i made a very stupid decision almost 4 years ago - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
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my son will be 4 next month, at the end of the month. he was due on july 12, and he came on june 30. 38 weeks is full term, sure, but he wasn't ready. i was selfish, ignorant, and made a very stupid mistake.

i was very different then than i am now. very scared of birth, planned an epidural, had a horrible ob, surrounded by close-minded people who reinforced my fears of birth.

my then-new stepmom, who i would never trust now, was a nurse and kept telling me how great it was to strip your membranes as a natural way to induce labor. i was so naive. i went at 38 weeks to my ob at my appt, and said something like "can't you just strip my membranes". next thing i know, i'm on the table, feeling very uncomfortable, bleeding, and mild contractions had begun.

i gave birth to my daughter 3 years later. as natural as could be. 41 weeks. i had mild contractions for a long time before i birthed her. with ds, i went to the hospital very soon, the day after she stripped, 3 cm, they broke my water, hooked me up to pitocin. i gave birth 14 hours later.

he's a beautiful little boy. i'm not the type to dwell on things, or to beat myself up. but i've tried to deal with this myself, without talking about it, and i can't. i feel very guilty. i gave him a horrible start in the beginning. he probably needed to "cook" for a few more weeks. after i gave birth, i didn't hold him as much as i should have. he had a bad start, and it is because of my decisions. and after having my daughter i know how important that beginning is.

i only breastfed him for 6 months because dr's told me he was too small, to give him formula. i know better now, and when they told me this with my dd, i switched doctors. we have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship. ds didn't get that the way he should have.

over time i have improved. i've learned a lot. i've worked a lot on our attachment. i just wish he could have had a better start. i wish there was some way i could make up for it.

my point isn't to keep saying "what if" or to beat myself up. i just need to admit that i did this, and deal with it.

any stories of common experience, wise words, advice, whatever is very welcome. thank you for listening.
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#2 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 02:04 AM
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I made a very similar decision 5 and a half years ago. My ds was due on September 12. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was told my due date was something like Aug. 19 and then after an u/s they changed it. By the time August came around I was hot and miserable. I also knew that if my ds were born in September that he would have to wait an extra year to start school, God forbid! and so, having a history of very fast labors, I lied to my doctor and told him that because of my husband's job, I would be moving an hour away and was afraid of being stuck in rush hour traffic in labor. He induced me a few days later. It was the most painful, unnatural, and stupid decision of my life. I made it up for bfing him for 2 years (much longer than I nursed my previous babies) and continue to make up for it by being the best mommy I know how to be, learning from my mistakes, and sharing them so that someone else might not make the same.
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#3 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 03:20 AM
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Hi, I am sorry you are having problems with this. I don't have a similar situation but just wanted to send you lots of 's ALL of us make mistakes at some point in time. I know logically you know this but it just doesn't matter. I have done things to my children that I regret ie: loose my temper, yell, spank-only a few times but I will NEVER forget them. I try very hard to be the best mom and I know that both of my kids know I love and care for them and that is all that matters to them. Stay strong mama. Typing your thoughts out is a great way to work through your issues.
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#4 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 01:31 PM
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to you mama! I don't have much experience here as i'm still baking my first, but I just wanted to lend my shoulder and ears and tell you that, even though you've made regrettable mistakes in the past, its wonderful the improvements you've made now. Many people don't grow as you have, they don't think about thinks like baking time, breastfeding, bonding,etc even if they have been educated about it. What is that quote? We do the best with what we know. So, hug your ds, not because you made mistakes in the past, but because you're a better mama to him now
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#5 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 05:48 PM
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This is something I see alot, as a nurse who attends birth center births. And it bothers me. I'm wondering if you all can give ma some tips on how to help moms.

Just last week this came up and I have been mulling it over. A mama is pregnant with her second child. Had her first with an interventive happy OB. The 'typical' American birth experience. When she was talking to me, she said "I feel so stupid, asking all these questions like I'm a first time mom or something. It's just, I realized we did everything wrong the first time." It's the everything wrong statement that got me. I mean, I don't want a woman to look at her natural birth and her hospital birth, and be like "Oh, the first one was so bad, it was all wrong." It still resulted in this woman's beautiful baby, and give her enough power and will to seek out a different birth experience.

I always try to relate that I had my babies in a fairly traditional manner (no induction, but with one anyway had episiotomy, purple pushing, antibiotics, lots of vag exams, etc...) and that I am happy with their birth experiences. I did the best I could do at the time, and let it go.

How can your care givers help you process and enjoy a different, natural birth experience without giving you hard feelings about your prior births?

I wish there were some magic words to say, and everything would be better. I know there isn't; but at the same time, if someone *has* said something helpful, or made some great point to you, would you please share?


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#6 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 06:20 PM
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Lori - the absolute worst thing anyone can say is "all that matters is that you have a healthy baby" as saying that negates the trauma that the mother very well might be experiencing, even years later. Here's a list of things to say and not to say to a woman who has experienced a traumatic birth experience victoriousbirth.com

What I have had to tell myself, over and over and over again, is that I made the best decisions I could, at the time, given my situation and the limited information provided to me by the on-call doctor, and also considering the extreme fear and anxiety I was feeling at the time. Faced with extreme circumstances, we made some decisions that later we realize were mistakes, but please don't ever call yourself "stupid" because of it.

((((HUGS)))) to all of you Mamas dealing with these feelings! Please don't beat yourselves up over it. There's no way any of us can go back and change the past, but just maybe we can help make a difference in the future.
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#7 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 07:28 PM
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I was induced with my son at 38.5 weeks mainly because I was sick of being pregnant. I ended up with an epidural and episiotomy. We had BFing troubles from the getgo because of a sleepy drugged baby. I quit nursing at 3 weeks, all the trouble began at birth. He has been my hrdest to parent.

