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mamas who were traumatized by birth pain

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Wondering if we could form a little supportive thread for mamas who were traumatized by the pain of childbirth. I've told my story a few times here on MDC but suffice it to say that I was left completely traumatized and scarred by the birth pain from my home waterbirth. It was my 4th unmedicated birth. My other unmedicated births were not traumatic.

This morning I read this comment by a former midwife on an article on the nytimes:

Quote:
Giving birth without drugs, feeling every last sensation leaves a woman feeling invulnerable and strong, we are ready to take on the world and offer no quarter; little wonder why the powers that be try to deny us the experience.
It made me think, while yes, some women feel this, please do not speak for me! : Because I did not feel invulnerable and strong and I'm not going to pretend I did. I felt ripped apart and devastated.

I feel like there is a taboo in the natural childbirth world to say loud and clear "yes I was traumatized by the pain of giving birth." It's almost like you hear a voice in the background saying "Shhh... don't say anything negative about birth... it's against the rules..."
post #2 of 68
thank you.
i was more so traumatized by the inaction during my labor than the pain but this last births pain was unbearable. it was like nothing i had ever felt before and i had had an unmedicated birth before. neither my MW nor my husband tried to comfort me. my MW just barked orders and told me to get in the tub or on the birthing stool- both places that made the pain and discomfort worse. i was only really comfortable in the glider chair but she kept pulling me out of it and my DH kept backing her up instead of me. the pain felt like my pubic bone was shattering. and then my hip was added into the equation. i still have nightmares about it and about being ignored. after 44 hours i ended up with a hospital transfer. as soon as the Dr broke my water (something the MW had tried to do much earlier) i felt relief and was ready to push. but by then i was so tired that the pain just took over, ykwim? i just laid limp while the contractions ripped through me and felt like they were breaking me. not even 10 hours after i birthed the MW called me in the hospital to tell me that i was overreacting and that i jut didn't know what the pain of birth and labor felt like. she somehow thought i had epidurals with both my previous births. : i guess that would have made it easy for her to ignore me, right?

this last birth experience has been ruling my life and my marriage for almost 7 months now. i need badly to heal.
post #3 of 68
I belong here. Birth just hurt so much. I wasn't afraid at the time. I think I dealt with it pretty well. But something doesn't feel right.

I had to get blood drawn yesterday and I was totally triggered just by the needle stuck in my arm. I felt a wave of panic and remembered all the pain of being in labor and giving birth. I knew without a doubt that I NEVER want to feel that pain again. I know I couldn't handle it.
post #4 of 68
oh wow. i was afraid to go to that place on here. not only because i did have drugs but because even with an epidural i felt EVERYTHING and it was beyond painful. i was so close to having a c-section but i just did. not. want. one.
my story...i labored for 24 hours straight before finally giving in and taking the epidural. after having the epidural in for 12 hours it just wasn't effective anymore. so for another 12 hours i labored in agony. it was awful. i thought my tailbone was going to break into a million pieces. i pushed for 4 hours and after a total of 48 hours in labor i had a 9lb 10 oz boy. i'm small boned and gained a total of 20 lbs the whole time i was pg. i had no idea it was possible for me to have a baby that big.
the delivering of the placenta almost killed me. literally. i felt the whole thing when the dr. tried to help it out- it was calcified. it was the most excruciating pain i have ever felt. i hemmoraghed so badly i lost half my blood. i had to have a cutterage. they gave me a spinal saddle for that and morphine- thank god! i had 3 units of blood the next day.
this next stage is what really traumatized me and although it wasn't during labor or childbirth it was related to the birth,the drugs, the blood transfusion, the muscle fatigue etc... i didn't have a bowel movement for 2 weeks after giving birth. i finally went to urgent care and had my bowel dis-impacted. no drugs. no "labor support" just sheer and utter pain and totally humiliating.
anyway that's my story. i've been seeing a cranial sacral therapist to fix my back which was completely torqued from the labor- i couldn't even walk straight. i was so thin and fragile after giving birth it was weird. i felt utterly broken. i'm finally back up to my pre pregnancy weight. (what's sad is the comments from people about how great i looked after giving birth because i was so thin. i mean, i almost DIED!
but, my son is amazing and my husband is in sheer awe of what i went through. i guess that's how i've healed emotionally.
it's hard for me to talk about especially because i know so many women having first babies right now. it seems unfair for me to tell my story but i wish on some level i'd known the other side. all my friends had either super medicated relatively painless childbirths or "magical", drug free, "birth from within" experiences. i just never expected my birthing experience to be so dramatic and painful.
post #5 of 68
I was traumatized by my last birth. It was my fourth unmedicated birth, 3rd homebirth, and I was expecting the babe to slide on out. I was so empowered by my other births, especially the 3rd, where I gave birth standing up, with no tears, to a 9 1/2 lb baby.
I could handle the contractions, it was the pain in my hips that was unbearable, like someone smashing me with a sledgehammer during every contraction. I had a really hard time pushing the baby out because of the pain and it didn't help that my MW was yelling PUSH PUSH PUSH and putting her fingers in me all the time, and directing to get in positions that I didn't want to be in.
I still have pain in my hips. I'm very disappointed with how things went.
I'm sorry others are feeling traumatized too.
post #6 of 68
I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but I so understand.

