I planned a natural water birth at a birth center. I ended up on Pitocin in a hospital where they basically ripped my son out of me as he was coming out, disrespected me by trying to make dilation checks as painful as possible (I hate that nurse deeply,) cut my son's cord despite the fact that I screamed at the OB not to touch his cord, didn't allow me proper time skin to skin to initiate nursing, and then they damaged my nursing relationship even further by giving me awful breastfeeding help and a fake LC. Thanks to them my birth experience was ruined, nursing was ruined and I have to exclusively pump (trying to bring him back to breast though.) I feel traumatized, I think about it every single day. and I can't seem to explain how exactly I feel to DH, though I think he has an idea...
I just can't get past it
I'm sorry that you had such a terrible birth/hospital experience. I've had some traumatic birth experiences too, so I understand your feelings. I don't have any real words of wisom because I am still working through my own birth trauma. But I wanted to send a hug your way and hopefully other mamas will chime in with some advice or something for you.
Be sure to write up formal complaints to the docs and hospital staff. They need to know explicitly where they went wrong.
I had great experiences at my local hospital with my midwife team. They really honored my birth plan and my Bradley trained hubby was there to be my watchdog.
I'm sorry you had this experience. Its sounds so painful, and you deserve to have your first moments with your son leave you with happy, not painful memories.
From your post, your anger towards the people at your birth sounds like it is foremost on your mind. I agree with the PP who suggested writing a letter. That would be helpful for your healing, not just bringing bad practices to light.
Some births go very badly no matter what we do, some births go very badly because of what we do, (we including the doctors, nurses, etc) and probably most are a combination of both. We all have to come to terms with our births, and allow them to become a piece of the tapestry of our lives, no matter what contributed to it. Easier said than done of course.
Is there someone you trust, who is a birth professional, that you could review your records with? One thing some people find helpful is to request your records, go over what was necessary but had a crappy outcome, what should have been done differently, clear up when and why certain things happened, etc and take action on that- i.e. finding a differnent birthing team next time; reporting bad care to the proper people; and maybe even sometimes being thankful for an intervention that was helpful but was never well explained to you. This is also a painful process so it might not be something you could do now. But it could be helpful.
For example- if the MD cut the cord becuase s/he was worried about the babies health and needed resuscitation, but explained that very poorly (or not at all to you), or if s/he just did it because of protocol, or if s/he just did it to be mean-- knowing the circumstances could change both how that experience feels to you and how it needs to be fixed. fight the protocol? Improve communication? report the MD?
The fact is that you can never re-do that birth. It will always be with you and you only have so much influence over the other people involved. You really only have power over your own actions. So take action to gain ownership of this birth. This is YOUR story. Know what happened, and why, and what actions you took to fix it, or to avoid it happening to you or another person (as much as you can).
Also- some of us have previous traumas that 'primed' us to react in a certain way to a birth trauma. Counseling is important, IMO, because it's not just about fixing this birth trauma- it's also about building resources for coping with other traumas that may occur in our lives, and learning more about how we respond in traumatic situations generally.
You might be reading this and thinking- none of this hits the mark, it is WAY not the answer for me. If so, please don't take offense. But it is for some people so I just wanted to put it out there, and know that I am thinking of you, and I'm sorry you had such a traumatic experience.
I'm sorry for what you're going through. It's a dark place. I found the following things to be helpful while I was working my way out of a similar spot. I'm not saying that these will work for you, but they really helped me.
- There is a saying that says, "This is NOT how my story is going to end." It sort of my motto. Yes, terrible things have happened. But that doesn't mean that they need to define your life story going forward. You are given 24 hours each day to use however you want. Make your story going forward be what you want it to be by focusing on things that you can improve on in your daily life and things that you have control over.
- Make time to get out of the house every day and to exercise every day. If I don't do those things, I feel myself creeping towards depression and when that happens I tend to get more fixated on the negative experiences.
- Forgiveness. Oh it's hard. It's immensely hard. It's terribly hard. But it helps. It helps immensely. It's worth it.
- Remember that your journey as a person and as a mother is not defined by your birth experience or how your children are fed. Being a mother is about so much more than that. Your ability and success as a mother has absolutely nothing to do with how your child entered the world or how he gets nutrition. Yes, delivery and breastfeeding are important in the life of a child and mother. But, in the end, do they really matter? No. Being a good mother is about loving, nurturing, guiding, and caring for your child as he grows. It's about being there to listen to his stories, teach him to bake chocolate chip cookies, and read bedtime stories together. Being a mother is about helping children grow to be productive, honest, and contributing members of society. None of that is tied to their method of birth or how/what they eat.
