Feeling Traumatized but everyone else thought it was a perfect birth (?) - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 49 Old 01-27-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
LilacMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I want to preface this by saying that I am very aware that other women have had truly long, difficult births, often resulting in vacuums/forceps/c-sections and other things that have been far more difficult to process than my birth. I feel guilty for posting my "easy" birth story, but I also wanted sort through some of my negative feelings about my birth.

I had planned a hospital birth with a midwife at a hospital about 2 minutes from my house. First baby. I was impatient to get baby out for a number of reasons and took castor oil after a good nights sleep at 7am (2 days before EDD). I went back to sleep. Woke up at 7:45 with contractions and diarrhea. Sat on the pot for a little while, then took a shower, still having contractions that were stronger than I'd had during the earlier part of my pregnancy.

Got out of the shower and started timing them. 2 minutes apart and very regular. Woke my husband up around 8:15am. I was very calm and not quite admitting to myself that this was happening REALLY fast. My husband, thinking things would be nice and slow (like we heard about in childbirth class) asked if he has time to shower and eat some oatmeal. I said yes (should have said ''no'' probably...I was being very calm).

Halfway through his oatmeal I started vocalizing during contractions. We both knew this was the real thing. I was having intense back pain on both sides of my lower back and my husband kept heating up our heating pack in the microwave for me and rubbing my back. I called my midwife and she said I should come in to be checked. I said I was doing okay at home for now. So, we made a plan for me to come in at 9:30.

So I labored at home until then with contractions every 2min apart. I threw up and had more diarrhea. I remember wishing I could shower and brush my teeth but didn't think I could focus to do those things. Even though my back pain was bad, I remember thinking "Wow, I hope this is all there is to it. I can totally DO this!"

We drove to the midwife's office (next to hospital). I was 7cm and baby was engaged. I was so excited to hear that! We walked across the street to the hospital. I had to stop twice for contractions, but otherwise, the walk felt good.

I sat on a birthing ball as soon as we got to the hospital room, answered the admit questions between contractions. I kept asking my husband to rub my back and complaining about the back pain. The midwife offered sterile water injections and I accepted. She said they hurt like hell and she wasn't kidding. I yelled with each injection. It definitely didn't take the pain away but I think it took an edge off for about 45minutes. I then agreed to get in the tub. The tub was only okay. The water wasn't warm enough to touch the back pain and it was a standard sized tub -- not a full sized birthing tub. But it was as good a place as any available.

I labored for a while resting between contractions with my midwife sitting there and my husband holding my hand. Around 11am I started having contractions that I had trouble handling -- they made me feel panicky. I was feeling intense rectal pressure with them but the back pain was far worse than any other feeling. After about 5 of these I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet at my midwife's advice. She checked my cervix and I was 10 cm. Here's where it went downhill....

She said I could start pushing at any time. I felt no urge to push. But I pushed a little bit on the toilet and the pain in my back and the pressure in my rectum just blew my mind. I felt like I was being gutted. She said "I expect pushing to take anywhere from 2-4 hours." And I became totally disoriented and devastated. I asked about an epidural or pain meds and she explained why they wouldn't be appropriate (I already knew the answers). She asked if I wanted my water broken and I had no idea what I wanted at that time. She broke it.

She said to push again and I tried but I wasn't really pushing very much because of how painful it was. The back pain wasn't stopping even between contractions. She did more sterile water injections and I screamed again. I don't know if it helped at all or not. Still had horrible back pain. I finally said "I need a minute. I need to rest a minute." They said okay.

They had set up the bed for me to get in knee chest position so I did that for a while. I was still felt utterly desperate to get out of the situation. I felt like I could NOT continue it and I wouldn't be able to continue pushing past the pain. At one point someone (the nurse or the midwife) rubbed my hips and lower back with massage oil VERY FIRMLY and it felt so amazing. I think that's what made me feel like I could crawl back out of the hole.