I had a hospitial birth with my first (with an epidural), and then three home water births. My births are fast, very fast, intense, and they hurt.

When I started thinking about having to actually go thru the birth pain again this time (I am otherwise happily preg with number five)... I just cried. (I love my babies and my children but wish the stork was real!)

So after three home water births, I called a nice family doc who was willing to take me and promise me an epidural, even induce me so I would make it to the hospital with my fast fast labors in order to *get* the epidural. She promised if anything happens with the epidural, she will give me enough of something else.

I was just talking to my MW, and she said on a scale of 1 to 10, my births are a 9 (as in VERY easy)... but of course, she is NOT in my shoes during the birth. I am sure they are very easy on her and DH. She's our neighbor, so she shows up and a few minutes later the baby is here. I love her, but it is not a 9 for me.

I feel so torn on this hospital birth. But I think this will be our last bio child, and I want to enjoy it, not be afraid and in pain. All in all, homebirths are great, but they are not always what they are cracked up to be.
post #7 of 68
It's been hard for me, trying to figure out exactly why I feel so traumatized. It wasn't like a horrible birth experience, like others have written about. There isn't one thing I can point to and say, that was what hurt me so much, that's why I feel this way. Just something about the whole intensity of the experience. I'm not sure there is a word for what I'm feeling. Well there's fear, overwhelmed, insecure, hurt, panic. But there is something else, and I can't find it and work it out.

I feel like the pain was more than I could take, but I did take it without even asking for pain meds, so how could it have been more than I could take?:
post #8 of 68

birth trauma support

I am just popping in to ask if any of you have checked the birth trauma thread in B&B. I put together a list of web sites and such for women and their families who have been traumatized by birth It doesn't matter if it was the intensity of the labor, the place, or the provider, it is all still trauma.
Here's the thread:http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=789858
post #9 of 68
too bad this isn't a more active thread.
post #10 of 68
meowee - I agree that there's a taboo against saying that the pain of natural childbirth was too much, overwhelming and traumatic. I had a traumatic birth with dd#1 and had PTSD. I am PG with bb#2 and am due in 6-8 wks. I am considering pain meds this time but feel sooooooo guilty and insecure and am afraid to honour my own needs which SCREAM inside me: TAKE IT THIS TIME! TAKE IT!!! I feel like I will be very negatively and harshly judged by my midwives and doula........even though I have been dialoguing with my midwives and have gained their agreement that they will support me if I ask for the epi. Why shouldn't I just ask for it and not feel guilty? I wish I didn't feel guilty. I have looked dh in the eye and my mother too and told them: if I ask for an epi in labour, please make sure you do everything in your power to advocate for me to get it. I realize it won't be a cure-all saviour, and complications can happen (friends have told me, I have witnessed it too) but I would like it as an option.

I had depression and PTSD after my birth with dd#1. It's been 2.5 yrs and I finally feel like my mood is better. I started on an anti-depressant a couple of months ago and am shocked by the positive difference it's made for me. I DON'T want to have another traumatic birth experience because it made the postpartum (1-2 yrs)SO difficult for me and my husband the last time. It would be better for me and my family if I had a less traumatic birth this time.....better for all of us if I can remain happy and healthy.

I wish healing for all Mamas who have had suffering due to birth trauma....
post #11 of 68
Meowee, thanks for making this thread. I had a "good" homebirth--no transfer, healthy mom & baby, no tearing--and I was completely shattered by the experience. I'm actually taking Zoloft now.

I felt more empowered by my crappy hospital birth, because I was a strong bitch standing up to the powers that be. At my homebirth, I just felt like an annoying disappointment to everyone.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
Meowee, thanks for making this thread. I had a "good" homebirth--no transfer, healthy mom & baby, no tearing--and I was completely shattered by the experience. I'm actually taking Zoloft now.

I felt more empowered by my crappy hospital birth, because I was a strong bitch standing up to the powers that be. At my homebirth, I just felt like an annoying disappointment to everyone.
i could not imagine you being a disappointment ever. it's like asking me to see the sky as a piece of fruit.
post #13 of 68
You can now add me to the list. I just gave birth by c-section after 36 hours of pain. People kept telling me after each contraction that I was doing so well, but I was crying and screaming and just wanted it to stop.

