I Did NOT Consent: My Terrifying Experience with Pitocin

Pitocin is a synthetic version of Oxytocin, a hormone naturally created in the body. Oxytocin is released naturally during kissing, intercourse, and birth. It reduces the stress hormone known as Cortisol and assists the mother in bonding with her baby. Oxytocin also helps stimulate lactation.  Using pitocin reduces the body’s production of Oxytocin. This can create difficulties with the bonding and breastfeeding process after birth.

Pitocin, on the other hand is a super scary thing. The insert in the Pitocin package is very clear about the risks of using this drug during labor and delivery.

Risks include (per Pitocin package insert):

-fetal heart abnormalities (slow hear beat, PVSs and arrhythmias)

-low APGAR scores

-neonatal jaundice

-neonatal retinal hemorrhage

-permanent central nervous system or brain damage

-fetal death

-fetal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxia

-blood supply to uterus is greatly reduced

-contractions are closer together and stronger-reducing the rate at which baby receives oxygen (which can have life long effects on baby’s brain)

Risks for birthing women:

-Postpartum hemorrhage (due to prolonged exposure to non-pulsed Oxytocin)

-reduce natural hormones that assist in lactation and bonding with baby

-hormonal disruption can lead to reduced rates of breastfeeding

-increased risk of epidural

-higher intensity contractions

-higher rate of complications in labor and delivery

-higher rate of placental rupture and separation

My Story

I had a birth plan. I wanted a natural birth. My birth plan CLEARLY stated that I “did not want an epidural or pitocin, or any intervention that was not FIRST cleared through me or my husband and 100% absolutely necessary.”  My doctor signed it and placed it in my file. I also had extra copies of it on my night stand (at the hospital), on the door to my room, and in my bag (just in case I needed to hand them out).

My husband and I during labor

My husband and I during labor

Labor went great! I labored at home as long as I thought was safely possible (next time, I‘ll just stay home for the birth too). When we got to the hospital, I was 4 cm dilated. I progressed to 6 cm pretty rapidly, then labor seemed to stall. My doctor was not yet there. The nurse on duty tried to convince me we needed to augment labor because I was “stuck at 6 cm”—translation: “You are taking too long for my liking and we need to speed things up.”  I refused and made them call my doctor immediately. I knew he would stand up for me. After speaking with him, they seemed to back off a bit. He was on his way, and I felt safe again. My OB was also my mama’s doctor for 25+ years. He delivered my youngest brother and had been my doctor for a few years also. He was a blessing during labor and delivery. He believed in me, and that went a long way.

The hospital “demanded” I have an IV, according to their protocol. If I knew then what I know now, I would have threatened to walk my happy, healthy, pregnant butt right out of there. Instead, being a first time mom, I gave way. That was mistake #1.

Me and my son, after a natural birth

Me and my son, after a natural birth

After birth, my son latched on and we both fell into a cat nap breastfeeding for the first time. I was awakened to the sound of a beeping machine. It was an IV that had apparently been connected to me without my consent. I called a nurse in and she responded with, “Oh, that’s just your pitocin drip.” My jaw hit the floor! WHAT!! How could they?? And without my consent?? What happened to MY body, MY choice? What happened to my right to refuse unnecessary medical interventions?

I immediately started asking questions: Why did you do this to me? Did you read my birth plan? Where’s my doctor? Did he sign off for this?

I was told, “Your doctor is gone. We are in charge of your care now. Pitocin helps the uterus shrink back to size and prevents complications after birth.”

That answer was TOTALLY unacceptable to me, but I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it at this point. It was already done. You can’t unring a bell right??

My son, jaundiced

My son, jaundiced

 

After I returned home from the hospital, my son was jaundice. I took him outside daily, trying to get him as much sun as possible to reduce this. He was exclusively breastfed and I was with him constantly. This, however, was only the tip of the ice burg of our problems that would stem from this pitocin incident.

This is my husband and I before I developed the rash from pitocin

This is my husband and I before I developed the rash from pitocin

This is the beginning of the rash--Day 1

This is the beginning of the rash–Day 1

 

It wasn’t long before I developed a rash on my face. It started on my nose. My nose became bumpy, similar to teen acne (which I’ve never had acne issues before). Then my ears started to burn and turned red. Soon, the rash on my nose began to spread. It had a butterfly effect on my face. The more I researched, the more terrified I became. I called my OB on day three when my eyes began to swell shut. I cried. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize myself. I was embarrassed to have company over. My OB took one look at me and said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before. I want you to go see Dr. Susong; he is one of the best dermatologists in the area and perhaps he can decipher what this is.”  Thankfully, Dr. Susong had been friends with my doctor for over 20 years. My doctor placed a phone call, and had me in Susong’s office that afternoon. I was in so much pain.

pitocin photo 6-day 2 rash

Morning of Day 2 of the rash

Night of Day 2 of the rash

Night of Day 2 of the rash

As I sat in the waiting room of the dermatologists office, I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder what people think has happened to me. I must look terrifying to them.” I hid in a corner and refused to look at anyone. Not to mention that I missed my baby, who wasn’t yet old enough to leave home and was with my husband while I was at the doctor.

Day 3 of the rash, my eyes were swelling shut at this point. I didn’t even recognize myself.

Day 3 of the rash, my eyes were swelling shut at this point. I didn’t even recognize myself.