They set up the squat bar for me. I started giving some effort. Also utterly excruciating. I would have had a c-section right then and there had they offered it. I was starting to get angry with myself and the situation. I started really pushing. Then they got me on my back (not any worse than any other position for me) with people holding my legs and I was pushing then. I pushed so hard. I didn't think anything coherant this entire time until someone said "Baby has hair!" and I said "She does? Really?" I remember thinking "Where the f*** is the baby nurse and delivery tray?!" and they finally arrived. The baby nurse stood near me and was very encouraging. I felt like I had lost absolutely all dignity and was just sobbing and completely wrecked by the pain and fear. I couldn't bring myself to let me legs go far enough apart and my midwife told me that if I could give two good pushes with my legs way up to my ears that I could have the baby. I felt like she had just suggested that I have a c-section without anesthesia -- I was so horrified by that suggestion. I did it and baby was born. Healthy and only a 1st degree tear at 12:30pm.

While I felt immense relief and happiness to see her, I never felt my "birth high," I felt like I'd lost all sense of hope and reason and barely survived (mentally). I was just so shaken by the amount of pain in the last 1 1/2 (felt like 20 hours). I was very "fuzzy headed" and I remember that I was talking to the baby and enjoying her but wasn't very "on top of things" -- I let her get too cold (which I knew better!) by not keeping her wrapped up enough. I also let the nurse try to latch her on for a while (holding my boob and her head and trying to mash the two together and the right time while she was screaming). Which, retrospectively is totally ridiculous because I am a post-partum nurse! I know how to latch a baby on! I was just soooo dazed and kindof feeling like a failure all around.

Also, not the end of the world but ANNOYING, I let them take her to the nursery after about 3 hours to get a hearing screen (because we wanted to leave that afternoon) and the nurse asked about a bath. I said "Oh, I'll just give her a bath at home and you can just bring her back as soon as she's finished with the test." My husband and I both fell asleep and woke up over an hour later -- he went to get her. She was totally bathed! It didn't really register with me until I got home and kept smelling her head -- baby soap. Argh!

Am I a total wimp? Why did I lose it so completely right before pushing? Why no birth high? Why no adrenaline rush so that I was alert and together for my baby in the first few hours of her life? I FELT like I had been drugged (I hadn't..I didn't even have an IV).

BTW, it was the hospital I work at as a nurse. Apparently, the story there is that I had an AMAZING, perfect, powerful birth. It was just picture perfect and totally what I deserved for all my hard work and planning, they say. My husband says he felt like it went totally smoothly too. I just never expected to feel so shaken up and traumatized. ESPECIALLY given the fact that things went remarkably well (clinically speaking). I thought I would be ON TOP OF THE WORLD.

Anyway, sorry about the length and sorry to you mamas who really did have terrible birth experiences. I don't know what's wrong with me -- I should feel grateful about it. I just need to process some more and get my head around it.
LilacMama is offline  
#2 of 49 Old 01-27-2009, 07:51 PM
 
Romana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 4,365
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Expectation is a hard thing to deal with. I understand where you're coming from. I had two difficult births. The first one had 7.5 hours of transition (not fun). The second one had the most astonishing, horrendous, agonizing pain I could possibly imagine for the last 2-3 hours of it. The things you wrote made me remember the pain in a more visceral way than anything else has recently.

I also never experienced a birth high, just relief that it was over. I also felt very demoralized by the experience and did not feel at all empowered or thrilled.

Medically uncomplicated births, like yours, can still be traumatizing. I personally believe that there is a certain level of pain that is simply traumatizing all on its own, even with no other factors present. Add in the nudity, the presence of other people, the fact that you're supposed to be happy and excited, and the perceptions of other people, and it can be heightened in the atmosphere of birth.

Congratulations on your baby. I think the birth experience itself will take some time to process. That kind of pain is really hard to wrap your head around. It definitely doesn't happen in all births (didn't happen during my first birth, just my second). So to a lot of people witnessing the birth, it seemed to be fine, whereas only you know what your feelings and perceptions were.

It's not your fault the birth was hard or traumatizingly painful. You're not a wimp. Sometimes, birth is just really awful, even when it's medically uncomplicated. You do not have to feel grateful about it. That's like telling a woman who had a necessary crash c-section that she should be grateful for the c-section because her baby lived. You can be thankful that it was medically uncomplicated and happy about your baby but still angry, unhappy etc. about what the birth was like for YOU as you experienced it.

