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#1 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For those of you who have been there. I recently had an unplanned c/s after a planned homebirth. After laboring here at home for some time (quite happy and content) I was transferred to the hospital (with chaos and upheaval ensuing). I was told about a week after the birth that I had a choice at the time (info that would have been helpful when there was still a decision to be made, not a week after the fact). Strange how some things escape you when you are under that kind of stress : Anyhow, I find myself to be angry still with the people who were there with me and supposed to be protecting and taking care of me and the whole situation in general and what it means for future pregnancies. How long does it take to process and totally get rid of the anger and be able to move forward (as others around me no doubt think I should already have done).
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#2 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 02:57 PM
 
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It may take a long time... my son just turned a year old, and I am sometimes still angry about having had a C-section (after preparing for a natural birth at a free-standing birth center). I still get especially upset when uninformed people claim that the C-section "saved" my baby's life, when neither of us was ever in any danger or that my baby was "too big" to be born naturally (far from it). I also get angry when I realize how limited my future birth options are, as VBACs become ever more restricted. Nonetheless, time does lessen the anger. By taking care of your baby, you are already "moving forward." Just do your best to ignore the people around you who cannot understand what you are feeling. Perhaps you have a local chapter of ICAN that you can get in touch with when you are up to it.
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#3 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 03:00 PM
 
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Hugs mama....I'm so sorry you've joined the "c/s mamas club"

It took me a good year to make peace with my c/s and to stop feeling angry at myself and at the people I had with me for support. I cried every time I thought about the c/s for months, and was livid that my support people had "let me down" when I needed them the most. I know people were surprised that I wasn't "over it" sooner, so I know what you mean about that.

I delivered at a hospital with one of the lowest c/s rates and highest VBAC rates. My family practitioner had never had a c/s patient. My doula was highly recommended and supportive of natural birth. But when push came to shove (so to speak) I still had a c/s. My doula informed me that she "could no longer support me" as c/s was against her beliefs, my family practitioner bowed out (they can't perform surgery so I had some OB I'd never met before), and off to surgery I went.

However, as time went by, I started processing the c/s more and realized that what is done is done. I can't change what happened, but I can change my attitude towards it. I'm still not totally okay with my care providers...I will never recommend that doula, nor will I use that family practitioner again, but I can't let those feelings cloud the joyful memory of my dd's birth. But it took me at least a year to feel that way and to start seeing the positive more than the negative in dd's birthday!

So it takes as long as it takes...and every c/s mama is different.

You might want to check out the resources in the "Natural Family Living Cesarean Resource" sticky http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=401645 for ideas about physical and emotional healing after c/s. And good luck to you with your recovery and with future VBACs!

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#4 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 03:03 PM
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Yes, it takes a long time. It is a grieving process. So many people don't understand that.
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#5 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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I'm sorry that your birth didn't turn out as you'd hoped. I tell myself that the main thing is that my ds was alright and we did what we had to do at the time. I don't know that it's something I'll get over, but I'm hopefull that I won't always have this ache about it. My planned homebirth turned into a c-sect., and that was almost 4 years ago. I'm still frustrated, angry, hurt, confused. I don't have any answers as to why it turned out that way, because I was too hurt to ever go back to my mw and ask "what in the he!! happened?". My mw wasn't able to stay with me at the hospital, because of exhaustion and then having to attend 2 other births, but I still felt abandoned (no matter how much I tell myself that isn't the case!). And then we moved out of state, so I felt (and still do) like the door is closed. I'm worried that if we're ever able to have another baby that I'll be forced into a repeat c-section, because vbacs seem to be so rare these days.

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#6 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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I am sorry for what you are going through. Just know that despite what anyone might tell you, it's OK to feel how you are. You are not cheating your baby or yourself by admitting you are disappointed/upset about how your birth went.

It takes some time to process it and make "sense" of it all. It takes time to let go. It takes time to move on. That's Ok. But, eventually, it will get better.

Hang in there. Try to find others that feel that same way, you will feel better knowing you aren't the "only one".

