Deep Rooted Fear of Birth Leads to a Traumatic Cesarean Birth, Doctor Cut Baby’s Head

by Mrs. BWF on January 27, 2012

THE BIRTH OF NICOLAAS MERTIENS CARSTENS

So after 15 months of telling people about my traumatic birth of my son Nicolaas Mertiens Carstens and lots of people saying, “No man you’re just making it worse” and being asked about my birth, I decided to put it in writing. Maybe if I write it down the healing from it will finally begin. I think my unsuccessful try at giving natural birth probably begins from my childhood years, so I’ll start there to give a better view of things.

As a child I always wanted a little brother or sister, so when my mom got pregnant when I was only 12 (she told me on my 12 birthday) I was ever so excited. I went to all her OB/GYN visits and did everything with her, wanting to be involved all the time. Then, when she was around 36wks, my little sister stopped moving. The Doctor couldn’t get a proper heartbeat and even after drinking bottles and bottles of coke and eating chocolates, there still wasn’t anything. She was told to come back the next day. This time she refused to take me with, probably to protect me, and when they still couldn’t find anything she was told to go for an emergency c-section.

My brother and I were left at home alone for that afternoon even though I really wanted to be at the birth. That evening we went to visit. I still remember as if it was yesterday. The lady next to my mom had a natural birth and was trying to breastfeed her. My mom was so derisive, telling me that she couldn’t understand how anyone could do that to themselves when we had all this technology to make our lives “better”. Her word was why would anyone choose to have a painful, natural birth if you could have a not-painful c-section (forgetting to mention that the pain after the c-section was 10 times worse) and why would anyone want to breastfeed and put themselves through all that pain if they could just give formula? That stuck in my head as I grew up.

Later, in high school I got diagnosed with epilepsy and myasthenia gravis, a disorder that affects your muscles in your body, making it weaker than natural. My parents always told me that I was weak, needed protecting, that I could never do anything naturally. That also stuck with me all those years that followed.

When I got to university I learned all about natural birth, breastfeeding and everything that went with it and how absolutely great and amazing it was. That’s when I decided I wanted an all natural birth. When I got pregnant unexpectedly, I told my hubby about my dream for an all natural birth. Being a paramedic, he was all for it, telling me he believed I was right and supporting me.

Behind my back, my mom talked to him, making him scared of everything that could go wrong and that my dream of a homebirth, him catching the baby was DANGEROUS (he had caught 5 other babies already), and that with my MG there’s no way I could do that. My parents weren’t supportive, my mom telling me that at least I should get a epidural, that I wasn’t able to handle that amount of pain, that I was weak, that I was crazy, and that natural was OLD FASHIONED.

I got much the same reaction from my mother-in-law, telling me of her terrible 5 day long labour with her daughter, because her doctor told her she wasn’t allowed to birth. My sister-in-law telling me how dangerous natural was and that she thought I was mad and why put yourself through all that pain for your kids? They are brats anyway, she didn’t do it for her 2, why should I do it for mine? So the only “real” support I got was from my father-in-law, telling me that I had made a great decision, that I’m going to go through hell and back with pain, that I probably would think I’d never survive, but that it was the best for baby. Great support? But I stuck to my decision.

The doctor was “supportive” saying that as long as everything went right she’ll support me, that she thought my MG shouldn’t really influence it, and that natural is better. She also said I should be prepared for a c-section if she decided on it. Great, well I thought at least she’ll let me try.

I asked about a birth plan, and got told there’s no need for it, she knew what to do and if I wanted anything while in birth I could just ask. I asked about childbirth classes and got told, again, there’s no need, my body would know what to do and she’ll be there every step and make all the decisions for me. Besides, hubby didn’t want to because we are both paramedics, what was the use? So, I was VERY unprepared, uninformed, unsupported and scared when I finally went into labour.

