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Moving Beyond Birth Experience?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
It's been over a year since I gave birth. Basically, my labor and delivery could be the intervention begets more intervention cautionary tale. I was induced because of low amniotic fluid one evening, was given sleeping medicine (which left me unable to see anything but swirly colors - let alone to focus on making it through contractions) because I "needed" rest before having a baby, had no labor support, was told at 2AM that the *only* pain medicine I could receive was an epidural, reluctantly gave in and accepted the epidural, spent the next morning in a haze, fetal distress, uterine infection, and a c-section about 18-19 hours after the whole ordeal began. Somewhere between 2pm on one day and 2pm the next day, the baby had turned transverse... hence the failure to progress... I'm guessing it happened somewhere about the point that the baby went into distress.

I still have major regrets about the experience. Everyone keeps telling me, "but you had a healthy baby." And that is true. I love my dc more than anything/anyone else in the world. But I need to find a way to move on from this.

In the future when/if I have other children, I will fight tooth and nail for a vbac. But I feel that I need some sort of closure for the whole birth experience being nothing like what I had desired.

How have you all gained closure?

(Sorry if this is the wrong forum... I just couldn't really figure out which one to put this into).
post #2 of 26

I feel your pain

I'm so sorry about your experience... and I know what you mean. After the birth of my DS, I would dream of it over and over and how I would do things differently. I don't think I'm "over" it yet, but I do know that talking about it with several different people who understand that its deeper than just having a healthy baby helped me a lot. Also I needed to write out the whole story... every single thing that I can remember about my labor so that I can read it over and over. Its almost like being able to talk about it with myself. Each time I read it I add something different (I just keep it saved on my computer as a Word Doc). Lastly, holding my son and telling him the story while I snuggle each little bit of him helps me more than anything. He loves me and doesn't hold it against me that I "gave in" and didn't have the perfect birth that I dreamed of. Your son probably feels the same way .
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Indiemama. That is a wonderful idea.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraheartslittle1
I still have major regrets about the experience. Everyone keeps telling me, "but you had a healthy baby." And that is true. I love my dc more than anything/anyone else in the world. But I need to find a way to move on from this.
I'm a firm believer that the "all that matters is a healthy baby" is not all that matters. It would be nice if that was the case, but it's not. A healthy mom is important too! As to how you can work through your feelings? I definitely suggest that you head on over to ICAN (www.ican-online.org) and sign up for their email list. It's a great way to talk about your feelings and know that there are so many others out there that know exactly what you mean. You may also consider attending a local chapter meeting if there is one in your area. That's another great resouce to help you in processing. I also really like a website called "Birth Matters" (www.birthtruth.org) because it's from the perspective of one whose been there!
post #5 of 26
I'm so sorry. I too had a C/S and was traumatized by it...and everyone said, "but you have a healthy baby.." That comment really doesn't help. The best thing I did was surround myself with people that have been through it. Talk about it, and vent about it. You can do it here! For me, time passing by eased the pain little by little. When I became pregnant (unexpectedly) with my second one, I studied and researched as much about a vbac as I could so that I was "armed" with information when I went to see my OB/Midwife. The vaginal birth of my second one closed the door to the traumatic effects of my first birth. I had my children sort of close, 18 months apart. I would have liked to heal before I got pregnant again because I felt so much anxiety about my upcoming vbac.

Remember to be good to yourself. I believe that if you are suffering, you can't just convince yourself you are okay because everyone expects you to be okay. Feel what you feel. I hope this helps.
post #6 of 26
Another post c/s mama seeking healing here. I'm preg w/ my 2nd child and am trying to find something...well, maybe not closure, since that experience will always be what it was, but...a place to move on from. To that end, I'm trying some craniosacral therapy with a local midwife/craniosacral practitioner who specializes in this particular kind of "healing". My 1st appt. isn't until the 21st, but I'd love to pm you with how successful or no I feel that practice was for me.

