disappointing, or traumatic birth experiences (and moving on from them) tribe - Page 2
Medically necessary c-sections (and planning for future ones)
Discussing past c-sections
Traumatic birth experiences
Hospital births/interventions for medical reasons (e.g. PROM, pre-e, baby's medical condition)
Along the lines of the "breastfeeding challenges" subforums, perhaps it could be called "birth challenges," and be a haven for everyone who didn't or can't get the birth they wanted.
It just occurred to me, we've had some discussions in the c-section tribe about a c-section forum as well. Would there be enough interest if we could have one combined subforum for all of us who didn't or can't have perfect/easy/natural/etc. births? I'm thinking of:
Medically necessary c-sections (and planning for future ones)
Discussing past c-sections
Traumatic birth experiences
Hospital births/interventions for medical reasons (e.g. PROM, pre-e, baby's medical condition)
Along the lines of the "breastfeeding challenges" subforums, perhaps it could be called "birth challenges," and be a haven for everyone who didn't or can't get the birth they wanted.
My disappointing LONG birth story HB turned CSHi just found the forum and this thread. Please excuse me while I unload, my disappointment might not be as serious as others but I need to do this, and I´d love some feedback, because it is with me every day.....
At 14 weeks I moved to Spain, I knew that having a baby here with the health service was not going to involve choice and was probably going to involve intervention (local hospital c-section rate 42%). So I lined up an english lay midwife for a home birth.
During my pregnancy I felt pretty invincible, I attended a group with lay midwives and other mamas-to-be every week, we did yoga, we chatted, we felt bumps as they grew and started to feel baby shaped. I did the bare minimum with regard to involvement with the hospital, a scan at 20 weeks and then one at 34 weeks, a couple of blood tests - my doctor kept producing this "timetable" showing me all the appointments I had missed. Perhaps a leftover from fascist times, but people here do not question authority often (more of that later). I was healthy, I felt perhaps the best I have ever felt, I enjoyed how empowered it made me feel.
I had a proper relationship with my midwife, not the phoney sort that you get in the UK NHS. I knew that she would be there however long it took, no going off shift. I also knew that she had only taken a handful of women to hospital in all her time catching babies, she believes in the power of a woman to birth naturally and was not going to duck out at the merest excuse.
At 34 weeks I found out that my baby was breech, and the rug pulled out from under my feet. I was devastated, I was being challenged. I tried the usual, the bizarre and the downright ridiculous to get babe to move, but nothing doing. I was totally stressed out - I just wanted her to move, but that wasn´t enough. All the way through I felt that if I wanted and believed hard enough then I would have the birth I wanted.
My midwife was totally supportive and over the next few weeks helped me to accept that this baby was upside down and that I could still birth her naturally.
At the 34 week scan the OB on duty that day had bascially said that if the baby didn´t turn by 37 weeks then they would try to turn the baby, if that didn´t work then I would NEED a CS. I wasn´t sure about the version, but DH and I decided that we would go for it if it was offered. When we returned at 37 weeks, babe still breech and no version offered - this OB basically said "why should we bother doing a version when we can just do CS" (no thought at all to what I might want). I was given an appointment the following week for CS, I didn´t go.
I should mention at this point that we were in rented farmhouse, just days away from buying and moving into our dream home. Over the next week we moved our stuff into the new house, the day before we were to sign and move I went to my antenatal group (39 weeks), confident that all was going to go well. That night,an hour after going to bed, my waters broke. Our possessions in the house amounted to 5 carrier bags and 4 dogs (one also pregnant), the birth pool was in the new house, we had no hot water (another story). You´ll understand why the first thing I said was "oh sh!t, not now".
The next 48 hours are a bit hazy, but basically I laboured at home with my midwife and another there the whole time. My partner was really supportive as he had been all the way through. (My pregnant bitch even did her bit by going into labour 10 minutes after me!). I had all the love and goodwill in the world in that place, willing me forward. It was very peaceful. I was tired, the contractions never seemed to get any quicker than every 5 minutes. I dilated to 10cm and was told to push, but I never felt like I wanted to. After 12 hours of pushing my midwives said that we should go to hospital, I didn´t see that coming, I hadn´t been counting the hours, it never occured to me that there was a time limit. There was no emergency, but hospital was 1 1/2 hours away. Knowing how dedicated my midwives were, I trusted them (and still do) and I agreed to go. Almost instantly the contractions stopped. I knew what this meant.
At the hospital I was taken away by myself, scanned, wired and cathetered. Now I was lying on my back unable to move, all that power I felt had gone. I had to lie like that for 3 hours, scared. They clearly didn´t approve of what I had been trying to do and told me that because so much time had passed since my waters first broke, my baby would have to be taken to an observation ward for a couple of days. My partner was allowed in, though not my midwife. When I was wheeled to theatre, no one was allowed with me. My legs were shaking, I was so frightened. The staff were kind, but they just didn´t get it.
