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disappointing, or traumatic birth experiences (and moving on from them) tribe

post #1 of 321
Thread Starter 
I posted the following in the Questions and Suggestions forum. I was told to start a tribe here and see if there is any interest. So, here is the tribe, and if there is anyone out there who is interested, then I guess post here.

My original post;
I don't know if there is enough interest to warrant it's own subforum, but I wonder if at least a sticky could be placed in the Birth and Beyond forum for the subject of disappointing birth experiences, which would include information about; disappointment or sadness about the birth or post partum experience, guilt or regret about some aspect of the birth or post partum experience, birth trauma, birth rape, and post natal post traumatic stress disorder. It should also include information about dealing with issues surrounding a disappointing or traumatic birth experience, including what options there are for help for the mother and the baby to process and move on from the experience.

The reason I suggest this is because I see a steady stream of threads come through the Birth and Beyond forum that pertain to birth trauma. They ask things like; how to deal with the trauma, how to move past it, how to prepare for the next birth, and where did they go wrong in their birth experience that led to the traumatic aspects.

I have seen many replies to these types of threads. Some are wonderful and helpful, but others I am afraid are simply not sensitive enough to the specific issues surrounding birth trauma. For example, a woman will come on who rarely has ever posted before and she makes a thread about how horrible her birth was and how her OB pressured her to do this and that and how awful and guilty and depressed she feels now and how this has affected every waking moment of her life since the birth and her bond with her baby. Then some well meaning poster comes on and says something to the effect of, "well, you shouldn't have allowed them to do xyz because that led to this other thing which led to this other thing which all added up to trauma for you", or "this is why people have homebirths", or they suggest things that could have been done to make it go better. It's not that their replies are wrong in any way, and I am sure a homebirth or natural birth advocate feels like she aught to take every opportunity to educate the public about birth options, however, to a traumatized woman this kind of thing sounds like blame and it leads to shame, guilt, and more depression.

Some of these women post only weeks or months after their traumatic experiences and sometimes get answers that make me feel so badly for them as I know from experience how they are going to internalize the comments that are made. I feel that this is one of those sensitive issues that is very difficult to understand or respond to in a productive way unless you yourself have been through it or you have a great deal of experience and knowledge about it. I know that it must seem to many posters to be the perfect opportunity for a lesson about why certain birth options are better than others, and to point out exactly where the situation went wrong. I can understand this desire to show that the woman's body is not to blame, or the natural process of childbirth, or the option of natural birth, but that the system is to blame. However, the poster may feel that she herself is to blame, and any minor insinuation that she may have chose the wrong care provider or birth options may just devastate her. Especially if she is in the early months after the trauma, or if she is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD or PPD.

I think if there was a subforum called 'disappointing birth experiences' it could have it's own guidelines on what is appropriate to post. Also, it could have some resources that would give women some immediate help and guidance. At the very least it would be nice to have a sticky in the Birth and Beyond forum that would provide resources for women who are traumatized or sad about their birth experience. Then even if they do post in Birth and Beyond and get some questionable comments, at least they will also have some good resources to utilize in order to get the help they need elsewhere.
post #2 of 321
Me, me, me!

I had extremely painful back labor that led to an epidural, pitocin, and a c-section. Having a c-section sucked but the pain of labor itself was even more traumatic. Any kind of forum or sticky on traumatic birth experiences would be a positive step as far as I'm concerned.
post #3 of 321

I am struggling with ppd or ptsd,

extreme guilt,

over the birth of my 6 month old son...

I am devastated by it..

and cant find any adequate support where I live..

Jennica, I do want to say thanks for the kind, and thoughtful support and resources you gave me..
post #4 of 321
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sweetieberlin View Post
Jennica, I do want to say thanks for the kind, and thoughtful support and resources you gave me..
Your welcome. Hope you find the support that you need in your area.
post #5 of 321

sory long!

Oh my gosh, me!

I had an incredibly tramatic birth experience 8 months ago. This was my first birth. The extremely condensed version:

My water broke at 34 weeks and no natural labor followed. I was held in the hospital on a pennicilin drip for a week before they decided the infection risk was to great and tried to induce with pictocin. Had to be strapped down on my back so contranctions could be monitored. Hyperstimulated and was having extremely painful contraction 2-5 SECONDS apart for 12 hours. Finally relented to an epidural, which slipped after only an hour and caused my lower legs to go completely numb, but had no affect on the part that hurt. Decided not to have it re-placed. After an additional 18 hours of hyperstimulated labor I was only 5 cm and half effaced and they decided labor had stalled, and I needed a c-section, I was exhaused and in incredible pain and relented.

The epidural needed to be done again because the first one had slipped, and as they put it in and laid me back, I suddenly realized I couldn't breath. It had gone high and caused respiratory arrest. I was in a state of panic and my last memory before I passed out was of the resusitation team coming at me. The c-section was then done under general anesthesia, and I woke up thrilled to be alive to "we delivered your baby".

