Feeling disenchanted about childbirth? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 46 Old 06-11-2009, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After the homebirth VBAC of my daughter--I feel totally different about birth now. Anyone else?

With DS I had a very unwanted and unexpected cesarean after a failed induction. I HATED it, and was very depressed afterwards, I wanted a VBAC badly and planned on having one with future children, but my OB said I was "too small" for vaginal birth.

Fast forward, got pregnant with #2 and planned HBAC. Pregnancy was wonderful, and was expecting an "empowering VBAC" that everybody talks about.

Went into labor on my due date (that shocked the heck outta me!) and right away I was afraid. No idea why. I didnt want to be alone. I hated feeling fearful. I dreaded the contractions. They hurt like HELL. I coudn't stay on top of them or "breathe" through them no matter what I did or tried to tell myself. Pushing HURT. When crowning I was out of my mind in pain. I am on our home video saying,"This sucks!". When my MW told me to feel my daughters head when crowning, to give me motivation, I feel horrible to admit now that I didnt feel any joy, etc, I didnt even want to touch her head, I didnt care...I just wanted her OUT.

She ended up with Shoulder Dystocia-stuck for 4 mins. Scary as heck. She needed to be resusciated. I was in shock. No "birth high". Nothing. Everything is fuzzy. I barely remember the birth, especially after she was out.

After days passed and my daughter fully recovered from the SD, I was very disappointed in the birth experience. Bitter towards the ones who said birth was "empowering" and "orgasmic', etc. I didnt feel empowered. I felt like a wild animal, birthing her offspring. Thats it.

I am constantly being told to "trust my body" and to "trust birth". I trusted my body to not screw up this time, and my daughter got stuck. I lost my trust in birth, at least most of it. I trusted birth--and it just scared the living you-know-what out of me. I trused birth and was the .5% to have a shoulder dystocia. I didnt feel in control of anything. I just felt as if this huge life-force was just pounding the &%^# out of me. It didnt feel magical. It just felt like....a birth. It didnt heal me like I thought it would. Maybe I expected to much. Who knows. I honestly think if I get pregnant again--I WILL fear birth.

Maybe its because I have yet to have an uncomplicated, non-traumatic birth. Maybe I am jealous of those who do. I hope I get to prove myself wrong if there is a next time.

Can anyone commiserate?

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
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#2 of 46 Old 06-11-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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I can absolutely commiserate! I feel the same way. So much about my birth sucked, and I had issues with preterm labor and polyhydramnios. I think when you have complications it's so hard to trust your body, and the platitudes about birth really don't help.

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I'm going through the same thing. I WANT so badly for birth to make me feel magical and powerful, but I think it's important to just... let it feel the way it feels, and not beat yourself up over that.

~Rose
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#3 of 46 Old 06-13-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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Hell yes! I have never had a birth high and I think birth sucks. Giving birth has been by far the most unpleasant physical experience of my life (and that's putting it mildly - it's been traumatic). Both births were unimpeded natural births, the second a home waterbirth.

For me, birth sucks. I think it just does for some women, no excuses or explanations required. Give yourself a big hug and know that it's ok to feel however you feel about birth.
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#4 of 46 Old 06-13-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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Totally! I am just not "in" to birth. I tried to but you know to me it is nothing more than a means to get my children from point A to point B. More power to you if you have this amazing experience but I just do not see that happening with me and honestly I just don't care. A means to an end and that is it.

There just seems to be a lot of hype. Hey if birth is great for you that's all well and good but birth itself is just childbirth. We go on and on about how it is natural and just to do it and such but you know even the natural birth advocates are turning it into some huge thing that surpasses it's function and makes it about the experience and what not. When you don't experience it like that you think you did something wrong. Well, no, you gave birth. You did exactly what you were suppose to. I just think it'd be beneficial to everyone if we took the hype down a notch and let birth be what it is, ykwim?

/rant

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#5 of 46 Old 06-13-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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I'm in a very similar place right now. I gave birth to my first a little over two weeks ago, and a lot of what you said rang true for me. I, too, had intensely painful contractions (not "surges" or "waves", but PAIN), pushing/ crowning hurt incredibly, the nurse kept saying things like, "I can see the head!" "Your baby has hair!" and I just didn't care, the only thing I wanted was for the pain to stop. My son got stuck too, although it was for a short time (maybe 30 seconds? A minute? I couldn't tell) and it didn't cause any complications, but it was so scary; time just stood still. Getting his shoulders/chest out tore the h@$# out of me-- I ended up with third-degree lacerations that, combined with our BF problems, have made the first weeks after his birth to be pretty miserable. Right after the birth, the emergency team took DS to the other side of the room to do whatever to him, while my doctor spent 45 minutes sewing me back together... we didn't get that immediate, post-birth bonding that everybody talks about.

