Just a warning: I believe this is going to turn out to be a very very long post!
So let me begin. I remember the first day I decided I wanted to achieve a natural birth. It was after watching the business of being born that I had an "Epiphany" that I was going to let my body do what it was meant to do and deliver with no meds.
After the decision and long discussions with DH on what we want to do (because he needed to be 100% supportive too) we decided to do Bradley classes. We went the full 12 weeks (our last class was two weeks before due date) so all the classes were fresh in my mind. We learned so much, there is no way I could of gotten through all those contractions if it wasn't for the relaxation tips and everything else I had learned in class. Me and DH had become invested in having a natural birth!
So, now for the birth story.
I went to bed at midnight with no contractions at all (me and DH did a little DTD which must of been what set it off) but at 1:30am I woke up with contractions 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute long. We were told to go to the hospital when I was unable to talk through contractions. We waited at home an hour and I tried to eat, play video games, watch TV, etc but the contractions always called to my attention.
3am we arrived at the hospital and I was 6cm dilated. Everything seemed fine, contractions were still 2 minutes apart. We walked around and chatted between contractions for a couple of hours until about 10am when things started to speed up. I got into the tub when my contractions started to get longer but it slowed us down so I got out. 1pm came around and my contractions were now 1 to 2 minutes apart about 2 minutes long each. I was 9 1/2 dilated by then and I felt the urge to push. The baby was no where near dropping, so it was a waste to push, but pushing felt good so the midwife let me to deal with the pain.
3 hours went by where my contractions were like that. I don't remember much except falling asleep and waking up to Dh saying, "we can do one more contraction" and wishing I would never wake up when I went back to sleep. It was now 4pm and nothing had happened. Since I was taking too long at 9 1/2cm the midwife said that we need to give me pit. She said that my contractions were not powerful enough and that I might even need a c-section if we don't act quickly enough since 1)I will get too tired and 2)my hips might be too small. (I know, why didn't I think she was crazy when she said that at the hospital?)
At 10:15pm my water broke and 15 minutes of pushing my son was born at 10:31pm.
It sounds like an amazing birth story, but it wasn't because after getting the pit I ended up begging for the epidural. I remember looking into my husbands eyes when I told him I couldn't do it anymore. He was crying and telling me I am too strong to give up. (It kills me that he cried, it really does! He was so invested into this) I hate thinking that I was the person that, even making it through 15 hours of hard labor and even transition, I got the epidural. I was unable to have my natural birth because I was in "too much pain". I could of just pushed through it, but at the time I just didn't have that mind set so I feel like a failure.
So here I am! My son is now a month old and I still cry every day when I remember how my labor went. I just can't seem to get over it. I had this big dream of what would happen and it didn't happen that way at all. I have talked to a doula about it and she says I have to "mourn the loss of a labor". It is so hard to mourn though.
Has anyone gone through this? How did you handle it? How should I be handling it?
I had pit w/all 3 of mine and the last was a horrible long induction. I didn't want to be induced. With DS, I knew no better, my water broke and nothing was happening. Pit it was. DD had a fetal heart defect and the MW didn't to stress her as she was already over due. Horrible sickness and back labor with the pit. YDD I was abruptly induced b/c they said she was small. She wasn't and I'm still mad about this myself. She was 5 oz smaller than my other 2 full term babies, at 2 1/2 weeks early. I never got an epidural or other meds with any, but still upset about YDD's birth. I too had dreams of a labor MY way. I guess I delt w/it by knowing it's in the past and there's not much you can do change that. The end result was and still is perfect. She may not have come into this world the exact way I planned or wanted it. But she's here, I love her and she's healthy and so am I. lol Don't feel like a faliure. You aren't. You birthed a beautiful baby. So what if you had an epi. Millions of women do it. Labor is a hard business. If it wasn't, men would do it. ;)
Nate dog 5/15/04
Lil' G 11/8/07
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Have you been checked for PPD? I honestly don't think that it is normal to be this upset about getting an epidural. I don't mean that in a harsh way but you have a healthy baby, isn't that all that matters? No one will know looking at him if you did it natural or not. I think it is ok to be disapointed but at a certain point you need to let it go. I know this goes against what a lot of people on MDC believe but I think that the end result is really what matters in labor, not your birth experience.
