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working thru the bad experiences

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about my past birth experiences now that I am planning a hbac with baby #4 due this summer.

I'm finding all kinds of "old" emotions resurfacing from the c/s experience in general. I'm wanting to work them thru so with this new baby I can finally move forward. Does that make any sense? I always kind of felt like there was no interest in hearing any of the bad experiences since having a baby is supposed to be a joyful time, so I never said a word about it. I felt as if there was an unwritten rule that if I survived it, what right did I have to complain?

What I'm really trying to get at is; am I the only one feeling this way? Are any of you interested in talking about it?
post #2 of 21
greenluv - I think you'll find a lot of women feel this way. What helped me a lot of talking about it with my dh - really telling how I felt about my birth experiences. I needed to vent my anger/frustration/disappointment and feel that it was okay to feel it. So many of us are told that we have a healthy baby so we're not entitled to feeling like we missed out or we were treated poorly. We do have the right to feel this way - it doesn't mean we're not happy in the end it all turned out alright. Or that we don't appriciate and love our baby.

Reading Immaculate Deception was very helpful to me. It really validated a lot of my feelings.

You are more than welcome to vent here or discuss how your birth went. I know that many women could relate to your feelings and maybe that would help you heal.
post #3 of 21
You are definitely not the only one! I wonder if I'll ever come to terms with my *horrendous* birth experience. I'm so thankful for the beautiful dd I was blessed with and I'm grateful that she was healthy, but (I'll spare you the details) I probably had one of the worst birth experiences ever. The *only* way it could have been worse (for me) would have been if I'd died, and I almost did at that! I sometimes feel like the only way I'll "right this wrong" is to have a successful vbac in the future. But what happens if I end up with another emergency c-section? I wish I knew the answer to making peace with what happened. The best I can do is tell you that you're not alone!!!

post #4 of 21
Originally posted by MilliesMum
I sometimes feel like the only way I'll "right this wrong" is to have a successful vbac in the future. But what happens if I end up with another emergency c-section? MilliesMum
I definately feel this. My section was not an emergency - I planned it b/c the baby was transverse, but I still worry that this time I'll end up with a section again. I did have one vaginal birth previous - but it was a very tramatic experience as well (I was given an episiotomy not only without my consent, but without even being told they were doing it - I just felt the tug of the knife and looked down to seeing my body being cut. . . my doctor yelled at me to shut up while I was pushing. . .I could go on, but I'll spare you the details.) Anyway, I'm now aiming for my "dream birth" in June. No drugs, a peaceful setting, kind and understanding labor support - etc. . . It was exactly the birth I was planning for my second, but since he was transverse I never got to have it. Now I keep thinking - this is it - now or never b/c I'm not planning to having any more kids after this. I am trying to do everything that I can to have that ideal birth, but I also have to find a way to be okay with any outcome. I'm not sure how to do this.

(I'm sorry I've babbled here and kind of taken over the thread - I'll be quiet now )
post #5 of 21
O.K. Greenluv, tell us what you keep coming up against. What's the one thing about your past birth - when you think about it - that really tightens your stomach or hurts your heart?

We'll listen.

post #6 of 21
Can I recommend reading Birthing From Within? There are some art therapy type things in it that can help you heal. You may even be able to find a birth class based on it that book can help you work through it with others.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back here. I hope you all won't mind restarting the discussion

I was feeling like a failure, incomplete in some way and even like I hadn't really had a baby. I have dreams where I'm told I had a baby and I argue and say I didn't because in the dream there was no sense of a birth.

I really have the feeling that I had no participation in the c/s's at all. More like it was something that was done TO me. The worst thing for me is how the dr's said I was "failing". That is what sticks in my head the most.

This situation makes me think of how a comment made by a parent can affect a child's entire future and self esteem. Maybe that's really what happened-my self esteem was trashed??
post #8 of 21
greenluv - We're still here to listen.

I think so many c-section women feel they have failed or their body has failed them and certainly feel like they did not have the baby, but the doctor did - you're just lying there passive with your arms strapped down.

You didn't fail though - whatever happened that caused you to have to have a c-section was not your fault. Birth is truly a mystery and who knows why things happen the way they did (maybe the baby knows ).

