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Bradley Method Birth gone Terribly wrong-in need of support

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
First I want to say that if any of my birth rings a bell or sounds like your birth story, please share your story with me. My birth was very traumatic and I am suffering from PTSD. I am posting my story because I want to warn some mommies and because I really need to connect with mommies who have been in similar situations.
So, here goes:
As soon as I heard of the Bradley Method I knew it was for me. I wanted a completely natural birth and I was scared about the pain. Reading through the book and practicing the exercises reassured me that I could handle it. So, with confidence I told my NMW that I was having an all natural Bradley birth in water (in a hospital). She agreed that they would do everything possible to make that happen for me.
As the weeks went by I became very excited and anxious to meet my new babe. I studied up and researched all of the important issues like GBS and Ampicillin. I asked all the important questions of my NMW and got all the right answers. I was ready.
So, at 4:20am on January 5th when I felt that little release I knew it was time. I hurried out of bed and to the toilet and yes! My water had broken! I was thrilled that today was the day I would meet my baby.
I called my SIL (two laymidwife assisted home births and one unassisted home birth) and she agreed that it sounded like my water had broken. When I called later to ask her why I wasn't having contractions she assured me that it sometimes takes time for them to start.
I called the hospital when my contractions were 30 minutes apart and they told me to come in. I was admitted and given a gown. I hopped in bed and with DH at my side I began practicing the Bradley Method. Things were going great and all the nurses thought I was sleeping while I was having contractions. I was relaxed and handling the natural birth surprisingly well.
Shortly after my admittance my NMW came in and said I needed to be started on Ampicillin for my GBS. Though I had decided I didn't want it, she pressured me by saying it would cause serious harm to my baby if I didn't and that they would do all manner of terrible things to him when he came out. I was scared and in pain and I trusted that she knew what I wanted and what was best for me and my baby, so I agreed. Shortly after agreeing she returned to say that my water had been broken far too long and that there was a risk of infection. I had no idea that it was a problem but when she suggested Pitocin I balked and said "no way." I wanted my baby to come out when he was ready.
My NMW was quick to assure me that if I didn't take the Pitocin I would develop an infection that would almost definatly severely harm or kill my baby. Again, being a scared new mother in a lot of pain who put her full trust in her NMW, I agreed. This was the worst mistake I have ever made.
Almost immediatly Jackson's heartrate dropped into the 120s (FYI: fetal distress is marked by a FHR of <120). My labor became more difficult and MUCH more painful-side effects I did not know were imminent.
Two and a half hours later my NMW returned to tell me things were not progressing quickly enough and she upped my Pitocin without giving me any options. Again, more pain. Jackson's FHR dropped again to right at 120 and stayed there. So, after another hour they upped it again. Again, more pain. This time I had to be put on oxygen because I was finding it difficult to breathe through the pain. An hour and a half after the last upping of Pitocin Jackson went into Fetal Distress.
Because my contractions were so hard, but my cervix was only dilated to 5cm Jackson's head was being crushed with each contraction and his heartrate was dropping into the 80s.
You can guess what happened next. Yup, an emergency cesarean.
And so began my long and continued recovery from the birth of my first child.
After I finally got to come home I started thinking that something had gone wrong but I wasn't sure what it was. I was so confused because I trusted my body and my baby to lead the way but how could my body be so very wrong? Why did I need so much intervention?
So, I started looking into it and discovered that the WHO recommends that after 18 hours of prolonged rupture of membranes you give Ampicillin to the expectant mother. But, wait, I was on Ampicillin. And after only 10 hours of PROM. So, why did my NMW say there was a risk of infection? How could I become infected when I had an IV of antibiotics coursing through my veins?

And so, I now struggle to recover from my sugery and from the PTSD that has poisoned the birth of my first child because of a simple mistake.

The good news:
on January 5, 2007 I gave birth to a perfect, beautiful baby boy 8lb 13oz and 23" long. He began breathing right away and when they placed him on the warmer he propped his feet up and laid back like the cool guy he is. Today he's a perfectly healthy, sweet, fun, energetic 4 month old. He's happy and still very cool. He still likes to prop up is feet, by the way. He is the second best thing that has ever happened to me (DH is first of course!) and I hope someday I can overcome his birth and give him little brothers and sisters to play with.

Thank you for reading.
post #2 of 56
Congrats on your sweet son! My DH and I used the Bradley Method with our firstborn (hospital birth). I was able to have a vaginal birth without an epidural, but with a little Demerol - the pain coping techniques we learned in class didn't work for me. In fact, the Lamaze techniques my OB and Mom taught me helped the most. I'm glad you posted your story...it really shows how one intervention can lead to another. God bless you in your future births. This time we are having a homebirth! That way I can completely avoid interventions. You can read how my story is similar to yours in my post "the story of my firstborn and the plan for my second".
post #3 of 56
Oh, hugs for you, mama. I did pitocin, too. Awful stuff.
post #4 of 56
I'm so sorry your birth was so far from what you wanted. My first birth was also planned as a natural hospital birth, and turned into a c/s (though unnecessary - had we all been patient, especially the docs, all would have been fine). I can really understand your trying to sort it out and figure out what went wrong, as well as wishing you could change that *one* little mistake that sent it all in the wrong direction.

