Posted by: Joan Spiller | September 17, 2011

The most awful experience of my life..

Giving birth, that is! Ugh, anyone who says it’s a beautiful or fabulous experience is either lying or was on drugs! It’s a horrible thing to do.

Anyway, so my diary for 27 Sept 1988 goes like this:

Today was one heck of a day. Went to Dr’s and he put some needles into me (acupuncture, to bring on labour without drugs) after 20 minutes I was having contractions every 3 minutes, for 30-40 seconds!

Went home but went to Waitakere at noon. Barely dilated at all. But contractions are so severe and helluva-painful! All the pain was in my back, luckily I had a student nurse assigned to me. She spent the afternoon applying hot towels and saying sympathetic things.

I tried a hot spa. THAT was an experience not to be repeated. Seems like a good idea in concept, I know. But when a contraction hits you like a train at high speed you kind of go into spasms and don’t think of hanging onto the sides of the spa bath.

I floundered and sank .. not before swallowing half the bloody bath water tho. We gave that idea up PDQ.

1st midwife was lovely. She finished her shift and a real bag of a woman came on. Very rough and impatient. I was really struggling thru the contractions by late evening. 24 hours had passed and nothing was happening! WHERE IS THIS BABY?

Doctor Hilton came by in the late evening and gave me some more acupuncture which helped a lot but the needles went into my sides and I kept banging them as I moved about when a contraction would hit so they had to go.

Eventually, we opted for some pethedine injections (2) but they didn’t do anything except bruise my leg. Are we there yet? I was pretty over it by this time. Exhausted, sore and just not enjoying anything! He said this was one of the worst labours he’d seen, the intensity of the contractions and the lack of progress!

Finally we decided to go to St Helen’s for an epidural. Well, we tried to. B followed the ambulance and we arrived at the doors to the birthing unit but were told we couldn’t come in with our own team of Doctors.

(As an aside: My Dr was into natural remedies where possible and this was not something the main stream hospital staff were happy with AT all. Back in those days, Drs were god. Nurses 2nd in charge – you did as you were jolly well told and had no rights to speak of.)

So, there we are I’m in agony, crying to be let into the hospital but they don’t want me to come in if John (Dr) comes with me. They explain they have their own team of Doctors and I should use one of them.

I explained (perhaps not as politely as I might have done, normally) that I’d not spent 9 bloody months getting to know THIS ob-gyn only to have some random stranger do the deed.


How did we resolve this wee situation? I sorted it .. Very simply too!

I asked to use their phone in the foyer. They kindly let me – whilst standing watch, to make sure John and my entourage didn’t sneak in.

Imagine their dismay as I dialled the local newspaper and asked them if they’d be interested in photographing me give birth on the steps of the hospital as I wasn’t being allowed in..

Amazingly, we were all allowed in (not the reporters..) shortly thereafter .. And then the fun really began.



  1. Jesus Christ… how awful for you. Just don’t mess with Joan huh!


    • It’s kinda funny (now, anyway) but at the time, yeah it was pretty upsetting.. Oh you meant the not being let in? I meant the giving birth thing .. grins


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