Anyway, keep reminding yourself of how powerful your body was/is - you did gestate a healthy baby right? and I'm guessing you breastfed - your body knows what it is doing and can birth a baby just fine. Each pregnancy and birth experience is going to be different in a million little ways that makes having a vaginal delivery this time different (and most likely easier) than it was in your last pregnancy.

Keep talking with us and get out all those old yucky feelings so they don't hold you back when you go to birth baby #4!
post #9 of 21
Wow. I got it.
C-section. Being "sectioned".
Did you have a "c-section"? We're you "sectioned"?
Is that how it feels in your gut?

Take a deep breath.

What if you said "I had a cesarean birth."

What does that feel like when you let it sit for a moment?

Not that it makes it all o.k.
Not that the dissappointment and sadness aren't there anymore.

If a woman in with your circumstances surrounding your birth gave birth by cesarean - what would that look like? What would she be doing - that a woman who was "sectioned" not be doing?

Thinking out cyberly...
post #10 of 21
Not sure if my reply will be any good for you.

My first birth experience was horrendous. I had an emergency csection after a failed ECV. I was given a spinal and it wore off within the first moments of being cut. They didnt knock me out and I felt the entire csection. I was screaming and cussing and they whole time they were doping me up. My husband was forced to leave the operating room because he got into an arguement about the amount of drugs they were giving me. My csection was an hour and ten minutes long, they gave me amnesia medication, but it only caused me to forget the hours after the csection not the hell that happened to me in that operating room. My recovery was painful emotionally and physically. Finding out that I had a uterine anomaly and would most likely have to repeat sections I vowed never to have any more bio children. I had severe PPD, hallucinations, and even thought about suicide.

We did try to have another bio child but when it didnt happen we moved onto adoption. I was very happy with that decision because I feared another csection and miscarriages were getting old. After we adopted our son I found out I was pregnant when he was nine months old. I immediately was put on vaginal progesterone, moderated bed rest, etc. This pregnancy was a keeper. From the moment I knew this pregnancy was going to be a success I started planning for my next "birth" experience. I spoke to my doctor in great length, expressing every fear I had. I even shared nite mares with her. I dreamed several times that people cut me open and stuffed the baby back inside of me and most the time I dreamed I was getting a section in a cemetery or a coffin. I had high blood pressure the last two months of my pregnancy and I Think it was from anxiety about the csection.

Luckily with my husband, sister and doctor I was able to have a wonderful experience. It healed a great deal for me. I may not ever be able to have a natural vaginal birth but I made this last csection a wonderful experience. I was in the OR 30 minutes. I had no preop drugs, no post op drugs, I had an epidural for surgery and ephedrine when my BP dropped. I saw my baby immediately, held him, nursed right away and was completely alert. I had a PCAP for 17 hours and was up and about, eating, etc. My doctor worked hard to make everything right for me. Seeing me no one believed I had had a csection. I actually felt no pain and took no pain meds. Meditation and birth affirmations were a big help to me. Having this experience really helped me recover from the trauma before. Its hard to explain but my journey to my third babies birth was a spiritual journey.
post #11 of 21
What an amazing story! I also had a HORRIBLE emergency c-section experience after 48 hrs labor (my epidural didn't work either, so they pumped me full of drugs too and I spent the birth screaming "I don't want to die!" and floating in and out of some hallucinagenic dreamworld. I want nothing more than to have a vaginal birth, but I often think "What if that whole scenario happens again." If I planned another c-section, I could perhaps make it ideal like your second one was. Something to think about.
post #12 of 21
Altho I didn't have an awful, traumatic like some of you emergency c/s, I did have an unplanned c/s with #1 for a failed induction for pre-eclampsia after a miserable 2 day induction with every possible intervention and NO labor. I was sick as a dog for days afterward and hated the experience.

