My sweet son's not-so-sweet hospital birth (long) - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-10-2007, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son was born three months ago. Though he was healthy and we brought him home less than 48 hours after his birth, in my mind I am still in that hospital every day since.

I wanted a natural birth. My insurance would not cover anything but a hospital birth, so I found a doctor who was completely supportive of natural birth. He had delivered many women naturally in a hospital setting, and was very encouraging throughout my pregnancy. I had a wonderful, easy pregnancy. It was a very happy time in my life.

I knew my dream of a natural birth was in danger when I tested positive for GBS. I would have to have antibiotics in labor, and was told that it could be dangerous for my baby if I did not have antibiotics immediately when my water broke. I read up on the topic here and elsewhere, and was scared of the consequences of not getting antibiotics right away. It made me very stressed out about going into labor; I was afraid of my water breaking in my sleep or of somehow "missing" my water breaking.

I was "overdue" and went to my 41 week appointment, where I had a non-stress test and an ultrasound. Everything was fine and my doctor told me it would be no problem for me to wait to begin labor naturally. A few hours later at noon, I went into labor. I stayed at home until about 6 p.m, then went to the hospital as my contractions intensified and I began to fear that my water would break at home. I was terrified of not getting the antibiotics in time.

When my husband and I arrived at the hospital, I was in a trance. He filled in the admission paperwork and we were directed to a tiny, dark waiting room to wait for a bed. Another laboring woman was in the waiting room, crying and screaming in pain. It was difficult for me to manage my own pain while sitting next to the other laboring woman. I burst into tears and told my husband that I wanted my mom. She and my father were on their way on a 6 hour drive.

After waiting for more than an hour, I was taken to a labor and delivery room. The hallway from the waiting room seemed to stretch for miles. The next day I walked the same hallway and realized it was only 4 rooms long. The labor and delivery room was depressing and dark. The bathroom had someone else's blood on the floor, which my first nurse simply dismissed, refusing to send someone to clean it up.

My first nurse seemed to think I wasn't actually in labor. She was not able to attach the contraction monitor to me properly, and felt that I wasn't having contractions in any kind of pattern. By then, I was having contractions every 2 - 5 minutes. She kept coming in to tell me that they'd be sending me home soon. I was in intense pain and could barely speak. I vomited. I had nothing to vomit in, so it was all over me, the bed, and the floor. The nurse refused to change my sheets since she felt I was going to be sent home and it would be a "waste" to change my sheets, when they'd just need to change them again before the next person used the room. She gave me a new gown and a towel to cover the vomit. The smell of the vomit continued to nauseate me through the entire delivery and I vomited repeatedly.

My water broke. After my call button failed to bring anybody my terrified husband ran to the nurse's station to get someone to give me the antibiotics. The same nurse returned and, though I was soaked, the bed was soaked, and there was a big puddle of my amniotic fluid on the bathroom floor, she did not seem to believe that my water had broken.

I stared at her and began to ask my husband to go get me somebody else. The nurse grudgingly performed some litmus-type test on the fluid that was everywhere. I felt like she thought I had urinated to avoid being sent home. The test showed that it was indeed amniotic fluid, and someone came in to give me my antibiotics.

The nurse returned briefly, and told me that I better get an epidural now because later "when you need one" there might not be an anesthesiologist available. I was in pain but it wasn't unbearable. I was afraid of having something inserted into my spine, but at the same time I was also afraid of being in unbearable pain with no chance for an epidural. The nurse indicated that it could be hours before I could get an epidural, so I went ahead and asked for one. I knew I could just say no when the anesthesiologist came if I didn't want it.

Mercifully, the nurses had a shift change and I got a new nurse. I was dialating well, and by the time the anesthesiologist arrived to offer the epidural I was at 7 cm. I accepted the epidural, as my pain had intensified and I was exhausted. I was hoping to get some sleep so I would have the strength to push when the time came (I never did sleep). The anesthesiologist indicated that the epidural could be turned down or off if I no longer wanted it later.

Shortly after the epidural, my mother and father arrived. My exhausted father wandered to the waiting room for a quick nap, and my mother stayed with me and my husband. She was an incredible help, and she did a fantastic job of being the "heavy" with the nurses when I couldn't.

After my mother arrived things get blurry in my mind. I know I was in labor for another 12 hours. When I dialated to 10 cm, I was instructed to push... in stirrups. I questioned this with the nurse and she said I could try different positions. I tried all fours, I tried on my side, I tried squatting. I was getting nowhere. I wasn't having the "urge to push" that I had read about, I was simply dialated to 10 cm.

