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dealing with disapointment in how dh handled labour/birth

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello,

First let me begin by saying that I know that on the scale of birth trauma, mine is not really all that bad, and while hard for me to deal with, I know that other moms out there have had to go through far worse. My thoughts are with those mamas out there.

This is a long post-my apologies but I have no where else to turn with this and from reading posts on these message boards, it seems like a supportive place.

I gave birth 5 months ago to my beautiful DD. I have been working through the events of her birth and trying to heal the emotional wounds it has left me with. Thankfully my physical wounds have pretty much healed. Her birth did not go as I had wanted (I had wanted a natural birth, as intervention free as possible) but I ended up with an epidural and when my baby was born, I didn't even get to see her, she was whisked off to a warming table and poked and proded by nurses. I got to hold her the first time after she was all cleaned off and bundled up. 1/2 hour or so after her birth. I have come to terms with that. Ultimately I am thankful that they were so quick to check and make sure my daughter was ok. She had a shoulder dystocia, had a strong odour and fever at birth, but within 1 hour was normal temp and fine.

The thing that I am struggling the most with is how much my dh let me down during the labour and birth. We hag discussed before how important it was for me to have a natural birth, and he claimed to be on board with it. I signed us up for prenatal classes and was ready to be ready for this baby. I knew though that I would not be able to do it naturally alone, I would need his support. Well when it came time for the prenatal classes it turned into a HUGE argument. He didn't want to go and do them, and he went on about why did I want to do them anyways, why couldn't we just do the research ourselves online? And going on about how we shouldn't have to take classes, we would just figure it out between us and that was what natural labour is all about....Anyways, we didn't end up going because I was tired of arguing and he was being completely irrational and I knew I would never get through to him. I know now that I should have just gone by myself but I didn't feel comfortable going by myself at that time.
We had planned that my mom would also attend the birth, maybe not be there for all of it, but be in the hospital in case I felt that I needed her ( he has delivered 2 babies naturally so she would have a better knowledge of how to cope with it. When it came time to call her, when I was already in labour and at the hospital, he at first put it off, then after I was in the tub and REALLY in labour, he tells me he's not comfortable with her being there and that he didn't want to call her. At this point I am in no position to argue, as I am in contracting very frequently and was so shocked that he would do this to me now.

Then when I am around 7 cm dialated, he looks at me between contractions and complains about how TIRED HE IS.

Where I am having trouble is that I had counted on him to be there for me. I agreed that if he wasn't comfortable taking the classes then he could do the research for labour coaching and positions and educate himself so when it came time he could support me the way I needed. I was clear with him about what kind of support I wanted and needed for the birth- and he did none of it. His only labour coaching was- deep breaths. just take deeps breaths. I ended up with an epidural and fentanol not because I couldn't do it, but because when I was tired, hitting transition, and needed my support person to provide me with encouragement, strength and comfort all I found was a man complaining about how tired he was. I gave up then because I felt I had no one. And I had no one else to turn to because he wasn't comfortable having anyone else there. And because I got the epidural I was exposed to emotional ugliness from the nurse and anestigiologist.
Right after delivery, instead of making sure I was ok and making sure that I got to be with my daughter, he sat in a chair and sent messages to his family that the baby was here. It could have waited until later. There were more important things he should have been doing

I counted on him to protect my birth space, and me. To lift me up and labour with me in what was supposed to be our greatest moment as a couple. Instead it had left me angry with him, shocked by the profoundness of his selfishness and completely wrecked my trust in him.

Everything else that happened I can get over. I know now what I need to do if I ever have another baby to ensure that if at all possible I can have the birth experience I had wanted the first time around. My daughters birth has shown me that I can count on no one's strength or word but my own. And that is a lesson that I will take in being a mother to her. She has shown me through her birth that sometimes, it is necessary to not be a peacemaker and try to please other people but to stand up for what you know is right for you and what you need. I will carry this lesson and it will make me a better mother for my little girl. Because of this, I can find some peace in knowing that things happened exactly as they did in order to make me the mother I need to be.