My heart goes out to you. Best of luck in this period of processing.
post #7 of 26
Same thing for me. I am pregnant with number 2, due in mid-July, and really struggling to put my traumatic c-section behind me. I think both my husband and OB want me to be "past" it, but I'm just not. Part of my struggle is in my rational mind. I think that if I can understand fully what happened, I can prevent it happening again, so I just keep reading and reading and making myself crazy. The other part of my struggle is just flat out fear that I will go through it again and maybe not be able to handle it. This comes through in a need to fully plan for every possible outcome, which you obviously can't do. I am finding all of this exhausting, and certainly not conducive to relaxing before the birth.

All the best to you in finding an answer for yourself, I wish I had more than just empathy to offer.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsatz
Another post c/s mama seeking healing here. I'm preg w/ my 2nd child and am trying to find something...well, maybe not closure, since that experience will always be what it was, but...a place to move on from. To that end, I'm trying some craniosacral therapy with a local midwife/craniosacral practitioner who specializes in this particular kind of "healing". My 1st appt. isn't until the 21st, but I'd love to pm you with how successful or no I feel that practice was for me.

My heart goes out to you. Best of luck in this period of processing.
Please do, I would love to hear how it goes.

Thank you mamas for the advice. I think what frustrates me more than anything about the "at least you have a healthy baby" comment is that it is coming from women who never had a c-section. Most of them are "I went into labor and 4 hours later, I had a baby" types.

I will definitely check into ICAN. I spoke with another mama recently who had a section and went on to have multiple healthy v-bacs. Her story made me feel much better.

Again... thanks for sharing mamas.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
The other part of my struggle is just flat out fear that I will go through it again and maybe not be able to handle it.
I so totally understand that. I can only hope for the best for you. Maybe meditation, relaxation??? Do you have your medical records? Do you know what happened? That might be the first step...
post #10 of 26
I had a HB transfer and lots of intervention + NB NICU and It took until my second child was born at home ....even though I had a postpartum hemorhage and a ambulance ride.... I was just so proud that he was born at home, I felt great and justified. And with the HB of my 3rd I began taking responsibility for letting them mess with my first birth and now I blame only myself for being fooled. Just keep talking about it and take responsibility that is the only think that worked for me.
post #11 of 26
I wrote my son's birth story (which was really hard to do) and sought counseling before getting pregnant again.

I got each and every page of my medical records (they only sent partial records the first time I requested them even though I specified *complete* records) and reviewed them several times.

I educated myself about low amniotic fluid (also why I had induction & ultimately had c-section) and came to the realization that the induction was likely unnecessary, or at the very least, since the rest of my biophysical profile was great, the amniotic levels should have been tested again the next day. That made me even angrier.

I planned a homebirth for my 2nd pregnancy and had a beautiful VBAC in the privacy of my own home, with a midwife, her assistant, a doula, a friend and my husband.

The VBAC did not take away the pain of my c-section experience, but it did soothe the intensity of my anger some.

I hate that I'm part of the c-section statistic. I was extremely educated about childbirth & the risks of medicalized birth. I was planning a non-medicated birth at a free-standing birth center. But when it came down to it, unfortunately the "midwives" I was working with were medwifes & ultimately used the same tactics I probably would have received if I had started out at the hospital (you're endangering your baby...) I was strong-armed into the induction, even though I "consented" to it.

The thing I severely regret about my first birth is not hiring a doula...I didn't think I needed one b/c I was delivering at a birth center. I think EVERYONE should have a good doula, no matter where you're birthing!