I waited for a few hours before getting called back. Apparently this doctor was booked up for 6 months and had made a special effort to squeeze me in. Because of how busy the day was, I became the very last appointment of the day. Once they finally called me back, I knew something was awfully wrong by the look on their face when they saw me initially. They took me to a room and started asking a bunch of questions. They said it was probably either sun poisoning or Lupus. Well, since I had just given birth, we hadn’t been in the sun much, maybe 5-10 min at a time, but I was hiking 10 miles a week during my pregnancy so that was nothing. I was so scared that I instantly started crying. They prepared me for a biopsy and cut some skin off behind my ear to send to the lab. They also collected several viles of blood. I was given a list of medicines that I am “never to take again” that can trigger Lupus. I was told to “never go outside without ample protection in the form of SPF or clothing.” I was told that my hiking and outdoor activities, which make up a large portion of my life, might have to take the back seat. . . permanently.

Day 2 of taking steroids.  The redness was starting to disappear, but my face was still really swollen.

Day 2 of taking steroids. The redness was starting to disappear, but my face was still really swollen.

I was broken. I was petrified. I just had my first child and wanted nothing more than to witness him learn to ride his bike. I wanted to be the first to take him on a hike. I wanted to teach him to rock climb and to enjoy the things that his father and I love doing together so much. What if this could never happen? What if mine and my husband’s favorite dates could never happen again? This could be life changing for me.

They gave me a prescription for steroids and told me I couldn’t breastfeed on them. I didn’t want to risk anything with my sweet baby, so I instantly began to look for donor milk. Thankfully, with my cousin’s help, I was put in contact with a local woman, whom I had never met, who had a freezer full of milk she was willing to donate! I had tears streaming down my swollen, red, rash-covered face as she handed me a cooler full of breast milk. Breastfeeding was something I had prepared for, researched, spoken to a bunch of people about, and was looking forward to more than anything. . . now this happened. I was heartbroken to say the least. I had this empty void that nothing could fill. I felt like I was failing my son, depriving him of this bonding experience of suckling on my breasts and looking in my eyes as he did so. I felt like a failure.

While everything was in the air, and the lab tests were being run on my blood work and I was waiting on my biopsy results, I kept pumping. I remained hopeful that one day I would be able to breastfeed my son again. I am so thankful I kept my hopes up and kept pumping.

It took over two weeks to get the rash to calm down and the swelling to reduce. My whole face hurt. I was depressed and heartbroken. I had never imagined anything like this happening after giving birth. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy with no complications, a great labor that consisted of dancing and laughing with my husband, bouncing on my yoga ball and chatting with one of my best friends on the phone. I had a pretty long, but easy delivery with no issues or complications. There was no reason for me to be having all these issues now. . . or was there??

This is when I began to think back. I’ve always been very sensitive to chemicals. When I was a baby, I broke out in a full body rash from laundry detergent and fabric softener. I’ve been super careful my entire life to only take medicine as a last resort and not use it as a simple answer to everything. As I replayed my hospital stay, I remembered something very crucial that had happened: I was given Pitocin, against my knowledge, and against my will. That was it! I had figured it out! This whole shebang was caused by the unnecessary IV of Pitocin. It took a few weeks for the pitocin to completely exit my system, for me to detox of all the chemicals, and then I was back to normal. I immediately called my doctor and ran this idea by him and he said it was totally feasible. If it had been sun-related or Lupus, I would still be having issues and I’m not.

Since this incident, I have spent a lot of time outdoors without any reaction to the sun. I continued to breastfeed my son, after finishing the steriods. He is now 13 months and going strong, showing no signs of self-weaning anytime soon.

My son getting some milk while on a hike. Breastfeed anytime, anywhere!

My son getting some milk while on a hike. Breastfeed anytime, anywhere!

I write this for the woman who is considering induction. I write this for the woman whose doctor says “You aren’t progressing and we need to augment your labor.” I write this for those who have trouble breastfeeding. Life sometimes throws us an unexpected curve ball. You are so much stronger than you could ever imagine. Your body is amazing. Trust it, and save modern day medicine for medical necessary situations.

My Next Move:

It has taken me over a year to realize how incredibly wrong I was treated. The wonderful MotherWise community has empowered me! Thank you for being part of it. I am taking this blog, my photo documentation of this situation, and a formal complaint to my local hospital (Erlanger Women‘s East in Chattanooga, TN). I am scheduling a meeting with the liaison coordinator and discussing what they plan on doing to prevent this from happening to future birthing women. I will be doing a follow up blog to let everyone know how it goes. Until then, know that this CAN and DOES happen. Arm yourself with knowledge and a very vocal advocate. I thought I had armed myself pretty well. I had a thoroughly written down birth plan and my very vocal husband with me. However, this happened while we were all sleeping, without our knowledge. Know that you CAN SAY NO. They do not have the right to treat women like this. Birthing women have rights. It’s sad that we have to fight for them like this.

