Sorry, this is going to be long but it honestly feels good to get it out and if it helps the OP I'm all for it...
I had a combination of mistreatment during pregnancy, birth and afterwards, as well as later on when one of my sons started to have some health issues. (6mos. plus.)
I started my TTC/pregnancy with my GP. He also does babies and is one of the last GP's/family practitioners in my locale to do so. He was great when I was having some abdominal issues which were later found to be likely to be endometriosis. One of the only Dr's not to tell me it was all in my head and take me seriously etc. actually finding evidence of problems. He's very well loved and respected in my community.
I had no real intention of going with my GP for pregnancy/childbirth. I wanted to have midwives ever since my first pregnancy (Which I lost.) when I was 16. When I told my Dr. this, he called me AT HOME and proceeded to tell me that midwives were dangerous (I was planning a midwife attended hospital birth at that point.) and that he knew of many outcomes where a baby was harmed because of seeing a midwife and not a Dr. and that if I chose to go with a midwife for my pregnancy that I would be responsible for any harm coming to my baby because I chose midwifery care. Mind you where I live (BC, Canada.) midwifery is more than legal- it's also regulated and the cost is fully covered by the provincial medical plan.
He then fired me as a patient altogether with more threats about how I was choosing to harm my baby, and at about 10 weeks pregnant I switched to midwifery care. He also made it INCREDIBLY difficult for me to get my records even when the midwives repeatedly tried to get them.
Everyone, midwives and Dr. failed to realise that I was carrying twins. This was after numerous pelvic exams and measurements, as well as checking to hear the "heartbeat" with a doppler.
I feel my midwives ignored me when I mentioned that I was suffering from severe nausea. My concerns where taken very lightly even though I repeatedly brought up the fact that I was debilitatingly sick and I'd lost 20+ lbs. I was asked (By midwives.) if I ever had an eating disorder previously (NO!) and how I felt about gaining weight during pregnancy. I ran through the gamut of every single natural recommendation for the nausea that the midwives suggested with no results.
It was around that time that I found out I was having twins because I opted to have the triple marker screen. After an emerg ultrasound we found that we were indeed having twins at 17 weeks. I feel like the midwives again dismissed my concerns for nausea as normal etc. and even more normal since I was having twins. I was prescribed diclectin which made me feel very druggy and didn't help too much. I still was losing weight. I looked drastically different.
The midwives transferred me to shared care with an OB that they liked and I was told that he would be respectful of my wishes to birth as naturally as possible.
The majority of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful until the end except for the continued nausea and vomiting. It did not get better after 20 weeks, or even at 30 weeks when I started having problems.
I kept on having contractions and I repeatedly had to go to the hospital to be checked out. At that point the babies weren't measuring very well and they showed every single sign of twin to twin transfusion syndrome although I wasn't told a thing about it. I didn't find out until the very end until the new OB (The OB I'd been dealing with for some reason transferred me over to another OB in the practice entirely and to this day I don't know why.) took over and she was very high intervention oriented.
I was slowly gaining baby weight, but I can't count how many times I got chewed out by nurses in the hospital for not gaining enough weight for twins. (At the end I ended up about 15 lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight.) I was repeatedly humiliated for not looking "big" enough for twins. I was made to feel every time that I went into the hospital that I was a burden, and at the end they (nurses) actually had bets going whether or not my labor was "real" this time or not. Joking or not it was hurtful when I was having legitimate contractions.
I was also suffering from more complications from my constant vomiting. I wore away the lining of my throat/esophagus and I was continually bleeding from the damage. I also hurt my teeth very badly but I didn't find this out until later when I saw my dentist. The midwives "couldn't" do anything to help with something like that and the Dr's in the practice would only prescribe Zantac because it was the "only" thing I could take (It wasn't. With this pregnancy I've been on Nexium which is in the same fetal drug risk category as Zantac.) that was safe, and I was told several times that it would go away with delivery and that I'd just have to wait it out. I was vomiting blood from swallowing it so often, my stools were black with blood, and I was rapidly becoming very anaemic. It went away with delivery all right (Actually a couple of weeks afterwards.) but I have permanent damage because I was left untreated. Of course now I know I had hypermesis, but nobody took me seriously and witin weeks of the babies being born I was 50lbs+ lighter than I was pre-pregnancy. This time when the same thing started happening I was very insistent on receiving care/demanding different drugs etc. and whaddaya know I've found something that works.