My third birth story was very similar to yours, in that I was pushing at 10 cm with the baby not dropping. Then they found a swollen lip of cervix, found that my baby was not descending properly, found that he was turned and his head was cocked to the side, found that he was very large....anyway, I ended up with pit and an epi after 26 hours of hard labor.
The difference in my story and yours (I think--it sounds as if this may be your first baby?) is that I had previous experience to tell me that all labors and births are so different and that you never can tell what's going to happen and what may need to happen to have a healthy baby.
In my situation, I'd had natural births, and this one just wasn't going to happen that way. Interventions, while not ideal, are sometimes necessary, and it sounds like it was necessary in your case. Your next labor may go exactly as planned...or not.
After my previous natural labors, I thought that anyone could have a natural birth, anytime, if she just *tried* hard enough. Now I know that that is not the case. No amount of trying was going to turn or shrink or descend my baby at that point, and thankfully, my birth team and I came to the right decision.
Try to know that the decision you made at that time was what you had to do. For a minute, I thought I'd let everyone down--my husband, my doula, myself. But then my doula told me I was her new hero, for knowing what I needed to do, and that made a huge difference in how I looked at it!
It does drive me crazy when people say that the only thing that matters is a healthy baby. A healthy (emotionally and mentally) mother matters too. I think hearing that makes moms in this situation feel even worse, because it implies that they are selfish or wrong for feeling disappointed. It's fine if someone feels that their birth experience is not that important in the grand scheme of things, but I have yet to meet a mom who was anything but hurt by that statement when she was already feeling disappointment or sadness. I've never met anyone who said "Oh, I never thought of that! Thanks, I feel all better now." It's just not helpful at all.
HOWEVER, I do think that it might not be a bad idea to be screened for postpartum mood disorders. After I had my c-section with my first, I felt sad, angry, disappointed...all of it. But I also had a postpartum mood disorder, which made it all more intense and made it last longer. The fact that you cry every day about this worries me. There IS help, even if it's not a PPMD. Ask your mw for a referral to a counselor or psychologist and go talk to someone about how you're feeling. It's so hard to know, when it's our first, how much of the difficulty is that it is hard being a new mama and how much might be something treatable. I had no idea how fun and wonderful it could be to have a new baby until I had my second. It was literally like "Oh, that's why people have twelve babies! This is great, I had no idea!" because it was so hard with my first but I didn't know it could be any other way. I hope you find something that helps you, mama.
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
I think it's absolutely normal to feel sad and disappointed when something like this happens. You planned, you envisioned, and you worked really, really hard to have the birth you felt was safest and best for you and your baby. It is a big deal and it's okay to be upset that things didn't go the way you hoped. If your wedding that you worked so hard at planning and was so important to you was absolutely ruined, people wouldn't be telling you to get over and all that matters is that you're married. And that's a wedding, not the birth of your child!
I truly don't mean offense, but that's exactly what I would tell a woman about her wedding. My wedding had loads of things go wrong. It rained at an outdoor function, the cake was wrong, the dress didn't fit correctly, the DJ played the wrong songs, and more. But it actually did help me to hear my mom say "You are married, that's what's important." And she's right - 3 years into the marriage I really don't care that the wedding was all sorts of messed up (it took a while for me to think this though). It really did help me to focus on my new husband than dwell on the day I got him.
However, OP, your feelings are entirely valid. You're just starting your postpartum journey, just working through your emotions. It's perfectly normal to wish it had gone the way you had planned. At this point, it's perfectly normal to be very upset about it. I hope you do get checked for postpartum mood disorders though. And I hope in time, the sadness about things going awry fizzles into a calm acceptance that you can't change the past, but you can enjoy the present. How is your husband doing/reacting? Is he aware you feel this way? If he is not, you need to tell him, let him help you. If he is, I hope he is helping. If he is having his own emotions and issues, I think he also should look into help.
