I'm nearly the end of my second pregnancy. My first birth wasn't what I had hoped for. Ended up on pit (rupture of membranes and GBS+), opted for an epidural, ended up with a third degree tear, had a ton of swelling PP due to all the fluids they pushed into me and had issues with breastfeeding which may or may not have had anything to do all the interventions. I was lucky that my baby was born healthy, I avoided a c-section and eventually our breastfeeding was worked out.
There was zero doubt in my mind that this baby would be a homebirth. I have no interest in subjecting myself to all the hospital interventions again. I feel like I might not be so lucky to avoid a c-section again.
I did try to talk to people about my disappointment with my birth after the fact. My midwife told me that my second birth would probably be a wonderful, healing experience for me. It felt like a bit of a slap because after going through infertility treatments, I had hoped that birth would be a healing experience for me. It also felt like she was brushing off my concerns as unimportant. Feeling brushed off was what usually happened as I was told that at least my baby was healthy and at least I didn't have a c-section. Basically I felt like I was being told that I shouldn't feel upset about my birth experience because it could have been so much worse!
I requested my records from my (hospital birth) midwives office before I moved (between pregnancies). I glanced over them and was a bit surprised to see how little information was in my chart. No wonder they kept asking us what we did for a living - they never bothered to jot down even the tiniest bit about us as people. I had a birth team meeting with my midwife and the student midwife that she expects will be her assistant for my birth. We talked around about my first birth here and there and the student midwife mentioned that there was some notes about possible PPD and asked what was going on from my prospective. She was telling me that some women have feeling resurface with their second birth. It has left me wondering what - if anything - I can or should do to process my feelings about my first birth?
Thanks to anyone who managed to read through this whole thing.
Wish I had a good answer for you, but instead I just have empathy. I've had 3 traumatic births, and I do recommend at least confronting your fears, acknowledging what you lost or feel was taken from you, etc. before the next birth. As I'm sure everyone in this forum knows, it's easier said than done, especially since it seems taboo to be disappointed with any birth that resulted in a live baby and mother. I don't think I got mine all taken care of between my births, and DH tells me now we won't be trying for another until I've gotten it resolved. Hope that doesn't mean we never have another baby, lol. Good luck, momma!
Wife to since '98; Homeschooling, just completed my doctorate & becoming crunchier by the day; Mom to DSs: 06/10,12/05, & 1/99 & (3/15)
(nak) I went through this same thing last year. My first son was planned to be a homebirth. I had a partial placental abruption which led to a month long hospital stay, induction, eventually an epidural, vacuum, tear, and *almost* a c-section.
I wrote out his birth story and couldn't bear to read it or think about it until I was halfway through my next pregnancy, two and a half years later. I could cry thinking of his birth just as much now as the day after we came home.
Second time around I was really scared, and realized I had a lot of work to do. Your midwife is right, this upcoming birth probably will be very healing for you. Mine certainly was. At the same time, being told that now is not particularly helpful to you. It's hard to know what to tell someone in our situation. We need validation and support, but the particulars are hard to nail down. You can only cry about the first time and worry about the second so much (not that those aren't valid if that's what you need, but I wanted to do more once I had moved past that). I think people play the At Least You Had A Healthy Baby card because they have no idea what to say. I've been through it, I know what a slap it feels like, and I catch myself saying it. I don't know what to say, either. It's hard.
My midwife (for the second birth) had me chat with one of her previous clients that had gone through something similar, that did help, and is what you're doing now. She also recommended affirmations. I read Birthing From Within, which helped a little.
I think more than anything I just had to grieve my disappointments about the first birth and confront my fears of the second one. Whether I was being ungrateful (since I had At Least Had A Healthy Baby) or not, I was sad, and let that be okay. I was scared of second stage labor because I got an epidural at 8cm the first time. I had no idea what pushing and the baby coming out felt like and it terrified me. I read a lot of birth stories to learn about that. I was scared of another abruption. I had to accept that things happen and we do the best we can. Birth can be unpredictable. Some things we don't have control over. Other things we do, and we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. These are part of both birthing and mothering. In Birthing From Within they say "Worry is the work of pregnancy" and I think that is true as well, meaning some of the thoughts that play over and over in your mind are going to be there no matter how much you try to "process" your traumatic experience, and that's okay.
I don't think the loss of a birth experience you wanted ever goes completely away. When I think of DS1's birth and I now have DS2's healing birth to contrast it with, I'm sad in a different way, for him and for me. I guess the bottom line is I know I did the best I could.
Best of luck. Feel free to PM me if that would be helpful.
Hey there OP mama,
Your description of your birth could have been written by me - about my own birth. Here's how I handle it now that I am 29 weeks pregnant and dealing with all kinds of emotions about having another baby.
First of all, I'm pissed off. Sorry to use such abrupt language, but one way that I don't let people brush off my feelings of dissatisfaction is to not even say that I'm "dissatisfied". I just say that it's a shame that it happened to me and that it happens to other women EVERY DAY. I never say that "at least she was born healthy" although I do pat myself on the back for avoiding a c-section by stalling and delaying and rocketing that kid out of my vagina with the kiwi vacuum on one push.
I blame the hospital entirely. I don't actually care if that's a healthy way to deal with it. Who was it that said that "the best way to avoid a c-section is to never set foot in a hospital"? I don't remember now, but it sounds like all the stuff you went through had nothing to do with you and your baby, but with routine and protocol.
Did your membranes go spontaneously? How long were they ruptured? How many vaginal checks did you submit to? The list goes on. I know for me, I couldn't even write my birth story because it was mine, but it wasn't - you know what I mean? I was like someone that things happened TO, not someone that made things happen or experienced anything.
So, I don't know if this helps or not, but midwives aren't always right. They make silly calls just like OBs or GPs or Students. I'm not saying to seethe anger and be a bitter person, but just know that it's got nothing to do with you and your ability to have a baby.
It's the system, and it's totally broken.
By the way, I've even entertained having my daughter (now 3) in the pool with me - or at least really really close by. One wise friend said that this birth will be healing, and it's a lot like birthing your first child over again. I dunno if that's true, but I sure hope so. I know there are no second chances, but I feel like I have at least a chance to re-shape my first birth story a bit.
All the best (I see you're due soon). I hope it's everything you hope for.