On the evening of August 22, 2016 my water broke so I attended the hospital. After waiting to see a doctor it was recommended that I return home as I was not yet dilated.
When I arrived at home the pain became quite horrible so we returned to the hospital and after a wait I was moved to a hospital room to await my epidural. I received the epidural and over the next 12 or so hours sat in my room.
At this point I still was not dilated much. Throughout the day of the 23rd my nurse continued to check and near the end of her shift about 3pm (noted that I was fully dilated).
After shift change the new nurse made the decision not to check my dilation again relying on the other nurse's information. In the next hour or so my son's heart rate became every unstable and the doctor was called. At this point she checked and noted that I was not fully dilated and that the other nurse had made a mistake. At this point my water was broke for over 24 hours.
A short period later the pain became horrible and I asked to see a doctor. I was told there was not anyone available. Over the next 4 hours I was left in extreme pain without the ability to see a doctor. We were told that an emergency C section was needed however there would be a long wait as there was no one to help.
At this point our nurse with the help of my husband attempted to help get the baby to drop. Without any medical experience he became involved in retrieving medical supplies to assist and speaking on my behalf. After 2 hours of problematic delivery alone with just the nurse and my husband the doctor and a crew of nurses arrived. They said there was now no time for the C section and began using a vacuum to pull out my son.
Nothing was discussed and as he was delivered he was promptly escorted away as he was not crying (or presumably breathing). During this period of time the head nurse was screaming at me to stop yelling and crying (while I was delivering the baby). She was unbelievably rude and could be heard by family waiting in the vistors area.
After our son was born we were very quickly escorted to a new room. Medical staff came in at various points to check my son yet left me unattended (covered in blood). When our son awoke for his first feeding there were no staff available to help and we were tasked (in a sleep deprived state) to deal with it ourselves (later finding out that both nipples were damaged during this attempt).
In the mid morning (10am) we had not seen our nurse and I wanted to shower or help being cleaned. I was hooked up to IVs so we weren't able to do it alone. When I called the nurse she told me to just "do it yourself". When I asked about the IVs she responded "why are you on IVs?" At no point did she come to assist until numerous calls were made. Throughout the entire process little to no information was shared with us including discharge.
I had a pretty serious vaginal tear and started to become infected. No antibiotics were prescribed until I saw my family doctor a few days after my hospital release. She was shocked to hear no antibiotics were given to me, as my wound did not look healthy.
This experience was so traumatic, I am trying to forget this whole ordeal. Days after, the hospital attempted to charge me for the room I stayed at, after my husband spoke to them, they agreed to waive the charges as they admitted there were mistakes done throughout. My gyno suggested I make a report of the experience, however this has been the only time I have been able to talk about it again or write it out.
Understanding that I am not a doctor or a nurse, I can’t control how “professionals” do their work, so we trust them. This experience was so traumatic it has deterred me from having another child. I know this could’ve been prevented if the hospital staffed appropriately and hired competent nurses.
I do not trust the healthcare system in Canada anymore. We as a family pay over 15,000 in taxes specifically for healthcare and we have been disappointed. I felt disempowered, like an animal that was at their mercy. My son or myself were not important at all to this hospital, while I was giving birth and after.
I was in bed for 1 week straight in pain and unable to care for my child as I would’ve liked. My pelvis felt destroyed and couldn’t walk properly for months.
Emotionally, I am sad, scared and dealing with it. I see a counsellor as I still have flashbacks of the birth and anxiety of all that went wrong and could’ve gone worse. I sleep less and worry more.
My gynaecologist Dr. Dora Chan suggested I write a letter to the hospital. I honestly have been trying to erase this event from my mind and not relive the experience. However I think it’s time to do so as I would hate another mother to go through this again.
Submitted by Ana GL