I cannot suggest strongly enough how critically important it is for survivors of severe infant-child abuse to gather as much information as they possibly can about the circumstances surrounding their birth. I understand the obscuring clouds of time most often hinder a search as important as this one is, but ALWAYS TRY your HARDEST to learn what happened to you and to your mother while you were being born.
All such survivors who were born in America prior to the 1970s need to take a look at the online information related to this footnote being written for my book containing my own severe infant-child abuse history. Please Google search the terms “Twilight Sleep” with and/or without the added term of “childbirth.” This is especially important for any survivor of severe abuse perpetrated by a Borderline Personality Disorder mother!
In my case the psychotic break Mother experienced during her long and difficult labor with breech-birth me was so profound as to be almost unbelievable. But it was REAL, and created such a hell of a reality as to obliterate true reality from my mother’s mind. She absolutely believed that I was not human, that I was the tool of the devil, the devil’s child sent to kill her while I was being born. Because we both survived the birth she believed until her death in 2002 that the devil sent me to kill her and I failed, but ever after I was a ‘curse upon’ her life.
I believe Mother’s fear that ‘the devil was coming to get her’ originated in terrorist threats made to her in connection to abuse in her childhood. This fear turned into a reality in Mother’s mind during her delivery of me that lasted until her death.
My footnote about my birth currently reads in its unedited format:
In 2006 as I began to research the truth of what happened to me in consequence of Mother’s severe abuse of me I eventually discovered that Mother most likely suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a mental health diagnostic category that was first defined in 1984. I can clearly see in my mind’s eye a sentence at the top of one book’s top left page in which the psychiatrist author noted that his sister had always believed that their Mother’s BPD psychotic break was caused by the administration to her during labor of a drug referred to as Twilight Sleep. I cannot remember the title of this book but those words resonated powerfully with me.
The Queen of Angels Hospital where I was born no longer exists. The building was purchased in 1996 and now holds The Dream Center, a Pentecostal Christian Church mission that services the needs of the homeless. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is the surviving facility last connected to Queen of Angels Hospital.
In a recent telephone conversation with an anesthesiologist in their labor and delivery center I was recently told that it is impossible to find any information pertaining to my birth. When I questioned him about the possibility that Mother suffered a psychotic BPD break because she was given Twilight Sleep during her long and difficult breech delivery of me, this person told me that should any physician consider the risk of any drug’s side effects nobody could possibly administer any drug on the market.
This professional told me that there is always a 3% to 5% that a laboring mother will suffer such a devastating reaction to the birth of her child with or without complications caused by anesthesia. Most mothers, he told me, eventually recover without harm to the infant. I assured him such was not the case with my mother and that I suffered horrendous abuse for 18 years in consequence of the damage that happened to Mother’s mind in Queen of Angels Hospital.
That the use of Twilight Sleep blighted the history of childbirth in America through the 1970s was itself a consequence of well-intentioned efforts by early American suffragettes to bring so-called painless childbirth to every American woman. Around 1915 a group of educated women of means had traveled to Germany to visit a friend who delivered a baby under this new ‘miracle drug’ while they were with her. Back in America these women fought long and hard against the resistance of ‘the white male American medical profession’ to successfully get the painless childbirth option into America’s medical mainstream.
Twilight Sleep, a combination of an opium debilitative that induced hallucinations without loss of consciousness and a derivative of Night Shade that induced amnesia (combination of morphine and scopolamine), often interfered with mother-infant bonding even in healthy women. Babies born under its influence often experienced respiratory distress, many of them needing resuscitation. In fact, although Mother never once mentioned or expressed concern about what her labor with me did to her infant, it is very possible that if this drug was used on Mother I was born dead as a result.
At its origins in Germany Twilight Sleep was administered only by an attending physician during labor, in exact dosages carefully given according to specific stages of labor. Fears about its misuse in the American medical community were eventually proved valid as over-burdened nurses overdosed their patients in direct contradiction to its proper use. In larger hospital labor rooms patients were lined up in their beds like sardines in a can, confined to their beds by large leather straps in beds lined up along walls (the worst thing to do to a Borderline mother). I can imagine horrific screaming mayhem in these rooms and in the experience of many if not most of these laboring mothers. In a hospital like Queen of Angels, where the husbands were forbidden to see their wives during labor, I can imagine a hell worse than hell existed under these conditions.
To make a long but important story short in this regard, I highly suspect this drug was used on Mother and me during my birthing although I will never be able to prove it. If this drug was used in my deliver the devastating implications of its use in my case are obvious. Yes, Mother could have had the same reaction during her hard labor without this drug, but in any event I suffered severe abuse for 18 years from whatever broke my mother during her delivery of me.
Answers to many questions – found at this post:
I need to return to the book writing!! Lots to read at this link above in the meantime!!!! Please also click through the months’ of posts connected to the archive links on the right side of this blog. This blog’s top search bar can also be used to locate posts with topic related to child abuse and the Trauma Altered Development it causes in its survivors.