please help me think about my c-section and this new pregnancy... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I know, crappiest thread title ever.

I just need some help thinking this through. I had a emergency c-section with DS 10 months ago, and I'm due with another baby in roughly 6 months. This pregnancy was an accident and I'm still trying to come to terms with that.

My c-section was pretty crummy-- they decided on the section for fetal distress, somehow the epidural didn't work, and so they used general anesthesia during the section. I don't remember my son being born, holding him, seeing him or nursing him for the first time.

I don't want to do that again.

Here's my dirty secret-- I had every intervention in the book; because I asked for them. I was educated; I took the bradely classes, I had a midwife at a baby friendly hospital with a birthing tub. I woke up with contractions at about 5 am, and i was handing them fine for an hour or so, then I woke DH. I got into our tub and labored there. I never really got into a zen zone; but I was handling the pain. At around noon there was a bit of drama at our house-- my MIL, aunt and mom all showed up and I just remember wanting them out, out, out, OUT. They ended up leaving after a bit of yelling, but something in me just broke.

I was defeated. Every decision I made from that point on was based on fear and not reason. I begged DH to take me to the hospital. I was going to get into the hot tub at the hospital to help with the pain. When we got there, it turned out that DS's heart rate was funny-- I don't really understand what was going on, but it wasn't ok. I let them put in the IV. I waited until the midwife arrived and she told me that the tub wasn't possible with DS's wonky heart rate. Walking/changing position wasn't possible because the DS hr. I asked her to give me IV meds since I was afraid of the epidural. I barely remember anything after this point. I remember the pain-- I was still waking up for each contraction. At some point I reached 7cm; where they stop the IV meds, and I asked for an epi because I was afraid of the pain. I swear to god the epi didn't take. I could feel numbness in some parts of my body, but I swear to god I could still feel the the pain of each vaginal check, the catheter ect. The anesthesiologist swore up and down that it wasn't possible-- that it was in my head, but I swear it was true. Shortly after the DS's heart rate dropped or what not again (after a nurse had me change position!). Surgeon showed up, and when DS's hr dropped in the OR (again after changing position) they decided on an emergency section with general anesthesia.

Here's the kicker-- I'm still scared. I have faith in my bodies ability to birth a baby-- I was at 8.5 when the called off the labor, and I believe that my body could have fully dilated given enough time. I have zero faith in my ability to go through labor; to stay on top of the pain, to make good decisions.

Due to an unfortunate insurance glitch I'm stuck at this practice until next year-- same hospital, but I'm no longer eligible for a midwife, or to labor in the tub. I could conceivably change a few weeks before my dd-- or if I was 100% sure of a course of action I could cut my losses and pay a few 1000 dollars of out of pocket fees.

It seems like everything is pushing towards a repeat section. I mean, it's the devil i know, yk? I'm scared of the unknown of a vaginal birth. I hope the recovery would be easier, but you never know. I feel like I'm already broken in one place, why make that two?

Then I think of how even after 4 months I wasn't able to dash up the stairs to scoop up my crying baby, and how I couldn't lift him to nurse for nearly a month afterwords-- DH would have to get up and hand me the baby. Do I really want to go though that with two babies on my hands?

I'm sorry this rambling post is so long-- I will edit in the morning. but even thinking about the c-section is like touching a hot stove. So painful I just want to be quick, and never think about it again. any thoughts or btdt?

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#2 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 10:53 AM
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I am so sorry that things didn't go how you wanted for your baby's birth. I am recovering from a traumatic birth and c-section as well (DD was born in October of last year). Here is a little of my experience, I hope it might help you a little. I have been going to therapy for 5 months now and I feel like a different person altogether. I am stronger, wiser, healthier, maybe even than I was before the birth. I still have a lot of sadness and many tears to cry over the birth, but it doesn't haunt me like it used to. When I started therapy I was concerned about how I would talk to DD about her birthday. I didn't want her to ever feel guilty or sad about it. I couldn't see how I would be able to discuss it without her knowing how I felt. My therapist said that I would be able to tell her about it, even the bad parts, but she won't feel bad about it because I won't be hurting anymore. It will just become a part of my story, part of my wisdom. Not that I won't be angry about it (I will always be angry about it- it shouldn't have happened), but that I will have moved through the trauma. I have learned why trauma is so haunting- our brains continue to relive the experience as if it were still happening, that is why we have a physical reaction to the memory. I have been using EMDR with my therapist and it really does work.
If you are able to find a therapist, one who knows about dealing with birth trauma would be ideal, to help you work through your feelings I think it might put you in a better place for your next birth. I also think you would really benefit from getting a really good, experienced doula. Especially if you might be with the same practice. It will be worth the money. It sounds like you just need someone for you to focus on and let you get into the zone. Someone who can make people stay away, help you make informed decisions, who knows ways to alleviate pain.
Lastly, please stop blaming yourself for what happened. You did the very best you could under the circumstances, and it was all new to you. How were you to know the future? My goodness, having all those people show up at my house would have stopped my labor altogether! I think we are so good at being gentle with our babies, but not so good at being gentle with ourselves.
Good luck, and congrats on the new life you will be bringing into the world. You are strong, you are wise, and you will have a different birth this time!
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#3 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 10:07 PM
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I'm so sorry your first birth experience was so rough on you.

A couple of things to keep in mind, to help ENcourage you, since you sound so discouraged at the moment.

#1: second time around, labor often progresses more quickly. Same amount of pain, just less time to get through it.

