A Virginia woman is sharing her birth experience in the hopes that other first time moms will have the courage to speak up and advocate for themselves.
According to ABC News, LeeAnn Bienaime gave birth to her first child in a bathtub in her own home with the help of her husband Leo, after the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth declined to admit them and said that they could go home.
The new parents had gone to the hospital on Aug 23 after LeeAnn said that she was suffering through “intense” and consistent contractions.
“I was certain that we were just going to be admitted … In all of our classes and appointments, they told us that when you’re having contractions five minutes apart for a minute long, for one hour, you should come in to the hospital,” she said. “And we had been timing them.”
However, they were told that they could not be admitted because she was only 2 centimeters dilated, even though she was about 80% effaced.
LeeAnn said after about two hours at the hospital with not much changing, two doctors told her to go home and come back when she was dilated to about 5 centimeters, claiming that she would be more comfortable at home.
“I don’t know what that means because I’m a first-time mom. How do I know if it’s 5 centimeters?” she recalled.
“In hindsight I would have stood my ground and not left,” she said.
The couple’s son, Joachim, had other plans. About a few hours after getting back home, LeeAnn’s labor took a different turn.
“I was just in pain and [Leo] was like, ‘Did your water break?’ and I felt this pressure and then I felt the head,” she said. “I was just going through my feelings of anxiety and not being able to believe that I’m going through this.”
Leo called 911 and then proceeded to help his wife, asking for “one good push” once LeeAnn was in the bathtub.
“He slid out, I caught him and flipped. I wrapped him in a towel and handed him to her,” the father said.
The little family is doing well, and thankfully there were no complications with the birth, but LeeAnn is still upset that she was sent home.
“At first I was angry, and I mean rightfully so, because everyone I would talk to after I told them told me I shouldn’t have been told to go home,” she said.
“Had I known to really advocate for myself, I still would have been at the hospital,” she added. “When you don’t know any better and kind of feel like you’re being a burden to the doctors, you don’t know and you go home.”
The hospital declined to respond to ABC’s request for comment.
However, LeeAnn said that the hospital did reach out to her and apologize.