One day into recovery I got the worst headache of my life. I threw up everything I tried to eat or drink and could barely open my eyes. I had gotten a spinal headache from the first slipped epidural. They have to wait three days to see if it will go away on its own before they do a blood patch (another needle in the spine) because of the risk, and in that three days I became dehydrated and developed a blood clot in my leg. At that point I was sure I was going to die. I felt awful, I did nothing but cry. I felt like a failure in every way. In addition I was trying to breastfeed a premature infant who couldn't latch, I had become engorged and developed mastitis in one breast. I felt like the biggest breastfeeding failure ever as the nurses tried to shove my screaming baby on to my nipple.

On day three after my delivery I had the blood patch, waited the required two hours then when on blood thinners for the blood clot. I had to be on blood thinners for six months.

The happy side of this is my beautiful healthy eight month old daughter. She shows no ill effects from her prematurity, and after a month of pumping and finger feeding, she developed the ability to latch.

I'm sorry to go on so long, believe it or not, I left out a lot of smaller trauma's. I have had a very hard time dealing with this experience, and am terrified to get pregnant again, even though I really want more kids. I haven't been able to talk to anyone about it, because it's not a happy story and seems to make people uncomfortable.

I would love a tribe of others to talk without judgement about our issues!

post #6 of 321
yes, here is a copy of the post I put on a c-section healing thread a few days ago:

I blame myself for my c-section. I went to the hospital way too early - I was having regular contractions, but they barely hurt. Once I got there I was put on monitors and because my OB said my dd's heart rate dipped, he broke my water to check for meconium. There was none, but the next step was to start pitocin because I was only 1 cm dilated. Meanwhile I was still lying in bed. I regret not walking, etc. I got an epidural at only 2 cm dilated, and I never got further than that. Soon after the pitocin started, my dd's heart rate dropped and I was rushed to the OR, after given a shot to stop contractions. Luckily her heart rate went back up, and I was brought back to continue to labor, but at that point nothing was happening. My OB decided to do a c-section when the heart rate continued to fluctuate.

After birth I was in the recovery room for a good 24 hours due to no beds being available. I refused the removal of the catheter because there was no bathroom in my room. My dd was in the room with me, but when she cried I couldn't pick her up because of the pain I was in and there was no one to help me (I picked her up with difficulty). No one helped me to nurse because I wasn't on the maternity floor. Etc, etc.

I never felt the instant love I was supposed to feel for my newborn baby. I felt that she was torn from my body, that I didn't give birth to her, etc. I did have ppd which was really helped by nursing and meds. I need to have a better birth experience this time around. I don't know how I will cope with another c-section.

my husband had an appendectomy in 2001 and I asked him if he remembers the pain he went through after the surgery and if he would purposely schedule a surgery with a much larger incision and go through that pain again. he said he would if it was for a baby. I understand that, but I am going to have to be completely convinced it is necessary before I allow that to happen to me. I am so scared that I will be in more pain this time due to dilation and pushing and THEN having a c-section.

I guess my biggest emotion right now is fear. Thanks for reading if you did so!
post #7 of 321
Dara and Ruth,

I cannot believe what strong women you are, both of you.

I think it is amazing that you are both willing to at least consider another baby, let alone have more, with what you've been through. I notice that both of your stories are mostly about you, and that you've probably editted out a lot of the things people (both health care workers and lay-folk) said and did that made your situations even worse.

I am so sorry!

Have either of you looked at the book or the classes from Birthing from Within? Before I had my second child I took a one day seminar about Healing From birth trauma. It really helped me put the past in the past and look forward with excitedment to a new birth, a new chance to reclaim my birth story.

Fear is powerful. But, just from your stories, it is clear that you are more powerful.
Think of fear as an acronym: False Evidence, Assuming Reality. *

Replace fear with faith.

I must put the kids to bed, but my thoughts, prayers, love and positive energy is with you both.

post #8 of 321
* from Hypnobirthing
post #9 of 321

Times 2!

I wanted to join in here.

I always had high blood pressure from the time I was in high school. Numerous drs told me I should look at getting on medication to help control it, but I never did. So, while I was prego with my first, my b/p was a concern, but they didn't want to deal with trying to start/regulate me on starting meds then. At a routine dr appt at 37 weeks, I was rushed straight to the hospital for bloodwork for preclampsia (sp?). I was given magnesium sulfate in fear that my b/p was too high and I'd go into seizures. I was given medication to help induce labor. The next day and a half were a blur - I don't remember much of anything. I remember the nurses telling me when I was having a contraction (based off of when the machines I was hooked up to indicated I was having them). I couldn't feel much of anything, and was so hazy due to the mag sulf. After about 2 hours of "hard" labor (so I was told), my son was born. I was so out of it, I barely remember the birthing experience, and I don't remember the first times I saw or held my son. That still hurts me, the not remembering. It took a couple days before I was really even coherent. For a long time, I beat myself up - if I had gotten on b/p meds when I was younger, would the birthing process have turned out better? Would I have gotten preclampsia? Then, a friend recommended eating bananas to help naturally regulate my b/p, and that actually helped! Yet another reason to feel guilty - that I didn't learn that sooner.