I had the epidural turned down, then off. Still no "urge". Another nurse was brought in to help me push. She was telling me to hold my breath while I pushed. Exhaling, she said, would take "power" away from my pushing. This was totally contrary to what I wanted to do. I've done yoga since my late teens and have always exhaled through things that were physically difficult for me. Holding my breath was really screwing me up, but whenever I would exhale during a push they'd yell "No! hold your breath!".

My son's head was visible off and on for hours. I'd push, his head would start to come out, then slip back up again. I was getting nowhere. I was given pitocin to intensify my contractions. It really didn't seem to do anything except make things more painful. His head would come down, then go back up.

Finally, after about 17 hours of labor, I saw a doctor. Not *my* doctor, but a doctor nonetheless. This was the first time I saw any doctor during my entire labor.

The doctor had a firm and businesslike demeanor, and I liked that. She assessed the situation and said they'd give me 2 more hours before they'd have to give me a c-section. At this point, though I had wanted to avoid a c-section, I was willing to go for it. I was terrified that my son would be brain damaged or something from the constant crowning, then slipping back up. My mother had her children by c-section, and it was not something that scared me. I knew I could recover from whatever happened to me, I just wanted my baby to be ok.

A third nurse came to assist me. This nurse suggested that I try holding onto some handles on the bed which she set up for me. This was the only labor suggestion I got from any of the nurses that actually seemed to work. I was making progress, or so I thought. After almost pushing him out, he slipped back again. Something was going on with my blood pressure, and suddenly they were telling my mom and husband to please try to calm me down. I was hyperventilating and my blood pressure was apparently skyrocketing. The doctor acted quickly, giving me an episiotomy and using a vaccuum to extract my son.

I saw my little boy's face. He was blue and had his mouth open, but he was silent. Then in an instant he was on a scale and crying LOUD. He was healthy! He was almost 9 lbs! I said "holy s***!", as I had gained less than 15 lbs during my pregnancy. My mom said "don't say s*** in front of your baby!" and we all laughed.

But something was wrong. After I pushed out the placenta, the doctor stood aside briefly and I could see myself in a mirror over a sink across from my bed. I was bleeding. A lot. Suddenly I was being wheeled into surgery. My mother, who doesn't get scared, grabbed my hand and said a Hail Mary. I started to panic, and was given some narcotic. I stopped panicking and was suddenly cheerful. I had, afterall, just given birth to a healthy baby. On the operating table I giggled a bit, then fell asleep. It was the only sleep I would have in that hospital. I had torn substantially inside and was bleeding heavily. I was stitched up and stabilized, but the possibility that I might need a blood transfusion due to the blood I lost was discussed with my family.

When I was returned to the delivery room, the pediatrician we had chosen for our son popped in to tell me that he was perfectly healthy "and very cute". I was still wearing an oxygen mask and hooked up to tubes and a blood pressure cuff, so he made it short. Then my husband, who had accompanied our son everywhere in the hospital, returned with him. I held him for the first time and it was truly a beautiful moment.

The physical ordeal was over, but the rest of my hospital recovery was the part that was the hardest on me mentally. I was wheeled from the recovery room to the "mother and baby unit", which had all the pleasant ambiance of a prison hospital ward. My half of my shared room was, without exaggeration, smaller than my bedroom closet in my condo. The "sleeper chair" for my husband was a full foot too short for him. He's 6'2". It was as if a "real" recovery room had been miniaturized as some kind of joke.

The family on the other side of the curtain was obnoxious. The father smacked their 3 year old boy in the face *hard* when he asked to go home. The mother, who was lucky enough to be up and around, found it hilarious that I was on a catheter and unable to leave the bed or use the bathroom on my own. Every time she got up to use the shared bathroom, she would say "Do you need to go first? no? oh, you're still on that thing" with a grin. She left the television on all night (it was on her side of the curtain and I had no controller for it), and seemed to take pleasure in annoying me. It was bizarre.

I was unable to even sit up all the way because of my internal and external stitches and the catheter. I struggled to feed my son, partly because of the weird angle, and partly because he wanted nothing more than to sleep. The nurses made me feel like I wasn't trying hard enough to get him to eat, and seemed to think that I wanted to give him formula. It was so insulting. I later found out that it was the woman on the other side of the curtain who had asked for formula, and they were mistaking me for her.

