Not sure how I feel about a vaginal birth anymore - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My children are ages 14 and 9. It's been a long time since I have been on these boards. When I had my last son, I did not imagine myself having anymore children. Well, here I am. I am divorced and have been in a new relationship for years. We are trying to have one of our own. I had a miscarriage earlier this year, but am pregnant again and in general feel more positive about this one and feel like it is going to stick.

 

All that said....

 

My two pregnancies were both vaginal deliveries. I never took any prenatal classes or anything. First one, 22 hours of labor, some IV pain meds, a lot of pushing and general misery because I was medicated and tired. Ended up with two black eyes and broken blood vessels in my eyes from pushing "wrong." The midwife and nurses told me that I "pushed with my face." It took a couple weeks for my face to go back to normal but whatever.

 

Second pregnancy, I wanted to do all natural. I was dealing with some personal issues related to substance abuse and I wanted to do it all natural as a way to feel like I was more powerful than my history of addiction. I did a lot of psychological work around that. Delivery time....9 hours, all natural. Intense. But I did it medication/epidural free.

 

The only things though...I "pushed with my face" again. Even worse than the first time. I had black eyes, broken blood vessels both eyes (they were both totally blood red at the whites) and broken blood vessels all over my face and neck and chest! It was horrible. It took a month to clear up! I felt like a failure in that aspect of delivery, like I don't know what I am doing. It messed with my head and I didn't want to deal with everyone staring at me like I had been assaulted.

 

Basically, I don't want to do it "wrong" again and end up like that again. I am afraid of pushing again. Granted, since that time, I have done some other psychological work around some sexual trauma and I feel like I was "holding back" with both of those deliveries due to that trauma. I feel like I am in a much better psychological place this time. But I am still afraid. In some moments, I entertain the idea of asking for a c-section though I have NO reason to think that is a good idea except for the idea that I am afraid I will still hold back and my head will explode this time or something (kidding, lol, but you KWIM). I am just...scared of pushing again.  

 

Anyone have any input? I want to get a doula this time, which I haven't had in the past. I am thinking of going with a whole new midwife team because I didn't like the one that delivered me last time. Though I have stayed with the practice for annual GYN visits, I am thinking that if it came down to having that midwife be the one who delivers me next time, I am starting out labor in a bad mental place. 

 

Ugh.  Sorry for the length of this. 


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#2 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 04:42 PM
 
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I'm willing to bet that after you've read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, you will feel very different. Best wishes!

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#3 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 07:48 PM
 
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Hi Andria! I suggest to research a little something called "fetal ejection reflex", a theory first developed by Michael Odent, a french obstetrician. According to this, you wouldn't need to push at all. It woks for many mothers, although if the baby is stuck, or needs to be born ASAP, some pushing may be neccesary. Maybe you should research and take some classes about the "right" way of pushing, and it is important that the MW attending you helps you in that regard, if you need it.

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#4 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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Since it has been a while, and you never took any childbirth classes, perhaps a good class would help? I'd talk to an instructor first and make sure that any class I was interested in definitely spent a lot of time on breathing techniques and how to push efficiently.

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#5 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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Can I just hate for a moment on the idea that you pushed "wrong"?  I was not in that delivery room.  I don't know what the standards are for pushing "right" (I needed a vacuum assist for my first, and a c/s for my second), and I can see notions about right and wrong pushing getting really weird really fast... but that's why I hate the idea that you pushed "wrong." 

 

You had two babies, and you moved them from inside of you to outside of you using muscles that you don't get to practice with.  Some people are really good at individual muscle isolations, and some aren't.  And some people have more fragile capillaries, or paler skin. 

 

I can understand finding the experience unpleasant, and I would hate looking all beat up after birth too.  It would be great if there was a way to avoid that, but I don't think you're doing anything wrong.

 

I actually wouldn't recommend Ina May Gaskin to anyone dealing with sexual trauma.  Her approach to birth is hugely sexual, and she describes a *lot* of sexual contact with clients during birth, so if sexual trauma is an issue for you, her approach might just be scary.  (Sexual trauma isn't an issue for me, and I find her approach, as described, way over the line of what I would be comfortable with.)

 

I do think a good class might help, especially if you can find one that focuses on relaxation techniques that might help you stay loose above the neck, and focus your energy where you want it most.  Meditation might also help.

