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Birth Stories Series: Lori Harvey's First Birth Story


The first few months of prenatal visits were to a public health clinic where I would wait pretty much all day to be seen. Sometimes I would get in to see a doctor 4-5 hours after my appointment. When we moved to NE Iowa, I found a midwife at a clinic just 50 minutes to the east of us. She was an older lady that wasn't far from retirement. She was perfectly fine with the prenatal visits & keeping invasive procedures to an absolute minimum. 6 weeks before I was due to give birth, I gave her my birth plan. She was fine with everything except us skipping the Vitamin K shot. She was adamant that the baby needed to have this. (We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, we wanted the surprise) We stood our ground & we were dismissed from her practice. She also proceeded to file a complaint with DHS that I wasn't seeking prenatal care. So, I had that stress for a couple of weeks while I searched out a new doctor. I found a doctor through a church friend in the area. He was willing to go along with our birth plan for me & the baby. He wasn't happy with no Vitamin K shot but went along with it.

Labor for this child was 28 hours long with a 40 minute pushing stage. I laid on my left side. Again, the doctor wasn't happy about it but went along with it. Craig was born at 5:59 am in the morning of March 14, 1990. Skin contact was immediate. Some blood started to come out of my vagina & the doctor panicked. He tried to remove the placenta by tugging on the umbilical cord, it didn't come loose. He then reached his hand inside my uterus & manually extracted it. I never screamed until then. It felt like I was being ripped from the inside out. He then reached in a 2nd time to make sure there was nothing left. Another scream leaked from my mouth. A nurse quickly jabbed a needle in my left shoulder, pitocin to get my uterus to clamp down. They quickly started an IV in the crook of my left elbow. They pumped a bunch of pitocin into the IV bag to get my uterus to clamp down. It was a constant fight for almost 12 hours to get it to clamp down & stay down. The nurses at this rural hospital were absolutely useless to help get the baby to start nursing. The doctor came by late in the afternoon with the lab results. I asked him if they had gotten all of the placenta & he said they had. I was unable to get up from the bed to the commode for almost 36 hours because of blood loss. After 3 days, we were allowed to go home. I bled for 10 days & then stopped. I was fine with this. 2 weeks after Craig was born, we went out to eat, when we went back out to the car I had a sharp cramp. I didn't think anything of it. We were sitting on the couch watching Rescue 911 & I felt something warm between my legs. Once a commercial break came on, I ran for the bathroom. I was spewing blood.....heavily. My husband called to me, Lori, are you alright. I stayed silent as I didn't know. He came rushing into the bathroom to see the toilet filled with blood. He got our son so I could nurse, thinking that would help with the bleeding, after 30 minutes it wasn't slowing down. My husband quickly got stuff together to head to the hospital. We lived in the middle of nowhere with no phone. It was a 50 minute drive to the hospital that we made in 30. (would've been faster had better tires been on the car) I remember passing through the town 7 miles to the east of us & then waking up as we came to a screeching halt at the 4 way stop in West Union, IA. A mile later we were at the hospital. My husband opened my door, I had lost so much blood, I couldn't walk to the ER door, he had to carry me. I was quickly rushed into a private room where I was undressed & put in a gown. An IV was started & labs were drawn. My hematocrit level showed I had lost 65% of my blood supply.The doctor wanted to start me on a blood transfusion, I refused. I said use blood extenders. A surgeon & anesthesiologist were paged in for an emergency D&C. I tried to pump milk for my son but it was a manual pump & once again the nurses were absolutely useless. It was still wrapped in plastic. The results of the D&C showed parts of the placenta were still in my uterus along with old clots. I was in the hospital another 3 days. That summer I wore sweatshirts a lot. I was cold even on the warmest days. It took me a year to fully recuperate from that birth.


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