October 2016 - After the loss of my first pregnancy, I found out I was expecting again and was pretty scared, but ultimately decided what will happen will happen and hopefully this will turn out well. I filled out the online form for the Uxbridge Midwives and was accepted and we booked our first appointment at 9 weeks along. My husband and I went and were pretty excited to hear about all the options for birthing with a midwife and all the information you are given. The only negative was we found the midwife we were given to be a little more professional than we would have liked, we expected a more nurturing caregiver. We knew not everything in our pregnancy journey would be perfect so we just accepted her and moved on. We spoke about how I imagined I would give birth. I seen myself in my home with my husband and doula by my side in a dimly lit bathroom going from my bath tub to my comfy nest on our couch. I seen my husband rubbing my back while I lean over our kitchen countertop.
At 27 weeks I failed the gestational diabetes test and that’s when everything started to go downhill. I was sent to a clinic with staff that lacked sensitivity and made me feel horrible at the weekly visits. After doing the diet they told me to do for two weeks my blood sugar was not getting any better. They then decided to put me on insulin and I was then told I had to have an OB doctor.
I did some research on the OB I would be seeing and most said for an OB he’s pretty good. I booked my first appointment and crammed in the tiny office with about 30 people and 10 chairs. After a long wait I finally got in the room and was barley greeted by a gigantic male obstetrician. He went through my file quickly, directed me to get on the table and lift my shirt and he checked baby’s heart beat. Then he roughly manhandled my belly, moving it around. He stopped and wrote down some things and told me to make an appointment for two weeks and left the room. I was terrified! I was considered high risk and now my baby and I are in the hands of this horrible person who was with me barely five minutes!? I left with so many questions and felt completely out of control and not cared for. I had 45 minute appointments with my midwife and even though she wasn’t wonderful I never left with unanswered questions. I felt completely cared for and safe. I felt like I just had the rug pulled out from under me.
After all of this I ended up going on pregnancy leave from my job due to stress and pain. I now knew I was not having my home birth and was terrified that interventions would be done to me know that I would have to give birth in a hospital and they would know I have GD and use that to scare me into doing what they want.
At my next diabetes clinic appointment I was told my blood sugar was still not improving. At my next OB appointment I was told my baby was getting very big and I would need to go for weekly ultrasounds until birth. This was also that because my baby is so large I will be induced early or possibly a caesarean and that I would be called with an appointment date to be induced. I was scared because I was only 36 weeks. He also informed me I have the strep B so I would need antibiotics, I told him I am allergic to most antibiotics, he ignored me. Before I was to leave he told me he wanted to check me so he made me lay on the table and without warning shoved his giant hand into me and I screamed. He yelled at me to be quiet and stay still that he couldn’t tell with me moving around and he continued to “check me” and wouldn’t give me a second. Then he irritatedly said “I think you are around 1 cm” and then he told me he will be on vacation next week so I won’t be seeing him at the hospital and he left the room. I left shaking and in tears.
The next day which was a Thursday I got a phone call that I was to be at the hospital for 8 am Friday. I was shocked and tried to call the OB's office to get a later date but he never returned any of my calls.
We went to the hospital on the Friday and I was hooked up to a monitor and checked again but by a very nice woman doctor who explained what she was going to do and it was a much better experience. She told me I was 4 cm and I didn’t need the cervidil. They then took us up to labour and delivery. I called our doula who met us upstairs.
Once in labour and delivery I gave them my birth plan and told them to please respect my wishes. I was told I needed an IV and I said no, but they told me if I was to need a C-section that if I didn’t have the IV if I started to bleed out that they would have to stick me with a very large needle and I wouldn’t like it. So I agreed to it.
I wasn’t feeling any contractions so I walked the hallways with my husband for a while and still nothing. I was then given pills to induce labor. We walked more and nothing. Several hours later around 1:00 am I was given the maximum of the pills and checked again and was still at 4 cm. I was told to get some rest and we would start something else in the morning.
The next morning I was started on IV pitocin. The contractions kept showing on the monitor but I wasn’t feeling anything. I was then started on my first dose of antibiotics, then I started to feel really funny like I was being poisoned. I felt dizzy and hot and in a fog. After the small bag emptied I could feel myself start to come back, the fog went away and I felt like myself again.
They kept upping the pitocin and still nothing. Then another dose of antibiotics and I felt terrible again. The doctor came in and said she was going to break my water to try and get things going more. She was very nice and explained what she was doing. Then the final maximum dose of pitocin was given and I then for the first time I had a really strong contraction that felt like it sucked the air straight out of my lungs. Followed by a few more. I remember my doula patted my thigh and said it’s ok breath. Everyone just sat there starring at me in the bright lights, I felt extremely alone but was surrounded by my family.
