Didn't think I had birth trauma but... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-02-2009, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I am really scared of giving birth again and have more fear now than before. We were planning on TTC #2 but have decided to wait until DD is 2 y.o. (she is 18 months now). I am really glad to wait in hopes that I can come to terms with my fears a bit more.

Before my DD birth I just had so much faith in birth and my body and was very clear that a home birth was right for us. I think the home birth was the right thing and that a hospital birth would have been a much worse outcome. Still, I am so afraid to do it again.

A very brief recap of the birth... Labor was long. My baby was stuck (I think she had dropped too early due to too many yoga squats too early on). We just couldn't get contractions to progress after trying so many things... homeopathics, nipple stimulation, etc etc etc... I just wasn't dilating. The baby was moving way too much obviously because she wasn't in the right position. And my water was leaking so I couldn't be in the tub and time was ticking for avoiding the hospital. Things would pick up for a few hours only to peter out again. I was so frustrated. Luckily my MWs suggested another MW who could try to reposition the baby. She was called in as a last resort. I was stood on my head while the new MW put her hand inside of me and pushed DD back up into my uterus. Then they broke my water. Everything took off from there. But I had no time to adjust. It was like going from 20 miles an hour to 120 in just 60 seconds. That was hard. But I was so glad that we had progress and wouldn't have to transport.

DD was born about 5 hours later. She was fine but I started bleeding... seriously bleeding. It took two or three shots of pit. to stop the bleeding and the MW were obviously really worried. I ended up loosing so much blood that I couldn't get up and had to lay on the bathroom floor for an hour before crawling into the bed. Again, thanks to my dear MWs we avoided a transport for this new problem because they have a dr. friend who supports home birth (MW are illegal in our state) who came to give me IV. So, with those fluids I was able to stay home but it was 3 days before I could get out of bed. I think that the thing that really pushed me over the edge was this final thing. They couldn't find a vein and had to keep sticking me. I was just so done with everything. I didn't want anyone messing with me any more. Then after they finally found a vein that worked and got in the first bag of fluids, my MW (being very tired after the 36 hours of my labor) almost flushed the iv when my blood clotted in order to try to get another bag of fluids in. She caught herself realizing that sending a blood clot into my vein was NOT a good idea. But it kind of freaked me out.

Then, on top of this all, my DH was hardly around at all for support. Poor guy is high anxiety and OCD. The birth was so traumatic for him that he pretty much went into isolation for a week until his nervous system recovered so I hardly saw him. Luckily I had my mom and doula helping me out.

So, in the end, I felt like my birth was the best it could be. I've put on a really brave face and have never shared any of my more negative feelings because I felt like I had to defend my home birth choices and also really focus on the positive aspects since I know everything came out really well in the end. If we were at the hospital we would have had a C-section for sure. We were very lucky. So I feel kind of awful for even considering that it was traumatic. I have only focused on the positive outcome and how fortunate we were. But now that we are thinking of a second, I find myself really freaked out. Could I do another home birth? What if I bleed badly again? I am so afraid of hospitals to the point of serous anxiety attacks even walking into one, but now I'm afraid of what could happen at home too. My head is full of what ifs.... What if something happened when the MW repositioned my baby, like the cord got cramped somehow (not sure if that was even something that could happen but I think about it); what if they didn't stop my hemorrhaging, what if the blood clot had dislodged into my vein when they tried a second IV or my MW hadn't caught herself, what if there were other complications with DD being in the birth canal for too long, what if we had ended up at the hospital with all of the interventions that I fear so much... what if, what if...