Everybody keeps saying, "Wow, you had a 10 lb baby without drugs, that's amazing!" but I feel like they don't get it... If I'd known what I was in for, I would have just gotten the epidural. Not that it would have changed the shoulders/tearing, but at least my memory of labor would be a little less wild.

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

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#6 of 46 Old 06-14-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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It is very difficult to feel trusting when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a minute and crummy statistic. I had two beautifuly uncomplicated deliveries, and then one hell of a ride for my third. Her head got stuck (asynclitic, which I believe I read at some point happens in less than 4% of births? Something tiny) at 10cm and I had a cervical lip. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my phenomenally "proven pelvis" would result in what could have become a real cephalopelvic disproportion issue.

Because I had two other experiences to compare it to, I understand your feelings. I really felt like I had a handle on birth, that I trusted my body, that I knew how "I labored" and as a doula I felt like somewhat of an expert. I was looking forward to catching my own baby. That thought is laughable now (I'm 5 months out, and honestly mama...I can laugh about a lot of it, so hang onto that...it will feel less raw with time). I was in agonizing, mindblowing pain and when we transferred I spent the entire car ride asking my husband and doula friend what kind of pain meds they thought they'd give me, if they thought shift change would interfere with my getting an epidural, did they think I could have IV narcotics first? Some labors are far bigger a$$kickers than others. I did get some fentanyl when we got there and just getting a bit of sleep and relaxation, my baby must have dislodged and I pushed her out very quickly. But like you said...I had NO desire to see it, touch it, or have anything to do with it. I think I kept asking if it was almost over. Either because I was dopey from the drugs or just plain exhausted, I didn't have any of those birth endorphins like my other births. All I felt was relief that the whole thing was over.

I felt a lot of fear during her birth too which was new to me and really shook me up as a birth professional too. In the first weeks after she was born I was so relieved that she is my last baby because I couldn't imagine ever wanting to give birth at all again let alone at home. Now, with some distance, I know for sure if I ever did get pregnant again (not going to happen) I would absolutely plan another homebirth. What happened to me is very different than you...neither me nor my baby were ever in serious jeopardy...so be gentle with yourself as you process that level of trauma. I can't imagine how afraid you must have been. Ironically enough, my unmedicated babies came out blue and "slow to start" but not in danger, and those brief moments of blue raggedy breathing were terrifying, so I really feel for what you've gone through. It's a lot.

I worry too as a birth professional that we sell the idea of "perfect" or "orgasmic" birth as something that is just attainable if you prepare properly. 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. We'd all love the serene images we've seen on the videos, but crazy stuff happens out of nowhere and I think we'd all be better off to acknowledge that and maybe not have this extra bag of trauma to carry afterwards if we didn't also feel blindsided by it?

mama to 3 girls: Abigail 2.12.05, Eliana 8.26.06, Willa 1.9.09
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#7 of 46 Old 06-14-2009, 02:16 AM
 
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I know that when I was in birth, I was caught totally off guard by the pain. I felt like I must be doing something wrong, for it to hurt SO MUCH. Granted, I had a Pitocin induction, so that might be why, but I certainly know that calling it a rush didn't do a whole lot for me. I felt badly for wanting it to be over, and for not "enjoying" it. I think that the extremes on either end -that it's the worst pain anyone will ever feel in their entire life and there is no way to get through it without pain meds, or that it's this beautiful floaty transcendent experience that makes you see unicorns flying around- do a disservice to women.

I wish I had known that it's OKAY for it to hurt. it's OKAY for me to say I hate this and I want to stop and pick it up tomorrow! It's okay to cry and scream and be a whiner about it. I wish that someone had told me, no, you don't need the epidural, you can do this. It's okay to be glad that it's over and never, ever want to do that again. It is what it is, and you don't do yourself or anyone else any favors by trying to say otherwise.

~Rose
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#8 of 46 Old 06-14-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RoseRedHoofbeats View Post
I think that the extremes on either end -that it's the worst pain anyone will ever feel in their entire life and there is no way to get through it without pain meds, or that it's this beautiful floaty transcendent experience that makes you see unicorns flying around- do a disservice to women.