Sources:

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-the-oxytocin-hormone-do.htm

http://chriskresser.com/natural-childbirth-vi-pitocin-side-effects-and-risks

http://birthresourcenetwork.org/resources/54-pitocin-the-whole-story

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Categories: Amanda

Author:Amanda Tyson

Hello Wise Mamas and friends! My name is Amanda. I am a 28-year-old Aquarius/Pisces cusp baby. Cheers for cusp babies! I am married to my best friend in life, Ramsey, who has been my rock through thick and thin. Our wedding bands are tattooed on and I love this idea! We have an 11 month-old son named Jasper and a 1.5-year-old Texas Heeler pup named Opie. Those two are best buds. family hike We also have a ball python named Monty who has been in my husband’s family for years. We live in Chattanooga, TN, which is a wonderful city for outdoor fun. I dig hiking, rock climbing, yoga and cycling. We compost and have a garden. I love my herb garden and cook with basil or parsley almost every day! I am pro-breastfeeding, baby-led weaning. I love to baby wear. I am anti forced circumcision, even though my baby was circumcised (due to my lack of research, which I so deeply regret). We believe in gentle parenting, anti-CIO, and teaching with love. Jasper becomes cranky without his outside time, just like his mama. My husband is a musician, and my son is very interested in music already. He has already had his first drum solo, which we videoed. I feel that everyone should be legally allowed to marry their best friend; I’m pro-LGBTQ rights, and equality for everyone. Nothing frustrates me more than labeling, name calling, and deliberate insensitivity of another person. I believe the differences in others are truly beautiful and what makes life so much fun. I am a super health nut. We cook 99% of our meals at home, utilizing local foods/farmers as much as possible. I am not a vegetarian, but I don’t really eat a lot of meat. I love recycling. We try to reuse everything! I cloth diaper and cloth wipe. I make all of our cleaning products like shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, laundry soap and dishwasher detergent. I own my own jewelry business called “Hippie Tree.” Art is my passion in life. I believe co-sleeping /bed sharing is so important for parent-child bonds. I have a B.S. in Psychology and I love to help people. Amanda

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57 Comments on “I Did NOT Consent: My Terrifying Experience with Pitocin”

  1. March 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    I was also given pitocin, though I didn’t want it. They insisted on an IV as well(and I don’t even know what was in it). I was only 18 when I had my son, so I was trusting of the hospital. I thought they would do what’s right. Because of spinal issues I couldn’t have an epidural(thankfully, as I didn’t want one). I had massive hemmoraging afterwards and had to go back to the hospital when he was 2days old. Luckily, I didn’t get the rash quite as bad as you did,though I was super swollen and covered in weird bumps similar to yours. My son was jaundiced, but only slightly. They also drug tested both of us, without my consent. They pushed circumcision on me too. I wish I knew what I know now then, but the more blogs like yours I find, the more informed I am next time around. The contractions with pitocin are unreal. I felt them head to toe, and they gave me an episiotamy(sp?) without my consent so that I ‘wouldn’t tear’. Thank you for sharing your story, and I am sorry that the hospital did not respect your wishes. I will be trying for a home birth for the next one for sure! Very good idea carrying copies of your birth plan, thanks for that tip!

    • Amanda Tyson
      March 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      Jenna, since posting this, I’ve actually heard of quiet a few people with similar stories. It seems to be much more common than I had even imagined. It’s a shame they don’t tell you this is even a possibility or follow the patients request for NO interventions or medical assistance unless necessary. I had no clue until recently that my son’s jaundice was a result of pitocin in my system. If you have a hospital birth, I would suggest taping a sign to the door that specifically says “NO medicine is to be administered to patient without on-the-spot consent by _(fill in birth advocate’s name)___” I couldn’t believe that this was done while we were napping. My husband would have stopped them if he had been awake. It’s a shame patient’s are taken advantage of for profit/convenience. :(

  2. Hailey
    March 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    I am from chatt. Tn and was just wondering if u don’t mind me asking who was your dr. Because my ob is at women’s east and I have not yet had any children and would love to have one that seemed as supportive as yours

    • Amanda Tyson
      March 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      My OB’s name is John Shull. His office is in East Ridge off Spring Creek Rd. and he is amazing!!! He is not one to step on your toes if you have specific wishes, unless it is medically necessary. However, he is a doctor of habit and will ask you if you want “routine” things, such as circumcision, epidural, etc. Just research everything on your own first, then tell him what you want and how you want things done. He is an extremely compassionate and kind hearted family man.

  3. anja
    March 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your horrifying experience, and I do think that the medical profession fails women in telling them the possible side effects of the procedures and interventions that are done during birth and the immediate postpartum. I think it is wrong on so many levels to administer medication to someone who could be involved in the decision making for her care. I wonder if you signed the blanket consent that they give to women upon admission to the hospital? I wonder if that doctor signed copy of your birth plan in your chart would trump that blanket consent legally? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it does seem like legally they might be able to say that you did consent to whatever they felt necessary.

    • Amanda Tyson
      March 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      I’m sure I signed some kind of consent form to be admitted into the hospital. Honestly, I thought my signed copy of my birth plan and my trusted OB + my vocal husband were enough to protect me from crazed medical staff at the hospital. I was wrong. My doctor left, and my husband crashed and the hospital staff did NOT follow my wishes/signed forms from my doctor. I am definitely going to check and see if my signed birth plan trumps the consent form, but I doubt it. Hospitals have special insurance to protect them from themselves in situations like this, unfortunately. I do plan on making a big stink though in hopes of changing some policies.

  4. March 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    You must have a lawyer, if only to prevent this from happening to others!

  5. March 23, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    I received Pitocin when I was induced. I didn’t dilate at all. It was pretty scary, since it cause my daughter’s heart rate to drop. Although it wasn’t for long, to me it seemed like an eternity! Thankfully, God blessed me with a beautiful, healthy little girl, and I didn’t have any side effects. I wasn’t told about any alternatives however. I would love to have another child and am exploring water births, but I think it’s illegal in PA. You can labor in the pool, but according to my doula friend, you can’t deliver there.

  6. March 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    I had a dreadful experience with Pitocin and induction too. Thanks for sharing. Keep writing.

