I was in labor for 33 hours before I dilated past 1cm and dealt with serious issues of inadequacy about my epidural and the other interventions that then came with it. When my friend told me her birth story I wanted to be happy for her that things turned out well but mostly I was ANGRY and JEALOUS, even though I knew that wasn't fair.
I think the fact that you are going to therapy will help tremendously. I go to counseling with my husband but now that I am pregnant again I am thinking of scheduling some 1 on 1 sessions to deal with my disappointment. I know it's hard to talk about IRL sometimes because no one else seems to understand.
We think green! Gentle mama to 3 amazing kiddos. Recovering from religion.
LIFEschooling. Extended NAKing. Graduated cloth diaperer.
I have 3 kids. The 1st was born by cesarean, the 2nd by VBAC but I was treated horribly and the 3rd by home waterbirth. I was so looking forward to the homebirth being everything I deserved with my other 2. It was nothing like what I deserved. I had an easy labor, but horrid time pushing, no support at all from my midwife even though I was literally crying for help, being encouraged to "push harder", a bad tear, bad hemmorhage, pitocin, passing out, catheter, nursing issues... I was so disappointed. I didn't talk about it to anyone at all, if I did I said it was a "very nice" experience because I didn't want to say what a nightmare my "beautiful homebirth" was. I couldn't even write my birth story for months because even thinking about it was too painful.
When my baby was 1.5 years old I attended the birth of my best friend at the time and she had the birth I SHOULD have had. I have read every birth book known to man, I walked each day, I ate well, I practiced Bradley and visualizations, I talked to my baby, I relaxed, I watched birth videos and daydreamed about the birth I would have, I did everything. She was in labor for only a couple of hours, pushed for 10 minutes, had TONS of support, no tear, no bleeding, her husband and she caught the baby, she got great pictures and a video...basically everything I should have had, but didn't. She had the same midwife and the midwife was so positive toward her. I was so happy when I was there at her house, but after I got home I started crying and just didn't stop for days. I was literally sick over it and it has affected our friendship and how I feel about her. I know that isn't right, but my feelings are too strong to be denied.
I dont know what to do to get over this, I dont think I ever will because for one thing I have to constantly hear how "great" this midwife is and because I probably won't have any more kids and won't have the experience that I was hoping for. It has been one of the biggest disappointments of my life. I really think that I need to go to therapy because of my births, but I feel very odd complaining about having crappy birth experiences when I feel that I should just be happy that my children have all been healthy. All I know is that these births have left me feeling very depressed and pretty much incapable of trusting any health care professionals anymore.
Anyways, just wanted to be another voice letting you know that you aren't alone. Love and hugs,
I waited and waited for labor to start and it never did. Lots of prodromal stuff, but no labor. At 43 weeks I had a frightening dream about the baby and realized how little the baby had been moving the last few days, so we decided to go in and get checked out. Once at the hospital we discovered that I had high blood pressure and that the baby looked ok, but she wasn't moving much at all, so we decided to go ahead with an induction. I was fortunate that I only needed AROM to get things going. The last 2 hours of the birth were really horrible for me though, I had a cervical lip and a baby with a funky head position and a nurse who "yelled" (my husband says she wasn't yelling, but it felt like yelling to me) in my face with each contraction to stop pushing because I was swelling my cervix and I would never get the baby out if I kept pushing... all the while I was trying sooooooooo hard not to push, I couldn't help it though. Finally after 2 hours of me trying not to push and pleading for an epidural (I wanted one just so that I wouldn't have the urge to push and have them yelling in my face to stop doing it) I demanded that they get me an epidural or knock me out cold at that moment and I demanded to speak to the doctor. He came to the room right away (small hospital and I was the only one having a baby) and told me to lean back and I did and my baby came out. But she came out to everyone yelling at me to not birth her because the doctor had no gloves, and she came out while 3 nurses tried to pick up my body and move me to the end of the bed. It was excruciating to be moved with a body half out of mine and mid-push. And then they let me see my baby for just a moment and then took her across the room to a table where they kept her for what seems like ages.... the nurses even left the room to get stuff and left my baby way across the room from me like that. And I just wanted to hold her so badly. It was so not at all the way I had planned my birth. It wasn't bad for the hospital though, they were respectful to me, I had rooming in, they were cool with me laboring on a birth ball and in the tub, they didn't push medicines or medical interventions, etc.... and it was a vaginal birth too! This was a birth that many people would love to have.
