Sat, 01 Oct 1994

Hospital regulation

I recently came back from the Philippines and upon my regular review of back issues of The Jakarta Post, found a Sept. 5, 1994 letter to the editor by Ms. Saifuddin targeting the Pondok Indah Hospital.

This was about their regulation that only one person can attend a patient's birthing, apart from the regular hospital staff. I would like to share my harrowing birth experience that resulted due to this regulation.

Last March 19, 1994, I gave birth to a baby girl, 3,888 kilos (too big for my petite frame) after a 30-hour labor steeped with painful and regular contractions every 15 minutes. Due to this regulation, I was unable to avail myself of the badly needed assistance of my private midwife, since I wanted to be with my husband in the delivery room.

As a foreigner, then only five months in Jakarta, I did not know the language enough to communicate how I felt to the midwife on duty. To illustrate, during labor I forced myself to stand up after the epidural (a spinal anesthesia), something one should never do, not getting any direct briefing from the midwife on duty. I threw up incessantly as a result.

When I asked for a second half dose injection (since the first one was wearing out and I was two centimeters short), she administered it without informing me that she gave a full dose and started blaming me for asking for it when I had a difficult time pushing. I would not have agreed to another full dose. During the 29th hour of labor, she could not relate to the fact that I was still suffering excruciating pain even after receiving two doses of the epidural. My baby, then 51 cm long was pushing her way out by kicking directly at the area around my lungs which the epidural did not cover.

If my private midwife was allowed in, I would have had a better birthing experience.

I am lucky my baby, who came out by way of suction procedure, is so far very healthy. Further, that I lived through the experience. I think that the midwife on duty that night was very efficient, but the sympathy and understanding I needed was certainly lacking. Perhaps what we had was plain miscommunication. I however feel that Pondok Indah Hospital should look into this rule very closely so as not to lose a lot of their pregnant women patients.