I was shown my daughter and then she was whisked away, presumably for an apgar, they brought her back for another show, I couldn´t even touch her and then out again of the open theatre door. I remember starring after her whilst they stitched me up for what seemed like forever.
Because of a language barrier, my now exhausted partner didn´t realise that restricted visiting hours didn´t apply to the baby ward, so when I was wheeled out of the recovery room onto the ward at midnight he had gone home. If I hadn´t been so tired and drugged, I think I might have died of a broken heart.
The following morning I was surrounded on either side with extended Spanish families crowding round the beds of mother and child, I just pulled the sheet over my head and sobbed, nurses starred but nobody came over. After a couple of hours they bought my little girl to me (and luckily she was so obviously healthy that they didn´t take her away again) and after an hour or so DH arrived and we were bathed in the happiness of our new family. But that time alone haunts me, as I remember it now I sob as hard as if it were happening afresh.
My time in hospital was not made easier by other stuff surrounding basic aftercare and expectations in Spanish hospitals, but that is for another time.
I´m sorry to go on so long, but I haven´t been able to get this out coherently before, If I try to talk to anyone I can´t handle being so personal and face to face.
My problem I think stems from the fact that I had the best chances and the best support and I still couldn´t do it. That means the problem is with me, I have no one to blame for my experience but myself and I don´t know what to do to move on. I can never have a definitive answer to the question why?
At one point early on in the antenatal class we wrote our hopes and fears, my hope read something like this:
"I hope that the experience of bringing a healthy baby into the world in the way that I want, will infuse me with a life long belief in my own abilities and confidence to make choices that I have been lacking" - well now the opposite has happened, can you imagine how I feel?
My midwife has suggested that maybe the only thing that will resolve this is having another baby, I would like to in a few years, but right now because I can´t sort this stuff out I´m just scared.
I hope this is the right place to post, I´d love to here from anyone who has managed to find a better place to be after a disappointing birth.
Blessed be, Sadystar x.
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.
I'd be interested in hearing more about the banana thing, too, if you are still reading this thread!
I ended up with an emergency c-section after a long labour that involved PROM, rapid dilation, posterior positioning and a drop in DS's heatrate due to a compressed cord.
I am going to attempt a VBAC when I get pregnant again, but I'd love to be able to talk about my last birth experience in such a subforum.
I just read your story, and I'm sorry that things happened that way for you. It sounds like you did a great job at trying to get the birth you wanted despite many obsticles.
It's really hard when there are unanswered questions about why cetain things didn't seem to go right. I ask why all the time too. It's hard to know that I will never find an answer, but once I realized that there were no answers, the obsession to find them subsided a bit.
some of this i've said in the c-s thread, some not.... anyhow.
(links to c-s thread, and my ds's birth story...)
i think there are several levels of things i would love to see addressed with the issue of women being dissapointed with their birthing experiences, including ones that were traumatic, dramatic, or just not what they'd wanted....
thing one for me is the build up and expectation of what birth will be like. there is a sterotype that birth is pain, and something to be medicated, but i dont think most of mdc mommas buy into that... i think what a lot of us DO buy into is this idea that birth is something we can invision... something that is OURs, something we get to achieve, and something by which we can rebirth ourselves... creating this woman, goddess, self... this moment of transformation. at least, that is how i felt about it, from my experiences, my feelings, and things i read, on mdc and elsewhere......
vs my actual experience, albeit a limited one.... which is that there is another person involved. and, frankly, it's not OUR birth-- it's the baby's. i still remember when my mw said that to me, in the days following.... "he chose his own path..." at any rate. if i could, i would go into every birthing class and insist that teachers stop telling women to invision their birth, and start telling them to be connected to their baby and let their baby guide them... stop thinking about themselves and what they want, and start thinking about birthing as their helping this new life into the world, not creating some goddess self-rebirth moment for themeselves.
that's MY big thing, clearly.... eventually i did "get" it, and really? DS birthed me. i say that a lot. anyhow......
another "beef" i have is the demonization of birthing interventions.... yes, c-s are not wonderful, yes, other interventions are not the best........ but for many women, we get such a sense that these things are SO EVIL, that us having had them makes us evil by association... makes us less than a real woman. for me, this was TOTALLY the case..... I had a c-s, therefore, i am not a mom, i can not be the mother i wanted to be, because of how my son came into the world.
again, something i got over, but i blame mdc, ican, countless books, and of course, myself more than a little bit for how hurt i was by it, and how long it took me to get over it. yes, encourage women to take the route best for her body and her baby..... but there needs to be balance. there are some threads from me early on, rather pissy about this topic, and i'm still not really sure what the answer is, but i do feel it is a problem worthy of being addressed....
my third pissy point is not about birthing experiences, but about the experience of being pregnant.... but that's a whole 'nother can o'worms.... and i blame mainly the retail monster for that one.