However, I still greived that it wasn't the birth that I had planned. I had planned to birth in a fishy swimming pool in my kitchen, with my children and sister there. To scoop up my little one into my own arms and to tie off the cord with homemade ties in the prettiest colors of embroidary floss that I picked out special and to cuddle up in my bed and breastfeed and eventually send out the message that baby was born and we were all comfy. And then to later bury the placenta (after eating a bit) in our yard and brag to the neighbors about how wonderful it all was. Oh, and I planned for video and black and white photos and all of that... and none of it happened at all.
And to make it feel worse, one woman was critisizing me and my choices and birth online to a group she didn't know I was a part of.... and then she went on to have a nice homebirth herself and I was so angry about that. At the same time, it wouldn't have made me feel better for anyone to have bad birth experiences either.
For about the first week, I sobbed and wanted to put my beautiful baby back in my womb for a do-over. I just sat in the bathtub and cried and cried and cried that I hadn't given her, or myself, the birth that I had planned. And I wondered if any of the choices I had made were the right ones or if I had just been paranoid and then messed everything up because of that.
Finally, now at 7 months after her birth, I have come much more to terms with it all. I have known from the get-go that this was my issue. I have just constantly reminded myself that birth is only a small part of parenting. I let myself dwell on it too to see what parts I was really sad about. For awhile, I couldn't read any birth stories at all because I would get so jealous and I didn't want to give off that jealous energy to a new mama. I learned some lessons from my daughter's birth too and am really not afraid of birthing in hospitals anymore, which I think is a good thing as before I was terrified of them. So, in many ways the birth just humbled me and made me a more well rounded person.... even though it hurt like hell to get there. And now I am in a place where I don't get jealous anymore... well, maybe a little, but not in a bad way. And I don't take it personally when I see phrases like "trust birth" (before, I was pretty sure that people were saying it just to tell me that I didn't trust birth enough and they were all out to tell me what a crappy birther I am), so that is good.
I think that you having a tough time is actually a good thing, it means that you are allowing yourself to hurt instead of just shoving those feelings down and not recognizing them. I hope that soon you find yourself in a place where things don't hurt quite so much.
Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.
Writing out my birth story really helped. I wrote it out longhand first, then typed it up and posted it here on MDC. I hope that sharing your birth experience will help bring you peace.
i do have a hard time listening to easy birth stories too, but i try to take a deep breath and not take it personally, though sometimes it's very difficult.
i am a natural birth advocate and still consider myself to be a hb mom even though we ended up with a hospital birth with the cascade of interventions. it's brought up an interesting thing in my life, though. i still absolutely believe in hb (and hope in earnest for one in my future!!) and when i suggest hb or birth center births, now that people know my story, they are scared off because now they say "well, if you couldn't do it, i absolutely can't". i had a picture perfect pregancy, ate well, took incredible care of myself and had a train wreck of a birth, so i'm no longer a good representative for natural birthing, even though i believe in it so strongly. :
Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.
