Not sure how traumatic this should objectively be, but... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-28-2009, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...I recently realized that, yes, I am still affected by the circumstances surrounding my daughter's birth, 2 years ago. Talking about it helped me slowly start getting out of PPD, so I made the connection.

I had a hospital birth, didn't even know there was another legal option in my country (MittensKittens, who lives in my country, told me homebirth isn't illegal either - but only foreigners seem to use that opportunity - the rest of us don't even know it exists).

Everything was beautiful until I got to that hospital. They ruptured my water to speed up labor, and soon my daughter was in distress. (I only made the connection later - they implied she was in distress because the amniotic fluid was green)

So they gave me LOTS of pitocin. When labor was over, I tried to tell them I was ready to push - they didn't believe me (perhaps because I was calm the entire time and made no sound?)

Then, when they realized I wasn't kidding (a nurse saw DD crowning), they rushed to me and suddenly it was an emergency - that kid had to get out as soon as possible or she'd die! I was only allowed 3 pushes on my own, and then the doctor ordered a HUGE mediolateral episiotomy (that still hurt a lot and made my life difficult 2 months later), and pushed on my stomach to get baby out (baby had chematoma, my cervix ruptured).

Then he stitched me up before the local anaesthetics had time to kick in - by far the most painful part of it all.

I kept thinking and telling people I had a good birth - what I probably meant was I was proud of myself for enduring it and being so on top of things and never making a sound (except grunting while pushing, which was done on purpose to keep my head from exploding).

The birth was by far the best part of the experience. The hospital was like a concentration camp, we had numbers instead of names, the nurses shouted at us and verbally abused us, visits were prohibited, dads couldn't be present at birth (unless you were prepared to pay A LOT). I had to hide in the cold halls to secretly meet my husband.

My daughter was taken away from me for no real reason. They told me she had a POTENTIAL (not yet developed) inflammation, and she had to be put on antibiotics. They put her in an incubator and I could 'visit' once a day (she'd always sleep when I went to see her, and I thought it a blessing. The one time she was awake, it was so painful - she looked despondently through the window, trying to suck on her fist, but they had tied her little hand down to prevent that)

I could only carry expressed milk to her (it was difficult setting my alarm clock every 2 hours so I could hand-express milk, which I didn't really know how to do and it took a lot of time, but I'm proud of having persevered.)

They brought her to me 2 days after birth, and I started nursing her. She was so thrilled to finally nurse! But they took her away again, right off my breast. They allowed 3 feedings a day after 6 days or so, with her staying in NICU. Only on the 8th day after birth did they let my baby room in with me. We spent ten days there, and it felt like eternity.

For almost two years, I had trouble bonding with my child. I did my duty and went through the motions and actually did AP (although I didn't know that's what it was called), but I felt no affection for her or anyone or anything else. I suffered from PPD for a long time.

Maybe I distanced myself from her in order to survive the separation without going insane. It may sound cowardly. I never got any sort of birth high, though, and when I first saw her after ... ummm ... she was pushed out of me, I felt nothing for her at all.

All I wanted was a normal birth, not an amazing experience - just a natural birth, the way it's meant to be. I didn't want an epidural and somehow thought that meant 'natural birth'. Ha! If, for the next time, a natural birth can only be achieved via homebirth or UC, I might do it. If I find a normal hospital that does natural births and is covered by my insurance, I'll go there, I don't mind. I just don't want this happening again.

That's it, thanks for listening.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-01-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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oh my gosh that horrible. I'm so sorry you went through that.

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#3 of 7 Old 03-01-2009, 03:48 AM
 
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that sounds like a dreadful experience

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#4 of 7 Old 03-01-2009, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nursingmama05 View Post
oh my gosh that horrible. I'm so sorry you went through that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tree-hugger View Post
that sounds like a dreadful experience

Thank you so much! I thought I was a wimp for being affected. This is considered a normal birthing experience in my country - almost every woman goes through the same. The director of the hospital believes no primiparous woman can deliver without pit and an episiotomy, and out of the 6 babies in my hospital room, 3 had to undergo antibiotic treatment (I now connect it with rupturing the water and frequent vaginal exams during labor. I was told I was to blame for my daughter's 'potential inflammation' because I had had a vaginal infection that was successfully treated a week before labor).

Thank you for validating my feeling that it's not how it's meant to be and I'm not a wimp for letting it get to me.
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#5 of 7 Old 03-02-2009, 07:31 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you and your baby went through that.