Hugs!!
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#7 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 06:59 PM
 
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I agree.
Allow yourself to have those feelings as long as it takes and keep talking to others that have been through their own grieving process with the c/s. It helps alot.
It probably took a long time for me to feel better about my c/s, but there are days I still question myself, etc. The VBAC I had last August helped heal some old wounds, but like anything traumatic in life, a piece of the sorrow will be there. It can also make you stronger, like most traumas do.
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#8 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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First of all, I'm very sorry to hear about your experience

I don't want to hijack your thread, so apologizes if it happens/seems that way

But, I want you to know that, like so many other mamas here, I intimately feel your pain. After a very traumatic c/s with ds (19months) both DH and I shoved any memory of it and the pain associated with it, into the background of our minds to focus on ds. We didn't want to focus on the pain becuase we were told over and over that the only thing that matters is the health of my child and me. I for one will tell you that it is not the ONLY thing, your emotional health is equally as important (if not more so) than your physical health. Yes, you both survived. Yes, you are both healthy. But, you STILL suffered a loss and that needs to be acknowledged and validated as often as possible. After ALOT of soul searching I am finally starting to come to terms with my c/s. I have been educating myself about what happened and why it happened. Some days it helps, other days it only makes me more angry. I can't tell you how long it will take to heal, or if you every will. I feel like it is such a long road ahead. But, I know that I feel so much support from others who have been there and recognize a c/s for what it really is, and not just a life-saving or routine procedure. You have to start by accepting yourself I think before you can move on to truly accept the whole thing. I wish you the best of luck in your journey of recover, as with any other loss it will take time and mourning and grief are necessary. Good luck!
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#9 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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I'm also sorry for what you are going through. As others have already said it will take some time to move forward. ICAN is a great place for healing. There are many women who are very angry about their c/s and everyone is very supportive of each other and encourages each of us to work through our feelings. I'm not sure mine will ever really go away, but I do know that it gets better with time. Your feelings are very valid. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise or give you the "at least you have a healthy baby" line. Yes, a healthy baby is important, as are your feelings about the birth experience.
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#10 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 10:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder
I was told about a week after the birth that I had a choice at the time (info that would have been helpful when there was still a decision to be made, not a week after the fact). Strange how some things escape you when you are under that kind of stress : Anyhow, I find myself to be angry still with the people who were there with me and supposed to be protecting and taking care of me and the whole situation in general and what it means for future pregnancies. How long does it take to process and totally get rid of the anger and be able to move forward (as others around me no doubt think I should already have done).
Funny how that information only comes out after the fact, eh? I didn't find out until I was on the operating room table that I had a choice and that the dr could have been wrong. I found out at 1 yr how very wrong the dr was and how much choice I had in the matter. I don't think there is anything quite so enraging, hurtful, or disappointing as discovering that the person you thought had your best interests in mind perhaps did not - that perhaps the only interests they had in mind were their own.

I'm not sure that we'll ever get rid of the "anger" per se and I'm not particularly certain that we ever should. We've so conditioned ourselves (as women, as a society) that anger is a bad thing. I think that through time our anger will be tempered, but I think that keeping a little bit of that "anger" or "indignation" is a good thing. It's what keeps a fighting for what we know to be right. It's what keeps us questioning and challenging the way things are. Ultimately, I think it's what will drive us to keep pushing for change.

The way laboring women are handled (especially in the US) is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE - and if you've experienced that injustice you are absolutely warranted in feeling all of the things that you feel. Just don't hold it in. Find some place safe that you can express your feelings, whether that be with a knowledgeable counselor if that fits you or amongst a group of women who've been there. Check www.ican-online.org to see if there is a local chapter near you.

And, ultimately, join the fight in changing our birth culture! You, and all of us, can help change things so that hopefully, our children won't have to go through what we've gone through!!! That's what helped me the most (although, I certainly still deal with it to a certain degree, especially when ttc for the next one doesn't go as well as the first) in the end - when I decided that there was absolutely no way I would remain quiet. I decided that the only way things would change for other women is if I started adding my voice to the thousands of others who went through what I went through.

