won't. Maillyn will be doing everything."
At this point the thought crossed my mind, "Then what do we need you for?" But I didn't say it.

I then mentioned to her that since we had learned that the original midwife could not attend I had been HEAVILY researching home births, watching videos, etc. just in case we couldn't find a replacement for the original midwife. I told her that I had been researching every possible complication including breech birth.

She looked at me and said, "Oh. So you want a breech birth."

Still biting my tongue I said, "Of course not....but I thought it would be a good idea to be prepared for such a case."
She ignored me.

She then informed Maillyn that she would bring her "birthing pool" so that she could have a water birth. Maillyn and Bud had already researched and discussed water birth and decided against it. 

Midwife looked very displeased at this and started trying to tell Maillyn that water birth is the best way and that is what she should do. Maillyn held her ground and said, "No. I want to have my baby in bed."

She then examined Maillyn to see if the baby was in the proper position. She was extremely rough and gouged her hands deeply into Maillyns baby belly, feeling for baby limbs and shifting the baby around in the womb. I had never seen a doctor be this rough and it truly worried me.

As much as I already disliked this womans attitude and manner, it was more important that Maillyn feel comfortable with her so I said nothing. 

Believe me when I say...holding my tongue was not an easy thing to do. I don't get a lot of practice.

I did, however mention to my son the things she had said and done.
My son, knowing I can be extremely "picky" about humans, figured I was just exaggerating.

The last two days before the birth, when Maillyn became so terribly uncomfortable, she called the midwife to ask her some questions about what she could do to be more comfortable. Midwife told Maillyn to come to her house, an hour away, and she would look at her.

I then called the midwife back and asked if she could come here since Maillyn was too uncomfortable to make a car trip one hour there and one hour back.

Midwife, whose exorbitant fee we had agreed to, said, "No. It would cost me in gas to come over there. It's a normal pregnancy and a normal sized baby. Her discomfort is perfectly normal. My fee does not include visits. I have extensive training and expensive equipment. And all I would be able to do anyway is to check to see if the baby was in the right position and explain to Bud, (the father,) about birth."

(I am including photos of some of her "expensive equipment" that got left behind.)

I thought to myself, "Ok, with this midwife, you get no before care. She just comes for the birth, watches the mama do all the work, collects her pay, and leaves." Still.....I held my tongue.

SO!!! The big day arrives. Maillyn went into labor at 9:00 AM on Friday morning, 15th of November.

I immediately call my son, the midwife and Peggy, a member of our extended family whom Maillyn had invited to be here to witness the birth.
We explained to the midwife that Maillyns contractions were coming in waves with about six to eight contractions, two minutes apart, and then five to ten minute breaks between waves.

Peggy stampeded a herd of cattle and trying to get here in a hurry. The farmers drive their cattle along the road from one pasture to the next. Usually you just sit and wait until they are out of the way. Peggy didn't want to wait. She blew the horn and cattle scattered. Poor farmer.
She also drove in a ditch to get around a traffic jam

Bud arrived in RECORD time. He didn't even take time to grab his pay. Just out the door, into the car and "OUTTA MY WAY FOLKS I'M ABOUT TO BE A DADDY!!!!"
Pity the poor motorists who were between him and our house.

As we sat with Maillyn, keeping her laughing and happy between contractions, two minutes apart and regular at this point, keeping her spirits up, we waited for the midwife. 

Two and a half hours later midwife called to ask Maillyn how she was doing and calmly said she was getting her things together and was about to leave home.
Maillyns contractions were one minute apart at this point so we all wondered about this womans timing (she is, after all, an hour away)....but as before.... we said nothing.

She arrived around 1:00, swept into the room carrying a dirty yoga ball, a beat up, dirty birthing stool, a bag with assorted "stuff" in it, a PRODUCE SCALE for weighing the baby, (scale had one chain and two thin "strings" for supporting the baby.) and a tray of "instruments" (As a side note: I already had all those same instruments sterilized and ready.)


Click on the photos to enlarge 








She looked at the three of us and said "You people shouldn't be here. This is a private thing."