But I am at a loss as to how to heal the emotional wounds caused by my dh and his actions/inactions during the labour and birth. In the end I will never see the nurse or anestegiologist again so I can rest assured that they will never again have the opportunity to hurt me or my birth space. But with dh it is different, I see him everyday, and of I ever have more kids, they will be his, so what do I do? How do I bring healing to this part of my birth trauma,

But I don't know how to move forward with my dh. How do I heal what feels like this betrayal?

Thanks for letting me vent, it feels better just to have it out there in some capacity as I haven't been able to talk to anyone about it since the birth.

TIA for any advice, or words of wisdom
post #2 of 22
i'm really sorry you were let down by someone important to you. i too would feel hurt and disappointed by my husband if he behaved in that way. hugs!

does he know how you feel? have you ever talked about it at all? if yes, how did he respond?

personally, i am the kind of person that would either need individual or couple counseling to overcome my disappointment. otherwise, i would let it fester and grow to resent him in other unrelated aspects of our marriage. perhaps that's an option for you.

in the future, it sounds like you would benefit greatly from a doula. i know that's what role your mom could have served for you, but perhaps a paid doula would still be a benefit to you and someone your husband is comfortable having in your birth space. imho, if he's not willing to give you the support you need, his opinion on who he does or doesn't want in the room doesn't matter.

hugs again!
post #3 of 22
Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that your birthing didn't go as you had planned. Not having a truly supportive person there with you probably did contribute to the epidural etc.

Although your dh isn't coming across as the greatest guy on earth, I do kinda get where he was coming from in a way. I think there are a lot of men out there that don't want to be part of the birth at all. My husband is one of them. I'm pregnant for the second time and he will not be there for the birth. He wasn't there for the birth of our oldest because he told me fairly early on in my pregnancy that he didn't want to be there. At the time I was shocked (I just kind of assumed that men these days are there with their wives) but when I asked around, it was clear to me that a lot of men don't want to be there and are only there because modern day women often assume they SHOULD be there.

No matter what, you need to talk this out with him. I don't think he acted appropriately at all at the hospital but it could be that he didn't know HOW to act. Men can be unbelievably clueless when it comes to being supportive - which is why I didn't and am not going to count on mine to be my support person when I go into labour for the second time. My sister will be there for me and I'm sure she will be a zillion times better than my husband could possibly hope to be on his best day. He is an awesome father but I realize that he can't be everything for me all of the time - especially when I'm giving birth.
post #4 of 22
I agree a lot with the PPs. Some guys just aren't made for this. And it sounds to me that your husband did give you some indication that was the case with his reluctance to participate in the preparation process.

My husband is lousy labor support. With DS1, he went to sleep. I was strapped to the bed with monitors, and I couldn't get up to shake him awake. I tried calling to him to wake up, but it didn't work, and it was nighttime and I didn't want to be yelling in the hospital. So I labored on my own, in pain, strapped to the bed while he slept. It was definitely a huge disappointment.

With DS2, I really had very low expectations. I just told him I didn't want him to leave the room, and that he needed to speak for me in certain situations, and they were VERY specific and all related to once the baby was born(no bottles, no pacifiers, don't take baby anywhere without a parent, etc.). He has no problem with things like that, but I knew he wasn't going to be rubbing my back or doing anything along those lines.

It is also important to note that my husband is, as a rule, not at all empathetic. He is not a comforter, he doesn't "see" what other people need, he's just not wired that way at all. So I don't expect it from him, even during an extreme situation like birth or illness. He just can't do it.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I don't think that dh did anything on purpose. I think that he thought he was prepared and could handle it but now we realize he couldn't. we've talked about the birth some, mostly me talking about my feelings about what happened. During that conversation he said that he had wanted to talk about the birth for a while, and that there were mistakes that he made and things that happened that he wished he could change.
The thing is that I don't know how to really express my disappointment with how he handled things because he really does want to be that support person.And I want to encourage him to be able to handle things the right way next time. I just think that he was caught off guard by it all. I don't think he thought that seeing me in that much pain would affect him so much. He obviously missed the memo about not complaining to a labouring woman I don't think that he did anything on purpose or with ill intent, and as much as I saw it as being selfish, I think that he was just totally overwhelmed by the whole thing. He says himself that it didn't really hit him that I was ever pregnant until she was out and the umbilical cord was going from me to her still. He said that it was then that it all hit him at once, the pregnancy, the birth and that he was a father. I think that he was just so caught up in all his stuff that he didn't even realize that he wasn't being there for me like I needed him to be.

