Serious c-section fear, how to deal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-10-2011, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I'm 34+6 weeks. I had a catastrophic c-section (at 30 weeks) in my previous pregnancy, I had HELLP syndrome so I was in the hospital when my placenta ruptured completely in the middle of the night. I woke up bleeding heavily, and was rushed to the OR straight away.
Baby apgar 0, but luckily, all was fine in the end.

That was all very dramatic, and traumatic, for me.
And I've worked through it before, as well as being "on top of it/ahead of it" this time with talking to a midwife through my whole pregnancy. (A MW that specialize in women with previous birth trauma, and/or women who's afraid of giving birth.)
It's been very helpful.
However, I have a major fright of a c-section now. And it's getting worse, not better, just worse/bigger all the time.
And I know it's not rational, and I'm thinking that I'm putting all the bad stuff from last time into the c-section. My MW who knows me says she thinks so too.

How do I deal with this?
I need to deal with it NOW.
My MW suggested positive affirmations, to not loose my believe that I *can* give birth. She says she senses a lot of that in me, really strong actually. But the c-section fright is taking over. And it's important to believe in my body's ability to birth. And I think she's right.
And that I should also work on being ok with a c-section in case of emergency. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be. In case of emergency they'll do a c-section anyway, to save baby and/or me. Of course. And logically, I'm fine with that (obviously). But I think I would probably break down if they said "ok, we need to do an emergency c-section now".
And it would probably be a problem for me to come to terms with it after too.
How do I do this?

I have HypnoBabies, should get better at listening to it more.
And my book "Birthing without fear" (that I've just read) is with my aunt right now, she's reading a part of it.
Any good suggestions for affirmations I should do?
Any other things I can do to get this huge c-section fear smaller?
And to be ok with a c-section in case of emergency?
I really don't want to have this c-section fear messing anything up, I have to deal with it. (And I probably have just 2-3 weeks until I'll deliver, 4 weeks max. we're thinking.)

(And I'm in Norway, it's a very good birthing country, they will never do a c-section here unless there is *actually* an emergency and they have to save baby and/or me. Just as an example, breech vaginal birth is the norm here (even a little bit premature, like 34 weeks). VBAC's is the norm too, even VBA2C's mostly.)


-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#2 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Nobody?
I could really need some help with this!


-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#3 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Wow, what a horrible, terrifying experience you had. What strikes me when you write about it is that not one word is about the operation. The trauma and the terror you write about is the abrupted placenta and the baby with 0 Apgars.

 

And so I know that when you're at the end of pregnancy with all the hormones and stuff it's hard to focus on rational stuff. But I'd just like to gently point out that the c-section wasn't the problem. The c-section saved your baby's life.

 

It sounds to me like what you're afraid of isn't another c-section (and  it sounds like you are and will be supported in your desire to avoid a c-section). It sounds more like you're afraid of birth, and possibly afraid of repeating the trauma of your previous experience.

 

Birthing from Within has some great advice on art therapy. In your shoes I would sit down and *draw* exactly what your fear looks like. Is it fear of an operation? Fear of losing your baby? Something else altogether? Try the exercise-- the answer might surprise you.

 

Many gentle hugs to you. I had an emergency c-section with my 2nd birth and while it wasn't the way I planned to give birth, and while I struggled with it for months afterward, I'm truly grateful the procedure exists for those cases where it's necessary.

 

Best of luck to you.

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#4 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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Not much advise. Just hugs and support.

 

Have all your babies been c-section? Maybe you can try and focus on one of your previous births whenever the scary thoughts come in.


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#5 of 12 Old 01-12-2011, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post

Wow, what a horrible, terrifying experience you had. What strikes me when you write about it is that not one word is about the operation. The trauma and the terror you write about is the abrupted placenta and the baby with 0 Apgars.

 

And so I know that when you're at the end of pregnancy with all the hormones and stuff it's hard to focus on rational stuff. But I'd just like to gently point out that the c-section wasn't the problem. The c-section saved your baby's life.

 

It sounds to me like what you're afraid of isn't another c-section (and  it sounds like you are and will be supported in your desire to avoid a c-section). It sounds more like you're afraid of birth, and possibly afraid of repeating the trauma of your previous experience.

 

Birthing from Within has some great advice on art therapy. In your shoes I would sit down and *draw* exactly what your fear looks like. Is it fear of an operation? Fear of losing your baby? Something else altogether? Try the exercise-- the answer might surprise you.

