Birth Trauma

G's Story - Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta

G's Story - Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta

“Everybody in the medical community acts like a c-section is no big deal and is this easy breezy thing. For me, not a single day has gone by that I am not in pain. At my incision site, it feels like a knife point is pressing in. On days I exercise, the knife digs deeper. Other days it lets up but is never less than a 4 out of 10. There are certain types of pants I can't wear anymore. I get debilitating back pain that wraps around directly to my scar. My hips tighten with shooting pain directly to my scar. During my period, the pain is unbearable. Before I was pregnant, I was running 10-15 km. I still ran 5km until I was 20 weeks pregnant. Now, I can't run 1km without the knife blade digging in. I run anyway but it's definitely more challenging pushing myself through the pain. I've gone to physio and done the exercises, stretches, dry needling, scar tissue massage and nothing has been able to offer any kind of relief so I carry on and just deal with it. I would like to have another child but the thought is terrifying. What if they don't believe me again and I get to feel the doctor slicing and pulling? If I do have another, I will try to get a midwife although the waiting lists are long. If I'm to be stuck with a doctor again, I've decided against all interventions. No cervical checks, membrane sweep, induction, labour augmentation or epidural.”


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T's Story - Peace Arch Hospital, White Rock, British Columbia

"I cannot rationalize the way I was treated, and as a health care provider myself it just erodes me to know this goes on day in and day out.

I had a sexual abuse history, but I find it absolutely absurd that you have to share that with people, just to get treated with more empathetic care in Obstetrics. All women should be assumed to have a trauma history given the statistics. And all women should be treated with empathy and compassion regardless of their abuse history. Also sorry, not sorry, not going to share that with someone just because you’re a health care provider, it's called building a therapeutic relationship. If you are asking me whether I've been sexually abused as a checklist, just like when my last menstrual period was, you probably aren't going to get an honest answer. I have been through significant gynaecological issues prior to childbirth and never felt traumatized by any procedure, despite my abuse history.”

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Terri's Story - Sault Ste Marie General Hospital, Sault Ste Marie

“Operation starts, I feel a lot of pulling and shaking the table. They were talking amongst themselves about vacations and sports, never said one word to me. Showed me the baby briefly, before whisking him off to NICU because he was 4 lbs. Then they sewed me up. The doctor and anaesthetist left the room laughing and said, ‘See you next year. You'll be back again.’"

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Melissa's Story - St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

“I was 28 years old, having my first baby so I did not know what to expect. I thought the care I received was the standard of care for everyone. It wasn’t until I had my daughter 11 months later with a different doctor & nurse that I realized how much of an impact they had on my first childbirth experience. I can’t help but think that if I was treated with respect & care I wouldn’t have had such bad postpartum depression.”

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Catherine's Story - Montfort Hospital, Ottawa

"The nurse gave me an internal exam which confirmed the location of the baby. A doctor then gave me the same exam to reconfirm the location of the baby. Then, a third doctor gave me the same exam yet again, this time without requesting my consent. She was examining me for what seemed like a long time, even joking around with her colleagues while inside of me. I was getting more and more anxious, knowing that this was increasing the risk of infection."

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M's Story - Sudbury Memorial Hospital, Sudbury

"It's been nearly nine years since the birth of my daughter, and although I've moved on from the birth experience I had, listening to the traumatic birth stories of others has made me want to share my own. I really hope that doctors and hospitals end up reading these stories to improve the care that they give to women giving birth in the future."

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K.M.'s Story - Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie

"I woke up from my c-section to be told that I had a boy. They would not answer me as to where he was or if he was okay. I asked at least 3 times. It wasn't until I asked if he was alive that they answered that he was okay"


"My records showed that the doctor had performed a cervix check prior to waking me up to announce me needing a c-section. I have no memory of this cervix check. I was asleep, He apparently requested consent from me while I was asleep."

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

"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."

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Nicole's Story - Kingston General Hospital, Kingston

"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."

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