Feeling disenchanted about childbirth? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 46 Old 09-16-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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And you know what else? Now that I think of it, I ended up being disenchanted about midwifery too.....

While my MD was totally supportive afterwards and reassured me that I wasn't a bad mother because of how my birth went....my midwife told me she felt that ANXIETY had held me back during labour....that if I had just been in a more open state of mind my labour would not have stalled/I would have been able to visualize through the pain, etc......

And then, I saw my midwife twice in DD's first week of life, before we knew my milk really hadn't come in....and she reassured me everything looked great, that yes DD had lost a bit more weight than usual but that I shouldn't be concerned, that it wasn't so terribly strange she hadn't pooped since we left the hospital.....and then I take her to my doctor because I realized something wasn't right....and she was practically starving and dehydrated.

I did everything imaginable for a month - constant breastfeeding and pumping, supplementing at the breast, a prescription, herbs, oatmeal, hot compresses, LLL consultations....you name it, I did it and I still had almost no milk. I was a miserable, sleep deprived wreck, wracked with guilt that I couldn't feed my baby.

When I finally decided I had to stop, my (very pro-breastfeeding) MD told me she had never had a patient try so hard for so long to avoid formula feeding, that I should feel proud and not guilty, that she had no idea why I had no milk but that I had done everything I could.

My midwife? She thought I just must be pumping wrong, or latching wrong, or something.....the insinuation was that I just wasn't trying hard enough, that I could still make it work.....even when I told her I was stopping

As if I didn't feel badly enough as it was, as if it hadn't been an agonizing decision to stop and formula feed.....I just felt it was the final black ball against my membership in that 'amazing brave milk laden mama club'

Beth knit.gif.  wife to DH and Mama to DD1 heartbeat.gif (May 1-09) and DD2 heartbeat.gif (Nov 2-11)   

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#32 of 46 Old 09-17-2009, 07:41 AM
 
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Katico- it sounds like your midwife was completely unsympathetic and unempathetic too! I'm sorry that you had that experience.

To add to all of this, I feel guilty for even calling my experience a "trauma" because it wasn't what I wanted, and I do feel badly about it...but was it really trauma? I came out of it with a healthy baby and being relatively healthy myself. I think about trauma as something from which you don't emerge whole.

Nevertheless, I do want to work through this before my next labor in about six months. As I'm setting up interviews with doulas and talking to my midwife, though, I can't help but wonder if I'm just wasting my time. If I am in the same kind of pain that I was the first time, I can't say that I won't just give in to the epidural again, maybe sooner.
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#33 of 46 Old 09-28-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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Definitely. Before I had DS I was a birth junkie, loved attending births, reading about them. I was a doula, and a midwifery student. I really wanted to find an apprenticeship. I spent five or six years before I became a mother immersing myself in birth. I had always dreamed of homebirth and had waited impatiently to experience pregnancy. When I got pregnant I planned a homebirth. I did have an absolutely wonderful, joyous pregnancy. It was truly probably the happiest time of my life. Most of my labor actually progressed very well, and I did a lot of it alone. However when I got to the pushing phase everything went wrong. I ended up pushing for many hours without any progress, getting exhausted and transferring. In the hospital, it ended in a c section, as the on call o.b claimed my cervix was too swollen for any other options. I am incredibly disappointed and let down by my midwives, I felt they intervened in ways that hurt my labor and I feel that their actions may have caused my section. I have felt such an incredible loss in not being able to give birth. I wanted to feel my child coming out of me. I wanted to hold him right away, and see him before he was cleaned up and bundled. I wanted to discover for myself if our baby was a boy or a girl. I wanted to feel empowered and strong (I expected to feel so) and instead I felt helpless and not a part of the process. I do not feel now that I can do birth work, I don't want anything to do with birth. I don't want to see it, watch it in movies, or read about it ( only vbacs). I don't want to be a midwife any longer. And so, I grieve not only the experience of birth and passage into motherhood that I so wanted and lost, but also my desire, what I felt I was so sure was my calling of working with birthing women. What do I do now? I haven't found anything else to be as passionate about.

Maria, wife to DH, mama to DS 09/2007, #2 12/2010 and hoping for a
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#34 of 46 Old 09-30-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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Wow, I totally empathize with pretty much everything said here. My second birth (HBAC turned urgent c/s) was definitely traumatic. My third birth was an easy, uncomplicated hospital VBA2C. I did have the birth high right after and phsyically felt so much better than with my two preivous c/s. But I just don't feel that "OMG BIRTH IS SO AMAZNING!!!" thing. I don't "trust birth". I RESPECT birth. It's like the wind, you know. 9 times out of 10 you get a nice gentle breeze, but then every once in awhile it's a tornado up your ass.

