Why are ppl trying to scare me? (Ease my fears, please) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess there are two issues to this post. First of all, WHY do ppl keep telling me birthing horror stories? Is there a theory behind why this happens? I've heard more terrifying stories since I've started showing than I've heard in my whole life.

Here's the latest: Today I was telling MIL that I want to spend the minimum amt. of time in the hospital as I can. The midwife told me if all goes well and I feel fine I can leave within a few hours, and I am focusing on that. MIL started in on how she had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. Well, it was 1965, that generally doesn't happen anymore. Then she said, "You are going to need more than a few hours - with the way first babies tear their mamas wide open, you'd better take all the time that you can get!"

ACK.

Somebody please ease my fears, tell me that I am not necessarily going to 'tear wide open'. I have had so little fear with this pregnancy and I am really being positive, but now I am suddenly so scared (and emotional). I feel like I've been psychologically poisoned. I have a midwife appt. on tuesday and I already can tell I am going to sob to her about this if I still feel this anxious.

She also went on and on about how her vagina was very painful for almost a year after her first birth, and basically made it sound like she was in horrible agony. I cried to dh about it tonight and he said, "She got pregnant with my brother when I was 4 months old. It couldn't have been all that bad for all that long."

I just need a little straightening out. Help?

(Overtired, emotional, pregnant lady signing off now.)

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#2 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 08:56 PM
 
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Birth practices have changed a lot since 1965. You're birthing with a midwife who will help you to have the best birth possible, right? I'll bet nobody really cared what your mil's experience was like back then, they only wanted to "get the baby out." Knowledge is important, I'm sure you know more about birth now than she did then. And attitude is everything--you'll be fine, continue to be confident! If someone tries to tell you a horror story, walk away or do whatever you have to do to quiet them. Horror stories don't help.

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#3 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 09:03 PM
 
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For me I stayed overnight with my first one and it was WAY TOO LONG. This time I want to leave very soon after the birth. Thanks for reminding me of another thing I want to talk to my MW about...
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#4 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 09:21 PM
 
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Oh, poo poo on your MIL! I don't know why women have to do this scaring crap. Its like initiation because they are bitter about their bad birth experiences.

Your MIL's fears are unfounded. In 1965 she was most likely drugged up and cut open. First born children DO NOT tear their mothers apart. You will feel great after the birth and be able to go home as soon as you can.

As far as you r vagina hurting for a year, I would say that is basically bull. Hearing what your dh had to say (lol) adds to my assumption that she is just a bitter woman (about her births anyway) and trying to ruin your experience as a way to get even or something. HOnestly, I do not understand women who do this kind of thing. :

Birth is natural and beautiful. Very hard and even painful at times, but wonderful. It will not rip you apart or in any other way damage your body. If I were you I would completely avoid people that tell you stories like this for the remainder of your pregnancy. I had to banish my inlaws from my life for my last trimester with Hero because of their negativity about homebirth. You do what you can do to protect your sanity and keep that positive energy around you. Surround yourself with friends and family who believe birth is natural and wonderful (I know how hard it can be to find family and friends like that)

Good luck!
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#5 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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With Cathryn I stayed overnight, shocked the nurses cause I tore when I was pushing, but I refused the pain meds, I didnt need them, they thought I was insane, also for a first time mom, from start to finish it took 5 hrs, so I blew that myth too, now with PJ, it was different I had to have a emergency c section, so yes I was in there for 3 days, and lucky for me my hubby was there for PJ cause I got alot of pain meds for that (long story there)

Just smile sweetly at your MIL, nod your head, and let it go in one ear out the other, you will be better off, lol... I know she thinks she is doing you a favor by "preparing" you for labor, just take it with a grain of salt....