I feel like my concerns were repeatedly dismissed because I was 19 and I was having a high risk multiple pregnancy. I can't count how many times questions I had specifically related to the difference in my babies' growth was blown off. The Dr's gave me the impression that it was my fault for chossing midwifery and not knowing that it was twins soon enough etc. Actually, it was the original Dr that did all of the initial exams and everything and missed most of the signs.
I started having some high BP and swelling issues and showed signs of pre-eclampsia. I was admitted a couple of times to the hospital, but my midwives advocated for me to try bedrest at home which was luckily successful.
At the very end, the weight discrepancies between the babies and the problems they were having became pretty prominent. (I'm very bitter about this because if their TTTS was properly diagnosed and treated in Vancouver they could have done MUCH better. They're having lots of luck with TTTS and some new treatments at BC women and children's hospitals.) One of the babies was two pounds lighter than the other and was not moving. He failed numerous biophysical profiles and in a period of days he did not move from the same position on ultrasound.
I was 35 weeks, and the new OB wanted to do a c-section. I wanted to at least try an induced vaginal birth first because none of the problems baby A was having should affect the actual delivery especially if I consented to monitoring just in case. I remember a flurry of phone calls between the mideives the OB and myself because I was trying to find out whether or not I could at least attampt a vaginal birth. Eventually the midwives informed me that the OB consented, but only if I had an epidural line in and delivered in the OR in case of the need for emergency c-section. I didn't know too much about my rights at that point, but I thought that was my only option so I agreed. I thought I'd fought enough at that point based on what I knew which was so much more than most peopls assumed. We also ended up meeting with the OB at the hospital the night before my induction and were "jokingly" told by one of the nurses that they'd not had so much fuss over a Dr's recommendation since they had a lawyer give birth there. Ha-freaking-ha.
The next morning I was induced. The Dr. broke my water (I was having dilation for weeks beforehand.) and gave me several hours for labor to start on its own. I was not allowed to move from the bed, so of course labor didn't start with just the water breaking in such a short time frame. Then I was given pitocin on full because the previous attempt was "unsuccessful". Again, I was not allowed to move. The midwife was present during this time as a support person, but the OB I wasn't fond of was the one present. I had full monitoring at all times and was not allowed to move. Everything gets pretty hazy at this point. I found that I moved into a natural hypnotic state. I was having consistent contractions with no break and they were very severe. It took many many hours of my midwives advocating for me to get "permission" to try the shower to see if it helped me deal with the contractions naturally. At that point my contractions were so severe that I didn't want to move.
At that point I was offered drugs (Don't remember what, I know it was administered by mask.) to help with the pains. I actually had the presence of mind to ask about the potential consquences etc. and I was told that it didn't matter very much at this point because I was having an epidural at the end anyways and it would have worn off by then because I was taking so long. I accepted, only taking a couple of huffs before realising that it wasn't for me. I became quite loopy and refused further drugs because I was feeling so sleepy and disoriented. I felt so dehumanized at this point because nobody was talking to me, people kept on coming and going from the room and talking about me even though I was aware but nobody cared to tell me what was going on even when I asked.