I realize that your experiences in the hospital were not ideal. But that does not affect your ability to be a fabulous mother. You can move forward. You can do this.
Oh momma, I am sorry that your birth experience was so hard. I also had a traumatic birth but I feel at almost a year post partum that I am getting better. I live in albuquerque so I went to Pam England of Birthing from Within for birth trauma therapy- she also does phone meetings, fyi. Pam helped me a lot. I have written many letters to my MW that I haven't sent, but they have helped me. I am on the otherside of your experience because it was my HB MW that I felt horrible with and I loved the hospital staff from when I was transferred. I think what helped me the most was not blaming myself and trying to reframe my birth experience in a way that I could see the positive parts and not just the parts that made me angry. I also had a terrible nursing start- the one thing that the hospital failed at was missing the fact that my baby didn't have a good suck swallow and breathe reflex. We ended up doing all sorts of hard things to become a nursing pair. I am rambling here but I hope you reach out to a professional and get some help to resolve your anger and I am thinking about you... In the end like the above poster stated it is not how you feed your baby (breast or bottle) or your birth (home, hospital, cesarean) that makes you a mommy.
It sounds trite, but as time passes I am healing. I no longer have the same anxiety, anger, and grief that I struggled with immediately post partum. I came to slowly realize that things could have been much worse, and that my perception of events was maybe a little clouded by circumstance. For example, what I saw as an unusually painful and hurtful procedure was routine to the person performing it, and done without malice and done for the purpose of helping baby and I. I can still feel angry that when I said "No" and "Stop" I was ignored, but coming to understand their intent helped me feel less violated and frightened.
I hope you find outlets for your greif and pain. I wrote my story and had my DH read it. I posted it on MDC and took great comfort in the replies. I journaled and wrote letters. I went to a local birthing and postpartum group and told my story and received support. All these things helped me process and accept that although my birth was not as I desired, and was traumatic, scary, painful and dehumanizing instead, it was only one day out of the years I get to spend with my child.
I hope time brings you peace.
Traumas happen. How we deal with each trauma depends on us and no one else. How the rest of our life after trauma goes depends on us and no one else.
There are plenty of people who carry on with reliving their trauma every day. People who make the trauma the centerpiece of their life. These are not happy or functional people
1) Please, write complain letter to the hospital . Make it shot and to the point. Outline the facts, how it made you feel and what you think they should do differently.
2) Have a meeting with your doctor. Ask questions. Perhaps, like other poster pointed out, thing that seem ominous and malicious to you were done for a good reason such as safety of your child.
3) Do not downplay "just can't get past it". No one just gets past trauma. It is hard. If it was not hard it would not been traumatic. Simply respect that you have having a hard time. It is OK for now but will not be like this your entire life
4) Definitely seek professional help. Try to find a CBT therapist. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). It is very focused, very specific and short term.
5) Be kind to yourself.
6) Birth in itself or breastfeeding is not what a good parent or good mother child relationship makes. You have entire life with your child ahead of you!
7) Be kind to yourself.
I had an extremely traumatic birth experience which resulted in 4th degree tearing, broken bones (both my son and I) and my son's diagnosis of brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy.
I had a doctor with little or no experience in delivering large babies (he was 12lbs. 25inches long) try to deliver him in the middle of the night without the proper supports in place. Ie: another more experienced doctor, paediatrician etc..
I wish my complaints were medical intervention. I wish someone had done what was best for myself and my baby instead of insisting I was a complaining woman who needed to relax to deliver my baby. I wish for a lot of things. Mostly that my child came through this unscathed.
We both face a lifetime of pain and my son is going to be a dependant for the rest of his life.
Get counselling and get past this. You are both going to be fine. You are stuck in a repeated thought pattern that you can change what has already happened.
It may sound cold but I have been there. It took a long time to acknowledge what really happened to us. I didn't even know how much it affected me until I was diagnosed with severe PPD following the birth of my next child (via ceasarean as I had extreme muscle damage and extensive scar tissue). It hit me like a ton of bricks. I am happy that we are both healthy and alive. He has been a miracle. Getting past my anger, disappointment and facing my reality has allowed me to simply enjoy who he is.
I too reccomend CBT therapy. It changed my life.