Good luck to you...
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#6 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 09:36 PM
 
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Boy, some people sure like to make others squirm. Due to a very rare pelvic anomaly (which, if you had it, you would know by now) I did "tear wide open" when dd was born. Guess what? Recovery was not that bad!!!! I used a donut pillow for maybe 48 hours but only so I could shift position while holding dd more easily. Recovery really didn't detract at all from all the joy of having a new baby. It was a very minor inconvenience. I barely even thought about it. I returned to work after six weeks (that was a huge mistake for other reasons!). No lingering after effects almost 3 years later.

Honest truth??? Some women tear-most not as badly as I did-but recovery is really not that bad.

Wishing you a beautiful birth!!!
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#7 of 19 Old 08-02-2003, 09:59 PM
 
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I hear you. I am due with my first in November. I have kind of taken to "collecting" birthing stories. I get all sorts of horrific anecdotes, especially when I tell people I am having an out of hospital birth. Most are along the lines of "Yeah, I tried natural birth too, but..." Fill in the blank with the normal labor-went-too-long-pitocin-epidural-c-section drama... sometimes the details get more horrific, but it seems their point is that natural birth just can't be done and I am fooling myself into thinking I can do it (especially not in a hospital!). I just walk away thinking to myself, ummm, this is what our bodies are made to do. And, hospital births have only existed for 100 years or so, women have been giving birth a lot longer than that. "Tearing" a mother "wide open" is just not biologically viable.

When facing these stories, I keep in mind that bad things do happen, but they are far from the norm (or should be) and chances are in my favor that the labor will go my way, as I have prepared myself for it with a good diet, exercise, education, etc. On the other hand, I want to keep my mind open to the fact that not every birth is ideal. The last thing I want is to be wearing rose-colored glasses, so to speak. I just think that the more information I have, the more powerful I am.

I end up feeling sorry for those people who have these horrible birth stories because they didn't have the resources / information to go into labor with an understanding of the abilities of own bodies. (Funny that women who have run marathons do not have the body knowledge to understand birth and labor).

Another thing that helps is reading Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. The whole first section is filled with really beautiful, positive accounts of natural birth. I have made my dh read them and am thinking about having my mother read them as well. It really helps quell the fear. Really, a problem birth should be the exception rather than the rule. Just read as much as you can and look into getting a doula.
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#8 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 06:01 PM
 
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My theory on why you get all kinds of horror stories when you are pregnant is because it's a kind of bragging that always gets a reaction. "The baby was SOOO big, he _________." "I tried natural labor for 15/18/23/48/105 hours and then just HAD to ____________." I don't know why we do this. I really try not to, and if I do tell people about my 9 lb homebirth baby, it's usually to give them some sort of idea how riduculous "the doctor said she was too big for my pelvis and wouldn't come out without a c-section" sounds.

I agree with the idea to smile, nod, and let it go. If you need to sob to your midwife and feel comfortable doing that, do it. Let her know your fears and see what she says about them. Babies, in general, do not "tear moms wide open." Babies in 1965, when moms were routinely given drugs to knock them out, often had to be pulled out with forceps and other instruments, not to mention given routine episiotomies, which can cause some major damage in the wrong hands. You do not have to worry about this.

Does that quell your fears? Good luck.

R~mama to 3

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#9 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 07:08 PM
 
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Oh you poor thing! The last thing you need to hear are horror stories from anyone esp. your mil. I'm sure your mil delivered flat on her back w/ her feet in stir-ups so if course she tore badly. You on the other hand are going to be birthing differently because your midwife will see to it that your pernium(sp?) is cared for. Also it may have been painful for her to be intimate for a year or maybe even longer due to dryness but if you have that problem grab your friend KY and all will be good
I found that I needed to just walk away when people started their negative birth story crap. I figured that if they were rude enough to try and "scare" me then I could be rude right back and walk away.
Good Luck and find your happy peaceful place.
Sandi
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#10 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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hey,

I got the same crap from my mums friends (one who is 4 years older than me (i was 19 at the time) she told me
I was naive and it would hurt no matter where I birthed, and thst I was stupid for planning a homebirth.She said I was gonna scream and ask for drugs.

