Dealing with the changes that pregnancy brings about and taking care of a child is not an easy job, but mothers do justice to the task with all their heart – and without complaint. They cocoon their babies in their wombs for nine months, so it most certainly gives them the right to plan every aspect of the birth – the process of the delivery, the hospital they will give birth in, the doctors they want to consult, everything! So, how would it feel when you plan everything, but there comes a moment when everything goes for a toss? Having little to no idea of medical terms and processes, we trust our doctors implicitly believing that they won’t let any harm come our way. But not all doctors live up to our trust.
Actress Chhavi Mittal, who gave birth to a baby boy on May 13th, shared the traumatic experience of her labour and delivery through her Instagram posts, and we are in shock! Chhavi had wanted to practice hypnobirthing while delivering her second child. Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management used during labour and delivery, which helps a woman prepare for childbirth through relaxation techniques such as visualisation and deep breathing. Chhavi was so focused on this idea that she had shared the birth plan with her doctor, the nursing staff, the head of the hospital and with other people who were even remotely involved in her birthing process. As per the plan, Chhavi had also wanted her husband Mohit Hussein to be by her side at all times. She had also shared in the plan that her baby should be given to her after the birth and that the doctors should delay the cord clamping up until the placenta stopped pulsating. You can read the excerpts of her birthing plan here –
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?? ????????? ?????-?????: ? ???? ?????? ??????? 2: ??? ????? ?????? At 8 am my doctor came into my room and administered a drug intravenously. Within seconds I felt dizzy, I felt weak, my throat started to choke.. and I threw up. I panicked. She said this was just to hasten the dilation (I don’t know why we needed to hasten it though, but you gotta trust your doctor). Right that second, I was thrown out of my calming and peaceful zone. I couldn’t do the calm breaths anymore. I could see my dream birth slipping away from my hands. Another thing about hypno-birthing is that it has to be all natural. The minute you start administering drugs, it becomes medicalised. Sort of defeats the whole purpose. Which is why I had shared my typed birth plan with the entire hospital staff. The head of the hospital, the doctor, the nursing staff, the paediatrician, and everyone who was remotely involved. Some snippets: Mohit will be by my side every single minute. He will not leave even for paperwork (hence we made the entire payment weeks in advance). Allow us time. No rushing with labour. Delayed cord clamping after the birth. Allow the placenta to stop pulsating before cutting. (50% of the baby’s blood lies in the placenta and the baby needs it to breathe in the first few minutes of birth, and needs the blood to come back to its body. The damage that the early clamping of cord causes is way too great). Give the baby to the mother before any kind of testing. All tests to wait for 15 minutes. There were various other small things that were mentioned in the birth plan and we were assured that all our requests will be respected. After we got the assurance we needed, we were sure that our choice of doctor and caregivers was indeed right. We put our trust in them. Because there’s no greater trust than the one you put in the person who brings your unborn to this world. But was our decision right? Only time was to tell.. To be continued… ____________________________ #panic PC: @sachin113photographer ____________________________ #hypnobirthing #hypnosis #selfhypnosis #chhavimittalbirthstory #chhavimittal #pregnant
Chhavi’s requests were not outrageous; a comfortable and safe delivery process is what all pregnant women deserve and of course, they trust their doctors to respect their wishes. But in Chhavi and Mohit’s case, the exact opposite happened. While they were assured that their requests would be honoured, they most certainly were not. When Chhavi was in labour, she was administered a drug to hasten dilation. With the introduction of a drug in her system, her dream of having a hypnobirth quickly slipped away. She had been practising hypnobirthing techniques for months, but her doctor was never on board with her plan, which Chhavi realised only later when she was in the OT.
She was rushed to the operation theatre for a C-section delivery (despite being in labour for 7 hours or so and having been 8 centimetres dilated), but her husband was not allowed to enter the OT; not at first. This clearly violated a point of her birth plan, where she had mentioned she wanted her husband to be with her at all times. However, after she threatened to walk out of the hospital unless he was allowed into the OT, the doctor allowed Mohit to stay by her side. But the ordeal did not end just yet.
In the operation theatre, the doctor said certain things to her which a pregnant woman would never want to hear, especially not at a time when she is in unimaginable pain. Chhavi could not understand how a woman whom she had believed in for nine months, never actually cared about her idea of birthing. Here is what the doctor told Chhavi while she was in the OT.
“Your labour is not strong enough, your body is not meant to do this, if you felt pain, you would be screaming, not sleeping.”
She then went on to say, “Don’t worry, I’m famous for giving really small incisions. You won’t have a big scar!”