OK, now, my "helpful" rantings.... at least, things that have been helpful for me.
thing one under "helpful" is this sense of the goddess moment. i have found tons of wonderful things about healing your inner goddess, and for me, that is what has really done it, for getting "over" this experience. i'm of the each to her own path school of thought, but for me, finding my goddess self... a goddess who had a c-s and is a wonderful mother, a whole person, and just as crunchy as the next goddess who had a homebirth in the tub....... that was HARD, let me tell you, but it wound up being a huge realization connected to my sense of self on many many levels.
my second helpful rant is one i've made many times before, and along the same lines.... i was bombarded with "do this, it will help..." "go here, talk to these people...." etc.... everyone had their idea of what was going to heal me. ya know what? they were all wrong. ican was more hurtful than most anything. mdc was hurtful too (yet one more reason to push for that sub-forum!!!)... my friends were unbelievably hurtful, so much so that i ultimately lost several friendships. even my family. omg, i'll never be able to look at my hospital-loving in-laws the same way again... i dont know how to begin to heal that hurt. for me, i needed to shut out all those "helpful" voices and FIND IT MYSELF. it took me a long time, wandering, hurt and lost, to figure out that i needed to shut them out and lick my wounds in the quiet of the garden, holding my babe, nursing him, schnuggeling him, being alone with him. i'm not saying that my answer is the answer for anyone else, what i am saying is this-- having not had the birthing experience i wanted, i stopped listening to myself....... but it was only when i started listening to myself again that i was able to find my path to healing.
i'm sure this whole post reads either angry, lectury, pissy, or goodness knows what else...... it's such an emotional thing, it would be hard for it not to, so i'm not going to try and "tone it down."..... but i certainly would hate for it to be hurtful to anyone, so i really hope it's not. just my own ramblings, based on my 14 months of thinking about all this, pretty much non-stop.
huge huge hugs to all mommas!!!
thank you & a birth story...thank you so much for this thread!!!
I had a really traumatic labor and childbirth experience... my plan for a natural childbirth turned into DAYS worth of podromal labor - not just unproductive contractions, but days worth of contractions lasting 3 to 5 minutes amounting to 1 cm of dilation... I ended up with pitocin, an epidural and a midnight c-section.
It was hard. Really, really hard.
Part of it for me is that I feel like my experience was really topsy-turvy from most - - I feel like my doc and the nursing staff at the hospital were amazing, and supportive of me and my goals, that they did everything that they could but, in the end, my body wouldn't comply... I also feel like the biggest regret I have was not demanding that my doula get there when I was first put on pitocin... but I don't think it would have changed anything.
Also, after I got home and on the internet, I started looking up podromal labor, and found a lot of stuff by midwives saying, basicly, that it's a psychological thing - a woman who's not ready to have the baby holding back. This hurt, because, in my case, I didn't (and don't) feel it to be accurate...
I've already been asked multiple times if I want to try for a VBAC, and, honestly, it scares the crap out of me...
I wrote my birth story in an effort to keep it all sorted out, and to work it out for myself... here it is, for what it's worth:
Very early Wednesday morning (4 a.m. or so) - I woke up feeling funky - I realized that I’m having contractions! At this point, I know they’re happening, they’re definitely noticeable, but they aren’t painful. I wake up Andy and told him that we’ll be meeting Baby soon! He was really excited, and we both decided to go on with our day, and let the contractions take their course - they didn’t seem so close together that I needed to be timing them yet.
Wednesday daytime - The contractions continued - definitely getting stronger, but not necessarily painful yet. I decided to start timing them off and on - they’re long (over a minute, some of them!) but nowhere near close enough to call the doctor...
Wednesday night - The contractions continued to increase in intensity and length. Still not 5 minutes apart, as mom and dad we remained exited.
Around midnight Wednesday - Painful contractions set in - really painful. They took my breath away. Also, they became really long - most were in excess of a minute (often two minutes or more), with multiple “peaks”. I called my OB’s office to speak to the advice nurse. She was concerned about the frequency of the contractions - still about 7 or 8 minutes apart. The nurse recommended a hot bath, and asked that I call back in an hour.
Early Thursday morning (around 1:15 a.m.) - Called back to advice nurse after an hour. I had taken a hot shower, which felt great - I could still feel the contractions in the shower, but they weren’t so painful. Contractions were still happening, but I decided that sleep is the best thing for me - not that I could get any sleep, but I could at least try.
Later Early Thursday morning (around 4 a.m.) - I had incredibly strong, painful contractions - long, with not much time in between to recover. I woke Andy up to help me - he after a few, he seemed a little freaked out with how intense the contractions are. He continued to help me by holding and talking me through contractions. They were insanely long - most were in excess of two or three minutes. Most, too had at least two, and sometimes three or more “peaks.” BUT weren’t the five minutes apart they need to be to go to hospital - sometimes they were five minutes apart, but sometimes seven, nine, twelve, whatever. They were definitely more intense than before.
At this point, I was starting to get really scared - this is nothing like they described early labor as being in Childbirth class, or anywhere else. The length of the contractions, the intensity, the multiple peaking. I started to wonder if there was something wrong. I called the advice nurse again, and she spoke with my OB. They agree that making a trip to the hospital isn’t a bad idea, but that I shouldn’t be surprised if they send me home.
