Kiwi's Story - Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie

I went for a stress test on August 12th, 2017 and I thought I had been having contractions on and off prior to going in. During my test I asked if I was having them and they informed me I wasn't in active labour. I went home and 2 hours later as I was trying to have a nap, contractions started 5 minutes apart so back to the hospital I went.

My OB wasn't available but the OB on duty, Dr Patel, was super nice. I was admitted to a room fairly quickly and given a hospital gown. They checked me and I was almost 2cm dilated. They asked me what I wanted to do, walk around, sit on the bed, or go in the Jacuzzi tub. I decided I would go in the jacuzzi tub so off I went and I was in there for about 2 hours.

I went back to my room and they checked me again, I was dilated enough that I could get an epidural which is what I wanted. I was informed the anesthesiologist was busy in ER and it would be a half an hour wait which upset me but I waited. 2 hours ended up going by, by the time he actually came to my room to give me the epidural and by that point I was already 8cm dilated and in so much pain. After I had received the epidural it wasn't fully working and I could still feel the contractions on my right side. 

Once I was 10cm I began the process of pushing. The nurse told me to push whenever I felt a contraction, but by this point I didn't really feel anything because the epidural was working. She decided she would administer pitocin to make the contractions stronger and more frequent. I had no idea I would feel the pain from them all over again. I began to wonder what the point of the epidural was when I was yet again in unbearable pain.

I pushed for an hour and a half and my stubborn baby just wouldn't come out. Her heart rate was rising, I was exhausted from a lack of sleep (I had 3 hours sleep since the night before, August 11th and I was into the morning of August 13th by this point), I literally had no energy left and I asked for a c section. They said it was for the best anyway because of my daughter's heart rate. 

I went for my C Section, I remember feeling them cutting me... it was not a pleasant feeling and not sure if I could have felt that or not but I dealt with it. The pressure of them with their hands inside my stomach, it was pretty painful and it seemed to have lasted forever. Finally it was over and I heard my daughter for the first time, her crying. It was an amazing moment but it felt like a lifetime before I actually was able to lay eyes on her. 

Fast forward to the room I would be staying in for the 3 nights. I requested a semi private room and luckily my whole stay there was nobody there with me until the very last day when they brought in a lady who was in labour. (I guess labour and delivery was super busy and they ran out of space?). Anyway, my stay at the hospital was HORRIBLE. There were a couple of nice nurses but the majority of them were ridiculous. My boyfriend stayed with me the whole time and he slept on one of those gravity chairs which we brought from home. Being as there wasn't anybody in the room with me, it would have been nice if he was told he could sleep in the other bed for the time being but nope, instead he was told he couldn't use the bathroom in the room and would have to go to the bathroom down the hall. 

We were told our daughter would be given a bath and we would be shown how, but a day and a half went by before one of the nurses finally bathed her. We asked over and over too and we finally had a competent nurse who stuck to her word. The other nurses would tell us they would, but never did.

We were first time parents so we relied on the nurses to guide us and show us what to do. When it came to feeding our daughter I was undecided on breastfeeding, I wanted to try it but I wouldn't be upset if it didn't work out. Breastfeeding wasn't going as planned so we were feeding her the ready to feed enfamil bottles. We didn't know how much a baby needed to eat so they would tell us to take it away after she ate 30ml. I remember every night was complete hell. She cried and cried and we had no idea why. We kept asking the nurse on duty over and over what to do, and none of them had any idea. They would take her out of the room so we could "sleep", then bring her back in maybe an hour later and she would cry all over again.

The one night I called my mom as I was having a complete breakdown, begging her to come and help us because the nurses didn't know what they were doing. I was a mess and my boyfriend was too. One of the nurses took her out of the room and brought her back 5 minutes later and said "I don't know what's wrong" so our daughter just continued to cry. We thought maybe, just maybe, she was hungry so my boyfriend started feeding her and decided not to take the bottle away (even though the nurses were SO SURE she only needed a small amount to be full) and sure enough she ate more, and WOW, NO CRYING! So after thinking we had a child who was very unhappy, it turned out the nurses were making us starve her. How were we supposed to know? Especially when they said newborns only need a few drops of colostrum to be satisfied.. just unbelievable that all of that stress could have been prevented. They were also telling us to burp her after every 5ml of formula and she would freak out every time we took the bottle away. That same nurse who took her for the 5 minutes came back after she was fed and happy and took her so we could sleep. She was a REAL LIFESAVER, taking our daughter out of the room once she was quiet and calm. 

The whole time we were there was barely got any sleep at all. Not only because our daughter kept crying but every time she was asleep and we would try to sleep, someone was coming in the room to do some test, doors were slamming in the hall, people were talking in the hall, there was ALWAYS noise. We never seemed to get any rest at all, no matter what we did. I was on a liquid diet after my c section but once I didn't have to be on it anymore, they said they would change it but still ended up bringing me the liquid diet. They even took that tray away and said they would bring me a different tray and never did. I was SO HAPPY when it was discharge day and so was my boyfriend. We couldn't wait to finally get home and get settled.

I felt like a failure as a new mom, that my daughter was crying and I didn't know how to soothe her. I was sick from lack of sleep and just a complete mess. I ended up struggling hard with Postpartum and I have a feeling my hospital experience strongly contributed to that. I was emotionally drained, didn't feel a bond with my daughter for the longest time which I felt horrible about. I felt mentally unstable and not like myself at all. I cried almost every single day and didn't think I could handle being a mom.

I was told the hospital would be calling me to ask for feedback about my stay and I was going to provide feedback that way but I never received a call. I wish I would have wrote a letter though.

Submitted by Kiwi