When I became prego with #2, I was optimistic and excited - my b/p was good. My dr assured me that just because of preclampsia with the first, didn't indicate a real concern with the second. I had a great pregnancy. Then, at 32 weeks, I started getting some major cramps. I actually thought it might just be gas or something - I was 8 weeks away from my due date, and I could feel the baby moving (like crazy!) way up high under my ribs. A call to my dr (thank goodness I did), and I went into the hospital to get double checked on. Turns out I was in labor (didn't know what to expect from labor from my first), and my water was about to break, and they had to do an emergency c-section because the baby was all tied up in the cord. There was a lot of fears due to how premature the baby was, and an ambulance was parked outside to rush my baby to another hospital that was equipped to handle preemies. Fortunately, it turned out that my due date had been gotten wrong throughout my entire pregnancy, and my son was full term, but they had him away from me for several long, tense hours testing him, while I was kept pretty unaware of what was happening with him. The whole experience was so tense and scary, with me being unable to find any joy in any of it (except when I learned he was okay, of course). So, yet another un-ideal birthing experience.

Now, I would love to have more children, but to be honest, I am terrified. I say jokingly to others that 'who knows what my next birthing experience would turn out like', but I'm actually am quite scared. Even though logically I know that there's nothing wrong with me, and it's probably silly to be afraid, deep in my heart, I just can't help it. My fears don't care about logic. What if the next time, I have a miscarriage, or do end up with a premature baby, or whatever else could go wrong?! I loved being pregnant both times, but the birthing scares me - and I'm really not sure if I'll be able to overcome that fear enough to risk becoming pregnant again.

If there's any help or support that I could offer others, I would most definitely love to be there for anyone else who needs it. And who knows - maybe we can help each other heal just a little bit. Hugs to all the mommas!
post #10 of 321
thanks nunny, where did you take that seminar?
post #11 of 321
I hope this below part validates that we are not alone in how we feel after our traumatic birth experiences. I remember feeling guilty that I couldn't "just get over it and be happy I had a healthy baby". It is good to see that you are all not accepting that, and finding ways to heal.
I am proud of you.

For more info on the workshop go to:

www.birthingfromwithin.com, you can put in your zip code and find mentors in your area. I took the Birth Story workshop, here's the blip about it from the website:

When thinking about the birth of their child, mothers and fathers often have mixed feelings of joy and grief, guilt, anger or depression. Especially when the baby is healthy, most people discount the importance or validity of a parent’s negative feelings about the labor or birth. Left unresolved, negative feelings and beliefs undermine the joy and confidence of parenting, and can negatively affect relationships with partner, baby, friends and work.
If a Mentor in your area is offering BirthStory Circle, and your past birth experience is interfering with your peace of mind or positive anticipation of an upcoming birth, then don't wait. Change the way you feel about your birth in a BirthStory Circle.

Private sessions can often be arranged.

Pam England offers Birth Story workshops for the public, and private phone consultations as well.

This class is a must for all expectant parents seeking to birth-in-awareness, and for expectant parents who have already experienced a cesarean birth.

You will learn:
• What you need to know about cesareans: up-to-date research
• How to know when cesarean birth is necessary
• How to "Give Birth" by cesarean
• How to transform fear into coping
• What fathers and partners can do at a cesarean birth

Even when parents do everything "right", even when they do everything humanly possible to avoid having a cesarean, sometimes a cesarean is necessary. Holistic childbirth preparation is not limited to birthing normally; it also includes practical preparation for coping with the unwished-for events of labor. If you are pregnant now, and gave birth by cesarean before and feel traumatized, also attend a BirthStory Circle.

If you have other questions about Birthing From Within Classes, or you are wondering how our approach is different from other methods, your questions may be answered on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
post #12 of 321
Hi, I just joined MDC and am searching through the boards. Of course I stumbled upon this and think this is a great idea. I did everything I could to plan a natural birth for my DD's birth 9 mos ago. And still I feel like a failure. We started out at a birth center but ended up in the hospital with pitocin and an epidural due to failure to progress. 38 hours of labor, 3 hours pushing. Then DD's heartrate plummetted so we had a vacuum and almost an emergency c section (I was lucky to have a great doc that was very pro-vaginal birth). The epi only lasted about an hour. Extreme pain. I did Hypnobabies and everything. We think maybe the problems and pain were due to a pelvic fracture I had years ago. I also had a 4th degree tear that I'm still having problems with. Anyways, I don't know what to do with my next birth. I used to post in the Hypnobabies Yahoo group, but after that I just didn't know what to say to them. Yeah, I should have practiced more. But that group is all about being positive and I just wanted to say that the whole experience was so traumatizing!! Anyway, I'll need this tribe when I get ready to make my decision about the next birth. Thanks for starting this...

