October 6, 2011 at 10:10 am 11 comments

I don’t want this post to be a mish-mash, but unfortunately that’s what it may come down to.  I’ve spent too long wanting to do this post and just avoiding it altogether, simply because I couldn’t get my thoughts in check, and because honestly?  I thought I was being ridiculous and silly and over-reacting in a sense.  I am going to stop myself right there and not excuse any feelings, because I hate when other people do that in themselves!  Bottom line, if we think something matters, if we are bothered by something, then, it matters. 

I’ve posted the boy’s birth story with promises to myself to do another birth story from more of an analytical point of view.  I still haven’t done that, but this is a start.  Basically, in a nut shell, I was induced and (shockingly or not, depending on who you talk to) had an incredible birth experience for the most part.  I was induced with Cervadil (a cervical ripening agent) and then received Sintocinon (synthetic oxytocin).  I also had an Epidural, and while I loved it at the time, an Epidural or any medicated pain-relief would not be my first choice next go.  Considering how inductions can and often do go, I think that we were blessed, and lucky.  The boy and I were healthy throughout labouring, and the delivery pretty well went off without a fly.  My boy was born healthy as can be, and I was ecstatic.  After I gave birth, I became immersed in a world of birth, the online natural birth communities, reading about how awful and terrible interventions and pain-relief drugs can be, and how they can affect bonding and breastfeeding and the birth experience as a whole.  As much as I appreciated the information, and still do so much, I hated how I often felt like garbage after reading them.  Was it so shameful that I was induced?  I felt like I had to justify it.  I still sometimes do.  While I wish I would have been armed with more education, information, research so as to possibly avoid an induction (though high blood pressure can be SO damaging to mama and baby and I do think inductions can be medically necessary), the reality is, I was induced.  So sue me?  Except, not.

I’ve read far too much ‘all or nothing’ sentiments, but I’ve also read a lot of good, supportive information from strong communities.  However, it’s the all or nothing that gets me.  I despise how women are nearly made to feel bad if they had a good relationship with their doctor, or heaven forbid, liked their doctor.  But doctors are evil, money-hounds!  Truth is, I liked (and still like) our family doctor.  How dare I like someone who recommended an induction, I know.  The mere thought is paralyzing to some.  I don’t feel like she recommended an induction with her interests at stake (financially or convenience).  I felt supported by her, and honestly, when she came to the hospital the day I was in labour (she came 3 times I do believe), I felt calmed by her presence.   She was and still is a great support.  She spent an hour with us at our appointments, not in and out in 15 minutes.  If, for our next baby, the home birth/midwife route doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I would feel 100% confident having our doctor at the birth.  Confession: while I ‘interviewed’ her prior to deciding on her as our caregiver, there are more questions I would want to ask.  Things I’d want to clarify, and to have a good strong birth plan in place.

I think as women we need to choose our caregivers carefully.  We need to ensure that our doctor’s or midwife’s philosophy of birth matches our own, and that we will be able to feel comfortable and supported during such an extremely transformative experience.   There are great midwives and awful midwives and there are wonderful doctors and absolutely terrible doctors.  One size does not fit all, and families need to go with their gut.  What feels right?  What feels good?  Do you want to ditch the doc and find a good strong midwife, maybe birth your baby at home, maybe not?  Great, do that.  Are you fine with having your baby in a hospital attended by your doctor, not so cool with the midwife-route?  That’s fine too.  Do you feel comfortable having an unassisted birth in the comforts of your home, with only your spouse, your children, and possibly a friend or two as support?  So awesome and I support you 100%.

So, that was totally an aside, and what I meant to right about was the emotional pain that I experienced during our post-birth experience.   Like I said, I put it off for so long, because I couldn’t formulate the thoughts or the words.  I felt for so long that I was worked up about something that didn’t matter.  Sometimes I really need people to flip a new perspective on things for me so that I can give myself permission to feel and to heal.  Is that healthy, no, not necessarily all the time, but in this case, it’s what I needed and so I’m allowing myself that.

