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Unplanned c-section after long labor Support Thread

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 

I wanted to create a space where we can share our experiences of unplanned c-section after a long labor, plus share tips/resources for recovery (both physical & emotional recovery).

 

Women in all stages of recovering/processing are welcome here. Whether your experience was traumatic or healing or anything in between (or some of both), please feel free to share. Let's figure out how to support each other in the variety of our experiences and paths. The emergence of the Cesarean forum has really shown me what a smart and supportive group we can be. smile.gif 

 

 

post #2 of 84
Thread Starter 

Here's a resource I wanted to post right away:

http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/CSANDVBAC/csemotionalrecov.htm

 

Before I found MDC, I found this website, and it helped me understand some of my emotional reactions to my c-section. The web address makes it sound like it's specialized for plus-size women, but I think it could be helpful to anyone recovering from c-section.

post #3 of 84

Subbing ... nak, will post later!

post #4 of 84

I had a c section after being in labor for several hours (at 6cm baby had turned back up transverse and his arm and cord was presenting, so off to the OR we went).

 

I had always feared a c section. I was pleasantly surprised by how non horrific it was for me. I am also not upset over it because there just wasn't a safe way out of our situation other than the surgery. The only thing that got me down was the amount of pain and decreased ability after my delivery during the recovery period. I was used to bouncing right back to my normal schedule.

post #5 of 84
Thank you for starting this. I'm not sure how often I will come here, or even to this board. I'm still processing, still upset over a year later. Nothing about my birth was bad, but none if it was as hoped for either & it still brings tears to my eyes. DS was 2 weeks late, they managed to get labor started without too much help. I labored for 36 hours before gratefully agreeing to the cs. His head was twisted &I wasn't dilating &I wasn't using really anything for the pain. It doesn't feel like anything was done wrong but I had to go under for it & was the last to meet him. 1 thing I was asked that led me to a revelation. I was asked didn't it suck I labored so long & still end up with a cs? After thinking I said no, I know I did my best so I'm glad I tried. And that's as far as I've managed on this topic wink1.gif

sent from my phone using tapatalk, please forgive typos
post #6 of 84
Thread Starter 

It's been over 3 years since my c-section, and I've never actually written out my birth story in detail....honestly, I get exhausted just thinking about it. 

 

But, here's the short version: I labored for 33 hours. The first 12 were the best, because that's when things seemed normal. My water broke and I had regular contractions, a fair amount of pain, and vomiting. My doula assured me all were signs that things were moving along. Then major stall-out. At 18 hours I consented to a cervical check (hoping that signs of my progress would give me a second wind). I was at 1.5 cm. More attempts to get labor moving, finally about 24 hours after my water had broken, I agreed to pitocin. Then narcotic. I was at 5 cm and had been on pitocin for about 3 hours when it became unbearably painful. So, then epidural. With the epidural, I finally got to 10 cm and "slept." I don't remember actually sleeping, but my partner & my doula did. Finally, I started pushing. After 3 hours and no further signs of progress, I agreed to the c-section. It wasn't exactly an "emergency", but I had a fever, so did baby, and heart rate patterns were not looking good. No part of me felt like a vaginal birth was on its way. At that moment, the c-section really felt like the only way out.

 

My physical recovery was so very hard, though from the doctor's perspective everything was "good." At this point, I feel fully recovered physically, or as fully recovered as is possible after a major surgery. Emotionally, I've come a long way and still hope that more peace is possible. 

post #7 of 84

For me, the labor was long. It was going to be a home birth, but the baby wasn't coming out. We finally went to the hospital. The baby was breech so they wouldn't consider a vaginal birth. I was convinced they had saved my baby's life. After a few years, I began seeing ways I could have avoided a c-section and became resentful. I realize, as I write this, that I have finally found peace. It was what it was. It was 19 years ago, which seems so long ago when I say that, but emotionally it only feels like five or six years ago.

 

I really don't think the baby would have ever been born at home because I was insecure about the place I was giving birth - not that it was at home, but that the home was cold and there was not a room in it where I felt safe giving birth (the house was literally falling apart).

 

I wouldn't have advice for anyone unless they asked a question. I wouldn't know what to say. I did have two babies later, vaginally. I hadn't been fed any scary stories and the doctor who delivered my first was very upbeat about trying for a vaginal birth.

post #8 of 84

Thanks for starting the thread, CI Mama.  I'm subbing...I know you, and others have been active on c-section support threads for a long time, and I really appreciate the energy here.  It helped a lot in my healing process.