I also think that sometimes, because there are a lot of great birth stories, the natural birth community sets women up for some expectations that are often not met, including, perhaps:

(1) If I do everything right (chiro, nutrition, hypnosis, whatever), nothing will go wrong with the birth because I'm low-risk;

(2) The pain of natural childbirth is always manageable;

(3) Having a natural birth will make me feel elated and empowered.

There are others, but the fact is that while these are all things we aspire for (uncomplicated birth, manageable or no pain, feeling great about the birth experience), they don't always pan out. Natural birth is not a panacea. All the Webster technique, acupuncture and hypnosis in the world can't guarantee anything. And in trying to be helpful when someone has an experience that is not so great, frequently the suggestions end up in a tone of victim blaming - sort of an "If you'd done this, maybe it would have been better" kind of thing. Not intentionally, but it does happen.

There are a number of women out there who have had totally natural, medically uncomplicated births and found the experience to not be a great one. That doesn't take away from the merits of natural birth or homebirth, but I think it would have helped me to know (before I gave birth the first time) that it was a possibility.
Romana is offline  
#3 of 49 Old 01-27-2009, 08:58 PM
 
KermitMissesJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: With the lovers and the dreamers
Posts: 2,755
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


I completely understand. On paper my fourth birth and first homebirth looks great, but the fear and pain I developed when it was time to push led me to the brink of somewhere I cannot accurately describe. I was mentally absent right after the birth and ended up only holding my little darling to me for a short while before I let him out of my bedroom to be held by his great-grandmother (not something I mind AT ALL, she is wonderful, but in my right mind I would have kept him for hours). And then dh, who has known nothing but hospital births, wrapped him up like a burrito, stuck him in the bassinet in our room, crawled into bed and said "we need to sleep now, all of us." He wasn't wrong, since we'd been up for over 24 hours at that point, but I would have had that baby between us if I'd been mentally present.

Fuzzy-headed and out of it, I am so there with you. Don't let anyone else tell you how your birth was, because you are the only one who experienced it from your point of view.

We are six: Me : Dh : Ds1('00) Dd('02) Ds2('05) Ds3('08) and, wow! Soon to be seven, Dd2 due 4/23.
KermitMissesJim is offline  
#4 of 49 Old 01-27-2009, 10:47 PM
 
bobandjess99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northern IN
Posts: 5,912
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i totally agree with romana. All her points are great.
I will also say that in regards to other people thinking it was great but you being in indescribable agony, I too tried to put that into words at one point. It was hard to describe. Basically, what I finally said to dh, was that I think it is inconceiveable to understand how much pain I was going through, because I didn't LOOK injured. but for me, it was like a switch being thrown. In between contractions, no pain, and then when the contraction hit, BLINDING pain..absolutely mind-blowing, paralizing, godawful pain.
but yet...on the outside.....nothing. Outwardly, I dod not appear any differnt tyhan I had at 1 cm, when tyeh contractions were manageable. i mean, you don't LOOK at someone who seems to be perfectly fine, no bullet wounds, stabs, cuts, no bleeding head gash, no bamboo under the fingernails, etc, and think "my gosh, she must be in panic-inducing, mind-blowing pain!" It doesn't correlate mentally. It doesn't maske sense that sonmeone who shows no outward signs of injury should be in SO MUCH pain.
i told dh that in order to visually represent the amount of pain I was in, you would have to picture someone who had just been hit by a freight train and was literally being drug along in bloody pieces, but yet somehow still alive and capable of feeling pain.
THAT is how much pain I was in.

I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but that is something I thought about.

CPST
bobandjess99 is offline  
#5 of 49 Old 01-27-2009, 11:07 PM
 
Romana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 4,365
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobandjess99 View Post
I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but that is something I thought about.
I completely understand.