When I had the boy, after an hour of pushing, he popped out and I’m not really exaggerating.  None of this head, shoulders, rest of the body biz.  He flew out in one push, which I think is largely attributed to a) epidural and reducing sensation resulting in me not ‘going with the flow’ in terms of pushing b) strong contraction + strong push also connected to not necessarily knowing how strong I was pushing.  So needless to say, my perineum wasn’t in the best of shape.  I remember after I gave birth, I didn’t want to put my legs down.  It. hurt. so. bad.  I knew that that the on-call OB/GYN was going to be attending for ‘repairs’ (it was a partial 3rd degree tear, so our doctor referred to the OB) and the mere thought of getting ‘comfortable’ and then having to sprawl out again when the OB got there, was enough to send me packin’.  I think I eventually put my legs down, though, because it took I think 30-45 minutes for the OB to actually get there and start stitching.  I received my hospital health records a couple weeks ago, and it surprised me how long it took for them to get there, but how little time it actually took to do the repairs – 15 minutes, yet it felt like an hour at LEAST.

The main part I wanted to talk about, was not necessarily the tearing or the repairs and healing themselves.  I’ve talked about that, but I wanted to talk about the OB’s words and how they stung.  I am doing everything I can to hold myself back from apologizing for feeling what I’m feeling.  One side of my brain + heart is telling me to just get it out there, talk about it, recognize how it hurt you, and proceed to heal.  The other side is telling me to woman up, suck it up, stop making a big deal out of it, and get on with your life.  It’s ridiculous really.  It’s not holding me back from living my life, but it is something that bothers me, that makes me shudder.  One thing that does bother me about blogging about it, is that taken out of context, I don’t think the feeling, the harshness, is quite there.  And I guess I just have to be okay with that, because that is part of what this (blogging) is about.

When I was getting stitched up, it was very painful.  It is the part I remember the most (in terms of pain) about the experience.  I would have thought because I had an epidural, that it would have been a bit more numbed up, but it just wasn’t.  And so it hurt.  A lot.  I was in visible pain, squirming, but trying to stay still so they could do their thing.  It was the OB and a resident, and I believe it was the resident who did most of the repairs, with the OB pitching in here and there.  I asked how much longer, and the OB said it will be awhile.  A little bit after that, I asked him “Are you almost done?”  and his reply, the words that stung, that sting, and that took all of the power he had and threw it against me, “Do you want me to fix you up or not?”  

It’s the control thing.  The power.  He took all the power he had, as a man in authority, in power, in ‘good standing’ in the college of medicine or what have you, and used it against me.  His words bit me ,they cut a knife through the vulnerable state I was in, and they hurt my heart and they ached my soul.  A couple weeks ago I was talking to Kyle about this experience, and he put that into perspective.  I wondered for a long time why they bothered me.  I knew they were insensitive and rude, disrespectful comments to make, but to still sting 11 months later?   Last night, a dear friend and I were reminiscing about our birth experiences, and she put it into perspective again for me, as she tends to do with a lot of things, and said that while she didn’t want to assume anything, she saw his comment, his treatment of me, as emotional abuse.   I asked Kyle why he didn’t say anything, why he didn’t stand up for me, when the OB was being so completely awful.  He barely remembers the OB and that moment – his main priority at that moment was his newborn baby, whom he was so over the moon with, and supporting me, in the various stages of post-partum pain.

I’ve thought about doing a complaint about this man’s treatment towards me.  I haven’t taken any steps, and honestly, I don’t know what I would need to do, but I’m still considering it.  Why is it okay to let him make other women feel like this?  Like I said, language, words, are powerful.  I really think some caregivers ought to learn some sensitivity, empathy, and plain and simple caring for the human spirit.  Compassion isn’t that difficult to embrace is it?