  7. Susan Hodges
    April 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    I am so sorry you had this experience, despite all you did to ensure that your care would be according to your very reasonable birth plan. The following resource might be useful in preparing for the meeting (if it has not already happened): http://cfmidwifery.org/Resources/Item.aspx?ID=1 The fact is that your basic human rights to bodily integrity and autonomy were violated; the nurses who ignored your lack of consent were actually practicing in an unprofessional manner. Your OB, even if he is wonderful, may be at fault for not making sure the nurses understood his orders to follow your birth plan, not the regular hospital protocols. And these errors and unprofessional conduct resulted in bodily harm to you and probably considerable expense, not to mention the emotional trauma you suffered. I would suggest that if you want to have an impact, you might want to prepare a complaint for the state medical board. Information on how to do so is in the link above (though you might have to do a little searching to find the wording in your state’s laws and regulations that pertain). And I would strongly encourage other mothers in your area that you are in contact with, especially those who gave birth at the same hospital, to also file complaints. A single complaint may not go very far, but multiple complaints for the same problem and/or at the same hospital may get attention. I wish you all the best. If we don’t speak up, nothing will change. If we do speak up, something might change.

  8. christy
    April 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    As a nursing student, this appalls me. My program has taught me from day one to respect my patient and his/her wishes. I understand why most hospitals want you to have an IV. If something goes wrong, at any time, they have the access they need to give life saving meds. Having said that, anything other than saline solutions in that IV without consent is considered assault and battery. You can send a nurse to jail. She will loose her license. Also, as a nurse, I can’t administer any medication without a Dr. order. Not even Tylenol. A word of warning:
    Unless previously directed by a “living will” or “advanced directive,” ALL life saving measures will be taken if something goes wrong. That will often include pitocin. It increases contractions and puts pressure on the blood vessels in the uterus. This is a good thing if you are bleeding too much, i.e. hemorrhaging.

  9. Debbie
    April 5, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    WOW! I knew being induced was bad, but this surely explained why I BOTH of my boys, both induced, had jaundice (one so bad it made him so sleepy, he wouldn’t eat, then his bilirubin went higher…it affected his breathing! He was hospitalized at 2 days old). I wish I knew. I hope you can make a difference for other women!

  10. anon74
    April 6, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Everyone needs to be aware of those blanket consent forms. Signing them allow them to do ANYTHING

    • anon74
      April 6, 2013 at 1:22 am #

      Sorry, my baby hit enter.

      The blanket forms let them do anything they deem “medically necessary”, even if the necessity is just hospital policy/routine and not evidence based.

      It’s important to know that you have the RIGHT to modify the forms. Never sign anything without reading it, making and initialing changes. I changed mine to say they had to get specific permission for everything.

      We shouldn’t have to be so vigilant and educated, but they’ll take every advantage they can get.

  11. April 6, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    This happened to me too. =[ I (Unfortunately) let my OB rupture my membranes (Which means they wouldn’t let me into a bath, or give me a water birth…which doesn’t make very much sense to me!), and two hours later she wanted to start pitocin…uhm, no?! So I went on for another few hours, progressing steadily….until my doctor told me to push. She told me too early which caused my cervix to swell from a “lip” back down to 8 centimeters. As you can imagine, I was not very happy that I thought we’d have our precious baby in a matter of moments and it turned into another 3 hours. I labored for another two hours on my own and then nurses hooked up an IV of Pitocin, without asking me or telling me. I was too tired (Falling asleep on the birthing ball in between contractions, after 26 hours of labor) to notice what was happening. It was only afterwards that I realized what had happened. I never did dilate fully, the OB had to manually move my cervix when I pushed and I had to push for over an hour. This was my first birth, and I thought it was okay, but it wasn’t what I wanted and there are a multitude of things I would do differently. Fortunately, neither my daughter or I experianced any adverse effects from the Pitocin…Not that we’ve noticed yet anyway. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s empowering knowing that there are other women that choose natural birth, and that when things don’t go right, life still goes on. I plan on having my next baby at home!!

  12. natalie
    April 6, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    This ALMOST happened to me ( the after birt pit drip). My unplanned hospital birth (midwife from birthing center an hour away sent me home) nurses just began prepping me for an iv. After giving birth. Luckily, it was my 2nd birth so I yanked my arm away and said “what are you doing?” I refused and the dr backed me up. They get so caught up in protocol, assume everyones assent…its nutty. Im sorry you had this experience.

    • Amanda Tyson
      May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      I wish I had been awake to catch them. It would have saved me a lot of pain, heartache and money from unnecessary extra doctor bills.

  13. Natasha Brodsky
    April 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I was told during my last pregnancy that my baby was breech and there was no legal way for me to have a natural breech birth, which I was totally ready for! After my c-section, however, my doctor told my doula that I had the option of vaignal breech birth. I had to have a hysterectomy after my third child (at 30 years old) and I am SOOOOOO regretful that I didn’t just do a home birth with my completely capable and competent doula and a midwife. I could have totally done it. I tears me apart. I’m in therapy because I can’t get over the fact that I’ll never get that chance again. Labor and birth are such beautiful things. Don’t let your doctor dictate how you do it.