I'm going to have to talk more about it with him I know. I think the main point that I am going to try and get across is that the best support people give the labouring mother what she needs, and if they can't give that themselves, then they need to open the space for someone who can provide that support. It doesn't take away from their importance, it just shows that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that the labouring woman has what she needs.

I think we both learned a lot with our first birth and will take those lessons and apply them for the next one.

Thanks for letting me vent. It has helped me put some perspective on things.
post #6 of 22
I would advise some very short-term counseling to make yourself heard. I would also advise a doula for next time. And then, I would work in your own head about acknowledging your pain on this, b/c I know that the times that dh really hurt me, and I thought I needed him to get it and apologize, it wasn't the case - what really healed me was acknowledging it myself.
post #7 of 22
Another vote for therapy here. I had a terrible time trying to get through to my dh about what happened, until he came to therapy with me. Though I don't think what I was saying there was any different he finally seemed to get it.
post #8 of 22
First of all, , I'm sorry you had a disappointing birth experience.

It sounds like your husband is willing to talk about it. If he is willing, I also recommend some short-term counseling. If he's not into it, maybe explain to him that it's not about blaming him (which a good therapist won't let you do anyway), but for you to work through your feelings so you can be clear in your feelings towards him because you DON'T want to harbor ill-will towards him. And that it can help you both get to a place where, if you have another baby, you can both feel comfortable and get what you need in the birth experience.

I also recommend hiring a doula next time. One part of a doula's work is to also be there for the partner, and take some of the weight off of them. As a PP said, it can be harrowing and shocking for even the most supportive partner to have to watch his woman go through such pain. My hubby was very supportive through my long and difficult birth, but even he broke down in tears at one point in the throes of it all, because he felt so helpless and so sorry to have to see me suffer like I did. Maybe if you express understanding of how hard it obviously was for him (not to let him off the hook, just to have some understanding), and let him know that talking about it with a neutral third party (a counselor) could help him feel better about it too.

Best of luck to you, I truly hope you can get to a healing place with this.
post #9 of 22
Talk about it, and counseling cannot hurt if he agrees to it. I completely understand that some men just are no good labor support persons. But he has to learn how you feel and how is behavior affects you still, to work it out. Next time, get a doula.
DH was sort of similar, not doing classes, let's skip that part and do the research online. He didn't read any book or article since I told him everything he felt that was preperation enough. I wanted a doula but he swore up and down he'll be able to handle it. As he freely admits now, he wasn't able to deal with it. It wasn't so much that he didn't want to be there, he wanted to stay by my side, but felt helpless and useless. He didn't support me with changing positions. He didn't remind me of getting rid of the monitors and more or less I ended up with continuous fetal monitoring. He was scared out of his mind, poor guy, I have to admit, he was more scared than I was in pain I guess. He didn't stop me from getting Stadol, which was horrible. All those things I could forgive right away as I should have insisted on the doula, I feel for him that way and understand it.
The part that bugged me for the longest time is when I was pushing for 2.5 hours and not allowed to be upright. I was crying and begging, and all he did was holding my hands while the nurse pushed me down. Yes, he was crying to and thought I was on the verge of death, but still, he KNEW how important the upright position was to me (I was in mega pain with back labor, but pushing I wasn't, I don't get why he was so worked up). He is really sorry now and fully acknowledges that he doesn't cut it as a doula... So this time, we are at a birthing center, and if we risk out or have to transfer, we have an on-call doula system available to us...
post #10 of 22
hi

I can relate to a lot of your story. My DH was awful for most of my births, or if he wasn't completely awful, he was partially awful. No "togetherness," not support, no understanding. This is not 100% true for every second of every birth but 50-90% true for the ones he attended.