I feel a lot of disenchantment with the birth community. I felt like there was a lot of hype and pressure to conform to an idealized vision of birth. I see so many women who don't live up to that and it seriously damages their self-image and their trust in themselves as mothers. I felt a lot of negativety from the natural birth community (not pointing any fingers, just talking generally) for having the audacity to not only have a successful VBA2C in the hospital (which I was told repeatedly was basically impossible), but to also have demanded some interventions and then refusing to apologize for them. I guess I feel like there's a lot of lip service about respecting women's choices but it doesn't seem to pan out so much in reality.

I think a lot of my feelings now have to do with being 18 months down the road and realizing that I don't love my VBA2C child anymore than my others. I didn't bond with her any easier than my first baby that I didn't get to hold for four hours, or my second baby that I didn't get to hold for 5 days.

I'm pregnant again and while I hope for another easy vaginal delivery, I'm just not looking forward to it (the delivery itselft). I can remember the intense pain of transition and I'm not looking forward to it at all. I'm not even going to have a doula this time because the one I had last time (that I loved and that truly believed in respecting women's decisions and not cramming an agenda down their throats) moved and I just don't want to deal with feeling like I have to live up to someone else's expectations of MY birth.

I think these feelings are good to get out. Thank you for starting this thread.
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#35 of 46 Old 09-30-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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I enjoyed reading your perspective Katie, especially since you have had a
VBA2C. My HBAC transfer really threw me for a loop. Especially since it was my do-over from the mistakes I made in my first labor. But now I feel like I don't have any more chances. My HB midwives won't take me again and I live in an area where you have to travel for 2 hours to get to a VBAC friendly hospital and I don't even know about VBA2C. So the thought of having to schedule another c/s and go through a medicalized pregnancy takes away the magic of it all. I seriously don't know if I will have any more children because of it. Its a shame that I built up the process of birth to the point of it almost being more important than the baby.

I have avoided the mama/baby get togethers that my HB midwives put together because I cannot bear to face the other HB mamas and have to explain my story over and over. I feel like I would be the outcast, the transfer statistic.

mama to L (4) and G (1.5)
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#36 of 46 Old 09-30-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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I had a fourth degree tear with my first (short pushing phase - 7 minutes) and a scheduled c-section with my second. Both left me feeling out of control, despite the fact that I had extensive birth plans, an awesome support team, and a fabulous midwife. I'm nostalgic at best and bitter at worst...

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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#37 of 46 Old 09-30-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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I think it's very important to be practical when it comes to our health in general. Yes, a lot of the choices we make have an affect on our health (birthing babies included), but our choices do not guarantee a healthy birth, healthy baby or healthy body. Even the most healthy people get cancer, heart disease, etc. The reason I chose to have a natural birth was because I didn't want to recover from anesthesia. Plain and simple. I'm happy I didn't get an epidural, BUT, if I were in terrible pain, I would have asked for it. There are so many factors that go into birth outcome. Your muscles, or ligaments, your pelvis, the size and position of your baby, your comfort level with your practitioner, your relationship with your hubby, your relationship with your body. The list goes on forever! I think it's a bad idea to have a natural labor for emotional reasons. We get so hyped up about it! Yes, some women are so proud of themselves after they have a natural birth. Some women are proud of themselves after a planned c-section too! I was not proud of myself after the birth of my baby. In fact, I thought it was terribly humiliating. I didn't really enjoy all those people seeing me in such a primal state. But, I am happy that I don't have any vague symptoms from getting an epidural, like so many women who've had them get. I will always try for a natural birth from now on, because I believe there are benefits to it. But to think that it's going to help you bond with your baby, or get some sort of a high, is just setting people up for disaster.
ON a side note...people have been getting PTSD from birth for a long time. My great grandmother was in labor for a week with her twins in 1910. One died, the other was a healthy baby girl. She was traumatized. She never had another baby after that. Once she attended the birth of one of her neighbors, like women did in ye olden days, and her husband had to come and get her. Apparently she had a flashback to her own labor and was hiding behind the stove trembling and hysterical. The doctor was more concerned about her than the laboring mother. Keep in mind that this woman was a farmer's wife in 1910! She was tough as nails. Birth can be terribly traumatic.
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#38 of 46 Old 10-02-2009, 04:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
I was induced after contracting every five minutes for 48 hours with no progress. I hadn't slept in that full 48 hours for more than 5 minutes at a time. MW broke my water and then gave me pitocin (which I didn't know about until later).
<snip>
but then I started to realize that I am ashamed of my birth story because I did all of the things I was hoping to avoid.
I didn't sleep for over 72 hours from labor that wouldn't progress. I was so happy to be induced. I was exhausted and had a fifteen month old baby. I was thrilled to receive the cytotec and have my bag of waters ruptured. I have no guilt about that. I wasn't in a good place. Yes, I think my body would have had that baby. I'm a "good birther". In fact I'm actually very proud that my body was rocking out the early labor like that. Sure, I *know* that I would have had him just fine on my own when the time was right. And on top of it all, I found out after the fact, that there is a reason cytotec contractions hurt SO bad. I'm so very thankful that my birth ended safely. And yet, knowing all of that, I have zero regrets about opting to be induced. I wasn't in a good place. I'm totally ok with my decision.

