no, i didn’t actually take the meeting minutes like I did when I used to work in the human resources dept. of the city so many moons ago. but I did want to follow up on this post about vindication after our experience in Providence hospitals ABC (alternative birth center) unit almost a year ago.
I can say this: they definitely took it seriously. we met with the head nurse, the manager of the ABC and a patient advocate and the head of audiology was supposed to be there but couldn’t make it. they spent a solid hour of time talking with us, apologizing and asking to hear from us about our experience.
and….they said all the right things. everything you could hope for or expect. they validated our feelings and told about the remorse felt by the nurse who treated us so rudely. they insinuated that actions were taken due to our story. they thanked us for coming forward as it gave them clues on how to improve.
yet, do I feel better? on paper, its a closed case. all the I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. these people feel good because they “made it right”. they even guaranteed that if I ever have another birth again, if I come back to the ABC, they will make SURE that the experience is 100% the experience I want, which rubs me a little bit the wrong way. it feels like dirty money. it feels a little like a bribe.
I guess in a sense, my anger and outrage about the situation is somewhat dissipated. but what that leaves behind in its wake, is nothing but sadness. and though anger is surely a more toxic emotion than sadness, anger can feel more empowering and righteous, which is maybe why many people mask other more vulnerable emotions as anger. sadness just feels….sad. and like victimization. helpless. just sad.
and my experience is almost that much more tragic after hearing from them how good most peoples experiences are who use the ABC and how shocked and surprised they were to receive my letter. my case is clearly the exception to the rule. and I’m left feeling like…what just plain bad luck. bad timing. and just a simple miscommunication. and the course of my life and Miles life is forever altered and nothing can change it.
not only was my precious anger taken from me with nothing but pathetic sadness left in its place, but I also saw myself from a more objective perspective and I can tell you I didn’t look all that attractive. in fact, I looked like sort of a whiner. it’s a really unpleasant sensation to have to see yourself in that light. it was in the slightly overdramatic way that they all nodded their heads at me as I told of the audiologist who yelled at my newborn infant. the way that they tilted their heads and widened their eyes as if to say, “wow, I am really, really sympathetic to what you’re telling me right now,” all the while thinking, maybe just a little bit, way in the backs of their heads, “is this lady serious??”
after all, what is there to complain about? I am healthy. my baby is healthy. I had a quick, natural, uncomplicated birth with him a year ago and now he’s a robust and thriving one year old. I mean, c’MON middle class suburban well educated white bread white lady. please tell me MORE about your “unsatisfactory birthing experience”.
so, do I feel better? I can say that I’m glad I gave voice to my story so that it will help families in the future to not have the experience that I had and will perhaps lead the leaders of the ABC down a better more idealistic path in the future. but do I feel better? I feel vindicated to the extent that they did the right thing, professionally, in order to make up for their mistakes. I feel at least in this case, respected. and I really do appreciate the time they took to speak with us. that was a very human thing to do.
but as I said before, nothing can change the past. it will always be what it was. the story can never change.