J. M's Story - The Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus, Ottawa

March 2017 - I had a Midwife - she was amazing. After about 18 hrs of labour my little girls heart rate was staying elevated between contractions. My midwife spoke with me and did some things to try and bring it down. My labour slowed, I stopped dilating but that little heart rate was staying too high and I spiked a fever so she brought the OB team in for consult (she continued to respect my birth plan and explain things to me - we were doing what was best for the health and safety of me and baby and despite this turn of events I was still feeling okay) 

OB team comes in and talks about me not to me, give me 30 mins to be ready to push or c-section (my midwife helped me feel better after they left) I should also say they spoke in condescending tone to my midwife like this was her fault or she was less than them? 

So OB returns and says it’s time, gives me some info and I ask about a ‘gentle c-section’ that I had learned about in our prenatal class and she laughed at me.

After 30 hours of labour this doctor laughed at my distress that my daughter wouldn’t have skin to skin with me or be able to try to latch on her own soon after birth. Thank god for my midwife who stayed with us and took my little girl for skin-to-skin with my husband right away.

The anaesthesiologist made things worse - my epidural wasn’t working so they had to redo it. While suturing me I could feel pinching and started to panic - he told me to calm down or he’d knock me out. I did deep breathing and thought I was calming, but he drugged me anyway and in the recovery room I couldn’t hold my baby because I was afraid to drop her - not to mention I didn’t wake up for almost an hour. I can’t remeber when I first tried to feed her

Even a year later writing this my heart races and my stomach feels sick when I think of how long it took for me to hold her and feed her. She lost too much weight in the first 2 days and we supplemented and pumped to get her back up to weight - she had tongue and lip ties but all I could think was that it was my fault for missing the first feeding and bonding opportunities.

I rented a scale and obsessively weighed her before and after every feed at the boob to see how much she ate. I weighed her after a spit up. I was almost paralyzed with fear and anxiety that she was silently starving, that my c-section and extra medication was my fault.

I didn’t provide feedback, mainly due to my postpartum struggles. I plan on sending a letter after reading other stories here, I think it’s important.

Submitted by J. M