still having flashbacks and it's affecting me sexually - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-29-2009, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
Devaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: here, there and everywhere
Posts: 1,228
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I gave birth 20 months ago. It was far from the birth I would've wanted, but I feel very lucky to not have had any surgical interventions or medical pain relief, 'just' the Syntocin (Oxytocin) right at the end when my labour 'arrested'.

I was in labour in total for 48 hours from the time my waters broke and contractions began soon after. I had planned a home water birth but had a clock ticking over me from the midwives right from the start bc of my waters breaking first. I think this pressure actually contributed to my slow labour, plus interruptions from male members of the family who weren't very 'tuned in'.

I progressed steadily but very slowly, and spent a good portion of my labour in the birthing pool. It was all manageable for me until transition, my breathing was helping me through...and then I found the contractions changed and became excruciating. I didn't understand that I was supposed to be feeling an urge to push, all I felt was an agonising sensation sort of down my lower back and into my bottom area. I was just too 'out of it' to know anymore, but I became afraid, and eventually ran out of steam as I couldn't push the baby out.

I was hauled out the pool and told to move around, but it didn't help, so eventually I was transferred to hospital in an ambulance (which was traumatic in itself, very undignified situation, and the pain a hundred times worse once on my back in the stretcher), and at the hospital put on an IV. The obstetrician (my birth had been midwife-led up till then) was what I perceived as 'bullying', kept getting my name wrong, and kept threatening me with the knife and with forceps, and I was terrified, shaking, and in what felt like unbearable pain. When I screamed she said, 'no screaming'. I was forcibly and against my will given an anasthesia injection in my perineum as the doc wanted to be ready for a possible episiotomy - this was excruciatingly painful, almost worse than the labour. I felt more vulnerable than I've ever felt in my life, lying on that table (after being 'in control' at home with the pool and moving around) with my legs apart and my partner, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, the obstetrician, the midwife, and another random doctor who didnt even ask permission to be there. Far too many people.

Anyway when my baby was eventually born (apparently it was a very close call and I narrowly avoided an intervention) after an hour's pushing in the hospital (I'd been pushing for 4 hours total), he wasn't breathing and had to have an oxygen mask etc. I just felt totally disorientated and numb, I didn't even register what was going on. He was whisked up to intensive care but then taken back down again b/c he 'pinked up' (started crying obviously). He was separated from me a lot over the next 2 days as he had to be under lights for newborn jaundice, and was transferred to SCU again after 24 hours. I felt robbed of the birth and the connection I had wanted. I had 2nd degree tears but opted not to have stitches. My partner has a phobia of hospitals and hardly visited us while I was there, and only very briefly, and I felt very isolated and weird.

I've been struggling with my emotional/mental health on and off since, as I've posted in another forum, but what really struck me recently is that the birth itself is still something I think about a lot. It will come back to me, randomly, and in vivid detail. I cry loads when I see videos or pictures of babies being born, particularly when it's a happy, natural birth - I'm training as a Breastfeeding Counsellor so this kind of thing happens a fair amount. What really gets me is, there is no 'vivid detail' of the moment I first held my baby in my arms, no loving 'high' moments, certainly no 'bonding rush' or anything like that. I know that's prob bc of the Oxytocin and such a long, gruelling labour. I have bonded with my baby since, largely I think bc he was such a natural breastfeeder (and such a prolific one), and now we are very close.

What's mainly standing out for me right now is I think the possible birth trauma (although I'm not sure whether to even think of it that way) has affected me sexually, as since the birth, although I still desire sexual connection with my partner, I feel very disconnected from my body, very inhibited and 'weirded-out', and just can't relax. After an intimate encounter last night I felt horrible and the feelings and images from the birth came back. Most of my labour was very positive, it was just the last 4 hours that were agony. I couldn't cope with the 'pushing' contractions, and felt totally unprepared for them. Anyway, I wondered if there is anything I can do to start to heal this, and get my sense of myself in my body back. Thanks so much to anyone who managed to read through all of this, sorry it's so long, but it feels really good to get it out!
Devaya is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-30-2009, 07:36 PM
 
readytobedone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: not dissertating
Posts: 3,466
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
What's mainly standing out for me right now is I think the possible birth trauma (although I'm not sure whether to even think of it that way) has affected me sexually, as since the birth, although I still desire sexual connection with my partner, I feel very disconnected from my body, very inhibited and 'weirded-out', and just can't relax. After an intimate encounter last night I felt horrible and the feelings and images from the birth came back. Most of my labour was very positive, it was just the last 4 hours that were agony. I couldn't cope with the 'pushing' contractions, and felt totally unprepared for them. Anyway, I wondered if there is anything I can do to start to heal this, and get my sense of myself in my body back. Thanks so much to anyone who managed to read through all of this, sorry it's so long, but it feels really good to get it out!