I laughed at her and just KNEW she was wrong. ]

AND SHE WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I gave birth in home, in water - all drug free, relaxed, having the time of my life, no pain and it was everything I had excitedly been antipicating! The feeling of my baby moving down and the feeling of her head when I touched it to help her crown was the most amazing out of the world feeling ever! Birth was a high and I think I'm a birth junkie now hehe i want LOTS more!

The only thing that came close to pain was the contractions, they were intense and hard work, sometimes it felt like I couldn't breathe (and that was when I forgot to stop breathing lol) so remember to keep breathing even when having a contraction, it makes it easier!

One other thing, maybe you should look at optimal fetal positioning to make sure your baby goes anterior and stays like that thru pregnancy and into birth, I believe it makes all the difference. A lot of people have hard labours sometimes with a posterior baby. Do perineal massage from 30 weeks on if you're worried about tearing. I did this, didnt tear, didnt get no pain. A lot of people say the massage stopped them from feeling the ring of the fire like they did with their previous baby and most of them didn't tear.

I have one question for you:
If it wasn't for people, would you be in fear? If your answer is yes, you need to think about what exactly it is you're scared of.
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#11 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 09:21 PM
 
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Just chiming in here, since I'm an "experienced" mom, and have had four children (baking my 5th as I type), all unmedicated with no tears or episiotomies (except with my first born and I'll explain that one).

With my first baby, it was Feb of 1990 when he was born. I was 17. The reason they did an episiotomy was because is was Kaiser's policy. I didn't know that I could have told them not to do it. However, I had my entire labor and birth unmedicated and was not induced. My baby was born in 8 hours from first contraction to birth. He was 7#2.5oz.

With my second baby, born at Kaiser in Feb of 1992, I was more informed. My OB told me that routine episiotomy was no longer the norm and that he wouldn't do it if I didn't need it. I was 19... My water broke and I drove myself to the hospital. Labor started with the help of pit after waiting for 4 hours after PROM (I was 34 weeks pregnant). From first contraction to birth was 3.5 hours. No episiotomy, no pain meds... no tears either. Baby was 5#15oz.

My third baby was quite the experience... Had a contraction at 2:30 AM. Another about 3 minutes later, another about 2 minutes later... Called my mom since dh was in another state trying to find us a new house since his company was transferring us, and had her come to take me to the hospital. She lollygagged getting to my house, but eventually got me to Kaiser. Went into the L&D and they checked me, I was pushing. LOL No episiotomy, no tears, no pain meds, just a really fast labor. Had my baby at 3:53 AM. She was 7#4oz.

My last baby was a messed up experience, only because I was induced with Cytotec and I hadn't done my research before allowing it. However once the contractions started, I had my baby in my arms in 45 minutes. The only "tear" I had was a small scrape where my baby had nicked me on the way out. No stitches, just extra care with a peri bottle! No pain meds, no episiotomy, etc. She was 7#5oz.

This is all to show you that you do not need to be scared by what happened to your mom or MIL or anyone of that generation. They all have horror stories of labor and birth because they were all very medicalized. I suggest talking to women your own age, who had care with midwives, or talk to women of your grandmother's generation...since their births are going to be more gently explained. My births, though in hospitals, were excellent because I had great care providers and because I knew that my body was made to birth babies... I have my paternal grandmother's hips. She had 16 babies, all at home.

