Sarah's motherhood story - My hurtful hospital experience during pregnancy and birth
I wouldn’t say that I had a particularly bad pregnancy or a bad birthing experience BUT I definitely did not have the happiest of hospital experiences. Throughout my pregnancy it just felt as though I was constantly meeting with people who had no time for me, didn’t really know what they were on about or they were just plain rude. Here are just some of the incidents leading up to the main event...
At 5 weeks preggo I rushed to the Emergency Department (ED) with some bleeding. I know this is quite common and but didn’t know it at the time and was freaking out. After waiting in ED for 6 hours thinking I was losing my baby, the doctor finally saw us and basically treated my husband and I as though we were wasting her time and stupid for being there and avoided answering our questions.
Thankfully everything was fine but had a 5 hour wait in ED the next day just to get our ultrasound results. ‘It is the emergency ward’ I hear you say. Well the wait wasn’t due to other emergencies, but a miscommunication about how our results were being transferred from one level to another and we ended up waiting an extra 2 hours than necessary. It was a stressful first experience to say the least.
Next begins the conflicting information.
First there was the obstetrician who told me I no longer needed to take any vitamins once I’d hit 20 weeks. Then there was the doctor who was outraged at that information. Secondly I was told I would need the Anti-D injection due to my blood type. Then told I didn’t need it. Then I did. And then I didn’t again.
Lastly there were the differing opinions regarding pre-eclampsia. My Mum had severe pre-eclampsia with me and almost died as it was detected way too late. Some midwives said that had no effect on me, others told me I should be vigilant because of my family history.
It was really stressful not to know one way or another about these things.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I attended the ED again due to high blood pressure and swollen ankles and feet. The doctor directed me to attend the fetal monitoring unit due to my family history. I was pretty hesitant to attend as I’d had a bad experience with them previously and surprise, surprise - the midwife who attended to me was so rude.
This lady actually laughed at me and shook her head saying that my mother's history had nothing to do with me and she didn't even know why I'd been referred. She honestly made me feel stupid and like I was wasting her time. While I was lying there being monitored I could see and hear her telling other midwives why I was there in such a way that indicated I shouldn't be. I was so upset and left in tears!
I was booked in for a c-section as I had a breech baby and when the day arrived, the midwife and all the team involved were fantastic. I couldn't have been more happy with how at ease everyone made me feel and how smoothly the whole surgery went.
It wasn't such a great experience afterwards though.
My son, Kye, had fluid in his lungs and was taken to Special Care for monitoring before I’d even been stitched up. He then had low blood sugar as he hadn’t fed so was kept in there even longer for further monitoring. As I had high blood pressure, I was told I couldn’t be wheeled past him on my way to my room as they didn’t want any complications with me. So I lay in my hospital room hours without seeing my son.
Every time my husband left me to go visit Kye or to feed him I would yell after him to take a photo and then just lay there feeling so lonely until he came back. My husband convinced one of the midwives to bring Kye up so I could finally see him and hold him. I absolutely balled my eyes out when he was brought up to my room. It was such an emotional experience.
Unfortunately I had to give him back after only 15 minutes as even though he was ready to be released hours earlier, there was no one available to transfer him to the main ward. It was another 4 hours until Kye was moved into my room. For a hospital that has very one sided views on breastfeeding and is focused on mother/child bonding, I honestly didn't think that 'not having time to do a transfer' was a good enough excuse as to why I had waited so long to see and be with my baby. I missed out on bonding time the opportunity to breastfeed him on that first day basically because someone was too lazy to sign paperwork and have him transferred to my room.
It might sound dramatic, but I cried for a couple of weeks afterwards because I felt so upset that I had missed out on that whole first day with him for pretty much no reason and that other people (family members) got to hold and be with my child before me.
It didn't end there though.
No one on the ward had the time to show me how to breastfeed. So I gave it a shot myself as my baby was hungry and crying for food the next morning. After a few days of breastfeeding, my nipples were shredded apart and bleeding. It made for a very painful experience and it was too hard for me to breastfeed in public - one I never wish to repeat again. Almost 18 months later we found out that he has a very prominent lip tie that should have been picked up by the midwife at the hospital or at least my first appointments that would have contributed to my breastfeeding issues.
I was actually yelled at by a midwife on my second day in hospital for letting a friends young child use my toilet and spoken to like crap when I had asked to see the paediatrician to make enquiries of feeding my son as they had initially mixed formula with colostrum while he was in Special Care. My husband was appalled and as soon as she left I cried - I just couldn't believe that my bad experience continued after having my baby.
It got to the point where I'd had enough of being treated so rudely that I checked myself out of the hospital early.
I know I’m extremely lucky to have a beautiful, healthy little man and that there was nothing more serious throughout my pregnancy journey. And it’s quite hard to describe in writing how people spoke and their tone of voice but I will never forget the way I was made to feel and the negative way it affected my time being pregnant and immediately afterwards.
I’m very organised (bit of a control freak), obsessed with romance novels, love Netflix, play dates and browsing the net for new clothes that I never end up adding to my cart.
Children: One (Kye – 17 months)
Motherhood in 5 words: Toughest gig but very rewarding.
Fav family friendly place: Don’t actually have a fav spot as yet. Open to suggestions!
Coffee order: Not a coffee drinker at all. More of a peppermint tea or soda and fresh lime kinda girl.
Biz: Cheeky K
Stylish, modern baby accessories (bibs, swaddles, bows, teethers, etc).