C-section

L.B.'s Story - Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario

“In the surgery room they expected me to move myself from the bed to the operating table even though I had an epidural in for the last 8 hours and couldn't move my legs. Eventually one of the students in the room told me to put my hands around her neck and she would pull me over. As she did this, unknowingly my epidural catheter shifted. I was alone and scared as my husband wasn't allowed in until they had started and I was freezing! Once they began they asked me if I could feel it and I said yes. They said is it dull or sharp and I said sharp. They asked me this question a few more times and each time I told them it was a sharp pain. I was told they are just going to start and if it's too much to let them know. At this point my husband was allowed to enter the room. I was shaking so violently on the table and just wanted to cry so badly. Feeling every cut, and tug, and tear I finally remember my son being born and hearing the first cry. After that came pain so unbearable that I was put under general anesthesia.” 

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Twin Mom's Story - Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

“After a few more attempts of pushing, it didn't seem as though she was coming down. Without warning, explanation or CONSENT he had BOTH hands in me "assisting" Twin B. I freaked out! Begging him to stop, I asked what he was doing, telling him to stop and that it was hurting so bad (I didn't get a top up, I had no epidural so I felt EVERYTHING) He was ripping me down, he used forceps and the suction twice. I only know this because I heard him say it. At one point I just physically broke. The doctor was literally yanking at what felt like my lifeless body on that table. My husband continued asking what the issue was and what was happening where he was met with silence.”

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L.G.O.'s Story - Guelph General Hospital, Guelph, Ontario

“I was very anxious that I couldn't get much milk out. I needed to feed my baby and I really wanted to do it naturally. The lactation consultant must have said something to my midwife because that evening my midwife came in and said she wanted me monitored, and that she was going to send staff in every 3 hrs to make sure I was actually going to feed him and ***THAT SHE THOUGHT I HAD BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED AS A CHILD*** based on when they were wheeling me into the OR she thought I was sucking my thumb (I was biting my first as the contractions were strong). She thought that was regressive behaviour that showed this. Seeing as I was being monitored as though I was an unfit mom, still raw from the surprise c-section, and awoken every 3 hrs anyway - I could not sleep. I know statistically that sexual abuse happens primarily among family members and all I could think, as thoughts raced through my mind instead of sleeping, was who had possibly sexually abused me? That was what my child's birth story became. I was raw with exhaustion, wired with this shocking piece of information, still very afraid and alone in terms of figuring out how to breastfeed my baby.”

”Words have huge impact around these completely life changing moments like childbirth. I would like the midwifery profession to know the extent of pain that this caused.”

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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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Alicia's Story - Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie, Ontario

“I was in tears. I was alone and scared that something was wrong. I had never felt a pain so strong and crushing before. I continued to call my nurse only to be ignored. It had been 8 hours of excruciating pain when a different nurse finally came in. She immediately ran to get my OB and within minutes I was being taken for a C-section. I was in class 3 HELLP syndrome. My liver was about to burst. I was about to die. I almost lost my life and my nurse thought it was gas.”

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Jennifer's Story - Ottawa General Hospital, Ottawa

“I had to go to the ER after a month & a half for pelvic pain. I found out I still had tissue inside, so I had to get a D&C and then get restitched up. Now things down there don’t even look right - good thing I don’t wanna be a stripper! On top of that, I’m now waiting to get my child into physio at CHEO as he has torticollis, which (I’ll be finding out but I’m assuming) is from the trauma of his birth.”

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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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K's Story - Stratford General Hospital, Stratford

"I personally feel like my emotions and concerns during one of the most life changing experiences I will ever have were completely disregarded and not taken seriously. I was petrified and confused because of conflicting things that were said and feel like I was a burden on that doctor. I feel like I wasn't taken seriously because of my age, the fact that I'm a young single mom who was having her first baby, and that I was alone without a partner while I was in labour."

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C's Story - London Health Sciences Centre, London

"Once my incision was closed the OB screamed at me!!!!!! "Don't you know what could have happened, I don't ever want to see you in this hospital again!"

I am not afraid of confrontation at all and had I not just delivered a baby after 36 hours of labour, I would have yelled back. He made me feel like I left the life of my baby to chance without a care about her well being."

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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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