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-   -   Anyone else with a traumatic or negative homebirth experience? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/502-healing-birth-trauma/1252296-anyone-else-traumatic-negative-homebirth-experience.html)

shells_n_cheese 08-11-2010 02:40 PM

It seems taboo to talk about, but anyone else have a less than rosy homebirth experience? We had a shoulder dystocia, DD needed resuscitation, brachial plexus injury (since resolved) and we had had to transfer. Needless to say it has changed my views about homebirth, and birth in general. Next time, it is in the hospital. NO question.

I find it hard to find other women to talk about this with. Some love to blame me for the SD, saying was I the wrong position or had too much fear. There are no message boards about it, no support groups solely dedicated to a traumatic homebirth. I am thinking about starting my own support group.

If you are feeling the same way, I would love if you would reply here, or PM me.

DanteLoganMom 08-11-2010 04:28 PM

While I didn't have a home birth because of a number of reasons, I totally agree that we need to talk about traumatic home births and support you in your efforts. I also think there needs to be more support for this growing option by the medical community as well, since it is obviously NOT going away. I am assuming your midwife was able to handle everything though.

I think there needs to be more of a happy medium, like more birth centers, that give people the feel of being at home and able to give births with midwives, who are supportive of the families needs, while being close enough to a hospital that should something happen there are options.

I hope everything is ok with your baby now though.

Bandora 08-11-2010 04:32 PM

I am also healing from a traumatic birth. After laboring at home for over 24 hours and not progressing fast enough LO's heart started to decelerate triggering a call to 911 and an ambulance ride.

While waiting for the ambulance the midwife had me try to push the baby out and they tried at the hospital as well. I seemed to be the only one that knew that baby's heart rate was fine as long as I didn't have a contraction and specially if I didn't push.

So I started to "fake it" since I felt like I was being forced to push. It took several pushing sessions for the doctor to come in and recognize what I knew all along and that's when the emergency C-section was ordered.

It was not according to plan at all but I have made my peace with that, but emotionally I still have a very deep wound over how I was treated from the time 911 was called until the doctor came in.

I was numb to it for several days basking in the glow of a healthy baby but after coming home from the hospital and having time to think I discovered that I have some symptoms of PTSD as a result of that experience and I haven't been able to talk to anyone but my husband.

The doctor was quick to write a script for antidepressants that I am trying to avoid. I agree with you, these types of experiences are considered taboo and it's hard to find support.

You're not alone.

onlyboys 08-11-2010 05:06 PM

Yes, traumatic homebirths happen. And, honestly, in your case it sounds like the venue didn't really matter. A shoulder dystocia in the hospital is every bit as traumatic as they are at home.

I'm sure there are many women who feel traumatized by their homebirths. It's not often talked about because those who support NCB in an out of hospital setting don't want to acknowledge that sometimes (not very often at all) things happen that are traumatizing, dramatic and dangerous.

Hope you find peace about you experience.

shells_n_cheese 08-11-2010 05:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyboys View Post
I'm sure there are many women who feel traumatized by their homebirths. It's not often talked about because those who support NCB in an out of hospital setting don't want to acknowledge that sometimes (not very often at all) things happen that are traumatizing, dramatic and dangerous.
Exactly. And this is wrong. We should be able to talk about these things. Why shouldn't we? To try and keep the peaceful picture perfect image of homebirth alive? Ugh. I honestly have never received so little support in anything until I had a less than stellar homebirth story to share. (And this in not directed at you -- just in general).

Oh, I like how you throw the "not very often at all" in there, though. That gets under my skin a little bit. A perfect example of keeping that rosy picture of homebirth alive.

loveneverfails 08-11-2010 06:54 PM

I spent a while hovering on the PTSD line after my most recent baby's violent home birth followed by transfer for respiratory problems and 10 day NICU stay. I have to say I'm more traumatized by the freaking insane neonatologists than I was by the home birth part of things.

I think there is an added layer of trauma in home births because the traumatic event happens in your living room, your bedroom. So, the triggers are different. I mean, you can find a way to drive around and avoid the hospital you were at that had a traumatic history for you, but you can't really avoid going in your bedroom where your baby was resuscitated, if you know what I mean?