Thursday Morning - we went to the hospital, a 15 minute car ride. I had several contractions in the car on the way there, including one as we walk in the door. Then, after I got into a triage bed, and get hooked up to a monitor, nothing. It’s like when you bring your car to the garage, only to have it work perfectly when the mechanic drives it. I began to realize that the contractions were coming in clusters. A nurse checked my cervix - I’m about 1 cm diallated, and almost completely effaced. OB on call met with me, checked me, and told me about the importance of regular contractions before coming in to hospital... she reiterated that they want them to be five minutes apart.
I was concerned: if I’m having three minute contractions, this intensity, five minutes apart, I’ll be a mess... she said she’s not anywhere near as concerned about the length or intensity as she is about the frequency. We went home. On the way, I start to cry - so much work, for one centimeter. I don’t think I can handle labor getting worse...
Thursday daytime and evening- rest and relax. I took lots of hot showers. The contractions continued to come in a completely random pattern - not the clusters I previously suspected. The longest was four minutes, 55 seconds long. The shortest was about 40 seconds long. They were as close as two minutes apart, and as long as 25 minutes apart. Some were so intense that I feel like there can’t possibly be any worse pain - ever - Andy had to physically hold me up or down (depending on where I was), the pain was so bad. Some were more bearable.
Thursday overnight - my second night in a row without sleep. This one was worse. The contractions were close enough and bad enough that sleep is simply out of the question. Andy got some sleep - he had offered to stay awake with me, but what was the point? He would need his strength to help me through later on. I was timing the contractions, and they’re all pretty much under 10-12 minutes apart, and all are in excess of two minutes - most are closer to three. Again, I was worried that was something wrong - aren’t early contractions supposed to be short?? They talk about “long” contractions being 90 seconds in length... these are twice that, with two peaks... I began to think that I’m getting 2 contractions for the price of - well, two.
Early Friday morning - the contractions were getting closer together, more intense, longer. I had an hour where each contraction is closer than seven minutes apart and decided this is the cue to call the OB’s advice nurse again. The intensity of the contractions was so great that Andy was worried - he couldn’t help me through them. Each contraction was around three and a half minutes. The advice nurse cleared us to go to the hospital again.
Friday Morning - we went to hospital and got set up on monitor. I got checked again - still about 1 cm diallated. I felt really defeated. My doc was the OB on call - she knows me, knows that, if anything, I have a tendency to under-report issues, rather than blow little things out of proportion. She came over to check and speak with me. I told my OB my concerns about the length and intensity of the contractions - she talked about the importance of them having a regular pattern, five minutes apart. Then I have one... it’s a good one, not the biggest one I had that morning, probably average, a double peak.
Well, after this, her tone changed... She told me about “podromal” labor - I’ve since looked it up online... Mine was a rare podromal labor - usually the uterus will contract with it, but not efface... I was already pretty much effaced, and not making any progress diallating... also, the intensity and length of my contractions were still off the charts.
My OB talked about why evenly spaced contractions are important - without them, things just revert back during the resting phases... She said that she thought he most important thing for me at that point was to get sleep, which wasn’t going to happen with the kind of contractions I was having. She offered us some alternatives... we selected being admitted to the hospital and taking a dose of morphene, in order to get sleep and see if the contractions would even out; if not, they would administer pitocin and see if that would even out the contractions. Also, they would monitor me and baby.
Friday - we got into our birthing suite, and got settled. The nursing staff put in a tap in case they needed to give me an IV later, and sent us off to sleep. I woke up about four hours later, feeling better than I had for days.
Friday afternoon - still contracting. They hooked me up to monitors occasionally, kept track of my blood pressure and stuff like that, and pretty much left me be to have my contractions on my own. I spent an incredible amount of time in the whirlpool tub. The warm water and jets made me feel so much better during contractions.
Friday evening - still contracting. The contractions were still incredibly uneven. I accepted another dose of morphene in an attempt to get some sleep. This one wore off in about an hour and a half.
Saturday morning - still contracting - the contractions still uneven, and long. We talked to the OB and decided that it was time to start the pitocin to see if that would even out my contractions.
Of course, that was easier said than done.
In order to administer the pitocin, the medical staff needed to be able to constantly monitor Baby’s heartbeat, which just wasn’t happening. Baby was moving around so much that she was making it impossible for them to monitor her for any length of time - between 9:30 and 12:30, the nurse was only able to get about three minutes of constant monitoring of Baby, and which she then the pitocin IV... which promptly “infiltrated” - - meaning - the IV started going into my tissue, rather than my bloodstream... meaning - they needed to pull the IV, start a new one, and start the process all over again.
Once they got the pitocin going, things actually got a lot better for me - something I didn’t think I would have believed otherwise. People talk about how intense contractions are on Pitocin - mine were actually easier on the pitocin than they had been previously! They evened out, I had some breathing room in between... I also came to realize that she was moving around really vigorously, and I was feeling that between contractions.
