Traumatized by the pain of labor - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 11-20-2010, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently found myself unexpectedly pregnant with my 3rd child. I'm only 5 1/2 weeks pregnant, but already worrying about the birth.

 

My 1st child was born by c-section after a FTP induction. 2nd was a HBAC with shoulder dystocia. Not only was the SD traumatic, but the pain of labor, specifically pushing/crowning, was INSANELY painful. I was blindsided by the pain. I think it traumatized me. I plan to have a hospital birth with MW's this time, and I'm pretty certain I will get an epidural. I am already anxious about having a fast labor and get stuck delivering at home (I find that terrifying, actually), or getting the epidural too late, or the epidural not work properly. A part of me thinks I should just schedule a cesarean.

 

Sometimes I feel like the odd one out. My friends loved the natural births, why did I find it so exruciatingly painful?? Tell me I am not the only one.


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#2 of 19 Old 11-27-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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You are not alone. My births are agonizing. Labor, for me, is a world of pain. My issue is I have a wonky system that doesn't respond predictably to drugs. So the thought of an epidural freaks me out because I don't trust it, so I would rather go in terrified of pain than hoping for an out and being unable to have one. I say if an epi is a soothing and comforting thought for you, have one. thumb.gif

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#3 of 19 Old 11-27-2010, 07:18 AM
 
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I don't remotely think you're crazy.  Not even close.  I think the "best birth" is the one that a mother is able to approach with a sense of confidence, peace and joy. 

 

If planning on an epidural gives you that sense?  Go for it!  If choosing a scheduled caesarean birth gives you that sense of confidence and excitement about meeting your baby?  Great!  I don't think the choices we make in labor matter so much as the place we make those choices from; are we choosing from a place of anxiety or one of peace?  A place of compassion for ourselves or a place of shame and helplessness? 

 

I would try on every option in your mind (natural vaginal, epidural vaginal, planned c-section) and wear those decisions for a few days or even weeks each, and see how things shake out for you emotionally with any of those options.  There is no moral value to pain relief or the absence thereof in labor, and I wish you the best birth for your new little one!


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#4 of 19 Old 12-04-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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My first birth was excrutiating, 58 hours, pushed for 3 1/2.  In fact it was so traumatizing, I waited 10 years to do it again.  My second birth was healing, cathartic and much easier; thanks to Hypnobabies home study.  I recommend it highly.

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#5 of 19 Old 12-04-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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i did hypnobabies and it really didnt hurt too much. i have had one baby but she was 8lbs 6 oz and i was only 21 when i had her. i dont think i could have gotten through it without hypnobabies though.


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#6 of 19 Old 12-09-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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I had horrible crowning pain with baby #3 (unmedicated VBAC), while crowning felt like a relief with baby #1 (my only other vaginal delivery). I could get through labor with meditation and visualization, a doula, compresses, position changes, etc., although obviously, it hurt, but I was totally blindsided when pushing out DS#3. I am guessing it hurt so much more than the first time because he was ROT and asynclitic, so while I pushed, my OB maneuvered his head a bit. DH also says the shoulders "looked like they caused a lot of damage" on the way out, from his perspective. I just remember thinking that moment was so painful that I couldn't push into it. I actually sat out for a couple of pushing contractions because I had to muster up the will to go through that. I guess the moral of my story is that the same mother can have a painful and a non-painful delivery, so you might not have another bad one.

 

I do recall the hospital saying they can do pudendal nerve blocks that help some women with the pain at that stage of delivery.


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#7 of 19 Old 12-09-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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My first 3 labors I would have called pain-free...or at least, barely painful.  Intense, yes, not so much painful.  Then came my 4th and 5th--VERY painful.  Especially #4, who was malpositioned and I puked constantly for many hours of labor, then had manual dilating at the end and very forceful pushing to bring him down.  It hurt so much, and it was the first time after a birth where I hurt and felt so weak (no tears, just skidmarks).  Anyway...I got over it.  It was only one day of my life--and all for a good cause!

 

No matter how much it hurt--and others are right, every labor is different--it is still just one day of your life, one that you manage one contraction at a time--and then you get a baby to hold. 

 

I agree, try hypnobabies--if only to receive the benefit of the deep relaxation offered while learning/listening to the suggestions.  Deep relaxation does not always mean 'no pain'--but I can tell you, it does mean pain that you can handle, and then let go of.