Erika, kidspiration, lynsey-- your stories made me cry. I am so sorry you had those experiences....don't you find it healing to write about it here?
kidspiration, i love how you said you still consider yourself a hb mama! that is the "permission" I have been waiting for. I DO still consider myself a hb mama also, and feel better saying it aloud now that I have heard your take on it. "Poser"....I know exactly what you mean.
to you all. you have made this week more bareable.
p.s. on a good note, I have spoken to my friend everyday (helping her with BF issues and general stuff) and have been able to not be too angry/jealous, unless she talks about the birth of course but she hasn't much, I think b/c now all her focus is on her daughter and BFing...
as for the spiritual and emotional healing, i have been so fortunate to find a craniosacral therapist in my area that specializes in trauma resolution, focusing on birth trauma. it has been incredibly healing for me. she also works with my daughter, she is incredibly healthy and vibrant but in her newborn and early baby days i felt very strongly that she was expressing some residual emotional pain and fear from her very stressful and harrowing birth. the craniosacral therapy has helped tremendously in that regard.
this is a topic that isn't discussed very often out there in the real world. as long as you have a healthy baby...this culture has completely forgotten and minimalized the impact of the birthing experience on a woman. when a baby is born, a mother is born as well, it is a tremendous rite of passage for a woman, and this can have life-altering repercussions. i hope that my horrible experience will translate into compassion in my work with mothers and babies (i am a physical therapist that specializes in working with children with special needs but am in the process of shifting my career focus to opening a yoga studio dedicated to children/prenatal/postnatal/mommy&me yoga classes).
and i've not admitted it to anyone else but i secretly long for a uc if we are to have another child. my dream is to plan for a midwife assisted homebirth but for things to happen in such a way that the baby is born safely, gently and lovingly into my own hands.
I'm a very laid-back person, so it's been easier on me, but I definitely feel a little "cheated" when I hear others talk about their birth experiences....
I tried SO hard to get my body to do what it was supposed to do...but ended up finally being induced, when I was starting to really fear for my baby's well-being.
I ended up in labour for 54 hours, and it was a miracle (and an epidural!) that allowed me to end up birthing my son vaginally.
I still enjoyed labour (I'm a weirdo, I know...lol), but I didn't get to do any of the things I'd wanted...
Like you, it seems like everyone I know had much shorter, easier births, even though they were all having their first babies, too! And, most of the time, they didn't do ANYTHING to prepare like I did!
Also, many other moms I know had epidurals just because it was there and they wanted it. For me, it was necessity, otherwise I was going to have a c-section because my body could not go any longer without rest. I wouldn't really wish a hard labour on anyone, but I just sort of think, "well, if they were going to get an epidural anyways...why couldn't THEY have had the 54-hour labour...I would have been FINE with a 5-hour, 10-hour, even a 24-hour labour!"
I take comfort in knowing that it's unlikely that I will have such a difficult labour next time. I will not get induced again unless I get the same "impending doom" feeling, which hopefully will not happen, especially considering it won't be my first next time...
I look forward to trying again, and having an easier time next time....but even if I end up with a c-section, as long as my baby is okay, I will be happy. I just think that if I tell myself that enough...I will believe it!
Hugs to you...
Mom to two amazing boys, C (July 2005) and D (May 2010)
Founder/leader of a Babywearing group, and loving it!
I have spoken of many of these things so few times and with very few people, but in reading your post, I started to feel some healing coming on.
I too wanted a natural birth, was planning on having her at the local birth centre with our much loved MW. I found out about my low platelets at 38 wks. They wouldn't allow me to have her there and I was transfered to the most selfabsorbed doctor in the world. My mind held back my labour. It held back my progression in labour. I basically was so fearful of all that was going to happen that i wouldn't allow dd to come out.
In the end, 42 hours later, one shot of stadol (even though it was highly disadvised, I too couldn't have an epidural and I was ready to collapse), many threats of c/s, and countless attempts to get me to induce, my healthy little girl was born. I was exhausted, and she wouldn't latch. What followed was weeks of MW visits, lactation consultants, nipple shields, and PPD. What is still following is feelings of inadequateness, the why me syndrome, and many other negative feelings. And like you when someone tells me of their wonderful birth, I am angry.
But we did all we could, with the situation at hand. The anger that I have found within myself is a normal human reaction to the failure that I imposed upon myself. I feel that my entry into the world of motherhood was scarred and it just takes a bit longer to get over this than I thought it would.
I know this post isn't positive, it likely wont help you to feel better, I just know what you are feeling and wanted to share.