It really sounds like the biggest issue here was the care provider, who to my reading did not have your best interests in mind. I don't mean to say she had ulterior motives, only that how she handled your labor, birth, and the possible interventions is far from mother-friendly. It occurs to me that writing a letter to her might be healing for you, but that may be a random thought.

I do want to encourage you that it IS possible to have a healing, natural birth. My 2nd was born at home with a WONDERFUL midwife, and was a very healing experience for me. I'm birthing with the assistance of the same midwife in another 4 months and am eager for another home birth. I really believe that having a care provider that you can trust implicitly makes a HUGE difference - and I mean one that you can *really* trust and who really believes in you.

I pray you'll get a wonderful experience like that in the future!
post #5 of 56
Oh honey, it's not you, it was your provider that failed you. She gave you assurances of support but railroaded you along "The Way Things are Done". You were not given time to let your body birth your baby as it was designed. When forced, your body does not just perform as providers wish... HUGE hugs and sweet love for your baby.

Take time to process it through - it has taken me 4 years to not cry when I tel the story of my firstborn's birth OR be angry at the provider and I have talked about it a lot, shed tears a lot and gone through every detail. We had a homebirth transfer which ended in a vaginal birth but it was very traumatic for us.

It's ok, you will work through it - just keep putting one foot ahead of the other. Hugs.
post #6 of 56
It sounds to me like your nurse midwife AND childbirth educator failed you. Bradley teaches couples not to come to the hospital until contractions are very strong and close together. If you had had this knowledge you may have chosen to ignore the hospital's advice and stayed home until later and may have avoided a lot of the interventions that led to the c/s.

Enjoy your baby boy!
post #7 of 56
Yep, it was your care provider who failed you. I'm so sorry . I recently read an amazing book you might find helpful: The Instinct to Heal (author's website here). I can't recommend it highly enough, and he gives a lot of information on how you can heal from trauma, PTSD, etc. A method that he does not mention, but I have also found helpful (both for myself, and also for my dd's birth trauma), is craniosacral therapy. It is some seriously powerful stuff. If you're interested, you can search for a practitioner here (bottom middle of page). On the search page, you'll be able to see everyone's training. Try to find someone who has had CSI, CSII, SERI, and SERII at a bare minimum. Ask them if they dialogue during their sessions -- I have found this to be an incredible tool for releasing trauma. Good luck mama .
post #8 of 56
Sounds like the NMW knew what you wanted and basically lied to you, telling you she would work with you to achieve your wishes but in reality she one of those people who just follows "procedure." Also I agree with 3daughters, it sounds like maybe your Bradley instruction wasn't that great, because going to the hospital with contractions 30 minutes apart is too early. Especially if you were in a good mood, smiling and whatnot. So I wonder about how good your instructor was too... Well, anyway, I took Bradley classes and ended up with a c-section. I guess I'll never know if it was "necessary" or not, but it took a long time for me to accept what happened to me, to let go of sadness and anger and disappointment. (((HUGS)))
post #9 of 56
Congrats on your sweet baby boy!!

I'm so sorry that you were treated that way
post #10 of 56
I am sorry to hear your story, but congratulations on your son!

My friend just had a baby last week and it was a similar story. She didn't plan a natural birth. Got to the hospital, they said she wasn't progressing enough, gave her pictocin, contractions became too strong, gave her an epidural, more pictocin, baby's heartrate dropped (from being squeezed, of course), and voila! emergency c-section was performed.

It is a very worrying trend. What is worse for you is that a NMW who alluded to being supportive of your plans, betrayed you.

I hope you feel some closure on it soon.
post #11 of 56
I am so sorry for you.

Congrats on your baby
post #12 of 56

Congralations! and Sorry

I'm so sorry to hear of your disappointment. Your story is similar to mine in some ways but different in others.

I too was excited about Bradley and planned on a natural birth in the hospital. I really liked and trusted all my care providers and they signed off on our birth plan. But at my 41 week appt. things began to get worrisome: babe was not moving enough, fluid was precariously low and my placenta was looking kind of calcified. These were things that, we felt, would not have improved with time so opted for induction. (Cervidil, followed by pitocin.) Unfortunately, I was a lousy candidate for induction and I knew the potential for these cascading interventions to lead to a c-section that I did not want. But I saw little alternative to induction.