A book that was very helpful to me was Birth as a Healing Experience:
The Emotional Journey of Pregnancy Through Postpartum

by Lois Halzel Freedman

___________________________________
SAHM to a spectacular DS (5/2003) & delightful DD (2/2006 HBAC!)
“You never know when you are making a memory.” ~ Rickie Lee Jones
post #12 of 26
I had a c/s 11 months ago and am nowhere near done processing it and getting past it - we moved 5 wks after DD was born to another state, our housing fell thru, I ended up with family on the other side of the state - only saw DH on weekends, and my aunt was very unsupportive of my AP and BF. Then we movd closer staying with DH's old uncle - who didn't want us there - until we closed on our house which also fell thru. Needless to say it was one disaster after another. I shut down emotionally - only remaining open to my baby. It was my way of survival. I have had noone to talk to about the cs and can't wait til we move back up N in 6 wks so I can talk to a midwife there. I already contacted homebirth midwives where we will be living and she was very happy to tell me to make an apt when i get settled and they would love to help me thru all this b4 I ever even try to conceive #2.
post #13 of 26
Talk talk talk talk.
Write write write write everything, Every time your emotions changes, write it down. For the first few weeks after dd was born (belly-birth) I kept saying, "I was expecting to feel more detached, I'm really glad that I felt like I was there.' But as the months wore on, I got more and more sad about the whole thing, and I even felt like I wasn't a good mother and my dd knew that I had screwed up.

In fact it all came to head just before dd2 was born b/c there was the lurking threat of another c/s. I screamed and cried adn became a little hysterical and relived it all...and wrote it down. Journallg, I find really helps. And MDC.

And remember, as you grow from it and away from it, you won't necessarily feel better about the c/s, but hopefully you will see how amazing you are that you had a rough start and are still a fabulous incredible focused Mother.
post #14 of 26
Oh, how I need this thread right now. I had an unplanned and completely unexpected c/s two months ago. I went into my pregnancy confident that I would have a totally naural birth with no complications. I did my reading, hired a doula, and took hypnobirthing classes. I was induced after my water broke because my contractions did not start. I labored for 30 hours unmedicated as the pitocin was cranked up and up. Took the epi because pitocin was going to be cranked up again. Three hours later I began pushing, and three hours of pushing led to c/s. DD was posterior and head tilted. My dream of a natural birth was crushed. I did feel good about going for so long without an epi, but I feel like the whole thing was just not right. So I thought I had put the whole thing behind me and moved on into motherhood, but it recently just slapped me in the face. My wonderful SIL, who I adore, just had a wonderful waterbirth in her home. Her labor was about two hours and was everything that she hoped for. I am truly so happy for her, but it has brought up a lot of emotions about my own birth. It makes me so sad that I couldn't have had the same experience. All I wanted was to see my baby emerge into this world. I couldn't see anything except the ceiling in the OR. It has really awakened some strong emotions of anger and sadness that I wasn't aware I was holding on to. I don't really know what to do. When I talk to my DH about it he reassures me that I did a wonderful job, but he just doesn't understand how I am feeling. I don't even know what he could say to make me feel better. I really need to deal with this before we have another babe. Part of me is terrified that it will happen again, and the other side of me is mad that I didn't go with my instinct and stay away from the hospital. I truly feel like everything could have been avoided if I was allowed to go into labor naturally. I'm just feeling extremely bad that all I can think about in this time of happiness is how wrong my own birth was. I cried when I found out about her birth, because I was happy for her and sad that I wasn't able to experience a wonderful birth.
post #15 of 26
namjaball - I can totally relate to your story. I friend of mine had a great natural birth about 3 months after I had my c-section. I was consumed with the unfairness of it all yet I was so happy for her. Such conflicting emotions can be so hard to deal with. I truely believe giving up the idea of control can help
post #16 of 26
Warrior mama- Did you ever talk to your friend about how you where feeling? My SIL and I are great friends and she is who I talk to about pregnancy/motherhood. So I feel a little lost not being able to talk to her about it. Have you done anything to prepare for your next birth? The beauty about my birth was that it was my first and I truly thought that the pain of a pitocin, induced, 30 hour labor was normal. I had no fear going into it or through it at all. Now I feel full of fear and I really don't think I can go through the same thing again. I really want a homebirth next time but I am scared that I might have a repeat of what happened. I know that's silly and I have to trust my body, but I just feel very insecure about my ability. I just don't have the positive confidence I had going into dd birth.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrior mama
namjaball - Such conflicting emotions can be so hard to deal with. I truely believe giving up the idea of control can help
Namjaball, I think this is an excellent piece of advice, but also would encourage you to take your time in processing your experience. Even though my c-section was five years ago-(and pretty much reads like yours BTW, including 26 hours of labor, tetonic contractions with pitocin, an epidural that didn't work, checked out medwife, etc)-I am still processing the feelings and getting to the heart of the lasting impact of the trauma.