Oh, and sweetieberlin- I post on KM. I'm CorasMommy. Hang in there! I think there are more of us out there than we think.
post #13 of 321
mine, i see now, wasn´t THAT bad i guess...i think this will be long, sorry but i have to get it out.

i did everything i could to give my son a natural birth also. doctors said it should be induced, i was almost 42 weeks. but of course didn´t want that. thursday: 9am control with midwife in hospital. first they monitored the contractions, there were none. and after she checked me...and i think she did something because a few hours later i started bleeding. i didn´t know it was better if they didn´t touch you after week 40. if i had known, i´m sure he would have come at his own time, afew days later.

that same night we went to the hospital because i started bleeding alot and it hurt. i wasn´t in labor so back home we went.
friday was the same, contractions all day but everything good. i didn´t sleep so saturday my hubby got scared and we went back to the hospital. "you are not in labor" once again. so back home.
sunday 2am i couln´t take it anymore so we went back and i got into the hospital...fell asleep and contractions went away. i think i was just scared. but i was sooo tired that i didn´t know what to do...i swear i just wanted someone to take my son out!!!!
sunday noon i got underwater for over an hour and contractions started again...it was wonderful! went bak to the room and an hour later they came
2-3 minutes apart.
up to here i was ok, veeery tired but ok. but they convinced me to rip my water...i think it has been the biggest mistake of my life. i know hat i messed up mad at this moment. the contractions started very very quickly and alot more pain than i thought i would be in. back labor...oh please, i never thought so much pain would be possible! but i hung in until 11pm. eight hours later. i started seeing people, shadows and my husband freaked out. called the midwife, checked me, i was already a bit more than 9cm but the baby went back up. thay put the monitors on and his heart started failing.....this is when everything started ..oxitocin, epidurial and the horrible feeling of being layed down with your legs apart, for everyone to see. up to here i did what i wanted, walked, on the labor ball, it was good. but the feelin f of evryone seeing you, oh it´s the worst.

i have a few memories then, not many. i remember my husband crying, worried about the baby and me. i remember the lady giving me the epidural screaming at me to calm down...i wanted to kill her, sorry but i remember that very clearly! i remembar hearing "you have a contraction, push" but not feeling a thing. horrible. i remember pushing the midwife off my belly! she was pushing and it felt horrible, so i pushed her off...it felt good to have SOMETHING under my control. i remember the doctor showing me the spatules he was going to use to get my son out...luckily i closed my eyes and saw only the handles. i remembar my hubby saying "the head is out my love, that´s it, he´s out!
and of course seeing my son´s huge eyes wide open, kinda shocked as if he was asking me "why am i out? what happened?". i explained in 2 seconds where he was, who we were, turned around and my hubby, crying only from his left eye (veeery strange!) sais "he has my ears".
unfortunately they had to cut the cord because of his heart failing before, so the put him on the examinign table right next to me, chcked him, everything was great but i didn´t have the ernergy to tell them not tu put the hepatitis vax, and everything else...but they gave him to me less than 5 minutes later and he lached on perfectly!!!!!

after, everything was great but i can´t get the guilt out of me from having my water broken y the midwife. i guess with time it´ll go away. right?

thanks for letting me get this out
post #14 of 321
I had one quite tramatic birth, back in 2002.. but I didnt realise it until now. When ds was born I was overwelmed by the feelings again.. and the guilt of what I had done...here's my story...

At the time, I was young, didn't know what I know now.. and completely unsupported. I was completely scared to death of pain.

I started having contractions at about 9pm... took a shower, still there.. called the midwife. she said to come in and they would check me... a little while later she showed up.. she said the baby was showing signs of stress and that they needed to break my water to check for meconium (sp?) it was clear, she then said baby still showed stress, so they had to use internal monitors, which meant I was forced to stay in bed.. my contractions then pretty much stopped, so they said they had to use pitocin... the contractions became unbearable for me, as I was scared of pain, I had terrible back labor, and was refused pain medication, which at that point in my life, I needed. Then they said my cervix got stuck between 9-10cm.. wasnt fully dialated.. they told me to push.. and that it would help to open it.. (I now know that is wrong) I pushed for 3 hours without ever having the urge to push.. that was the point I was readied for surgery...

I never realized how much that birth affected me... until I got pregnant again.. so fast forward to this past pregnancy.. I was still scared of pain, but more the unknown.. I was scared to death that my uterus would rupture, and something would happen to my baby. I decided to go ahead with another c-section. But as the time got closer, I decided I wanted to try again. My surgery was scheduled for Oct. 17, and I thought if the baby comes before it will be natural. The baby did come before, the 14th. The pain was awful, I was still scared of it, contractions were every 2 minutes.. went to the hospital and was only 2cm. The fear of rupture, along with the pain, and the dr. telling me that I was probably too small to have it naturally, quickly changed my mind. The baby was born healthy, but a bit too small for here in Germany. 5lbs11oz. So they had to keep taking him for tests every few hours, and they would have him for up to 45min-1hour away.. This stressed me very much. I was supposed to stay 6 days, but I convinced the head dr. to let me go after 4 days. I just wanted to be home with my new baby.