OP, I'm sorry my post was so rambling. I was just throwing everything out there. I hope it helps. You're not alone! Not crazy, and not a wimp, either.
Romana is offline  
#6 of 49 Old 01-28-2009, 03:47 AM
srs
 
srs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 678
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Definitely not alone. What you described sounds very familiar. :

DD 04/07 DS 12/09
srs is offline  
#7 of 49 Old 01-28-2009, 12:11 PM
 
Right of Passage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: The abyss of grief
Posts: 2,334
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had no birth high either I'm so sorry

bf.jpg Sami brokenheart.gif, wife to jammin.gif, mama to reading.gif Tate 10/14/05, moon.gifKaleb 12/17/07, angel.gifcandleflicker2.gif Bram 3/13/10-11/17/12, mischievous.gif Alden 2/1/12, pos.gif October 2014
 homeschool.gifvbac.gifuc.jpg 

Right of Passage is offline  
#8 of 49 Old 01-28-2009, 12:35 PM
 
La Rune's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm one of those mothers with a long difficult labor and a c-section, plus some absolutely inhuman treatment in the hospital afterwards, but I definitely believe a situation like yours can be traumatic, too. Don't discount the feelings you're having! Trauma is such an individual thing ... if a mama thinks she was traumatized, she was. That's all there is to it.

ITA with Romana's post too. A certain level of pain (which might be different for every woman), the nudity, the people, the expectations ... all can contribute.
La Rune is offline  
#9 of 49 Old 01-28-2009, 02:00 PM
 
jrabbit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Houston
Posts: 2,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm terribly sorry that you're having such difficulty processing what you felt. I think you are very brave to have spoken up, but I don't think anyone in your immediate circle is gonna understand (I know you know that). I appreciate your story, though, because it made me step back and think about how I speak of birth. I think it "can" be wonderful, but there are obviously women who don't reach that wonderful "birth high" - I confess that always thought of it as something they did have control over. However, in my defense, it's all I know. I had two natural births, and while certainly painful, they were not overwhelming. Then, I had an emergency c-s. Now, in the intensely traumatic recovery process, I'm appalled by all the women who claim that c-s is "no big deal." And my c-s wasn't even complicated! I don't intend to hijack your thread, but I do see a correlation. It's all about your own experiences, and you have every right to have had a lousy birth. (I'm so sorry you feel that way.)

One thing I've **always** said, though, is that there is no single way to have a baby. It has to be right for the mama.

I do hope you can reach a healing point.
--janis

Mama to 3 girls 12,8,3
jrabbit is offline  
#10 of 49 Old 02-05-2009, 12:28 PM
 
phatchristy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Controlled chaos...
Posts: 9,381
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think all of us after birth have certain things that go unexpectedly that we do need to work through, even births that to outsiders can look perfect can have issues. It all has to do with the mother's desires and expectations. And, most definitely the mother's feelings are valid, and you have a right to grieve and process through what didn't go as you expected.

My midwife and I were just talking about this the other day. My DS wound up being an unexpected UC. The mw didn't make it in time, in fact, it was a whirlwind quick labor and DH caught him as I squatted in our master bath w/ the cell phone on with the mw in the background in case we needed her because there was no chance she'd make it. For me, I have been here on MDC, know friends who UC'd, and DS came so quickly that I didn't have much of a time to panic or think about what *could* go wrong...and I just went with it when the time came. My experiences led me to believe that when babes come quickly that 99.9% of the time there are no issues, a baby is in an ideal position, etc. So I wasn't worried...when I realized babe was coming right away DH didn't call 911, he called the mw...however eveyrone he worked with was like "why didn't you call 911?" And, that next day, the head mw called me up to make sure that I wasn't traumatized by the event, because she's had a few cases with unplanned unassisted births where the moms were traumatized...even in cases where the birth was quick and to outsiders may have looked perfect. So, to different women, different things are traumatic.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

phatchristy is offline  
#11 of 49 Old 02-06-2009, 12:38 PM
 
AmieV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think there are a few things at play here...first, expectations. I worked with a mom last summer who said she had envisioned relaxing, laboring peacefully in the tub...well, her labor was grueling. She did labor in the tub but it was far from relaxing. My own birth went far from as expected, and being a third time mom, as much as I KNOW as a professional to let go of those expectations, I still figured as a third timer I knew somewhat to expect. I transferred to the hospital after my baby got stuck at 10 cm for a few hours and it took me several weeks to be able to think about it without feeling very upset, even though we were treated quite well at the hospital and had an awesome outcome for how things were looking. I had envisioned things one way and when they didn't happen, it was hard to accept.

