If I take my experience out of context, it is not a bad experience. In fact it is an experience that many women strive for - an epidural free labour that is 5 hours start to finish, in a clean hospital, that results in a vaginal delivery with a few second degree tears and, ultimately, a healthy baby.
Millions of women the world over would trade their experience for mine, in a heart beat.
I've heard this before. It doesn't help.
Others may say, but its one day of your life. One day. Having a baby is like having a wedding - does it really matter if it doesn't go 'as expected'?, it's the marriage that matters, the years and months after the baby is born that matters.
I've heard this before. It also doesn't help.
Birth is a natural process, its best for mother and baby. Consider it a blessing that you didn't get the c-section, really, what happend was a "blessing in disguise", you should be thankful you didn't have to recuperate from surgery. Ask most women who have had a c-section and a vaginal birth, and most women will say they preferred their vaginal births.
I've also heard this before and, it is no solace.
These platitudes don't help because context matters.
I had a reasonable expectation that I was going to give birth by way of c-section. I had carefully weighed the pros and cons of my two delivery methods (c-section and vaginal) and I had made my choice. I clearly communicated that choice to my doctor, and I was led to believe that my doctor supported my choice. I had every reason to believe that I would avoid a vaginal delivery. If my doctor had told me otherwise, I could and would have made other plans. I spent 9 months defending my choice.
Then the day for surgery came...and I was led to believe that it was bad luck. There were more urgent cases, and that is why I got bumped. I was led to believe that there were pediatric appendectomies and quite simply that there were not the resources to provide me with my c-section when I went into labour. A vaginal delivery when you've prepared yourself for a c-section is terrifying in and of itself and knowing that things in birth sometimes go sideways, beleiving that there are not the resources there, should it actually go sideways is even more terrifying.
In the months that followed, I tried to cope with my experience. At first writing about it would cause me to be overwhelmed with the emotions. (I am now on most days able to write about it, as long as I don't think too much about it when I write). I asked for advice about how to get over a 'negative birth experience', I talked with other moms, I tried to bury it...but like a zombie it refused to die.
Then I read of other women, having their care delayed or denied at Victoria General Hospital - in February and again in August. And I questioned how unlucky I really was. The external review was done. I was convinced I was a victim of the dispute between the anesthesiologists/VIHA/BCMA/Ministry of Health feud. A casualty of a level 3 hospital not having dedicated obstetric anesthesiology (DOBA). I decided I needed to speak up about my own experience. I decided that I needed to work to change the system.
I started to blog again.
I wrote a letter to the editor of the Times Colonist.
I researched the potential to bring legal action, on a class basis, to bear on the issue. However, came to the conclusion that I could not be a representative plaintiff as by way of employment and marriage I was in a conflict of interest. For what its worth - there may be something to that aspect still.
I wrote the Patient Care Quality Office.
And then I found out, that my experience was entirely unneccessary. I could have had my treatment of choice - if only my doctor/hospital had facilitated it. If only I mattered enough to them, I would have got the care that I had sought. Apparently, I didn't matter enough. I was truly violated, not by some strange twist of fate, but either by negligence or intent. If this situation is not cruel and unusual, I don't know what is.
I know, that as a result, I need therapy. There's only so much that a person can be expected to handle on an emotional level - despite my better efforts.
There is still much work to be done to 'fix it'...if that is even possible.