After "laboring" all day on pitocin, we went for the section b/c I knew she was not going to come out on her own. I had known all afternoon that she wasn't budging and that things weren't progressing in any direction, in any sense of the word. So I had the section. And I was OK with it because I felt in control of things. I liked and respected my doctor. I believe that he wanted to perform a section no more than I wanted to have one. As far as surgery goes, ours went perfectly even though I lost quite a bit of blood. I had an excellent recovery and lots of support. And we had our beautiful, perfect daughter.

My point is that one's preception of their birth experience has a lot to do with how empowered they are. How in control of things they are, as much as one can be in such a mysterious thing as childbirth.

I believed what I read that "God is not a careless mechanic" and that my body could do what it was supposed to do, but I'm honestly not sure what our outcome would have been had we chosen other paths. We chose the path we did and we are OK with it.

Unfortunately, you were in an entirely different situation where your MW railroaded you down so many misguided avenues. I stronly urge you to get support. With time and help you can heal the psychic wounds.

May you find peace on this next step of your journey,
post #13 of 56
I'm so sorry this happened to you. The hospital is not set up to support normal physiological birthing hence the pressure on you to accept interventions you now know you didn't need. No woman should have to fight for anything when she's birthing, she should be honoured, loved and supported. I have PTSD from my hospital experience in 2003. Most of the time it's at bay but it pops up from time to time if something triggers it. I've written a lot about birth trauma, and I give you this link to check out for the resources as well as the support I hope it offers. You are not alone, you are sadly in a huge and growing number of wounded mothers who have not been served by the people who claimed to care for them.
I wish you strength and healing, feel free to PM
post #14 of 56
God. These posts make me want to cry. I also had an emergency c-section after wanting a completely natural birth. Dd was at an angle so she was never going to come out without a c-section, but even so, they let me labor in constant screaming intense pain for over 24 hours before someone finally came in and said we had to go into surgery.

I'm still upset about it. I really want to have a natural birth the second time around and I pretty much refuse to go into a hospital unless something is terribly wrong. I had anxiety about hospitals well before the first birth experience.

I'm so sorry you had to go through all this. I can totally relate, and I too had a pretty severe case of PPD - in large part because of my labor experience.

Ugh. I don't want to think about it anymore -
post #15 of 56
Your birth story sounds alot like mine. Mine was very traumatic, also. You think you have a midwife you can trust, then once in the hospital, she changes her tune. She seems all mother-friendly...so glad you're having a waterbirth, keeping your son intact, etc. All the stuff you want to hear. I also went into the hospital too early. I believe it was a total mistake for me to go into the hospital at all. I progressed very quickly. My water broke at 2 am Valentine's Day 2004. I called my dh at work to meet me at the hospital and then called my mil to take me to the hospital. I was not handling my labor well at all. I went the lamaze route and it just didn't work very well. I was a nervous wreck because I hate hospitals. They wouldn't let me get in the tub until I was 5 cm, they said I couldn't walk the halls because I was leaking fluid, so I was there in the bed in pain. I finally begged for Nubain. That just made me out of it. I finally got in the tub and it was much better. But the nurse and midwife were just sitting there watching me the whole time which didn't help much. But I still progressed quickly. When I was totally dilated, they said it was time to push. I didn't feel the urge to push. But finally after I'd been pushing for a couple hours, I guess it felt good. But I pushed for 4 hours with no luck. They put me in different places, even a birthing chair. I went to the bathroom once with dh and I tried pushing on the toilet and they just laughed at me. I squatted with the towel rack and they just laughed at me. So in the bed I went. Anyway, it ended in c-section. I got the epidural and said I wanted to rest (I was hungry and tired!) and try again. She said they were running out of time. My water broke at 2 am and my son was born at 2pm! It took a little while to get to the hospital and it took forever to get me to the operating room. I'm not sure of the timeline, but it wasn't something that was taking forever. So she was too impatient to let me try to have a vaginal birth. I guess she was happy she was going to make extra money with my birth. My son was never in distress or anything.

I cried every day for the first 4 months of my son's life. Now he is 3 and the anger has slowly subsided. My little guy is so cool, too. He always has his legs crossed just like in the ultrasounds. I'm now ready to ttc again and I really want a homebirth. I refuse to step foot in a hospital. You will heal too, mama. It's just a slow process. Alot of mamas on mdc have had similar stories. We all wish our first birth had gone much better. But now we know what to do with the next birth. Good luck.
post #16 of 56
My birth story is similar to yours, but also very different in that it did not end in a c-section. I had planned on a natural hospital birth. When my water broke, I was having very light contractions, but per my doctor's instructions I went to the hospital almost immediately. That was mistake number 1.