just had #2 by VBAC after a long 3 day prodromal labor, 2 trips to the hospital, and me holding out for a natural, non-medicated birth (aka Bradley) which I felt was my last, best shot at VBAC. After the 3rd day my CNM pretty much made me (not really, but her arguments were compelling) go into the hospital for induction of some sort as her and her back up OB were very worried about the length and intensity of my contrax and their effect on my scar. I was in *hard* labor for over 48 hours without sleep and even tho I labored at home, it still sucked. I had THREE MINUTE long contractions every 6-10 minutes (after the first 24 hours, I went to the hospital with DH and doula with contrax 3 minutes apart lasting 2-3 minutes, we all thought I was in transition HA !) and was only 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced and I went back home after my labor *stalled* on admission to the hospital. Anyway, I agreed after 3 days to have my labor augmented with gentle Pitocin to see if it would put me in a better pattern, I didn't want to but was so exhausted and gave in. When I got to hospital they broke my water and it was heavy meconium in there, and baby was having variable decelerations on the monitor. I never even needed the Pitocin, which sucks because I got an epidural to allow me to rest a ltitle since I was practically hallucinating and an emotional wreck, but I got it because I was afraid of teh Pit contractions, which I never had. Just rupturing membranes made my labor 2 minute textbook labor LOL> Turns out it was a squished cord somewhere (not around neck, maybe wedged against the shoulder) and I could only tolerate certain positions for certain amounts of time before baby would bottom out. If I had an OB I would have had a c/s again I have no doubt.

When we saw what was going on, once I understood what the issue was and their concern about it, I knew in my heart that if they had to take me that VERY SECOND to section me to get her out because she was in real danger, I would have walked to the OR myself, would have consented to general anesthesia because in that moment, the ONLY thing that mattered was her safety and having her out with as little issue as possible. At that moment, when I knew that there WAS an issue, the VBAC didn't matter. The VBAC, altho it is for "her" safety and mine as well, once I knew that there was potential for real problems, just didn't matter. All I wanted was my baby, alive and safe. I did go on to have a VBAC, but had to push in every conceivable position like a rotisserie chicken so her HR would stay up. I had to have monitors in every orifice which I totally didn't want, my natural childbirth went flying out the window, my *birth experience* was not what I wanted, but it is what I got and I relish every minute of it. Yes I tore from forced pushing but she had to come out because of her distress, which was getting worse at that point. Yes I had them counting and yelling to push which I HATED and didn't want and my m/w said to the nurse "she doesn't want counting" and I said "count !! count !!" because I had an epidural and was having a hard time getting it together. I had the delivery of my nightmares as a granola mom but it was also at the same time the delivery of my dreams because my little 8 lb 15 oz angel was born after 3 hours of hospital labor and 30 minutes of pushing. She was pushed out by my own power and feeling her little body wiggle out was AWESOME. I didn't get to hold her right away from the NICU having attended her birth and suctioning all the meconium and assessing her, and then had lots of stiches myself. I wonder if I just had my water broken before the epidural if things would have been different but I am sure with the meconium (it was pretty thick) they would have wanted to monitor her internally anyway. And that was totally ok.

What I am saying is, altho I felt I needed to have a VBAC, wanted the VBAC so bad I could taste it, and was so worried it would never happen, I actually cried the first day I walked through the doors to L&D because I never ever thought I would go into labor on my own, and here it was so close... I too worried that I would be so dissapointed if I had to have a c/s, and DH was VERY worried that it would make me a lunatic or depressed or something feeling like a failure and frankly so was I. But having been there now, having walked the path I did, all I can say is that the way things happened, I KNOW I did EVERYTHING I could in my power to do what I could for VBAC, and if it is meant to be, it would be. I did Bradley, I followed stupid brewer diet, I got GD in 7th month and had to totally cut back all carbs etc, and then my BP went up in the end, had to go on bedrest, etc etc. I did everything I could, had doula, labored at home for 3 loooong days, tried my best to stay home and have natural labor. I was totally at peace with myself and TRUSTING (whcih I never thoguht I would get to) with my midwife that if she said you NEED a section I would have gone willingly. Just as I trusted her to say that baby was okay and just needed to get born. At one point when her heart dipped for a long time I said "can't you vacuum her out" and she said "NO but you can PUSH her out" LOL. Having great caregivers is vital, IMHO.

Anyway, super long ramble. Just have faith ladies. I don't know if anything I've said helps at all. I hope it does.

post #13 of 21

I would be happy to share my birthplan for my csection with you. Most of the ideas came from great women online and I couldn't have done it without their sage wisdom.

