#81 | Andrea Left the Hospital AMA (Against Medial Advice) to Avoid Induction

February 17, 2021

Andrea was thirty-three years-old and experiencing a low-risk healthy pregnancy when she went in for her prenatal visit at five days past her guess date and - it just so happened - the week of Christmas and New Year's.  Her OB informed her that she would need to be induced.  In response to her question, "What happens if we wait for labor to begin on its own," he replied, "Your baby is going to die." 

A few days later, when she went in for a routine check-up, her amniotic fluid level was slightly low, and her doctor told her she could not leave the hospital. She learned in the process that hospital staff would be ultra-low during the holiday week, so it was better if she had the baby immediately. But better for whom? In tears, she flat-out refused to stay for the induction. Later that evening she spontaneously went into labor, returning to the same hospital early the next morning to naturally welcome her baby into arms just three hours later.  This inspiring birth story demonstrates deep knowing and trust in oneself and decisions for your safest and best birth.   

* * * * * * * * * *

If you enjoyed this episode of the Down To Birth Show, please subscribe and share with your pregnant and postpartum friends.

Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). We are always happy to hear from our listeners and appreciate questions for our monthly Q&A episodes. To join our monthly newsletter, text "downtobirth" to 22828.

You can sign up for Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes as well as online breastfeeding classes and weekly postpartum support groups run by Cynthia & Trisha at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/cynthiaovergard)

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/cynthiaovergard)

View Episode Transcript

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

I'm Andrea, I have two kids now. So the story that we're going to reflect on was my first birth, which was to my daughter, Vivian, who is now just turned five, just a few days ago, a week ago or so. And so I wanted to really start off the story in the sense that I, my husband, and I had lived where I'm from Connecticut, but we had been living in Philadelphia for about four or five years prior to this. So we had always known we had wanted to get back to Connecticut. So we knew we wanted to when we stopped wanting to start a family, that's what we were going to do. So we moved back. And then shortly after moving back to Connecticut, we got pregnant. And so at that point, I didn't have a doctor because I just moved here in the area, I wasn't from that particular area of Connecticut, so I didn't really know anything about it, or you know who to go to or anything like that. So at the time, I thought I did the best thing. And I just went to my sister's doctor, who was in the area lived, you know, about 15 minutes away from me, and she actually was pregnant, the same time, our kids are 10 days apart. But this was her second pregnancy. So that wasn't her first. So, you know, she had been going to this doctor or this practice, I should say, you know, liked it didn't really have anything bad to say, however, I did know, some individuals were her friends, or maybe just one at that point who had been to that doctor and didn't have such a great experience. So you know, that was kind of their, kind of ignored it. And I just went and I knew, basically from the very start, that it perhaps wasn't a great fit, because of the first conversation I ever had with this particular doctor. At the time was I said, You know, I went in again, first pregnancy didn't know really what to think or do. And I said, you know, Should I continue working out? And I had been working out pretty much every day for years. And she said, Sure, but you cannot lift over 25 pounds. And right then in there, I said well, so I was a crossfitter and I had crossed fitted prior to this five or six years. And I said, Well, you know, that might be a problem. I you know, I'd always been doing CrossFit and 25 pounds was not a lot of weight for me personally, and I wanted to continue doing it. And so I kind of took it with a grain of salt. I knew I talked to people and they were like, you know, obviously you don't want to become a runner, the day you get pregnant, you don't want to become a crossfitter the day you get pregnant, but if you're doing it and your body feels good, do it. So I kind of ignored that information, I would say and just kept doing it. And you know, I was totally fine. In fact, my last day of CrossFit and of course I scaled when I needed to but my last day of CrossFit was actually on my guest date, or also called my due date of that pregnancies. So I had no issues whatsoever. That was kind of my first inkling that maybe this wasn't a great fit. But again, I kind of ignored it. And I went to an event about my pregnancy. So at some point, I don't remember really when or in the beginning of the pregnancy. I found you Cynthia probably from it was a friend who had gone to you and then just internet exploring of just my options and what I had, you know, what were my options. And then shortly after finding you I believe I found Colleen, who was my doula and then joined your class, and then just kind of basically from research knew that I wanted to have a natural birth. So I already had this Practice, I did tell my doctor at some point that, you know, I was going to have a natural birth. This is what I was going to do. They really didn't have anything to say, I think they said something along the lines of good luck, you know, you could try but you know, you never know. And so that was kind of what I had thought, because I didn't know anything different. And I said, Okay, I mind though I was going to have a natural birth, right. And no one was really going to tell me not, you know, that I wasn't going to, you know, I was, you know, I'm sure confused. But I would say with your class, and everyone, you know, the support of you, and everyone in it, like, I knew it was going to be fine. And I had Colleen and she, you know, had talked was talking me through the whole thing. And at some point, I did explore other practices, I believe I went to the dam barrier facility, there was a great option, but it was kind of far for me. It was like a little over an hour. And I was just unsure. And I was scared that that was too far. You know, in retrospect, it wasn't. But I just was like, you know, what, I just really didn't know what to do, because I was my first pregnancy. And I said, I'm gonna just gonna stay with my doctor. Although I don't, it wasn't a great fit. I'm just going to do it, once it got closer to my guest date, as they refer to as the due date, which was 1219. That's kind of what I saw, like the biggest change from the practice, kind of just the attitude and the worth the sense that, you know, I had to start going, I think was every week, I had to, you know, go through all the tests and, you know, talk to the doctor about everything that was going on. And, you know, they were just keeping a really close eye on me, because, you know, at this point 1219 came around and I had a baby, and you are a low risk expecting mom, is that correct?

