When you are under a doctor’s care SPEAK UP or forever hold your peace!

The only way your health professional is going to know what you want and need is if you tell them. e.g. “I want to have less pain”. “I want to have more energy”.

The only times I have been a patient was when I gave birth. All four times I needed to speak up. I am a registered nurse and I have been there and done that many times as far as trying to guess what a patient needs. Some patients seem difficult because they pester everyone. That is OK because sometimes it takes pestering to get your nurse or physician or the resident on call to pay closer attention. Demand to be informed. Demand to be included in all decisions and if you don’t understand something 100% keep asking!

I’m not trying to make excuses but nurses and doctors are very busy. They are also human. They forget, they make mistakes and they are sometimes preoccupied with their own problems.

I learned to speak up after my first child was born. It was a difficult labor (I’ll spare you the details) and I did have a C-section. Recovery was tough. The three subsequent births were V-backs (vaginal deliveries after c-section). My doctor did not insist but was happy when I suggested it. I happen to disagree with scheduled c-sections unless there are health reasons for doing them. The mother’s or doctor’s schedule is not as important as a natural timed and vaginal delivery. The increased health risks of an open surgical procedure compared with a birth are not trivial! I had to ask (and at times demand) anesthesia (epidurals can be the difference in misery and a wonderful birth experience). I was correct in estimating how long it would take me to dilate (at one point I was being sent home and I refused to go)to the resident-on-call’s dismay since I interrupted her sleep. At another point, I was going to be given an injection of Demerol to ease the pain. When I refused the nurse said, “Are you refusing pain medication”? She was shocked that I questioned this order when in fact I hadn’t asked for it, nor was I informed about it.

Believe me, I do not have a high tolerance for labor pain. At the time, I wasn’t in that much pain. I don’t think demerol does much for the pain itself (it just makes you tired enough to tolerate it). I didn’t want to fall asleep before I was too far along in labor to get an epidural (I absolutely love epidurals!!!). My opinions mattered. My insistance to be listened to directly affected the outcome of my children’s deliveries. The residents may forget but the mother never forgets the birth of her children!

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