    • Molly Shallow
      May 9, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      I hear you, Natasha. It is just awful that doctors treat women like numbers and just want to make birth an automated, medicated process, for which they follow the same exact protocol for every woman – they seem to see it in terms of efficiency, not in terms of a human, vital, unrepeatable experience. My daughter is 10 years old now, and I am still full of rage at the experience I had, or rather was deprived of, although I did purge a lot. I was intimidated into a C-section. The doctor invoked a IUGR. What the heck is a IUGR? They use jargon and scary terms to alienate the patient. Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation. Basically, my baby was on the small side and the doctor scheduled a C-section 2 weeks before due date. I was young, lacked knowledge, was unsupported and too trusting, I had also never really learned to speak up and I let that bastard of a doctor strip me of my birthing experience! The pediatrician confirmed my doubts and questioned the IUGR diagnostic. Luckily, everything went well after that, and I breastfed my baby for some three years! (ha, too long! but that’s another story). The only plus side was that I was conscious and not in pain so I was able to sing a song to my girl as she was being born.

  14. christine
    April 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! 9 hours after birth my son developed seizures. We had MRIs done and it revealed a brain injury. I remember seeing the word hypoxic on the documentation…basically blood wasnt getting to many parts of his brain – frontal cortex, parietal lobes…..that’s behind the scenes info. the real live stuff was super scary. my son stopped breathing in front of my own eyes. my first born turned blue, empty eyes in front of me. thats a story all on its own. he did this 11 times before he was artificially ventalated before being sent via neonate ambulance to NICU had the childrens hospital. with all the investigations, i was told I would never know why my son had this head injury in the perinatal period. a complete mystery. now after reading your story and the side effects of the artificial hormone used to induce, i wonder…..i was 10 days overdue with meconium (?spelling) coming through, so my OB said we had to use the oxytocin to move things along as baby was in distress. in the end i ended up with a c section. i suppose i would accept the oxytocin if it was a matter of life and death, BUT I would have appreciated a run down of the risks. even after my son had the seizures, why didnt they consider the oxytocin as the potential cause? your story leaves me with some questions….

    • Amanda Tyson
      May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Christine,

      This is my main issue. So many women are giving uninformed consent, not knowing the side effects of the stuff they are being dosed with during labor. I’m sure if the doctors would actually verbally review the side effects, more women would be willing to say “no thanks” to the meds. :( I’m sorry your son experienced seizures and I hope he is doing better now.

    • Heather
      August 17, 2013 at 6:02 am #

      Christine, I’m sorry that you and your baby went through all of that. My guess is that they didn’t let the cord stop pulsating and transferring all the blood from the placenta back to him before they cut it, in addition to the pitocin. They wouldn’t say it was either of those because then they’d be liable.

      Amanda, thank you for sharing your story. <3

  15. Amanda
    April 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Your story hits home for me. As soon as I read about the butterfly rash, I knew where your story was going. I have Lupus and through both my pregnancies I was monitored closely. I had no problems during my pregnancies, but afterwards with my first, I had a flare and had to be put on medication. Though at no time was I urged to trying to breastfeed, my Dr’s felt that the amount of medication my son would be getting was minimal. I know my Lupus flare was not caused by any medication as I had not received anything during labour, I had two natural labours and births. I may have received a shot of Pitocin after the birth of my first, but I know I had a shot of it after my second and never had a flare after his birth. So, I know my Lupus flare was not from any medication, but from the crash of hormones making my body go nuts.
    As a Doula, I feel so sad that your requests were ignored and that you had a scare with Lupus because of it. I hope you get some answers in your meetings with the hospital. Make sure you are heard so others may find the courage to speak up, and together you can prevent this from happening to others.

  16. Nicole
    April 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Thankfully I have been able to have two children naturally, however, I recently found out that as a routine procedure they still gave me pitocin AFTER delivery while the placenta was being delivered. Now pregnant with #3, due in just weeks, I want to avoid all medications which are unnecessary. I discussed this with my OB and she said that they reason they do that is to help with clotting so women don’t bleed out. My question is, is it necessary if you are going to breast feed immediately and continue for at least 2 yrs? Anyone have any insight?

    • Amanda Tyson
      May 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      It is not necessary. Breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink back. Unless you are bleeding out pretty bad, this is another “routine” thing they dose everyone with. Skip it unless you are hemorrhaging.

    • jolinda
      May 22, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      The problem with (bleeding out) is caused by the Pitocin. If you have Pitocin in one birth you have a much greater risk of hemorrhage next time, its just an other circular problem that hospitals have created. You can opt out of the Pitocin and drink shepherds purse tea instead, that is quite effective and doesn’t carry all the risks that Pitocin dose.

  17. April 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Thankfully I have been able to have two children naturally, however, I recently found out that as a routine procedure they still gave me pitocin AFTER delivery while the placenta was being delivered. Now pregnant with #3, due in just weeks, I want to avoid all medications which are unnecessary. I discussed this with my OB and she said that they reason they do that is to help with clotting so women don’t bleed out. My question is, is it necessary if you are going to breast feed immediately and continue for at least 2 yrs? Anyone have any insight?

    • April 7, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Pitocin is not necessary unless you are showing signs of hemorrhage. And that won’t be obvious until after the placenta is delivered. Getting the baby to the breast and getting that oxytocin flowing as soon as possible after birth will help the uterus contract just as well as if you were getting pitocin. My midwife keeps pitocin on hand just in case, but doesn’t use it unless there’s signs of hemorrhage. Tell your OB that you are planning to breastfeed and that you do not want pitocin unless there is a medical emergency. You have the right to refuse any procedure or medication!

