HJL's Story - Markham Stouffville Hospital, Markham, Ontario

Late 2016 - My pregnancy was a high risk pregnancy, I was on bed rest for a long part of the pregnancy. My OB has a horrible bedside manner, scheduled me for a C-section on week 39, though we all knew I would likely not make it until then. Of course, I didn’t make it, thank God I insisted on the steroids, so I went into labor. When I got to Markham Stouffville Hospital the nurse that evening was awful. I was squeezing my husband’s hand very hard and she scolded me for doing so, telling me I was going to hurt him. He advised her he was fine and she still scolded me. My pain was unbearable as I back labor as well.

She was getting mad that I was not able to stay still (my contractions at this point were every minute). She scolded me for having eaten and said I would now have to wait for my C-section (keeping in mind I wasn’t due for several weeks so I didn’t think I could not eat dinner). I then finally got taken to the surgical area. The anesthesiologist was very nice. He heard the nurse scolding me for moving during my contraction and told her rather than scolding me perhaps he should wait for the contraction to pass and then administer the epidural. They didn’t allow my husband into the room, I kept asking for him, the anesthesiologist advised them nothing is going to happen without my husband in the room and to find him (they’d wheeled me in without his knowledge, they wanted him to fill out forms, and he was not even told). The OB came. They completed the C-section noting had I waited any longer my uterus would have ruptured. They then asked me while I was open if I wanted my tubes tied, frankly I think that’s something that should be discussed prior to being on the surgical table. I declined as I hadn’t thought much of it. They brought my husband over to cut the cord, they didn’t cover me, so both he and I saw my open mid section, me by the mirror above head and him walking past me. I had this view the entire C-section. 

My aftercare was also awful. No help with breastfeeding. Pushing bottles and formula on me and the baby. What an all around awful experience. Just grateful baby made it and we don’t have to go there ever again.

In the moment I believe it really led me to feel very low about myself. Like I was weak. I continue to feel that way but continue to work on it, reminding myself, it was me that carried my baby and she made it.
When I think back on it now, I still feel so very upset. While I was in there I saw them treating another woman who was crying with contractions in the same manner, and I think how awful. My experience with my other child at a different hospital was so entirely different. The labour nurses, of all the nurses, should show more compassion and be more reassuring.

I feel it may have had to do with my race, but I cannot really be sure. I never did provide feedback, though I thought of it. I was just so grateful to have my baby

Submitted by HJL