I feel stuck. I want another baby, but I just don't trust birth the way that I did before. I feel kind of stupid even writing all of this because I know a lot of women have had much more traumatic experiences and much worse outcomes. Still, every time I think of birthing again I can feel my chest tighten and my breathing stops and I want to cry.
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#2 of 5 Old 07-02-2009, 11:37 PM
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I feel kind of stupid even writing all of this because I know a lot of women have had much more traumatic experiences and much worse outcomes.
I had this same feeling for a long time about the birth of my DD. I really had to let go of that and realize that I could be thankful it wasn't AS bad as it could have been, but that trauma is trauma just in varying degrees. Even what is considered technically less traumatic is still traumatic for the person experiencing it. I found that having someone to talk it out with whenever thoughts about it came up really helped. For me this was my DH, but given his response to it, would your doula be able to help you talk through some of it? It's ok to mourn the loss of the birth you had dreamed of and create a new dream of what the next birth can be.
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#3 of 5 Old 07-04-2009, 10:23 PM
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I feel like I could have written your post, except the details are different. My blood pressure went up at the end of my pregnancy and threatened my homebirth plan (I too am seriously afraid of hospitals, the mention of a hospital birth affected me like a cancer diagnosis would have, well, almost as badly). So my anxiety was up, then I was GBS positive and my fear of antibiotics is pretty high, too. I ended up obsessing about the BP (taking it with a home cuff every hour and flipping out before I even saw the number, which was, of course, high.) Managed to keep my BP down during labor with a trick my doula knew, but my labor was fast and hard and I had no time to process it--it happened from 10pm-5am so no sleep (I'm a mess without sleep, more than most people). Then I was desperate to push (could not stop for the world) before I was totally dilated, so my MW reached in and opened me manually during each contraction (OUCH!!!), then after the birth, I had a tear the midwife sewed up, but she "lost" the gauze and had to go routing around for an hour (!!!!!) to find it. I bled a good bit (not as much as you, bless you!)

After all this, my blood pressure went through the roof (160/120 or even higher once or twice). I ended up with pretty severe postpartum anxiety for about 3 weeks (afraid to go to sleep, thought I was going to die) and was so afraid of having to go to the hospital and leave my newborn that I, again, couldn't go to sleep.

When I talk about my experience (or write about it) I also feel like I shouldn't be complaining, as my DS was the picture of health and I ended up being just fine, with no medial intervention (cranio-sacral and acupuncture did wonders for the anxiety--and, I believe, for the BP as a byproduct of bringing the anxiety down). But the truth is you and I absolutely experienced birth trauma, and I believe it is serious and very real.

I am very afraid to get pregnant again. Its pretty much debilitating (meaning I refuse to at this point--ds is 26 months) It has not gotten better, it has gotten worse.

So, I am planning to find a therapist or counselor soon, and will also do cranio-sacral and acupuncture throughout any future pregnancies to help with the anxiety.

I wish you luck!!! I wonder if a counselor or therapist might help you, too?
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#4 of 5 Old 07-05-2009, 06:00 PM
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trauma is trauma and everyone's threshold is different. There's nothing to ashamed of or apologetic over b/c you think you didn't have it all that bad. You had what you had and are living with the results. I admire your bravery to talk about it at all. many women don't/can't/won't b/c of pressure and the whole "you have a healthy baby" line we are constantly fed.

talk to your midwives about finding a therapist who does good work with birth trauma. Your husband needs to talk to someone as well. DH and I never dealt with the issues surrounding our first birth until we were looking at our VBA2C nearly 6 years later. Big mistake. Turns out that all the feelings I'd had of him failing me weren't fair - he was actively involved in fighting with my OB to get more time I was just too out of it to know. b/c we'd never really talked about it, those feelings festered. not good for either of us.

Have a doula that has experience with birth trauma so that she can be aware of triggers and help you through them. This was immensely helpful for both me and DH when we were dealing with our VBA2C labor. He is as thankful for our doula's support as I am.

Stinkerton 12/10/01 9lbs8oz, induced to c/s; Little Man 5/20/03 7lbs11oz, r c/s, fear of another labor; Jillybean 11/18/07 10lbs8oz 37cm head, induced VBA2C; and the Wee Beastie, 9lbs8oz, 35cm head, rpt VBA2C
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#5 of 5 Old 07-06-2009, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess I had this idea that trauma had to be caused by someone (dr, mw, hospital staff) or something that just went horribly wrong and there would be someplace to place the blame. But I guess that doesn't have to be the case. It could just be that the experience itself was more than one can take. If that is the case, it could be that someone could have a birth where everything seems to go just fine, but the pain or something else about the experience just sends one over the edge. I have a friend who had a fine birth center birth but came away hating the whole experience and hating midwives. She was pushing for 3 hours and it was just too much for her. I never thought of that as birth trauma, but it really did impact her deeply and she is still dealing with it 10 years later.

Everyone in my case was great and we had a great outcome. It is just that something is "stuck" on a bodily level. I think that talking to someone is a good idea. I'm lucky to have a mom who is a doctor specializing in postpartum depression and other mama/baby issues. I haven't really talked to her about my feelings because I she was really afraid of home birth to start with. But she probably has someone she could recommend.

Dh and I also had a chance to talk a bit about it last night when he brought up the idea of trying for #2. It was the first time that I admitted to him my feelings. He was surprised but really supportive. It was also helpful to hear his side of things and just how scared he was.
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