DD was induced because of prolonged rupture of membranes. Had a precipitous birth, no meds. 39 weeks (water leaking since 38)

DD#2 was a homebirth at 40.5. It felt like a very long pregnancy but I had just helped a mom go 43 so I wasn't complaining. The birth was smooth and pleasant and it was so cool to have done it all myself.

I have been a doula since DD#1 was 6 months old and an apprentice midwife since DD#1 was 18 months. I feel my birth offer perspective to other women since I have had a wide variety of experiences. It also helps me to not be judgemental when I have been there and done it myself.
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#8 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by lorijds
How can your care givers help you process and enjoy a different, natural birth experience without giving you hard feelings about your prior births? I wish there were some magic words to say, and everything would be better. I know there isn't; but at the same time, if someone *has* said something helpful, or made some great point to you, would you please share?
I went to my second midwife in great turmoil about my first birth. No one had told me there was anything wrong with it; no one had to. It felt wrong, therefore it was.

This is what my midwife did: she listened, and she validated my feelings. She didn't do this by getting angry herself, or by putting down the other midwife. Instead she said things like, "I'm sorry that happened," and "I understand why you feel the way you do," and "what can I do (or not do) during the birth to help it be the way you need it to be?" But mostly she just listened, without judging or second-guessing me, and that helped immensely.

Near the end of my pregnancy she said, "you are so much more at peace than you were in the beginning, you have made yourself powerful, and you are going to have a great birth." To hear someone say that felt so wonderfully affirming, I think that gave me a lot of strength right there.

And I did have a great birth.
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#9 of 10 Old 05-16-2004, 08:56 PM
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There is a wonderful article written by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD Making Peace with Your Birth Experience that appeared in LLL's A New Beginnings Magazine. I hope it helps!

Originally Posted by mamaley
i was selfish, ignorant, and made a very stupid mistake.
Yikes Mamaley! That's being really hard on yourself. First of almost everybody is "ignorant" the first time around. Don't beat yourself up for not knowing EVERYTHING about birth/bonding you do now. Second, you weren't even SUPPORTED by the people who should have. I can hardly blame you for that. I fault them. (And at some point, you have to let that anger go. Otherwise it will just continue to hurt you.

Third thing I want to say is your son's icon is the same as mine. A bouncy, happy kid. That's a great thing. That's what you should focus on. It doesn't look to me like you failed.

Blueviolet - great post! Validating and simply listening are the best sometimes (of course I can't do that now.)

Anyway, Mamaley I know you feel about his rough start. So did my son. At the hospital:
1) He came out SCREAMING, angry and upset (damn that Pitocin, which probably denied him some oxygen and me lying flat on my back pushing him hard for 2 hours... )
2) They plopped him on my chest for 5 minutes then took him away. I didn't get to breastfeed my newborn for HOURS! He was perfectly fine and healthy.
3) He remained separated from me in the maternity ward for most of his 2 days. He cried (screamed loudy ing ) A LOT most of the time. I couldn't understand what was wrong. When I held him, he was peaceful and fine. I asked the nurses what was wrong, and they didn't seem concerned in the least. (Easy for THEM to ignore, not give a shit.) I later learned that crying like that can cause brain cells to die. More guilt. (I can provide the link, but I'm not right now, because it'll just make you feel worse.) This is my first big regret and what haunted me for months.
4) I signed the F-ing circ consent form, because I felt railroaded by DH (but that's a whole other guilt thing. I'm going to just focus on the other "rough start" regrets.)

Anyway, the crying he did in the maternity ward really, really haunted me. It dawned on me when I got home how much he must have suffered. They brought him to me to BF then took him back. I saw him screaming once and ignored by the staff in the room. I was knocking on the window to get him. They took their time.

I also noticed a binky in his bassinet (I had requested NO binkies) and that was ignored. He probably got formula I noticed a mechanical baby rocker. and after plugging his mouth, they probably put him in that F-ing thing to soothe him. Why didn't they just go to me????? I wasn't an invalid.

I did succeed in avoiding the Epidural for 18 hours and having a pretty painfree labor thanks to HypnoBirthing, but I had no idea how typical maternity/hospital treatment would affect my baby. Live and learn. I don't beat myself up for that. How could I have known?

Anyway, a few months later, at a playgroup (he must have been 8 months old or so) I shared my feelings and a mom said, "but look at him now... he's happy and thriving." Yup.

When we got home, I held him A LOT and I think that helped him - but it almost made me suicidal because I was overwhelmed for the first two weeks, breastfeeding and holding him all day with little breaks... I was determined to hold/soothe him (he was a high-need baby that THRIVED on being held.) He was only calmed by being held. He couldn't even sleep alone for the first 7 months.

It's weird, even at 8 months post-partum I was still feeling bad and guilty about how he suffered, but my friend helped me see reality. I let go of that sadness then and there.

(But the circumcision still hurts me. I see penis everyday. That sadness will always be there. The best thing I can do now to make myself feel better about that is help other parents-to-be avoid the trap I fell into.)

Mamaley, at what point did you start to feel bonded with your son? At what point did you see that he was happy???? Pretty early I bet.

You made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Your son is happy and loved. You have not failed him. I bet you caught up pretty quick - as quick as humanly possible.

I can't even wish to go back in time because I can't do it, so it's a waste of my energy. The only thing I can focus on is right now and I do a pretty darned good job of it now.

There are still many gifts you can give your DS... focus on all the good you do. He's a bouncy, happy kid for a reason - you.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#10 of 10 Old 05-20-2004, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to come back here and say that I greatly appreciate all the responses.
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