So, count me in?

loveneverfails 08-11-2010 07:06 PM

On a side note, I think that it can be a mistake to put too much emphasis on the setting where the trauma occurred instead of the fact that it did occur, and here's what it looked like. Like, a bad hospital birth can be looked at such that "if only" one was at home, the traumatic experience would not have happened. Sometimes this is the case (for example in cases where the mom was traumatized by the actions of hospital staff... hard to have that happen if the hospital staff aren't there), but it's not always the case. Sometimes the complication encountered is far more frightening and more central a factor in the trauma compared to what setting the traumatic event occurred in.

It's a complicated thing to deal with, though, especially when people feel like their experiences are swept under the rug to fit an overarching agenda.


fruitfulmomma 08-11-2010 07:24 PM

We had a transfer support tribe going for a little while.Maybe some of the stories there would help...

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...+support+tribe

GuildJenn 08-11-2010 09:04 PM

I'm so sorry for your experience.

I had a traumatic hospital birth (my daughter died 4 days later), so not quite the same, but I found the same lack of support. Although I blame that hospital staff for their errors, the whole way it went down did make me more inclined to birth in a hospital...for me having watched a full-out resuscitation I just wanted that available.

I think the unsupportive response, which I have found universally, is related to our vulnerability as parents - people don't really want to think about babies being hurt or almost dying or dying.

But I also think in the quest to de-medicalize uncomplicated delivery the NCB community fails to handle complications well on an emotional level. Someone always has to point out the stats are low or whatever...kind of like pointing out the stats on cancer to someone on chemo, when you're talking about a freshly traumatized person, but hey.

onlyboys 08-11-2010 09:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by shells_n_cheese View Post
Exactly. And this is wrong. We should be able to talk about these things. Why shouldn't we? To try and keep the peaceful picture perfect image of homebirth alive? Ugh. I honestly have never received so little support in anything until I had a less than stellar homebirth story to share. (And this in not directed at you -- just in general).

Oh, I like how you throw the "not very often at all" in there, though. That gets under my skin a little bit. A perfect example of keeping that rosy picture of homebirth alive.
I'm sorry my comment got under your skin. I didn't mean it to at all. My intent was to let you know that the chance of a shoulder dystocia happening was low. It's one of those true, honest to god, no matter what emergencies that commands my respect as a care provider. That's the end. I know full well that homebirth isn't always rosy, and it irritates me that it gets painted that way. When people say birth is as safe as life gets, many fail to realize that life gets pretty damned dangerous.

I guess I should just let you know we're on the same page. I think it's wrong that the true emergencies and midwife-related (iatrogenic) complications end up glossed over in the rush to paint all midwives and all homebirths with this shiny broad brush.

Yes, we should be able to talk about these things. Even if we're not able, the space should be held so that we can when it's time to talk about these things. Instead, less than optimal outcomes are often just listed as transfers and we move on. This practice doesn't honor the place of the traumatized mother and family.

Sincerely, there was no dig. I honor your traumatic birth and want you to feel there is a place to talk about it.

shells_n_cheese 08-11-2010 10:49 PM

Onlyboys, thank you for clarifying. I am sorry I snapped at you.

loveneverfails 08-11-2010 11:10 PM

So, do we want to start a thread in Birth Trauma? Finding your tribe? I don't want this to fall through the cracks, because it is really important.