I had a similar experience in a Czech hospital, though I think they were deliberately punishing me too, as I had transferred from a homebirth (FTP - failure to be patient on my midwife's behalf). I was forced onto the bed, given a huge medio-lateral episiotomy (that still hurts 14 months later), had my cervix manually dilated and my baby pulled out with high forceps (a very dangerous procedure that is now almost universally discouraged). And of course sewn up without any pain medication. Though they didn't even bother to give me any, because I deserved it.

We broke the bank to get me a private room so I could have DD with me and DH could visit (because the 'normal' system is like what you're describing) but it didn't make a lot of difference. DD was taken immediately away from me after she was born - I got to hold her and try to nurse her briefly for a few minutes about an hour later, then she was taken away again and I didn't see her for hours. They finally brought her to my room, but insisted that I could only feed her for 10 minutes on each side, while they stood there watching us and criticising me, then she was whisked off to be weighed, naked on a cold metal fish scale, deemed not to have taken in enough milk and taken off to be given formula. They kept her from me most of the time we were there, despite me spending a large portion of the time outside the nursery begging to be given my daughter. I just wanted to make everything right for her..

I had a lot of trouble bonding with her in the early days too, as by the time I got to take her home (after 4 very long days) I felt like she was 'hospital property'. That was certainly their attitude. And of course she was a constant reminder of the trauma I had been through, as well as being the reason why I couldn't just go to sleep and heal and forget about it all. But we gradually bonded - partly because she's a very high needs baby, and just needed me 24/7. I couldn't be that involved with her and not end up bonding. But it was a long process, still on-going, and I still live with the guilt of her entry into the world and her first few days being so utterly dreadful because I didn't protect myself and her better.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I've also gone through something similar. You are not crazy to be traumatised. Just because something is common practice doesn't mean that it's good, or harmless. In both our countries it seems to be common practice to routinely demean, degrade, physically batter and abuse birthing women, most likely in order to 'teach us our place'. You are right to be upset and traumatised by what happened to you and your daughter because it was wrong. Wrong on so many levels.

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#6 of 7 Old 03-04-2009, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sounds awful! And the atmosphere you describe is very similar to our hospitals - a certain disgust at mothers, an inexplicable desire to deride them and treat them like cattle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post
I'm so sorry you and your baby went through that.

I had a similar experience in a Czech hospital, though I think they were deliberately punishing me too, as I had transferred from a homebirth (FTP - failure to be patient on my midwife's behalf). I was forced onto the bed, given a huge medio-lateral episiotomy (that still hurts 14 months later), had my cervix manually dilated and my baby pulled out with high forceps (a very dangerous procedure that is now almost universally discouraged). And of course sewn up without any pain medication. Though they didn't even bother to give me any, because I deserved it.

We broke the bank to get me a private room so I could have DD with me and DH could visit (because the 'normal' system is like what you're describing) but it didn't make a lot of difference. DD was taken immediately away from me after she was born - I got to hold her and try to nurse her briefly for a few minutes about an hour later, then she was taken away again and I didn't see her for hours. They finally brought her to my room, but insisted that I could only feed her for 10 minutes on each side, while they stood there watching us and criticising me, then she was whisked off to be weighed, naked on a cold metal fish scale, deemed not to have taken in enough milk and taken off to be given formula. They kept her from me most of the time we were there, despite me spending a large portion of the time outside the nursery begging to be given my daughter. I just wanted to make everything right for her..

I had a lot of trouble bonding with her in the early days too, as by the time I got to take her home (after 4 very long days) I felt like she was 'hospital property'. That was certainly their attitude. And of course she was a constant reminder of the trauma I had been through, as well as being the reason why I couldn't just go to sleep and heal and forget about it all. But we gradually bonded - partly because she's a very high needs baby, and just needed me 24/7. I couldn't be that involved with her and not end up bonding. But it was a long process, still on-going, and I still live with the guilt of her entry into the world and her first few days being so utterly dreadful because I didn't protect myself and her better.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I've also gone through something similar. You are not crazy to be traumatised. Just because something is common practice doesn't mean that it's good, or harmless. In both our countries it seems to be common practice to routinely demean, degrade, physically batter and abuse birthing women, most likely in order to 'teach us our place'. You are right to be upset and traumatised by what happened to you and your daughter because it was wrong. Wrong on so many levels.
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#7 of 7 Old 03-04-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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That is awful and barbaric. I'm so sorry.
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