Yes. Okay. 33, low risk, totally low risk, no health issues whatsoever. So I kept, so I had to get up and go every week, I believe 1223, which was just one, five days after the guests date, I had gone in and my husband was with me. And we were just going in for that regular checkup. Right. So now we have are going more frequently because we were now past the guest date. And that's when the.we got checked out. Everything was fine. And then he had he said, The doctor said, Let's go to my office and come up with a plan. So I distinctly remember him getting out his calendar when we were in his office and plotting the day in which I was going to have my baby. And so at that point, he had, I believe, said it's 1230. But I distinctly remember the conversation being, it can't be after the 34. It can't be on the 31st because it's a holiday and limited staff. And I remember it being like this big deal that, you know, it couldn't be on holiday. And I said, Well, how about we push it a couple days after the 31st? And he said, No, that's too far. It has to be the 30th. And so I said, Okay, I had no idea. And I but again, I knew in my mind, I wasn't I was going to have to be the one I was the baby was ready to come out. So I still had that mindset. And I said, what happens if I don't get induced, and I just wait for the natural birth that I wanted. And he said, quote, unquote, your baby is going to die. And so at that point, I said, You know, I think we were both pretty much just speechless. At that point. We were like, Okay, did I teach us? And did you believe him? When he said that? What did you feel?

I think that we felt like maybe, you know, that he's right. I don't know, again, first birth, not really knowing much. At that point, I just think a little bit of us maybe believed him, but a little bit was also I had, you know, all this training now and my back, you know, under my belt, that you know, that probably wasn't going to happen. So I think it was like almost like a 5050 mixed emotions.

And yet I just want to point out that here you are five years later, and you just started to cry even saying those words. Yeah.

Thank God, I had you got you know, you and Colleen because if I hadn't, I would have just been terrified, even more terrified than I that I was at that point. Okay, so what happened next after the doctor said that, Andrea.