 

My birth story is here, if anyone wants to read it.  It was hard for me to read the "happy and easy" birth stories for a long time, and mine definitely isn't.  It took me two years to write it.  Although I wasn't diagnosed, I think I had mild PTSD from it all--debilitating flashbacks for about six months, crying fits any time something triggered a c-section or NICU memory.

 

One thing that sort of finished my healing process was getting my medical records in preparation for my VBAC.  Also talking with DH, who remembers some things that I just don't.  I hope that we can all find comfort and support here in different ways.  Lots of hugs to the mamas still grieving.  Remember that's okay!

post #9 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by justKate View Post
Lots of hugs to the mamas still grieving.  Remember that's okay!


Ditto!!

post #10 of 84

No time now to share in detail but thank you so much for opening this space. I really need it.

Short story for me is that I was induced at 42 weeks, laboured for 50 hours, stalled at about 6cm for the last 10 hours or so, maxed out on pitocin, and finally consented to a section. It wasn't an emergency in that I had to wait a couple hours after the consents were signed. Physical recovery wasn't that bad for me but I was an emotional wreck for months after and, like you justkate, definitely think I had some mild PTSD from the whole experience - lots of obsessive thoughts about it and flashbacks and portions of the first few days still missing from my memory. Plus starting out with a high needs newborn with major lack of sleep was no fun either!

 

I'm really looking forward to sharing with women who've been through similar things. Peace.

post #11 of 84

This is just what I was looking for today.  I had my c-section 5 months ago and I think about it every day.  I thought I was ok with it, that I did the right thing but now I can't stop thinking that I could have done something different.  I planned for a homebirth and this is what happened?  I'm just so sad and mad about it. 

 

I lost my homebirth, I labored for 60 hours, 30 at home and 30 at the hospital.  He was acynclitic and wouldn;t come down.  I tried everything to get him into a good postion including spinning babies and acupuncture when I was pregnant.  During labor I got into every position imaginable to get him into the right position and he just wouldn't move.  I thought there was nothing else I could do but now I wonder if I'd just kept going at home he would have come out naturally.  Once I agreed to all the interventions I couldn't move around like I was so there was no hope of moving him into a good position.  I feel like a failure and I feel like I just got impatient.  i don;t know if I'll ever get over it.

 

 

post #12 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mugglesmom View Post

This is just what I was looking for today.  I had my c-section 5 months ago and I think about it every day.  I thought I was ok with it, that I did the right thing but now I can't stop thinking that I could have done something different.  I planned for a homebirth and this is what happened?  I'm just so sad and mad about it. 

 

I lost my homebirth, I labored for 60 hours, 30 at home and 30 at the hospital.  He was acynclitic and wouldn;t come down.  I tried everything to get him into a good postion including spinning babies and acupuncture when I was pregnant.  During labor I got into every position imaginable to get him into the right position and he just wouldn't move.  I thought there was nothing else I could do but now I wonder if I'd just kept going at home he would have come out naturally.  Once I agreed to all the interventions I couldn't move around like I was so there was no hope of moving him into a good position.  I feel like a failure and I feel like I just got impatient.  i don;t know if I'll ever get over it.

 

 


hug2.gif

 

I completely understand how you feel. My c-section was almost three years ago, also a failed homebirth, and I still get bitter when I see home birth threads. I have a hard time hearing from my friends about their amazing home births. I had a fairytale pregnancy until 38 weeks when we found out the baby was breech. Every attempt to turn him, including an ECV at the hospital, failed. The hardest part at the time (and now) was the knowledge that I was not just losing my home birth, but really losing any future chance at a vaginal birth. My son was a magical baby and now a delightful toddler, and he is so much more than his birth story, but it still stings now and again.

 

post #13 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mugglesmom View Post

This is just what I was looking for today.  I had my c-section 5 months ago and I think about it every day.  I thought I was ok with it, that I did the right thing but now I can't stop thinking that I could have done something different.  I planned for a homebirth and this is what happened?  I'm just so sad and mad about it. 

 

I lost my homebirth, I labored for 60 hours, 30 at home and 30 at the hospital.  He was acynclitic and wouldn;t come down.  I tried everything to get him into a good postion including spinning babies and acupuncture when I was pregnant.  During labor I got into every position imaginable to get him into the right position and he just wouldn't move.  I thought there was nothing else I could do but now I wonder if I'd just kept going at home he would have come out naturally.  Once I agreed to all the interventions I couldn't move around like I was so there was no hope of moving him into a good position.  I feel like a failure and I feel like I just got impatient.  i don;t know if I'll ever get over it.