When I got to the hospital, they, of course wanted almost immediately to start pitocin. I tried to protest but was also told that since my water was broke I would not be allowed to walk around. I felt that I would not be able to progress laying in bed, so I consented to the pitocin. I am a fairly assertive person, but I was suprised at how docile I became in this situation. Mistake number 2.

It wasn't long after the pitocin that I was in horrible pain. The contractions were every two minutes with smaller ones in between and I was only dilated to 3cms. With such a long way to go, I asked for the epidural. Almost immediately after receiving the epidural the baby was in distress and then my blood pressure dropped extremely low. It was very scary. I know I was dangerously close to having a c-section. Fortunately my baby's heartrate stabilized and I was able to deliver vaginally and my doctor let me reach down and deliver my baby once the shoulder's were out.

Like some of the other posters said, my birth was far from what I envisioned, but I will now be much more prepared for my next birth. I realize how important it is to have birth attendents that you really do trust. As I said, I am a very assertive person and I knew what I wanted and didn't want, but when I found myself in the situation, I kind of just went with the flow.

Anyway, I am sorry that you had such a traumatic birth, but congrats on your beautiful and healty baby.
post #17 of 56
Hi Kristie,
Your baby must be 1 year old now, but I just joined this group and read your posting and wanted to reply to you. I hope you're doing better and know that your story is very common and it's not your fault that things didn't go as you had planned.
My first birth was very similar, though I was luckier, in that I did not require a c-section. The Bradley method is fabulous, but is very difficult to practise in most hospitals. I remember thinking before my first birth that I would be fine as long as my water didn't break early, but then it did. This is the same problem you had. Once that happens, as you know, one is at serious risk for infection, and can no longer afford the luxury of letting the body take its time to do what it needs to do. I agree 10 hours is not very long. I stayed home for 18 hours waiting for labor to pick up to a pace that seemed worthy of going to the hospital for a Bradley birth. But even I was getting very nervous about infection at that point, so I went in. The on-call doctor was quite irritated that I waited so long. I suspect there is still concern when on ampicillin because possibly other infectious bacteria are resistant to ampicillin, and so it is still a good idea to hurry things along. Not all antibiotics work on all bacteria.
For that reason, after a few hours walking around and still being at 1.5cm, I went for the Pitocin, which is something I believe was necessary. I think Pitocin is a valid way to go to help things along, but very difficult for women who don't want to use pain medication because there is nothing natural about those pitocin contractions! Also more intrusive monitoring is required with pitocin, making it even more difficult to deal with those contractions. In my case, after several hours of hard pitocin labor and still at ~5cm, I gave in and got the epidural because my doctor said it would be a long time before I would be fully dilated. Interestingly, as the anesthesiologist was leaving the room after administering the epidural, I felt the urge to push. Sure enough, in just minutes, I was almost fully dilated. It seems the relief of the epidural relaxed me enough to dilate. Who knew? So in that regard, I was very lucky. I was still a little upset though, because if I had known it could go that quickly, I might not have needed the epidural and could have had much more control over the pushing stage.
Moral of the story-- I think there's not much than can be done when membranes rupture in early labor. I don't think you made any mistakes in what you did.
I think your next one, if you choose to have another, will go much better like mine did. My water didn't break until I was about 9 or 10cm. Baby was born about 10 minutes later, healthy, alert, and beautiful (with a nice, round head). It was also a very very long labor (especially for a second birth), but was much more enjoyable without the stress of ruptured membranes.
I wish you all the best. You seem like a thoughtful person and I bet you're a great mother to your baby.
post #18 of 56
This is all making me very nervous--my husband and I are doing the Bradley method which I know from friends is a wonderful way to experience birth. My hospital is supposedly great, but do you know they will support you really? Can you refuse "treatments" like pitocin? It seems like they tell you all sorts of dangerous things that will happen to your baby, but then usually your baby is just fine. What can you do?
post #19 of 56
I have a few suggestions for you. First, try not to get too nervous - that can hinder the process. Talk openly with your health care provider about your wishes and possible scenarios. Discuss at what point interventions would be acceptable to you if needed. Be rational and open to suggestions. Ask lots of questions before labor so that you don't have to think too much when the time comes. Things rarely go exactly as planned and I think it helps to prepare yourself for that beforehand, especially if you have something in particular in mind, like a natural birth. Have confidence in yourself, and find a healthcare provider you trust to understand your needs. Have them go through your birth preferences to make sure they jive with the hospital's protocols and the other doctors that might be on-call for your delivery. Keep your list of preferences short - focus on the things most important to you.
I hope this helps a bit. Best of luck to you!
post #20 of 56
i too am sorry you had such a horrendous birth experience, and i agree with the others that said it was a combination of your healthcare provider letting you down, and also going to the hospital so early. hugs to you, and i hope that with time you can work through your pain!!!
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