The sad thing is, the first time around I was so not prepared for a csection. I had read every awful book and article about them, had my heart mind and body prepared for a natural vaginal birth and knew that "it wouldnt happen to me". I did some things *I* didnt feel comfortable with to try and achieve that birth experience but still ended up with a csection.

I also have a bone to pick with a lot of midwives and labor instructors. They only talk about the negatives and evils of csections and how to avoid one, there is no prep for the event you may have one. Emergency situations arise, without interventions, circumstances we cant control can lead you into that operating room and I am thinking had someone talked to me rationally about csections, what to expect (and I am not talking the Silent Knife here) and things I could have done to make it a better experience and more productive recovery I wouldnt have mad such the horrific experience. Instead coming out of that operating room I felt like a failure over something I had no control or choice over. Life just happens. Sh*t happens. I also didnt appreciate the grilling I recieved from natural childbirth advocates to try and find what *i* or my doctors did wrong. It just made me feel like an even bigger failure.
post #14 of 21

Read "Making Peace With Your Birth Experience"

Originally posted by greenluv
I felt as if there was an unwritten rule that if I survived it, what right did I have to complain?

What I'm really trying to get at is; am I the only one feeling this way? Are any of you interested in talking about it?
You are definitely not the only one who has had a disappointing birth (vaginal or C-sec) experience. The sad fact is that there is really no context for women to talk about this subject. It isn't encouraged at all (it should be), but it is still very important (to birthing women).

(I hope nobody takes offence to "birthing women." IMO C-sec moms also have given birth.)

(Side note: Anybody read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant ?
I haven't, but I have heard that it's about a red tent where women used to gather when they had their menses and basically they bonded, talked, shared important experiences. Women still have the same need to share and communicate!)

So rather than rely on others (public at large, who just care about the healthy baby - rather than seeing this as a pair - healthy baby AND healthy mother) birthing mothers need to find each other and create a space to talk about it.

(One of my dreams is to create a space/place/group for pg women and new moms to talk about this very thing.)

I know this is a subject (some) moms are eager to talk about. It's very healing to be able to communicate your experience and feelings, especially with someone whose been there (another birthing mom.)

Some women have deeper birth traumas (mine was not so bad) and my ears perk up anytime I hear someone say something just so I can give them a friendly ear.

Right after my son was born (vaginal) I was sitting up in the hospital room, so pumped and happy and excited, replaying how it happened over and over and over in my mind. (I firmly believe that women have a NEED to talk about it afterwards. Hence the popularity of birth stories.) I wanted to talk about it for a long time, I guess as a way for my mind to celebrate and synthesize the awesome experience. My birth experience was both joyous and emotionally painful for me. Mind you, I was also grieving over the bad tear (my birth was not perfect) and I felt multilated. I was furious with my OB and DH for almost long time. It affected my marriage, until I worked it through. Believe it or not, a local psychic gave me some better perspective and I was able to let go of the rage/resentment towards my DH. The little thing she said helped me a lot.

A friend of mine's first baby was a C-sec (she had a VBAC homebirth a year ago, I was there giving her HypnoBirthing prompts. Her story is in this month's New Beginnings magazine. Not online yet.) She said her C-sec was the best... main reason is that she felt very supported... her midwife was by her ear explaining everything that was happening to her... she was able to room in with her baby and DH. Sadly, most C-sec do not take into the account the feelings of the moms. So it's typical for moms to feel like they were not participants. They feel left out. If only there was a designated calm, sensitive and supportive person (midwife, nurse, doula, DH, sister, friend, mom....) to hold the mom's hand, so to speak.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a great article I read in LLL's New Beginning's Magazine. Please print it out, it's very good:

Making Peace with your Birth Experience
By Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD
Henniker, NH USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 2, March-April 2002, pp. 44-47