 

Many gentle hugs to you. I had an emergency c-section with my 2nd birth and while it wasn't the way I planned to give birth, and while I struggled with it for months afterward, I'm truly grateful the procedure exists for those cases where it's necessary.

 

Best of luck to you.


Oh yes, I know that the c-section saved baby, and me probably, so I'm very grateful for the option existing. In emergencies, great things.

And I can't remember anything about the actual c-section of course, it was a catastrophic one within minutes, so they put me out right away.

So yeah, as I said, I'm putting all the bad stuff from last time into the c-section. And that's not good, but I can't seem to get out of that track.

 

I know my biggest fears, it's loosing the baby. I have lost a daughter already, and I'm terrified of loosing this one too, I also had two miscarriages before he stuck that didn't help that fear. And in re. to the whole birth thing, I'm very scared of another rupture. Really, I worry about it with the smallest hint of pain from my belly. So I know that I probably will go to the hospital pretty early in labour because that'll feel safer in re. to a rupture and them being able to save the baby there if that happens.

But I can't seem to get my mind to work with me here, even though I seem to logically know that I put the bad stuff from last into the c-section, and the rupture/loosing the baby are my actual biggest fears, my mind still has "c-section fear" as a blinking, red light. I don't know what to do about it. How do I get my mind to work with me here, and away from that?

 

But birth, no, I'm actually looking forward to the birth, I've never been afraid of that, and still am not. In my head, birth has nothing to do with placenta rupture or loosing baby. I actually think I'll be quite excited when I go into labour. At first. I'm just very scared that the whole "c-section fright" is gonna take over and mess things up. Fear can ruin a lot in birth.

I'm gonna try the drawing exercise, sounds interesting.

 

Thank you!



Quote:
Originally Posted by upnorthmama View Post

Not much advise. Just hugs and support.

 

Have all your babies been c-section? Maybe you can try and focus on one of your previous births whenever the scary thoughts come in.



No, I've given birth vaginally too, but it doesn't seem to matter. And I've had a quite traumatic vaginal birth as well, so that tends to overshadow if I think about it. So I don't. And it's actually quite easy for me to not do that.

Thanks!
 


-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#6 of 12 Old 01-13-2011, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just bumping again, I'd love more input on how to get my brain to work with me here. I really don't want fear to mess up my birth.


-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#7 of 12 Old 01-13-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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I had the same fear, but different reasons. I had a myomectomy and no desire to repeat major abdominal surgery-especially having to care for a baby while recovering. I was paralyzed in fear my last pregnancy and the first because of my c-section worries. All the doctors had always insisted I'd *have* to have one and I proved them wrong. Being stubborn as a mule helped, but the hypnobabies affirmations I think literally saved my neck many times when I had full blown anxiety attacks. It's important to listen to your instincts, but with high anxiety over a situation it's hard to tell what is just fear and what is something worth listening to. Turns out I had a low lying placenta with #5 that would have landed me a c-section had I had an u/s in my last trimester (2nd trimester scan did not show it as low lying). Luckily baby was perfect and nothing happened. But abruption of both kinds weighed very heavily in my mind all my pregnancy. I highly recommend listening to them every chance you get-even while doing housework or going to bed at night. Also, read positive birth stories-vaginal AND C-section just in case. They can be positive events, so it would be important to seek out positive stories instead of the emergency kind so your anxiety does not increase. I wish I could help you out with how to be at peace with one afterwards. Maybe in the Healing Birth Trauma forum there would be more people there to help you?

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#8 of 12 Old 01-13-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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I don't have any advice Pixie but I couldn't read and not post. I did not have the traumatic experience that you did, however my first and only birth so far has been a c-section. I'm still waffling back and forth between being excited about giving birth and terrified that I'm going to get "stuck" and end up with another csection. I hope you are able to find some peace :hugs:


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#9 of 12 Old 01-13-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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This is just the impression I'm getting, so I may be way off track, but...what I'm getting is that you're more afraid of the total lack of anything resembling control over what's happening to you than of the c-section itself (I've had five c-sections, and I know that's a big part of why they've been so difficult for me, so I may be projecting). IMO, going under the knife to have a baby is possibly the biggest symbol of loss of personal control and autonomy that the birth experience provides. So...maybe this is the root of it? If so, I'm not sure what to suggest, except maybe having some backup things you want if you DO have a c-section, so that you know you've had some input/control if it happens.