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I don't "trust birth". I RESPECT birth. It's like the wind, you know. 9 times out of 10 you get a nice gentle breeze, but then every once in awhile it's a tornado up your ass.


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I think it's very important to be practical when it comes to our health in general. Yes, a lot of the choices we make have an affect on our health (birthing babies included), but our choices do not guarantee a healthy birth, healthy baby or healthy body. Even the most healthy people get cancer, heart disease, etc.
Yes! Yes, yes yes. Do all that you can. Do your best to have a healthy pregnancy, and a good birth. Make that effort, it usually pays off.

But when the cards fall a different way, do not, not, NOT beat yourself up about it! You're not a failure. Your body isn't broken.

"Variation of normal", right? If a footling breech is a variation of normal, if a posterior presentation is a variation of normal, if a 43 week pregnancy is a variation of normal, then why isn't a woman with a narrow pelvis a variation of normal? Why isn't a woman who "can't carry to term" a variation of normal? Why are women so quick to blame their bodies for something that is so entirely up to chance?

Do we blame our perfect babies when they're born with a birth defect? Absolutely not.

Why blame ourselves for being pre-disposed to high blood pressure, or having an incompetent cervix?

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people have been getting PTSD from birth for a long time. My great grandmother was in labor for a week with her twins in 1910. One died, the other was a healthy baby girl. She was traumatized. She never had another baby after that. Once she attended the birth of one of her neighbors, like women did in ye olden days, and her husband had to come and get her. Apparently she had a flashback to her own labor and was hiding behind the stove trembling and hysterical. The doctor was more concerned about her than the laboring mother. Keep in mind that this woman was a farmer's wife in 1910! She was tough as nails. Birth can be terribly traumatic.
Wow.
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#39 of 46 Old 10-24-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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@Katico-that's just horrible! I can't believe a midwife would be so selfish and rude and...just wow. I hope I never become like that!!

I had been seeing midwives with my last baby and ended up very sick, totally out of the blue, and facing a decision of whether to risk myself and my baby and try to have an induction at 33 weeks or just go ahead with a cesarean. All of this just a few hours after going to the ER for what I thought was gas!

Anyway, I decided on the cesarean after seeing how quickly my labs were going downhill (I had a single liver enzyme raised when I went in; 2 hours after that, with all the support systems in place, I had one or two other liver enzymes raised through the roof and my kidneys were shutting down). When I told my midwife I was opting for the cesarean, not only was she very supportive, but she was actually the one who went back with me and supported me through the whole thing. She stayed with me for a few hours afterwards, advocated for me while she was there (she made sure they got me a pump immediately and made sure they were taking my pumped colostrum up to my son in the NICU), and had me come for a postpartum visit even though I was technically not her client anymore. She had me come in again once my ds was out of the hospital and just spent an hour talking to me about the whole experience and how I was doing, emotionally.

I know this was kind of off topic but this, in my mind, is what a midwife is supposed to be like! I came away from this experience so sad that I couldn't go back to her (they don't take VBACs) and at the same time, knowing that this is how I want to be when I become a midwife.

Just know you did everything you could and heck, even I probably would've given up sooner!

Cari-mama to Eriq, Lile, Paikea, Kaidyn, and Mieke is here!! 2/9/10
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#40 of 46 Old 12-09-2009, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I completely understand what you're saying. I will be getting an epidural with my next birth, no apologies.
I admittedly dream of this often when thinking about a possible #3 in the future... but the thing that will most likely deter me from going with an epidural next time is the fear of another shoulder dystocia and being unable to move around to get the baby out. The thought alone just terrifies me.