We were so looking forward to our due date the 10th of October the year 2010 (10/10/2010, WOW!), so that when my water broke the Tuesday night of 5 October at 23:10 I was really disappointed. Living at my parents house at that stage, due to financial reasons, when my water broke my mom was the first to know. She was ever so excited, telling me that I was just about to meet my new baby boy. She woke my dad and phoned my brother to come babysit our sister while I phoned hubby (he was out on a call to transfer a patient, but would come ASAP to the hospital).

I felt a VERY small contraction in my room at home, only for a moment, nothing more, but was told by my parents not to wait and to rush to the hospital. So we 3 bundled into the car and set of to the hospital. Coming there the nurse quickly checked me and told me that my water had broken, but there were no real contractions yet, but that I wasn’t allowed to go home. My parents weren’t allowed near me. So when hubby arrived finally, I was booked in to the labour and delivery ward, given an enema and told that I wasn’t to get up out of bed AT ALL as my water would leak on the floor and then they’ll have to clean it up. My hubby and parents were sent home and I was told to undress and sleep in a room filled with lights and nurses coming and going all hours to check on me.

Early the next morning my gynae arrived, telling me that she was going to break my waters and get the contractions going and see how far I’ve dilated. I told her my waters have already broken, but she just waved, silencing me, opening my legs and then all a felt was PAIN! A nurse came running in telling her my water have already broken. She didn’t apologized, just stuck her hands in, confirming I was 2cms dilated, telling the nurse to keep checking me every 30min and out she went.

Finally around 7:30 my husband arrived, I have had 2 other exams by then and was in pain form them, but still no contractions. The doctor came again at around 8am my contractions started, they were still very far apart, maybe around 10min, and being tied to the bed I wasn’t making much progress dilating.

My gynae came again at 10am, and as I was by then only 4cm dilated I got told that if I didn’t birth within the next few hours my baby would get severe infections and die. “I” had to make a decision (which ended up being hers anyway) to either get a induction to speed it up or get c-section. I didn’t even know what an induction was or what it entailed! So I got one, rather that than a c-section was my thoughts and my bum was raised with some cushions, to make access to me easier I was told.

Almost immediately the contractions started, forcibly and very painful, I wanted to scream many times, biting my cushion, holding hubby’s hands till they turned blue. By 13:00 I was up to 5cm dilation, but my gynae wasn’t impressed. My contractions were minutes apart and I was in excruciating pain from the induction being on a bed, bum in the air, so I got told that if I didn’t get to 7cm in the next hour it would have to be a c-section, no choice involved. Hubby was told to quickly leave and rush home to eat etc., before it started. So when my gynae arrived back at 14:00 to check me, he wasn’t there. I still remember that last check. It was nightmarish painful and I had nothing to hold onto and the contractions in between!

I didn’t dilate in that hour so it was c-section for me. I was unhooked from the induction, told to go to get up and go to the bathroom and sat up from then onwards as I was rushed to get ready for theater. I was wheeled in at 14:45, lying in the theater rooms waiting for everyone to arrive I suddenly got the urge to push. I told hubby and my gynae as she arrived. She just looked at me, told me that I was going in for c-section and there wasn’t to be any change of minds then.

I was wheeled in at 15:00, got an epidural I didn’t even feel over the pain of the contractions and resisting the urge to push. The epidural was actually a relief. I never felt it go in, but just remember the pain stopped all at once and when I laid back it was so much better! I don’t remember much else as I felt the epidural clouding my mind. I know the gynae asked if I could feel anything while she cut, which I couldn’t and hubby sitting at my head holding my hands that were tied down. The gynae told the nurse and pead to help her to push him out the birth canal as he was stuck. All 3 of them jumping on my chest pushing as hard as they could and then at 15:13 my baby was taken out.

You can see in this picture where the Doctor cut the baby's head.

I heard his first scream, saw him pee all over the gynae, her telling me its a boy and giving him to the pead. I felt this profound relief and then moments later wanted to hold my boy, but the pead had forgotten all about me. I looked at hubby, saw the confusion I felt reflected there, seeing our son weighed and handled by all the nurses and staff and us just sitting there watching. Then the pead turned around and said, “O hell, I forgot all about you!” He was put on my chest, held there by hubby and the pead. I looked at him, wrapped up in blankets, me covered to protect against any splashing and my hands tied.

It was amazing seeing him, knowing he was mine! But it was all wrong! I wanted to breastfeed immediately, wanted to touch and hold him, but told that I couldn’t! Then the gynae told us that he was in her way and to please remove him. The magic was broken, hubby got up and left while our boy was wheeled out in an incubator. I don’t know how much time passed form there. I remember my parents coming telling me he was gorgeous and how proud they were, but I just wanted to touch and hold him and he wasn’t there!

I was moved from recovery to the maternity ward where hubby came to me and told me he loved me and how gorgeous our boy was, but he hadn’t even got to hold him yet. They were holding him for check ups and everything. About an hour later the nurses brought him to us in my room, but he was all wrapped up, but still covered in all the birth. When we asked why and were told they would bathe him later, nothing more. I asked when I could breastfeed, got told later, when someone had time to help me! My boy was sleeping, so I didn’t say anything, but was really upset. When hubby left they removed him from the room to the baby room so I could recoup from the huge operation I just had.

Later that evening around 20:00 the senior nurse came to help me breastfeed him. I was still flat on my back from the epidural, couldn’t move or feel anything, so the nurse told me not to interfere, she’ll do everything I just had to supply the boobs! She was so rough with him, forcing his mouth open, pressing my boobs flat, squeezing his head, hurting him. He cried and cried non stop ,so she later just gave up and cup fed him.

Again he was wheeled out of the room as I was too hurt and disorientated to look after him properly. That night I experienced even worse pain than that from the induction. I was rolled and moved around by the nursing staff and was in huge amounts of pain, nothing seemed to help. I was so disorientated; I can’t remember anything of that night or the next day except the PAIN.

The second night was better. I didn’t want him to sleep in the nursery again, I wanted him with me, skin-to-skin, so I undressed and put him with just his nappy on my chest. He crawled up by himself and latched on and had a great drink for about 5min then fell asleep. The new staff nurse that was there and I was delighted and so happy, we slept like that that night, and just spent bonding time together. He didn’t want to drink the other breast though so I left it at that.

The next morning the lactation consultant freaked out when she heard what I did, I was told not to breastfeed like that again, that I should hold him in a football grip and press him on, no matter if he didn’t want to. I should force him, its my will not his. So she man handled him some more, and from that day he never wanted to latch again, getting hysterical whenever I even tried. By the 3rd day he had only had that one drink and was getting jaundice from not eating, losing weight fast, he was down form 2,75kg to 2,4kg! I was hugely stressed, engorged, uncomfortable and hurting so much/ I was scared and confused and I couldn’t stop crying from worry, neither could he from hunger. That evening my dad bought me my first breast pump and so started 9 and a half months of my pumping journey.

To this very day I still get nightmares from my birth and hubby told me he does as well. It was one of the most traumatic experiences in our lives, something I’ll never forgive the gynae or hospital or the nurses there for. I hope that one day I can have a VBAC to empower me and feel like the woman I was born to be. I love my son to death, but I really wish that for both our sakes his birth could have been so much better if only I had been more informed and the hospital didn’t feel the need for all those unnecessary interventions.

I don’t say that natural is the only way to go, for me it’s better and so much more, because you get so much more from it. Birth is about choices, being able to CHOOSE what YOU want, what’s better for YOU. Not having to be forced into a c-section or what ever birth because someone else wants something from it. I learned later at my 6week check up that my gynae had a vacation planned for 5-10 October and that my birth had robbed her form that, and that’s why she forced me into a c-section. That’s not a birth to remember!

*This was in a private hospital in South Africa. Not all hospitals are like this, but this one had definitely gone beyond the limit. I didn’t realise most of these stuff until much later that what they had done was wrong because of the trauma I had suffered from it. But I hope that through my writing this it will make a difference in someone else’s life and the choices they make.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Shanna January 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

This story makes me sick to my stomach, the medical staff were horrible, NO woman should have to go though something like that when giving birth, and the fact that they cut the baby’s head in the process just makes me cringe! I am so sorry this momma had to go through that.

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Bobbi-lee January 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

I am crying as I read this, how you were robbed of your chance to birth naturally and your chance to bond and breastfeed with your sweet baby. How horrible, I cannot even imagine what you went through. Reading it made me cry and think about my little boy and how it would break my heart if any of that happened to us. I too hope one day you will get the VBAC natural birth you desire and that sweet precious bond with your newborn baby.

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Crowmama January 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

When people dismiss your story tell them to imagine a man having to go through everything you did to get the sperm out to make a baby. Please know that women can have PTSD from birth, and your nightmares sounds like a likely symptom. It is perfectly normal to love your baby, love that he safe and sound, and still be completely traumatized by his birth. If there are postpartum counselors around you, you can talk to them about this, and/or if there is a local chapter of ICAN around(International Cesarean Awareness Network, http://www.ican-online.org/) they can help. You were disrespected, disregarded, and dispensed with by the medical staff. I am sorry you went through this to birth your beautiful son.

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Jesse January 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

Bless You Mama! My heart goes out to you! I feel terrible that you had such a traumatic birth! Your body knew exactly what it needed to do! It’s a shame that you didn’t have more support all around. Your poor hubby, he’s a trooper too. God Bless You and your beautiful baby boy and Here’s to hoping that any subsequent births are much more rewarding and empowering experiences.

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Allie Jean January 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

I am so sorry that your birth experience was so traumatic. I too had a scary c section birth and had frequent nightmares for a long long time after. Time does heal though, and sharing your story will help too, not only for youm but for other moms also. I hope that you can find some peace about it and have a wonderful VBAC someday to help you fully heal.

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Debbie January 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

Oh momma, I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. While reading your story all I could think was “wow, what backwards hospital is this? Enimas? What hospital still does that? Won’t let you leave? Most hospitals here in the states would send you home at that point telling you to check in with your doctor periodically and come in when the contractions are at least 5 minutes apart. Strapping hands down during a csection? *gasps* what cruelty. Cutting the babys head, what a hack doctor. A lactation consultant recommending force feeding? What an idiot”. I personally am not comfortable with homebirth, but if my local hospital was this awfull, I would go for the homebirth next time. Rent a hotel room if you have to. I can’t believe you were adviced not to take child birth classes. To look on the bright side, you sound much stronger and more educated now, if you want more children you will be so prepared, you can do it momma!

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Crystal - Massage Therapist (and newly certified Doula) January 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

First, how long ago was this? I’m really hoping there were some serious changes made to this hospital (including its staff and treatment of birthing women).
Second, I am so sorry your choices were taken from you. Have the ability to choose gives power and a sense of control, so of course having that taken away is traumatic. I too suffer from PTSD (for different reasons) and getting support is the best way to regain that power and sense of control. Whether that be the support of your spouse (which he sounds like a very supportive husband), religious and/or spiritual support, or counseling, we all need that emotional support.
One of the reasons I wanted to become a doula was to empower and inform women in there birthing choices. I am appalled that you were given such treatment. However, I am very impressed and awed by your willingness to try again for a natural VBAC. By already making that choice, you are stronger and more empowered than you may realize.
Good luck to you and your family. :)

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Brianne January 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

This story makes me so unbelievably angry! I hate that this was done to you and I’m so sorry you were robbed of having your birth and breastfeeding be a wonderful, beautiful experience. I hope one day you can have your VBAC and gain some closure on this experience. But you’re so right, there is alot to be said for educating yourself before hand. I don’t even know what to say, and I’m sure there are plenty more stories like this out there. I’m so sorry your family and doctor weren’t more supportive. My mom said with my first that she didn’t think I could do it naturally and I did and she’s never said another word about it. I hope you can heal from this soon, no woman should have to endure what you did, I’m so sorry.

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Svea Boyda-Vikander January 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Leah January 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I had an experience very similar to this. I also was induced and it resulted in an unessesary c section. They did not give me my baby for over an hour later. I learned to be more verbal in what i want!

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Tristan January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

So many hearts go out to you, mama. You are so strong to have endured what you did, what you continue to endure. I hope that this act of writing your story and sharing it does indeed begin a healing you haven’t found yet.

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francesca January 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

My soul aches for you! You are so brave to share your story and your son is lucky to have a mama who cares so deeply and is strong enough to fight against what feels wrong. It seems like your body would have done just fine if given a supported chance- as soon as you were able to incorporate a few comfort measures (movement, changing positions, and peeing) you progressed quickly! I almost wish you had pushed in defiance, but your heartless ob would have probably put you under general. I hope you have access to better care the next time around!

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JessicaD January 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

BWF, I would love to see a post of mama’s whose babies were cut during c/section. I wish more people understand how many times it happens. it is horrible to get your baby and realize he was cut too. BTDT.

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Mrs. BWF January 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I did not realize there were so many. :(

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Brydie January 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

This story has made me feel sad, confused, sick and disappointed.
I cannot believe that this type of treatment can be allowed this day and age. How disgusting is it that, what you wanted was not even heard by the people who should of been supporting you from day one. I am so so sorry that you could not have the birth you wanted and beyond sorry that your little boy was hurt in the process. I really hope that your next birth is all that you dream of! goodluck x

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Stephanie January 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm

My heart goes out to you mamma. May this be the phoenix rising from the ashes experience for you. Like a glass once fired becomes stronger and a truly useful vessel.

Thank you for the inspiration and for using your story with the intention to heal and help.

Induced Birth Rape needs to be outlawed and people prosecuted and made accountable for their abuse and assault especially apon those so very vulnerable.

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nev January 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Sobbing. :C I can’t believe the pain you’ve been through…this is horrendous and so wrong. These people should be banned!

Nev

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Jennifer January 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

When I got to the part where the HORRIBLE LC ruined your breastfeeding relationship, I teared up. I am so, SO sorry you experienced this. At various points during the story, I was actually talking to the screen- “Just say no!” and “Fight back!” :-(

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Jenna January 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I’m so sorry you were robbed of your choices and both you and your baby were treated so badly. I wish you a beautiful, healing birth next time mama!

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Jessica Turner January 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Oh my goodness this just makes me want to cry! These are all the fears I had going into a hospital with an OB, and why I switched to a birthcenter with a midwife. I’m so sorry for the poor mother, going through all of that!

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Olivia January 28, 2012 at 3:37 am

What a strong woman you are! You have come through an experience that noone should have ever had. Despite this, you have NOT sat back and accepted what everyone told you- you have maintained faith in what you know is true. That is true strength and I really admire you.

I hope that you are right, and writing this can help you to heal. I am sure that when you have another birth experience you will heal, and feel empowered- no matter what the birth outcome. You will go in with knowledge and I hope you will find a caregiver who will give you the type of care every woman deserves. When YOU are the decision maker ALONGSIDE your caregiver then even a disappointing decision like CS can still result in a triumphant birth experience.

I am a midwife, and I have to say that your body was trying its best despite all the interference! The fact that you were dilating at all with all that trauma and terror is amazing! What an amazing body you have. My love and best wishes are with you.

THANK YOU for sharing with us- we all need to be strong and protect our rights, and hearing this lets me know how lucky I am and how we need to fight to keep what we have here in New Zealand.

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Allison January 28, 2012 at 4:57 am

I can’t believe this happened in 2010 — the 1950′s maybe, but now? Unbelievable, and I’m so sorry you and your son were treated this way. Thank you so much for sharing your story and raising awareness of what really goes on in maternity care (an oxymoron in your case). I wish you all deep healing and a joyful and empowering second birth (do HypnoBirthing!)

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Jessie Hill January 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

I suspected you were South African from your son’s name, and then as I was reading the SA’isms started appearing that as a fellow South African I easily spotted! What a terrible terrible experience. I cannot believe it. I don’t live in SA now, I live in the US but I would never have thought a private hospital (anywhere) would be so dreadful. I had my own horrible birth experience here (in a public hosp) but your story really moved me – I pray that you just keep moving forward and thank you for sharing your story – it will help you and others to heal. I vowed never to have another child after my exp, but now 5 years later I am almost due….it takes a long time, but time does help. I wish you all the best, and that your pain eventually eases. x

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Lisa January 28, 2012 at 10:29 am

Please tell me there is a way to report doctors and hospitals in South Africa and that you did! It doesn’t sound like they did ANYTHING right…forget just one misjudgment!! :( I am so sorry for what you went through and can only imagine how traumatic that was for you and him. With every paragraph I wanted to yell at my computer realizing all the things they did wrong!! I really hope you have a new doctor…congratulations on your beautiful family and I hope writing your story helped you heal. Again, I am so sorry. :(

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Kathy January 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

Sweetie this is awful! But, understand this. You do not need a vbac to prove you are a woman and don’t let anyone tell you that. What you did need is better care and this is where that hospital and the OB did fail you. But YOU did not fail. On the bright side, your baby is alive and well. I’ve heard enough horror stories from all ends of birth to know that this is ultimately what counts. Thank you for sharing and I hope that writing things down can help some.

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Mistie January 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

What the….??!!! Sorry, all I can think of are expletives. I hope you get your VBAC.

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Rebekah January 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for bravely sharing. For me, when I have shared or written about my painful times the pain eases a little more. And I hope this happens for you too. Keep talking and sharing as you need to. I’m also sorry you were robbed of your choices and both you and your baby were treated so thoughtlessly. I wish you healing. And when the time comes to have another baby, I hope you are able to make the choices that are right for you. Much love x

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Mary January 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. Its a brave step after such an event. I went through a very very similar experience last year with the birth of my first daughter. I am still unable to forgive and let go although i am starting to and i know that it is an important part of the healing process and that i want to deal with the emotional scars before i have another baby. I am determined next time around will be different and that i will give birth the way nature intended.
Thank you again for sharing. There is a definate power in discussing such exepriences with others. I wish you all the best in the future and that your next birth experiences are blessed and natural x

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Mel January 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I hope that the brave writing of, and reliving of this story has helped you. I find it so upsetting that sometimes circumstances, and personality lead to people in a caring profession forget some of the key reasons they do the job they do. Whilst it would never make it ok, I hope that you receive a chance to experience supportive, empowered birth – whether that is csection or VBAC.

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Rachael January 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I’m just so sorry. No one should have a birth like this, where they have to feel helpless, unloved, unsupported. I felt sick reading this. I hope that you’re able to work and get past this experience and the marks it left on your soul.

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Taren January 29, 2012 at 8:14 am

This story makes me so sad. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’ve been blessed with 4 natural childbirths and wonderful doctors and doulas to support me. I wish the best for you next time!

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Janice January 29, 2012 at 8:21 am

I’m so sorry for your birth experience! I just wanted to encourage you regarding the future. I had a slightly similar experience (nowhere near as traumatic as yours, but an unplanned C-section) for my 1st birth. My 2nd birth was a V-BAC, then I had my last 2 at home. The subsequent births were very healing for me. I hope & pray the same for you. :o)

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Surita Carstens January 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

First of thanks so much to all the moms for your support and caring! Wow, I can truely say, reading your comments have really helped me heal and making some very desisive choices. Just to clear some things, my sister was born healthy on 31 July 1998, although totally blue and the uterus was white as it had a HUGE tumour on it, but she is now 13years old, and although she has ADHD because of a lack of o2 is fine. With the support I got from finally writing my story and educating myself I have now made the decision to have an HBAC, have already contacted a midwife who will travel for me for the birth! And I have informed my family that this is my choice and I WILL stand by it. Hubby is also very supportive now as he was so traumatised by what happened himself and do not want the same experience again. Im still having trouble getting a gyn on standby, but if they don’t want to then Im going to do it without any support and if needed Ill go to our local public hospital as they can’t refuse me. The reason for not reporting them is actualy symple, I never realised what they did was wrong for a long time and so never complained in the hospital, and now I really don’t want to put myself through all that trauma 16m later. We have a system to report these things, but its very biased so most don’t have any impact at all. Money talks! Thank you for all the kind words, its appreciated!

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Christine February 1, 2012 at 12:58 am

Ag Surita.
My hart bloei vir jou. Ek bid dat ons Vader in die hemel vir jou en jou gesin sal bless en ten volle heal.
At 1st I did not want to read this story. Fearing it would upset me too much, I was fogging up reading the title. After scanning the words and seeing the last picture I stopped dead in my tracks and sobbed!!! I know this woman!!Surita and I went to school together. This made the story so much more relevant for me. I am now living in NZ and have had 2 wonderful awesomely empowering births. Yes Surita a V/HBAC might not be strictly required for your emotional healing but I would be great. I cannot believe this happened in my country. There are no words

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Amy February 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Oh mama! My heart breaks for what you, your husband and your precious, beautiful son went through. I could never forgive them either – the rage! The anguish! Especially when you’re otherwise a strong and educated person and you *know* that things could have been so different.

My births were a far cry from your personal hell, but still, I wasn’t in control. It was my midwife’s show and we made our choices within the realms of what she ‘allowed’. It has been 7 1/2 years since the birth of my daughter and my healing birth will come in June. It will be on my turf, I’ve done 7 years of reading and I feel empowered just knowing that it will be different this time – knowing I have choices. Having a supportive partner makes all the difference. Your husband has shared in your nightmares, and some time soon I know he will share in your dreams.

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Amy February 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Also, consider borrowing ‘Birthing from Within’ from your local library. I thought I knew it all but this book really helped me – it focuses on the emotional preparation for birth and how our fears and preconceived ideas can shape our experiences. The co-author was working as a L&D nurse when she had her firstborn by unwanted c-section, and it prompted her to wonder what she’d missed in all her time at work. She went on to have her second by HBAC.

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Aubrey February 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I am so sorry you and your precious son went through that abuse. I pray for your healing. You’re a beautiful mama!

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Amy February 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I *almost* had my baby boy in South Africa. This and other horror stories about the private hospitals there are what caused me to fly home to the US at 36 weeks to have him here! I am SO thankful that we chose to not have our precious baby there. I toured 3 hospitals in SA and none of them were even remotely what I would feel comfortable with birthing at, and I had lowered my standards from my first daughter’s birth in the US knowing that SA would not have as nice hospitals. I was very close to having him at our home in SA, but didn’t feel right about that either. The government hospitals were shockingly bad. I didn’t know that such “hospitals” still existed in this world. SA left a very bitter taste in my mouth, not just their healthcare, but that whole country is corrupt and failing and stories like these show just how bad it actually is.

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Amy February 22, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Horrible :[ this makes me so sad. I can’t believe they treated you so poorly. That gyno shouldn’t have been one to begin with! Why get all pissy because you missed some stupid vacation days? ruining someone elses life! ugh! people like that make me so mad. I hope you can have a VBAC too it’ll take a lot of stress off of your mind from that horrible experience :/

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Ncumisa February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

Am I allowed to ask which city in SA & which hospital? I live in Cape Town & would like to avoid THAT gynae & hospital when we have our biological child (daughter is 3 & planning to start ttc soon).
I am glad your son is well & healthy & I’m sorry this happened to you.

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Catherine April 23, 2012 at 3:20 am

I hope that you find peace at the end of this journey. You might not realise it now, but you are already the empowered woman you want to be. One of the hardest things in life is to look back on a moment where you were vulnerable and mistreated, to stand up strong and say “this was not good enough. I/we deserved better.” Not only have you found the courage to do that, but you found the additional courage to do it in public. You can choose to be angry at the morons who pretended to help you, which would be pretty fair, but also remember to thank them for giving you the opportunity to become a tough-as-nails mother who will never take that rubbish again for herself OR for other families. You can now see through so much absurd deception that maybe one day you will be the woman who saves another from this type of experience. The strongest force for social change in this world is an educated woman, and you can be proud of yourself knowing that you and any daughters in your care will be in that category from now on.

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Sar May 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I have no babies yet, but my fiance and I are at that place where we just KNOW that we are finally ready to become parents. Because of that, I’ve been drawn to these kinds of sites… I want information now, rather than wait until I’m pregnant. I’ve always thought I wanted a natural birth, but the natural-ness of it kind of scared me. But after reading this story there is no way in hell I’m going to let someone tell me how to bring my child into this world. Thank you for sharing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Monica May 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I have to ask…..did you sue the hospital and gyn?

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emily June 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Oh I’m so sorry, I cannot imagine how awful that must have been for you! Mine didn’t go the way I wanted (I’m also in SA) and I still get sad when I think about it – but it was Nothing like your experience! It sounds as though the terrible words spoken over you when you were young took root in your life and your belief of them caused that prophecy to be self-fulfilled! I’m glad you have chosen to take charge next time, I’m told that a redo is very healing! Enjoy your babes:)

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Emily June 21, 2012 at 6:22 am

I am heart broken reading this! This is APPALING,! I hope you sued the pants off that hospital. Unbelievable. And this is the exact reason I want to become a doula, to protect women and their choices in labor and birthing!!! Arghh, I’m writhing in anger. Can’t imagine how you felt you poor thing. At least you now have your boy. I hope one day ou get the nice wonderful amazing birth you always wanted!
xx

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stephanie June 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I feel your pain. I also had a c-section and baby daughter was showed to me briefly and then whisked away for TWO HOURS while I was stitched up and then sent to the recovery room alone. In the recovery room there were a few nurses, none of whom spoke with me. I tried to start a conversation with one of them saying that i had just given birth and was so happy …etc.. but was pretty much ignored so I just kept quiet, watching the clock tick away and missing my baby. Thankfully she was with her dad for skin on skin the whole time I was away from her.
When I finally got to see her she latched on straight away thank god, I was so worried we would have issues. I’m happy to say that my second birth was a natural v-bac, though in a hospital setting as well as I was considered “high risk” after having a c-section previously. Next time (if there is one) I plan a home water birth. Blessings to all. xo

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Cheriena December 4, 2012 at 12:43 am

I am so sorry you experienced something so horrible, what an outrage!

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Surita Carstens August 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

A little update:

We had our baby girl Sandra Maria Carstens in a wonderful, healing hospital, midwife assisted WBAC on 18 April 2013! After doing some serious reading I have found out that a HBAC would be dangerous for my baby because of my medical problems as it can influence the baby’s breathing. This we settled for a midwife waterbirth, and it was truly the most amazing experience ever! I am over the moon happy and proud of myself that I have proven everyone wrong after another 30months of being told that after my csection I will never be able to birth a baby naturally!

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nata March 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I don’t really see where you were influenced by your own fears. It’s much more your doctor, hospital and betrayed trust in the health care providers :(

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