By Judith Trustone
Recently, I welcomed my sixth great grandchild, Ellieana with another due in March. She didn’t arrive easily—her mom, Emily, 17, had a very tough time. She became eclamptic and her blood pressure shot up. Finally, after a long, painful labor she ended up with a C section and two transfusions due to the excessive blood loss. Two days later, they came home, due to COVID.
This of course brought me back to my first child when I was also 17. I too had eclampsia and convulsions and after a long, 24-hour labor, finally gave birth the next day—though I remembered nothing after midnight. They used ether during delivery, so when I finally woke up I had to ask the nurse what I’d had and how the baby was. These were the days before gender reveal parties. We named him Steve.
When I got to the hospital (my first visit since I was three), the nurse helping me said, “All right honey, you’ve had your fun, now you’re going to pay for it.” What a difference from today. One of my other granddaughters is a labor and delivery nurse, where individual patients each get their own personal nurse.
I think it’s time to call childbirth what it can be, especially for me and my granddaughter, something that acknowledges that these traumatic events are not normal. Yes, we used to die, but when it comes to childbirth, we need to consider the trauma, and offer PTSD post-partum treatment to women who need it.