I'm so very sorry you had to join this unfortunate club. Rest assured that you find yourself among sympathetic company - only a woman who has gone through our shared experience knows how you feel. Keep talking.
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#11 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 10:43 PM
 
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It could take a long long time ... I am still angry about and reliving my first c/s almost 4 years ago.
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#12 of 42 Old 08-06-2006, 11:00 PM
 
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It took me about 2 years to recover from the grief of a TF to c-sec from hb especially when I worked out I didn't need to TF at all! It takes as long as it takes although IMO (and IME since I support a lot of women through healing from birth trauma) it takes less time if you can work at getting it out and have lots of validation. I love to see a woman angry because it means she knows she's worth it! Too few of us have an appropriately angry response to this situation. Do what you need to do to heal, feel free to PM me for some resources.
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#13 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 09:52 AM
 
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I agree with the others, it may take a long long time, then again it may not...I have had 3 cesareans and I have been angry since my first c/section exactly almost 5 years ago...(the 27th of this month, my dd turns 5) and not surprisingly, in the month of august I always get a little depressed...everyone is different but sharing your experiences, and talking through it with other ladies that have been there done that can be very healing...hang in there momma! try to use this time as a healing time and learn the most that you can so that when #2 comes around you can be prepared to make the best choice for you whatever that is...((hugs))
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#14 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 10:41 AM
 
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I was raging, bitter, disgusted.... not functioning, for about 6 months. I was functioning (sane) but still angry for the next 6 months. I spent a lot of time writing my feelings, researching the whys and hows and this really helped me let go. So the next 6 months I was doing much better, because I wrote my story, shared it, processed it, and understood a lot of what happened, even if I disagreed with my care.

But I got pregnant again, and this somehow brought all the bad feelings right back. Im now in week 25. Because I have made much better choices this time, I am feeling better again.

I think perhaps it is like a yo-yo. You cope. And it is idiots that think because your baby is healthy, you should "just be over it."
Allison

PS - wambatclay - what is this idiocy about your doula leaving you with the cesarean becuase she could not support a cesarean, it was against her beliefs! What kind of pedistal is this woman on? I wouldn't want my birth on my worst enamy, but may this woman have 5 cesareans, and may all of her support people walk out on her.
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#15 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay
My doula informed me that she "could no longer support me" as c/s was against her beliefs
Ouch!

For real, what is with doulas? I see so many judge-the-client posts on the midwives/doula board, and now I've started to see things like this recently. I've never had a doula, and it kind of scares me, like they are supposed to support you, but apparently some of them (how many?) just bring on another layer of psychological BS?
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#16 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 02:51 PM
 
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For real, what is with doulas?
Not to hijack the thread, but...I started training to become a doula (DONA) after this experience. I want to offer support to mamas facing c/s and those working on a VBAC from a BTDT perspective. Just because your birth doesn't go as you hope/dream doesn't mean you're not "worthy" of support. A care provider is there to help you have the best birth possible, and I really think some of the anger and pain of a c/s is feeling like you have "failed" in comparison to the natural birth you wanted and deserved.

The attitude of the care provider could go a long way to helping mamas realize they didn't fail, even when things don't work out the way you hope. One "key phrase" I learned during training is that you should think about "what will the mama remember?" and that a doula's job is to make sure those memories are positive ones, even when events start moving in a less than positive direction.

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#17 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 03:36 PM
 
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I am sorry you went thru that. Healing can take awhile. Reading and research can help you process but can also fuel the anger. If you like to read Rebounding from Childbirth: Toward Emotional Recovery by Lynn Madsen is a good book. I have also heard that Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses by Claudia Panuthos, Catherine Romeo, and Peggy O'Mara McMahon is a good book for any loss experience in childbirth.
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#18 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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I felt very raw, angry, and wounded for the first four months or so. Things started getting a little better when I made a point of getting physical exercise starting around four months. My abdominal muscles were exceptionally weak because I had been so afraid to use them. Once I got that back in shape (well, in shape for *me*) I felt a little more peace with my body post c-section.

