pregnancy

Belinda was over six centimetres dilated and in active labour when she fired her obstetrician.

Perth mum, Belinda Rodoreda, 31, was more than six centimetres dilated and in active labour when she took the extraordinary step of firing her private obstetrician.

“I felt completely unvalued and disregarded as a labouring and birthing woman. Because of how I was feeling I thought there is no way I want to continue in his care. So, I fired him,” she said.

Belinda believes she was scared into having a caesarean with her first child by her obstetrician after being the told the scans showed her baby would be over 4.5 kilograms.

“I didn’t know those scans could be inaccurate. I was scared wondered what would happen if my baby got stuck. I had full trust in my obstetrician and said, ‘yes sir’. I was booked in for a caesarean and he was only 3.8 kilograms,” Belinda said.

Determined to take control and educate herself second time around, Belinda said she read a lot, did a Hypnobirthing Australia class and hired a doula.

Fired OB
“I wanted my second birth to be a positive experience." Image: Supplied.

Belinda said her desire for a vaginal birth after a caesarean didn’t mean she would disregard medical advice, but being educated, confident and prepared, meant she felt comfortable asking questions and then making informed decisions based on her individual circumstances.

“I wanted my second birth to be a positive experience. I felt lied to and deceived the first time around,” she said.

Belinda also interviewed a couple of obstetricians to make sure they were supportive of her choice to have a VBAC and that they weren’t going to take a ‘bait and switch’ approach.

She went in with a very detailed list of questions and once she chose her obstetrician discussed her birth plan on numerous occasions with her.

“We worked with each other and she assured me that she had discussed it with the covering obstetrician and he was aware of my birth plan and that my case was a VBAC,” Belinda said.

Fired OB
"I was trying to stay in my zone, calm and relaxed." Image: Supplied.
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It was the covering obstetrician on duty the day Belinda went into labour as her own was leave. She arrived at the hospital and was told by the midwife that he wanted a vaginal examination done before he would come and see her.

“As I was hypnobirthing I was trying to stay in my zone, calm and relaxed and told the midwife of my birth plan and that any vaginal examination had to be done by the obstetrician," she explained.

"The obstetrician said, ‘I will not step out of my front door until you have had a vaginal examination because I don’t even know if you are in labour’."

Feeling extremely pressured already Belinda consented to the exam, which showed she was six centimetres dilated.

The obstetrician then advised the midwife on the phone that he wanted a canula inserted and when Belinda said her birth plan stated no canula until she was in the birthing room and only if it was medically necessary, he again told her he wouldn’t come until it was done.

Fired OB
Two hours later, Belinda welcomed her daughter into the world. Image: Supplied.
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“I felt I was being prepped for surgery and I felt completely unvalued and disregarded. The midwife and doula reminded me that I didn’t need to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable doing and told me it was my birth and my body; therefore I didn’t consent to the canula," she said.

"Because of how I was feeling I thought there is no way I want to continue in his care because I was hypnobirthing and thought, ‘what will the rest of my labour be like’. So, I fired him and changed my care to become a public patient."

Two hours later Belinda had a drug-free VBAC birth and welcomed her daughter in what she says was an empowering birth.

Belinda’s first baby, which she was told was too big to birth weighed 3.81kg, her second child, was 3.91kg – so she was capable of birthing both her children vaginally.

Fired OB
"The new obstetrician was completely respectful, and not once did I feel pressured." Image: Supplied.

“The new obstetrician was completely respectful, and not once did I feel pressured. I felt like an individual and respected by her. I felt so ripped off with my first birth I wasn’t going to have anyone tell me what I had to do with my second if it wasn’t medically necessary,” she said.

Belinda said education and surrounding yourself with a support network who knows what a birthing mother needs to feel safe and supported was the key to an empowering birth and ensuring that your wishes are respected.

“I feel like birthing women don’t know they have rights. It is important to understand that hospitals have policies and procedures in place to cover them, but care for labouring and birthing women should be individualised and not a one size fits all mentality,” she said.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Mamamia. For further information on birth options please consult a health care professional. 

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