Public Enemy {A Personal Post}

Warning: This post will contain some swearing. strong opinions and honesty. Soooo, if you don’t like that, look away now. But come back tomorrow for Makin’ it Monday where I express rather strong opinions on my need for a herb garden.
Addison is almost 7 months old. I love her so much it hurts. She is amaze balls. Her birth however, was not. I have not really expressed how I feel about the whole thing and to be honest I haven’t wanted to. Until now. I could tell a psychologist or a friend but I choose my blog because it is the equivalent of writing it down, tearing it up and letting the pieces scatter into the wind. I need to get some things out and away.
I gave birth in a public hospital. I could not find an Obs to take me on upon our return from the USA so I went public. Into a hospital system that I have much experience with and faith in. (I should point out that in L.A I was being treated privately so I have seen both sides here.) It is important for me to share this because I am quite irate about some judgements that I have experienced based solely on the fact I went public and these judgements are weighing on my mind. Two things bother me greatly. One, the assumption we could not afford private care and didn’t have insurance. Well, yes we do have insurance and yes we could have paid. And the second thing that irks me is that the judgements have come from people who look in me the eye and claim friend status. I’m calling bullshit on these ‘friendships.’ Unlucky for them, the grapevine has delivered these judgements straight to my front door. My favourite, (besides the apparent concern over our financial status) is that the hospital I birthed in is not a ‘real’ hospital compared to a close by private one…actually the same one I was born in. Apparently this fake hospital I gave birth in doesn’t measure up as it is not ‘hotel’ like enough. You know, despite the fact that it is a major accident and trauma hospital that you would attend were you sick or injured and funnily enough, it’s the hospital where you would be taken if you or your baby needed extra help. I wonder if it would be ‘real’ enough then? The audacity of their ‘pity’ confuses and bemuses me. But mostly I am confused by their friendship. Why bother I say? Cut your losses and find friends who measure up to your standards of birth place choices because I don’t appreciate wannabe mean girls slagging me off behind my back and insinuating I did wrong by my child. Release your insecurities and need to tear down others elsewhere please. I’m a hater free zone.
Look, I cannot fault the care provided to me during my pregnancy in the fake hospital by the fake midwives. I had some issues that needed attending to and they were outstanding. But here’s the thing, they are stretched beyond their limits. The Government has kicked the health system in the guts and you can see the results clear as day. So no, you don’t get hotel like service during your stay. And yes, they will hold you off coming in for as long as possible. And this is where for me, the whole thing went pear shaped. I was in labour for 68 hours. 3 cm dilated from that point, yep, actual labour. Excruciating pain in my back that I cannot put justice to in words. And it wasn’t until the day I actually delivered Addie that I was finally attended to in the form of an epidural and drugs to speed things up. Over 50 hours passed before I was given any form of intervention. Over the course of that day it became quite clear to me that I would deliver this baby via c-section. In fact, I knew my whole pregnancy it would end that way. She was a big baby and a long baby. And despite my padding, I have a small frame. She has Daddy’s height and she wasn’t coming out any way but via the sunroof. It was never an issue for me. As long as my smushy came safely I was happy. But the midwives didn’t listen to my concerns early on that she was posterior and as a result I was to experience the horrific back pain for much longer than necessary. Had I gone private I probably would have been offered a c-section 8 hours in.
Not to be.
After the birth I was struggling to attend to Addison with all the pain that accompanies a c-section and the midwives were struggling to attend to all the women. You can thank the conservative Liberal government for a ratio of 2 midwives to 33 women on one of the days I was there. They are doing the best they can but I felt cast out to sea and just ever so slightly traumatised. We muddled through but hell, I could have used that Nursery in the ‘real’ private hospital to get some sleep. After discharge I was so shell shocked and exhausted I felt completely out of my depth and terrified that I wasn’t feeding or attending to Addie’s needs properly. Luckily the home visits helped with this and we got on our merry way. Honestly? Things got better quickly and I healed beautifully with barely a mark, my scar was so well done. But I didn’t even get a semblance of the birth I had envisaged. Look, I wasn’t a birth plan person or someone with visions of birthing grandeur but I would have liked to have felt a little more present and yeah, I would have liked a little more support after. Basically, as a result I am not sure whether I will ever have another child. I cannot go through that sheer length of labour again. If I did decide to fall pregnant, we would go private and book an elective c-section. Spouse and I are not well matched in the height department when it comes to baby size and delivery, that’s for sure. So it’s best just to accept my body needs help to get babies out. But it does make me kinda sad that I feel this way based purely on what I experienced. I do need to let it go. Writing (typing?) this all down is a start. Admitting things weren’t perfect is a start. I’m not afraid to be honest. Too many of us hide behind the ‘It’s gotta be perfect, I’ve gotta be perfect’ facade when it comes to becoming and being a mama. Sometimes things aren’t perfect. It’s ok.
But you know, I would do it all again for Addison, I truly would. Fake hospital and all.