Now, I am doing much better although the feelings are still there. I still hate hearing about women who obey their doctors the way I did and who are so obviously set up for surgery. On a mainstream board I frequent, I have to consciously try not to make birth predictions because it causes me too much grief. And I can't really handle first-time pregnant women very well! I have a few triggers and I have to avoid them.
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#19 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are great! Thanks for the support. Is there any way to get other people, who haven't been there but really need to understand, to really GET IT? Such as spouses, MW's?
Yes, I've gotten that comment, "At least you have a healthy baby" I was so furious and disappointed to hear that from someone who, I thought, should have known better, that unfortunately I didn't really say anything!
Wombatclay had some really good points about what the mom's remember, some of those comments just really stick. The feeling of failure is also something that is hard to shake.
I was also rather disappointed that I have always been the one to bring it up, no one thought to ask how I felt about the whole thing. I hope/plan to take this experience and use it to make other women's births the experience they deserve and desire!
Thank you all for your support.
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#20 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder
Is there any way to get other people, who haven't been there but really need to understand, to really GET IT? Such as spouses, MW's?
Yes, I've gotten that comment, "At least you have a healthy baby" I was so furious and disappointed to hear that from someone who, I thought, should have known better, that unfortunately I didn't really say anything!
http://www.birthtruth.org/grateful.htm
This article might help you with some of this. I'm not sure anyone can really 'get it' unless they also experienced a traumatic birth. Even some c/s moms weren't traumatized by the birth and don't get it. You should consider finding an ICAN group or joining their online list. I know I already said that (as did another poster), but ICAN is full of women who *get it*.
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#21 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spyder
You guys are great! Thanks for the support. Is there any way to get other people, who haven't been there but really need to understand, to really GET IT? Such as spouses, MW's?
I think it's hard for other people to understand... in fact, it's almost impossible for anyone to understand that hasn't been in the same situation. My DH sort of understands, because he wanted a natural birth for our children too, but he still gets tired of hearing me talk about it.

As far as other people, like more distant or friends, I don't even bring it up anymore, because I've gotten so many of the responses like you mentioned... "well all that matters is a healthy baby" etc. I found that ICAN meetings and online were helpful, because so many women understand... really understand.

For me, for my 2 unwanted cesareans, it has helped me a lot to learn a lot about why they happened. Well, my first was for a footling breech, so that one was easier to understand, but this last one was for asynclictic presentation and a "wedged" baby. It has helped me a lot to learn about those things... but i'm an info person. Different things help different people.

I cried a lot at first, but now 2 months later I don't cry hardly at all about it. But it is still very raw, and I relive the birth over and over.


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#22 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 06:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder
Yes, I've gotten that comment, "At least you have a healthy baby" I was so furious and disappointed to hear that from someone who, I thought, should have known better, that unfortunately I didn't really say anything!
Next time you should say something. I have lots of problems with that statement. My biggest issue is that it assumes there is only one person involved in this whole process and most often is used to negate and diminish any feelings you may have about what happened. Our goal should be a healthy baby AND a healthy mom b/c I truly believe that babies are healthiest in their first few years of life if their mom is healthy emotionally and mentally, too! So sorry that you've gotten that statement from people...

