Nicole's Story - Kingston General Hospital, Kingston

This birth story, which is a few stories within the story, happened mid-pregnancy in January 2011. Due to extreme circumstances, my baby had no chance of survival outside of my womb and was aborted mid-pregnancy.

I'd had my previous baby at home, but due to the early birth I would need to be at the hospital this time. However, I wanted to do this naturally as possible as I had with my previous birth. Obviously they needed to give me medication to get the labour going, but for the delivery, I wanted my body to feel what it was going through – so I wanted nothing to kill the pain. However the nurse working kept coming into the room and trying to give me pain killers.

I'm not the screaming type, so I wasn't "disturbing" others, but yes I was experiencing discomfort, which to me is a normal thing in labour! But this nurse would not give up and then she started coming in to tell me in a snarky manner, that I didn't need to be a hero.

Is giving birth being a hero? Is feeling your body do what it's supposed to be doing, a hero? Perhaps it is, but to me it's not, I just wanted to be fully present for the birth of my baby and would have loved if the nurse could have just supported me and not found it necessary to cast her judgement upon me.

The next part of this story is after my baby is born and I'm lying in bed with my baby who has passed on. The male resident rushes in and is anxious that the placenta hasn't come out (my baby was just born) and before I know it, I feel like I'm being raped by this resident as he keeps shoving his hand up my vagina trying to pull the placenta out and he just keeps going and going at it, like it's him or the placenta – well we all know that the placenta won. My body shut down, no more oxytocin and the placenta decided to stay put! So now it's off to the OR.

So I'm waiting for surgery meeting the operating team and I'm getting a bad feeling about the male nurse. I can see that he is not respectful of the anesthesiologist who to me seems really nice (but also happens to be female and wearing a hijab). I recall him making a comment to me about her, I don't remember what he said, I just got a really bad feeling about him and thought it was extremely rude to talk behind his colleagues back to a patient.

Then in the OR after they have given me my anesthetic, but I wasn't out yet, I'm watching the team doing their final prep and the male nurse putting on his gloves, however he drops one and goes to put it back on. I'm thoroughly disgusted and I called him out and told him to get a fresh glove after dropping it. The rest of the team looked at him. He looked so pissed off at me.

After the operation, the obstetrician who was looking after my case came in to see me and I explained what I had gone through and he seemed to be quite concerned about it and said he would be speaking with those whom I had been in care with through the night.

I went on to have another baby that also had unsurvivable complications and delivered my third baby (second that didn't survive) at the hospital without complications and then another home birth with healthy baby.

At the hospital, I felt like I was made to feel little, like I couldn't possibly know what's right for me. As though I don't know my own body. I felt like these people have ego issues and they can't trust their patients and nature. I feel like I was raped and violated. I felt disgusted that women go through this regularly and perhaps don't speak up. Disgusted that this may be the norm. Grateful to have had two home births and see what my body can do. Grateful that we have midwives, saddened that we don't fund enough of them. Saddened that every pregnancy isn't attended by midwives. Saddened that we can't educate more woman to trust that birth is a natural bodily function and yes it can be painful, but that's okay, we are strong and we can do it. And so very grateful that if there are complications we are fortunate enough to have hospitals that specialize in complications – but most childbirth situations are not complications, they become complications with intervention.

Submitted by Nicole