Our temperatures were continually monitored. My son's temp was low at one point, and the nurse said they would probably have to take him to the nursery to warm him up if his temp was low 2 times in a row because I was GBS+. I was terrified, but an MDC memory stirred in my mind. I used my hand with the least tubes in it to tear my gown open. My husband handed me our son and I held him against my skin to warm him up. His temp was fine the next time, and they didn't take him to the nursery.

After a sleepless night, I started asking when I could go home. There was still some concern about my blood count, and the possibility of transfusion was still being discussed. The IV in my left hand had started leaking all over my bed. I called a nurse in, who didn't seem to understand what I was telling her and just changed my bag. I called another nurse in who understood the problem and said she'd go find out if my IV could be removed. I waited with this IV soaking my bed for more than an hour before somebody came and said "Oh yeah, you don't need this anymore". I had to go through the exact same routine to get my catheter removed.

I finally saw my own doctor and begged him to release me. He told me if I could walk a lap around the maternity unit without fainting he'd release me. Though I could barely get out of my bed, I did it. I think I would have done a backflip if he'd told me that was what I had to to to go home.

When I got home I could barely walk for days. My son was in an arm's reach co-sleeper right next to me, but when he woke up to eat my husband had to hand him to me because it was so painful to sit up. My genitals were incredibly swollen. I cried everytime I went to the bathroom. Not just from pain, but also from the realization that I was never, ever going to be the same "down there". Maybe I had been silly in expecting to escape the hospital with my perineum intact, but I felt so angry about having had an episiotomy.

I try to focus on the positives, and there are many. My little guy is a joy, breastfeeding is going well, and we're a happy little family. But EVERY DAY I'm back in that hospital at some point. Sometimes it's when I go to the bathroom and feel my misshapen perineum. Sometimes it's just out of the blue. Sometimes, actually lots of times, I'm there in my dreams. I'm in that dark delivery room again, or I can't get out of bed and somebody's laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like I "payed" for my wonderful pregnancy with a bad birth experience, and I wonder if I could ever enjoy another pregnancy. This was only 3 months ago, so maybe it's too early to tell.
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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you really were put through the ringer

 
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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I'm sorry that your hospital experience was so horrible mama . I hope that with time, you are able to process things and feel more at peace . Congratulations on the birth of your son!

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Old 01-11-2007, 05:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Shanana View Post
I'm sorry that your hospital experience was so horrible mama . I hope that with time, you are able to process things and feel more at peace . Congratulations on the birth of your son!
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I would highly suggest EFT.

You can learn to use it for free here

http://www.emofree.com/

OR, better yet, you can work with someone who had the skills to walk you out of that trauma. I highly suggest Rick at Thriving Now.

You can work privately, over the telephone, or you can pay one small price and work in a group setting over the phone over a month.

http://www.thrivingnow.com/for/Healt...gory/Pregnancy

I have worked with EFT with some issues ( intense emotions during my third pregnancy, anger, pain and allergies) and he is amazing. He loves working with pregnant mothers and he is deeply respectful.

One session with him and your whole outlook will change. If you want to e-mail me your phone #, I would be happy to call you and tell you more about it

Good Luck
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Oh I am sobbing over here. to you and your family mama. I can't believe the treatment you got!

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Old 01-12-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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Oh, I am so sorry that you were put through this! I've given birth 3 times in a hospital (in Berkeley, CA) and it was nothing like what you write about! Not all hopspitals are like this--I hope you can get the help you need to get beyond this experience. You sound like a really strong mama, thank you for sharing even if it was difficult.


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Old 04-07-2007, 05:57 PM
 
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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That first nurse should be fired. Actually maybe the whole staff at your hospital. I'm so sorry that your birth and recovery experience was so messed up, I hope that you heal from your trauma soon and go on to have another wonderful pregnancy but with a good birth, too. Don't believe that there is some "balance" between the pregnancy and birth: there is no reason that you can't have BOTH be great. You deserve it.

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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Old 04-12-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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I am so sorry the experience was so horrible. I had both my babies in hospitals in two different cities and it was nothing like that at all! Congrats on your little bundle of joy.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:28 AM
 
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I had been told I was sterile, so when I got pregnant at 34, I was unprepared, to say the least. My doctor was insensitive and hurt me every time I had an examination. When I went into labor she didn't show up, but one of her junior partners did, for the final few minutes. My son's birth time was an estimate, because they were reviving both of us after our near death experience. We were both injured by forceps, and if I had only known I would have pushed for a c-section from the beginning. I had to be given 3 units of blood the following day when I couldn't sit up without passing out, no clue why they didn't do it when I suffered the blood loss. My son had to endure physical therapy to fix an injured muscle in his neck, and he has a permanent pinprick scar by his eye, also from the forceps. I did the whole floating to the ceiling thing, saw them working on my son while my mother insisted she was sure I was dead, and there was no way I could have seen it.