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I hope/plan to take this experience and use it to make other women's births the experience they deserve and desire!
Yeah!! You go girl!
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#23 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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to you mama, I'm so sorry you have had to endure this crap, I've been fuming since my teens at the way women are treated,during labour especially.I can relate to how you feel.I was real sad and angry having been dragged out of my hb with my 1st dd and I had a v delivery not c/sec,but it still affects us, I can't imagine what a c/sec woulda done to my head! ppd followed and I wrote many letters, none I posted, stating how mad I was at the general treatment I got. Thing is it all just spoils things and can go on for a while, but yeah you got every right to be angry.My 2nd and 3rd dc were born uc and it was like I had proved it to myself that I hadn't needed that hosp crap and indeed that the treatment had denied me any respect or real fullfilment at such a momentous event in my life. Yeah they are see-ing babes being born regularly but I don't think most of em even care about such a beautiful experience and just treat us like dirt. Like I said when I uc'ed my 2nd dd it was like a huge weight off my head and I was elated in so many ways but up until then I was v.unhappy about my 1st labour. No, nobody else seems to be bothered about our pain mama, it's like we are making a fuss or something! I hope you will be ok and you can fulfill your dreams in the future as I did. ITA with above, womens feelings should not be walked over,babaies deffo have happier moms if they are treated right.
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#24 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wombatclay
Not to hijack the thread, but...I started training to become a doula (DONA) after this experience. I want to offer support to mamas facing c/s and those working on a VBAC from a BTDT perspective. Just because your birth doesn't go as you hope/dream doesn't mean you're not "worthy" of support.
Good for you! I've recentely started thinking about becoming a Doula myself. I was a transfer HB to c/s myself and I would want any woman in my position to have as much support as possible. This is a big deal, it takes a lot of healing!

Spyder - I think it will take a long time for the anger to die down, but don't ever feel guilty for feeling that way. Like one of the other says, yes you have a healthy baby, but this is still a LOSS that you have to grieve. I just realized my son is going to be 1 this month and I have not gone one day without thinking about my experience. You are not alone.
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#25 of 42 Old 08-07-2006, 10:20 PM
 
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I was raging angry over a necessary cesarean for over 9 months. I could not get past the anger stage and move on with the other stages of grieving for a very long time and I couldn't figure out why I was stuck in anger. I started a journal and would write profusely and process the birth, but this just made me angrier. I would come to MDC or other boards and ICAN meetings hoping that I could get past it. I eventually decided that I needed to see someone who specializes in birth trauma and in two sessions I felt so much better and a lot less angry.

I was in deep denial about the fact that anger really is a front for shame. Shame is different from guilt - guilt says you did something wrong or bad, whereas shame is that you are something wrong or bad. To me, any interventions at birth were shameful. People who had interventions were wrong and bad. These ideas are completely irrational as there are always things that go wrong in childbirth that require interventions. Although some hard core natural birth advocates on MDC really doubt this, there are necessary cesarean births.

I found that I stayed angry a lot because there are so many here on MDC that would add insult to injury and shame me even more. There are so many here that love to judge others- and love to shame them for their incorrect choices and even necessary cesareans. These women are not kind and get some sort of thrill out of hurting other human beings. It really is too bad that everyone who says that are gentile and loving parents really aren't gentile and loving towards women who have experienced unwanted birth trauma - instead they seek to make them feel like they are bad people for things that are usually beyond their control.

Anyway, it helped me to read a lot about shame and anger. There is also a Buddhist book that is always helpful to read on anger - Working with Anger by Thubten Chodron. I find that it helps to read and re-read it when I am raging angry. I hope you can find a way to become less angry. It really is a destructive emotion.
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#26 of 42 Old 08-08-2006, 02:57 AM
 
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I have been actively trying to come to terms with my c/s as I am 36.5 weeks preggo and want a VBAC. With my medical history, there is a strong liklihood that I may end up with another c/s.

I have my days of feeling peaceful and days of feeling terrified of being put in the same situation of a c/s again. What helps me (not nec. anyone else) is that I CHOSE to have another baby, and I want this second baby as badly as my first. If having this baby means that I have to go through another surgery, then I will be okay with it in the end. If I do not have a successful VBAC, yes I will have anger issues. I will feel guilt and shame and all the other difficult emotions and it may take years to process. But eventually I know that I will be able to hold my little guy and know that he was worth it all. I am not saying it is easy or not traumatic, but it is WORTH IT. Marathon runners run until they puke. Mountain climbers push themselves to altitudes where they pass out. I can think of hundreds of examples of humans pushing themselves to the limit. Does the mountaineer lament the fact that they lost half their fingers to frostbite? Probably. But it is also a source of pride and a great story to tell. I fully intend one day to show my dd the scar on my belly and tell her I loved her so much that my first real parenting decision came at the moment where I had to give up my dream of the ideal unmedicated, etc. birth and have a 'belly birth' instead. That she was so loved and so wanted that my body was physically and permanently changed and scarred so that she could come into this world.