I am an emotional being, and I have softened up a lot since I had the boy.  I was pretty soft before.  I’ve always been a sensitive soul, but toss in pregnancy, birthing, and being a mother into that mix and wow.  Wow.  Shit stings, you know?  I’ve spent many a year, many a decade, ignoring my feelings and truckin’ on for the sake of others, and even myself.  Easier to put a smile on sometimes, isn’t it?  I’m sure we all know about that.  I think sometimes people see me as some sort of weird pillar of strength.  I am strong, and really, it’s because I have so much strength in my life.  Family, friends, resources, things.  I have great influencers of strength, strong support networks, and people that encourage me in any way possible.  I have ‘stuff’ too.  And sometimes?  That stuff gets shoved under other stuff, and then it never comes out.  Or if it does, it manifests in ways that are maybe not as healthy as say, letting that stuff out.



Entry filed under: Birth, Mamabear, Post-Partum Party. Tags: , , , , , , .

I <3 Autumn. Comfort.

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Trista's mom  |  October 6, 2011 at 10:19 am

    He was a terrible terrible man, I won’t say doctor because maybe he did know his stuff but as a person he was the worst and I could hardly stay in that room while he was so rude and disrespectful. I am sure you were not even froze enough or you would not have been in such pain. I would write a letter to him and on the website where you rate md’s……that was the worst post partum experience with a doctor I have ever heard and I was right there and had to witness this !!!!!!!!!

    • 2. tristadawn  |  October 7, 2011 at 11:26 am

      yes he was terrible. someone really ought to tell him how much words can hurt. that “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” bullshit is the worst thing I’ve ever heard!

  • 3. Jennifer Rue McLellan  |  October 6, 2011 at 11:06 am

    You have every right to feel all that you’ve felt and continue to feel. That doctor violated your dignity while you were in a very vulnerable situation. His comment was unethical. As for how to move forward, I’m sure writing this blog post helped. I would encourage you to write a letter to that doctor or even the ethics board of the hospital where you delivered your son. Even if you don’t send it – the act of writing it will be therapeutic. If it continues to eat away at you then maybe it would be beneficial for you to speak with a professional about how you’re feeling. You don’t deserve the cruelty of one ignorant man to dominate your thoughts or soul for this long. That experience has left a dark mark on the beautiful birth experience you had. Sending healing thoughts your way!

    • 4. tristadawn  |  October 7, 2011 at 11:26 am

      thank you Jen. I really appreciate your support and your kind words. xo

  • 5. Elizabeth  |  October 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that experience (the doctor’s comment) right after going through the most beautiful experience in life (birthing your child). What a totally mean a-hole that doctor was.

    It’s so interesting you blogged about this just now, seriously last night I was talking to James about how I’m *almost* more nervous about being stitched up after the birthing part than I am about the labour! I know I won’t feel that way when I’m IN labour…but…I really remember the stitching up part being sooooo painful, beyond what I could have imagined. It felt like it took forever for me too, and it couldn’t have been more than 10-15 mins. Since I didn’t have an epidural the midwife used 4 needles to ‘numb’ the area – 4 horrible needles that hurt going in…and then it was NOT numb AT ALL because I felt the giant horrible hook needle going in during the stitching and I thought I would die! So I completely feel your pain on that part of it!

    But the words the doctor used, honestly when I read it in your post I felt the sting of the words and I was only hearing them secondarily. So it makes sense you are still hurt by them. I would be too, possibly and probably forever, just because that’s how I am and I think that’s how you are too! I remember in my experience, luckily it was my midwife who did the stitching so I knew her and was comfortable with her, but I was asking, ‘How much longer?!’ and ‘Almost done???!!!!’ because it was killing me, and she would reply with something, but usually with a short little laugh to try to make light of it somehow. She wasn’t short with me about it, but it totally could have gone that route, and I would have taken something entirely different from that moment if it had. So I’m sorry you had to have it the way you did, because you’d already been through so much and you’re on the biggest high of your life, that doctor should not have brought you down even for a second.

    Even if you were to just write an anonymous letter to the hospital about it, I think it’s a really great idea that you put it out there – and maybe it is a message they could pass along to ALL the doctors at the hospital so hopefully it wouldn’t ever happen to another woman there. Because it’s NOT ok that he did that, and there’s really no excuse for it. You were in pain and he made you feel bad for that…and yet he’s supposed to be a ‘doctor’?! There’s something seriously wrong there.