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Originally Posted by RoseRedHoofbeats View Post
I wish I had known that it's OKAY for it to hurt. it's OKAY for me to say I hate this and I want to stop and pick it up tomorrow! It's okay to cry and scream and be a whiner about it. I wish that someone had told me, no, you don't need the epidural, you can do this. It's okay to be glad that it's over and never, ever want to do that again. It is what it is, and you don't do yourself or anyone else any favors by trying to say otherwise.

~Rose
I agree. What I really dislike about the extremes of the natural childbirth movement is the condescending attitude that if you feel any pain in labor, the pain is all in your head and it's your fault for being stupid, uneducated, brainwashed, unprepared or whatever.

The cervix is very sensitive to being stretched. This pain is normal, natural, physiological. I felt it intensely, although I was prefectly relaxed, not scared, calm and on top of it. I didn't mind it, but to tell me it wasn't real or was just the result of brainwashing is absurd. Women's pain tends to be taken less seriously than men's in most cases precisely because of this paternalistic idea that it's all in their cute, brainwashed, hysterical little heads. It's not doing women any services.

Telling women that they CAN endure it, breathe through it, if they want to, because they're strong, is a completely different matter than refusing to call labor painful at all and blaming it on them if they do experience it as very painful.

And some women are not all that attracted to being one with the primal forces, or experiencing the extremes of our bodily existence, or getting in touch with your inner animal or Earth Mother or whatever. And THAT's OK.
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#9 of 46 Old 06-19-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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What I really dislike about the extremes of the natural childbirth movement is the condescending attitude that if you feel any pain in labor, the pain is all in your head and it's your fault for being stupid, uneducated, brainwashed, unprepared or whatever.
Thank you!!! Whenever I see anything quoted by Grantley Dick-Reed I want to throw a heavy object through a window.
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#10 of 46 Old 06-25-2009, 09:20 PM
 
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I'm a doula and I totally believed in the empowering and beautiful aspects of birth until I gave birth myself. It's been nearly 4 years and I feel drained, devastated, weak, and depressed. My experience totally changed my beliefs and identity, not in a good way. I feel like Ina Mae,Henci Goer and all the rest offered up false advertizing. I wish I had known that giving birth could ruin my life... I might have just shown up at the hospital accepted every last intervention and moved on with my life.
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#11 of 46 Old 07-02-2009, 03:58 AM
 
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I actually just had one of those awesome amazing births that people talk about and guess what my reaction to it has been? Same as what the OP described...just a birth. That's all it was. I don't feel empowered. I'm still just a month postpartum so I haven't really been able to formulate much more that. In fact, I feel lucky that it turned out that way because I know how much can go wrong in birth, and how much it can suck. With my role with Solace for Mothers, I've learned so much from others who have experienced birth trauma, and one of those lessons is that things go wrong. And when they do its scary, really scary. Anyway, I'm still processing. So I guess all I can say is a bit of a yeah that.

M.Ed. Mama to Chunka (1/07), Beauty (5/09) and Elizabear 3/12): Birth Doula (working toward certification) AAMI Midwifery Student, Advocating with Solace for Mothers & The Birth Survey

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#12 of 46 Old 07-02-2009, 04:21 AM
 
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I don't really "belong" in this forum but stumbled on this post from the first page. I hope you'll forgive me for feeling compelled to post.

For a long time, I was all about birth. At 16, I wanted to be a midwife. I read, studied, prepared. Eventually even after a painful loss, I taught childbirth classes, did doula work, and also worked in the maternity unit of the hospital. Birth was a huge theme in my life!

After struggling for a while with secondary infertility, coupled with a previous commitment to eventually adopt and having been a foster parent for several years, I became an adoptive parent. Before my adoptions, I worried so much about not having that birth experience. I was sure I would miss it. Now, four years into adoptive parenting, I see what a blip in time birth really is. I do still want to experience a "successful" pregnancy and birth at some point, though even the feeling of being "incomplete" somehow without it has diminished. Nonetheless, my journey about parenthood has been so much more.

Birth can be amazing. It can be empowering and a beautiful first experience with parenthood. It can also be terrifying, painful, and traumatic. Either way, it is only one aspect of one way of entering into parenthood. And even when it goes on for days, it is such a small portion of time when we consider the length of our parenthood.

