I had my first child at St. Joe's in 2012. I loved being pregnant and wasn't expecting to have the traumatic experience of labour that I had.
I was in labour for 23.5 hrs.... Long and active labour. Initially the labour was going well, but the baby was stuck when I was 7 cm dilated. This lasted for hours.
I eventually ended up in hospital. I was in so much pain and was exhausted. I requested an epidural, but was reminded that it wasn't part of my birth plan, so I didn't end up having one.
When it came time to push, I pushed, but was told to stop because one of the midwives was unavailable.... Probably with another patient. I could NOT stop pushing.
The baby came out quickly, the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck. He was placed on me, completely blue and silent. I asked what was wrong with my baby, why wasn't he crying, what was happening.... No answer.
He was taken off of me and several doctors and nurses rushed in. They used paddles and chest compressions and then I heard his cry. This was so, so traumatic.
A couple of weeks later, the wonderful and experienced doula I had, informed me that during the birth she noticed that the midwife had not checked for the cord when I was about to push, which I later found out is standard practice. Since then, I have had so many questions about whether those moments without oxygen will affect my child for the rest of his life.
I also had a very difficult time in the first year because I kept thinking about the birth, that maybe it was my fault that the cord was wrapped around his neck because the midwife wanted me to stop pushing and I didn't, because she didn't check for the cord and worry about my child's future.
A few months after my son was born, I spoke to my family doctor (also at St. Joe's) about my feelings and told her I had concerns about possibly having postpartum and she told me that I didn't have it because I did not have feelings of wanting to harm my child.
I knew this was just wrong because I work in mental health. I felt very dismissed and unheard. I think it would have been helpful if she asked about the birth of my child, maybe she would have realized it was trauma I was experiencing.
Fast forward to birth # 2 (2016), also at St. Joe's. I laboured at home and gave birth at St. Joe's. The trauma was still there. When we arrived at the hospital I was paralyzed in the doorway of the hospital. I was full on in labour, but it took all the encouragement in the world to get me to move into the hospital into a room. I was so fearful that the same thing was going to happen again.
With a lot of patience, respect and inquiry on my midwives part, I was able to process my feelings and ended up having a wonderful labour experience.
Thank you so much for letting me tell my story to you. It feels good to talk about it, even though I still get emotional.
Submitted by LNH