This was a little surprising since she had been told at first meeting that she was only there to assist. I turned to Maillyn and told her if she wanted us to leave we would. We wanted this to be comfortable and perfect for her.
Of course Maillyn said, “NO. I want you here.”
Midwife was not pleased.

Then Peggy (our "timekeeper") offered to show her the schedule of contractions she had been painstakingly keeping for the past four hours and the midwife rudely blew her off.
Peggy: "Would you like to see the record of contractions?"
Midwife: "Not really. I know the baby's coming. You don't need to do that anymore."

Midwife then takes a FILTHY small bag out of her larger bag and pulls out her fetal Doppler (stethascope/heartbeat monitor with a speaker.) 


Click on photos to enlarge 




She then started ROUGHLY prodding and pushing Maillyns belly around and pushing the baby this way and that, and declared, "He's still too high. He's not ready yet. You called me too early. Maillyn told me she was having contractions two minutes apart." (and yet she waited three and a half hours to leave her house)

Out the door she went and started making the first of what turned out to be a phone call marathon.

Bud walked out to where she was and she began haranguing him about us calling her too early. She was obviously very angry that she might have to be here longer than she wanted.

Just a recap... Maillyn was having contractions two minutes apart when we had called her, she waited over three hours to show up.  and now they were one minute apart.
I guess we should have waited until the baby was born to call her.
Peggy had attempted to show her the schedule of contractions as soon as she arrived but midwife blew her off. Contractions one minute apart is, evidently, still too early for her to have to arrive on the scene.

By this time my son, Peggy and I are extremely unhappy with the midwifes manner. None of us were saying anything because we did not want Maillyn to know what we were thinking. We would take turns leaving the room and would discuss the situation where Maillyn could not hear.

At one point I left the room and when I returned the room was darkened and the midwife had Maillyn laying on her side and was massaging her hips while my son held Maillyns hand and comforted her.
I walked in quietly, sat down and said, (again quietly) "How are you feeling, Honey?"
Midwife rapidly put her finger to her lips, frowned at me and shushed me like I was an out of control three year old....so I didn't say anything else.

A few seconds later Maillyn asked, "Why is everybody being so quiet?" We all three responded, "Because we were told to be quiet."
Maillyn spoke up and said, "Well I don't want you quiet!! I want you talking!! This is a birth, not a funeral."

So the lights came back on and we continued to talk to Maillyn and try to keep her spirits up while she labored. Midwife was NOT happy about that and again started insisting that Maillyn needed to be doing this in the water. Telling her it would make her labor easier.

Once, when Bud and I were out of the room, midwife looked at Peggy and said, "Why are you here?" Peggy told her that Maillyn had asked her to come and be there for the birth.
Midwife just did NOT want anyone there and she made that pretty clear. Personally, I now think she just didn't want any witnesses.

All the while, throughout the entire, 11 hour event, she was massaging Maillyns hips. Very deep and very hard massage. In hindsight I truly believe that massage was all the woman actually knew how to do.....and she didn't even do that well. As a matter of fact, Maillyn now tells us that the massaging and the gouging with the Doppler was more painful than the contractions and she is still, six days later, sore from where this woman was gouging her hips and belly.
  
Midwife, in a huff and still making phone call after phone call, then asks Peggy to start timing the contractions again.

Maillyn was in heavy labor and the midwife kept telling us the baby was not down far enough. He was not ready and we had called her too soon. She kept doing internal exams, using surgical gloves that she had stuffed into a little zip-lock bag. She eventually ran out of those and had to use the STERILE ones I had provided.

She also ran out of gel for her dirty Doppler and had to use the gel I had provided.

She was constantly leaving the room and making phone calls on her cell phone. Over the course of the event she stayed on that phone three quarters of the time she was here. She actually ran her cell phone battery down she was on it so much. We finally figured out she was calling her "partner" to ask what to do next.

On about her 7th trip out of the room to make another phone call we heard the screen door slam. I tried to tell myself the door had just slipped and slammed on its own. But then she started slamming doors, even the bedroom door, every time she left to make another phone call.....and there were LOTS of phone calls. And lots of SLAMS!!!!!