The worst was my homebirth. He just disappeared. Was on his laptop/ watching TV downstairs while I labored in the tub. And yes, HE complained about how tired HE was and that HIS back hurt (supposedly from moving boxes earlier that day....).

He is such a terrible birth partner that I didn't even want him around for my last two births. I went to the hospital with a friend one time, and the second time I went alone. I told the nurses DH was away on business and trying to get to the hospital as fast as he could.

DH is a good provider and not a bad guy, but he just is not labor partner material. I think this is true for many guys. Some men can "be there" physically and emotionally, some just can't. Remember that in many cultures, for many centuries, men weren't even allowed near birthing women-- probably because they acted like jerks and inhibited the process! My DH sure did. My birth where I was alone (other than the nurses going in and out of the room) was my most peaceful birth.

Anyway I hope this helps you-- recognizing that your DH probably is not labor partner material, and probably never will be. It's not something that comes naturally to a lot of guys. If you watch birth shows on TV, you can see that a lot of the guys really do not want to be there. It's not that they don't love their wives, it's just that the experience is too scary/ whatever for them.

If your DH doesn't act like this-- selfish and deceptive-- otherwise, then I think you can just chalk it up to him being a bad labor partner. Don't have any expectations for him next time. If you have a close female friend bring her, or hire a doula you feel emotionally safe with. And consider leaving DH out of the process completely if it makes you feel safer.
post #11 of 22
I don't have much sympathy door your DH. He wanted to be your support, but then did nothing to prepare himself? That's like saying I want to fly a plane, and then just climbing into the pilot's seat mid-flight! I think you have every right to be disappointed in his behavior.

That said, I don't think you should automatically assume he can't improve. Next time, you can do the classes together, read, research and prepare together. His support can be plan A, but you can also have planB in place just in case. That could be your mom, a friend, or a doula. DH also has to be willing to go get that person for you the first time you ask. Labor and delivery is first and foremost about the laboring mama. The feelings of the partner come in second place.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunarlady View Post
That said, I don't think you should automatically assume he can't improve. Next time, you can do the classes together, read, research and prepare together. His support can be plan A, but you can also have planB in place just in case. That could be your mom, a friend, or a doula. DH also has to be willing to go get that person for you the first time you ask. Labor and delivery is first and foremost about the laboring mama. The feelings of the partner come in second place.
She had a Plan B, just her DH vetoed it when it was too late for her to do anything about it herself.

Personally I would not make him Plan A again. That's seperate from forgiving him; I think he's already shown quite well that he will not be an adequate support. Even if he refrains from making a lot of "mistakes" next time, I don't see how it would be realistic to expect "good" support from him.
post #13 of 22
If I attempt a VBAC next time I have a baby, I am considering not having DH there, because he likes things to be predictable and under control. He wants me to have another c-section.

I think my DH would be similar in a birth situation. Anytime I looked in distress, he would beg me to have a c-section instead of supporting me through it. I agree with the above, if he is a decent man in all other situations, I would just chalk it up to being a bad labor partner. I would much rather my mom be there. I dont mind calling DH when its all over. There is nothing wrong with not having your DH there. Its much better to have someone you know will be there and support your decision.

I tried talking about a VBAC with DH and he does not want to hear about it until I am pregnant.
post #14 of 22
I second what Frugalmom says.. I too have a husband that just isnt present with me during the birthing process... I have learned along the way, ( 5 births now) that my husband is best kept busy doing stuff I have told him he needs to do..
post #15 of 22
I'm so sorry. Labor and those first few days are so charged that anything that happens is magnified. I think many a marriage is wrecked or permanently altered in some way during this precious and crazy time. It seems like a very good sign that he acknowledged that he made mistakes. That shows hope to me. I second (or third or sixth) getting a doula next time. I had one and I think that that took a lot of pressure off of DH and he was better than he would have been otherwise.
post #16 of 22
There's absolutely no excuse for the way your DH treated you, it was incredibly selfish and insensitive and downright immature. If he really had all those issues (and it wasn't just laziness), he should have enough sense in his head to have said "sorry, I can't do this" and removed himself from the situation. That's really NOT too much to expect. It's not like you weren't clear on what you wanted and needed from him so DO hold him to that, did he not agree to what you wanted???