Also, I would love to talk more with you about your low platelets...I have yet to find someone on here who has had this experience.
Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.
the street thug turned respectable police officer, the addict turned drug counselor,the cancer survivor turned cancer patient therapist, and the midwife that has EXPERIENCED both sides. I would choose these people over the Ward and June Cleaver types simply because the Wards and Junes have not LIVED any of those lives, they just read about them in books. You have been blessed to have lived through one of the most terrifying experiences and you WILL be blessed in the future to deliver naturally. God does not make mistakes. Everything happens for a reason. The experience that you call a "mess" is now your "message" The "test" that God brought you out of is now you "testimony." How many midwives do you know can speak from what they've lived and not just from what they've read? Hold your head up and be proud of what you've lived through. Tell you're friend that you're jealous b/c she did it first, but you're time is coming!
yes yes yes!!!
motheroffive-- that was a beautiful post. thank you so much. you are right-- this WILL make me a better midwife.
ipfree-- you are right also. one day I will share with her how this has been for me. not now, but one day. I think I may even let her read this thread (if she doesn't find it on her own! she isn't on here yet). it explains how I feel but you all explain things so well that I think your posts will also further help her understand where I am coming from.
northcountrymama-- your post WAS really helpful actually, SOOO many similarities. to you and thank you for sharing it. we will be healed. as far as the low platelets-- I actually didn't have low P's, but blood tests revealed that I did. I know it sounds odd-- I had to see a hematologist in my 2nd trimester (when it was discovered) and it turns out that my blood was just clotting (but I didn't have "hypercoagulative blood" either) too fast (while waiting to be evaluated) so it APPEARED that the P's were on the low side. they were just stuck together in the vacutainer tube. when they looked at my blood IMMEDIATELY after it was drawn, two feet away from me in a really advanced lab, they were fine and I was given a clean bill of health. I didn't ask for permission to HB, but he said all was fine and that's all I needed to hear.
So when we transferred to the hospital, the lab work that was drawn said my platelets were low and even the paperwork my midwife brought that showed the "advanced" blood work done with the hematol. didn't persuade the anesthesiologist. I even begged for them redraw, they did, and same story. The anesthesiologist didn't want to touch me, and wouldn't even come talk to me. but I know it was a blessing in disguise.
Thank you again everyone, and keep the stories coming if you find it helpful
I am glad that my sharing was actually helpful, and sooo glad that your low platelets aren't something that you still have to deal with, take it from me it's a tough thing to live with sometimes. But really really really crappy that the inaccurate blood draws caused you to miss out on a birth that you had wanted.
Again though as you said, perhaps a blessing in disguise. I think this alot too. If I had of gotten an epidural would I have had a c/s. Would that crazy anisthesiologist have been in there tormenting me the entire time? Would I have been more disappointed than I am now?
There is so much healing to do eh? I never knew how much until I started writing this out yesterday. Thank you for getting this process rolling with me, I can't tell you how much I have needed to get some of this out.
Because of my relatively "easy" experiences, I think very early in my career I fell into the trap of thinking my experience happened because I some how made them happen. You know, "I read a lot and prepared a lot, so I had a good birth" or "I never let the baby be separated from me, so breastfeeding was easier." Of course, to a small extent these things are true - obviously, if I'd planned an elective cesarean birth instead I'd never have had a vaginal birth, and certainly there are things you can do to increase your chances of a vaginal birth and a good breastfeeding start, but none of these things are guarantees. At first in my practice life, I would look at things that happened to my clients and think that if they'd just done x or y, or tried harder, or had a better pain tolerance, or whatever, they'd have had a better outcome. It took me a couple years to realize that everyone has there own experience and that there is a large component of luck? or fate? or whatever you want to call it in how things turn out for people. Realizing that has I think made me a much better, more compassionate birth attendant and helped me let go of any sense of superiority or arrogance over my own experiences. I think it was just good genetic luck that I had fast labors, and the type of pain that is well managed with standard comfort care measures, and babies who were lined up well, and babies who nursed well right from the start, and an adequate milk supply. Looking back at some of the choices I made with regards to birth attendants, I know my good experiences were more based on luck than sense!