  18. Kristy
    April 8, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    No its not necessary. I am a labor and delivery nurse. I had a natural birth at a birthing center with no iv (so no pitocin following delivery). As a l&d nurse I’m concerned about post partum hemorrhage the more babies a woman has had. But it is generally not necessary, just a security blanket for many medical professionals. Its what they know so its what they do. There are specific things that put you at risk for pph that could make pitocin necessary. Research it, and always remember that it is your body and you can refuse anything you want. Just find a provider that you trust and that will respect your wishes and tell you when something its truly medically needed. (with that being said i know many “good” doctors that i have personally witnessed lie to patients to meet their own needs… Your baby is just too big, you’re too small, you just need a little help from pit… All because they have somewhere to be or are just impatient)

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  20. Molly Shallow
    May 9, 2013 at 12:17 am #

    Doctors are horrible. The medical field is an automated money making controlling machine that strips women of their natural expertise to replace it with the so-called medical expertise. I was intimidated into a C-section and too young, inexperienced , unsupported and trusting to claim my right to a natural birth! I am very glad there is a global movement to empower women and yet we are still a minority. Many women just trust the doctor or the hospital instead of themselves. I have had to purge so much anger, yet I still carry a whole lot.

  21. May 28, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    I am so grateful to you for speaking up and speaking out about this ridiculous ignorance of your rights as a childbearing woman. Until we all join this conversation things will never change. Nicely done, Amanda.

  22. Anon
    June 16, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this with pictures!! This EXACT same thing happened to me!! I had to have the IV as well but I actually TOLD them not to do pitocin and within minutes they put it on anyway. I didn’t know what it looked like, but i suspected that they did when I saw them put another thing in the IV pole. My afterbirth contractions started getting worse and worse… Then a nurse came in to ask if they needed more pitocin for my IV. I watched the other nurse stutter and give her a weird look. Then she eyed her sideways and said “the patient doesn’t…”. They had a chat out in the hallway directly after. They did refill the pitocin… But at that point I just thought “well what will it hurt”. I got home and within days my face looked EXACTLY like your 3rd face pic of your rash. It was SOOO itchy and SOOO painful.. I was just crying and crying for weeks. Ugh.. I am always so upset about this experience when I think about it. I was supposed to give birth in a birthing center… I had my baby in the car on the way.. Which is why I was transferred to a hospital. I am SO sorry you had to go through this too… It’s horrible.

  23. Jill
    June 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    thanks so much for your story! the nurses also gave me a drip of Pitocin right after birth, stating the same reasons yours did. I had a natural birth, no assistance, made it perfectly clear that I was NOT to have any kind of drug in my system, had practiced yogic breathing throughout labor, and yet, they felt the need to “just be on the safe side”. what safe side?! what, just because the baby’s out means to drug me up? It didn’t dawn on them that I didn’t want drugs regardless? thankfully, I didn’t have any of the reaction you did. however, my son did get jaundice; I never knew would have been related until now. my son was 6 weeks early and they didn’t know why he was a preemie, so within minutes of birthing him and being able to hold him for a min or two, he was taken from me and put in the NICU for additional testing. I pumped and pumped, but wasn’t able to have a chance to put him to the breast for a week. he had sucking issues (due to being a preemie) but I firmly believe that if he didn’t leave me and was able to connect, skin to skin, and nurse immediately, he would have been fine. I pumped exclusively for 13 months, just to ensure he had mama’s milk…… in conclusion, there was nothing wrong with him other then the sucking reflex and jaundice, thank goodness………..I totally agree with you about the forced after birth Pitocin……completely unnecessary and just something else to charge to the ins company. so glad you and baby are well now!

  24. Lauren
    July 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Sue them!!!! Maybe then they will think twice before sneaking in drugs that you didn’t want and didn’t consent for!!!

  25. Zareena
    July 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I’m so happy I came across this. I was told I had to be induced at 39 weeks because I was high risk. I believe my drs, because your suppose to right? I was given pitocin and 3 and a half days later my son was born. (3 and a half days!) I dreamed of breast feeding as well. My body only produced colostrum and my son was able to get that. I too about a week later may be less broke out head to toe in a rash. I went to the ER and was treated as if it was an allergic reaction. I was never able to breast feed again. I thought I was the only one. I literally teared up when I read this. Thanks for sharing. I will not get induced again.

  26. August 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I was given Pitocin without consent as well. I had a premature rupture of membranes spontaneously at 33 weeks, 3 days and ended up in a hospital instead of with my midwife. I went through an intervention free labor and delivery (and my IV of antibiotics accidentally got ripped out of my arm while moving during labor). Post delivery, the nurse jabbed me with a huge syringe of pitocian WITHOUT MY CONSENT, also “just to be safe”. The doctors also deprived me of skin to skin contact with my son (it was 8 hours before I was allowed to hold him), even though he was breathing on his own (and his APGARs were an 8 and an 8), and was perfectly healthy (despite being 7 weeks early). I think if I had been given skin to skin and allowed to attempt breastfeeding from the beginning we wouldn’t have been in the NICU for 3 weeks….

  27. Lo
    August 14, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    stay away from the hospital. they cut and they drug. period. it’s what they do. with or without your consent.

  28. August 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Unfortunately this is very common and the reason the hospital can get away with it is fear of liability. If they give everyone the same protocol treatment, they are protected from liability. I’m a doula and childbirth educator and I see this all the time. I am also severely injured from a shoulder dystocia / brachial plexus injury from when I was born and my parents tried to sue. Thus, I know a lot more about the legal situation hospitals are bound to than most people do. It’s sad for both parties involved – the hospitals AND the patients. The only way to avoid it is to stay away from the hospital.