I am extremely distraught over this... For me it is guilt... How could I do this to my baby? How could I choose to bring my baby into the world in such a way? How could I? If only I could go back in time... If only I knew then what I know now... If only.. these thoughts are played through my head like a broken record.

so, now, I am trying my best to get over this... I can not find adequate support here in Berlin.. I have tried every option... so I must help myself.. I took some advice.. and it seemed to help me a bit.. I went for a walk with ds in a quiet park and I talked to him.. I told him how sorry I am, and how hard it was for me, and how I wish it was.. I asked his soul to forgive me..(that was the advice, but I felt I needed to take it farther so..) then I talked to myself, as weird as it sounds... I apologized for not having faith in my body to do as nature intended.. and I forgave myself... I also talked to God, and said how sorry I was that I didnt trust God or the universe... (I had to do these things to help get over my guilt) We then walked around the park, and with every breath I imagined my guilt being lifted...

Now, I am no where near being healed... I still have a long way to go.. but I do feel lighter... and I am no longer drowning... and I am going to do everything in my power to have a hba2c the next time around...


Hi CorasMommy, I am sorry to hear about your birth not going as planned. I know how hard it is..
post #15 of 321
Nikki, your first birth story sounds similar to mine with the breaking water, pitocin, etc. I never got to push though, only dilated to 2 cm. I am afraid a similar thing will happen with my current pregnancy labor as yours also. I am sorry for what you went through. It is not your fault! I hope you find a way to heal.
post #16 of 321
Hi Dara,
yeah, when I read the beginning of your story I really thought of me... good luck with your current pregnancy and birth... I wish you all the best.
post #17 of 321
Thread Starter 
I'm so glad this tribe is taking off. I didn't know if anyone would find it here on FYT.

I guess I should tell my story too. So sorry that this is so long, I tried to make it interesting I think I'll just list the things that made it traumatic for me;

1. I had past unresolved trauma. At age 2.5 I had an operation on my bladder. I had memories of doctors, hospitals, nurses, and pain. I had body memories of pain in the same area of the body that labor and birth would affect.

2. I wanted a natural water birth, so I hired a doula (just one that someone recommended, I never did the interview thing) and I searched for a hospital that had both a birthing tub and midwives on staff. I chose one in the city 45 minutes away from home. It looked good on the web site, they had a wing of birthing suites complete with a soaking tub in each room, plus two water birth tubs that could be set up. The down side was the there were ten midwives on staff, and you could not choose who you would see for an appointment, or who you would have for the birth. When I arrived at the hospital, all the birthing rooms were full, I got a regular L&D room. I also got L&D nurses, who hate the midwife patients because they don't just lay in the bed and get an epidural right away. I did not get to use a tub, either a soaking tub in my room, or a birthing tub. I had to check into traige, remove my own clothes and change into a gown, was not allowed to use the bathroom and was forced to lay on my back for 20 minutes while they monitored the baby. I was then transferred to an L&D room, which was gross and dirty and small and had tons of medical equipment all over the place, not like the birthing rooms at all.

3. My labor was fast for a first time mother. Everyone told me it was gonna be long, because a first time mom always takes a long time. Umm, no. It was a total of 6 hours long, from the moment I woke up with my first contractions, to the moment my son was born. I was only in the hospital for 3 hours. I dilated from 3 - 8 in 1 hour : and then from 8 -9.5 in 30 minutes, and then from 9.5 - 10 in another hour and then I pushed for 30 minutes. Yikes. I learned that fast labors are not fun. It was kind of like being hit by a freight train, and then having that freight train speed along at 100 miles an hour with you trying to hang onto it so you don't fall off. And then that freight train comes to a halting stop and you fly off of it and crash to the ground and your then expected to get up and walk away like nothing happened. And that was 6 hours, I can't imagine these 3, 2, or 1 hour births that I read about on here!

4. The pain. Oh my God, the pain. It was unreal. My labor was fast, for me anyway, and the contractions were just piling on top of each other. The pain was horrendous. At a certain point it felt like the pain was not coming from my own body anymore, but it was just in the room and all around me, and I couldn't contain it, and it was absolutely terrifying. I started screaming, like really screaming at the top of my lungs. I had asked for nubain (even with pain like that I was afraid of the epidural because when I was 2.5 and in the hospital I was cathiterized and I was more terrified of that than the pain that was happening) and it took 45 minutes for them to get it into my vein. That's 45 minutes out of a 2.5 hour labor, and 30 minute pushing phase. That was a LONG time to be wating for meds. They could not hit a vein, it took 3 people several tries. My veins are slippery, deep, and burst when needles poke into them, so I had bruises up and down both arms for weeks after the birth.