 

That's all I've got, and I may be talking out my butt (wouldn't be the first time), but maybe it will help...?


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#10 of 12 Old 01-14-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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I know your midwife is experienced in helping moms with prior birth trauma but... could she suggest a therapist or other specialist for you to talk with?  Perhaps someone trained in EMDR or another technique specifically focused on helping people with post traumatic stress disorders?  There is also "tapping/eft"... a free, do-it-yourself technique that can help with anxiety.

 

I wouldn't do it alone, but would your midwife stay with you while you did the fear release script from hypnobabies?  Or could she suggest a trained hypnotherapist who would be able to take you through the memory a few times and help reframe the experience?  Also, is there a hospital tour?  When I was preparing for my hospital vbac I went on the hospital tour nearly every week.  Just to desensitize myself to any emotional "ping" from being in that space.  I also met with the head of maternity to discuss my previous experiences and what "special" stuff I might need... like, having a different birth suite and stuff like that.  Especially if you're planning on laboring a long time at the hospital it would be good to see how "just being there" makes you feel so you can plan.

 

Good luck!


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#11 of 12 Old 01-18-2011, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@Storm Bride, I'm a control freak. So I think you absolutely have a very good point. I did have the sense to write down my wishes for a c-section in my "birth wish list" (/birth letter thingie). It's at the very end, and very clearly stating over that it's just in case all goes wrong and I need one, here's how I want it, kinda. And I checked it all with my OBGYN (asked her some questions too) before finalizing that. So I even know my wishes are possible. 

It says on the top of the birth wish list thingie that I'm afraid of loosing control, and of having a c-section. (I'm also still working on "what is control in birth" and such.)

 

And @wombatclay, I have a high-risk pregnancy, so I've been at the hospital for checks frequently since june. And every week after I was hospitalized for some weeks in november. And when I was hospitalized I also had a few tours in the NICU with a specialist nurse I know who works there. My MW has taken me to birth and delivery, we've even had one of our conversations in one of the delivery rooms. And she's also taken me up to look in at the OR's, and the post. op. room and such.

So yeah, I'm pretty desensitized by now.

I did discover when I had my contractions in week 34 that I went straight to my ward, the one I go every week for checks (same one I was in when admitted), where my wonderful OBGYN is. My only thought was just to get up there and get my OBGYN to check me out (it's the observation post for pregnant ladies). Labour and delivery never registered in my head. Will be interesting to see how I do it the next time I feel contractions.

But we have talked it over, and my OBGYN has promised me that IF there is any room there for me after birth, she'll give me that space. She can't promise me I can be there, because if there are no rooms, there are no rooms. But if there is, or if they can make it work by moving someone else, or whatever, she'll make sure I can stay there. And that's great. I know the people there, and feel safe there. I might start birth there too. So it'll be interesting to see what I say when they want me down to the labour ward for the actual birth.

 

Anywho, wow, that was long.

Thank you all, mamas. I'm working on this every day now. Honestly, just putting it out there, talking about it, being active and acknowledging it, has also helped. It seemed like an un-climable mountain when I first wrote this post, now it's not so big anymore, and it's also something I think I can get on top of. I've talked to my OBGYN about it, and a very close friend (and my SO of course), and that's helped too.

Work in progress, but it's getting better! (And that's good, because I'm oficially 36 weeks now!)

Thanks again for your input! And sorry this was late, been so busy here.


-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#12 of 12 Old 01-21-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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Pixie, on my road to a successful pregnancy I had a LOT of anxiety about another miscarriage.  And I had a lot of upset re: having a c/s (I'd known for years that when I got pregnant I'd be delivering via c/s due to previous uterine surgery).  I did a 3-4 sessions of EMDR with my therapist and I have to say that work was HUGELY helpful.  I'd go into a session all teary and upset and within minutes of doing the EMDR, I'd be calm and "peeled off the ceiling".  The effects were long lasting.  Considering my history, I think I got through my pregnancy and delivery pretty smoothly.  I can really relate to getting your brain to work with you.  I felt like my mind was so stuck on replaying things over and over and no matter how much logic I used, it just wasn't working.  The EMDR did the trick with getting me unstuck.

 

Best of luck to you with everything!


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