 

good luck!

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#8 of 19 Old 12-09-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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Hugs mama, I am so sorry that your second birth went that way.  It is really hard and I understand the fear about doing it again completely. 

 

I had painless birth with my second child (very not painfree posterior back labor first birth) so I really though I had it all figured out -- enter birth #3.  That birth made me fully understand my women choose drugs to deal with labor.  He was positioned with his hand on his face and his elbow pushing into my spine for 14 hours (an hour longer than my first took!).  I was in agony and nothing helped b/c we didn't know where his hand was and couldn't have changed it anyway.  I have never felt pain like that in my life and every stage of the birth was a struggle, I was stuck at 8 cm for at least 6 hours ( I had few internal checks, I actually creid after I found out I was still at 8 the second time).  Pushing was hard work this time, harder than either of the other two, then his elbow tore me a bit and it got topped off with clots forming and a nurse pounding on my belly to 'get those out of there'.  Afterwards, I had none of the victorious, 'I did it!' like I had felt with the first two, I really felt like I had just survived the whole thing, nothing more.

 

Now I am 22 weeks with #4 and I am worried about birthing again.  What helps a little is knowing that those circumstances are not likely to happen that way again.  Also, I ultimately made it through the difficult birth.  It wasn't pretty and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I made it.   I will be doing everything I can as this pg advances to ensure a good position for baby since I think that was the key in my second birth -- he was not posterior like my first and had an all clear for the way out.  I"m considering Hypnobabies too to help, it can't hurt, right?

 

Whatever helps you get through your upcoming birth is okay.  You will be in the hospital, so if you choose to have an epidural you can get it at any time and c/s is there as an option too.  I would be very open with your mws about your last birth and see if they have any suggestions for you.  Wishing you a peaceful and smooth birth!


Baking mama to dd (7.5), ds (6), ds (3.5) and someone new in April
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#9 of 19 Old 12-11-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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:hug

 

I had a traumatic birth with DD1; very traumatic hospital transfer, but even without that I think I would have been traumatised just by the pain I experienced.  I went into birth with confidence, well prepared with education and various ways of coping and so on, but it just blindsided me.  DD1 was posterior and asynclitic and I was in labour for almost 24 hours, the last 15 of which were basically just one giant never-ending contraction.  I couldn't cope because I wasn't getting any breaks at all to regroup and breathe, or even think.  

 

When I got pregnant with DD2 I was soo scared of going through all of that again.  Two things that I did that really helped *me* were:

1) Hire a doula - this was more to help with the fear of being mistreated by HCPs during labour as I had been with my first, but my doula also specialised in helping moms with difficult labours, malpositions etc. and had loads of tricks up her sleeve to help with that too.  Just having her to talk to during my pregnancy and knowing we had come up with plans for so many different possible scenarios, and that she would be comfortable sticking up for me if need be (my DH wasn't able to do that at all with the first) was very reassuring for me.

2) Hypnobabies - really helped me to relax during my pregnancy.  I was having near daily panic attacks and flashbacks due to the PTSD from my first birth, until I started doing Hypnobabies and then I rarely got that panicked after starting - made a huge difference.

 

I also had 'plans' in my own head for nearly every possible scenario.  So, if everything was going well and I felt happy I was educated and confident enough to go for a UC (always a dream of mine), if I felt that things were going okay but I needed some more help/support/monitoring then I would call the doula/midwives and go for a HB, if the pain got to be more than I could reasonably handle I had given myself 'permission' to transfer for an epidural, etc.  So, I felt like I was as prepared as could be for any possible scenario.

 

As it turns out I had a very nearly pain-free UC with DD2.  I didn't fully realise that I was in labour until the fetal ejection reflex kicked in and she was out in just a couple of pushes after that.  I credit the Hypnobabies with at least some of that, but also - it was just a different birth, different baby, different circumstances.  The two labours and births could hardly have been more different - I don't think I would have believed that the same woman could have two such completely different births if I hadn't experienced it myself.