skibummum 08-11-2010 11:28 PM

I am just now coming to grips with a different type of homebirth trauma. I wasn't sure how to label it, but I call it "pre-natal neglect" and categorize it as abuse of a mother and her unborn baby by a trained professional. My first homebirth went realllly well. My second birth went equally well, but I had hired a friend who was a midwife and during my care, she became very upset with me (her words not mine) for me asking "too many questions" and "not trusting her." I honestly didn't realize there was even an issue until she just quit calling, showing up for my appointments or just cancelling the morning of. She also would complain that she had to pay for child care to come to my appointments and would ask if she could bring her 5 boys with her... I declined because I wanted a peaceful appointment and this further angered her. So when my weekly appointments came, she cancelled two and didn't bother to show up for one. She didn't call to explain. When I went overdue, I would ask her to come listen to hearttones and she would belittle and pooh pooh my worries and would not come. When I went overdue by nearly two weeks, I went into labor for an entire night but tried to sleep through it. When I called her the next day, she refused to come check on the baby and me. Later she said she was just "trusting birth." So the next night, I went into labor again and I waited until contractions got really strong to call her because by this point, I felt like I was a huge inconvenience to her, even though I was PAYING her. My hubby called her at close to 7 am. She lives an hour away. My baby was born at 8:52 and she missed the birth because she didn't want to pay her babysitter down the road, and drove passed my house to her aunt's and then back-tracked to my house and caused herself to miss the birth...... But she blames me "for not calling soon enough." I don't speak to her anymore, needless to say.

shells_n_cheese 08-11-2010 11:34 PM

Skibummum, I am so sorry for the way you were treated.

skibummum 08-11-2010 11:55 PM

Thank you. It's taken me a while to "get" what happened becuase she tried to justify her actions by making excuses. I just hope she learns from it and doesn't repeat this behavior or she will end up with a law suit eventually....

liqdsnk2 08-13-2010 02:23 AM

Thank you for starting this thread! I have been looking for one for over a year. I had an amazing home birth last year that ended with a lengthy stay in the hospital...I was near death with a Streptococcus A infection, it's also known as Child Bed Fever. Child Bed Fever use to kill women in the 1800s before Dr's knew to wash their hands between patients. I have to be extremely careful what I post on Mothering because I have had threads removed when I shared my story. I am sorry for what you all have gone through, I hope you can find peace again.

forumyonly1 08-13-2010 03:42 AM

I'm glad you posted this too.. while my experience with my 3rd baby wasnt nearly as traumatic as yours.. i remember feeling like there was no way i would EVER do that again and i felt like the homebirth picture i had been painted was a complete lie.. my son had both hands on top of his head.. my husband was in iraq so my midwife came pretty early.. i labored for about 13 hours.. 3 of which were transition.. it was excruciating.. i was bawling and questioning my friend who was present how her homebirth could have possibley been "pain free" everything went ok.. he came out with no problems (i dont have large babies) but my post partum was really difficult... i had a lot more bleeding than i had with my previous two babies.. i kept getting the "thank god you werent in the hospital or you would have had a c-section" comment.. which i'm sure is true.. but i can't help but to think about how much pain i was in durring and after labor and how i felt no real comfort from any one about it... This time around i didnt know what to do as far as the birth went.. i started care with my previous MW and then we moved when i was half way in my pregnancy.. i met with obgyns and CNMs here that deliver in hospitals.. and didnt like any of them.. then i met my current midwife and really liked her ideals and i loved her student midwife. unfortunately her student midwife moved out of state and now every time i meet with my midwife i always feel like she is so fake. It's pretty much too late now to change my mind or do anything about it.. but i still think about my last home birth and wonder if i'm even making the right choice here.. i mean what do you do when no where feels like the "right" place to birth?!

lotusdebi 08-13-2010 10:33 AM

I had a homebirth with my second child. I knew that shoulder dystocia was a risk, since my first child (born in a birth center) had a moderate shoulder dystocia. So, I purposely sought out a midwife with extensive enough experience in resolving shoulder dystocias that I felt comfortable. I also did various exercises and saw a chiropractor to do everything I could to avoid another shoulder dystocia. My son ended up getting stuck anyway. This time, it was a severe shoulder dystocia. He was stuck for what felt like forever, required oxygen, and then was taken to the hospital to be checked out by our homebirth-friendly pediatrician. Thankfully, he only needed a chiropractic adjustment and he was fine.

It was traumatic. It was hard to process. I did everything "right". And, still, ended up with this horrible birth. But, he survived it. And I survived it. And I got through the trauma. It took some time to bond with this baby who I thought wasn't going to make it in those last few minutes of being stuck, and when he came out blue. But, we're doing okay now.