She continued, throughout the day to do deep massage on Maillyns hips. Maillyn finally told me "PLEASE!! I don't want more massage!! She's hurting me" She was in pain from the deep gouging the woman was doing with her thumbs.

Then she wanted Maillyn on her hands and knees. "We need to get the baby to move into position. He's just not in position and not down far enough. "

Bud and I helped Maillyn get over onto her hands and knees and put pillows under her chest to support her. Meanwhile the masseuse...oops, I mean "midwife" is gouging her thumbs into Maillyns hips again.
Maillyn stood it for as long as she could and said, "I need to lay down."
The woman was NOT turning loose and was not backing off the thumb gouging so I said, "She says she needs to lay down." The woman still did not stop with the thumb gouging.

Bud said to Maillyn, "Just go ahead and lay down, Baby."
STILL she was not turning loose of Maillyn so I said, (in my NOT inside voice) "SHE NEEDS TO LIE DOWN!!!"

You who know me know my vocal power. Although I did not shout I did raise my volume and increase the "intensity" of my tone enough to alert the thumb gouger that she was about to lose both thumbs and maybe her head if she did not turn loose of my daughter-in-law.
She let go quickly and Bud and I helped Maillyn back into a reclining position.

Maillyns water had not completely broken but she had started to leak a little.

The woman kept telling us the baby was on the right side of the belly and not in position as he should be. But when she would jam that Doppler into Maillyns belly to try to find the heartbeat the only place she could find it was dead center and right above Maillyns pelvic bone. (We were all wondering, "if the baby is not there then why is the heartbeat there?")
She gouged deeply into the sides of Maillyns belly trying to find a heartbeat further up but the only one she could find was down against the pelvic bone.
She was so rough with her hands and with her Doppler that she left bruises on Maillyns belly.  The photos show the bruises 6 days after the baby was born.


Click on photo to enlarge.


She also kept telling us, as she did internal checks, that she could feel the babys head. She could feel the suture lines in the babys head and he was not positioned right. "But don't worry. He has a big, soft bag of water to protect him."

Now I admit I have never delivered a human baby. That was the reason we wanted a midwife with us. But I kept wondering, "How is she feeling the suture lines in the head if there is a water bag between his head and her fingers?"

None of what she was telling us, (baby in wrong position, baby not ready, baby turned the wrong way, baby on one side of the belly even though the heartbeat was dead center and right against the pelvic bone, etc.) made any sense at all and the woman kept getting more and more agitated, slamming doors, and going outside to talk on that damn phone while we all remained calm in order not to cause stress  for Maillyn.

During the internal checks she was doing she took notes on how much Maillyn had dilated.
At 2:30 she wrote that Maillyn had dilated to 4 centimeters.
At 3:30 her notes said 5-6 centimeters
At 4:30 she wrote 4-5 centimeters.
???????????
Less centimeters than an hour before???

In hindsight we now feel she was panicking because she did not know what she was doing. We all now have serious doubts that she has ever delivered a baby. I'm of the opinion she has never delivered even a puppy!!

THEN she called us liars!!

After about 9 hours of labor midwife says, "She's dehydrated. She hasn't been drinking enough fluids."
Bud told her that Maillyn had drunk three quarts of pipa fria (coconut water) since she's been in labor.
Midwife responds, nastily, "SHE HAS NOT."
Bud told her that his dad had made two trips to the store for pipa fria and he had made one trip himself and Maillyn had drunk all of it except the 4th quart.
Woman again says, "She has NOT!!!"

I then spoke up and said, (still nicely mind you)"Yes, she has had three quarts." Midwife turns angrily to me and says, "SHE HAS NOT!! I'VE BEEN WATCHING CLOSELY!!"

Bud, at the VERY end of his patience with this rude and rough woman said, "No, you have not been watching! You've been outside on your damn cell phone."
Midwife responded with, "I don't like this discussion."
I was thinking to myself, "Yeah. I'll bet you don't, bitch!!" BUT I DIDN'T SAY IT!!! (sorry about the language) 
We all stopped talking.

By this time we were all ready to throw this rude woman out of our home. But we held our tongues and kept smiling for Maillyns sake. Our tongues were practically BLEEDING from being bitten so much.