In all we spent 3 days in the hospital, and I spent the first several months too sick to care for him. I now know my pituitary was effectively killed by blood loss, and that is one of the things that contributed to my hypothyroidism, and I'm sure I had postpartum depression, too.

Then, when it hurt so bad to nurse that I gave up, my son's pediatrician figured out he had given me a yeast infection on my nipples, and if I had known I would have been able to nurse successfully. Strangely, though, my milk seemed to make him sick, his health improved greatly after I switched to a no-soy formula.

So I felt like the biggest earth mother failure on the planet.

I wish I'd known about this site when I was pregnant, it might have saved me a bunch of trouble.

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Old 04-17-2007, 06:18 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you had this experience.

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Old 04-17-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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Old 04-23-2007, 04:57 PM
 
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Wow I'm so sorry for what you went through!! That is a horrible hospital sounds like.

I have a question, how were you able to squat and get on all fours with the epidural, even before it was turned down?? I couldn't lift my own legs without using my hands. They told me that once I got it I would be very limited with the positions. I'm just curious for next time... Thanks!

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Old 04-23-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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Ummm, yeah. That hospital needs to be shut down. They wouldn't change your vomit-covered sheets??? That's not considered unsterile???

OMG I would move to another CITY if that was my hospital. BIG HUGS and love to you mama for making it through!
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Old 04-23-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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You should write a letter to the hospital administrator. I have never heard of such patient abuse as this. If any of those things had happened to me, my hubbie and I would have raised hell.
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you to everyone for your supportive comments. Writing out my birth experience has been very healing for me. I wanted to answer questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingmommyhood View Post


Wow I'm so sorry for what you went through!! That is a horrible hospital sounds like.

I have a question, how were you able to squat and get on all fours with the epidural, even before it was turned down?? I couldn't lift my own legs without using my hands. They told me that once I got it I would be very limited with the positions. I'm just curious for next time... Thanks!
My movement was limited to the bed and all of the "positions" I was in were very weakly held. The nurses, my husband and my mom were propping me up for everything but the "flat on my back in stirrups" position. Nobody liked the idea of "squatting", but I was getting really frustrated and insisted on it. I managed a very very weak semi-squat near the foot of the bed that didn't last long.

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Originally Posted by Pepperdove View Post
Ummm, yeah. That hospital needs to be shut down. They wouldn't change your vomit-covered sheets??? That's not considered unsterile???

OMG I would move to another CITY if that was my hospital. BIG HUGS and love to you mama for making it through!
Actually, we did leave the city (and state) where my son was born. His birth wasn't the only reason we left, but I must admit it was a big factor in our decision. We didn't feel like we'd be safe in an emergency if we were taken to that hospital.

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Originally Posted by philomom View Post
You should write a letter to the hospital administrator. I have never heard of such patient abuse as this. If any of those things had happened to me, my hubbie and I would have raised hell.
I sent a detailed letter along with the "patient satisfaction survey" I received about 2 weeks after my son was born. I never heard anything in response.

Thanks again to everyone who has left comments in this thread. It has helped me tremendously to share this here.
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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Oh, my... I am SO sorry you had to endure that!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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congratulations on your dc mama. I am very saddened and disgusted at your treatment in that hospital, actually I'm : !! Is there any way you can get help with healing? It seems to me that this would not happen in a caring, informed environment, you were treated so so badly.I think your natural birth rythyms were thwarted by negativity and downright neglect and so much more. I am in awe at how you managed to get through it all. I hope you will find ways to mend some from this.
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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Verna and BigEyes,

I'm so sorry you had such a rough time with your hospital births.

I'm new to this forum, this is my first post, and I just gave birth to my baby son at the hospital 4 weeks ago. There were good aspects and bad, and if I had to do it again I don't know if I'd choose the hospital or not.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to give birth at the hospital or not. I live in a rural area and the closest hospitals are both an hour and a half away. But I just turned 40, and this is my first child, so my husband and I chose the hospital just in case any thing went wrong. We also got our doctor on recommendation from a friend and we liked him a lot, so the decision was easier to go the traditional route.