I'm not having any more kids. If I was, I'd have another homebirth. From the stories I've read about severe shoulder dystocias, things could have been much worse - both at home and in a hospital. If I'd gone with an OB from the start, I likely would've ended up being induced and possibly sectioned. If I had pushed for a vaginal birth in a hospital, I doubt my son would've survived. My midwife was competant and capable. I'll never get the beautiful candles and soft music and gentle waterbirth. And I've lost all interest in being a childbirth educator since my experience. But, I can live with that. My kids are 8 and 3 now, and how they were born isn't such a big deal in my mind anymore. I'm glad they're here.

liqdsnk2 08-13-2010 04:12 PM

I also wanted to add that I went through hell and almost lost my life but I still feel homebirth is 100% safe with the right midwife. Midwifes have a tough job... Not only do they "catch babies" they also have to fight for the cause. I live in a very homebirth friendly community and what happened to me had never happened in my state. If I could have another baby it would be born at home. Before my homebirth I wanted to be a Midwife, and now it makes me want to even more.

I put together a video montage of my birth. http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p...edium=text_url

loveneverfails 08-13-2010 04:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by liqdsnk2 View Post
I also wanted to add that I went through hell and almost lost my life but I still feel homebirth is 100% safe with the right midwife. Midwifes have a tough job... Not only do they "catch babies" they also have to fight for the cause. I live in a very homebirth friendly community and what happened to me had never happened in my state. If I could have another baby it would be born at home. Before my homebirth I wanted to be a Midwife, and now it makes me want to even more.

I put together a video montage of my birth. http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p...edium=text_url
Oh sweetheart... that is so, so horrible. I am SO sorry! And thank you so much for sharing your story. I had 10 day NICU stay with my daughter, most of which was completely unnecessary, but thank *God* it was unnecessary. I am so sorry that you went through all of that.

How are you holding up? And Quinn is beautiful.


CherryBomb 08-13-2010 05:17 PM

Count me in, unfortunately. Dd2 was supposed to be a hbac, but pretty much everything went wrong. She was posterior and asynclitic and I was in agony, finally transferred after nearly 3 days of labor when my labor was stalling and her heart rate was falling. I had my second c/s and she spent 2 weeks in the NICU. She had had a massive stroke at some point (probably prior to labor, but no way to know for sure) and was severely brain damaged. There's no way she would have lived if she had been born at home, she started seizing immediately upon birth (she would seize every time she tried to breathe) and while the mw had oxygen, she didn't have seizure meds and intubation equipment. We also live nearly 15 minutes from a small local hospital that didn't even have a NICU at that time, so even if we could have gotten her to the hospital alive, she would have had to been airlifted 45 minutes to the nearest hospital with a NICU. So, while I fully support the right of women to choose homebirth, it's not a choice I'll ever make again. And yes, it makes you something of a black sheep in the NCB community (I went on to have a great vba2c, but I was "bad" and did it in the hospital )

liz-hippymom 08-14-2010 02:58 PM

yep. i had a very tramatic homebirth that killed my daughter...i have had several real world friends ditch me as soon as i pointed out it was the homebirth, many facebook friends friends "unfriend" me , . i had people BOOing me at the first hearing for my midwife. nice....
here is my birth story with pictures
http://ecmama.blogspot.com/2010/06/w...aquila_21.html

loveneverfails 08-14-2010 05:01 PM

Liz.

I did the open records request through the state of TX (two of my home births were in TX, and I'm absolutely stunned that something this awful could happen and get blown off) and have listened to only part of the meeting. The part I listened to, I was seriously feeling sick listening to how nice a tone the speaker was using in talking to Faith. Aquila deserves so much better than this, and you are such a good mother to be fighting on her behalf like this.

skibummum 08-14-2010 08:05 PM

liqdsnk2: WOW. Do they know what caused it? I'm so sorry this happened! Beautiful video!

triscuitsmom 08-14-2010 09:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by skibummum View Post
liqdsnk2: WOW. Do they know what caused it? I'm so sorry this happened! Beautiful video!
It was a beautiful video. Thank you liqdsnk2 for sharing.