Kinda pissed though. Me--natural birth advocate--would have HAPPILY looked forward to a more relaxed epidural laden birth in the future.

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
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#41 of 46 Old 12-09-2009, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Think more about what happened after they got her stabalized. Did you get to cuddle the baby? Nurse? Cuddle her, be comfy in your own home, etc?
No. After she as stabilized the paramedics arrived and she was ushered to the hospital. Ironically, one of the reasons I wanted a HB was to BOND right away, and yet we were STILL separated for 2 hour while they assessed her and such. She cried the whole time, rooting for my breasts, wanting to eat.

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
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#42 of 46 Old 12-09-2009, 02:56 AM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread. It's been 10 months since the birth of my daughter and I still feel defeated, and like I completely failed my daughter. I didn't give her the birth I thought she deserved. The birth was so traumatic in so many ways......I still have nightmares about it. My soon to be ex husband was also traumatized by the events that took place. It shook both of us to the core....and my daughter also suffered.

This thread has helped me so much. Getting to see things from other women's perspectives since I haven't been able to talk about it with anyone yet. Thank you.
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#43 of 46 Old 12-09-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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I read this thread with a lot of interest in all of your stories. I've got six kids and have had three cesareans and three homebirths. My first two cesareans were awful and not necessary. The second was a transfer from a homebirth. My first two homebirths were hard and extremely painful. My third homebirth was an unassisted birth and the best by far, but still very, very painful. My six baby was a cesarean after labor began for placenta accretta. No matter which way your baby is born - it is NOT easy! I always felt like I was doing something wrong when I had so much pain with my births. All my other midwife's clients have painless, easy births or so it seems. I am at the point by the end of my labors that I want somebody to take a gun to my head to put me out of my misery. I am not kidding! The pain was that intense with my three homebirths. I still feel betrayed by my body. I did everything "right". Bradley, hypnobabies, etc. I just didn't work for me. All I could do was scream through the pain and pray for it to end. I am glad to know that I am not the only one!

You know, women a long time ago just were thankful to get a healthy baby at the end of her labor. I think the natural childbirth movement of today has made it seem like you will have an "easy" labor if only you relax and let your body do it's work. Maybe . . . but that didn't work for me! Just glad to know I am not alone being disappointed with the intense pain of labor! I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks before my sixth baby and even that was terribly painful!! Maybe my pain level is very low - I don't know!!

We are praying and hoping for another baby in a few months. I love being pregnant, but after being in labor six times I wish somebody could tell me what to do to have a good labor like everyone else seems to have!!! Any ideas?? Love to you all!
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#44 of 46 Old 12-21-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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The fact is that birth is wild and unpredictable and you kind of get what you get. No one can guarantee you the kind of birth you want.
I LOVE THIS SUMMARY, especially the bit i bolded up

i think it's because of this that i have found birth to be 'spiritual' - kind of like riding in an aeroplane and seeing that all that space under you is realer than you ever imagined!? i also think how we interpret the pain makes a difference. how much in 'control' we felt in the uncontrolable situation birth is.

joy.gifspread a lot of love joy.gif

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#45 of 46 Old 01-04-2010, 03:48 AM
 
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This is all so good to talk about. My birth went pretty well, but it was still scary as hell and ended up with a 3rd degree tear. I feel like many of you do, that we have convinced ourselves it shouldn't be scary and are waiting for the rainbows and unicorns. F that noise. It hurts, it's primal, and it's traumatic.

I'm having real concerns about whether and why I should consider a homebirth for my second. I was convinced I didn't want to be in a hospital for my first, and things went well in the birth center, but I am having misgivings about whether it's really the safest, wisest choice. We have a hospital that is very natural birth friendly, and I'm thinking about looking at it a bit closer. Funny part is, I'm nervous about telling my DH I'm feeling this way!

Co-sleeping, Breastfeeding, EC'ing, Baby-wearing, Homebirthing mama to two fabulous girls 6/2007 and 8/2010
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#46 of 46 Old 01-25-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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I also had an ideal, drug-free, intervention-free birth that went nothing like how I expected or hoped and left me very disappointed in the whole thing. I keep being told that I should be grateful that everything turned out all right, but instead I feel violated and betrayed by my birth attendants. After all the time I spent preparing for birth, ultimately it was out of my control, and that makes me sad, angry, and scared about the next time.

Now mom to a boy born January 2010. 
Cautiously expecting Dec 2014!

 12/08 (6 weeks),  1/13 (11 weeks), &  12/13 (9.5 weeks)
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