So we left and I remember I called Colleen, I think we called her in the car to be honest. And said, you know, this is what happened. What do we do? And she talked us through it and was like, everything's gonna be fine. You know, we're gonna wait for the baby. Nothing's changed. This doesn't change anything. And I think at that point, She even said, It's not too late to change doctor because it wasn't. But I was like, that wasn't I wasn't going to do it. Because I was just scared and I didn't know what to do. And I didn't know what doctor to go do. So I was like, I'm just gonna say, and it's going to be fine. And so then 1228 rolls around, no baby. And I had an appointment to go back to the practice, or I actually went to the hospital because I had to have an ultrasound. And then I had to get all the tests, all the machines that monitor everything, you lay there for like two hours, and they monitor everything. And then you get an ultrasound. And that's when they measured the fluids. And that's that, whatever those levels are, and I do not know what they are, but that's what they really go by, right is if you're going to have the baby, or you're not going to have the baby.

Trisha, do you wanna jump in there?

Yes. So they're just measuring your amniotic fluid volume. Right?

And Trisha, they're looking for normal levels, like between five and 22. Right? But midwives Trisha would just palpate.

Right? They wouldn't at this point, even in a midwifery practice, you would definitely be going for biophysical profiles, which is that the ultrasound test that looks at not just amniotic fluid, but also movement and breathing and a number of factors. Okay.

So everything was fine. As far as the movement and breathing goes, I do recall, but the fluid was like, there. I don't remember the numbers. I wish I did. But it was like a little bit under like the slightest bit ever. And I remember the doctor, this is a totally new doctor. It was the doctor that actually reads you the fluid readings. She comes in after the ultrasound tech leaves. And then she came in I remember, and I never had met this doctor before and she had told me, You know, I had to have the baby now. This is 1228 and I said, No, I'm not gonna have the baby. I kind of just knew to be honest with you that like the baby was coming soon. Everything was going to be fine. And she said, if you were my family member, if you were my sister, my cousin I wouldn't let you leave the hospital.

That's the classic line.

That is the classic line.

You are my wife Am I if you're my wife or my or my sister if you were my daughter. It because it because it pulls on your heartstrings.

Totally. And they weren't even I said, well let Can I go home and get my stuff? And they said no. And then I had to have the baby. So we actually just left the hospital. And they were not happy. Andrea I vividly remember you telling me about that. So please describe in detail what happened. They told you you can't go Yeah, and you left. What happened.

Down to Birth is sponsored by Postpartum Soothe. Recovering from a vaginal birth takes many women by surprise. Everyday activities like sitting, walking and going to the bathroom can be uncomfortable, and Postpartum Soothe is just the remedy to support your healing and relieve discomfort. Postpartum Soothe is a 100% organic herbal blend that's applied to maternity pads in the days immediately following your birth, giving you all the benefits of a sitz bath 24/7. That's because herbs like comfrey leaf, uva ursi and witch hazel are known for their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Postpartum Soothe can be prepared at any time during the third trimester and it makes a beautiful baby gift. It's a must for any woman seeking a faster, easier recovery from a vaginal birth. Visit postpartumsoothe.com and use promo code DOWNTOBIRTH.

I was bawling. I was crying. I was really upset because I did not want to have the baby right then and there. And I just said to the nurse, it was like the leave. It was like the admin behind the desk. And the doctor disappeared. I don't know where she went. And I was basically, you know, there were gonna shuffle me to the room and I was going to get induced and have the baby. And I just got up. I think I called Colleen in the waiting room. Crying people are like, all staring at me at this point in this waiting room at the hospital, and my husband was there and I said, we got it, we have to go. I was like, I'm not gonna have the baby. I went up to the check in and I said, I'm gonna leave. They were like, you can't leave you can't leave and I was like, I have to leave. I'm not having a baby. sterile. I'm hysterical.

He had told me they were following me to the door trying to get you to staff.

They were they were following me. They're sure that I couldn't leave and I had had the baby. And it was like traumatizing to be honest. And this was 1228. Annabel had to me like midday, and at this point, maybe it was a little bit later in the day. And I we got in the car. I'm still like so upset, called Callie and again. It was like they told me I couldn't leave. I laughed, she said and she said I did the right thing. Again, everything was going to be okay. And then she suggested that I go to acupuncture because I had been going throughout the whole pregnancy. And so I called got an appointment at like 7pm she said fit me in and went there was like, at that point like had calmed down was super relaxed, got acupuncture about 7pm had dinner, went to bed, and at about 2am, I woke up and started having contractions. And there were pretty intense contractions at that point when I woke up. Sorry to interrupt you.

