Asia almost died during childbirth. There were 10 people in the room but no one did anything.
Updated: May 4
Asia had no intentions on going to the hospital because she had a doula and midwife. She was very in tune with her body and knew how to measure/time her contractions. However, her contractions were taking longer and she was 6 cm dilated for quite some time. Her doula told her to go to a hospital and when she got to the hospital, the doctor isolated her in a room with just the two of them where he tried forcing her to sign paperwork to perform a C-section. The doctor told Asia, “If you do not sign this paperwork so I can perform an emergency C-section you and your baby will die.” Frustrated and confused, Asia had to advocate for herself because while all alone with the doctor. These were lessons she learned from her doula in her prenatal care. Eventually Asia’s doula was able to get to her bedside and offer her support. However the hospital still refused to listen to Asia’s birth plan so she left. Asia, her midwife and her doula packed up and went to an entirely different hospital while Asia was still in labor. The other hospital reviewed the birth plan, welcomed her midwife and doula but advised that if the labor lasted more than 4 more hours they would have to perform an emergency C-section. But Asia didn’t need it. She delivered her beautiful baby vaginally in less time.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there. Asia almost died during childbirth. There were 10 people in the room but no one did anything. Yes her doula was there but doula’s have no medical authority in hospitals. And her midwife was also there but she didn’t see what was happening that almost caused Asia her life. After the baby was born the doctor reached (up to his arm) inside her birth canal up to pull out the placenta. Her partner saw that she was in distress and spoke up about what was happening as Asia almost bled out on the delivery bed and that is likely what saved her life.
On episode 35 of Make It Make Sense, Dr. Toni Bond talked about the importance of listening to Black women when it comes to their bodies. We are the experts of our own bodies, they are ours and they belong to us. If we have any hope of improving Black maternal health outcomes Black women must be empowered to advocate for themselves and medical institutions must be committed to listening to Black women when it comes to their care.
Q & A with Asia
What would you do differently after your experience?
I had a doula and a midwife during childbirth but I would also like to have an OBGYN and a primary doctor because I did end up having to go to the hospital. So some strange men that I had no medical relationship with, who also didn’t know anything about me, were the ones providing medical care for me during childbirth.
Would you use a doula or midwife again if you choose to have another child?
Yes, I want to have another child and I would use both a doula and a midwife again.
What support would make you feel empowered as a Black mama?
More information, resources to feel protected in the hospital setting, have more knowledge and education for partners as well
What type of support would you like to see in the future?
For more Black women to feel more protected in the hospital setting
What do you think would make things easier for Black mothers giving birth?
There aren’t a lot of good OBGYNs because it’s expensive. I found one OBGYN that was really good however it was too expensive for her to keep her license in Vegas.
Asia Denise is a 35 year old mother who does cannabis compliance and serves as an ambassador for Make It Work Nevada.