A's Story - Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

2019 - I had a very high risk pregnancy after 10 years of miscarriages. Had a planned induction due to health issues. My doctor informed me that she would be out during the induction but told me I am in good hands. It took three tries to break my water - first the resident, then the fellow, then the on-call doctor. It is a teaching hospital but some compassion would be nice! I am a human carrying another human.

The nurse I had for 12 hours was horrible. She spoke to me like I was a child, and almost berated me a few times when I couldn't pull myself (I somehow kept sliding down the bed due to how the bed's head was elevated) up due to not being able to feel my legs from the epidural. I tried to hold my husband's hand during the process and she scolded me and told my husband not to hold my hand. Also told me that holding his hand will hurt him. 

About 12 hours into labour, I started screaming as I felt my baby was stuck. The epidural had stopped working. The fellow checked me and informed I was not dilated and therefore had to continue as usual. I told him something was wrong and begged them to do something. They called the anesthesiologist who pumped more epidural and then lidocaine into me. I begged as the pain was unbearable, but now I was delirious. Lost my ability to speak for a good while and my speech came out slurred. I heard the nurse telling the fellow that I was "conked out". Inappropriate language.

In the zombie state I was in, the anesthesiologist was the most compassionate person. The fellow announced I was at 10 cm and needed to push. I have no idea how not too long ago, I was barely dilated and now suddenly ready to push. The nurse told me I couldn't have my husband hold my leg. She told me I had to do it myself even though I could barely feel them due to the anesthesia and my state of mind. So I held my own legs that felt like tree trunks and pushed and pushed. I had minimal luck and finally asked for some form of intervention. My daughter was delivered by forceps which took all of 5 minutes and one push but I couldn't hold her because I was tremoring from all the meds.

My baby had bruising on her nose, eye lids and also subconjunctival hemorrhage from being stuck. These were confirmed by our community paediatrician four days post-birth. To top it all off, my hospital notes said "poor maternal effort" signed by a family medicine resident who I don't even recall meeting! Working in health care myself as a professional, I was truly horrified by the whole experience.

I never want to give birth again after this experience. I am petrified about if my child would have ended up with a condition like cerebral palsy if she was stuck longer. I hate it they labelled me as a case of "poor maternal effort" in my notes.

I didn't provide feedback due to time constraints.

Submitted by Anonymous