 

 

This is almost exactly my story--and it happened to me almost exactly one year before you--on 7/18/10.  The only detail that is different is the amount of time spent laboring, but I did push for 5 hours to no avail, and can totally relate to the feelings of failure, sadness, anger, and 2nd guessing that you expressed.  Having our planned homebirth turn into a c-section was devastating to my partner, too, so he was not able to lend me emotional support either during the experience or afterwards.  Rocked my whole world.
 

 

post #14 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justKate View Post

Thanks for starting the thread, CI Mama.  I'm subbing...I know you, and others have been active on c-section support threads for a long time, and I really appreciate the energy here.  It helped a lot in my healing process.

 

My birth story is here, if anyone wants to read it.  It was hard for me to read the "happy and easy" birth stories for a long time, and mine definitely isn't.  It took me two years to write it.  Although I wasn't diagnosed, I think I had mild PTSD from it all--debilitating flashbacks for about six months, crying fits any time something triggered a c-section or NICU memory.

 

One thing that sort of finished my healing process was getting my medical records in preparation for my VBAC.  Also talking with DH, who remembers some things that I just don't.  I hope that we can all find comfort and support here in different ways.  Lots of hugs to the mamas still grieving.  Remember that's okay!


I wasn't diagnosed with PTSD, either, yet like you & others I had some really difficult emotional fall-out that no one in my life seemed equipped to name or deal with. I would cry uncontrollably at very little provocation, had obsessive thoughts about the birth, had insomnia (even though I was exhausted), etc.

 

One thing I really wish for is better support for women who've been through difficult labors & c-sections. I was really surprised how little my care providers seemed to notice my emotional distress. Since my physical recovery was proceeding "normally" & my baby was healthy, there seemed to be an assumption that I didn't need anything. I sought out my own support, but it was a very difficult journey, and I felt very alone in trying to figure out what was going on and get the right kind of care.

 

So that's part of my motivation for starting this thread....to help other mamas understand that they aren't alone and how to get needed support.

 

post #15 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsburrito View Post

This is almost exactly my story--and it happened to me almost exactly one year before you--on 7/18/10.  The only detail that is different is the amount of time spent laboring, but I did push for 5 hours to no avail, and can totally relate to the feelings of failure, sadness, anger, and 2nd guessing that you expressed.  Having our planned homebirth turn into a c-section was devastating to my partner, too, so he was not able to lend me emotional support either during the experience or afterwards.  Rocked my whole world.
 

 


hug2.gif This is so hard! Hugs to you, mama.

 

I can relate...our rough journey into parenthood was very hard on my marriage. My partner was at a total loss as to how to support me & the depth of my grief, and I resented her for not being more supportive. It was a very tough dynamic. We are in a better place now, thank goodness! But it took over 2 years to get our communication back on normal footing.

 

post #16 of 84

 

I can't believe how similar others' experiences are to mine, too. This is the first time I've written this all down...it's lengthy, but it's been a good experience to write it down. 

 