I started feeling more done/pushy closer to the end but nobody believed me because I was still calm, they thought I was finally reacting to the pain. Turns out I was over 8 cms and ready to go to the OR and I'd yet to have the epi line in. So I was sitting there waiting for the anaesthesiologist before I could go to the OR and trying to slow my labor. The anaesthesiologist finally showed up and tried to get the line in. I say TRIED because she tried about 4-5 times to get the damn thing in. It wasn't my fault at all. I was holding perfectly still and curling my back perfectly. I was even asked to tell them if I was having a contraction so they could prepare/hold off. I remembering whispering that I was having them all the time and having one right now while she was trying to get it in. Nobody had known as I was managing the pain very well on my own, she (Anaesthesiologist.) didn't hear me and she asked what I said while I was concetrating and one of the nurses pretty much yelled "She said she's having one right now!"
The anaesthesiologist got the line "in" and we went into the OR. There were about 15 people in the room all in masks that I'd never seen before. After the babies were born the pediatrician came up to me in the nursery and started talking to me and I literally asked who she was because I had no clue who had been there.
I started pushing pretty much right away in the OR because I was finally allowed to. The OB was impatient because it wasn't going fast enough. The midwife's attendant was helping to tape the birth and the camera was shut off whenever I pooped or puked etc. when I'd said I wanted to record everything. Nobody listened when I said I had to have a bowel movement because I was told that I shouldn't be abel to feel it because of the epi. The anaesthesiologist kept on pestering me about my sensations and breaking my concentration so badly that I eventually said I couldn't feel it to shut her up and because I didn't want to have to get the line in with another five attempts because my back was already hamburger at the site. I could still feel everything. It never worked. I could feel the tearing of my pubic hair when the Dr was manipulating baby A into position and everything.
Baby A was wrenched from me via vacuum because he was having mild decels during contractions but he was recovering well so there was no real reason to use the vacuum. The pushing wasn't going fast enough for the OB so she used the vacuum.
Baby A was kept from us for about 20 mins because apparently he had too much of a hollow where his sternum is when he was breathing. Nobody listened to the fact that my husband has a very indented sternum and it's hereditary in his side of the family (My boys still have it to this day.) and it wasn't from breathing problems even though we told them. Eventually when he was "cleared" when they realised he was fine and we were right about his sternum we were allowed to hold him.
Then began the big fight. The Dr wanted to do an internal version to "guide" baby B into position. They truned up the epidural all the way for the version even though nobody listened to the fact that I could still feel everything at that point after I said I was "numb" (My fault I guess, although it could have worn off too.) although I still had full motion in my legs etc. The Dr's arm into me up to the elbow was the worst part of the birth by far. I felt every damn thing and held still like a good little girl.
There is nearly and hour and a half in between babies. My cervix started to swell (No $h*t! After having someone's ARM in my uterus after having a baby wrenched forcefully from me I certainly don't blame it!) and baby B was the big baby so it would be more work to push him out. Everything was looking good and he was doing well on the monitor so I refused the c-section the Dr. suggested because he (B) was taking too long. I was told that there was risk of the placenta detaching etc. but I counteracted with the fact that he was doing well on the monitors and he wouldn't have been if the placenta was detaching which of course it wasn't. I've also read more afterward that suggests that in some women it's very normal to have such "breaks" in between babies to ensure the safety of both mother and remaining babe and protect against exhaustion. We have the pissed off Dr. on video tapping her feet and hrumphing because it was taking too long and giving some major attitude because I'm taking "too long".
When B finally was coming the Dr decided to do a vacuum again with no legitimate indications of distress. She wrenched B from me when I wasn't having any contractions or pushing and I'm on video screeching that I wasn't having any contractions and for her to stop. She didn't, and I tore of course.
Baby B was fine. Same indented sternum only they listened to us this time.
I'd been bleeding heavily, I hemmorhaged, was given a shot of oytocin which helped but I wasn't given a transfusion which I later found out I should have had. I was severely anaemic and I look like a corpse on video. The nurse who cleaned me up after delivery (One of the only nurses I liked.) said that there was so much blood. To this day she remembers me for that reason.
I went to my room and the babies went to the nursery. I later found out even though I had a document specifically written up NOT to bottle feed or offer any artificial nipples that they were given bottles and preemie soothers. This happened a couple of other times even after I got angry about it and had the hospital LC tell the nurses not to as well.