Another big thing that stood out to me was the pain you experienced. Again, my third birth was so different than my other two...I had a band of burning pain across the front of my belly that didn't coiincide with contractions, it was just constant and excruciating. It changed my perception of labor dramatically...my other labors were certainly difficult and painful at times, but never just completely panic-inducing and unmanageable. I felt really, really scared and that wasn't an emotion I was familiar with. I think that probably played a role in why you didn't experience the "birth high". I definitely did with my first two births, and I had IV narcotics shortly before DD3 was born so I chalked up my lack of birth high to that. But talking to my midwife she thinks it had long worn off before then. I felt just like you said, only relief that it was over. I think that's a product of an intensely painful labor more than anything else.

Don't beat yourself up over thinking you should know better as a nurse either. Your professional knowledge goes out the window when birthing, even doctors and midwives say that. I was trying desperately to latch my daughter on after birth with zero success...like you I've helped lots of moms get their babies on, and I've nursed 2 before her!! But I just felt like an idiot with this floppy baby. One thing to keep in mind is that it actually is a HECK of a lot easier to help someone breastfeed than to breastfeed yourself purely based on angles. You can see a ton more when you're the helper than when you're the mommy. I also agreed to a few things I could have fought the nursery harder on...the hospital sets up an environment of authority I think and you find yourself going along with things because it seems "normal" there.

So...all of your feelings about your birth are valid, and it will help to keep hashing things out, maybe with your husband or midwife. The good thing is that I don't think you felt particularly victimized or mistreated...I bet in time you will feel better about how things went. Realizing how little control we have in birth is tough, tough, tough. Hopefully in time you can look back on the great, empowering parts of your birth and the times you felt nurtured and supported. (((hugs))

mama to 3 girls: Abigail 2.12.05, Eliana 8.26.06, Willa 1.9.09
RN-BSN 5/11, CBE, former doula
AmieV is offline  
#12 of 49 Old 02-06-2009, 12:58 PM
 
LionTigerBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 6,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I haven't read any other responses.

I just wanted to give my perception. I think your birth experience sounds traumatizing and horrible. I think you were a hero and a trooper, but what you went through was awful and I deeply feel for you and want to validate your feelings of loss.

It sounds like you had back labor and I KNOW how that is. Getting painful shots every time you begged for some some comfort and relief is demoralizing and torturous. Getting into a bathtub that is too lukewarm-- been there. Totally disappointing and non-supporting at a time when you deserve support.

I DO NOT think that your birth was the perfect birth or was a good birth and I think it is a testament to how screwed up our society is that people actually think so. I also don't think YOU did anything wrong! I am sorry you were not supported the way you needed to be.

I have had back labor and if I had been helping to care for you during labor I would have had you do belly lifts to take the pressure off of your back/tailbone (BOY does THAT feel good!) and actually tried to get the baby to turn BEFORE you were complete and ready to push (DUH!! I'm sorry your birth support team didn't do this-- no wonder it hurt so bad) I have been there, and it is out-of-your-mind pain to have that baby posterior on the tailbone at 10 cm! OUCH! Sadly, though, because pain in childbirth is seen as normal, no one thinks to FIX the things that are causing the pain.

I want you to know that after my first birth I educated myself about back labor before my second birth, and I had a fast easy, and much less painful birth the second time-- no thanks to anyone else. I don't know why, but most birth professionals seem to be pretty clueless about dealing with back labor. :

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your birth experience reminds me SO much of my first birthing experience-- I went through the same tortorous experience of being completely broken down physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Just a complete wreck, destroyed by the pain. It profoundly affected me, changed me as a person.

It doesn't have to be that way again, though. Now that you know you are prone to back labor, you can avoid this experience next time.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

LionTigerBear is offline  
#13 of 49 Old 02-07-2009, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
LilacMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 395
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm deeply grateful to each one of you who took the time to read my story and respond in such an empathetic way. Birth has such an amazing way of changing you, completely shaking you to the core, for good and bad (and both).
LilacMama is offline  
#14 of 49 Old 02-07-2009, 02:11 PM
 
barefootpoetry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Your birth does not have to be the "textbook" traumatic birth for it to be traumatizing to YOU. Not everyone gets the birth high! Yes it is possible and yes if everything goes well then women can have it. But sometimes it just doens't happen. It's not your fault! ANd it's okay to be disappointed that you expected one thing and got another, even if the technical birth itself was "fine."