The only thing that should maybe scare you about my experience is the Cytotec. I highly recommend against it! Also, my recoveries were less than a day and I was home.
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#12 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 11:27 PM
 
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Check out this thread from the homebirth board about tearing during labor. I think it will give you some peace.
http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=72286
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#13 of 19 Old 08-03-2003, 11:40 PM
 
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Your body and your baby are meant to do this--you're going to do great.
I'm having a difficult time tuning out negative people lately too, which is frustrating because, like you, I had no fear for the longest time. Now I find it sneaking in...and I just tell myself what I wrote above. And I get on here a lot, because there is so much postive thinking about birth.
Good luck!
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#14 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 01:03 AM
 
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I have had a very bad birth experience and share the story when asked, because I think it is very important to to accept birth for what it is, sometimes wonderful and other times heartbreaking. I was totally ignorant and had never heard of the delivery complication I had in my 6th & last pregnancy and had no emergency plan for my other children's care and well being either -- fully expecting that I would have the same great experiences I had before and easy births with very fast recovery.
Birth stories that are graphic or traumatic IMHO It is not to brag and it actually hurts me anyway to share it, drags back a lot of emotional/physical pain and remembering fear. It is not a cartharic release, but a very basic honest thing to want to warn someone you care for, so they do not suffer the same way you did. I think that also goes for newborn health also. I talk with my female family friends about the birth defects my kids had, one is a genetic condition. If I had not talked to my sil about this - she would not have known, she came into the family after our kids were born & it is not an obvious thing she would have noticed.

I am really sorry that your mil was so dramatic and that you felt afraid or stressed out from this. It was not a very tactful way to share her experience with you. Births are very dif now then in 65. However to be fair to her, I don't doubt that her recovery was slow & painful - maybe she is worried for you and babe especially with the first grandchild..

good luck to you!

Mary
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#15 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 04:09 AM
 
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I just want to echo what the other mamas have said, and to say that almost always there is a story behind the horror story. As an overly simplistic example, someone might tell you they labored on for days and days and that it was the most awful, excrutiating experience they possibly could have endured. If you were to ask them some questions, you might find out that the experience actually wasn't the most-excrutiating-experience-ever the whole time, and that they had long breaks between contractions for the first day, or whatever. Or you might find out that they were induced without medical cause before they were due, and that the contractions started but the induction didn't work in that it didn't cause any cervical or "baby station" changes, and the OB didn't handle this appropriately and kept trying stuff to get things moving. I'm not probably making sense here because my dogs are barking and I've got to go get them from the backyard, but hopefully you get the point.

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#16 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 09:52 AM
 
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I teach an early pregnancy class, and one thing we talk about is how to deal with pregnancy horror stories, especially since all of our clients are planning out of hospital births.

First of all, I ask them to continually remind themselves that they are so much healthier than most of those women.....exercising regularly, they have been educated in protein, fatty acid, and iron intake by our nurses, midwives, and also in their own reading; and I also remind them that most of those horror stories are horrible due to what people had done to them in the hospital by ignorant (or down right mean) practitioners. I ask them to do visualizations. For example, if they fear a horrible tear, I ask them to visualize themselves birthing, their skin stretching beautifully, their baby emerging gently. If they can't do this, we discuss the worst case senario, how it would be handled, delve just a little more deeply into why they have this fea, and ask them to continue to try to do the positive visualizations.

Second, I tell people that I have found the best way to deal with such things is to stop the person when they begin their birth story. Physically hold up your hand, smile, and say "Is this a positive birth story? Like every first time mom, I have my fears and insecurities, and I need all the positive stories and vibes I can get. If this is one of those birth horror stories, please wait until after my own birth to share it with me." It usually gives the story teller pause, causing them to think a minute about what they are about to say, and their own motivations with their story. It usually works.

Another phrase that some women have used is "My midwife says that I need to surround myself with people who are supportive of my birth choices. Right now what I need is positive, happy birth stories. I would be happy to hear some of those!"

You are going to have a wonderful birth, and your body is going to birth this baby well. You are a strong woman, and you are also a good advocate for yourself. You have educated yourself about birth, so much more than your MIL had the opportunity to, and you are going to have a beautiful birth.

Good luck!

Lori
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#17 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much!