 

Having said that I would *still* be terrified if I got pregnant again - I got lucky once, but wouldn't want to bet on it happening again.  We've decided (for this, among other reasons) that we're done with the two we have, but would definitely do the same things to prepare again if necessary.  I think for me the key was to try to make the pregnancy as relaxed as possible, so that I wasn't constantly focusing on my fear - and when I did I could point to plenty of things that I was doing to manage that, and know that I had my 'plans' in place for all the different scenarios I could imagine. (Hypnobabies was very helpful for that with the fear release section - I could walk myself through potentially scary situations, allow myself to feel the fear, then set my mind to coming up with what I could do in that situation and letting go of the fear.)

 

Good luck


Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#10 of 19 Old 12-12-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveneverfails View Post

I don't remotely think you're crazy.  Not even close.  I think the "best birth" is the one that a mother is able to approach with a sense of confidence, peace and joy. 

 

If planning on an epidural gives you that sense?  Go for it!  If choosing a scheduled caesarean birth gives you that sense of confidence and excitement about meeting your baby?  Great!  I don't think the choices we make in labor matter so much as the place we make those choices from; are we choosing from a place of anxiety or one of peace?  A place of compassion for ourselves or a place of shame and helplessness? 

 

I would try on every option in your mind (natural vaginal, epidural vaginal, planned c-section) and wear those decisions for a few days or even weeks each, and see how things shake out for you emotionally with any of those options.  There is no moral value to pain relief or the absence thereof in labor, and I wish you the best birth for your new little one!



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#11 of 19 Old 12-12-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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No, i totally get it.  I'm in agony becauase I want more kids, but really don't think I can go through that awfulness ever again.  I just had an awful stomach bug that produced similar sensations to labor and I just screamed and begged and wished to die through the awful pain and unspeakable labor flashbacks.  I'd die if I got pregnant right now.  I to have tried to figure out HOW I could maybe do it again......but I am also afraid to plan on an epidural..what if it doesn't take right?  Ive heard so many stories....and I get paralized with fear thinking about having it take like..on one side, so i can not even get up and move around, but yet feel everything on the other side, etc.  What if babty gets the dreaded fever and they want to LP her and I have to FIGHT them, will it be a CPS nightmare?  I think about a scheduled C section.  Could I do that?  What about the recovery?  How will the baby be treated by the staff, while I'm helpless on the table? 

 

Right now, the best solution i have come up with is to actually go to a place like England, where homebirth midwives can carry pain meds.  I think pain meds at a homebirth would be a great option, and think it is despicable that isn't an option here.  But even that scares me..the meds they carry aren't very powerful...it probably wouldn't be enough....

 

Anyway...you are absolutely definitely not alone. 


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#12 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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You're definitely not the only one -- I totally get it too.  Ds1 was born in hospital with an epidural and all the usual interventions and *that* was traumatic for both of us.  So, my dd was a UC -- best birth of all three by far.  Ds2 was born this past Spring and it was the most horribly painful thing I've ever experienced in my life thus far.  He wasn't very big (7lbs 7oz), he was actually the only babe of the three that *wasn't* posterior and it was.... so shocking to me.  That's the only word I have for it; I was shocked.  It took me a few days after the birth to really process the pain, and the weird thing is I still remember every bit of it in vivid detail.  So much so that I'm honestly considering going back to hospital for the next babe(s), just because I cannot, cannot, cannot do that much pain again. {{{hugs}}}

 

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#13 of 19 Old 12-17-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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*hugs* everyone!

 

My 3rd was so incredibly painful, I was angry that no one was *doing* anything to help me. I felt like I was being ripped to shreds in my lower abdomen. Quite traumatic.  Tooks months until I found something to help me heal from the trauma.

 

With #4, I decided there was no way in He** that I was going through that again. I bought hypnobabies and it. was. amazing. I can't recommend it enough. It was a peaceful, amazing birth.

 

Praying you have an amazing experience.

*hugs*


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

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#14 of 19 Old 12-20-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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(x-posted most of this in another thread on here)  I'm so glad you posted this.  I am 22 weeks pregnant (with surprise #3) and not doing so well.  I too am traumatized by labor.  DS was a failed induction turned unnecessarian (impatient midwife) at 41w6d.  I remember being thankful when they did the spinal because the pain of the contractions (with pit) stopped.  Looking back I think that if I had said no cesarean I just want an epi he would have been born vaginally.  With DD I had been pumping once a day from 39w (I have IGT and had a low supply with DS). Anyway, 39w5d PROM. Lador did not start. 12 hours later I took castor oil, went to hospital at 18 hous PROM, needed almost constant nipple stim to keep labor going, At 33 hours past PROM I agreed to pit. I begged to go into the tub and was completely SHOCKED when it did nothing to ease the contractions.  After the pit hypnobabies also did nothing to help.