When my kids were babies and we'd get together with other moms, I often was left out in conversations that perpetually returned to birth and breastfeeding (adoptive breastfeeding was not an option for us due to legal stuff). Now that my kids are older, everyone is talking schools and homeschooling, discipline, extra-curriculars, and all that. Except when one of the moms is pregnant or has a new little one, it hardly comes up.

I'd say overall, birth can be powerful but we're all healthier when we don't *turn over* our power to it.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#13 of 46 Old 07-02-2009, 05:45 AM
 
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Wow - so good to hear I'm not the only one in this boat. I was so excited to give birth. Totally had faith in my body & my mental ability to do it. Figured I could handle it all with grace. It really sucked. It hurt more than anything I've ever felt in my life & the tearing left me practically bedridden for weeks. In fact the first couple weeks of ds' life are a blur of pain.

I really had no fear when approaching ds' birth but now I am literally terrified of the next time. Especially 'cause I don't really feel there is much I could have done differently to have a different experience.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#14 of 46 Old 07-02-2009, 07:38 AM
 
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First,

I'm not sure that I belong in this section either. After spending several months reading posts on MDC and starting to become depressed about my birth experiences and feeling like I had been robbed.... I had to stop and put things into perspective and think for myself. I came to this conclusion....I had two intervention laden births (due to HBP issues)....one was not very peaceful (DS born at 35 wks 5 days) and one I felt was every bit as peaceful as delivering naturally. DD birth was just magical IMO. I have a wonderful OB, I had probably the best L&D nurse at the hospital, everyone in the room was relaxed, and as soon as DD was born she was put on my chest, the nurse asked if I was going to BF, I said yes, and she said "well. Lets get this baby to the breast!!" It was beautiful! But, sometimes I feel that if some women on this board experienced what I experienced that day they would have cried foul!....and I can guarantee you there was nothing bad about that day!!!!
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#15 of 46 Old 07-03-2009, 04:27 AM
 
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I can commiserate. With DD's labor, three years ago, I felt empowered and in love with birth, even though the labor was induced, it lasted 48 hours, and it ended in a C-section. I wanted a whole tribe of children after DD was born. I was sure that my planned VBAC with the next would be even better because it would not be induced and I would actually get to push a baby out (I enjoyed pushing with DD, but she was stuck).

Flash forward to about a week ago when I went into labor with DS. The labor was nothing like that with DD, and it didn't match anything I read in the Bradley books. Contractions started stronger than what I experienced with DD during transition, and they were two minutes apart throughout. I was sure it would be a short, intense labor, and had all of the emotional signposts that I was close to the end . . . 24 hours before the end. Despite the odds against it, my uterus *did* nearly rupture. I wanted to (still considering it) burn all of my childbirth books.

If we do have more children, DH and I are really relieved that this birth would require no preparation and we could just schedule the C-section. I never thought I would think of that as a good thing.
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#16 of 46 Old 07-03-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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If we do have more children, DH and I are really relieved that this birth would require no preparation and we could just schedule the C-section. I never thought I would think of that as a good thing.
I really feel you. We are also getting a section this time planned in advance and I cannot believe how relieved I feel.

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#17 of 46 Old 07-27-2009, 01:15 AM
 
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I completely understand what you're saying. I will be getting an epidural with my next birth, no apologies. I did not enjoy my daughter's first few hours of life because I was so shaken up by the pain of pushing. I have a high pain tolerance, but it was more than I could stand -- So yeah, I'd gladly participate in the "natural childbirth" book burning. It was not for me!
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#18 of 46 Old 08-06-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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I dont know if I'm off beat here, but I think I understand, at least to some extent. I too dont like birth. It hurts, its hard work, I never get a real birth high. I'm happy about having the baby here, but I'm more happy that the birth is OVER. I've never gotten emotional post birth (except, oddly, with my surrogate baby-I felt like I'd ruined the whole birth experience for her parents when I hemmorhaged, lol!) and I get very very mad during labor. I tend to hit walls and cuss-a lot.