My husband and I had planned for a homebirth with two great midwives and a doula for the birth of our first child. I had an amazingly easy pregnancy and felt great throughout. I was "due" on 10/20 and was still feeling good but by the time Halloween rolled around, I was trying acupuncture, evening primrose oil, etc. to try to get things moving. When Thursday rolled around, I was 42 weeks and went for a biophysical, which didn't raise any concerns. That night, I started having contractions and I was awake from about 3am on, timing them. We called the midwives and doula in the morning; our doula came over in the early afternoon and our midwives came later on (after being at another birth) in the early evening of Friday. My contractions weren't getting more frequent though so late that night, they decided to leave. I kept having contractions about 8-10 minutes apart throughout the night though, so I didn't get much sleep. I don't really remember what we did on Saturday, but I know our doula and midwives didn't come back until Sunday...On Sunday our doula came back out and we went for lots of walks and then I raked leaves in the back yard for a while or maybe that was Saturday? It's a little fuzzy. But Sunday, our midwives came back and I asked for an exam to check if I was dilated at all. The midwife found that I was about 6 cm, said she felt a lot of hair (!), and said that the baby was posterior and asynclitic (I just looked up what that even means - I had no idea at the time). So from Sunday to Monday we tried lots of different positions, moxa, the birth tub, the rebozo and lunges and walking to try to get the baby to move into a better position. Unfortunately by this time, I was having crazy back labor and many of the things that were supposed to help, hurt a whole lot more through the contractions, and I -- and my husband -- were getting exhausted. Monday afternoon, I asked for another exam to see if any progress had been made; I was still 6 cm but I don't recall exactly what they said about the position - I think the baby wasn't asynclitic anymore but was still posterior and had maybe tipped her head backward so the moldable part wasn't lined up with the cervix. The midwives were basically advising to do more of the same - more moxa, more side-lying and more knees and chest position - and said the other thing they could try at that point was to manually rotate the baby. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, and had started thinking about transferring to the hospital but was also afraid to raise that as an option, but then my husband suggested it and I felt this sense of relief and we decided to transfer with the hopes that an epidural could give me some rest and I could continue trying for a vaginal birth there, possibly with pitocin to get the contractions going. One of the midwives came with us to act as our doula at the hospital. The doctor who was on call that day didn't have a great personality or bedside manner and initially said basically, you're going to end up with a c-section, but she did allow us to try for the vaginal birth. I got the epidural and they started pitocin. I don't really remember sleeping, but I think I must have for a couple hours. I'm also fuzzy on the order of things at this point but basically at some point, the doctor did another exam and said that I had only gotten to 7 cm dilation and that the baby's position hadn't changed at all. The baby's heart rate started having 'decelerations' where it would go down after each contraction but then go back up. After stopping and restarting the pitocin a couple times, her heart rate kept doing that and at that point, the doctor said I'd basically run out of options and needed to have a c-section. I was surprised at how fast everything went after that point. Basically about 10 minutes later, my baby was pulled out of me. My husband was in the OR with me, but they weren't able to or didn't do much of what we had hoped for (having her skin to skin immediately, waiting to cut the cord). They sort of showed her to me quickly and then brought her to the nursery, with my husband, to weigh and do the vitamin k etc. After I was back in the recovery room they did bring her in and I put her on me for skin to skin and to see if she would nurse (she didn't then). We then moved to the post-partum room and they took her to give her a bath. It seemed to take forever for them to bring her back and it wasn't until the middle of the night that they rolled her back into the room, but then she spit up so they said they'd watch her for a little while longer. Basically, we didn't have her in the room until practically the morning, despite our stated preference for rooming in. We stayed in the hospital until Friday. People have asked how the hospital was and my diplomatic answer has been that the nurses and doctors were all well-intentioned and many of them were perfectly nice, but they're all *hospital* staff and I had wanted to be at home during this time! In the hospital they do things like wait until the middle of the night (between midnight and 3am each night we were there) to take the baby to the nursery to weigh her and do all her vitals. Not exactly restful. 

 

I've had a hard time dealing emotionally with the c-section. Yes, I have a perfectly healthy baby and "that's all that matters" but I've felt really disappointed about not being able to have a home birth and ending up with a c-section, even though on the other hand, I do feel like we certainly tried hard to avoid it. I've tried to talk to others about it, but so often get the "well it turned out for the best" response or "if you'd kept trying longer, something could have happened to the baby and then you'd be questioning why you didn't go to the hospital". At our postpartum visit, the doula actually acknowledged that it's a loss - a loss of the birth experience I'd been hoping and planning for, but she's the only one. I also have a hard time not wondering if there was more I could have or should have done, or if I'd just been a bit stronger or able to deal with the pain better, that I could have avoided transferring to the hospital. 

 

It's getting a little easier every day (she's three weeks old now) and now that I can drive again and get out of the house, I'm definitely feeling better, but I still tear up when I think about it all. And I haven't yet dealt with all the home-birth supplies we have and didn't end up using. When I think about boxing it up and either storing or getting rid of it, I also end up crying. 

 

Well, thanks for starting this thread and reading my long, long post!

post #17 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by msw1234 View Post

 


Well, thanks for starting this thread and reading my long, long post!



Welcome to MDC! Thank you for sharing your story.

 

And congratulations on your new babe!!!

post #18 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by msw1234 View Post

I still tear up when I think about it all. And I haven't yet dealt with all the home-birth supplies we have and didn't end up using. When I think about boxing it up and either storing or getting rid of it, I also end up crying. 