I don't mean that in a harsh way but you have a healthy baby, isn't that all that matters? No one will know looking at him if you did it natural or not. I think it is ok to be disapointed but at a certain point you need to let it go. I know this goes against what a lot of people on MDC believe but I think that the end result is really what matters in labor, not your birth experience.
Ouch. As someone that has been through the disappointment of birth not turning out the way I planned, It's hard not to take this in a harsh way. I know you mean it with good intentions, but to a woman in that position, all we hear is "Your feelings don't matter. You're a bad mother because you only care about yourself and your experience and not that your baby is healthy." It's like kicking someone when they're down. A kinder thing to say in this situation is simply, "I'm sorry that things didn't work out the way you wanted them to" and leave it at that. And I don't mean what I'm saying in a harsh way, either. I just get a little defensive about this situation, having been there myself. Of course we care about our babies being healthy. I am not one of those "natural birth at any cost" types. But I do believe that our experience matters, and if it doesn't go as planned, it's ok to feel upset about it without being judged.
I just went back and read the other replies, and womenswisdom, you already said it.
OP, it took me a long time to come to terms with my first birth, but I finally realized that I made the best decisions at the time. I wanted a totally natural, drug-free birth and ended up with about every intervention there is, including a c-section. Sure, I can look back now and think of a million things I should have done differently, but at the time, I made the best decision based on the information I had and the circumstances. It's important to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. Being a mother has definitely taught me that! It may take some time to get there, but you will.
It sounds to me like you had a 99% natural birth with a tiny little help at the end. It's ok to be disappointed, but don't beat yourself up over it. I just hope you don't allow this fixation on "natural birth" to mar an otherwise wonderful birth story. There's no weakness in being human and wanting some relief from the most painful thing you will likely go through in your life. And as you'll learn being a mother, our best laid plans are often waylayed by reality. Take the time to feel your disappointment, cry, scream, whatever you need to do, then move on and start enjoying your baby and these early days of motherhood. The birth is in the past now, and it's far healthier to focus on the future rather than lamenting what could have been. And besides, you did great!
I'm... a little confused. It sounds like you did fine and your husband and doula are being really unsupportive. Why was he crying and making you feel guilty when you needed help? Why is your doula encouraging you to mourn? Pit labor sucks, it isn't a matter of being strong - you needed help at that point. You needed the pit to avoid a c-section - you avoided a c-section. You did a great job! Sounds like they are the ones trying to drag you down, honestly. Be careful of setting your standards too high. No one can be perfect.
I learned in my last two births that my body would not actually deliver the baby until after I had the epidural. There was too much guarding and dealing with the pain to actually labor successfully. (This had not been the case in previous births, even though I have never ha an unaugmented labor- either with cytotech or pit.) Sure, the natural labor was a great goal, but the reality is that- while many interventions are unnecessary, in some cases, they are the best way to ensure a healthy delivery and safety for both Mom and Baby.
I really think your DH dropped the ball on being good labor support when he lost it when you got the epidural. He might be a great guy and a mensch otherwise, perhaps he was just feeling emotional and it came out all funky. Regardless, what he said and did SUCKS. It is his baby but it wasn't his labor, and it sounds like you made a great choice to get pain relief at that point.
I don't get why the doula says you should mourn the loss of your labor. You labored like a champ, before and after the epidural. Wanting pain relief is plenty natural.
I think it is normal to be briefly disappointed if you were heavily invested in unmedicated birth and it didn't happen. But the fact that you are crying about it and dwelling on it weeks later makes me concerned that you might be experiencing some postpartum depression and/or anxiety. I have had PPD twice (once soon after the baby was born and the second time it came on when my baby was 4-5 months old) and it didn't look like regular depression. I felt anxious and obsessive. Please go to your midwife or primary doctor and get screened for it. I hope things look up for you.