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mamas who were traumatized by birth pain - Page 2

post #21 of 68
I had a traumatic birth with dd3. Will post more later.
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emese'sMom View Post
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!!!!
i have to say thank you for this. i had such a hard time with Miss O, my MW said she would be born with a misshaped head and bruises if i was having such a hard time and she was in a bad position- which she didn't believe BTW to her i was over reacting. but when she was born with a perfectly round head with no bruising (noticed later she had a bit of blood in her eyeball though) my MW looked at me and said "she looks good- and has a perfectly round head" with such a less than kind tone. :
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
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.
i have been thinking a lot about this. i have seen births via videos and what not of mamas who are just so at peace with their laboring and are able to do it no question. and then i've read birth stories of mamas who found relief in screaming their heads off until baby was on their chest. i do think that the "fluff" surrounding natural birth hurts women. i truly honestly do. sometimes birth pains just aren't bearable. why can't we as a natural/homebirthing community come to terms with that and work from that POV?
when we go through a birth experience that is in the unbearable category it is so taboo we feel shame in it. even during birth when some birth professionals and spouses just think your over reacting or they just don't know what to do. i seem to recall a while back reading a birth story somewhere (here maybe?) where a MW had basically scoffed at a mama who was really having a hard time managing her pain. this MW had had children of her own with ease and had the "if i can do it, anyone can!" mentality (RIDICULOUS mentality what women need in birth isn't a guilt trip or a cervical examine or every new gadget meant to measure baby and mom's heartbeat we don't even need the niftiest birth tub, what we need is SUPPORT. when the pain gets so bad we feel like we are dieing a ruthless death we need our partners and birth professionals to suck it up and SUPPORT us. we need to be held, reassurance whispered in our ear, a pat on the hand, etc etc. and if all else fails we need to have a smile and an "okey dokey. anything for you." when we assert that the epidural is needed (yes, sometimes we change our mind and that's when it is great to have someone say "are you sure?" but there is a line) we need people there that are going to be ready to catch us when we fall- people who are going to be prepared for the worse. we need to feel safe and we need to feel like we aren't alone and we are center stage and what we need and want is at our fingertips no questions asked no guilt handed down. sadly, even in the natural/homebirthing world support isn't always there. sometimes others get so caught up in the "cause" we forget that birth isn't a political statement. so mama feels guilty for going against her stance or mama is ignored by others who want to stand their ground. first and foremost to taking birth back and demanding mother's rights is accepting what mama needs and providing it- even if it goes against our stance on birth or societies grain.

/rant
post #24 of 68
I agree.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
i have been thinking a lot about this. i have seen births via videos and what not of mamas who are just so at peace with their laboring and are able to do it no question. and then i've read birth stories of mamas who found relief in screaming their heads off until baby was on their chest. i do think that the "fluff" surrounding natural birth hurts women. i truly honestly do. sometimes birth pains just aren't bearable. why can't we as a natural/homebirthing community come to terms with that and work from that POV?
when we go through a birth experience that is in the unbearable category it is so taboo we feel shame in it. even during birth when some birth professionals and spouses just think your over reacting or they just don't know what to do. i seem to recall a while back reading a birth story somewhere (here maybe?) where a MW had basically scoffed at a mama who was really having a hard time managing her pain. this MW had had children of her own with ease and had the "if i can do it, anyone can!" mentality (RIDICULOUS mentality what women need in birth isn't a guilt trip or a cervical examine or every new gadget meant to measure baby and mom's heartbeat we don't even need the niftiest birth tub, what we need is SUPPORT. when the pain gets so bad we feel like we are dieing a ruthless death we need our partners and birth professionals to suck it up and SUPPORT us. we need to be held, reassurance whispered in our ear, a pat on the hand, etc etc. and if all else fails we need to have a smile and an "okey dokey. anything for you." when we assert that the epidural is needed (yes, sometimes we change our mind and that's when it is great to have someone say "are you sure?" but there is a line) we need people there that are going to be ready to catch us when we fall- people who are going to be prepared for the worse. we need to feel safe and we need to feel like we aren't alone and we are center stage and what we need and want is at our fingertips no questions asked no guilt handed down. sadly, even in the natural/homebirthing world support isn't always there. sometimes others get so caught up in the "cause" we forget that birth isn't a political statement. so mama feels guilty for going against her stance or mama is ignored by others who want to stand their ground. first and foremost to taking birth back and demanding mother's rights is accepting what mama needs and providing it- even if it goes against our stance on birth or societies grain.