But, of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses from this point. See, the same problems the nursing staff had monitoring Baby prior to starting the Pitocin continued... it’s imperative when someone is receiving Pitocin that the baby be monitored constantly... and Baby was moving around so much, it was nearly impossible to monitor her. One nurse spent her ENTIRE shift just following Baby around with the monitor...
My OB came in and said we simply couldn’t continue this - the monitoring was too important. So, what’s the alternative? Internal monitoring of Baby and me. Of course, in order to do this, they will have to break my water.
Saturday - the OB came and broke my water and installed internal fetal monitoring and internal monitoring for my contractions. I was now officially bed bound, as I was not allowed to walk with these monitors. The pain became so intense I couldn’t cope. I still, though, wanted to avoid an epidural. I took a shot of stadol instead; the nurses got an order for an epidural for my chart, as our doula was on her way and we were hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.
But, alas, the Seattle traffic gods (the Viaduct was closed!) and the ways of medicine (the Stadol only lasted less than an hour) conspired together to make it impossible for me to hold out any longer - the contractions were mind blowingly painful, I couldn’t take any more, and got the epidural. Our Doula got there just in time to help me get the epidural installed.
Wow. It worked. And, according to the staff, it was an amazingly good one, as I could still feel contractions, could still move my legs, etc, but had real relief from the pain. It was perfect. It was the first time I felt really human in days.
So, through Saturday, I labored with pitocin and internal monitors. I felt good, like I was making progress, and I was. By 5:00 p.m., I had diallated to 7 cm, and I felt like the worst was over and I was home free. Of course, I was wrong!
My doctor came and checked me around 8:00 p.m. - still around 7 cm.
And at 11:00 p.m. - still around 7 cm.
So, my progress had petered out. Stopped. Stalled. To top it off, the “almost totally effaced” that I had come to the hospital with wasn’t so accurate anymore - - from all the banging around, my cervix was swelling. The doctor reminded me of her concerns that this was a big baby.
It was funny, at the time. She didn’t say “cesarian” or “c-section”. She just said that my progress had stalled, and the baby was big, and she didn’t think that I was going to be able to have this baby vaginally.
I asked a bunch of questions, of the OB and the doula. So did Andy.
In the end, we came to realize that the only option was the C-Section.
So, I called in the doctor and told her that we would do it.
At that moment, things started to move really fast - consent forms were signed, anesthesiologists were called, it was a blur. We got permission to have both Andy and the doula in the surgery.
They were allowed in the surgery, but not in the surgical prep time, which was just me an the anesthesiologist, who kept me calm and explained everything that was buzzing around me.
My C-Section surgery started at exactly midnight on March 25, 2007. My husband and doula were with me. They ramped up my epidural for anesthesia.
Isabella Rose was born at 12:29 a.m. She weighed 9 lbs., 6 oz.
They showed her to me very quickly, then gave her to Andy to whisk her off to the nursery - they were very concerned about her oxygen levels (apparently, something fairly common with C-Section babies)... her Apgar scores, though were great (8 and 9)...
The hardest part of the whole labor and childbirth was hearing her cry in the surgery, and not being able to go to her.
Baby went to the nursery with her dad, while all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put me back together again. It seemed to take forever. I remember asking if baby was OK, and being told that she was, but she was in the nursery... and how long this would take, and when I could really see her.
After what seemed like forever, they were putting me back in to my bed, wheeling me back to my room...
And there she was - Andy was there with baby Isabella. They immediately put her on to breastfeed, which was amazing. She latched right on, and suddenly, everything was quiet. She was looking up at me with these huge eyes. Fascinated. I was just taken with how perfect, how beautiful she was.
We stayed like that for a long time, me and Isabella and Andy - she ate, we watched her, looked at her tiny fingers and toes, watched her move and breathe.
My attitude toward labor and birth was wonderful, I was excited and knew in my heart I wanted to feel every bit of it and birth naturally. I had midwives and a birth center and hypnobirthing and I thought that everything would work out right. The positive affirmations I said daily, the yoga, the chiropractic adjustments....that was all supposed to be the right thing to do.
After 30 hours of active back labor and being stuck at 6cm I conceeded to a l&d transfer and epidural and pitocin. Shortly after that I was rushed into an emergency c-section because of decels. My epi didn't take on one side so they made the first cut with me screaming that I was feeling it. They put me under completely and I woke up in recovery with a baby nursing on me. But what happened next was more traumatising. After getting to my room they found that my uterus was not shrinking and they had me hooked up to pitocin still. I didn't bleed during the surgery and my uterus was filled with clots. They had to reach into my vagina and uterus and pull them out. I remember lifting my body up with my legs and pushing my head back and screaming. It was the most violating feeling ever. The recovery was difficult, I needed a blood transfusion but i refused. I had trouble bonding because of the pain and exhaustion. but the worst was the emotional trauma wondering why me? There are so many women who don't care about their births and have perfectly normal births, why would someone who felt birth was deeply spiritual be so hurt like this?