  29. Brittany
    August 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    It is SO messed up that they administered pitocin while you were sleeping despite having been told multiple times by you, your husband, AND your doctor (!!!!) NO. And it’s messed up that it was “to help” the uterus —- doesn’t sound very much like an emergency at all! I’m happy you are doing better and that you don’t doubt yourself as a woman because you certainly stood up for yourself and are awesome!!

  30. kjlddkfjsdk
    August 17, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    I’m sorry you’ve gone thru this situation. I’m glad you were able to return to breastfeeding and I’m glad you are speaking out. But, how I would love to read this page on a blog not called ‘motherwise’ without a light pink background and without a picture of a nude woman in a lotus position. I would love to read this article written by a man claiming that a hospital gave him a drug without his consent. I would love the article to explain that the drug’s insert demonstrates the possibility of serious complications. And then I would like to see how far that article goes- how many people speak out against it, men and women! Why is it considered alright to give serious medication without consent to women in birth and in no other condition? It seems women who want birth to be their own experience (no matter what they choose) seem to be stereotyped and perhaps even vilified. How dare we want to make informed medical decisions in birth!?! Unfortunately, if you don’t have evidence from a clinical trial that Pitocin causes rash, your actions in liaising with the hospital won’t go far. But it certainly seems you could potentially file a law suit

  31. August 17, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Wonderfully informative blog post. I am about halfway through my first pregnancy and have been researching anything and everything that could be done to me without my consent so I know what my rights are. I work for a wellness center in NYC and have a great number of resources so I feel very lucky. My husband is also very supportive of non-medically invasive methods of birthing and is right there with me when it comes to what I want. I also have an OB who seems to be on the same page as me when it comes to those choices as well. Thank you for posting and providing information that so many new moms need! Even when you are informed it is great to have extra knowledge to help solidify your own beliefs!

  32. erica
    August 17, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you! That is a horrendous violation to your body! The fact that you beat them by pumping for you little guy and never giving up says a whole lot about your spirit!

    I went through something similar when my daughter had autistic symptoms along with a fever and rash for 3 weeks after her MMR shot. The doctors said it was something else! They pointed all the fingers back on me. Guess what cured her symptoms….homeopathic MMR! Like cures like in homeopathy!

    You may consider taking two doses of homeopathic Staphysagria for what you went through! It would help clear any residue energy left from the violation of your trust and body!

  33. Sandra
    August 17, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Yes, there are “bad” people working in hospitals, and “bad” doctors. There are also well-intentioned doctors and nurses who are misguided. Then there are those of us: labor and delivery nurses who want to listen to you, want to help you achieve your goals for your birth, and will bend the rules and stretch the policy limits to make that happen. I understand the bad feelings that come from some of these experiences, and am appalled at many of the things I’ve read here. However, it makes me sad to see comments condemning ALL hospital staff, and putting us all in one basket. Sometimes it takes me half the day to gain my patient’s trust so that she can see that I am there to protect and inform her, and be her advocate as needed. Please continue to share your experiences, as they are valuable information, and continue to be informed consumers. But please remember that “Cut and drug” is not the motto for everyone who works in a hospital setting (some of us are working undercover for natural childbirth) :-)

    • Lo
      August 18, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      that fact that you have to do it “undercover” says it all…..

      • Sandra
        August 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

        Lo, I agree completely. It does say it all. My choice to stay working in a hospital setting is based on the fact that SOMEBODY needs to advocate. I completely see your point, nothing personal, just trying to make things easier for people who HAVE to be in a hospital, who truly have complications that are life-threatening, and are pregnant AND sick. I absolutely LOVE it when someone comes in and has an intervention-free birth, waterbirth, etc. which is as it should be if that is what she chooses. Anyway, not trying to step on toes, just offering a different perspective. By all means, if I didn’t have to give birth in a hospital, I wouldn’t. Just hope I can help some people who do.

      • Lo
        August 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        yep, i hear ya and they’re lucky to have you. i’m a doula and have literally stopped taking on clients who are birthing in a hospital, only homebirths now. i couldn’t stand what i was seeing and i was losing my passion for birth, i felt like i was only helping the mother cope with a bad situation. i just wish that the medical profession would stop bad mouthing homebirths so that low risk women know that it is a safe option for birth, where they can avoid all the risks and complications that happen in a hospital setting. at the end of the day, i’m sure we’re all on the same page.

    • Lo
      August 18, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      look, the bottom line is this: thank god we have hospitals to treat us when we’re SICK. the key word here is SICK; women giving birth are not sick but hospitals, who treat sick people, often see them that way and so the laboring woman is managed as a sick person which includes many unncessary interventions using drugs and surgery. just this morning i read about a woman in Maine who died days after giving birth, of complications resulting from her UNCESSARY episiotomy, where she contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a hospital acquired infection.

      so if a woman is healthy and low risk and hopes to avoid the use of drugs and surgery, then she needs to avoid the place that indeed, employs these practices. it’s just common sense. women are realizing this and are increasingly choosing alternatives settings to birth their babies.

  34. rhea
    August 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    congratulation for your determination to continue breast feeding and never given up!
    yet I question the epidural injection in your case? was it necessary to use it, as if it was a must since it stops post delivery complications!

  35. cassie
    August 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    after my baby was born i saw them turn the pitocin on. i told them i didnt want it and the said that they HAD to. that is so wrong! im passive-aggressive so as soon as she turned her back i turned the pitocin off. i was fine without it.