/rant
YES YES YES. You said it in a way that I couldn't. To me the rhetoric around natural birth is a lot like that that surrounds breastfeeding. It's normal, it works, if it hurts or you don't like it, you must be doing something wrong. I think we'd be much better off if we said (about both natural labor and breastfeeding): It sometimes hurts (a lot); it's sometimes inconvenient; it's sometimes easier to make other choices. BUT, the benefits outweigh all of this, and as a community, we will support you. You are not doing something wrong, and you are not a bad person. I would have been a lot more prepared if i would have thought that the pain might be excruciating even if I bounced on the birth ball, drank tea, sniffed oils, did meditations...and that really the only thing to do is to endure it.
post #26 of 68
I could have endured it if it actually went somewhere, but after 36 hours and only dilated to a 2, I couldn't stand the pain anymore, and I don't think I should have to, just to help promote a birthing ideal.

Yes, many women birth at home without feeling excruciating pain. It is possible and wonderful. But if it isn't working out that way, is it really that important? My midwife kept telling me the pain would get worse at the hospital. No, it didn't. It went away and I had a baby.

I think I should be able to have my c-section and still keep my crunchy card. I really tried two times now to have an unmedicated homebirth. It didn't work for me. But I'm still a cheerleader for the natural birth movement. If I couldn't breastfeed, I wouldn't become one of those moms who starts bad-mouthing the pro-breastfeeding movement. I wouldn't try to change reality to make myself feel better, like downplaying the importance of breastfeeding, or calling lactivitsts "boob nazis." But I would ask for a place somewhere, because I deserve a place somewhere.
post #27 of 68
to the above PPs.
post #28 of 68
Anyone think women with sensory integration issues might have a harder time managing pain? I think I might be on the more sensitive side, and after reading about sensory integration, I remember having some of those markers as a child.

Also I was abusively spanked as a child, so I have brain patterns of associating pain with punishment. I think these patterns were activated during my labor. Like there is a place in my brain that deals with severe intensity, and I didn't really want to go there.

These are some thoughts I've come up with the last few weeks trying to work through my birth experience.
post #29 of 68
I'm not familiar with sensory integration, but dh says I feel ALL things easier then many, both pleasure and pain. But I am not sure how that translates to birth. Dd3's labor was horrible. Ds1's labor was, well not easy, but the whole theory of it's not pain its pressure? Ds1's labor was lots of pressure. Dd3's labor was like a chainsaw revving through my insides. I was scarred emotional and PETRIFIED of laboring with ds1. To an outside person, it may have looked the same. I tend to scream a lot during transition. But the labors FELT different. And 3 of my 4 babies (all were term) came out not breathing. And all got shoulder dystocia. I can't handle the wondering (whether baby will get stuck, whether baby will breathe) again. Our family is complete.
post #30 of 68


I still have flashbacks to my first birth...the horror of the pain and wishing I could just please die
post #31 of 68
It's a hard blow. I actually had one midwife suggest I just needed to become more tolerant of pain. Thanks!
post #32 of 68
Interesting about the sensory integration issues. Dh also says I seem to experience things more intensely than most people. It makes sense that someone who has some SI issues may feel the intensity and pain of childbirth more.

As for mw's and others telling us to buck up

I am working up the courage to ask for an epi at my next birth (Xmas/New Years) if I feel I need to. Why should it even be an issue if I feel the pain is too much? I must be more gentle on myself and my whole family. Dh told me today that the sound of me screaming when I tore 3rd degree is one that gave him nightmares and traumatized him for a long time. He said it sounded like someone being stabbed to death. Sorry this is so graphic! But I can relate to feeling like you are going to die during birth.

Sorry for this ramble, just wondered if anyone chose an epi as a way to be gentle with themselves after a previously traumatic birth?
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by alisaterry View Post
It's a hard blow. I actually had one midwife suggest I just needed to become more tolerant of pain. Thanks!
:Puke
post #34 of 68
My first pregnancy ended in a painful and traumatic/dramatic stillbirth. I was drugged and incoherant, vomited a lot and the pain was horrible (only a 1lb baby). Then, I became fearful of losing my 2nd baby, so I overused the dr, got induced, got the epidural and had a healthy baby. I felt very lucky, but the birth wasn't what I really wanted. I had no trust of my body or my baby's body. So, my 3rd pregnancy, I birthed mostly how I wanted, but ended up getting the epidural at the very end.