Yet, at the same time-I say I loved my homebirth because, well, it was the closest thing to a perfect birth I could get. I had 3 previous births that werent what I wanted. They sucked. I had complications. Bleh. So yeah, I loved my homebirth, but not in the sense that the birth itself was magical or something. Heck no. It sucked too! The difference for me was post birth, being able to just nurse my baby, eat, go to sleep in our bed. Thats what I loved about it. Of course, not having to deal with hospital policy in labor is nice too

I'm sure having SD didnt help anything. The whole not being empowered stuff I totally get, since I'm right there with you, but the SD made it that much worse. 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? Thats what made it special for me

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#19 of 46 Old 08-09-2009, 03:12 PM
 
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I totally identify with all the emotions here. Before I was ever pregnant I was a birth info junky. I thougth about using my massage background and combining it with being a doula. I wanted nothign more than to have an amazing birth experience. After my first c/s (transfer after 30 hrs of labor in a birth center) I felt even MORE passionate about birth. That I was going to do it right the second time. I planned my HBAC as if it were the magical answer to having the perfect birth. I had all the info, the support, and the confidence. Now that I have my second transfer and c/s under my belt I feel completely deflated. I have to carefully tread around here at MDC because I feel sick and angry everytime I see a birth announcement. Seems like they are all the same "Baby _____ born peacefully at home into daddys arms, or born in the water" I want to be able to claim that for myself but I never will.

I have been struggling with the fact that I am out of options for a 3rd birth. No doc will see me, and my homebirth midwives will not take me back on. So a c/s is my only option. Wheres the joy in that? I feel like I couldn't possibly wait a whole 9 months without having the planning and anticipation involved in a natural birth. I guess we'll see if that stops me at 2 or if "time" will heal me of it.

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#20 of 46 Old 08-10-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I can identify with your feelings as well. I found birth to be very physically difficult to deal with. It was beyond painful and it was way faster then I was told it would be which was faster then I could cope with it. I also did not care much to touch the babies head; I just did it because they yelled at me to do so, and by that time I had learned to just do what they said or I would be forced anyway. I didn't feel like I wanted it over so much as I felt like I didn't want it to be happening. I fought against the entire process, until pushing which was a huge relief for me.

I just don't buy into the whole joyful, ecstatic, orgasmic, trust birth ideals. I just want my next birth to be not-traumatic. I don't believe I can trust something that has proven itself to not be completely safe or satisfying of an experience. When you come away with physical and mental trauma, you just can't "trust" that this wont happen again. I can't delude myself that well, I guess I am just too firmly grounded in reality.
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#21 of 46 Old 08-10-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by soxthecatrules View Post
First,

I'm not sure that I belong in this section either. After spending several months reading posts on MDC and starting to become depressed about my birth experiences and feeling like I had been robbed.... I had to stop and put things into perspective and think for myself. I came to this conclusion....I had two intervention laden births (due to HBP issues)....one was not very peaceful (DS born at 35 wks 5 days) and one I felt was every bit as peaceful as delivering naturally. DD birth was just magical IMO. I have a wonderful OB, I had probably the best L&D nurse at the hospital, everyone in the room was relaxed, and as soon as DD was born she was put on my chest, the nurse asked if I was going to BF, I said yes, and she said "well. Lets get this baby to the breast!!" It was beautiful! But, sometimes I feel that if some women on this board experienced what I experienced that day they would have cried foul!....and I can guarantee you there was nothing bad about that day!!!!
I am not sure what you are saying here? Are you suggesting that women are retrospectively finding their births traumatic because they read stories here on MDC of better births then theirs? Being disappointed and being traumatized are quite different things. I can assure you that no one is feeling traumatized because someone else had a better birth then they did, or even because more interventions were needed to deal with an issue that arose. There are many reasons why a woman would perceive her birth as being traumatic, and those reasons are not always apparent to people on the outside of the experience. Feelings of trauma do not spring from feelings of disappointment or depression. Trauma comes first. Trauma can give way to depression if left untreated, or if it persists for some time. Disappointment is always present with trauma, but trauma is not always present with disappointment. Reading other women's good birth experiences will not create a traumatic response, though it may trigger buried feelings of trauma that were already there.
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#22 of 46 Old 08-10-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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I feel like soxthecatrules might be saying that the general theme here is that natural or homebirth births are best and that while her birth wasn't traumatic-it wasn't the natural birth or homebirth that most women here desire.

Maybe I'm wrong.....

But this thread is less about trauma and more about just feeling let down by the dream of a magical perfect birth that I know I geared myself up for. Mine wasn't traumatic but it certainly did burst the birth bubble that I took 9 months to build up around me.

mama to L (4) and G (1.5)
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#23 of 46 Old 08-10-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lotus.blossom View Post
I feel like soxthecatrules might be saying that the general theme here is that natural or homebirth births are best and that while her birth wasn't traumatic-it wasn't the natural birth or homebirth that most women here desire.

