Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Year of baby's birth
Satisfaction with care from midwives:
Satisfaction with care from obstetricians:
Satisfaction with care from GP:
Satisfaction with quality of processes/facilities:
Satisfaction with birth experience overall:
Model of care
Midwifery clinic (pub. hosp.)
Why did you choose this model of care?
What were your choices for this birth?
Support for normal vaginal birth, Birth support team of my choice (no visitor restrictions), Access to medical care/surgery if nec (eg c-section), Other
How did your birth start?
Spontaneous labour (started naturally)
What were your outcomes?
Staff I didn't know attending me, Birth support team of my choice, CTG monitoring (continuous monitoring of baby's heartbeat), Induction/augmentation of labour, Epidural, Grazing/1st-2nd degree tear, Vaginal birth, Breastfeeding difficulties, Ongoing health challenges for me/baby, Obstetric violence (eg denied care, forced into decisions, touched without consent, yelled at)
Did you feel you could say No to care/treatments offered (or change your mind about your choices) at any time?
Details of experience
I had been in labour for about 48 hours; however, when I called the hospital to go in because my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, I was told my experience wasn’t real. Literally, I was told: “you’re not having contractions; we’ve been talking for a few minutes [over the phone] and you’re not screaming; even your breathing seems normal. You will know when you have a contraction”. I had to lie (I said my baby had stopped moving) in order to be admitted. They did an ultrasound and saw the baby was okay, but would still not believe me I was in labour because I wasn’t screaming. I basically had to beg for a midwife to do a check up. When she finally did, I was told I was already 5cm dilated and I could stay in the hospital to give birth. At that point, I asked (not for the first time though) for a C-section. I am and was extremely well informed about the risks and benefits of both caesareans and vaginal births, but was denied the possibility of a c-section by the midwives. Upon my insistence, the midwives brought in an obstetrician to discourage me from a c-section, but after a while he recognised I was indeed well informed and told me I could have a c-section if I first gave a vaginal birth a try and that I could always change my mind. Looking back, I don’t understand why I needed to give vaginal birth a go. It was simply not what I wanted, but I accepted and requested that my waters be broken because I wanted to speed up the process. After a couple of hours I asked for and got an epidural because the pain was becoming unmanageable. I knew that epidurals are not advisable if a c-section is the plan, but being in pain I forgot about that and no one reminded me of it. The epidural started working fast and for another couple of hours I felt no pain at all. Then, I felt light cramps, lighter than period pain, but I told the midwives anyway. They didn’t explain why that was happening, and said everything was okay. I didn’t insist to be given a better answer because the pain was light. However, this coincided with me reaching full dilation and therefore having to push. I felt EVERYTHING while pushing. It was the worst sort of pain I have ever experienced, and as you might tell by how I handled the contractions, I have an extremely high tolerance to pain. Being in such state, I forgot to ask for a c-section in a timely manner. My midwives knew this was my wish but never reminded me of it, even when the pushing part of birth extended beyond the 2hour mark. Again, due to pain I wasn’t checking the clock on the wall or anything like that, but when I got my discharge notes I was mortified that they let me push for so long. My baby’s heart rate had spiked to crazy high levels during this process too. This was another piece of information I wish they had told me early instead of having to learn about it through discharge documents. At some point during the pushing period I was offered forceps, vacuuming and/or an episiotomy, and I told them a tired but clear “no”. I was exhausted to say “no, thanks, I do not give you my consent to do that”, so they acted as if they didn’t hear me and asked me again. For a second time, I said “no” with the little energies I had. The third time they asked, my lovely partner told them: “she has already told you NO twice. She doesn’t want forceps nor vacuuming nor an episiotomy”. Only then they stopped asking. At another point, while pushing and suffering, a group of what seemed like medical students (because they were just standing there) entered to observe. At no point I was asked for my consent for them to observe, but I was exhausted to tell them to get out. While pregnant, this was one of the things I had included in my birth plan (that I didn’t want more than one student to observe my birth); however, the midwife I shared my plan with never photocopied it nor took notes and dismissed my plan with the words “well, it’s okay to have plans but you know plans never happen when it comes to giving birth, right?”. Despite the pain, at some point I did remember the obstetrician had told me I could change my mind at anytime and have a c-section, so I asked for one, but I asked for it when it was too late. I could feel my baby’s head and the midwives could see his head too. Fortunately, he was born healthy. I also learned through discharge papers that I had lost enough blood to be labeled as an haemorrhage, but was never given this information by the midwives. The birth of my son was not the end of this story of medical violence, sadly. But I’ll leave this here for now.