With my 4th pregnancy, I wanted to be empowered and to prove to myself that I could trust my body. I birthed in a birth center in a jacuzzi and the birth was everything I imagined. The pain was unbelievable! I would scream and my midwife would say "stay on top of it" and I would think...."I can't believe that anyone can stay on top of this!" I had flashbacks for months. I remember telling myself "I would never do this any other way...but I am NEVER doing this again." Even with all of the pain, I gained the trust in my body that I needed, so I did feel very empowered. When I'm jogging and consider stopping, I tell myself "If I can handle labor, I can keep jogging" I use it as a measuring tool.

So, I was traumatized AND empowered. My first birth was the most traumatic. People were staring at me, I was in pain, confused from the narcotics, vomiting, etc. If I had been med-free or with an epidural, it would have been so much more tolerable. They just wanted me to be incoherant and I get mad anytime I think of what they robbed from me just because they didn't want to deal with my emotions:

Lisa
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post
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.
This is so terrible! My birth with ds was induced with pit (although I did not have terrible contractions from it while dilating), and I had back labor. He was posterior and needed to turn to get through the birth canal. The pain when it came time to push was unbelieveable--I simply survived it. There was no managing that pain (he was sort of stuck).

I was in a mainstream hosp, with a mainstream nurse and a mainstream ob. BUT--they knew what to do, and, because I hadn't had an epidural, I could do it. I had to get on my hands and knees and squat through the contractions to turn the baby. I didn't (couldn't!) even push....just squatted down and let my uterus turn the baby so he could move through. My extremely mainstream, medical ob swears that is what kept me from having a csection! I am so sorry that they forced you to stay lying down, and criticized you for suffering .

I was not traumatized (long term) by either of my births, but both had a period (transition with my dd, pushing a posterior baby with ds) that I simply survived. No managing, no magic, no power--just survival. I agree that it is important to be honest about birth experiences. It does not help women to describe birth only in positive terms. Birth involves all kinds of experiences and emotions.....some of them incredibly positive, and others incredibly negative. I believe that honestly acknowledging the range of birth experiences increases our power as women.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisa49 View Post
My first pregnancy ended in a painful and traumatic/dramatic stillbirth. [...] With my 4th pregnancy, I wanted to be empowered and to prove to myself that I could trust my body. [...] Even with all of the pain, I gained the trust in my body that I needed, so I did feel very empowered. When I'm jogging and consider stopping, I tell myself "If I can handle labor, I can keep jogging" I use it as a measuring tool.
I'm sorry about your stillbirth. It is interesting that you talk about feeling traumatized and empowered. I know what you mean. There is something amazing about knowing your body can get you through the most unbelievable pain, and you DID survive. It can give you confidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I was not traumatized (long term) by either of my births, but both had a period (transition with my dd, pushing a posterior baby with ds) that I simply survived. No managing, no magic, no power--just survival. I agree that it is important to be honest about birth experiences. It does not help women to describe birth only in positive terms. Birth involves all kinds of experiences and emotions.....some of them incredibly positive, and others incredibly negative. I believe that honestly acknowledging the range of birth experiences increases our power as women.
Very interesting. Yes. I agree. This is just it -- by acknowledging that sometimes it is overwhelmingly painful, and it IS about just surviving it, turning into an animal and pushing out your baby, stripping yourself down to your very socially-unacceptable-core .....surviving....that does show a lot of strength. Somehow the natural birth rhetoric defines strength as handling natural childbirth with poise and calmness, feeling relaxed and not in pain...this equals success. But what about success in surviving trauma?
post #37 of 68
Thread Starter 
I was too afraid to look at this thread until now because I was so certain I would be flamed (or have a bunch of women telling me to XYZ "next time"). Also it's something I'm just afraid to think about much.

I've considered the sensory issues as being part of the problem but I don't think so-- at least I don't think they are 100% to blame-- some births are just very, very painful. The same mama can tolerate some births but then will get a birth that is just brutal and she can't tolerate it. My first three were bad but I survived unscathed, and forgot about the pain pretty quickly-- in fact I can't even remember it much now except for a few glimpses in my memory. But I remember my 4th birth, the traumatic one, very clearly, I can still recall and feel the pain in graphic detail. I think that, unless I die in some kind of gruesome accident, I will never feel that kind of pain again as long as I live.

It's interesting and comforting for me to see that others also feel it's taboo or frowned on to talk about unbearable birth pain-- when you still do support and believe in childbirth being as natural and non-interventive as possible.

I got very sick after the birth with recurrent mastitis that went on for 18 months. My midwife initially refused to give me antibiotics and told me to "nurse on all fours" to clear my ducts. I was in such agony that I could barely dial the phone to call her much less nurse on all fours (how would you do that anyway? You'd be nursing on three limbs while holding the baby with one arm). In retrospect I think I had an MRSA infection because I wouldn't really respond to antibiotics and just kept getting sicker and weaker.