Maybe I'm wrong.....

But this thread is less about trauma and more about just feeling let down by the dream of a magical perfect birth that I know I geared myself up for. Mine wasn't traumatic but it certainly did burst the birth bubble that I took 9 months to build up around me.
I see your point. I just took it differently in the context of it being posted on the trauma forum, and my having had a truly traumatic birth. I certainly didn't find my own birth traumatic because I read about better births here. I didn't even know this forum existed when I gave birth. But perhaps I mistook the comment, or am being a bit too sensitive.
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#24 of 46 Old 08-11-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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II just don't buy into the whole joyful, ecstatic, orgasmic, trust birth ideals. I just want my next birth to be not-traumatic. I don't believe I can trust something that has proven itself to not be completely safe or satisfying of an experience. When you come away with physical and mental trauma, you just can't "trust" that this wont happen again. I can't delude myself that well, I guess I am just too firmly grounded in reality.
Yes!

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#25 of 46 Old 09-06-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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4 months after DD's birth I am still just....SO disappointed.

I was a birth info junkie, read every book on natural birth, loved people's birth stories, watches all the movies, had a midwife, planned for a home waterbirth......I was so confident that I was prepared, that I could stand up to the pain (after all, I have a "high threshold" for pain.....) and would have a beautiful, natural birth where my body did what it was meant to do.

And then I had to be induced b.c of hypertension, and my dream of a homebirth disappeared. And I started to worry about whether it would be more painful b/c it was an induction but was determined to do the best thing and avoid drugs. And at first I was so proud of how I was dealing with the pain. But then I went from 5cm backwards to 3 cm and stayed there for hours! And they decided they had to step up the pitocin.

I tried the tub to help with the pain and found it DID NOTHING FOR ME. My dreamy notion of the "midwife's epidural" was shattered

And the panic set in. The pain was so unbelievable and I wasn't even half dilated....I had gone backwards!!.....they were ramping up the pitocin and I knew that would mean it was just going to hurt more......I tried the gas and it made time slow down to the point I thought minutes were hours.......I was so scared. There was meconium so they were prepared to swoop her away from me when she was born.

I screamed, I swore, I verbally harassed everyone in the room. I accused my midwife of lying to women, telling them natural birth was possible. I could not have cared less about birth balls or warm water or visualizations...I was too busy wishing for death, begging for a c-sections, finally breaking down and begging for an epidural.....

And when the epidural finally took effect and I was back in my right mind I started sobbing....because I already felt like such a terrible mother - I had wished I wasn't having a baby, I had wished my little girl away! I wasn't strong or brave. I was humiliated and so terribly sad. I was so sad because in that moment I felt like I had ruined her birthday and also so sad because I felt like we could never possibly have more children, which we wanted so badly- I knew I could never do it again.

Happily, I went from 4 cm to 10cm in less than an hour, pushed her out in 20 min with only a tiny tear and she was so beautiful, it was instant deep unbelievable love.

Physically I was fine afterwards, very little healing/pain.....but emotionally was a different story. I felt like either something was terribly wrong with my body that it hurt so badly, or the horrifying truth was that women had been suffering like that forever.....and I don't know which idea is worse.

I feel like there is a big club of mamas out there who were strong and brave and DID IT...and I wasn't good enough somehow. I went from being this big natural birth advocate to knowing I will never ever birth without an epidural. Everyone was so impressed with how quickly she was born, assured me that next time would be so much easier, that without an induction I would have been a natural......none of that helps. I gave away all those natural birth books and videos....unpacked my homebirth box....and just try not to think about it too much. It's like a huge part of who I was and what I believed just.....stopped.

And then to top it all off I wasn't able to breastfeed. After a month with such a tiny supply, trying everything under the sun, with my MD, midwife and LC mystified......I had to formula feed.

I felt these things were so vital, so funadamental to my image of how I would mother.....and here I am.

I am so disappointed, disillusioned, saddened, embarassed, traumatized

But DD is the greatest gift I could have imagined. I would go through it again 10 times for her. I am a good mother. A great mother. And she brings us such joy.