But am I missing it now? I came back to watch it again today when I wasn't distracted and the link is gone.

liqdsnk2 08-14-2010 11:03 PM

Thanks to all who watched my video. If it saves just one moms life I have done my job. I want to start a website with info for women. Not to persuade them not to, but to inform them of what could happen and where to go to get info. I want to include birth stories, questions to ask your midwife that people don't think to ask, who to contact in each state to see if the midwife they are interested in has been found negligent. Signs of infections, and a support group for women who need it. I don't have the time to do it all at them moment but it's on my list of things to do soon! Please PM if you would like more info.

I have received so much slack for sharing my story it's refreshing to meet others who understand. The Drs who treated me sent a letter to the Midwifery council of my state... and they started a large investigation. Thankfully she will not be able to do this to anyone else. I have been searching for other women involved in this but have not had much luck. I know I am not the only one, but I don't think they know there are more women.

I have more to say but need to put the kiddos to bed.

Light & Love

loveneverfails 08-14-2010 11:25 PM

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your video, and your story. I mean, I understand that home birth is a sensitive issue and there are political issues in play. However, women and children's safety *needs* to come first. Bottom line.

If midwives are the best caregivers, there should be nothing to hide. And if a midwife is providing care that endangers women and children, he or she needs to be removed from the position held. End of story. You can't be a guardian of birth and not guard birthing women and their babies from unqualified birth attendants, and the tragedy in human lives that happens when an emergency transpires with unqualified caregivers present.

Munchkimo 08-15-2010 02:09 AM

My now five-year-old son's homebirth-transfer was traumatic. I labored for several days, and was stuck at 7cms with a cervical lip when I finally decided to transfer to the hospital. On the way to the hospital I began to have an irresistible pushing urge despite not being fully dilated. After four days of labor and no sleep, I had no strength to stop pushing. At that point the doctors pressured me into Nubain by convincing me that I would rupture my uterus if I didn't wait until fully dilated to push. Not more than ten minutes after the Nubain, I was fully dilated but now too numb to push or stand up. The doctor's solution to this was to employ the use of vacuum extraction. Possibly due to the vacuum, my son had a shoulder distocia. At the time I didn't know what was going on. I had insisted that my child be immediately place on me after birth and he was but very, very briefly. I later found out that they were checking him for broken bones due to the aggressive fundal pressure the nurses had to apply.

In retrospect, I suspect that my son was not presenting correctly and that explains the long labor, the cervical lip, and possibly the shoulder dystocia. I do not feel that my midwife helped with the cervical lip as much as she could have. Also, I felt I distrusted my instincts partly due to my first midwife's strong personality. Her suggestion that perhaps God was impeding the birth of my child due to some un-dealt with sin in the house was not only inappropriate but very damaging. It took me years to realize that my son's traumatical birth was absolutely not punishment on behalf of God.

My second child, now three years old was born at home with a student midwife. It was a beautiful and healing birth.

MsBlack 08-15-2010 09:12 AM

My heart breaks to know some of these stories...and I know that while some birth emergencies are unavoidable no matter where you birth or with whom, I do know this fact: some providers are not as competent (especially with complications) as they should be, not as calm and skilled under duress as they should be, for best safety.

I also know that some hb providers are too worried about liability/criminal investigation to provide compassionate support following a difficult birth or loss--or are simply emotionally unprepared to cope with the deep sorrow and possible outrage that clients may have. I have, with my own sorrow and outrage for my profession, seen that distancing and denial all too often becomes some mws' way of dealing with homebirth transfer of care, especially when there are serious problems or loss involved. They abdicate, pure and simple, and to me this is so wrong.

The stories I could tell....including my own stories of attempting to address these problems, and being ostracized by other mws (and some families) as a result.

And yet...and gently, yet....

Birth trauma does not always come about due to provider incompetence, or specifically due to homebirth...it can occur anywhere, with any provider. Birth is wonderfully well designed and that still includes the possibility of problems and even losses for some, that no one can prevent, or completely control when they occur.