I'm just very curious, did you get a call from the doctor?

So at some point, yes, I think I got a call. And even prior to that, I had gotten a call. And, and he had left a message, and I never called back. And it was not happy. Like, the doctor was not happy with me whatsoever. Like, I was not on his list of good patients. And I'll and I'll kind of get into that as at the end of the story, also. But he was he had called me left a message I didn't I just didn't answer the phone. So um, he was, you know, to his defense, he said that he had become worried which I'm sure he was at some point. But I just didn't want to talk to him. I didn't want to, you know, at that point, I was just had my, my goals and my mindset, I knew everything was going to be okay. I just knew you know, how you have that feeling. And you just had dinner, went to bed and started having the baby, basically at 2am. That night, so the night of the 29th. And called Colleen, she came over from about 2pm 2am, sorry, to about seven 7:30am. And we went to the hospital. Same hospital.

Yes, we went to the same hospital because at this point, I still had the same I was still with the same practice. Now mind you, we had four doctors in rotation. And I got there I'll never forget that I got out of the car barely could really move was trying to breathe through it got in a wheelchair and they wheeled me in. And I was just so out of it at that point was so focused on, you know, the breathing and all that. And I looked up. And I see the doctor that had told me my baby was gonna die. So he was on call, and he was now going to deliver my baby. And so I don't even remember what I felt. But I distinctly remember looking up seeing him and being like, oh, gosh, I'm he's actually here, and he's gonna deliver my daughter. So that was just, you know, luck of the draw. And so I went in at about 730 I think I got checked in. And I had her at 10. So it was very quick. I was only there for about an hour, I was only probably in labor, I think, you know, for for a very short amount of time. So I wasn't there for a long time at all. She was perfect. Everything was, you know, wonderful. She I didn't know what I was having. So I had a daughter, Vivian, who is now five. And so everything was just perfect. And as I had planned, which I know doesn't always happen. But I had, you know, the faith in the knowledge from Cynthia and Colleen that it was going to all be okay. And it all ended up being wonderful. And she was perfect. And so then to kind of wrap up my story. I had her and then the doctor leaves in at some point. What's the stuff they give you after you have the baby? pitocin? Yes. I had not wanted that for various reasons that we had discussed in the class. And they made me do it. They basically made me do I had no choice. Colleen had had suggested that they don't, or had said we didn't want it. And that was not an option.

I did have that. Trisha, what do you want to say?

I was just laughing there. They were probably just like enough with this lady for doing what we want. Totally. Yeah. I think at one point we wanted, like the lights dimmed. That didn't happen. So there was like certain protocols that they weren't going to cut out because they were mad.

They were trying to regain control.

They were. And so when he came back in to say congratulations, which I think he said he also was nice clothes. Yeah, we're saying, Well, you've got what you wanted.

Wow. And like you won, like this was a power struggle. And you won. Boy, that's revealing.

Yeah. And, you know, I did go back there for a couple follow ups, I think one or two and then shortly after that just never went back.

So what do you what's gone on for you right now?

No, I think you know, reliving it. It's funny. I never talked about it. You know, it's one of those things that you kind of try to just, I guess forget about and move on. And, you know, she was perfect. Vivian was perfect. And we were so blessed with having a healthy baby that, you know, we couldn't necessarily complain about anything, but I think it just brings up emotions because you know, it wasn't ideal. I wish that I had changed doctors, I wish the moral of the story is that when you have a gut feeling, you usually should go with it, right. And that was one of those things where I just kind of was scared, a little unsure, and just kind of rolled with it when I knew it wasn't right. And then you were traumatized by ways that people talk to you and treated you and fear that was instilled and being basically chased out of the hospital. And that's a lot to handle, it was a lot,