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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#26 of 46 Old 09-10-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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^^I'm sorry.
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#27 of 46 Old 09-12-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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I love this thread. I want to quote so many posts that it became too much. I agree that something wonderful has happened to the way we view birth in this country. Things are changing and that it great but we are forgetting something. We are losing our focus. Childbirth has never been risk free and it still isn't. Every time a mother and baby make it through the process in good health, we should celebrate. But many of us have gotten the message that this isn't good enough. Somehow we are all getting this message that we won't feel pain if we are enlightened enough, that getting an epidural is selfish and damaging and you are trading bonding with your baby for your own personal comfort. Sure birth can be a very positive life affirming experience...for some people...but every body, every baby, and every birth is different. Once size fits all attitudes never work. So lets encourage the demedicalization of birth and give women more control, more choice, but maybe we could stop short of making the birth itself seem more important than the baby.

I had a mix of an experience. I was centered, confident, positive, prepared. I wasn't stressed. I was one with the universe. I had done my Hypnobabies, I had read Ina May Henci Goer, Active Birth, and Birthing from Within. I trusted my body, i felt connected to my baby..............After 30 hours of painful contractions....about 20 of which were so painful I couldn't not wail and moan at the top of my lungs...I was only 3 cm. I was absolutely exhausted having not slept for 2 nights. I went ahead and got the epi. (If I had known how hard pushing was I would have gotten it earlier and had more rest). I LOVED my epi. I felt SO good. I was SOOOOO tired. It allowed me to connect to my baby again and feel happy about the whole thing. I thought I had it in the bag for the pushing because I had the epi. Pushing for me was pretty rough. I pushed for 4 hours. I was puffy, swollen, exhausted, broken blood vessels everywhere. I had to push like I thought I would die from it. I pushed so hard I thought it would kill me. "Like you're having a bowel movement" my a**! I remember blackness and me screaming and yes PAIN!!!

I had a really hard time after birth. I felt so betrayed by my body. I felt so confused, so disappointed. My friends said things like "Pushing was so empowering" "I pushed 9 times!" "I just worked with the contractions" etc and I felt like something was wrong with me. I also felt like something was wrong with me because it was SO painful. I thought it was the same pain for everyone and I assumed I was just wimp . At my 6 week my midwife told me that No it is not the same for everyone. She told me I had a successful vaginal delivery and I pushed him out all by myself under extreme exhaustion. I was dumbfounded because it had never occurred to me to be proud of myself. Especially because I got the epi.

One point that makes me different here is that I swear that I experienced a birth high. I know I wasn't supposed to because of the epi but when they put my son on my chest I just felt like something inside me exploded (in a good way).

Natural birth does not equal magical, empowering experience.

Medicated birth does not equal painless, easy, unmagical birth.

Almost a year later I do feel empowered or something like it. It is the craziest, hardest, biggest, most insane thing that ever happened to me but it is just that....something that happened to me.

Birth is just birth but your baby is YOUR BABY.
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I have boys! My first baby boy was born 10/08 and my second baby boy was born 7/12

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#28 of 46 Old 09-13-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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I think much birth trauma could be avoided by making sure women have the right kind of psychological support during their births, rather than giving them the illusion of control they get from all the natural birth propaganda. My first birth was difficult, long, and medicated (PROM, pitocin, epidural, episiotomy), but I didn't feel traumatized by it, largely because my doula (also an experienced midwife) was so excellent at helping me come to terms with each intervention as it happened. ("OK, we didn't want to use pitocin, but now that you're on it, here's what will happen and here's what is good about it.") She was so awesome that I really felt proud of myself despite having had so many things stray from my "birth plan." In the birth journal she kept for me she called it "the epitome of a triumphant birth" and I couldn't agree more.

(BTW, I also had a real birth high after that birth, despite all the meds and the 48 hours w/o sleep. I don't agree that epis take away all the joy of birth.)

Given the same circumstances, the same pain, and the same interventions with different birth attendants I could easily have felt terrified and traumatized.

My next birth went much faster and was unmedicated; once again, my birth attendants were very positive and helped me through the pain. I can only hope that my upcoming third birth will be the same; of course I'm still going into it with some apprehension because I know how tough giving birth is. All I ask is that my birth attendants advocate for the best options and psychologically support me while I'm going through it; I don't aspire to a "perfect birth." For me, a perfect birth is one in which both mother and baby are healthy at the end of it.

DD1 (Oct 99), DD2 (Sep 02), DD3 (Oct 09)
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#29 of 46 Old 09-16-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I can't say how happy I am to see this thread and to realize that I am not the only one who feels this way and who had this experience. With my first, like many of you, I was an information junkie. I read everything I could get my hands on about natural childbirth. I felt confident; I was excited about labor. I couldn't wait to put all of my newfound knowledge to use.