I've had 2 births with 2 different partners. Neither of them were into the whole supportive partner role. I divorced my XH because of how awful he was to me during DS's birth. He pulled the "let's do internet research!" card and I gave him tons upon tons of links that he never read and then lied about reading. Then I'm in labor (the intent was to UC) and he's playing video games and yelling at me about splashing water out of the bath tub. My labor space was violated and I didn't cope well with contractions and he didn't cope well with me screaming and needing physical support and said to me "Why don't you just go to the hospital and get the f***ing epidural already!?" with a COMIC BOOK in his lap and his fingers jammed in his ears. I also had the misfortune of being birth raped by the OB who "treated" me at the hospital. The whole experience forced me to wake up to the fact that my XH was severely emotionally abusive and divorcing him was the smartest thing I ever did.

Now onto DD's birth with DP. DP made it clear from the beginning that he's old fashioned and would be quite content not even witnessing our child's birth. I felt like I needed someone to be able to offer support just in case (transferring to the hospital again was NOT an option) so we hired a midwife. I had to do a lot of soul searching, knowing that DP wouldn't be able to support me and I wasn't comfortable with anyone else providing that deep level of emotional support. I was able to find the right head space and essentially had a beautiful solo UC. I don't think I would've been able to have such a perfect birth experience if DP hadn't been upfront and honest with me from the beginning. I did wind up convincing him to at least witness DD's birth and that was almost too much for him-he fainted! He was glad he did though and I'm glad I didn't rely on him.

I've had it both ways with partners who are simply not into being labor support persons. For the record, DP and I are horrible at communicating with each other. DD's birth was just that important to me and I was so emotionally vested as to make it a priority that DP and I would be clear on how labor and birth would go. I'm not trying to cheapen your experience or say that it would've been fine if you'd just done xyz because that's not it at all, it really did take a lot of work in my case and I was constantly policing DP about whatever was bothering me at any given moment while pregnant. It's what needed to happen in our very individual situation. It wasn't just me who walked away satisfied either, he's constantly bragging to people about how his DD was a home water birth and detailing exactly how he helped out (he cleaned up afterwards!).

It does sound like you and your DH have some issues. I think you need to set some time aside for a serious heart-to-heart. Acknowledge to him any feelings of hurt/depression/anxiety/trauma/etc that were caused directly or indirectly by his actions/inactions. If you need therapy or counseling, get it. There is and was no excuse for his comments towards you and you deserve an apology.

On the other hand (this is an after thought), I think it might also be worth considering how many men feel during the birth of their children. They're expected to be clueless and are often humiliated themselves. Like when they're told to mind their partner's heads for fear they'll faint when they see the birds-eye view. Or bullied to cut the cord when they don't want to.

It's been a while since you started this thread and I do sincerely hope things are being worked out.
post #17 of 22
I totally know how you feel about being disappointed with how DH handled the birth.

My worst fear during labor, which I identified very early on while I was pregnant, was that decisions would be made for me and I would be too vulnerable to stand up for myself. And, that's exactly what happened.

I had a midwife who had to induce me with cervadil and then monitored me completely from an office down the hall. She told me that I wasn't progressing, I was being dramatic, and that I needed to get a grip. She was not there during most of my labor and the nurses who came in kept doing horrible interventions like giving me an IV. My midwife came to me after I was in active labor for about 16 hours and told me I wasn't progressing and that I would need pitocin... and an epidural because I wasn't handling the pain well. She didn't bother checking me because the machines told her I wasn't progressing. And when did she have this conversation with me? When my husband decided he was going to sleep for an hour. I was in so much pain and was so disappointed with myself for not being able to handle the pain.