I guess the only thing I can get out of this is that I can't control everything. Its a good lesson for having a newborn. Turns out my baby was posterior, wrapped 3-4 times in his cord, and there was meconium so the c-section was medically necessary.
I will make my story as brief as possible. DS was a scheduled c/s because he was breech. Although I wanted a natural birth experience I worked for my ob-gyn at the time and it was a conflict of interests so I suppressed those desires and went the conventional route. I can positively say that I didn't have a traumatic c/s experience but my son did spend a week in NICU with breathing problems no doubt related to the c/s. THAT was traumatic.
Fast forward five years later to this last pregnancy. This time I definitely wanted to pursue my dreams of a homebirth so I sought out a midwife and doula and embarked on my HBAC. Although my son's c/s wasn't terrible I did later regret not trying more or waiting to see if I could have a vaginal delivery.
I don't know if traumatic justifies my feelings about this birth but disappointment would be a better adjective I suppose. My water broke at 3 a.m around 39 wks and contractions started shortly thereafter. I called my doula and midwife and began laboring at home with manageable contractions. After about 12 hrs of labor my contractions became less bearable and I needed support. My doula and midwife were nowhere to be found. My midwife was seeing patients and had sent her assistant to monitor me so that was understandable but I was awfully disappointed about my doula who kept keeping tabs on me but did not come because she was taking care of some family business.
By the time evening arrived and my midwife and doula finally arrived I was fairly miserable. One of my biggest disappointments was that nothing eased my pain at all...not the huge birthing tub in my living room, not the touch of another person, not candles, not the birthing ball, not a certain position, not music, not airy fairy visualizations, not breathing...nothing. I knew labor would be difficult but I thought I would eventually find my niche, something that I could identify as a way of coping with the pain. I never found that. I was just in agony the entire time and didn't want anyone touching me. My contractions were minutes apart but wouldn't get into a pattern. Hours later I started begging to go to the hospital. I felt like nobody listened to me. They kept telling me I was doing so well and that it wouldn't be much longer. Hour after hour crept by and I became angry with people telling me this because it just wasn't so. I wasn't progressing and I certainly wasn't doing well from my viewpoint.
Once we were reaching the 24 hr point everyone finally agreed that transferring to the hospital was the most prudent decision. I endured hours of pain, even pushed, and despite being around 7cm dilated I knew it was time to go to the hospital.
My MW thought that I might end up with a VBAC after all if they gave me a little pitocin to push me along but once we arrived they were non negotiable and told me c/s or nothing. I didn't mind at that point I was in so much pain. It was absolutely horrific. I didn't even care if I had a baby at that point. I couldn't even think of it. I just wanted the pain gone.
Shortly thereafter it was and although I was shaking like a leaf in reaction to the spinal on the OR table, I could totally deal with that instead of the excruciating pain I had been in. Then my daughter was born and a ray of sunshine seemed to dance upon us. After all, we had kept her gender a secret but we both had hoped for a girl.
But then they took her away for "observation". I was taken to the recovery room where I finally had several hours of sleep for the first time in 24 hrs...but I panicked when I woke up and realized that nearly five hours had passed and my daughter was still separated from me! My doula talked to staff and finally got me moved so that we could be reunited.
That night I hardly slept. I looked at the clock trying to process everything that happened and how intense my emotions were.
Looking back, I feel my doula was superfluous and a bit of a disappointment. I also wish that she and my mw would have let me go to the hospital sooner so I had not been in so much pain for so long. I believe they had my best interests at hand and wanted to honor my desire for an HBAC but I was miserable.
It also greatly disappoints me that I spent nine months of educating myself, preparing for my birth as realistically as possible, and reading beautiful birth stories to find that my labor and ending didn't seem as beautiful as all of the other ones.
You know, here on MDC in particular you feel like you are not in the special clique if you ended up transferring to the hospital. I know I've shared my experience or given advice in the VBAC or homebirthing forum only to feel completely ignored because it seems like nobody wants to hear about an unsuccessful HBAC, only the success stories. Well, I want my experience to be validated too you know...and I was once one of those pregnant moms thinking I would birth my baby in a tub, hum mantras, and find my cycle of pain management. I didn't and sometimes I feel somehow not good enough or like a failure because that didn't work for me. I mean, I encourage everybody to try and birth at home and/or a VBAC. I don't regret doing it at all. The experience was very intense in negative and positive ways...it just disappoints me to feel that my voice isn't heard because my story doesn't belong in an Ina May Gasking book or in Birthing From Within. Believe me, I wanted that, but the outcome was different.
All in all, I now believe that my daughter needed to be born in the hospital. She ended up with coombs and severe jaundice that needed to be treated and constantly monitored in NICU. I wonder if these would have been discovered or treated as quickly as needed if she had been birthed at home. You see, maybe there was a reason for all of this. I acknowledge that.
Sometimes it isn't enough though relieve my disappointment in myself, my doula, sometimes my midwife, and my inability to find any pain relief whatsoever. I wanted to die. There you go. That was what my labor was like and I found nothing redeeming or spiritual about it.