#2: you can totally VBAC with an epidural. I did it. My plan was to hopefully go natural, I had done hypbirth self-study and had some natural pain relief options, but once I got to 8 cm they just weren't cutting it. My labor progression was slow enough that I knew I would be thoroughly exhausted by the time I got to pushing. I opted for the epi to help me relax and get some rest, and it did just that. Good thing too, I needed the energy for the three hours of pushing to get DD2 out, she was facing sideways for most of the labor.

#3: talk with your DH. Let him know what you want. Make sure he understands your fears and concerns. Ask him to advocate for you in the hospital if you're not doing it yourself. My DH was great with this. When I told him I wanted to talk to the nurse about an epidural, he asked me if I was sure, b/c he knew I had wanted a natural birth. I explained my reasons, he concurred, we talked with the nurse, she agreed, and in the epi went. I felt totally in control and at peace with the decision, even though it wasn't in my original 'plan.'

Best of luck to you! A lot of the fear and confusion of your first birth was likely related to the wonky HR. Hopefully that won't repeat this time around and you'll be able to have a positive, healing birth experience this time.
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#4 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 10:37 PM
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I do believe that the epi didn't take. You are not crazy, I had the same thing. I felt the catheter go in and everything. Luckily i was able to have the epi for my CS, so I can't really relate to dealing with all the crappy, not being able to hold or remember holding baby. I do know that when he was away from me for just the 30 min after he was 'delivered' and brought over to me, was traumatic. I, for the longest time, questioned whether he was really mine or not, even though DH was with him the entire time, he looks like us, acts like us, etc. So the pain you have and the fear you have is very very real and legitimate. It's good that you are wanting to work through it.

It took me a very long time of self discovery to become to where I am today, where I would consider myself, not healed, but I carry the experience with me well, and it's not traumatizing to me to think about it. BUT, I'd be crazy if I let that happen to me again.

Obviously you probably know you are a great candidate for VBAC (I don't know a mom who isn't). What happened to you is not likely to happen again at the next birth, but the fear is likely to happen.

I'd hire a DOULA ASAP!!!! Ours sat with us about 2 hrs one prenatal visit and just talked through everything. She said ' I can't guarantee you a vaginal birth, but I can guarantee you it's won't be traumatic'. That's all I needed. We are planning an HBAC, but have a birth plan if we transfer and have a birth plan if we need a CS.

Health wise, I'm sure you know a VBAC is much much safer than a repeat CS, especially a scheduled CS, and an ERC would be a fear based decision. I think it would help to have a birth professional help you work through those fears, and help you come to reasonable decisions based on what you truly feel comfortable with outside of fear. This same person will be with you in labor, and be able to recognize when you are acting in fear, and will be with you IF complications arise, and be with you when you birth no matter what method that may be. Also, they will be with you postpartum to help you work through and process the birth, good or bad.

I can't help but think that a lot of the 'pain' that you experienced was due to tension at your house before labor, fear of labor, and fear once the baby was found to be in distress. Any amount of fear or anxiety will cause you to perceive any sensation as pain, so if you have good support next time, and have worked through the fears of the previous birth, then pain I doubt will be a factor.

If you want to, you can interview different careproviders now, and pick one and let them know you will be switching to them when your insurance allows, so it's an easier transition and you can birth where you want. That's what I would do.

ICAN is a need be as well for any mom who is VBACing, especially if they are coming from a traumatic CS, IMO. Find your local chapter and just contact the leader if you want to before going to meetings.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 12:33 AM
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FWIW, I had an unsuccessful VBAC attempt with #2 but I am about to turn around and try again with #3.

I swore for months after my #2 birth that I would never try for a VBAC again, it was just too heartbreaking, the devil you know, etc. I was dead-set on scheduling a section. Parts of your post sound very familiar to me. But now I feel up to the challenge again. You never know: you may well feel quite ready to VBAC by the time you are about to birth your new baby.

I also think you don't have to decide now. Give yourself a month to deliberate. Make lists of pros and cons. Talk it over with some folks. Be gentle with yourself -- you are still processing birth #1. You have a lot going on!

If you decide to go for a VBAC, it sounds like labor support is where you can focus your efforts -- like AustinMom said, get thee to a doula! She can help you start making a labor strategy that will give you confidence in your ability to handle labor.

And you know what, if you go through all of the effort and the pain and the planning and end up with another c/s, then you do. I have BTDT. It's not pretty, but it's also not the end of the world. To a large extent, we cannot control our birthing outcomes. We can only set up optimal conditions and try our best.

I hope you find a peaceful resolution, mama.

coolshine.gif Mama to DS ('06), DD ('08), and DD (9.18.11).

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#6 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 01:30 AM
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Oh, I totally hear you about the 'unknown' of a vaginal birth! That was a huge fear going into my 2nd pregnancy. Knowing that I didn't want an epidural, I wondered how I'd ever cope with it.

It sounds like in your case, part of the drama that happened at your house disturbed your cool. Even though you said you hadn't reached a zen state (or whatever wording) you were likely dealing in your own way and then got interrupted. You got so close on your own, without anyone else's help, you could go all the way next time.

It may be worth it to you to pay that out of pocket expense and get a midwife who's worked with VBAC mamas. It gave me so much peace of mind and was worth.every.penny.

Good luck and I hope you can come to a decision and enjoy this special time!

Mama of 2 sweet boys, Miles (Jan 3/07) and Avery (Nov 28/09) My fast and furious HBAC
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#7 of 7 Old 07-28-2010, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for all of ya'lls responses. I definitely am thinking hard about the vbac-- in every rational way it just makes more sense-- it's likely that my next kiddo will not have the heart rate issues, and I do belive that I could do it.

I am going to seriously consider pain options instead of really hoping for a natural birth. I feel I was unprepared/unrealistic (for myself) in that aspect last time.

Now just to convince DH and find a better provider.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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