 

A few hours later I got an epidural because besides the pain being intolerable I was utterly exhausted and needed to sleep. After my nap they shut off the epidural but DD's heart was dropping when I was pushing so I was flat on my back pushing uphill. She was born 44 hours after my water broke. My midwife (different practice then DS) was in the hospital with me for over 24 hours. Yes, she came out of my vagina but I could barely move for days. It was awful.  I feel bad complaining because I 'got my VBAC'.  And guilty because of the epidural.

I can understand the desire for a medicated birth and even a c/s. I cannot go through labor like that again.  The thought that it could be the same makes me break down and cry.  I don't know if I can do it without the epidural.  But I hated being stuck on my back and I hate catheters.  Maybe I have a lower pain tolerance than others.  I don't know.  I thought that by this point I would be beginning to be ok with birthing again.  I'm not even ok with being pregnant yet.  I feel so unattached to the baby.  I'm not sure what to do next to prepare for the inevitable.  I did hire a doula atleast.  DH thinks I'm insane because I just keep crying.


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#15 of 19 Old 12-20-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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I'm an NCB advocate who freaking loved her epidural. There, I said it.

 

So if you feel like the ONLY WAY you can get through this birth is an epidural? GO FOR IT.

 

The only thing I will mention -and I'm not doing this to talk you out of it, because like I said, by the time I got my epidural I was at the same place you are- is that it DOES NOT take ALL of the pain away, especially pushing. It does dull it quite a bit, and for me it was manageable, but you will still feel some pain as the baby crowns.

 

Something you might want to look into is a spinal block, which will totally and completely numb you from your armpits down- basically the same kind of anesthetic they give to an awake c-section mother. It will increase your chances of having an instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) or needing a C-section, and it makes it harder to push and you'll be weak and shaky for a few days. But they are an option.

 

*hugs* if ok.

 

~Rose

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#16 of 19 Old 12-20-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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I had an epidural, was able to focus on breathing, and the next day walked across the street for a cappuccino w/ my husband. Meanwhile, the woman in the next room screamed her head off during her (and my) labor.

 

Downsides: my right leg was numb, and pushing is more difficult to feel. Also, there's always the risk (though tiny) of complications from the epidural.

 

Anyone had a pudendal block instead of an epidural?

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#17 of 19 Old 12-21-2010, 02:29 PM
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Epidurals exist for a reason - because childbirth is painful.  Yes, it's magical, natural and awesome and all that, but it freaking hurts.

 

I got an epi with both my births - no pain, no "cascade of intervnetions" and no regrets. 

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#18 of 19 Old 12-21-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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You're not alone. This is why I got an intrathecal epidural with my second child. However. They had trouble getting it in THREE times causing an even worse severe stabbing pain down my spine. I have permanent damage from this, even 8.5 years later. It was absolutely horrible and I regret it. My other labors were also very painful but at least that pain is gone post-birth. So I understand where you're coming from, but do know that epidurals do have risks and pain attached to them for many people. C-sections, as well. I would highly recommend hypnobabies no matter what for whichever pain-relief option you decide on.

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#19 of 19 Old 12-21-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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You are not alone! For me, my 2nd birth hurt worse than my first. The funny thing is, I felt like I handled it fine until my water broke. It was only 10 minutes from water breaking to birth, but oh jeez, I think it would be worth it to not have to experience 100% of that crowning feeling. My first birth was so long that I was completely numb and swollen and so didn't even feel the crowning, but the second time, yeouch, fast and furious. (The first time, I would have appreciated an epidural *afterwards*, when the midwife had to reach in and manually extract my placenta to stop my PPH.)

 

After two NCBs, I am very open to the possibility of an epidural if I have another baby. I feel like I've proved myself to myself, and have nothing to prove next time around. Although if I'm 9cm on arrival again, I guess I might have no choice in the matter. ;-)

 

Although I do worry about chronic back pain afterwards- I have a friend who traces her back pain to her epidural with her 2nd child.


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