Seems like this may be the place for me...may Iadd my story as well?
I also had 2 c/section births.
I conceived for the first time unexpectedly (but happily) at the age of 41. I was petrified of birth, had only heard horror stories from my female relatives (from the age of "twilight sleep"), one cousin's wife ("natural" birth in 1971, swore she'd abort if she ever conceived again), and friends with typical hospital births (episiotomies, flat on their backs, etc). So sadly, I did not anticipate a "beautiful experience", at least at first. I never doubted my body's ability to have a vaginal birth, knew only a couple of people who had had c-sections and they for essentially good reasons (footling breech, water broken and no contractions). Although a section sounded to me like a good way out of the horrors of labor, it didn't seem likely things would go that way for me. I didn't think to "educate" myself.....didn't realize there would be a need....I had read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (ugh), took the hospital's childbirth class, and just assumed, for better or for worse, that my body would get the baby out. After the class, I realized I'd concluded that I wanted to try drug-free labor, but I think I developed this idea more as a personal achievement than as being best for the baby and me.
Fast forward to 3/20/98. I awoke to contractions every 5-10 minutes apart in the middle of the night, was told to come to the hospital, and found to be 1 cm dilated. I was not told to go home, and in my ignorance, did not realize I should have. Labored all morning and into the afternoon, with close contractions and horrific back labor. Talking to a midwife that I befriended recently as well as my own research, I now realize I most likely had a classic posterior presentation. After 11 hours, I was at 2 cm. The OB (the only one in a practice of 4 that I hated - figures doesn't it?), decided to break my water. Again, I didn't know that that was not always advisable. After 3 more hours of excruciating pain and no real support (had only seen OB twice for about 5 minutes, L & D nurse in and out, and DH not the best coach), I gave in to Demerol, which zonked me out but did nothing for my labor. Again, my research revealed that breaking the water probably did nothing but commit the baby to the bad position. No one even mentioned "posterior" (until after the section), much less tell me what to do about it. After being stuck at 3 cm for 6 hours with contractions 2-3 minutes apart and in unrelenting pain, I agreed to the section. The surgery itself went without problems. Unfortunately, my son was born with his jaw slanted to one side (broken water left no cushion? who knows), was never able to latch on to breastfeed. My hospital was very b'feeding UNFRIENDLY, so I got lousy info about what to do about this or pumping, etc. Saw an LC when I got home but after 5 weeks of cup and finger feeding, pumping a minimal amount of milk and just being so devastated by this birth, I gave up and bottle fed.
I became pregnant again when my son was 14 months old, but miscarried at 8weeks. Tried for nearly a year to conceived again, and after finally giving up I became pregnant at the age of 44! I had educated myself more, read up on VBACs although unfortunately only in a book written by an MD. But I still didn't doubt my body's abiltiy to birth vaginally. I thought the previous posterior was a fluke unlikely to happen again and I also blamed the indifference and inertia of the previous doc.
I switched doctors to someone who at least initially seemed much more supportive, progressive, whatever. He agreed to support me for a VBAC. Normal healthy pregnancy, I was delighted. Brief scare with premature labor
at 32 weeks, I was hospitalized for 4 days and on bed rest for 2 weeks after,
but then I was OK. My water broke early one morning at 38-1/2 weeks, and
again contractions were 5-10 minutes apart. I was sure I was on the fast track to having my baby by sunrise. But not........and sadly, I participated in my own failure. I think unconsciously, I was terrified of losing the baby in delivery and at the age of 44 I was not guaranteed another pregnancy....those are the only things I can think of to defend myself. I walked and squatted until I began vomiting uncontrollably, then allowed myself to be talked into lying down. My labor lasted 21 hours. I did dilate further than in my first birth, but incredibly slowly (1-2 cm every 2-3 hours), again the pain was excruciating, no support.....I gave in to every
intervention known to woman. Finally at 9-1/2 cm, I pushed for 2 hours, til I was screaming with pain and exhaustion, only to be told the baby's head was "-3 station"....or as my OB put it, "in heaven". I agreed to another section. Although my second son did not have the jaw problem that my first had, he was bottlefed 3 times while I was knocked out to rest, never really took the breast. Same hospital, same b'feeding ineptitude, another heartbreak. Although this time I pumped and bottlefed for 13 months, and never had to go to formula.
I have struggled with this for years. I also had difficulty bonding, wonder if I even blamed my poor second child for my misery (didn't help that he was a fussy baby and I couldn't even b'feed to console him). Especially at my age, I know I was lucky to conceive at all and to have two normal healthy kids, but sadly this is why no one "gets" my distress over the births. Have blamed myself again and again.
Interestingly, I got my hospital records for the second birth, and according to the surgery report I was beginning to get a uterine tear, so maybe the section was a blessing in disguise. Wish I could believe it...
Tried to ttc one more time to at least get b'feeding right, but went into perimenopause, so it wasn't to be.
I can utterly empathize with anyone who mourns the loss of a dream birth. I still search for a balm for this wound myself. I live in NY State and next April there is an ICAN conference here that will most likely feature a woman named Jamie Stouffer who conducts workshops on working through situations like this. I hope to go and see if I can find my healing.....
May we all find our healings one way or another.........