5. The treatment by every single person I encountered at the hospital from the moment I walked into the emergency room doors, to the moment I left the L&D room of horrors. Every single receptionist, staff person, nurse, and midwife I encountered were mean, physically and verbally abusive to me, and treated me with hatred, contempt, or as if I were not even there in the room and was not worth talking to, making comfortable, or conferring with about my own care or my baby's care. My doula and Dh were treated with the utmost respect, and I was treated like an insane child who all the staff thought they had to keep scolding, condesending, ridiculing, or make decisions for. I labored very externally, I cried, yelled, vocalized, talked constantly, and screamed. They all hated this, and let me know it. The midwife I got stuck with challenged everything I said. She wouldn't just let me talk, she had to attempt to control me and shut me up. She kept telling everyone in the room how she couldn't control me, or couldn't communicate with me. She did several VE's without consent, after I said "no", or while I was screaming "no". She attempted to either manually dilate my cervix, or push back a "lip" (a lip noone would have known was there if she wasn't checking me every 5 minutes : ) and I screamed at her to get out and she finally did, and was very mad at me for making her. She wanted total control and she did not like how vocal I was about what I did and didn't want. She manipulated me into breaking the water (and I had thought that ds would be born in the caul ) and she did an episiotomy against my screams of "no, I don't want it". Ds's heart rate was low, very low, and not bouncing back up, so the epi may have been warranted, but the way she did it was very disrespectful of me.

6. I panicked a few times. Ds's heart rate was a constant worry, and durring pushing it dropped down to the 60's and only bounced back up to the 90's. The midwife made me get on hands and knees and then hang onto the back of the bed, which was a great position to push in, but I hated being backwards and not in control or able to see what was happening. Because of the dropping heart rate, I was told to push hard durring contractions, so I couldn't just push with my urges as I had planned. I had to wear an oxygen mask and felt like I couldn't breath. I was then cut, and my son came sliding out. My worst fear for the birth was tearing, and I ended up with an epi and a third degree tear.

7. Ds's cord was cut before I even knew what was happening. I was in shock. I didn't see it, even though I was right there, and I feel really sad about that because it is a really significant moment. I had no say as to when they cut it. He was born with apgars of 8 and 9, yet they cut his cord a couple minutes after the birth. I just assumed that midwives would just leave it attached until I wanted it cut. Of course I know better now, but it was a shock then how unatural my natural birth was. They took Ds off the bed and across the room before I even got to touch him. He was over there for over 20 minutes, for no reason whatsoever, just so the nurses could do all the routine torture that they like to do to newborns. He layed there screaming for 20 minutes, and I still feel guilty about not saying anything and making them give him to me. At the time I was just in shock, and by then I thought I didn't have a voice anymore, so I just stopped using it.

8. Stitching. It sucked. It was worse than anything else because Ds was not in my arms and had not breastfed yet. I had gotten to hold him for 20 minutes, and then they took him again. I had to be numbed with shots twice because it took so long for the doctor who does the stitching to show up. She was mean too, just like everyone else, and chastized me the entire hour it took her to stitch me. She kept pushing my legs back. She gave me more nubain without my consent. She ordered morphine for me, but I talked her into not giving it to me. She finally realized I could feel the stitches, but was still mean to me anyway.

9. While I was being stitched up a nurse came and told me that they needed to take Ds away and put him in the nursery. I had only gotten to hold him for about 20 minutes, I desperately wanted to breastfeed him, and I was currently being chastized by the doctor who was in between my legs with a sharp needle. So I sort of got my voice back and told them no way are you taking my baby away, and they finally decided to transfer me to a midwife birthing room, because one just happened to open up at this time.

10. It took three hours before anyone on the hospital staff thought of helping me breastfeed. They never once put Ds on me skin to skin, and I was too out of it to remember to do it. They were obsessed with the baby warmer and kept putting him in it during his first few hours. He spent more time in it then with us. I even asked to warm him myself, but they left his clothes on so it didn't work, and they put him back in the wamer again. His breathing started getting too fast and I was told he had low blood sugar. I consented to formula, since he would not nurse at all, and then later I was told that his blood sugar was not low, it was just getting lower. They manipulated me into giving him more formula and taking him to the nursery one night so I could rest.

I feel the most guilt over the things that happened from the point he was born until we left the hospital. However, I know that I was not myself at the time, and everything happened so fast that it took me a long time to readjust. Once we got home breastfeeding went fine, and I never gave him formula again.

Three days after the birth it all hit me, and I became depressed, anxious, sad, guilty, and totally and completely obsessed with the birth. The birth just kept running through my mind over and over again, and I had endless questions for DH about it, and I thought of nothing else, and talked of nothing else. I was devestated. For those first few months, I had this irrational feeling like I could actually go back and change it. I wouldn't throw anything away from the hospital, and I didn't want Ds to grow, or his cord to fall off, or anything like that, because I felt like it would be harder to go back and change it then.

Four months after the birth I started to go to therapy, which has helped. I have a great therapist. I was diagnosed with PTSD, PPD, and Anxiety. I started zoloft one year after the birth and am still on it. I'm still also in therapy. I have to heal from the trauma from when I was 2.5, from the birth, and from being raised in and leaving (9 months ago) a very controlling and cultish (by some standards) religion.

