A's Story - Ottawa General Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario

July 2014 - I came into the hospital and was emergency induced. That particular night they were pretty busy. I was told I should wait a couple days and come back. Yet, was sent from another hospital to be induced as my baby was no longer thriving and could stay til 40 weeks or whenever it decided to come out. I had to beg and plead for them to take me and if they wouldn’t; I would find a hospital who would! Yet the tech and hospital explained the situation before my arrival to the hospital. Off to a bad start. 

4cm in they said it’s really busy that night they suggest if I wanted the epidural to take it just in case if that was in the birthing plan. I appreciated the gesture and took their suggestion. 

My epidural didn’t work! I could control my pee completely, move both legs and swing them outside my bed. I told the nurses and they looked at me saying well that shouldn’t be possible. Nobody called to have it checked! They should’ve! I was a first time mom I had no idea I shouldn’t be able to do all those things. The staff knew I could and not one of them did something but just commented it was odd. 22hrs later and when I was ready to push. Most of the staff went on break for lunch! I told the nurse I have to push!! She said I should not feel a head there, just pressure. I said otherwise. Needless to say I was right! Again!

When I started pushing, leaning forward all the liquid from the epidural which should’ve went into my back was soaked into the pillow and bed!!! Keep in mind, I had mentioned many times it didn’t work! I should’ve never ever experienced that! Not everyone goes exactly by your college and university text books as a patient! I tore pretty badly. My baby came face up. They tried to have the baby position differently. I had no option of the peanut just their hands forcefully up me. The baby had some marks from their pressure trying to force it to flip with an anterior placenta. Hence, the bad tears they took an hour to see up and deliver the placenta. I almost went into emergency surgery as the placenta didn’t want to come out. They took my baby and handed over for a split second so they could wipe the baby then I never saw the baby for its first 2 hours. I never got to bond with my healthy baby! 

1) I never felt taken care of as I had to fight to deliver my baby (even though they were notified of what needed to be done from the hospital which found the baby not thriving via ultrasound) 

2) failed epidural (not ONE staff member tried to help they all just commented how odd and unusual the situation was)

3) nobody listened to my needs or concerns (if your epidural isn’t working of course you will know when you are having contractions and when you need to push. Saying you’re in pain when you shouldn’t be. Nor was I offered any other pain relief, gas, etc.)

4) suggested to wait to push (everyone took a break at the same time so I had to wait almost an extra hour in their time) 

5) no bonding (I never had that magical moment after a full days labour to truly appreciate my child and have the skin to skin we needed for each other)

I suffered from PPD after. I feel the experience has a role as I truly never had gotten the chance to bond with my HEALTHY BABY. I feel like my idea of a stress- and pain-free labour with the help of the epidural was ripped away from me. I understand a birth plan is just the ideal situation. But when I asked for pain relief and it didn’t work; they never offered to check out the problem or give me any other options!!!!!

I feel being a first time mom they took full total advantage of that. Acting like they knew my body more because the books and schools taught them how ideally we should react. It isn’t always accurate. I am plus sized. Maybe they didn’t factor sometimes pain medication doesn’t work the same? Especially if we have a bit thicker layers to our bodies. When placement of an epidural is key.

I did not tell them my feedback as they already knew what they’ve done wrong and did not care! They saw the soaked bed and pillows behind me of the epidural fluids. I felt what’s the point in complaining, my experience wouldn’t change. I couldn’t ever have that moment back. They could never replace the first two hours I lost. It changed me because now I explain to first time moms my experience. I tell them to fight for their rights and if their feelings matter. Don’t ever question your judgement as the person who knows your body best is YOU!

I will always share my story because I do not want others to feel alone. I want women to be able to fight for their rights and healthcare. I want other women to believe in your gut and if something feels off, believe it!
I will be having my second baby this year. Due to this experience, I am already having flash backs and am nervous to deliver again. But, I now know to be more aggressive and adamant for this baby for both our rights.

Submitted by Anonymous