I was thinking about writing an article about the spiritual needs of c-sectioned mommies. Not all of us are just weak or under-prepared. It turned out I developed HELLP syndrome, which is beyond pre-eclampsia.

I am sitting in my hospital room as I write this and I am trying to determine how to continue my staunch support of homebirth while at the same time accept that my two homebirths were complete failures.
post #14 of 68
Wow...reading these posts I am getting all teary. I have just started acknowledging my feelings about my first and only birth experience. I am just going to tell the story...
On 6/3/07 I a gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. He was perfect, so healthy- 8lbs 10 oz. Not too big, not too small. I researched this baby, researched the merits of an unmedicated, natural childbirth and carefully chose a birth center with competent, caring nurse midwives to attend my birth. I trusted all four of them and went into labor 2 weeks "late"- My labor lasted 26 hours and I didn't even ask for medication the whole time. I slow danced with dp and got into the tub at 7 cm when I started feeling like I was being cracked open. I had so much pain in my hips and tailbone. I couldn't even sit, it was so uncomfortable- my babies head was so low.
During the contractions, I had to give loud, low pitched yell/moans to get through but in between I was able to joke around. The pushing is what surprised me...I was terrified when I had the urge to push. I resisted, the midwife checked me and said I was fully dialated and to give it a good push...I said uh-uh but pushed anyway and felt like I was ripping apart the entire time. The only time I said I couldn't do it happened now...I was so scared, everything was bulging out and it felt like I was ripping in half. I just yelled and out he came, 35 minutes after I started pushing. I tore in 3 places and had a seriously injured pelvic floor. I was so swollen after giving birth my partner thought my son's umblical cord was still hanging out of me. My son had a large head (14.5 inches) and NO molding. None. A perfectly round, rock hard head. After the birth I stood up to pee over the toilet and as I stood my urine fell out of me involuntarily. I just watched as it fell all over the floor.
I was concerned because I kept having these persistant birth flashbacks to the pushing stage...several times a day. I mentioned them at a visit with my midwife when we were trying to decide if I was having some post partum depression and she said she thinks I have post traumatic stress disorder. She said if you have a past which includes being coerced/forced into doing something sexually that you didn't want to do, it is common to mush those things (birth and sexual abuse) in your brain. Associations...anyway. I just didn't expect that. I got the birth I "wanted" and a healthy beautiful baby and the way he was brought into the world haunts me....I don't understand. I feel so guilty and can't believe I am feeling this way...Sorry this is so long. I just needed to tell someone. Thankyou all for your stories.
post #15 of 68
how about after 4 days of contractions strong one without any dialation then having an elective csec. Well ther were other excuses as well. I just didn't stick to my guns like i have in the past. I still feel the guilt.
post #16 of 68
I think that, even if I had given birth vaginally, it would still not have been a good birth, because of the pain involved. That is where the guilt lies - why couldn't I just do it? Is "homebirth or bust" really that healthy?

I am not as sickened by this c-section as I was by the last one because I know this one was important and I chose it instead of having it thrust upon me, but I am grieved by the idea that I may never experience what it is like to have a baby come through my birth canal. My loss is unique. Another woman who experienced that will feel a loss for a different reason. Those losses are still valid.

For me, though, I have a goal now. How do I reclaim this birth? Part of it was choosing my hospital this time - we called several ahead of time to see who was on-call so we could get a nice doctor and then drove an extra 20 minutes so I could have someone compassionate do the c-section. I was awake this time and people answered my questions. I saw the baby within seconds after she emerged and actually touched her. They brought me the placenta so I could see it. They delayed a bath for the baby. She's been co-sleeping with me ever since.

So, I think what I may do is have a party with my friends with a c-section cake, and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and with each scoop I'll list off something good that came from the birth, and then we will bake it and frost it and eat it.
post #17 of 68
I ended up with a C-section, but...

I had back labour and intense contractions from a pit drip. I still have flashbacks to that terrible time. I remember the (childless) nurse saying, "didn't you take prenatal class?" while I was contracting. I remember being denied the ability to get up or squat -- I had to lie down through the pain. I remember wanting the fan on my face and the nurse saying "well, I'm going to be doing paperwork, so... as long as it doesn't face this way"

I remember they wouldn't shut the door and I was very vocal with my pain, and embarassed about that. I was also wanting to be naked and felt embarassed about that damn door being opened, too.