I agree with a PP, it definitely sounds like you had back labor. I had back labor with my first, who was the typical very long excruciating hospital labor ending in C-section. When I had my second, I had no back labor and it was SO much easier. I'm not saying the same will happen for you, but just to give you some perspective that back labor pain is NOT the "normal" labor pain. It is no wonder it was so horrible for you.
barefootpoetry is offline  
#15 of 49 Old 02-07-2009, 11:50 PM
 
applejuice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: hunting the wild aebelskiever
Posts: 18,538
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
s I know what you mean. I had my knees near my ears too. I think it was for shoulder dystocia. Seems to me your baby was maybe posterior, with the back labor. I never had any desire to push either. Anyway, there is no perfect birth, but we all try.
applejuice is offline  
#16 of 49 Old 02-11-2009, 05:41 PM
 
AirMiami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: The place where lost is found.
Posts: 193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our birth stories seem very similar! It sounds like you were maybe also going through transition while pushing in addition to the back labor, which is exactly what happened to me. I'm not too proud to admit that I was actually screaming for a c-section at that point, so you are not alone! At least you had the composure to keep it to yourself LOL! The only thing I can do is laugh about it, it WAS funny. We're both very lucky that we had people delivering our babies that we could trust fully to NOT let us get these interventions that we knew we truly didn't want. You are not weak or a failure for wanting relief at the time, labor and birth is not fun! I went through a 54 hour labor and pushed for 3 hours so I know how horrible it can be! And I'd still do it again (I'm crazy I know).
AirMiami is offline  
#17 of 49 Old 02-24-2009, 08:07 PM
 
DanishMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post

Medically uncomplicated births, like yours, can still be traumatizing. I personally believe that there is a certain level of pain that is simply traumatizing all on its own, even with no other factors present. Add in the nudity, the presence of other people, the fact that you're supposed to be happy and excited, and the perceptions of other people, and it can be heightened in the atmosphere of birth.

It's not your fault the birth was hard or traumatizingly painful. You're not a wimp. Sometimes, birth is just really awful, even when it's medically uncomplicated.
What a great post! OP, I'm so sorry, I was traumatized by the pain from vacuum extraction - no pain meds prior to it. I agree that pain in itself can be very traumatizing.
DanishMom is offline  
#18 of 49 Old 02-26-2009, 11:24 PM
 
bluedaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 603
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm really glad I found this post.

OP, I completely understand - I had a "textbook" natural birth (well until the end when my DD had to be resuscitated ) and I did not have a birth high at all. I went into birth being so excited and felt like I had not been adequately prepared for the pain. All the natural birth books/movies talk about it as being wonderful, empowering, etc and I actually felt angry at the natural birth movement because I was not at all prepared for the intensity of the pain I felt. i literally felt like i couldnt continue. after the birth i just felt numb and relieved it was over. when people congratulated me on the good birth or asked how it was all i could say was, it was intense, i'm getting an epidural next time! now in retrospect i'll probably try for another natural birth in the future for many reasons, but at the time i just felt numb and overwhelmed by the experience.

Loving wife to DH and buddamomimg1.pngmama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12)

bluedaisy is offline  
#19 of 49 Old 03-05-2009, 12:26 PM
 
3daughters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Land of milk and honey
Posts: 1,570
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I also did not experience any birth high or even any immediately delight in seeing my baby. I had an unanticipated very short, very intense, very painful birth. I am a doula and a fourth time mom and I spent the last 45 minutes of my labor howling like a wounded animal just waiting to feel rectal pressure so I'd know it was almost over. When dd came out the midwife passed her under me and I just left her laying on the bed for a few minutes cuz I was still overwhelmed by the pain of the contractions and the pushing. For the first hours of her life I was whiny, shaky and very uncomfortable from my tear and repair.

I also feel traumatized to a certain degree. For a long time I shuddered inside when I thought about giving birth again and felt terrible guilt about not swooping up my newborn at my first opportunity.