Yeah, that sounds idealistic and a bit fru-fru. But I am TIRED of the negative, I am TIRED of beating myself up. I want to see her birth as a glass half-full. It has taken a LONG time, and while it STILL pisses me off to hear 'well you had a healthy baby' I am strong enough now to counter with them and set them straight about the emotional issues as well.

I wish you luck on your journey of healing. Hugs.

VBAC mamma of two little Vikings
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#27 of 42 Old 08-08-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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I was very, VERY angry after my first cesarean for about 4 years, and I was angry about my second cesarean for a year. I didn't heal from them until I went to talk to my midwife a day before my second child turned 1. After talking to her, I felt at peace. Still angry, but not angry like I was before. Instead of the anger being focused on my cesareans, it was, and still is, focused on all the women who don't have voices. My anger is focused on the medical society, the insurance companies, the medical schools that teach birth as an illness, etc. Having a focus for my anger helps a lot. I no longer feel this pent up rage, I can approach and accept the anger in a more controlled way.

Another thing that really helped me was writing the birth story of my second cesarean. It's 11 typed pages! After writing it, I realized that a lot of my anger I kept experiencing over and over because I kept replaying her birth. Once I saw it all written out, I was able to stop replaying it and "move on".

I hope this helps mama. Hugs and peace to you.
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#28 of 42 Old 08-08-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spyder
You guys are great! Thanks for the support. Is there any way to get other people, who haven't been there but really need to understand, to really GET IT? Such as spouses, MW's?
Yes, I've gotten that comment, "At least you have a healthy baby" I was so furious and disappointed to hear that from someone who, I thought, should have known better, that unfortunately I didn't really say anything!
Wombatclay had some really good points about what the mom's remember, some of those comments just really stick. The feeling of failure is also something that is hard to shake.
I was also rather disappointed that I have always been the one to bring it up, no one thought to ask how I felt about the whole thing. I hope/plan to take this experience and use it to make other women's births the experience they deserve and desire!
Thank you all for your support.
I really understand this wanting people to GET IT! I would sit and nurse my baby and fume, composing nasty letter after nasty letter to the medpros who handled us with such insensitivity while we were in the hospital. I had inadequate anesthesia during my c-section and I was so surprised that NOBODY even mentioned it during my entire stay. Because it is beyond horrifying to feel surgery...yet when I mentioned it to the nurse in recovery, she smiled and gave me the healthy mom, healthy baby line.

I don't feel I'll ever truly get "over" it, but I am getting through it.
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#29 of 42 Old 08-09-2006, 12:29 AM
 
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Ammaarah--is it okay for me to PM you some questions about your anesthesia experience?

VBAC mamma of two little Vikings
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#30 of 42 Old 08-12-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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I don't think I even began to be angry & grieve until a good year after my c/s. I didn't know any better. I didn't know I should be angry over it or what was causing my depression. Once I figured out what was causing my depression I was able to grieve & get angry & all the steps involved in that process. I don't recommend waiting to deal with it, though. It's best to feel what you're feeling & get it out, not supress it. I'm sure that's ridiculously obvious to you but it wasn't to an inexperienced momma like myself at the time.

It's been nearly 4 years since my c/s & I think I'm starting to stop with all the anger & resentment over it & beginning to accept & appreciate my experience. Don't get me wrong, I don't appreciate the way I was treated & what lead to my c/s, but I do appreciate the knowledge I've gained since..... knowledge I don't think I would've gained had I not had this experience. I've grown so much since then & educated myself tremendously. I've stopped being a "sheep" & begun using the mind of my own I've always had but was taught not to use from a very early age (like most public schooled kids, but that's another story for another board, I guess).

I've since had a successful HBAC & am planning another one soon. I'm sorry you're going through this right now & you've had to join this group of ladies in need of healing. My thoughts are with you.

Shannon
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