  36. Christy
    August 17, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    We had a terrible experience with the hospital staff during the birth of my first baby and I was also given Pitocin without consent. I had an IV I thought was just for fluids and at one point my husband looked at the machine and said “What’s Oxytocin?” as it blipped across the little screen on the machine! I will not go into the rest of the details of my birth experience as I could probably go on forever. I still get angry when I think about it and my daughter turned 6 last month.

  37. Stacy
    August 18, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    Just saw an Article on how Inductions are now being linked to autism…have no doubt it could be pitocin. So sad. Sorry for such a crazy experience. We need to educate and help our fellow women in life experiences like this. Thanks for being a Pioneer.

  38. Jen
    December 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I’m sorry for your horrifying experience. I also underwent some less than ideal treatment with the birth of my second child, I gave specific instructions that certian things were NOT to be done and they did one anyways… I flipped… My husband literally was seconds from knocking the doctor out. I’m in the process of sueing now.
    Informed consent means absolutely nada! It does not give them the right to treat you like a piece of meat and do as they please.. Even if you sign those forms. If you’ve given specific instructions they have to respect your decision, wether they agree or not. I’d sue if I were you, if not for money at least for everyone else. We need to put a stop to doctors thinking there above all and have the right to do whatever they please. Everyone’s beliefs are different and whats perfectly ok for one woman might be completely not ok for another… Even if she’s only one in a million that feels this way. They need to understand they work for us.. My husband describes it as they work for the hospital but are “subcontracted” to you… YOUR THE BOSS. If anyone in any other profession pulled crap like this they’d be sued for sure. Ex.. You hire someone to work on your house and they change the plans without asking you? Is that ok because their the professional? Or if you bring your car for an oil change and they replace the engine because they feel it needed it.. Is that ok? So why should the medical profession be different? Uuugh, I HATE doctors…

  39. Brittny
    January 12, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I too was given pitocen without my consent. The nurses gave it to me while i was in healthy steady active labor. I showed up 5 centimeters dialated and was handling my contractions very calmly. I needed an iv to keep liquids in me because water made me very nauseas. And i later asked what the other bag was (i assumed it was more fluids readily ouy for when the bag i was on ran dry) turns out they had me on a pitocin drip without asking for consent or even so much as a notification. I later developed contractions that were 3 minutes long with no breaks in between, my dialtion would stop or shrink and took two whole days to fully dialte even (i dialated quickly when i was at home before i showed up to the hospitol where i was given pitocin) i had to get an epidural done 3 tiimes, plus i was given loads of morphine and some other thing that killed pain cuz i could still feel everything after a few hours of being given the epidural. My babys heart rate started dropping because of the the super strong long lasting never ending contractions. They were the most unbearable pains i have ever felt in my life. I eventually had to get a csection. All i wanted was a natural birth and it was robbed from me because some incompetent nurses put me on pitocin without my consent or knowledge. My babys dad has to work while i stay home and take care of our newborn in constant physical pain i have to carry my legs in and out of bed with my arms i can barely lift them to put on my underwear i cant run i have to walk really slow it pains me to carry my own baby around. I was not allowed to eat for three whole days at the hospitol while in labor. And after the csection some nurse had the nerve to tell me i still cant eat, i immediately had her removed.

  40. March 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    I can relate, with my first birth I made it a point to tell everyone that I didn’t want pitocin or any kind of intervention without my consent. Like you I was told the iv was “policy” and caved in. I actually asked the nurse what she was putting in the iv and was informed that it was just “saline”. I asked several times and got the same answer. By the way my labor/delivery experience was horrifying. Anyway, it wasn’t until about a year later when I requested a copy of my medical records that I discovered that it was in fact pitocin in the drip, not saline. The nurse actually lied to my face. Imagine how angry I was, and still am, to find this out. I would say I was lucky that I got out alive… The important part is that we share our experiences with the hope that change will come. I sent a letter of complaint to the hospital, not sure if it’s why but I later found out that my previous OB was let go or left the practice. I really hope she was fired.

  41. March 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    I was so sad to read this story! Hugs to you and your baby and thank you for sharing your strength and the fact that you kept pumping. You are awesome!!!!!!! You mention having a home birth for your next baby. I am very grateful that I saw a lot of warning signs in my obgyn practice when I was pregnant that had me looking for either another obgyn office or something else (I didn’t know what). I ended up meeting some amazing women in my local area who all had homebirths – so that is what we did. My midwife did bring a vial of pitocin in case of serious issues afterwards, but it was not “protocol” and she would have only used it if it would buy me time to get to the hospital for a serious complication after birth. Sending you love and hugs again! Judi

    PS – Here is my homebirth story if you want to read it or help lift you up for your next birth. We also love hiking and being outdoors. :)

    http://judifoxblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/isaacs-birth-story.html

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Did NOT Consent: My Terrifying Experience with Pitocin FEATURED Posted by Amanda Tyson - Birth Balance - August 20, 2013

    […] I had a birth plan. I wanted a natural birth. My birth plan CLEARLY stated that I “did not want an epidural or pitocin, or any intervention that was not FIRST cleared through me or my husband and 100% absolutely necessary.” My doctor signed it and placed it in my file. I also had extra copies of it on my night stand (at the hospital), on the door to my room, and in my bag (just in case I needed to hand them out). http://motherwiselife.org/2013/03/20/i-did-not-consent-my-terrifying-experience-with-pitocin/ […]

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