Some areas that were helpful for me to think about were:

1) insensitve comments and how to not internalize them.....
2) learning from the experience, taking charge of the next birth, but not taking on all the blame/responsibility/guilt for what happened
3)seeing each birth as its own event
4)breaking the experience down into parts and looking at the areas that were most distressing (drawing really helped me to do this)---e.g., for me, it was kind of surprising that when I dug deeper, the fact they took my son away unnecessarily to the NICU was the single most traumatic part of the whole experience, and not the physical torture they put me through on the pitocin. Oddly enough, once I realized I could and would prevent this from happening next time, my grief lessened. There are lots of things that you can do the 2nd time to make it different, this is an absolute!!
5) question the "dramatized" birth experience that we are steeped in from little on...whether it is the screaming woman or the woman bathed in golden light with her baby sliding out into the waiting arms of her partner You birthed a baby, and did it under incredibly difficult circumstances, don't let other people take that away from you, and don't take it away from yourself.

Final thought, talk to your SIL. Maybe see it as an opportunity to confess your envy, but also maybe a chance to share what you did appreciate about your birth. For example, you are incredibly strong, there is NO DOUBT about that. For me, it was realizing a long time after the birth how strong my maternal drive must have been to insist after all that craziness that they wheel me down to the NICU to hold my baby and not taking no for an answer. I marvel at that. Or how about the fact that your body grew a baby and brought it into the world, which often times gets lost in the whole c-section experience.

I am due to VBAC with an EDD of July 15, 2006. It has been a long journey to get here and feel capable and positive. You can do it! YOU CAN!
post #18 of 26
:
post #19 of 26
[QUOTE=namjaball]I am truly so happy for her, but it has brought up a lot of emotions about my own birth. It makes me so sad that I couldn't have had the same experience. All I wanted was to see my baby emerge into this world. I couldn't see anything except the ceiling in the OR. It has really awakened some strong emotions of anger and sadness that I wasn't aware I was holding on to.QUOTE]

I found with my c/s that I didn't start to feel really badly about it until about 4 months, and then I slowed down on bf and become very hard on myself - I was always thinking things like

my daughter hates me
she is frightened all the time
she doesn't trust me etc....

Now that I have dd#2 I know that babies just become more vocal around that age! BUt I relate to the factthat it is hard to forgive yourself for being separated from your baby, and from not being the one to lift her into the world. My dh (trying to fill me in) told me how the OB had to put her finger in my baby's mouth and shoe-horn her out...how violent! Yikes! But the truth is, my dd isn't angry with me, and I talk to her about it. SHe is 22 mos and I say things to her like, Remeber when you were born? We were so excited and mommy adn daddy let the doctor bring you out so that there wouldn't be any more worries about you. She says, Yah. And I say, That might have been a bit scary, but we are always with you, and we were with you then too. She says, Yah. I don't know how much she remembers but I think it is important for me to tell her how lovingly we were holding her with our hearts...it is healing to say the words...You know, mommy was scared a bit too, but we were brave together.

Be gentle with yourself, You have a lot of mothering to do! This is just one of the first herdles(sp?) in this very challenging role we have each accepted.
post #20 of 26
thank you mamas for holding this space.
It has been very healing for me to read your stories. I am still processing my c/s from 6 months ago. And although I have worked through a lot, I feel like a have more to heal.
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