you did get basically everything you thought you wanted. And you just said, like, you try to forget about it, I'm thinking, Well, look, you have to, you have to be proud of yourself for how you handled it, and grateful to everything that gave you this beautiful birth in life. And yet, you're upset, because, you know, you went through that experience where they tried to have you doubt yourself, you saw the face of the person who's scared, you walk into the room. And I want women to know that I always talk about this, how you feel through your birth is paramount. It is not a matter of just a healthy outcome. It is paramount. And we have a woman who did make her own decisions, who did have a great outcome. And she's still reflecting on how she felt and how they took that little piece from her. It's just like, you can't overstate it. How you feel while you're giving birth is something we all have to care about more totally. So what how did that experience change? You?

You know, I think at the end of the day, I was proud of standing up for myself in the sense where I knew what I wanted, and I was going to do it no matter what. So that was something I guess, to be proud of. But it also taught me that I wasn't going to have this happen to me again. And I learned definitely learn from the experience. I think I maybe I've told a couple people about it. And we have actually many people at this point, I've talked to you about that particular practice. And they were like, Oh, yeah, this happened. And that happened to me. And so I think it was almost a common theme. But I think it was a learning experience for sure. But super grateful that you know, it taught me to just be a stronger person overall and stand up for what you want and believe in.

Were you and your husband always on the same page with the decisions 100% helps a lot. Totally.

How did you change for the second birth?

Well, I went to a different doctor. That's the starting point. But I chose the Dr. Offer recommendation. And I loved them. And I love the practice. And I didn't have a natural birth the second time, because it's just not what I wanted. It was because some of the trauma from my first birth, who knows, I don't know. But I had a wonderful, wonderful experience. Actually, I have moved since moved about an hour north and I still to this day will go back there for my checkup every single year. And I hope to always go there, because I just love her.

And once again, you're proving that how you feel during your birth. Because your goal initially was to have a natural birth, you achieved that, but didn't feel supported. And you're describing your second birth as having been a very positive experience. And it wasn't a natural birth, but you felt supported and respected through it totally, because you trusted and cared for your care provider who reciprocated those feelings back to you.


It could not have been easy for a young woman pregnant for the first time to have that kind of resolve when she thought she had the support of the providers all the time. And the end found out that she really didn't. And it's only in retrospect, we look back. And then we see those comments they make along the way in a new light like, Well, good luck with the natural birth or, you know, we see it in a new light. Yeah, but we want so much to think the best of them. We want so much to believe in them all along that we filter frequently, those comments in a more positive way. So our head says they're supportive. But usually something in the in the gut says maybe they're not. And then it all fits together later. But it's such a common story. What you're describing is such a common situation, the outcome is not so common. But the situation that you were in the situation with the provider and how you felt is just way too frequent. And yeah, the birthing world today.

What do you tell women who are pregnant? What do you What's your advice to them on finding the right provider? I know what I know what I tell them, but I want to know what you with your very powerful experience tells them.

I think that first and foremost, you have to feel comfortable you have to feel like if you whatever you want this pregnancy to be your pregnancy to be. You have to be on the same page as your provider, whether that be you know, the typical practice or going or having a home birth or whatever that is you have to be on the same page. You have to feel comfortable. We all have to have the same end goal.

If you enjoy our podcast please take a moment to leave us a review on Apple podcasts and share a favorite episode or two. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter @downtobirthshow or contact us and review show notes at downtobirthshow.com. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and  as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

If you enjoyed this podcast episode of the Down To Birth Show, please share with your pregnant and postpartum friends.

Share this episode: 

Between episodes, connect with us on Instagram @DownToBirthShow to see behind-the-scenes production clips and join the conversation by responding to our questions and polls related to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.

You can reach us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com or call (802) 438-3696 (802-GET-DOWN). 

To join our monthly newsletter, text “downtobirth” to 22828.

About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

Want to be on the show?

We'd love to hear your story. 
Please fill out the form if you are interested in being on the show.

screen linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram