Lately, going back and forth within my memories of pregnancy, labor and birth, I dwelled on few pieces of memories I wasn't able to mix with the others.
The memory of the team of doctors starting the night shift getting my hand-over and one vaginal examination in particular.
They are both grouped under the name of 'obstetrical violence' , one in particular is categorized as 'missed-consent'.
Often subject of study during my midwifery course, I finally understood the impact it can have long term on patients. Despite I had the advantage to understand the procedures I was going through, those two memories keep coming on my mind and those intrusive memories makes me feel physically sick.
The doctors coming is as a group, opening the door without knocking, talking with each other at my bed side about my 'case', while I was shivering with high temperature and dehydrated by 18 hours labor and diarrhea. They finally tell me they are going to do the last attempt for the day with another prostaglandins suppository and we would have just to wait and see.
I tell them I have high temperature and I feel dehydrated, maybe I should drink something? Can somebody check my temperature? (I was fasting since lunch and nobody checked either my blood pressure or temperature since the morning I arrived).
I added, the thing that really makes me feel so sick is diarrhea.
Two doctors giggled, covering their faces and whispering to each other.
They were mocking me. I dared to say diarrhea. I didn't use the word dysentery. I should feel ashamed. If I dared to speak to them I had to use their vocabulary.
'Oh the temperature is actually not a side effect from the prostaglandins, well, we are going to check it. And keep fasting just in case.'
'Isn't dehydration an issue for women during labor here?' shocked.
'No no, keep fasting. In case we'll do a bag of IV fluids to you. Just tell me when you need it.' I should tell them when I need it. Great. DIY hospital.
They left the room, left the door open.
They make me feel dirty, a baby with no rights to talk, be informed even less to choose anything for himself.
The same doctors who giggled came into the room with the same fashion. They arrived after 1 hour I broke my waters at 5 am. They didn't speak, didn't ask, they were pissed my mum woke them up to tell them I broke my waters! The man checked my pad and without asking he put his fingers violently inside my vagina. He pressed and pressed on my cervix, not caring about me screaming in pain and telling him to stop. I pushed his hand away and he raised his voice against me 'come on, I have to check this'. Soon after talking he removed his fingers took his gloves off and left quickly. The door was left open. No words were said about his finding, I gave no consent, I told him to stop. I felt like being raped. My pain increased, I couldn't make it anymore I was thinking, I puked gastric acids. I wanted to die.
I am thinking at the pedophile who chased me and kept palpating my ass in the tram when I was 10. If they would have caught him they would have kicked his ass.
I am thinking at the doctor who used his medical power and put his fingers inside, angry. They see this everyday, he does it everyday. So many doctors, nurse, midwives do it everyday. And it doesn't matter.
I am thinking about me and my memories. Women and their memories.
Violence stays written in your brain, sometimes in places it should never be.
Ida Saoirse Scherer,
our first baby girl, who was born and died at 16+5 weeks on the 30th November 2017.
Resources about Termination for Medical Reasons
Sister-friend Emily writing for her first son Amari Regan (Fragile X Syndrome)
Katrina's blog for her second daughter April Rey (Trisomy 13)