It also greatly disappoints me that I spent nine months of educating myself, preparing for my birth as realistically as possible, and reading beautiful birth stories to find that my labor and ending didn't seem as beautiful as all of the other ones...
[...]Well, I want my experience to be validated too you know...and I was once one of those pregnant moms thinking I would birth my baby in a tub, hum mantras, and find my cycle of pain management. I didn't and sometimes I feel somehow not good enough or like a failure because that didn't work for me.
[...]The experience was very intense in negative and positive ways...it just disappoints me to feel that my voice isn't heard because my story doesn't belong in an Ina May Gasking book or in Birthing From Within. Believe me, I wanted that, but the outcome was different.
[...] There you go. That was what my labor was like and I found nothing redeeming or spiritual about it.
Wow. I wish I could have written this as eloquently.
You took the words right out of my mouth (and heart).
During my pregnancy, I had many false labor trips but February 12th 2002, at the age of 15, I entered the hospital at 11pm and they decided to keep me.
I wasn't dilated but they wanted to keep me over night because I was 8 days past my EDD and they wanted to see if they could help me progress.
I walked the halls and around midnight, I had dilated to 1. I continued to walk until I got tired and then returned to my bed to go to sleep for the night. I couldn't sleep though because I was contracting so hard and it hurt. The nurse offered me a shot for the pain and I refused. She told me it would help and I finally relented but couldn't relax my muscles because I'm afraid of needles. She kept telling me to stop tensing up my muscles but I couldn't.
Finally, she says "ok, we won't give it to you." I relaxed and then felt the needle. She had outright LIED to me.
By about noon the next day, I had been given an epi that I can't for the life of me recall asking for. Then I felt a warmth and honestly didn't know if I had wet myself or if my waters had broken so my mom told the nurse.
The dr came in shortly and determined that I was leaking. Not knowing that I could object to doctors orders, I let him break my water. This is the problem. Women don't know that they can object! Had I known that, my first birthing experience would have been different.
By about 3, I had dilated to 4 and stopped. The doctor kept coming in and checking me every hour and at about 7 (YES ONLY 4 HOURS) he determined that I wasn't going to progress and that I *needed* a c/s. Ok. Tell a 15 year old girl that you're taking her to the OR for a c/s when the possibility of a c/s was never even brought up. I had never had surgery so I instantly because terrified.
7:43 pm, my wonderful oldest son was brought into the world. They showed him to me, let my mom hold him and then cleaned him up and whisked him off to the nursery.
I was in the recovery room when things took a HORRIBLE turn for the worst. Apparently, morphine doesn't do anything for me. You see, my epi wore off and I felt the most excruciating pain ever. I ask the nurse "is it supposed to burn?" She asked "is what supposed to burn?" and I said "my incision, it burns" and then I just started screaming as it went from a burning to horrendous pain. At that point, seeming quite freaked out, she rushed out of the room.
I was brought to my own room where it seemed to take the medical staff an eternity to find me different pain meds. I spent that whole time in HORRIBLE pain. It was still pretty early (9:30) when they brought me the meds and I wanted to see my baby. I was told that I couldn't. He was sleeping in the nursery and I would have to wait until morning!!! WHAT????????
First off, this would have been the perfect opportunity to educate me about BFing. I knew nothing about it and was never asked if I had planned on FF, I guess they just assumed that since I was a teenage mom I wouldn't BF.
Anyway, I looked right at that nurse and told her that if she didn't bring me my baby, I was going to start throwing Sh!t at her. I mean what else could I do? I couldn't get up and I had EVERY RIGHT to see my baby.
So they decided to bring me my gorgeous gorgeous baby boy.
My hospital stay was hell. They LET me stay in bed which I've learned makes recovery that much more difficult. The only time I got out of bed was to shower and to go get my baby. They wouldn't bring him to me bc I *needed* walk so they made me go to the nursery to get him myself. Other than showering and getting Adam, I was in bed and they never said anything about it. The staff acted as if I had no rights and treated me rudely the whole time I was there right down to I was AFRAID to take a shower (bc I hurt so badly) and begged a nurse to stand in there with me and she outright refused.
My doctor specifically told me that my c/s was due to DS being too big for my pelvis and that if I had a smaller baby in the future I could expect a VBAC. Little did I know it was ot bloody likely in that hospital.
FF to DS#2. We had moved to NY and then we had TTC w/him so he was planned. We had to move during my pregnancy which I *THOUGHT* was working out well bc we were moving back to PA and I'd get to see the same drs again. Drs. that I liked bc I didn't realize how wrong they had treated me.
I told them about my desire for a VBAC and I told them that the dr that delivered DS said I could. They seemed supportive. I did all kinds of research and learned that the risk of uterine rupture is less than 1% and that in most cases when uterine rupture DOES occur, it's not fatal. I had learned about the rights I had and determined that I wasn't going to be forced into laying flat on my back.