I am either loved or hated by many of the nurses there. Many remember me and my strength and knowledge and take me seriously. Others treat me terribly because I dare to question and stick up for myself. It still affects me to this day when I've had to go in with this pregnancy.
After the birth the mistreatment continued. I was harassed by the nurses for saying no to visitors and I was repeatedly told that I could turn away the visiotrs myself and that they weren't the door service. I was screamed at by a nurse for accidentally putting a baby into the wrong cot at 3 am when I hadn't slept in 4 days. I was mocked by some other nurses by still having issues with the vomiting. I would vomit regularily around diaper times (And other times, but diapers did trigger a gag reflex.) and I was subjected to nasty comments when I asked someone to help me out so that I could keep my food/fenugreek pills down.
It was a terrible experience and it didn't stop there.
One of my sons (Baby A, the donor twin.) had problems and started having seizures at about 6 months. I wasn't taken very seriously. Was told it was normal and the full gamut of excuses even though they weren't febrile seizures. Then one day he woke up and was paralysed in his right side. He'd likely had a stroke, although we were told it was probably just a particularily bad seizure. We went to BC children's and again we were told it was normal etc. On a last minute whim they checked his heart and revealed a possible heart problem that likely cause a stroke. A lot of his problems were likely caused by his TTTS but to this day we're still having problems getting veen the pediatric neurologist to admit it because any info I bring to the table on TTTS is dismissed.
Later, the same baby was accidentally poisoned at a relatives house with morphine. (Long story.) My husband saved his life, but he found my baby blue and not breathing in the crib. We were told it was a prticularily bad seizure or brain bleed and it was dismissed at the local hospital. The CT scan operator refused to come in and we were told at a later date by the ER doc who was leaving that hospital to move east that this was one of the worst indicdences that he'd ever seen and it haunted him and he had to tell us what really happened. Nodoby told us what was going on. He was in a coma. We were accused of many, many things such as hurting him etc. but our ped showed up eventually and advocated for us. I was a young mom afterall who knew nothing so it MUST be my fault, but my ped had a great relationship with us and was a big supporter and has proved an asset in the ivestigations which followed.
We were flown to children's hospital and there I was yelled at by a Dr. in the ER for refusing a spinal tap to check for meningitis. He had no signs of meningitis and nobody was taking me seriously with his history of seizures. We didn't know it was morphine at that point either. I remember the ICU team fighting to get him to the ICU but the ER wouldn't "let" him go because they wanted the spinal tap done etc.
Eventually it was found to be morphine and I was lectured for my irreponsibility etc. when it was in no way shape or form my fault. (Long story.) He was given some anti-narcotics (Narcanol) and was fine.
I had severe PPD and PPP.
I checked myself into the hospital because I was suicidal at one point and I was literally mocked and told that the hospital wasn't a place for a vacation and I heard the nurses berating me amongst themselves for my trying to get away from my kids etc.
I'm guessing the same nurses called our equivalent of CPS, because a few weeks after that I was investigated for the morphine incident although it had occurred a year previously and there was no concern about my involvement at that time when I'd eventually shown that I wasn't present/accountable for the actual poisoning.
Every time I go into the ER I get "looks" from the same nurses, and I've encountered a toxic situation with the L&D nurses and some of the OB's because I have a "reputation" after my experience with the birth which has unfortunately made my attempt to be a birth Doula pretty much impossible. I advocated for myself and my clients are assumed to be pushed around by me, that "crazy girl" who dared to take a stand in her own care although I've never brought any of my own issues to the table. My clients were treated differently I believe because of me so I stopped.
I'm sorry this is so long, but with gossip from my birth being what it is it transferred to all aspects of my children's medical care (IE CPS being called because my DS had bruises even though it was a well known fact that he was on bloodthinners for his stroke.) and beyond so I think it's somewhat relevant although this is definitely the simplified version.