40 hours had passed since I got to the hospital and I was feeling like I was losing it. All of a sudden it was a shift change and in came a nurse it’s a large group of people I could tell they were students. I was trying to focus on breathing through these contractions that felt like I was being punched in the chest and getting the air knocked out of me. I couldn’t speak, I was so internal during that time. All I could do was shake my head. The nurse instructed a student to check me and I shook my head no a bunch of times but they checked me anyway. It was on my birth plan that I did not want any students in my room and any nonessential people were not to enter my room, period. This nurse was doing almost everything I asked not to be done. It felt like she was offended by my choice to have a birth plan. I couldn’t focus on everything she said but I remember her saying I shouldn’t have those expectations and no matter if I write it on paper I shouldn’t expect it. I was pretty hurt that the people I had in the room who had all read my birth plan didn’t have these people removed and the bulldozing nurse. As that student checked me I felt myself give in and surrender control. I felt so defeated.
I was told was was 7 cm and told that I should get an epidural in case I need a C-section and I gladly took it. I was done frighting I knew deep down this was not going to end well. I was given the epidural and I couldn’t feel the contractions anymore. The itchiness was intense.
A few minutes later I was told that the baby’s heart rate dropped a couple of times and my cervix was still there so I needed a C-section. My mother stood up and asked multiple times why and she wanted to see the blips on the monitor and they said no that I need a C-section. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever felt, I felt completely helpless and defeated and just a complete failure for letting this all happen to me.
After I was in the operating room they put up the curtain and they asked if I was ready. I couldn’t answer, they asked again. I said yes and they started cutting, they stopped and asked if I could feel it and I said yes. They said how about now and I said no. They cut again, and I said yes. I told them to just do it. It didn’t hurt but I could feel the blade of the knife cutting me my outer layer of skin. I thought I was going to die or be sick or my heart was going to explode. Then I felt tugging and they said he’s really stuck in there and I felt someone lay across my body and I couldn’t breath and I started to panic. I could then hear them say my son was born and they put him up to show but I couldn’t see him but my husband did. I couldn’t cry, I didn’t smile I was frozen in fear I felt emotionless on the outside. Then my husband left to go get my son and I started shaking uncontrollably and my arms were bending backward and I yelled could someone please help me my arms are hurting and no one came. Then a minute later I hear them say they need to get the bleeding under control and a man comes to my side and stabs me in the shoulder with a really big needle that left my arm bloody. My husband then came back holding my son completely covered in a blanket and hat with and inch of his face showing. I didn’t cry or smile I felt like I was fading. Everything was starting to go grey but I managed to stay conscious.
As they wheeled me out of the room I felt like a shell of myself wondering what the hell just happened I wanted to have this baby so badly and felt like I didn’t even have a baby. My husband brought over my baby and the nurse said to start breastfeeding but first she had to give him a shot so she gave him the shot in his leg and pushed him into my breast. He didn’t want it. He pulled away and wouldn’t open his mouth. He was so swollen and I didn’t recognize him.
As I was getting ready to leave the hospital I felt like a monster. All of the fluid they gave me made me swell up like a balloon I couldn’t even fit in any of my clothes or shoes I had brought with me.
We struggled to breastfeed for months after my son's birth. My husband and I did tube feeding and everything we could to keep him breastfeeding but we ended up calling it quits after 3 months.
I had two birth plans: one for natural birth and one for C-section. None of the things on either were followed. I didn’t feel that my requests were unreasonable and I knew not everything could happen but this was crazy.
-quiet calm environment
-Delayed cord clamping
-Husband to cut cord
-No eye ointment
-Vernix kept on
-Skin to skin with me right after birth
-Delayed routine new born tests (vk, weighing, washing, etc)
For several months afterward I felt I was less of a woman, I didn’t give birth - my baby was taken out of me. I felt like I set myself up for failure writing that birth plan and allowing the first intervention. I felt like my family had let me down by not being my voice when I needed it the most. I was so angry and sad and just defeated but somehow made it. I realize now that my family was just as scared as I was and I’m not any less of a woman because of my birth experience but it has taken me over a year to feel this way, even now I write this with tears in my eyes. When I think about my birth today, I still feel disappointed and victimized. I also have never had my family say to me that it was how I said it was they all believe it wasn’t as traumatic as I say. My husband as well has said I don’t remember things correctly. This is something I’m still trying to come to terms with.
Submitted by Holly