On the first episode of our Momolouge series, we talk with mom Julietta who, unfortunately, experienced trauma during her third birth experience. Read below -
Q: Describe what being a mom means to you in one word
A: Life. Being a mother gives me a sense of purpose and motivation. Knowing that I have three little girls depending on me makes me strive to provide the best love I have to give.
Q:How many children do you have?
A:Three girls, ages 9,6, and 2 months.
Q:What was your prenatal experience? Did you attend doctor visits? Did you attend birthing classes?
A: Overall my prenatal experience was positive. I routinely saw the doctor twice a month and monitored my diet appropriately. I was able to work full time my entire pregnancy without any complications. I did not attend any classes being my third pregnancy I felt pretty comfortable.
Q: Please tell us about your birth experience.
A: My birth experience was pretty traumatizing. From my view, the nursing staff completely lacked professionalism. Friday, February 12th, I arrived at the hospital at 7:50am, where I shortly experienced total patient neglect as i was never assisted to the bed or helped change into a gown by any of the nurses. I was never helped getting into any labor positions. I was never comforted by any of the nurses all they did was tell me to breathe while being occupied with other "important things" like typing on the computer and slowly setting up the instrument table. They took their time with everything even after being informed that my contractions were 5 min apart. My pain kept growing, my husband and I asked questions about pain relief/ epidural. The nurse told us I had to wait on an IV in order to get the epidural. After 10 to 20 minutes of waiting, we asked when I was going to be given an IV. We were never given an answer instead we were stalled with small talk about the weather. When I expressed to the nurses that I was starting to feel nauseous and couldn't breathe from my pain, I was ignored. When my OBGYN arrived, it seemed as if the nurses finally started to take their job serious. They started rushing around and, finally, one of the nurses tried to hook me up to the IV which was very last minute. After several attempts, one of the needles slipped out causing blood to spray over the bed including me, ending up with me not receiving an IV infusion. Another nurse finally checked how far I was dilated. I was then told it was time to push and that i couldn't get an epidural. In the middle of me getting ready to push, fighting through contractions, one of the nurses handed me a pen and consent forms asked me to sign them stating she forgot to give me those when I checked in. Another nurse came running towards me telling me she needed to check my temperature which apparently they also forgot to check when I checked in. There was a period of time where my child's vitals were not being monitored. The baby monitor got disconnected and went unnoticed until the doctor noticed the umbilical cord wrapped around my child's neck and she asked the nurses where's the baby's heart beat? I was told I disconnected it by moving which is understandable but i felt it's their responsibility to make sure that everything is being properly monitored. At that point I felt unsafe, I was overwhelmed, I couldn't relax or stay calm. I wasn't able to concentrate on giving birth at all. It was completely chaotic and there was a huge lack of communication the entire time which caused me and my husband to be frustrated and upset. My daughter was born that same morning at 8.45am. Sadly, the entire experience made me feel as if I was robbed from being able to enjoy my child's birth and being in the moment.
Q: Did you have people/women of color supporting you during birth?
If yes, how did it help you?
If no, how do you think it would have changed your experience for the better?
A: I did not have any women of color supporting me during child birth. I wish there would have been at least one with me in the delivery room. I think having one with me would've made me feel more comfortable, in a sense, of knowing that there is someone with me that I can relate to.
Q: What did you learn from your birth experience that you will take with you next time or share with others to reduce trauma in birth spaces?
A: I learned the importance of preparing for the unexpected, to keep in mind that anything can happen during child birth. I recommend for anyone who is thinking of delivering at a local hospital to definitely take a close look at the hospital. Inform yourself about the hospital birthing protocol, talk to the staff and doctors at labor and delivery, communicate with whoever is going to be in the delivery room with you as much as you can about child birth so they can be prepared and fully support you and speak up for you in the moment that you need them to.
Q: How has the trauma that you endured during your birth experience affected your outlook on pregnancy and/or prenatal care? A: My birth trauma did not change anything on my view of pregnancy I still think that pregnancy is the most beautiful thing but it definitely changed the way I thought about delivering at a hospital. If I ever get pregnant again I will most likely choose a home birth if possible.
Q: How did you turn you trauma into triumph?
A: I turned my Trauma in to triumph by speaking up, not only for myself, but for any mother that gives birth in that hospital. I'm no different from any other mother, regardless if I had a good experience versus the next having that bad experience, it doesn't make it acceptable in my eyes period. I reached out to the hospital and informed them of what i experienced in detail, how it felt from a patient's perspective and how things could've been done differently. The hospital representative agreed that errors were made on part of the nursing staff concerning their handling of my situation and requested using my trauma for future training, which I agreed. Also, by sharing my story with other expecting moms I know in the area, informing others how hospitals can fail to provide the proper care during childbirth, so be mindful.
Watch the full video on our Instagram (@TruthHouseFoundation) or Facebook (@TruthHouseFoundationMN)