We are not alone in these feelings.
3daughters is offline  
#20 of 49 Old 03-06-2009, 04:31 PM
 
prancie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,079
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I went through 14 hours of back labor and it was extremely painful. I totally understand that when you are in that much pain you can't always be on top of everything mentally and emotionally. I am sure that when the pain finally abated you were still not yourself. It is totally reasonable. Pain in traumatizing in and of itself.

Wife to Doug, mom to Hank and Logan !!!
prancie is offline  
#21 of 49 Old 03-06-2009, 11:01 PM
 
Surfacing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: stuck between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 6,731
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
With dd1 I remember thinking through transition (which was really super painful and I would have accepted a c-sec right then and there) that yay, I did it, this was supposed to be the hardest part of labour.

Well. Pushing was EXCRUCIATING. I felt like my innards were on fire. I didn't want to push. Also felt panicy. (Btw, some people with a history of sexual abuse feel panic during the second stage.)

I had no birth high after dd1's birth either. I felt SHELL SHOCKED, like I had just seen and experienced otherwordly, like I'd seen and experienced something I shouldn't have. Had PTSD after. Everyone said I did so amazing, but I felt like a failure.

You're not alone mama. I wish you healing. You will heal with time.

wash.gif  Me  + bikenew.gif Dh =  broc1.gif  Dd1(9 yrs) + hearts.gif  Dd2(6 yrs) and blowkiss.gif Ds(3.5 yrs)
Surfacing is offline  
#22 of 49 Old 03-10-2009, 10:24 PM
 
iamleabee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 317
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i'm so glad i found this thread.
iamleabee is offline  
#23 of 49 Old 03-16-2009, 06:44 PM
 
javilu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
Posts: 1,733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I feel strange saying it (which is probably why I haven't actually *said* it), but I also feel traumatized...by pregnancy, by birth, by the days that followed. Short of a homebirth, I had a natural birther's "dream" birth - labored at home (for a day, probably, but I didn't realize I was in labor until evening, and even then I thought it was "pre-labor") and spent only 1.5 hours at the birth center before my baby was born. No interventions, no complications, two small tears, and I feel, in a way, like I wasn't even "there" - I look back on it all like it was a dream (not a good one, just a dream) and I feel like I missed something or like it didn't even happen. When my son was born, I was relieved to no longer have that pressure in my pelvis, but that's all I remember feeling. I held him right away and I just felt so detached, not just from him, but from myself and everything else. All I can think of is that, as much as we talk and read and write about childbirth, it's not always some magical thing, or, if it is, we don't always realize it at the time. I don't know...I guess I'm just saying that I feel you on having had what some might see as a "good birth," but still not feeling it as such...

Edit: I wonder if, maybe in my own case at least (because I can't speak for others), I've become detached from it or blocked some of it out because of the intensity of the event. Even though I still can't see or feel it as even the "life changing experience" that it clearly was (because now I have a son and before, I didn't), there surely must be some significance to it...

SAH dissertating mama femalesling.GIF to my sweet little boy (2/2009)
and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
javilu is offline  
#24 of 49 Old 03-21-2009, 08:23 PM
 
misseks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: the more you near your destination
Posts: 1,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hugs mama. I can relate to feeling out of control and like I made an ass of myself...even though I fought long and hard and had a successful VBAC.

I believe your feelings will grow and evolve as you grow and evolve with your mothering and your healing and though you may not ever feel like it was perfect, you will see it with more all-encompassing perspective ...

All of our life experiences shape us and change us and teach us and hold our view of ourselves and others in a new light. And giving birth is a powerful awesome experience that causes such emotional strain and upheaval....well it can take years to fully process.

And talking about it helps. And hearing other women's true feelings and opening yourself to other expereinces with empathy and compassion: well, honey that's motherhood. You have arrived.

I hope you don't feel I am minimalizing your trauma. I have not that intention. Rather I want to lift you up and hold you high and someday soon you will feel mighty and empowered and brave and strong and experienced beyond the birth-story so that you can feel above it, around it, enhanced and emblossomed and emboldened by it.

More hugs to you, mama. Hang in there.