Perhaps, as a mama who's been through the ringer, so to speak, you will be able to avoid the same lack of understanding and be more compassionate, more understanding, and more supportive right from the start. Perhaps you will be able to face a mama with terrible pain and tell her honestly you know how she feels - even if you aren't able to offer relief, at least being heard and validated can be helpful and go a long ways toward making the experience empowering and character building instead of overwhelming and demeaning.
you brought up some great points and I appreciate it
this experience has also taught me, like many of you said, that things I thought would give me a shoe-in for an easy lovely birth are not garauntees. My mom had me, her first baby in under 6 hours after *some* preparation and mostly alone (single mom) except for my "uncles" (mom's gay best friends).
I worry sometimes that having my little sister (24 yrs) at Miles' birth has somehow really scared her, or scarred her.
My sister has had difficult labors, all with an epi. She has had easy BFing experiences. I have had easy labors, no drugs, but BOTH time difficult BFing experiences (the 2nd time was truly scary). When I had problems with my 1st, my sister just wasn't sympathetic . . .she implied something was wrong with me-- why was BFing so hard for me? It was so hurtful. I remember that, and now I am careful to know I can never, ever, ever walk in anyone else's shoes. No one will EVER walk in yours. No one will ever know what it was like for you or what they would have really done. You absolutely cannot compare yourself!
2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11
I completely understand.
My birth was a huge, huge disappointment. Like you, I had seen a sibling born at home, and really believed in natural childbirth. I felt so well-prepared! My DH and I had practiced for an hour a night leading up to the end of my pregnancy. And all of my friends, who were less into natural childbirth than I was, had easy deliveries! I was so angry and sad that I had "failed". I stay out of the Birth Stories forum because every time I look it makes me cry.
No big words of wisdom, just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
I remember that, and now I am careful to know I can never, ever, ever walk in anyone else's shoes. No one will EVER walk in yours. No one will ever know what it was like for you or what they would have really done. You absolutely cannot compare yourself!
great point-- we can NEVER pretend to know how someone is experiencing something, even if we have BTDT-- there are just too many factors. thanks for reminding me of that
It was a huge, huge disappointment. Like you, I had seen a sibling born at home, and really believed in natural childbirth. I felt so well-prepared! My DH and I had practiced for an hour a night leading up to the end of my pregnancy. And all of my friends, who were less into natural childbirth than I was, had easy deliveries! I was so angry and sad that I had "failed". I stay out of the Birth Stories form because every time I look it makes me cry.
No big words of wisdom, just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
As time has passed, though, I've come to really appreciate the strength I had in that labor! It was amazing to come through it all (I managed to avoid pain meds), and I'm really proud of making it through a more difficult experience. And I'd never feel jealous of someone who's baby was born even a few weeks early, or small, etc..., because no matter what, that wouldn't be part of my ideal birth, right?
What's really helped me was having another child, another birth, more on my own terms. It still was "long" for a second labor (12 hours) and invovled a castor oil induction at 42 weeks, but it was wonderful to have that experience, to again accomplish bringing a child into the world. And it's so funny, throughout the end of the labor, I kept talking to people about the baby/birth, and kept saying, "Well, I trust my body. I know *I* could have a nine pound baby." (I'm 5'2"). Know what? Baby was 9 lbs. exactly! Now I know what to visualize, though, hands down low, no nuchal hands!
And with this baby, I'm ready for a UC. I'm confident, and I know I can handle the birth, I trust things so much more, and I've found that it's not even a matter of being my own best advocate, it's about being my own birth partner. I bet with time and more positive birth experiences in your life, the same thing will happen, you'll have a chance to let go and re-process. HTH!!
"I read a lot and prepared a lot, so I had a good birth" or "I never let the baby be separated from me, so breastfeeding was easier." ...... but none of these things are guarantees.
Liv, SAHM of 3 kiddos