it's gonna be okay, mama. yes, you had a birth trauma, and yes, it's affecting your relationship with your body. it can do that

my suggestion is to try and find a therapist who does EMDR. it helped me immensely. it sounds weird, but it isn't scary, i promise.

it can help you to disentangle the trauma from other events/places/people so that you can stop reliving the birth when you don't want to (e.g. during sex, or when watching a video of someone else's birth).

it helped me so so much--i NEVER thought i would be able to watch the birth scene in "knocked up" (things like that totally panicked me before and would keep me up all night--i avoided all the baby shows on TV, as well as any dramatization of birth)--but i'm a normal person now. or at least, when i decide not to watch a birth-related thing on tv, it's because the style of it irks me and not because of my PTSD.



birth trauma is very hard, but it gets easier once you realize what you're dealing with.

dissertating wife of Boo, mama of one "mookie" lovin' 2 year old girl! intactlact:: CTA until 7/10 FF 1501dc
readytobedone is offline  
Old 07-01-2009, 01:25 PM
 
Breastisbest2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just hugs..
Breastisbest2008 is offline  
Old 07-02-2009, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
Devaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: here, there and everywhere
Posts: 1,228
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
it's gonna be okay, mama. yes, you had a birth trauma, and yes, it's affecting your relationship with your body. it can do that

my suggestion is to try and find a therapist who does EMDR. it helped me immensely. it sounds weird, but it isn't scary, i promise.

it can help you to disentangle the trauma from other events/places/people so that you can stop reliving the birth when you don't want to (e.g. during sex, or when watching a video of someone else's birth).

it helped me so so much--i NEVER thought i would be able to watch the birth scene in "knocked up" (things like that totally panicked me before and would keep me up all night--i avoided all the baby shows on TV, as well as any dramatization of birth)--but i'm a normal person now. or at least, when i decide not to watch a birth-related thing on tv, it's because the style of it irks me and not because of my PTSD.



birth trauma is very hard, but it gets easier once you realize what you're dealing with.
thanks everyone for your responses. What exactly is EMDR? I'm open to trying new things. I had some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) a few months ago (just one session) and found it enormously helpful, but I didnt deal directly with the birth during that as hadn't yet realised that was, as you say, what I was dealing with.
Devaya is offline  
Old 07-07-2009, 12:31 AM
 
neveryoumindthere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,914
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
go back for the EFT! I cleared 20+ year depression in ONE session! It is extremely helpful with getting to the core issue. It helped me so much in just 2 sesions that I'm actually going for training this weekend.

*hugs*
I have yet to clear my birth traumas (which also affect me sexually), but they are so much lower on my radar now that I can wait a bit longer while I work on more pressing issues.

I pray you can be healed.. I totally "get it"

Helping women overcome postpartum depression and birth trauma. http://www.postmommyhood.com

neveryoumindthere is offline  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:25 AM
 
readytobedone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: not dissertating
Posts: 3,466
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post
thanks everyone for your responses. What exactly is EMDR? I'm open to trying new things. I had some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) a few months ago (just one session) and found it enormously helpful, but I didnt deal directly with the birth during that as hadn't yet realised that was, as you say, what I was dealing with.
http://www.emdr.com/

there's a place on that site you can go to to look for a clinician in your area.

it just so happened the therapist i chose fairly randomly was trained in it

they don't really know WHY it works, but it helps you to re-process your memory, and to narrate it and file it away "properly" so that the trauma isn't hooked in to the rest of your everyday life.

for example, through the course of EMDR, i realized that looking at my daughter, my bookshelf, any newborn, most rooms in my house, my rosebushes, even being in my own BED, were all very triggering to me. and through EMDR i was also able to rid myself of these triggers, so that my normal life no longer tormented me. i can look at all those things now, and they're just fine!


dissertating wife of Boo, mama of one "mookie" lovin' 2 year old girl! intactlact:: CTA until 7/10 FF 1501dc
readytobedone is offline  
Old 07-08-2009, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
Devaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: here, there and everywhere
Posts: 1,228
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
neveryoumindthere, thanks for that about EFT - I have been trying to make another appointment for the past week because I think it will help. It is so powerful! My friend has had PPD and she felt loads better after one session and didn't have to get medication that she thought she would need.

readytobedone, thanks, will check out that website. It's so interesting what you say about 'triggers' - I'm sure there are all sorts of things triggering me, and it might even explain some of the seemingly irrational rage I get at times.
Devaya is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not 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