Morgan's Story - Health Sciences North, Sudbury

December 5th-7th 2017 - The first nurse I had while/after being induced was amazing and so I had this hope the rest of the nurses would be equally amazing. This was a false hope. After shift change I had a very blunt nurse. At first I appreciated her bluntness but that soon changed. 

After receiving my epidural, I felt great for about 2 hours and then the epidural wasn’t working for me. I told my nurse and she brushed me off. She told me well you’ll feel a little pain. This wasn’t a little pain, I felt the entire left side of my body while my right side was numb. They tried to keep rolling me over, from side to side and she told me the pain wasn’t that bad. *I can sit for a solid 6-8 hour tattoo and not budge, so it’s not like I have a low pain tolerance —fast forward 3 months and I’m at my friends labour and she didn’t feel anything after the epidural besides pressure. So, I did feel my contractions and that wasn’t normal. Yet my nurse brushed me off and made me feel like I was crazy.

Once I gave birth to my son, this same nurse was invading my space while I was holding my son for the first time. She started grabbing my breast and squeezing and I told her this hurts and she simply said “this is breastfeeding”. If I had been on the fence about breast feeding I would have stopped right there and bottle fed. 

Luckily I was determined and told her in a stern voice that I could handle it. Once she backed off my son latched on no problem. She was being so aggressive with both my son and my breast that he wasn’t interested until I made her back off.

While on the recovery side, I had a terrible nurse. Since I had gestational diabetes, my son needed a blood test before each feeding. I was told to ring my bell and a nurse would come do the blood sugar test and I could feed. I waited 45 minutes for my nurse to show up. After 30 minutes, I fed my son and then when she did show up she raised her voice at me because I didn’t wait for her, she needed to do her job, and I wasn’t thinking about my sons well being. I apologized and let it go because as a new mom, I didn’t want a nurse thinking I wasn’t taking care of my baby and report me to someone. I was terrified someone might take away my son.

The next feeding was fine she showed up in a timely manner. The one after that was worse. I rang the bell and waited and waited, this was the first time I heard my son cry. He was so hungry he was freaking out at this point I was crying so my husband went into the hall and told the first nurse he saw to get in the room and take our son's blood sugar so he could be fed. This amazing nurse ran to get what she needed and was back within a minute. While she was doing the test my regular nurse strolled in and said “what?”. The other nurse gave her a look and said “I’ve got it now”, my regular nurse rolled her eyes and left.

About an hour later my original nurse strolled in and looked at my son and told me I needed to swaddle him, not use blankets, he was going to smoother himself and die. I told her, with tears in my eyes, he fussed the second we swaddle him.

She grabbed my son and swaddled him up and his eyes shot open and he screamed. She said “he’s going to have to get use to it”.  At this point I didn’t care who she told and I figured her threats were empty. I shot out of bed, unwrapped my son and told her to get the F*** out of my room and never some back. I started to sob and the nurse we pulled from the hall came in to check on us and I told her what happened and she took care of us the rest of the day and then introduced us to the next nurse at shift change.

I have a very strong personality but these “bad” nurses broke me. They made me feel like if I didn’t do what they said, they were taking our son. They made me feel like an idiot and like I wasn’t fit to be a mother. I felt so insecure about being a mom that I had to get my mother to stay with my husband and I for a week because I was sure I didn’t know what I was doing and I was going to screw everything up. I’ll never forget feeling so useless, stupid and unfit. 

Now, before anyone I know gives birth I tell them to stand up to the nurses. I tell them not to listen to empty threats and I tell them to stand their ground. They know what’s best for their baby. No one else.

I feel like I was judged because of my age, 23 and mine and my husbands tattoos. We are both heavily tattooed individuals and I truly felt like that was a main factor. 

One nurse was making “small talk” and even asked about what we did and when she found out my husband was a tattoo artist she made the comment “oh you live in an apartment then?” to which I responded in a very aggressive tone “no we own our house and for your information, it’s a large home on over an acre with five bedrooms and it’s been totally renovated”. This was one of our first interactions with the nurse in recovery.

I received a comment card when I was leaving and on that comment card I wrote exactly what happened and how I felt. I was never contacted.

Submitted by Morgan