The experience of birth...not at all what I thought it would be. 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). I remember my contractions getting so painful and so quick...and all the birth balls and position changes and visualizations were a joke. My midwife said something about "imagining my baby coming to meet me" and I remember swearing at her in my head. Once I started throwing up, I asked for something to ease the nausea...somehow I got Demerol. After that was the most horrifying experience I've ever had. I think the dosage was wrong; something was wrong. I was basically paralyzed and conscious only at the peak of my contractions and then pass out again. I couldn't talk or communicate, or think. I finally managed to beg for an epidural, which I had sworn I wouldn't get no matter what.

And then I got it, and it was heaven. I felt like myself again. I wasn't a desperate animal wishing that I could just die. I pushed, and I worked with my contractions, and my daughter was born. At first, I was okay with the way things worked out, 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 still feel embarrassed to talk about it because I was so set on having a natural birth and I let everyone know it.

Now I'm pregnant again, and I'm terrified to go through labor. I still really want that natural experience that I hear so much about...but I have no confidence in my body's ability to labor without so much pain that I want to die. I feel like I'm just not made right for this particular part of mothering. I've tried to convince myself that if things had gone differently I wouldn't have needed the epidural - if I hadn't gotten the Pitocin, if I hadn't been so scared of the hospital, if I would have had a doula. But then I'm worried that I'm just deluding myself, and that I'm just not tough enough to do it. And I also can't help wondering - what am I struggling so hard for? The epidural wasn't negative for me; it was the opposite. I feel like I'm becoming a sell-out, though, a selfish person if I go in wanting an epidural.

Ugg - it's just a mess emotionally.
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#30 of 46 Old 09-16-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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And then I got it, and it was heaven. I felt like myself again. I wasn't a desperate animal wishing that I could just die. I pushed, and I worked with my contractions, and my daughter was born. At first, I was okay with the way things worked out, 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 still feel embarrassed to talk about it because I was so set on having a natural birth and I let everyone know it.

......

Now I'm pregnant again, and I'm terrified to go through labor. I still really want that natural experience that I hear so much about...but I have no confidence in my body's ability to labor without so much pain that I want to die. I feel like I'm just not made right for this particular part of mothering. I've tried to convince myself that if things had gone differently I wouldn't have needed the epidural - if I hadn't gotten the Pitocin, if I hadn't been so scared of the hospital, if I would have had a doula. But then I'm worried that I'm just deluding myself, and that I'm just not tough enough to do it. And I also can't help wondering - what am I struggling so hard for? The epidural wasn't negative for me; it was the opposite. I feel like I'm becoming a sell-out, though, a selfish person if I go in wanting an epidural.

All of this!!!!

The embarrassment of having talked to everyone about how you were going to avoid interventions! And noooooo, you weren't going to beg for the epidural! And when people ask you about the birth it's so awful to talk about.

The shame of being "Selfish" and getting the epidural when you know it is riskier for you and your baby - that you "cared more about your own comfort than your baby's safety"

That in the middle of the pain dying just wasn't scary anymore - staying in the pain was! That messed with my head.

Wanting another baby but being terrified to do it again. half thinking "hey, next time I won't need to be induced! Next time they said I will go super fast! I pushed like a pro the first time, the second time will be much easier!" and contemplating doing it naturally. Maybe if I hadnt been induced my milk would have come in?

But then the other half of my brain despairs at the thought of ever being there in the pain again, wants to "order the epidural from the parking lot" like everyone joked I would, runs through scenarios like 'omg, what if it were a snowstorm and we couldn't get to the hospital and I had to have the baby at home WITH NO DRUGS??!!'

And yes, the 'evil' epidural was awesome for me! As soon as I got it I felt sane again, got a bit of rest and then pushed with no pain or problem and she was born lightening fast! I had no side effects, baby was alert and beautiful........we bonded instantly.......there was no negative for me. Only that I had waited so long.

It's so hard. I was talking to my dr. shortly after DD was born and confessed how ashamed I was of the birth, that I was so out of control, wasn't strong enough, wished the baby away, got the epidural. She was suprised because she had been impressed with how well it went and how fast DD was born for a first baby. She told me "The measure of a mother can't be taken at 3cm. It is 3 months, 3 years that matter, not how you do at birth"

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