Pregnant woman horrified when doctors make her take X-rays lying prone on her belly while in labor

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

I once faked being pregnant so I wouldn't have to accompany a patient into a hospital X-ray room and hold her in position while the technician took X-rays of her arm. So when I heard a doctor had ordered X-rays for my mother while she was pregnant with me, I felt stunned.

Who has X-rays taken while pregnant? My mother, apparently. To make matters worse, the doctors made her lie prone on her pregnant stomach to take X-rays while she was in labor.

I'm horror-struck just thinking about it. Can you imagine how horrifying it must have been for my mother? She was already in pain from labor and then had to lie on her stomach while a technician took X-rays. The thought of it still makes me shudder.

When my mother gave birth to her first child, he was a breech birth. When she got pregnant with her second child, doctors assured her she wouldn't have two breech births in a row, and she believed them. Unfortunately, they were wrong.

At 36 weeks, my mother went into labor. The doctors told her she was having a breech birth, and they needed to do an X-ray to make sure the baby's head was in the correct position. It wasn't.

My mother was in so much pain, she couldn't even stand up. The doctor ordered that she be put into a wheelchair and taken to the X-ray room.

So my mother had to lie on her stomach while the technician took X-rays of her in labor.

"I tried to tell them when I first found out I was pregnant so they would be prepared with a plan," she said. "I mentioned that my first childbirth had been a breech birth, and I said I was afraid because I had a feeling it was going to happen again. But they said I was just worried for nothing and that it wouldn't happen two births in a row."

"It seemed like no one was interested in listening to me," my mother told me. "I was terrified, but they were insistent. So I chose to believe them, and they turned out to be wrong."

When my mother went into labor with her second pregnancy, the baby was positioned upside down. Again. Her labor pains were strong, and her labor was progressing quickly, but the baby wouldn't turn.

Ten minutes before my mother gave birth, doctors sent her for X-rays. When the technician made her lie prone on her stomach to take X-rays while she was in labor, her pain was so intense that she thought she might die.

"To this day, I still can't watch footage of women giving birth because the entire process traumatized me so much," my mother told me. "Sometimes I have nightmares. In these nightmares, I'm pregnant or giving birth, and I can't sleep for days afterward. I would never want to go through childbirth again."

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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