Well, it turned out that there was a reason I was in so much pain... I was 9.5 cm dilated. My midwife checked me to see how I was progressing so she knew what dose of pitocin to give me... and she did this right after I got the epidural. Like, 10 seconds after. Not before. And, I ended up not needing the pitocin.

And, my husband was asleep during all this. I was so devastated and sad.

I don't have any words of wisdom to share with you. I don't think I've fully recovered from my birth experience. I was made to feel helpless and weak by everyone, and my parents insisted on being there during the birth, which just made it that much more horrible.

Does your DH know how much this meant to you? Does he realize you are still affected?
post #18 of 22

Hi

I'had similar experience with my DH.

For my DD, I give him a 7 on ten for his support. I was not sure at all that I wanted him to watch the baby coming out. He did anyway. Then he took a lot pictures of me and the baby (50). I didn't mind the pictures of the baby, but after the epidurale, received half an hour before birth, I did not want any pictures of me being in a sleepy-awake dizzzy stage!dizzy.gif But when the baby needed a warm up he accepted to take her skin-to-skin for an hour. That's the picture I like the most...joy.gifI guess the doula took it. But I have trauma from the induced labor. The first three hours were awful...that's the time it took for my doula to be by my side. I would like to say that he did very little to find me food after I gave birth. I have very serious intolerance to all dairy products, and nobody in there knew if there was any in the meal...I waited 36 hours for the nutritionnist to answer that single question...with only juice and apples to sustain me ! They decided to give me a steak just few hours before I left to go home.

 

For my DS, I give my DH a 5 on ten. Reading, sleeping most of the time saying that he was tired. He had 5 to 6 hours of good night sleep,'til I started to request loudly, for the anasthesist. Then he came by my side and asked me to be courageous, that I could do it without the epidurale. That time the induced labor was from a different kind of drug, and the pain raised suddenly, awfully, surprisingly,after a 6 to 7 hours of almost pain free contractions (I had a doula from the beginning). Also, I didn't want to see my mother-in-law in the hospital. He went home and picked-up her and came back with her and my daughter. But that time he cared for me, he bought a lot, lot of food just in case. yummy.gif

 

When I think of it, I realize that he was a good father right from the moment he 'd cut the cord. But as a husband, I really wish a more suportive one.

 

Last week, I started a therapy with a psychologist, skilled and experienced in trauma in pregnancy and birthing and infertility.

My last December miscarriage, was challenging and overwhelming...Plus,I can't forget and forgive the treatment I received at the Ultrasounds, before they rushed me to an induced labor, first time with a big lie, last time ignoring my request for a morning appointement ( I knew my baby was sleeping every single  afternoon in my womb ) I found my experience in the hospital one of violence. Not to say that I was so, so , so desappointed by the difficult, almost impossible, access to a midwife, not because my pregnancy was abnormal, but because my babies were summer's babies and half of the midwives would be away!

 

Hey! is anyone knows why we can find a bunch of studies, trials, on prenat, too soon babies, and not a single researcher have yet study the 41 weeks pregnancies? Is it possible to plan a regular 39 weeks pregnancy, or there's nothing we can do about it?

 

I love to read your post.

post #19 of 22

I understand you and share your feelings. I'm still sad after all these years, refusing the induced labor and the failure to accomplish it without any drugs. Humiliated...I feel that, the doctors in my case, wanted to swip or to stole the mystery of birth. It was all right for me not to understand everything . In my womb, my baby was a mystery to share with God only. Did you feel empty? I did feel empty after...and today, the emptiness doesn't fade away. No, instead of a mystery to share with God only, I have a sadness to share with god only or with you.

 

I hope healing will come for you and megoodvibes.gif

post #20 of 22

Sometimes it takes actual parenthood for men to grow up and become less selfish. I've watched my husband become a better person over time, and it has happened through his relationship to our child. It/he really started to blossom once my child was around 3 or 4, and I have watched that relationship become deeper every year. As this relationship deepens, my husband matures and becomes less self-centered. I'm sorry your husband disappointed you, but hopefully you find that time heals this wound as he also matures a bit & you can let this go.

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