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CHAPTER 3- THE WORST WAS YET TO COME Due to the panic attack post the drug, my dilation completely stopped. I failed to go back into hypnosis. For the next 7 hours I felt no progress. At 1pm, I was put on pitocin, my surges started coming every 30 sec & lasted for 2 min each. I was in excruciating pain, but still determined to bring my baby into the world naturally. I started dilating again & 2 hrs later I was 8 cm dilated. But my doctor came in & said she’d like to take me for a C-section. I put my complete faith in her and agreed to whatever she said. But her attitude towards my whole birthing process completely shook me up. She said some things which I could not respond to at that time, but they will remain engraved in my mind forever. This person who was with me thru this journey of 9+ months.. this person who had seen my strengths & weaknesses, who had seen me naked physically and emotionally. She told me, “your labour is not strong enough, your body is not meant to do this, if you felt pain, you would be screaming, not sleeping.” That was the first time I realised that she was never onboard the hypno-birthing to begin with. If she was, she would believe in the power of self-hypnosis. The months that I had spent practicing it… I couldn’t believe my ears when she beamed with pride, “Don’t worry, I’m famous for giving really small incisions. You won't have a big scar!" I couldn't believe that after all this, she thought that a scar is what I was worried about. And then suddenly, as if there was no time left, within minutes a wheelchair came to wheel me into the OT, the staff disappeared, the other doctors came, and it all felt surreal. I remember I had to go to the loo, and when Mohit was taking me, me walking at a snail’s pace due to the pain, my doctor came shouting from behind, “abhi ye sab chhodo.. seedha catheter lagayenge.. jaldi karo”. Mohit just stared at her in disbelief and said, “doctor she just needs to pee. Please give her time”. I heard a “tch” from the background & she stormed out. To be continued… ______________________________ #chhavimittal #chhavimittalbirthstory #birthstory #delivery #labour #doctor #pain
Chhavi couldn’t believe that the doctor thought that her main worry was about having a scar. After the baby’s birth, the umbilical cord was clamped all too quickly. The little one was taken out but was not given to his mother even after she had repeatedly asked for him. To her horror, the doctor also said, “Dekha, pain-free delivery.” Chhavi was even administered a sleeping injection thereafter without her permission. The doctor not only disagreed with Chhavi’s birth plan but managed to make a complete mockery of the whole situation!
But it’s Chhavi who is now living with the consequences of her doctor’s decisions. Post delivery, she struggled to establish a good latch with her newborn. She also faced a loss of hearing in one ear due to the spinal tap procedure. However, she is now on the road to recovery and at home, comfortable and surrounded by the people she loves.
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Notice that bindi on my forehead? It's a bit off-centre. That's because it's been put there by my 6 year old saying it's "a protective bindi" and will protect me from everything! Well, I'm so so overwhelmed with the concern so many of you have shown me for my recovery postpartum. Yes, my hearing that was such a scare is back. My headache has subsided. And today Arham and me established a good latch for a comfortable breast-feeding relationship. We are back home and just the feeling of the comfort is just that.. comfortable… A lactation consultant visited me and taught me a few things about good BFing. First thing, all new mothers like me, it takes a few days. It seems like a lost battle at first, but persistence is sure to make you win. Everyone does it, and once you conquer it, there's nothing simpler, and nothing more satisfying. I'm struggling with some bleeding, but I know that with that protective bindi and all your good wishes, victory is just a few days away! #revovering ______________________________ #backonmyfeet #chhavimittal #positivity #positivevibes #PostPartum #happy #backhome #breastfeeding #bfing #comfortable
This was Chhavi’s experience, but many women have a similar story. We put a lot of trust in our doctors and caregivers with the hope that they will honour our requests and make our birthing experience a memorable one for us. But not all doctors respect or care for a pregnant woman’s choices. A woman who carries a baby in her womb for nine months should be treated with love and care – it’s the least she expects and deserves. And she has every right to express her discontentment – be it with doctors or anyone.
Through her birthing story, Chhavi has also raised many important questions which need to be pondered upon.
1. Why is a woman given a drug without her consent?
2. Why did her doctor suggest a C-section delivery all of a sudden when everything was normal?
3. Why didn’t her doctor, who was a lady and perhaps, someone’s wife or mother, respect her wishes?
This is the story of a lot of women in India, going by the comments on Chhavi’s post.
To all the moms-to-be out there, you deserve good things. Find a gynaecologist whom you can trust. Share your concerns with her. If you have a birthing plan, share that too. Take her opinions on the same and ask about possible complications. If you and your doctor are not on the same page, there will be reasons for the same. Express your concerns and take her advice but find a middle ground. Also, before settling for one, consult two or more doctors. Go with the one whom you can trust, who respects your wishes wholeheartedly, and who can reassure you when you lose your calm.
What happened to Chhavi is harrowing and disturbing and should never happen to any woman again. The wishes of a woman bringing a new life into the world should be respected, and she should be treated with dignity. Doctors should also attend to a pregnant woman with respect and address her concerns without losing their cool. People believe in doctors and are willing to do whatever their doctors suggest, hoping that it would be in their best interests. Hence, it is a doctor’s responsibility to be honest with their patients. A few kind and reassuring words won’t hurt either.
As for Chhavi, we wish her a speedy recovery and a happy and healthy life with her family.