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#6 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 11:03 PM
 
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I have the same feeling... I spent so long exhausting myself, then didn't get the proper bonding with my baby that I thought natural home birth was supposed to give. I'd almost rather get a c-section during the early stages of labor and spare the pain, especially when I hear people who had c-sections who got more post-partum bonding with their baby than I did...  It's still surgery, though, and it poses health risks to any future pregnancies... I just don't know.

 

I don't have any real suggestions. I didn't have the same problems with pushing you did and I'm not a medical professional so I can't offer any wisdom. It wasn't clear- were you doing coached pushing, or did you wait and only push with your body and it still happened. If you were coached pushing, I'd consider waiting until you naturally got the urge to push, but that's all the advice I could think of.

 

I'm so sorry you're in this position. I don't know if it helps or not to know that there are people who feel the same way- but I do. I want to have more kids in the future, I have no problem wiht the pregnancy or the post-partum or the taking care of the baby, but I just don't know how or where I want to give birth. :(

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anablis View Post

Hi Andria! I suggest to research a little something called "fetal ejection reflex", a theory first developed by Michael Odent, a french obstetrician. According to this, you wouldn't need to push at all. It woks for many mothers, although if the baby is stuck, or needs to be born ASAP, some pushing may be neccesary. Maybe you should research and take some classes about the "right" way of pushing, and it is important that the MW attending you helps you in that regard, if you need it.


I don't have much experience on that reflex, but on my basic reserach, it appears that even with that reflex you do still push- but you push only when your body tells you to (basically involuntarily).  If that's true, wouldn't there still be the risk of the problems that come with pushing for the OP?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

Can I just hate for a moment on the idea that you pushed "wrong"?  I was not in that delivery room.  I don't know what the standards are for pushing "right" (I needed a vacuum assist for my first, and a c/s for my second), and I can see notions about right and wrong pushing getting really weird really fast... but that's why I hate the idea that you pushed "wrong." 

 

Agreed. The way I (and my mother) labored was called "wrong" and because of bad advice based on that, I ended up fighting with my body and I believe it prolonged the labor. I had minor "pre-pushes" throughout active labor, then the water properly broke and then "proper" pushes to get the baby out within an hour.

 

Having never had a baby before, I wasn't aware of the difference between the small pre-pushes and proper pushing until I felt proper pushing. All I knew was that my body felt like it was pushing during contractions- I told the midwife this, and she told me to stop pushing because I'd tire myself out.  Unfortunately, I thought she knew what she was talking about- so I struggled to stop pushing when my body really wanted to, even though I'm now pretty sure that it was my body just getting the baby in position. If she had actually bothered talking to me or paying real attention, I think she would have realized that the pushing I was doing was not "this baby is coming" pushing. Since my mom did it as well, it just seems to be how my family has babies. But I was told that what my body naturally needs to do is "wrong".

 

(the second midwife who attended, and who arrived later, actually sat through a contraction with me and told me to go with the pushes but not to push any harder- this advice felt way better and, after doing it her way, the labor actually progressed)


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#7 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 11:26 PM
 
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Do what feels right for you. If it is a c-section, be that.

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#8 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 11:57 PM
 
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Well, it sounds like the pushing was traumatic and you are worried about the damage it is causing.  I worked with someone whose wife went blind in one eye from pushing. That really scared me, that damage to blood vessels like that could occur.  I remember with my first birth how they wanted me to push when I couldn't feel anything because of the epidural.  I was supposed to be holding my breath for 10 seconds as I bore down as hard as I could, but I basically breathed through my nose surreptitiously. I felt a lot of pressure in my face, and that's one of the reasons I started breathing and not holding it as long as the nurses wanted me to.

With my second, I had a homebirth, and I wasn't told to hold my breath, and I could start to feel my body pushing on its own without any active thing from me, and that was all lower.  Then I started pushing, and I didn't feel it in my face so much, but I did put more of my active muscles into it, and it did feel different than not actively pushing at all. I think if you can avoid feeling any pressure in your face by avoiding certain practices, that is what you should aim for.  But then I don't know medically what is going on, and maybe it is not possible. 

Can you talk to your new midwife about your fears.  Maybe it you are getting to a point where pushing is not going well, a c-section could be a possibility.