So those two events coupled together-- the traumatic birth with 18 months feeling that I was not even really alive anymore-- changed me forever. I don't know if it changed me for better or worse, but I'm not the same person I was before.

The sad thing is I don't see a solution to birth pain (the kind we all here experienced) if a person wants to stay out of the hospital. Maybe the solution is for hospitals to become more humane, kinder, more sensitive to the mother child bond. To make a hospital birth more like a homebirth, but with pain relief available IF the mom wants it. Because while having an epidural with my next birth did help me heal, the atmosphere of the hospital was so toxic and the nurses and orderlies so nasty, that I felt like I'd been sucked into a different version of hell.

It's interesting too to read the descriptions of the pain. I felt like my body was being shredded, crushed, ripped apart, destroyed. I could not understand why or how it could possibly hurt like this to have a baby. It seemed to go against the order of nature.

Has it affected your bond with the child? I worried it would, but I don't think that it has. The baby born at this birth turned out to me the sweetest, most docile, kindest, gentlest person I've ever met. I have trouble reconciling the fact that something so sweet emerged from this crushing experience.

I also catch myself telling the story of her birth in front of her-- which I think is a mistake. She's already heard several times that giving birth to her was "indescribably painful" "agony" "I thought I was going to die" "I lost consciousness." It's like the story just escapes my lips and I'll suddenly notice her listening-- ugh!
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emese'sMom View Post
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.
Yes! This!

Quote:
I am so sorry that they forced you to stay lying down, and criticized you for suffering
Thank you. :

Quote:
Sorry for this ramble, just wondered if anyone chose an epi as a way to be gentle with themselves after a previously traumatic birth?
If I get pregnant again, I will consider it. Anything in order to attempt a natural birth again. It's so cliché, but you "have to do what's right for you". Birth is hard, but it should also be beautiful. It shouldn't traumatize, in my opinion.


Quote:
It's a hard blow. I actually had one midwife suggest I just needed to become more tolerant of pain.
That's sickening. :

Quote:
I still have flashbacks to my first birth...the horror of the pain and wishing I could just please die


Quote:
My first pregnancy ended in a painful and traumatic/dramatic stillbirth. I was drugged and incoherant, vomited a lot and the pain was horrible (only a 1lb baby).
I'm so sorry about your angel.

Quote:
I ended up begging for an epidural (I get tears just admitting that - I feel like I failed on every level)
Have you thought of this -- that asking for that epidural, despite your plan for a "natural" birth, required a LOT of strength and that you should be proud of your decision? It may have been the best thing for you and the baby. I know of some women who just CANNOT handle their pain (and I say THEIR pain, not THE pain, because for some women it's like heavy menstrual cramps and for others it seems it is like dying) and would stall in dilation because of their stress. So maybe for you, an epi was necessary?
post #39 of 68
Meowee - nice to have this thread where people are supportive and like-minded, isn't it? Yes, the women on here have seen things similarly to one another.

I find it so interesting to read that the baby born from the traumatic birth was the one that was the sweetest.......and yet, that the birth experience and postpartum illness for 18 mos (mastitis, etc.) stripped you down so badly, you felt like you weren't even really alive anymore........this is profound! These things go hand in hand with the trauma.

I can relate - as my traumatic birth and PPD for 1+ yrs (only just treated with meds successfully now and I have baby #2 due in 5-7 wks) has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. It has changed me too.

Anyhow, I am enjoying this thread as I'm sure others are.......thanks for starting the discussion.
post #40 of 68
Have you thought of this -- that asking for that epidural, despite your plan for a "natural" birth, required a LOT of strength and that you should be proud of your decision? It may have been the best thing for you and the baby. I know of some women who just CANNOT handle their pain (and I say THEIR pain, not THE pain, because for some women it's like heavy menstrual cramps and for others it seems it is like dying) and would stall in dilation because of their stress. So maybe for you, an epi was necessary?[/QUOTE]

Thank you for that. I hadn't considered that.

And I'm very glad to see this thread. It's a weird situation to be in - supportive of natural childbirth and a non-interventionist approach and knowing that childbirth can be traumatizing and excruciating. My great-grandmother had only one child because she was so negatively impacted by her (natural) childbirth. Most people I know, irl, are either one or the other - totally medical model of birth or totally homebirth spiritual experience. I had one friend describe it as intense pressure but not pain...and I believe she was being honest. But what we're describing is nothing like menstrual cramps or intense pressure.
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