So here I am. I have more to say about it all, but I don't want to hog the thread. I'm sad to read about everyone elses experiences. I know how it is, and when I read your stories I see a lot of guilt, which is something I struggle with too. I wish I knew then what I know now, but you just can't go back, so I guess you just have to accept that. It's really hard though.
post #18 of 321
jennica- i found elements of your story very familiar. I'm long winded so i understand if this is too much.

my first daughter was born in italy. my husband is italian and we had gone there for several months a year for the previous 6+ years. we own an apartment there and at the time there were no tenants in it so we moved there. i thought it would be a great environment to be pregnant in. i had a friend there who was pregnant with her second, and no one i knew in New York (where we were living) had kids.

in italy midwives occupy themselves with childbirth, ob/gyns only do surgery. also, there are two kinds of midwives - the ones in an office and the ones in the hospital. you go to your own office MW but when you get to the hospital you get whoever's working that day.

So anyway, I went around to a bunch of hospitals to decide which one i wanted to go to. I really knew nothing about natural living choices at this time, but i was making my choices based on what "sounded nice" to me.

there were only 3 hospitals that allowed "rooming in" and i knew I wanted that. Many of the hospitals in italy have no option for an epidural. I am phobic when it comes to needles so i was pretty sure i didn't want an epidural but i thought having the option was nice, because i didn't know ho i would handle the pain of labor.

So that narrowed it down to two. I aksed about some things I had read and chose the hospital that said i could labor in water (no waterbirths anywhere in Milan - i'd have had to travel to different city for that!) and push in any positions.

IVs etc were not concerns because they're pretty intervention-free over there. i was told that i *would* have a routine episiotomy while crowning and that it was for my safety. everyone gets them. I decided to flat out refuse and see what happened, but i was resigned to it.

My labor was fast and pleasant. by the time I headed to the hospital i had been having contractions for about 5 hours, and though they were very regular, they were not so painful - in fact i was pretty sure i wasn't in labor because i expected much worse.

When i got to the check-in, i had to stand for over 20 minutes. I was having contractions every 3 minutes. there were no chairs.

A nurse gave me a cervical and us to check positioning. when he felt my cervix i said "ouch" and he snapped "i didn't even touch you." I burst into tears and he told me to go to the hallway to calm down, which i did.

he wouldn't tell me how far along i was, just that "i probably shouldn't keep you but there's only one bed left so i'm going to send you up." i'd been told that sometimes you'd have to labor in the waiting room (with no chairs?) until you were at 5 or 6 cm.

so i went up and was on my back for a half hour for the monitor. things started getting painful, but i was still getting through it and cheerful.

They put me in a labor room. oh my. it was awful. there was construction going on next door, and a window between my room and the next (where the construction was) had garbage bags taped to it. the room was very 1950's public school. there was a cot and a wooden chair. that's it. we were left alone and i sent my husband for a coke, which i was suddenly craving. while he was gone i hit transition (which I know in retrospect, but keep in mind that the guy downstairs said i wasn't even at 5cm yet so i was expecting to be there for another 8 hours or something.)

i was lying on the cot, with my head at the foot of the cot, and i had the pillow supporting my belly. i was moaning pretty severely. a midwife came in and said "what's all this noise for?" and she took the pillo out from under my belly and put it back at the head of the bed and said "lie like a civilized person."

I asked for the tub. she said it was broken. i asked for an epidural (i thought i had hours to go and knew i couldn't handle hours of this pain), she said i could only have it on wednesday or thursday from 2-7pm (they had actually told me this before but i wasn't thinking.) My husband came back and she said to him "keep her quiet."

i took a sip of coke but threw it up and the contractions were one on top of the other. i was moaning and screaming a little, and the midwife came back and said "ok, let's see what this is all about." she did a cervical check and said "you're complete! why aren't you pushing?"

she unwrapped an amniohook and broke my bag of waters. "now push" she said. I said "i want to push in another position" and she said "what other position? this is the pushing position. so push." and she left the room.

After a few minutes she came back and maya was crowning. she said "ok, let's go to delivery" and i had to walk down the hallway to the delivery room. i had a contraction hlfway there and i remember nearly falling to my knees. there was a nurse at a central are there right in front of me and she laughed while i was there. the mw said "come on, are you defective? you want to have this baby here?" and i kept walking.

the delivery room looked like what i imagine an OR to look like. very medical and full of equipment. I got on the "birth table" and my feet were lifted into the stirrups. they were buckled down. i lay back and there were handles for me to grab. i was told to grab those handles and pull. at one point i was pushing instead of pulling and the MW showed me a second set of handles, near my elbow. she said "you know what this is for?" and she lay her arm across me above my belly. "if you don't push better than that i'll push this baby myself" and she started to drag her arm down my belly pushing my belly down.

I pushed harder and felt the ring of fire. "don't push" she said and I knew she was going to do the episiotomy. while i was screaming "no! i don't want an episiotomy, i prefer to tear!" she was shaving me, dry, with a disposable Bic razor. there was some argument while my husband tried to tell me that if i complied they'd be easier on me, and i screamed "no no no" over and over. i felt like i was screaming for my life. she finally agreed and said "but if you tear, i'm sewing you up just like that." something i didn't understand until later.

Maya was born. just ver an hour after getting to the hospital. her cord was clamped and cut and she was placed on my chest. I got a shot in the hip and when i said "what was that?" they told me "nothing." i checked my chart later and it was a shot of pitocin. I delivered the placenta and they took maya to bathe her while i was stitched up.