I fully honor your pain and outrage that only naturally stems from births that were traumatic in some way. Those feelings are real, and the need for compassionate support is real...as a survivor of one traumatic birth, I know of PTSD, and the outrage and clinging grief that is so normal but--so few around us really acknowledge because it just makes them so uncomfortable to deal with such intense, raw emotion.

And I totally agree--we need more resources for healing, including support groups for homebirth families who too often are ignored or ostracized for speaking against their mw, even if their claims are entirely TRUE. I will never understand this: why don't people realize that the more we try to shut someone up who has a legitimate feeling or complaint, the more likely that that person will (at least at first, if not forever) try harder to get heard, and get support for sorrow and remedy for injustice...? Even if someone suffers a birth complication or loss that was no one's fault--they still need support in healing, but they still can be marginalized for casting any doubt upon homebirth. This can be true even if a familiy knows it wasn't about homebirth, or their mw's training--just having a sad or difficult experience (anywhere, with any provider) can make others shun us, only because of their own fear and their own unwillingness to confront the facts of life and birth. So I am glad to hear of efforts to provide that support--it is needed!

Still--I guess I want to urge you to try to be clear about what the real problems here actually are: yes, some mws are incompetent or just very unwise. Those religious types--gah! as if anyone can be helped during a difficult birth by being asked to think about their possible sins!. Sometimes I meet a family that chooses a mw because of religious reasons, only to get nothing but prayer, and lectures about sin, instead of competent or duly cautious care. And I also know that sometimes, a religious mw may be the only known choice in your area--we are all doing our best to make our considered choices under conditions of limitation. But this does not mean all hb mws are inadequate to their tasks. And it's true that some complications can be handled better in the hospital than at home...but it's also true many can be avoided altogether, or handled better at home than in the hospital.

I fully respect anyone's choice to give birth in the hospital, as a way to hopefully prevent a future truama or loss. And having seen some things handled at home and hospital both, I could not make that same choice. I'm saying that YES, you are to be honored for your choice. And definitely, YES, your trauma from that scary birth needs to be honored, your healing supported in all possible ways. It makes me SO MAD to know that women like you do NOT receive that support from the hb community! I believe you, and I do know the pain and outrage and PTSD that can follow a difficult birth. And I urge you all to seek support, and create your own support systems, because your healing is the worthiest of causes. I'm so glad this is being discussed, you have my admiration for taking this into your own hands to get started.

And I hope in your quest you can separate, for you own healing as well as others' benefit, your own particular experience from the general realm of homebirth. We DO need to make the poor mws known--and we DO need to promote the general understanding that homebirth is not 'perfect', not for all people and not for all situations. Your courage in the quest for healing, and for the redress of wrongs, is amazing and beautiful to me. Your pain and outrage, too often worsened by dismissal by others, is my own as well, for the same reasons. I just know that my own healing from birth trauma (and other difficulties over time), was (and is, it's an ongoing process) greatly helped by making some separations as above. Life brings terrible challenges at times, whether through our own choices or not; what helps me live on in love and faith is refusing to let one evil person make me hate all other people, refusing to let one situation dictate how I see and respond to all others. If this makes sense...it's hard to say in the right words.

Thanks all for being so brave, honest and willing

liz-hippymom 08-15-2010 10:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by loveneverfails View Post
Liz.

I did the open records request through the state of TX (two of my home births were in TX, and I'm absolutely stunned that something this awful could happen and get blown off) and have listened to only part of the meeting. The part I listened to, I was seriously feeling sick listening to how nice a tone the speaker was using in talking to Faith. Aquila deserves so much better than this, and you are such a good mother to be fighting on her behalf like this.
wow! thank you for listening to this yeah i have only made it through part also, as it makes me get sick to revisit the experience. although it is hard to get the full picture without hearing the whole thing.
i have to go to another one of these now, as my midwife is arguing the decision from that day (on the tape) and of course it will most probably fall on the nov 15th meeting- which conveniently enough is on my due date....
but suprise to them, i will be there with my newborn in arms, as i am being induced 1-2 weeks early because of the high recurrence rate of abruptions.


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