 

 

 

I can totally relate, msw1234.  I teared up over it for months afterwards, and my birthing kit is still in its box under a bed in the nursery.  After several months, I went to see a counselor who specializes in birth related issues, which helped me a lot.  The c-section so devastated my sense of confidence, I felt like I was a failure at absolutely everything and so was having difficulty functioning.  So, I sought out support originally at a local ICAN chapter monthly meeting.  That was where I learned of the counselor who specialized in helping women with birth related things.  You can look for a local ICAN chapter meeting near you here: http://ican-online.org/chapter/search  Having endured so many of the comments you describe (i.e. "How can you be sad when you have a healthy baby?  It all turned out great!") I felt so incredibly validated when I read this on the ICAN website:

 

"Cesareans can raise the risks of postpartum depression and some women develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and should seek further help from a therapist who is skilled in dealing with birth trauma. These therapists should not be dismissive of your needs or concerns and realize that there is more to birth than a "healthy baby" and that even the healthiest of babies can come through a traumatic event to the mother. You have the right to mourn your birth and your trauma while celebrating your child. These are two different events in your life, even if they are happening simultaneously."  

 

From the mother of a posterior asynclitic positioned baby to another--a big hug.

post #19 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsburrito View Post

I can totally relate, msw1234.  I teared up over it for months afterwards, and my birthing kit is still in its box under a bed in the nursery.  After several months, I went to see a counselor who specializes in birth related issues, which helped me a lot.  The c-section so devastated my sense of confidence, I felt like I was a failure at absolutely everything and so was having difficulty functioning.  So, I sought out support originally at a local ICAN chapter monthly meeting.  That was where I learned of the counselor who specialized in helping women with birth related things.  You can look for a local ICAN chapter meeting near you here: http://ican-online.org/chapter/search  Having endured so many of the comments you describe (i.e. "How can you be sad when you have a healthy baby?  It all turned out great!") I felt so incredibly validated when I read this on the ICAN website:

 

"Cesareans can raise the risks of postpartum depression and some women develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and should seek further help from a therapist who is skilled in dealing with birth trauma. These therapists should not be dismissive of your needs or concerns and realize that there is more to birth than a "healthy baby" and that even the healthiest of babies can come through a traumatic event to the mother. You have the right to mourn your birth and your trauma while celebrating your child. These are two different events in your life, even if they are happening simultaneously."  

 

From the mother of a posterior asynclitic positioned baby to another--a big hug.

Pittsburrito, what a wonderful sentiment and sharing of knowledgeable information.  Thank you for sharing your story and that fantastic ICAN quote, as well as mentioning the resources they can offer.

 

There are many moms (including moms who have had c-sections) who underestimate or simply don't understand the trauma and disappointment that can surround another woman's c-section.  I have found that some of those moms honestly are--very simply--just ignorant regarding this issue (I mean ignorant in the sense of just not knowing/understanding and not as a pejorative).  It doesn't mean that they are mean or unkind, but that the sadness is outside of their awareness, personal experience, or perception.  I thank Pittsburrito and the other posts on this forum and within this thread for sharing their experiences...I think this can lead to better understanding of the feelings surrounding c-section births, and that can only be a good thing all the way around.

 

I think this is a really important thread and hope it hangs around!
 

 

post #20 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

Pittsburrito, what a wonderful sentiment and sharing of knowledgeable information.  Thank you for sharing your story and that fantastic ICAN quote, as well as mentioning the resources they can offer.

 

There are many moms (including moms who have had c-sections) who underestimate or simply don't understand the trauma and disappointment that can surround another woman's c-section.  I have found that some of those moms honestly are--very simply--just ignorant regarding this issue (I mean ignorant in the sense of just not knowing/understanding and not as a pejorative).  It doesn't mean that they are mean or unkind, but that the sadness is outside of their awareness, personal experience, or perception.  I thank Pittsburrito and the other posts on this forum and within this thread for sharing their experiences...I think this can lead to better understanding of the feelings surrounding c-section births, and that can only be a good thing all the way around.

 

I think this is a really important thread and hope it hangs around!
 

 

I hope so too!

 

I wanted a thread about unplanned c-section after long labor because I suspect that those of us who have that experience are particularly vulnerable to trauma/PPD/PTSD.

 

In the "how to have a positive c-section" thread, it just seems so clear that a c-section is more positive when you have time to prepare for it, when you have choices about how it happens, and you have time to process the fact of the c-section ahead of time & energy to get through the surgery & recovery. But if it's unplanned and you've had a long labor...you probably don't have most of that. You've given everything you had to preventing a c-section. You're on your way to the OR because you've run out of choices. Things may have moved to "emergency" mode, or at least to a mode where there's not time to deliberate over how things happen. You may be so depleted & exhausted that you can't think clearly, even if you do have a chance to make choices. And then you have nothing left to give to your recovery.

 

At least, that's my experience. It was a very rough beginning to motherhood. And there are very few people in my life who "get" what I've been through.

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