The labor happened really quickly, basically my son was almost born in the car, but we made it. The hospital staff was mostly pretty curt and cold, all business because everything was so rushed, but a few of them were nice and caring. The doctor even yelled at me to "stop screaming right now," he said, like you mentioned Verna, not to make noise because that gets the baby out faster. And our son had made his meconium poop, plus he had the cord wrapped around his neck 3 times, so he needed to get out quickly.

They took the baby right away to clean the poop off him, which I also hadn't wanted (I wanted to hold him right away), but I guess that was necessary. When he got his shots he was also taken away for quite a while, but I was exhausted so I didn't mind too much, tho I would have preferred to have him close.

Like one of you ladies said, the nurses were really a bother during the first night, coming in over and over to wake us to see if he was nursing, even tho I was holding him to my breast the whole time but he was just sleeping.

I had an episiotomy, which I totally didn't want and which is still sore. The one thing that still steams me up is that no one told me how to care for my episiotomy. The release instructions (2 days after birth) told me some things but not much. The nurses had signed that for several times indicating that they had given me my instructions before release, but no one had. I have to wonder if that's why I'm still in pain. Some of the stitches seemed to come undone early, maybe because I didn't have all the care info. Anyway, it's finally feeling better, so that's good.

One of the best things about the hospital was the lactation support (they had a whole channel dedicated to breast feeding on the TV, and I saw 3 different lactation specialists. (The fact that they all told me something different is another matter, but I used something from everyone.) It also was nice to have the constant care of the nurses, someone to clean and feed us (the food wasn't bad at all), and just not to have to worry about anything but getting to know the baby.

Well, I've rambled on enough. Nice to "meet" you all.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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"delivery room again, or I can't get out of bed and somebody's laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like I "payed" for my wonderful pregnancy with a bad birth experience, and I wonder if I could ever enjoy another pregnancy."

Your transition into motherhood was traumatic, and it is certainly in no way your fault for having a nice pregnancy. You did not receive the full support you needed at the hospital. It is very disturbing to be in contact with unsupportive people during this precious yet vulnerable time of labor, delivery and recovery.

I had a difficult and very painful (episiotomy, major tearing) hospital birth with my first child after an easy pregnancy and a desire for a natural birth. I couldn't imagine ever going through the first experience again, and for a long time could not even consider having another child. However, three years later my second child was born at home, and her birth was absolutely wonderful and had nothing in common with the first experience.

Take care of yourself as you continue to take care of your little one.
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:28 PM
 
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OMG Mama! I am sorry you had to go through that. Your story was riveting for me to read. Thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:26 AM
 
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i just read the story, but not all the comments and i just wanted to give you some ((hugs))
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Old 11-18-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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Its so hard to get over negative feelings regarding your birth experience. I posted my birth story for some healing too. We are here for you mama.

Vanessa belly.gif, wife to Kev , mama to Byron (5) wild.gif and Billie (2) and  due in June
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:30 AM
 
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Couldn't read w/o offering (((hugs))). It truly sucks when we get the treatment like this at hospitals.

I'm so sorry for what happened. Please allow yourself to grieve & heal.

Peace,
Sus

Baby the babies while they're babies so they don't need babying for a lifetime.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Here's to healing.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:02 AM
 
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oh boy do i feel for you. i had a pretty bad experience at a hospital. in fact, i would like to write my birth story, 2 months later. i was too exhausted and in pain to do it before. i am just glad that in the end i have a beautiful, healthy baby and finally i am not in pain! (besides my sore nipples)
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VernaBloom View Post
I cried everytime I went to the bathroom. Not just from pain, but also from the realization that I was never, ever going to be the same "down there". Maybe I had been silly in expecting to escape the hospital with my perineum intact, but I felt so angry about having had an episiotomy
I am sorry you had such a traumatic birth experience. It is so sad... But I really wanted to say, you will be fine "down there". I had an episiotomy too, the first time. It takes time to heal, but it does heal and a moment will come where you will not feel it anymore at all. If you are in any pain right now, in any normal situation or during intercourse, then you should see a good woman chiro. I found one who did an "internal" adjustment to me, she explained to me that some of my internal organs had become "misplaced" during the pregnancy and the birth and she had to readjust by inserting her fingers in my vagina and exerting pressure in some specific points. It was not painful at all, she was very gentle. I went to see her perhaps three times and then all was well. You can PM any time if you would like to know more. I hope you have family and friends around, it is a shame your mom lives so far. Do not hesitate to use all the help you can get and if there is any option for you to see a therapist, by all means do, also. It is super important that you have support while healing from all this trauma.
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