"just like that" meant no anesthesia. i got 42 stitches, both internal and external, for the 2nd degree tear i got. i found out later that i was stitched incorrectly, with some internal tissue sewn to the outer layer, and i had to have that corrected as i was in searing pain over a year later.

They brought maya back to me (my husband had gone with her) and said "nurse her." i said "how?" and they said "what how? there's her mouth, there's your nipple."

and that was that. i was in a recovery room with 2 women from china who were in labor, and the midwife came in making comments about how foreigners always gave her a hard time - meaning me - as a warning for the two women laboring there.

during my 4 day hospital stay, during which time i had 1 hour for visitors (including my husband) each day - i experienced things like the nurse coming in after i had nursed maya and fallen asleep with her latched on saying "if you don't put her back in her bassinet i'm going to take her away from you to send her to the nursery."

and once during a visit from my husband she was crying and he was holding her and rocking back and forth and a nurse said "if you do that now you'll be doing it for the rest of her life. stop spoiling her."

i obviously couldn't wait to get out of there.

it wasn't until much later that the effect of my treatment caught up with me. to this day i can hear the woman - i moaned "oh god..." in english, which she obviously understood and she said "oh god. oh god. god can't help you now." i'll hear that forever, i think.

so what did i do to get over it? i told my story to lots of women. i tried to explain to my husband - but he didn't get it. it was his culture, and that's how things are done. epidurals are availble on wednesdays only not because they respect a natural birth, but because women don't deserve pain relief. the "prenatal classes" i went to taught me nothing about birth, just about pregnancy - and men were not allowed.

So when i got pregnant the second time (and i was in the middle of trying to adopt, in part because i never wanted to go through childbirth again) i talked to my husband. i told him he HAD to support me or that i wanted a doula. he said that was fine. we chose to go to a birthing center. He read Bradley's book, and that made all the difference. He finally understood that how i was treated was wrong. he finally understood that what i had been subjected to was worse than it appeared - rude people are rude people, but rude caregivers during childbirth cause physical damage.

so when it came time for my son to be born, my husband was 100% behind me. we had a wonderful birth in a birth center which led to me catching my own baby, one spring evening with no one in the whole building but my husband and the midwife (in new york that's nothing small!). i posted my birth story in the birth stories forum. but the thing that changed this time was trusting myself. and my husband trusting me and being on my side.

we are both sure that i would have ended up with a c-section had i gone to a hospital this time. instead we caught our baby and slept the night away in comfortable queen sized bed, with no one disturbing us until we opened the door ourselves the next day.

am i over the first birth? no. now more than ever i'm angry about how i was treated. i feel violated. it took me a long time to allow the MW to check me for any tears after my son's birth, and even then i had to tell her "i was mistreated last time and i'm really insecure about this." she was kind and gentle to me. And my husband REALLY got it. he really understands what i've suffered and how it didn't need to be that way. and having his validation helps. other people can hear the story and think i'm exaggerating. he's the only one who saw it.

I think having someone who can say "you were mistreated. you were violated" is one of the biggest steps toward healing.
post #19 of 321
jennica, I didn't realize it until your post.. but when I was 1.5 I had cleft palate repair surgery and had a stay in the hospital.. maybe that is why I have a problem/fear of pain..

Its awful that we as birthing mothers are treated wirth such disrespect, and are not in control of anything that is happening. It is really sad.
post #20 of 321
Thread Starter 

First, I'm sorry about your birth experience. It sounds very 1950's, and very traumatic for you. I too was given shots of pitocin without my consent, something I forgot to add to my other post. I was just shocked that midwives would do so many things to me without asking, as I am sure you were too. My Dh has two modes of dealing with tense situations, he is either aggressive, or passive. He does not know how to be assertive. He was nervous, and stressed, and aslo taken aback by the staff, and went into passive mode. At times he got aggressive, but I interpreted it as him being mad at me. For example, he would say, "there gonna break your water, do you want that, tell them if you want that" or "their gonna attach an internal monitor, is that okay? tell them if that's okay". He later told me that he was trying to get my attention and remind me that I didn't want those things, but I thought he was telling me to tell them that it was okay. My doula was a great support durring labor, but she never spoke up when they mistreated me, she left before I got stitched or breastfed, so I felt like no one was really on my side.

I know what you mean about people validating your experience. I have had so much trouble with that. Family and friends just didn't get it and would actually argue with me that it wasn't traumatic, that I was just taking it that way because I don't like people telling me what to do. Whenever someone says "I'm sorry that happened to you" I feel like crying, mostly because it has happened so infrequently, but also because I am so touched that someone gets it because so few people do.


Your early hospital experience may have something to do with it. For me there were so many times that I think those memories were triggered durring labor. Also, being treated like you are not in control of anything happening to you is exactly how a child is treated in a medical situation. Laboring women are treated like children, and therefore any childhood medical experience that was painful and traumatic could very well be triggered durring labor.
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