During one false labor trip, the dr said something about a repeat c/s. I told her "I want a VBAC" and she stared at me like I had 3 heads and proceeded to scare the crap out of my DBF telling him how it (rupture) could cause "fetal or even mommy death". When we left, I had to calm him down and tell him that she was leaving out the %age of rupture. That pretty much gave me a bad taste in my mouth. Why in the world was this woman trying to scare us?
Then at my next appt, she went on to tell me that I wasn't a good candidate bc I had a c/s due to "failure to progress" but the dr that delivered DS#1 said that I WAS a good candidate!!! So angered, I ignored her. There was 1 dr in the office "supporting" my VBAC decision (the dr that delivered DS#1 didn't delivery babies anymore) and he said that if I went into labor, he'd let me try.
Hah, not likely with a cut happy hospital. GRRRR.
On my 40w appointment he told me I HAD to schedule a c/s bc tehy don't like women to go past 41w. So I made the appointment for Aug 28th on the terms that should I go into labor before then, they had to let me try!!! He agreed but he had lied.
August 28th, my appointment for my c/s was at noon but I had to be there at 7:30 to fill out paper work.
A little before noon I went into labor. There is NO DOUBT IN MY MIND that I went into labor. I was having hard contrax and they hurt but I was able to cope. They were REALLY hard though. Much harder than my labor pains with Adam had been.
DBF didn't even realize I was contracting bc he was messing around on the computer in another part of the room and I was being very quiet. He thought I was still watching TV as I had been a few moments before.
He came over to check on me and I let him know what was going on. It was noonish about this time and the drs were running late. It felt like an eternity waiting for someone to come in the room. When the dr finally came in, I told him I was having hard contrax and he looked at the monitor and said "yeah you are!" and told me that they looked like they would actually cause me to progress!! YAY!! Or so I thought...
They never checked my cervix so to this day I don't know if I was progressing though I think i was.
They whisked me off to that OR rather quick. I knew they wouldn't listen to my objections and I don't think DBF had thought to speak up for me. He did look terrified, concerned and pissed at the drs all at the same time though.
The c/s was awful. I remember the dr pushing on me which wasn't all that bad and they brought me my beautiful baby and at that very moment I started reacting to my spinal and gagging. OMG I was horribly naseous. I wanted to throw up bc I thought it would make me feel better. I kept gagging. It just wouldn't stop. I took my oxygen line out and it lowered the desire to vomit. The nurse promptly put it back in my nose and I pulled it right back out and told her that it was making me feel worse so she let me leave it out. They were really quite kind and respectful- of course THEY didn't know that I didn't want to be in there. Only the dr did.
As they were switching me to the bed I'd be in in the recovery room, I started freezing and shaking, again, reacting to the spinal. This continued for the next 4 hours. That is a horrible feeling. I was so cold but they couldn't help me. They kept pilling blankets on me but I was so cold! I just kept crying because I was so freezing cold that it hurt.
After about an hour in the recovery room, they brought me to my PP room where I'd continue my freezing and they told me not to sit up until 4 hours after I hd the spinal, which oddly enough, by the time I could sit, I had stopped freezing. I had to sit a bit early bc Logan was hungry adn I had to nurse him. I wound up with a spinal headache because of that.
That night, they made me stand at my bedside and that's when I learned that moving after a c-section is the best way to recover. I was walking around the next day.
My blood pressure kept going up as well which is odd bc my b/p was always low. They kept forcing me onto my side and wouldn't tell me exactly how high it was
I got raped of my VBAC. I complained about it on another forum and was outright told that I'm selfish. That I should just be happy that I have a healthy baby (which I am happy for that) and that a vag. birth isn't a picnic and that I have no idea how "traumatic" a vag. birth is.
This woman went on to tell me that she'd be having a planned c/s next time bc of how traumatic her vag. birth was. I had 2 unnecessary c/s's. Neither of my children were ever in any danger. How does that make me selfish? I don't care who you are, a surgery is more traumatic on the body than a *normal* vag. birth. No I've never had one (a vag. birth) but surgeries are traumatic on the body and shouldn't be taken lightly. Yes, sometimes vag. births go wrong but in most cases not. She was just plain rude and hurtful.
There is another woman on that same forum that has a blinkie that says "I am woman. I will push. VBAC Momma" and to be perfectly honest- it bothers me.
She has exactly ONE child and that child was born via c/s. She's planning on having a VBAC but she is NOT a VBAC Momma. That is kind of childish of me in a away but I've very bitter that I was violated the way I was.
We're moving before we TTC again. I WILL NOT have another baby in this cut happy c/s factory. There is a birthing center 2 hours away, we'll have to visit there first but at this moment, we plan on moving closer to it when DBF can find a job.
I will NOT go through this again. If I legitimately need a c/s, I'm prepared for that but I will not have one that I don't need again.
It's caused a lot of grief for me. At first I felt inadequate. I felt like this from the time DS#1 was born until months after DS#2 was born, until I realized it wasn't me, it was the hospital!
Then I found the article about Amber Marlowe a few months ago which just confirmed my suspicion that I truly didn't have a choice in my c/s.