Thank you for this thread! Just the past week, I was thinking, "how am I ever going to get over this?" My DS is 7.5 months old now. I told my DH, "I need to talk to someone who understands!" And here you are! I can relate to every single one of your stories in some way. Thank you for sharing them.
I am long winded, so here it goes:
Almost every woman in my family has given birth by C-section. I did not want that, and felt that my only way to avoid a c-s was to go completely natural, not in the hospital. I started with a midwife and planned to birth my baby at the birthing center. Everything started out fine. We found out at 27 weeks that my baby would be born with a cleft lip and palate. This news was totally devastating to me for so many reasons, and I felt like a complete failure. I had failed to protect and take care of my unborn baby. Instead of focusing on the birth and my pregnancy, I threw myself into learning as much as I could about his condition, EPing, finding doctors, and insurance. I could write a novel about the emotions I went though at that time.
Around that time, my BP began to creep up. Now, I think it was stress related. I didn't realize how stressed and depressed I was, but now as I am just beginning to come out of that I can see that I was in a really bad emotional state. So - by 32 weeks, it was just getting too high, so I went on bedrest and transferred to the care of an OB. I felt that transferring now would hopefully give me a chance at still getting the birth I wanted. Also, I was nervous about the cleft, and possibly needing to be in the hospital for that.
At 37 weeks, the doctor decided I needed to be induced, and I was glad. I was so sick feeling, swollen, and depressed. Now, I wish I would have tried to wait longer.
I felt so manipulated throughout the process. I said I did not want to be induced with cytotec. I expressed my concerns to the Dr. and at the end of the coversation, he said to the nurse, "go ahead with the cytotec." And I let them. I felt so ignored. I had to stay in bed all day and all night. My uterus kept hyperstimulating, so it was a constant cycle of induction drugs/terb. I just felt yucky. The next morning, I was 1-2cm. Another Dr. came in and broke my water after a conversation similar to the cytotec one. After this though, I was in a good labor patern on my own. I was able to stand up and work through them. This is the one thing I hang onto - I enjoyed it. I loved feeling my body work toward birthing my baby. About 4 hours later, I was at 4cm. Apparently, this wasn't good enough for them. They told me I would need pitocin. My midwife had told me that if I get pitocin, to just get an epidural, because it would help me to relax through the difficult contractions. Stupidly, I did this. I wish I would have at least tried to handle the pitocin contractions.
Anyway, all began to really go downhill at this point. I don't know what time it was by this point, but I was 6 cm. DS's heartrate kept dropping because of the pitocin, I was getting a fever, my BP was going through the roof, and I wasn't dilating "fast enough." That time was a blur - they were doing all sorts of things to me. Dr. told me if any of the problems get worse, or I don't progress at 1cm per hour, it would be an emergency c-s. Or, I could make the choice now to do it. Right at this time, my epidural wore out and the contractions hit me like a truck. I was totally unprepared for them. So, in that moment of exhaustion, pain, and sickness - I chose the c-s. I can't get over that I was one that chose it. Part of me hates myself for that. Everyone told me that I wouldn't be able to handle a natural birth, and they were all right. I was such a failure.
Maybe I was not ready for DS to be born, I knew that once he was born, I would have a whole new set of issues to deal with. I feel so guilty writing that now - as I am so in love with every part of him - but that's how I felt at the time.
I was shaking very badly while strapped to the table. I was so angry. Angry about the mean doctor who told me about DS's cleft (another horrible experience), mad at myself, mad at everyone. I am so sad that my son was brought into the world that way.
After they lifted him out, I heard a small, sweet cry. They brought him over to the table to clean him off - and as I looked at him I felt so disconnected. This crushed me that I felt that way. They announced that his palate was affected (it had only been suspected before), and again, I felt my heart break even more. I knew I would not be able to breast feed him. I just wanted the whole thing to be over. I wanted a do over. As they stiched me up, I started vomitting. My whole body was convulsing, I was vomitting, I was cold. My baby and husband were gone, and I was so alone.
I was brought down to recovery, and my BP kept getting higher and higher. I heard my mom outside the door, and they said they wouldn't let her come in, only my primary support person. Well he was up with our baby and all our other family. I felt so discarded, like the baby was out of me, so I was no longer worth anything. My mom was the only person who cared about how I was (and DH, but he was very torn). Finally, they let her in. My DH eventually came down too. They told me they would have to start me on magnesium, and that I would be in recovery for 6 hours. I couldn't believe I wouldn't get to see my baby for 6 hours!
They put me in another room, and I was so messed up from all the drugs. They did end up bringing DS to me, but I couldn't even hold him or see straight. I felt a little better, but still so disconnected from him. DH had already fed him, he had a bath, all my family saw him - and I missed all these things. All my life I dreamed of having a baby, and I was missing all these precious firsts.
That night, my mom stayed with me, while DH went and slept in the mother-baby unit. I was upset that DH chose to sleep alone rather than be with me or with DS. Anyway, I felt like talking to my mom, was asking questions about the baby and stuff, and the nurses kept scolding us, telling us to be quiet and sleep. And for some reason, I was abiding by their "rules." When a nurse came by, I would be quiet, but once they left, we would talk.
The next morning, they wheeled me upstairs to the mother baby unit and played the song they play whenever a baby was born. It made me so mad - I should have told them to stop it. It was like it was taunting me. First of all, I didn't feel like I had birthed my baby, I feel like he was ripped from me. Also, I didn't even feel like the mother, I had been totally seperated from him and I didn't even know what he looked like hardly (aside from the cleft).
I did then get some time with my baby, but I was still drugged and in so much pain. I tried to bf him, but people discouraged me from trying. My night nurse was very mean, made me shower all alone, degraded DH when trying to change DS meconium diaper, took the baby at night when we "needed rest." I did not want my baby in the nursery, but DH did - and I couldn't get him by myself. I so needed my baby by me, but again, I couldn't do it! I was a failure again! I also couldn't (and haven't) gotten over not being able to bf him.
I need some help to get through all this. For me, I think its all the issues combined that made the whole experience traumatic. DS has done great, and I've been EPing for him - but next week he gets his palate repaired. I hope to breastfeed him, I think it could be a very healing thing for us.
I understand what some of you have mentioned about the fear. I desperately want a VBAC, but am so afraid that things will not go that way. I have lost all confidence in my body. I want to move on from this, but I don't know how. I need to talk about it, but friends and family are sick of hearing about it.
I also have had a hard time fitting in somewhere. I go to a mom's group at the birthing center, but I feel so inadequate because of the c-s and mostly because I bottle feed my baby. Yet, at least they get my pain about the loss of those things. I have the girls I know from my church and stuff - but they don't get it. The other day we were talking about births and I said something about c-s, and the girl says "oh yeah, I forgot - you are against c-s." Um...no. I am hurt by my experience. They don't get it.
One final thought to end this novel. I HATE when people say, "all that matters is a healthy baby." First of all, that is not all that matters. Giving birth is a huge moment in a woman's life and it does matter how she is treated, feels, etc. Also, I hated when people said this to me, because I felt like I didn't really have a healthy baby. I mean, he is doing great, but he will have 2 surgeries before he's one, has seen countless doctors, and has special feeding needs. It was just salt in the wound whenever people said this to me.
I hope this makes sense, I'm having a hard time articulating it, and it is surprising me how emotional I've gotten while writing it. Thank you for listening - it makes a world of difference.