A's Story - Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

“In the zombie state I was in, the anesthesiologist was the most compassionate person. The fellow announced I was at 10 cm and needed to push. I have no idea how not too long ago, I was barely dilated and now suddenly ready to push. The nurse told me I couldn't have my husband hold my leg. She told me I had to do it myself even though I could barely feel them due to the anesthesia and my state of mind.”

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L.B.'s Story - Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario

“In the surgery room they expected me to move myself from the bed to the operating table even though I had an epidural in for the last 8 hours and couldn't move my legs. Eventually one of the students in the room told me to put my hands around her neck and she would pull me over. As she did this, unknowingly my epidural catheter shifted. I was alone and scared as my husband wasn't allowed in until they had started and I was freezing! Once they began they asked me if I could feel it and I said yes. They said is it dull or sharp and I said sharp. They asked me this question a few more times and each time I told them it was a sharp pain. I was told they are just going to start and if it's too much to let them know. At this point my husband was allowed to enter the room. I was shaking so violently on the table and just wanted to cry so badly. Feeling every cut, and tug, and tear I finally remember my son being born and hearing the first cry. After that came pain so unbearable that I was put under general anesthesia.” 

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Maddison's Story - Winnipeg, Manitoba

“The ultrasound tech told me that my pregnancy was ectopic and I needed surgery. She left me sobbing and alone in the BROOM CLOSET, while she went to call the Doctor.

I now suffer from PTSD from the whole experience and have problems going to the Doctor or hospital. I never spoke up about what happened to me to anyone but I should have.“

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Lisa's Story - Clarence-Rockland Family Health Team, Rockland, Ontario

“We went to emergency where finally I was taken seriously and finally someone would listen to me! I was seen immediately, given an ultrasound and they discovered that the fetus was still inside and was causing an infection, they were worried about me going septic. They immediately scheduled me for a D&C and were curious as to what happened. Why was I in the emergency room more than a month after my miscarriage with the fetus still inside? Why had I not been scheduled for a D&C? So I told them this story. They were horrified! Absolutely horrified! And told me that I should file a complaint so that nobody else has to go through what I did. I was referred to an amazing OB who didn't tell me until I became pregnant again that he was worried this would cause infertility. I am so lucky that it didn't.”

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A's Story - Ottawa General Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario

“It changed me because now I explain to first time moms my experience. I tell them to fight for their rights and if their feelings matter. Don’t ever question your judgement as the person who knows your body best is YOU! I will always share my story because I do not want others to feel alone. I want women to be able to fight for their rights and healthcare. I want other women to believe in your gut and if something feels off, believe it! I will be having my second baby this year. Due to this experience, I am already having flash backs and am nervous to deliver again. But, I now know to be more aggressive and adamant for this baby for both our rights.“

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Margaux's Story - Flashbacks to South Africa, 1985

“I allowed the medical students and midwifery students to watch my birth - they were respectful and asked permission. I felt it was important for them to witness an active birth with respectful attendants. I also had a birth plan, so when the bossy nurse in charge of the Labour and Delivery unit popped her head in and started telling me to be quiet and breathe properly when I was grunting through intense contractions, she was politely asked to leave by my OB/Gyn who told her this was the way I wanted to do it.”

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S's Story - Calgary, Alberta

“After the massage he'd removed the needles, paused and lifted the towel himself and commented on the tattoo. Recently I realized there's malpractice laws against this and informed the Canadian Acupuncture Association, but did not get a response. I also made a google review online about my experience to warn others and received two long fiesty messages back from him, demanding I come down and give an explanation because it wasn't true and that I didn't say thank-you.“

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Twin Mom's Story - Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

“After a few more attempts of pushing, it didn't seem as though she was coming down. Without warning, explanation or CONSENT he had BOTH hands in me "assisting" Twin B. I freaked out! Begging him to stop, I asked what he was doing, telling him to stop and that it was hurting so bad (I didn't get a top up, I had no epidural so I felt EVERYTHING) He was ripping me down, he used forceps and the suction twice. I only know this because I heard him say it. At one point I just physically broke. The doctor was literally yanking at what felt like my lifeless body on that table. My husband continued asking what the issue was and what was happening where he was met with silence.”

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Remain Calm - St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Remain Calm - St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

“Modern obstetrics is rife with condescension, medical paternalism, and misogyny. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's not. Take these examples pulled directly from the website of a well-regarded downtown teaching hospital in Toronto, Ontario:

’Remaining in control of yourself and your fear is the one major way for you to help your labour along. Let the doctors worry about any abnormalities and, if none have so far been discussed with you, rely on their care for you and your baby. You are there to breathe and cope and push the baby out when the time comes.’”

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C's Story - Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, Orillia, Ontario

“without explanation of any risks or reasons, she announced that she was going to break my water and proceeded to aggressively enter my vagina with an amnio hook. This was not a treatment I had been previously informed about or had given consent to. With much force, she repeatedly hooked and pulled, saying that it was very hard to break my amniotic sac. At one point, she pulled the hook out, said she wasn’t sure she had broken my water and I braced as she went back in to keep trying. She was aggressive, determined and didn’t care that I was extremely uncomfortable and confused. After she was finished I had a lot of bleeding. I was then given a pad to wear for that bleeding and was left with my midwife for further care. After giving birth to my daughter, we saw that she had three deep gouges out of her scalp. One of the gouges was right on the edge of her soft spot. It became clear that the bleeding I was having prior was not my own blood but was from the head of my unborn child.”

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