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#9 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I'll look into all the suggestions and see what I get out of them. I did not do any coached pushing or anything. I went with my body, pushing when I felt the urge to push. I felt bad being told I pushed "wrong" both times by different midwives but figured obviously I must have done it wrong if I busted blood vessels all over the place. I mean, granted, it wasn't anything critical or life threatening and for that I am thankful. I bonded well with my babies, no postpartum issues otherwise. It was the actual pushing part that got me. I just really think I was unconsciously fighting against my body mentally. I don't want to do that again.

 

As for sexual trauma, I feel like I have really made some significant breakthroughs. Part of me feels I won't hold back again but I need someone to verbally coach me along with that if it looks like I am starting to do that (my boyfriend or a doula helping me with that). So, being aware of that already I know that I have an advantage. Was thinking hypobirthing could be a good approach as well.

 

Honestly, just talking about it has been helpful. I guess I hadn't preally processed what I am afraid of "outloud" yet and brainstormed ideas. I have always just stayed stuck in the I-pushed-wrong state of mind. I think going with a different midwife team and having a "fresh start" with new people will be helpful too. I am touring a birth center next week and will see how that goes.


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#10 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 10:06 AM
 
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You might also take a look at some of the info Penny Simkin has for survivors of sexual trauma giving birth. This can be a good work sheet: https://www.pennysimkin.com/download/Articles-Handouts/Strategies%20for%20Specific%20Triggers.pdf

 

There are some good other resources on her page too.   https://www.pennysimkin.com/articles-resources/

 

 

I pushed my from my face too, both times, that's what my body did.  Some people just do.   I also have a history of sexual trauma that I've been working through, so I'm not sure it's wrong, if it gets the baby out, but it's different and maybe not the best adaptation.  But not wrong.  I know what you mean about feeling like you are fighting your body.  My reaction to pain is to really, really clench up, but not to move away from the source of it,.  Like, intercourse can be painful for me, so I had to practice stopping, relaxing, and being gentle with myself, instead of tensing to endure.  That's the most extreme example, but I have had to practice encountering pain and just protecting myself from the source, breathing through it, and being kind to myself instead of listening to the constant narrative of, "Oh why can't you just handle this?"  Of course you can't withdraw from the pain of giving birth, but I think the practice has helped me develop gentleness towards myself.

 

Also, one more thing to think about.  I felt like I was really fighting my body with my first birth.  Like I just wasn't able to relax enough.  I remember crying to the nurse that it was my fault because I was tense.  But now, I know that my daughter had a malposition (posterior, nuchal hand) that actually made the birth a lot harder.  So while I might have been fighting my body, I think there is also space for me to see it as, actually that was quite hard and I wasn't fighting my body but my history of trauma sometimes leads me to blame myself for things that actually don't have anything to do with me.  Like, it was probably hard because it was freaking hard, and not because I was pushing wrong or wasn't relaxing enough.  My second birth went much faster but during the pushing phase I still felt like I was pushing against myself too and it was frustrating.  She was posterior again.  Which.... I think I still carry a lot of extra tension in my pelvis but I also think of it less that I was doing it wrong, and more that I was doing the best I could and that's all that I can know.  Edit - I bet you were doing the best you could too.

 

I am looking at my third birth too and thinking of hiring a doula and even taking a birth class - both things I didn't do with the other two.  I think that maybe practicing activating some of my muscles and relaxing them might come in handy for the big day.   I like this website, but I don't worry too much about doing the exercises exactly right.  http://www.pelvicphysiotherapy.com/   I mostly just focus on breathing into my pelvis, and also bringing a sense of warmth and ease to my pelvis and abdomen as I exhale, no matter how fleeting.

 

You sound like you are on the right track talking about this and I'm sure you will figure out what is right for you.


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#11 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cyclamen, thanks for that response. I relate to a lot of what you wrote. I see your little stork on the bottom of you post. Are you due April 14???? My EDD for this pregnancy is April 14!


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#12 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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No, my EDD April 8.  But congratulations on your April baby too!


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#13 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 12:23 PM
 
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Oh I thought of one other experiment I have been doing that seems to have helped.  Kinda TMI but we're talking about birth here.  If you put your thumb  or finger on your perineum, there is a muscle there.  Press gently, exhale, and play with moving your pelvis/sacrum/flattening and curving your lower back.  See if you can find a softening there.  Does it come from inhaling?  Exhaling?  From having your lower back curved or flat?  You don't have to press hard, you don't want to hurt yourself, just enough to tell if you are softening or not.  If you find a way to soften, practice it.  Even if you don't feel softer, you can try bringing a breath to your pelvis while you do it.  


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