I've had a little space and time to think about this and I've done some reading (in here and books) and I feel like I have it all much more in perspective now. I am still going to discuss it with my midwife, maybe if i just hear from her something like, "Do kegels and perineal massage" I will feel more proactive and even less scared. The funny thing is, one of you asked this, I felt very little fear before MIL started that. I am consciously trying to trust my body, and I've been more excited about the process than fearful. My mil apparently just knew exactly what to say to push my panic button at that moment.

I think at the time I was just dealing with fear and also with feeling like mil was 'against' me somehow - know what I mean? It hurts when you want a strong circle of support and you get negativity.

Vanna's Mom> You know, i DO see your point but I don't know that it applies with my mil and my situation. It would have been one thing for her to say, "This is what CAN happen, but you can prevent it!". Instead I got, "Get ready, it's gonna suck." (paraphrased) which I don't find in the least bit helpful at all! It was almost like she saw me being a little too happy, a little too excited, and she wanted to bring me back to earth.

Like most moms-to-be, I DO realize it's not all sunshine and roses and that bad things can happen, but so many of the bad things are things we cannot plan for or control, so worrying about them for the months before giving birth seems counter-productive. I think it's actually the other way - we are all told so much about the bad, that it takes actual work to learn to trust our bodies and the entire process and to realize that odds are in our favor our bodies will do exactly what they are meant to do if they are allowed to.

I am really sorry your birth didn't go well, but if you had known ahead of time of all the things that could go wrong would it have helped when that did happen? or would it have just been 'borrowing trouble'?

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#18 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 11:09 PM
 
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I have written a couple posts and keep deleteing them because I do not want to be insensitive and I know my experience was not the norm. Yes -- now I can honestly say there are things I would have planned for that would have made a big difference in my birth experience and it would have helped not only me but my dh and children. It would not be borrowing trouble.
The stuff surrounding the birth would have been way more organised and my recovery would have been much easier.
I say be excited- be happy - be at peace in your head because birth IS wonderful and I think you got wonderful advice in how to deal with uninvited scare mongerers. But like the girl scouts say, be prepared.


OT a lot of the experience with my birth, made us much better educated on dealing with medical hospitals and how to get info from staff, also how to deal with health insurance as we planned for an unmed birth by midwife and ending up paying full pop for out of ppo drs that happened to be around when we went in the med center. My dh had a spinal surgery when dd was about 11 months old, the personal power I had gained and the stuff we knew how to plan for the worst case came in very handy when he had complications with his surgery/recovery and went from hospital to a rehab to live till he could relearn to walk. Because we had a plan for the worst case scenario FIRST and then made our plan for how it was supposed to go, it was not the total nightmare it could have been for the kids and I , he could fully focus on recovering.
If I knew before my dd's birth the stuff I know now I would definately have been better prepared and not had to waste any energy on junk just focus on baby.
Small thing that hurts now, this child I dreamed of for 14 years had no birth or newborn baby pics of because I had no 'just in case' hospital bag set up with a camera.
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#19 of 19 Old 08-04-2003, 11:20 PM
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Well, I'll give you my mom's story of when she had me (sorry, mine was a horror, so I'll spare you: ). This was in 1973 in Georgia when natural childbirth was virtually unheard of. She went to the hospital, labored for some time unmedicated. Eventually had me (still undmedicated), didn't tear, didn't have an extremely painful vagina, and came home about 10 hours later. She only waited that long because she had to wait for her dr. to do his rounds. She had been ready and pacing the hallways for 3 hours before.

I got a bunch of horror stories too when I was pregnant with my first. It's almost like being near those people that talk about plane crashes while boarding the plane. Drives me up a wall! I've been very careful to only surround myself with positive feelings this time around. I don't talk about labor and birth with those that I think might be negative.

You can do it, and you can do it in whatever way you want to. Keep telling that to yourself, and keep telling everyone around you. If need be, tell them to keep their negative opinions to themselves, that you need positive encouragement right now.

Good luck!

Bec

Mama to: Katie, Emily , and Abby
Not perfect, Just amazing!
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