After 9 hours of labor each of us mentioned to the woman that maybe she should break the water. She told us "NO!!! It's too dangerous. He's not in position. The babys head is floating!!"

We all wondered about that "floating head" as the baby had been wedged into the birth canal for a few hours and you would think if the head was "floating" the whole body would be moving around...which it wasn't because the heartbeat had been stationary the whole time.

After 11 hours of labor the woman says, "This baby is too big to be born vaginally. She has to have a C-section. We need to get her to the hospital."

(Two days before, when she had refused to come and check Maillyn, (because it would cost her in gas) this same woman "informed" me, on the phone, "This pregnancy is perfectly normal and the baby is a normal sized baby.")

I explained to Maillyn, as gently as possible, that we needed to go to the hospital. We got her up, lowered the back seats of the car so Maillyn would  be able to lay down, put padding, blankets and pillows in the back of the car and loaded Maillyn in.

I got in back with her and "spooned" myself around her so she could have her contractions while pushing back against me.

Peggy sat up front and Bud did the driving. The midwife drove her own car with Bruce, my husband, as her passenger to show her the way to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital emergency entrance and Bud jumped out and went into the hospital. He told an orderly "My wife is having a baby!! We need to get her out of the car and into the delivery room!" 

The orderlies just looked at him and then at each other without making a move. Bud, being in "expectant daddy Bud mode," grabbed one by the collar and TOOK him to the car. They figured out this truly was an emergency and ran for a gurney.

Maillyn held onto Buds hand even though the nurses tried to brush him off on the way to the delivery room. They were determined to be together until the baby was born.

The nurses, realizing they weren't going to shake Bud loose, finally told him, you have to change clothes. They handed him some scrubs and he rapidly undressed and re-dressed while watching Maillyn through the delivery room window.

He tells us, when he got the pants on, they came halfway up his calves. The sleeves of the top were cutting into his armpits. He says he looked like Jethro Bodine from Beverly Hillbillies.

He rushed into the delivery room and held Maillyns hand. They broke her water, she gave two good pushes and Joe was born. No tearing, no cutting and no stitches. AND NO CAESAREAN.

We had only been there 10 minutes.

While Peggy, the "thumb gouger" and I were at admissions giving them the information on Maillyn, the thumb gouger told me, "Be sure to tell Bud and Maillyn not to tell them we were doing an at home birth or that I am a midwife."
I told her they already had. 
She looked startled and said, "Oh!! I guess I should have told them not to mention it.

In summing up. This so called "midwife" was NONE of the following

Experienced
Capable
Proficient
Competent
Aadequate
Skilled
Suited
Accomplished nor qualified as a midwife....

She is the exact opposite. Not to mention she is the most unprofessional person I have ever encountered.

We are THRILLED beyond measure with our beautiful grandbaby. He is the light of our lives.

We are COMPLETELY, THOROUGHLY, ABSOLUTELY, ALTOGETHER, TOTALLY, UTTERLY, SOUNDLY, FLAT OUT DISGUSTED with this so called midwife.

She put the lives of our grandson and our daughter in law in danger because, in our honest opinion, she does not know what she is doing.

If you are planning to have an at home birth in Costa Rica be sure to interview, do reference checks, thoroughly research, and screen ANY midwife you think of using.

Do NOT trust their web page. They can make themselves look great on a web site and still be as incompetent as this woman who put us through all this hell.

This woman and her partner should be thoroughly ashamed, exposed and should be run out of Costa Rica.



2 comments:

Clara R said...

What a nightmare for all of you, especially poor Marilyn, who had planned such a wonderful experience for all of you! Just goes to show, you cannot believe everything you read! So glad everything went off so well and the baby came despite third by-hatches "ministrations"! Will get little Joe's gift off this week, I hope! In time for Christmas, at least! Love to all human and fur kids!

Sally Finney Timm said...

As we both know, Costa Rica is a place where people who need to reinvent themselves can do so. (The convicted molester becomes Santa Claus at a local kids' event; embezzlers turn into solid citizens, etc.) Seeing as how the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that the midwife you all dealt with had a history of run-ins with medical regulators, assuming she was really ever licensed.