When I get started with this, I could talk a LOT about it, but I'll try to keep it short.
I woke up with pretty bad contractions at 4 am on a Thursday morning, after at least a week of being dilated a couple of centimetres. I was six days overdue at that point, and had fought to keep the doctors from inducing me ON MY DUE DATE. I had had a perfectly normal pregnancy, save for a little bit of impaired glucose tolerance (but just barely, and I followed a diet for gestational diabetes after that, and I was measuring perfectly average). In the last week of my pregnancy, the doctor kept sending me for all these ultrasounds and non-stress tests because he clearly felt a due date was a deadline. The midwives and techs who performed these tests on me were incredulous that I was sent for them because everything was so perfectly normal and I wasn't even particularly big. I was very active and full of energy right to the end. This was my first pregnancy, so I was not concerned at all about being a bit overdue, personally.
Needless to say, when my contractions woke me up, I was glad I had avoided being induced. I didn't go in to the hospital until about 1 am (Friday). At my hospital, you have to be checked in through the emergency room and then they bring you to the maternity ward. There was an intern on duty in the ER (it was deserted at 1:00 am) and he wanted to check my cervix. He fumbled with putting together a speculum, and finally got it together. When he put it in, I tried not to scream. It hurt SO much. I was now at 4 cm.
I went to the maternity ward shortly thereafter, and my panties were now soaked in blood. I had only the very slightest of spotting before...this was all blood from that exam.
As soon as I got there, I was comforted by the midwife on duty. She smelled of baby powder, and after dealing with difficult doctors, I was glad to finally be under a midwife's care. (Something I'd been frustrated about the whole pregnancy, but it's not available in my area.)
"I'm just going to give you a bit of something," she said. "I give it to everyone. Helps things along a bit." I didn't recognize the name as something to avoid, so while I didn't particularly want whatever she was going to give me, and I didn't feel it was necessary, I also didn't want to be labelled difficult. I wanted to trust the midwife. She injected me.
It was pethidine.
After that, things got bad. I wasn't myself. I don't know how to explain it other than that. I was under the influence of drugs. I had been full of energy before that injection, and now, I wasn't thinking very straight and I couldn't open my eyes. Within a couple of hours, my body started pushing. Midwife checked and I was 10 cm dilated. She got the doctor to come in to break my water, and that intern came in again and I started pushing after they broke the water. They had me push in a bunch of different positions on the bed, on the toilet. I had no idea how much time was passing, or how much was normal. I just kept doing it. I was really annoyed that they were checking the baby's heartbeat after every push. I had been to a birth before, and they didn't do that to my friend. I know now it was because of the pethidine that they had to do it.
They gave me pitocin (without talking to me about it) and eventually I had to have a c-section, after 5 hours of pushing.
That's my story, about as short as I can get it. I left out the gruesome details, but you'll have to take my word for it, there are many more things that bothered me about the whole thing. I really wasn't pleased with the after care, either. Nobody told me how to care for myself after a c-section, they gave me a glass of curdled milk after I was put on the lactose free meal plan, etc. Large overall problems and small insignificant ones that added up to pretty atrocious care.
As others have said, I felt robbed of the birth I'd envisioned. I knew it wouldn't necessarily happen the way I expected, but I really didn't expect it to happen as it did. I think DH and my mother had had a pretty bad scare. The doctor and midwife explained NOTHING to me after the fact. The doctor very quickly told me that he had had problems getting DD out, and that my uterus tore quite a bit because of it, and that he wouldn't recommend a vaginal birth ever again.
I felt guilt because after I woke up (2 hours after surgery), I was only mildly curious about what DD looked like. I felt nothing more. I looked at her, and thought "oh." She didn't feel like mine. If somebody had taken her away, I wouldn't have cared. Even now as I write that, knowing that I was heavily drugged and all that, I feel awful admitting it. For weeks, I had to work really hard at bonding with her and falling in love with her the way everybody says they do the instant they see their baby. I still don't think of DD as being connected to my pregnancy. I was pregnant and then I was in possession of a baby, but I can't connect the two.
After my first dr's appointment (post-hospital stay), the doctor looking at my charts made a comment that made me realize that my c-section was one of those that fell into the "probably unnecessary" category. After that, I wanted to talk about it with DH, my friends, anybody. I tried talking about it with people, but my best friend was like "well, just think, you probably wouldn't be around if it were 100 years ago" and generally, not that easy to talk to about it. I found one friend who would listen to my story. DH would listen, but I think he was afraid I was becoming obsessed. He DID help me with what I was calling my "guerilla poster campaign." I researched the stats on c-sections and vbacs at my hospital, and put posters up around town. That helped me a lot, actually. I felt like I was reclaiming my voice a little, even though I was doing it anonymously.
Talking to DH about HIS feelings about the whole thing has helped as well. I too felt very resentful of him for awhile. Why didn't he speak up? He has had to be an advocate for his own health issues before, and he has been through a lot with his mom in terms of going with her to doctors, so why was he silent during my labour? He fought the doctors with me when they wanted to induce, so why was he silently letting the midwife inject me with something? Why didn't my mother say something, when she had been telling me that natural was the way to go all the time before I was in labour? (I didn't say that to him, but that's what I was thinking. I knew that it was actually my own fault for not saying anything.) Anyway, with a lot of prying (he was reluctant to admit this, I think), I learned that he had been scared. Knowing that helped me get over my anger toward him.
I think breastfeeding helped me a lot too. I am so glad, and so fortunate that it was able to happen. I felt like it was helping heal my heart and heal my body, not to mention, helping me fall in love with my little girl.
I had a lot of vaginal pain after the birth. I was surprised that I'd have it after a c-section, but figured it was because of all the pushing. The doctor didn't think that was normal, but I refused an exam because of the one that I'd had while in labour. Not to go into many details, I'm pretty sure it was because of that horrible exam in the ER.
Anyway, I'm dealing a lot better with it now, but as you know from an earlier post I made on this thread, I have my good days and bad days when it comes to thinking about it. Sometimes I think about it and cry. But those days are getting more infrequent.
I am scared about future babies though. We were planning to try to have them somewhat close together, but we're waiting a few years now. But I worry. And I really don't want to deal with my hospital ever again, but I live in a remote area and will have to travel 1000s of kilometres to go to another hospital.
Okay, this post is waaaaaaaay too long now, so I will stop babbling for now. (This post was actually much longer, but I cut a lot out! LOL)