Kate: fumbling through the best years with W, L, F & V...newest arrival coming Jan '11
misseks is offline  
#25 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 02:16 AM
 
MCPM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 301
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, yes, yes to so much of this.

Yes to having a very natural, complication-free birth that still felt traumatizing.

Yes to hating labor, it was awful. Up until the moment she came out.

Yes to feeling angry that all I'd heard about endorphins, good preparation, relaxation and laboring techniques made no dent in the haze of pain. Not that it couldn't have been worse and thank god I had great midwives. But you probably could have hung me upside down by my toes and told me to labor that way, I wouldn't have cared. I was out of my head. (Did have back labor.)

Yes to feeling like a wimp for letting the pain of a natural birth overwhelm me.

Yes to knowing I shouldn't call myself a wimp but feeling it anyway.

Yes to being scared of this next birth experience.

So thank you, original poster, for sharing.
MCPM is offline  
#26 of 49 Old 06-11-2009, 02:40 PM
 
shells_n_cheese's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 224
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I TOTALLY relate to your post! I don;t thin k you are being petty or whining or anything like that. It was YOUR experience and you have every right to feel anything you want about it.

I had a HBAC and was expecting the beautiful, perfect and empowering VBAC that everyone talks about...

...except I was in so much flipping pain, I was screaming so loud I lost my voice for TWO DAYS! Pushing hurt so bad--I wanted it to stop. I kept yelling,"This sucks!!!" and "NO!" to which the MW's replied calmly, "yes". I wanted to punch them! : (and I LOVE these women!) I wanted a c/s too, and this is coming from someone who HATED her first cesarean.

I did not have a birth high either. I was very upset about that. (may have something to do with having a shoulder dystocia at the end--which was very scary) Everything was so fuzzy, I barely remember the birth, or what happened after.

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
shells_n_cheese is offline  
#27 of 49 Old 06-11-2009, 02:46 PM
 
shells_n_cheese's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 224
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I held him right away and I just felt so detached, not just from him, but from myself and everything else.
Exactly what I felt after the birth. Like...what the @$%& just happened? I felt very doped up and like I was dreamiing. I felt sad for a while after (still do sometimes) wishing I was still pregnant and have a do-over of her birth, so I could at least REMEMBER it. (we didn't have any pics or video of the birth either, so that really sucked..)

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
shells_n_cheese is offline  
#28 of 49 Old 06-11-2009, 06:48 PM
 
Notrom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know this is going to sound silly, but thank you for your post. I am going into pregnancy with so many high-minded intentions and in a very very supportive environment, but there is this nagging part of me that fears the judgment of others if there is anything other than a "perfect natural birth". This is my first post on mothering because of that anxiety. I have read tons, but since I am not positive I will be that strong, natural woman I envision or others claim to be that I will be letting myself and others down.

Your post reminds me that there are so many births out there and the ideals put forth by the community are just that - ideals - and so every birth is different and perfect in its own way. Thank you.
Notrom is offline  
#29 of 49 Old 06-18-2009, 12:12 AM
 
Sol_Solved's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 322
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to say that I totally agree. I had a textbook perfect delivery
that left me traumatized. For me it's not about missing the "birth high" or unmet expectations (oh, please), it's about hours of sheer unending pain that stripped me of my previous innocence about the world being a good place. I remember feeling terrified because if childbirth could feel so tortuous, then perhaps death was also like that, and then, I couldn't even die to escape the pain.

Even now, almost a year afterwards, it's still really hard to deal with.
Sol_Solved is offline  
#30 of 49 Old 06-18-2009, 01:11 PM
 
WeasleyMum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Charlottesville
Posts: 2,876
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, I was coming here to post about exactly the same thing. I could have practically written your story, with a few minor differences. No advice or help, just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I'm having a hard time with people saying, "wow, a drug-free birth and a ten-pound baby!" but they don't get it-- if I could do it all over again, I'd get the d*** epidural! It wouldn't have changed some things in our situation (shoulder dystocia and a lot of tearing) but maybe I would be able to look back on the labor and birth without cringing from both the memory of the pain, and of my reaction to it.

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

Also: chicken3.gif  dog2.gif

WeasleyMum is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off