I remember just feeling powerless, in pain, slimy, disgusting, awful. I hated it.
post #18 of 68
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by alisaterry View Post
I am sitting in my hospital room as I write this and I am trying to determine how to continue my staunch support of homebirth while at the same time accept that my two homebirths were complete failures.
Perhaps some of the healing around this is recognizing the COMPLEXITY behind real women's VARIED PERSONAL EXPERIENCES of birth, and not holding everyone to ONE STANDARD. I think you can still be a supporter of homebirth, yet recognize your powerful, legitimate need for interventions (pain relief or surgery). I think we run into problems when we want to do a "one size fits all" version of birth and measure all women by the same stick. Makes me mad!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuleMamma View Post
The pushing is what surprised me...I was terrified when I had the urge to push. I resisted, the midwife checked me and said I was fully dialated and to give it a good push...I said uh-uh but pushed anyway and felt like I was ripping apart the entire time. The only time I said I couldn't do it happened now...I was so scared, everything was bulging out and it felt like I was ripping in half. I just yelled and out he came, 35 minutes after I started pushing. I tore in 3 places and had a seriously injured pelvic floor. I was so swollen after giving birth my partner thought my son's umblical cord was still hanging out of me. My son had a large head (14.5 inches) and NO molding. None. A perfectly round, rock hard head. After the birth I stood up to pee over the toilet and as I stood my urine fell out of me involuntarily. I just watched as it fell all over the floor.
I was concerned because I kept having these persistant birth flashbacks to the pushing stage...several times a day. I mentioned them at a visit with my midwife when we were trying to decide if I was having some post partum depression and she said she thinks I have post traumatic stress disorder. She said if you have a past which includes being coerced/forced into doing something sexually that you didn't want to do, it is common to mush those things (birth and sexual abuse) in your brain. Associations...anyway. I just didn't expect that. I got the birth I "wanted" and a healthy beautiful baby and the way he was brought into the world haunts me....I don't understand. I feel so guilty and can't believe I am feeling this way.
Julemama, I'm so sorry for your traumatic experience (AND ALL MAMA'S TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES HERE!!! ). I can relate to the shockingly unexpectedly overwhelming pain of pushing. My dd was also born with a perfectly round rock hard head, her face was beautiful and not mashed/mushed at all. Someone who had seen her birth photo asked me if I'd had a c-sec because her face was so beautiful and perfect. The birth attendants all commented on what a big head she had when she was born. Yeah, no wonder it hurt like fargin' h*ll!!!!

It is really scary to have these overwhelmingly intense and painful feelings in your body, to feel like you are not the one who is having the control over setting the pace in your birth, and perhaps setting the pace so you can cope (?) with the pain in the most managable way. It is troubling and traumatizing to have such trauma to your genitals and birthing parts. I had a third degree tear (which I felt -- like a branding iron to my perinium) and had PTSD because of it (and the whole pushing experience).

From what you're saying, I'm not sure if you've had some experience with sexual abuse/cohersion, but again, there's some such in my past history (primarily witnessing sexual abuse of a family member over a long period of time, and receiving some emotional/verbal/mental sexual abuse). So I can relate. It's really hard.

I hope you can get some counselling or support to take care of yourself and help yourself heal.

That goes for all Mamas who are suffering.
post #20 of 68
I am so glad to see this thread - I've only recently started to come to terms with what I feel like was a "failure" on my part during labor. DD is almost 10 months old, and while birth didn't go the way I planned, I thought I was okay with it. Then dh and I started talking about having another baby, and I freaked out, and he and I got in a big fight, and I realize that I am not okay with it.

I read millions and millions of books (it felt like) on the advantages of natural childbirth, and I decided to work with a midwife who practices at a hospital that allows waterbirths. I was so sure that if I did all the "right" things I could get through labor without drugs. Then I had contractions - strong ones - 5 minutes apart for 48 hours before I went to the hospital and had my midwife break my water. The contractions were not doing any "work," and my midwife was leaving for the weekend, and I was so tired that I just wanted to have dd. I was exhausted when I started, but I still thought it would be okay.

When the contractions started coming hard, I fell apart. I don't remember most of it, to be honest. Dh was there, but he had no idea what to do and was not prepared to help me through that kind of agony. I thought I was dying. I know my midwife was there, but I don't remember her helping me at all. I asked her what I could do between contractions and vomiting and all she said was that it sometimes helps to remember that each contraction was bringing dd closer to me. DID NOT HELP at all - I couldn't think enough to put together 2 words, let alone abstract thoughts. I ended up begging for an epidural (I get tears just admitting that - I feel like I failed on every level), and 3 hours of agony later, I got one. And here's the thing - after I got the epi, I became my "self" again. I could talk, I could think, I felt good. And when pushing came, I felt great and I had the kind of peaceful experience that I was hoping for.

There was no real trauma exactly - I wasn't pressured into doing anything, and I didn't even tear. But I felt so betrayed by all of the people who said that natural childbirth didn't "really" hurt and that if you did all the relaxation things it was bearable. It wasn't bearable for me.
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