Birthing From Within by Pam England may have some exercises on art/healing too.
post #15 of 21
Thank you - I'm going to take a look at it. I will tell you that I think that' s a great idea - a place for moms to gather to talk about their birth experiences. One of the worst things about my birth experience was that once the decision was made to give me a c-section (after 48 exhausting grueling hours in unproductive labor), I immediately seemed to lose my humanity to the medical staff. Nobody told me anything. Nobody talked to me. The anesthesiologist (how the heck do you spell that?!) was condescending and blew me off when I asked questions. I was terrified, and they didn't even let my dh in the operating room. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it now. When he tried to walk in after hearing the baby cry, some female doctor yelled "Get out of here with that camera!" So very very sad. We have decided to NOT go back to that hospital (mind you, it's rated in the top 10 women's hospitals in the country!) for the next birth - whether it's a c-section or a vbac. Also, I want a midwife this time. Used an ob only last time b/c I was so paranoid about my health during my pg (high bp). Anyway, lessons learned. I think the only thing that would ever make me feel better about the whole thing is if I could go back to that hospital and punch some of those doctors and nurses in the head. But, alas, I will not.
post #16 of 21
Tanibani...The Red Tent is an easy and good read. I liked it.

I'm sort of butting in here, but I have to agree with Tanibani about the need to talk about our pregnancy and labor experiences. There's something that happens to most women after birth. We forget the pain of delivery....and often of pregnancy. There's a natural amnesia that settles in. If it didn't, we'd probably all have only one child.

I need to share my birth stories so I don't forget the GOOD parts of them. I don't have to be able to remember the pain the way I know what a sore throat or headache feels like, but I do want to remember how my child who worries had everyone worrying terribly during his labor and delivery...how my fiery child FELT like fire coming out of me and how my gentle sweet soul baby #3 arrived quickly and as gently as I can imagine an 8lb 11oz baby arriving.

While I didn't have a c-section with any of my children, I do have regrets about the birth experiences of the first two. I have to push those regrets aside because we did what we did at the time because that's what we did. Period. I have to embrace the other parts of their deliveries and try to just be thankful that no matter how they got here, they're here. That's not easy and sometimes it's really quite a struggle.

If you're feeling like you can't get past the negative feelings, consider therapy. I went through a fantastic and relatively new therapy for a traumatic event and I can't recommend it enough. PM me if you're curious.

Wishing you all happy births and healthy mamas and babies...
post #17 of 21
Vent vent vent away!
post #18 of 21
I'm crying my eyes out as I am reading eveyones story. I have had 2 c-sections. One more traumatic than the other. After the 1st section I prepared myself for a v-bac birth and when I ende up having a 2nd c-section I felt like a complete failure. Needless to say I am in therapy now trying to work everything out and get out of this depressed state that I am in. It's always nice to know that there are people out there who understand what your going thru. It is a shame however that so many women have to go thru this. Birth is supposed to be one of the most wonderful things we as women experience in our lives.
We are allowed to grieve, but now I know we need to learn from our experiences so we can move on and truly enjoy our womderful children.

By the way the Red Tent is an incredible book. Two thumbs up from me.

Just remeber that your not alone.

post #19 of 21
greenluv, I was thinking of you this morning, and I thought about mentioning that looking at your labor records might help you heal your wounds.

I didn't have any severe trauma at my birth, but it has been enlightening and educational to see what the other participants in my birth (the OB, my nurse) saw as happening.

I called up the hospital where I gave birth, and they instantly transferred me to someone working 'medical records.' I told them I wanted a copy, and the gal told me what to include in a written letter (for me, it was SSN, date of treatment, etc., be sure to sign it, provide my home address so they'll mail it there, etc.)

Be sure to include, specifically, a request for 'labor progress notes' or 'nurses' notes' in your request to get the *good* stuff.

It might be scary for you to read what the impersonal, institutional notes have to say about the day your child was born--but it might be critical for you, too, as you heal these wounds.

And sometimes it feels so good to do something pro-active, when we're feeling like we're victims and wounded.

HTH...good luck on your journey!
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm feeling much better since I last posted

I feel like now that I know better, I can do better. When my first baby was born, I was 18 and scared to death to disagree with a Dr.

I am doing things I feel are right this time around-like having a midwife I love and planning a homebirth. I figure that since this is baby #4, I have a handle on what feels normal in pregnancy. In other words, I trust ME!

I credit all the women here at MDC for helping me see the wisdom of women. I could come here and read your stories when I needed to be inspired which has helped me believe I'm doing what my heart tells me to do. Thank you all!

Tinyshoes, we're due the same day!
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