4 thoughts on “Public Enemy {A Personal Post}

  1. Danielle

    I’m sorry that Addie’s birth was so traumatic for you, please don’t let it deter you from having another little one, you make adorable babies! 😛
    All jokes aside though, if you do decide to have another bub, it can’t hurt to book in that caesar but see how you go, your next one might not be so tall and you might not need it.
    I was quite disappointed that I had to have a caesar with my twins and that I gave up breastfeeding quite early, however looking back I realise that I healed quite well and my kids are healthy and happy.
    And as for your “friends”, well I’m not sure I’d be calling them that anymore >:(

  2. Susan Drysdale

    I’m sure you helped other women to realize that giving birth isn’t always going to work out the way you planned and not to feel guilty if it wasn’t like you envisioned or if you feel overwhelmed afterwards. I had the same problem when my daughter was born…she was basically stuck and not going anywhere. I was fortunate not to have such a long labor as you did. There are those who try to make you feel guilty for having a C-section but for me the important thing was that she was healthy and how she got out into the world was not that important. I’m sorry that your “friends” were so obnoxious about your hospital care. You don’t need “friends” like them.

  3. Famille Renault-Koroschetz

    You know, both time I went in a “fake” hospital. First was in Europe and it was a university one, so students come and watch and learn. Fancy be in a room with 5 pairs of eyes looking at you when you are most vulnerable is not what I would call a good experience. or having a trainee nurse insisting of giving you oxygen when you don’t need it but doing it anyway. As a result I was vomiting for the last part and couldn’t really enjoy the first precious moment with my daughter. Security wasn’t the best either because the “dismissed” father managed to get in the delivery room 20min after delivery without my permission. It was a long labour too ( not as long as yours) of 26hours. They also “forgot me in a room for a while, like you said not enough personnel , it was a full moon and only 4 nurses for 10 women giving birth at around the same time. No c sec this time but they had to pull her out and without my consent, at the peak of the pushing part the doctor gave her seat to a first year trainee!!! Not impressed. No support after the birth from home and they managed to break one of her bone when they pulled her out! No apologies for that , didn’t even tell me, I discovered it at home a week after! poor baby. Anyway , never thought I would have another baby but when it happened , as you know, I was over the moon, I have private insurance and a doctor following me but I chose to go in a public hospital. I told my previous story and they were well aware of my fear of being let alone or not listening to ME. Really listening! We got a great service even with the personnel restriction. This time After telling them , a few times, that the pain was not normal and i could feel something was wrong with the baby, they put me on a monitor and saw that his heartbeat was bad. Emergency C sec in 15 minutes after 20 hours of pain and fainting. Had a seizure in the operation room so again couldn’t enjoy the first moment and ended up in intensive care. I didn’t see him for 5 hours after the c sec!!! Lucky husband was there for him.
    Like you I was in tears with the pain of the operation and couldn’t attend to my baby properly. Not much sleep either. But even if I will be scared of another birth I wouldn’t change it. No matter what happens in the hospital, as long as baby and mum are healthy after, it is all worth it. We don’t forget the pain, the fear… we just learn to manage a bit better and the more we are going to talk about it to real friends who are ready to just listen and ask questions to make you talk more about it and reassure you that no matter what, your instincts were good and you are doing good too, everything will be fine. So pick up your phone if you need to, I am there. No judgement and no talking behind anyone’s back. Not my type as you know… I hope.
    everyone has the right to choose whatever type of birth or hospital they want!. I don’t care if it is not a 4 stars service, as long as they take care of my baby and tell me that all is fine!!
    Love you even if I am far away!

  4. Anonymous

    Lovingly, I have one word for you – DOULA.

    So many of your issues, a Doula would have provided you with support, advocacy at a time when you may have felt unable to advocate for yourself, love for when you felt at your lowest, and back rubs (or whatever else the heck you need).

    Birth is such a precious time and I feel so sorry when I hear these stories. I hope one day you will recover that feeling of trust in your own capacity to birth well and that you will ultimately get the outcome you desire – whatever that is.

    Michelle xxx


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