    Anyway, it’s good to just get those things out there – and know that you have every right to feel the way you do. What a jerk… I’d like to see him ripped open down thar and see how he enjoys being stitched back up…

    XOXOXO to you =)

    • 6. tristadawn  |  October 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

      thanks Elizabeth for your kind words and empathy!
      everyone seems to think a letter is a good idea, and I’m thinking so too.
      I also think it would be very healing.
      I hear ya – the repairing of the tear was by far the worst part, and I had an epidural! crazyness! sorry yours was so painful too :(

  • 7. Cristin  |  October 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    It made tears come to my eyes. You touched on the most important thing in this post: we are vulnerable in that position. We all think of what we could have said as the months go on, but at that moment we are perhaps more vulnerable than we’ve ever been, or can remember being.

    I just watched my video from Ella’s birth (October 4th) and Derek has the camera on our new, beautiful girl and I can hear my very compassionate doctor in the background as she is stitching me up, asking me if I am ok.

    I wonder how strong that doctor would feel if you put him up in stirrups, shone a light on his bare….parts, and filled the room with strangers and then proceeded to do minor surgery on a very sensitive area if his body. Might change his perspective a bit.

    We are lacking such a key element of care in our system, and while it is not from everyone, it does happen far too often. I am so sorry this happened to you.

    • 8. tristadawn  |  October 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Cristin thanks so much for your reply. if I ever had to come across this OB ever again I would flat out refuse. no way is he going to take anymore power.
      my *actual* doc was good too. asking me if I was ok, etc. who is your doc?
      I agree – there is an element of care, that is SO critical, that is too often missing.

  • 9. Danielle  |  October 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    That Doctor was so not cool. I can be super sensitive to the way people say things and what they say, so I definitely would have reacted the same way as you did. I want to go back in time and bitch slap him for you. He was so beyond rude.

    The stitching up. I forgot about that. My Mom had a bad experience where they stitched her up wrong and so she had to go back and have it re done. Sweet Jesus I don’t know how she did it. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and I’m not so worried about the contractions, labour, or delivery, what I am most scared of is the tearing and stitching :(

    • 10. tristadawn  |  October 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

      words and language are SO powerful. I was goin to say, it’s crazy, but it’s not. like I said in a previous comment on this post, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” is SUCH garbage. such bull shit, and the meanest cruelest thing ever!

      as for the stitching up, yeah, it was the most brutal part, but… I survived! :) I had a bad experience too where after 3 months and things still weren’t completely healed, I had to go in and get a piece of tissue cut off. it wasn’t HORRIBLE but the thoughts that evaded my mind for 3 months while I wondered if I’d have to go and get surgery or something, were. all in all, it doesn’t deter me from havin’ another babe that’s for sure. there are a lot of things you can do to try and prevent tearing, but unfortunately they aren’t encouraged in the medical field as often as they should be! Not saying they never are, but not as often. xo

  • 11. Tara  |  October 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Trista, it took me a few days to comment on your post since reading your post really upset me about how you were treated by the doctor, having previously been a labor and delivery nurse I think it was even more upsetting to me. I think you need to contact the hospital ombudsman, the way you were treated is unacceptable and there needs to be accountability on the part of the doc, so many people brush off rude (moronic) doctor comments but if they are never called on it, they never have to be accountable to it, so many put doctors in godly positions and let me tell you I’ve worked enough nights with an R1 who is practically crying cause they don’t know their head from their feet looking to the nurses to tell them what the heck to do, as they progress they forget that part, but anyway one would never think it was ok if the doula or midwife or nurse said, ahh just suck it up! I think by contacting the ombudsman it offers some kind of closure since their job is to address the issues encountered with your care, that way too you know that your being heard. We send you much love and hugs as you continue to process through this part of your birth experience, it can take awhile, it’s only in the last month or so I can discuss our experience without breaking down in tears!


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