Struggling with a bad birth experience... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-11-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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My story isn't as bad as what I'm reading here, but I am struggling with it... I recently had my fourth baby. My first two were born at home with a wonderful midwife, my third I had in a hospital for money reasons. All 3 pregnancies and births were healthy, even my hospital birth was free of interventions (other than people telling me to push). My fourth pregnancy was also uneventful and I planned another home birth with the same midwife. My due date came and went. At 42 weeks my water broke (totally bizarre, in my other births my water broke at the very end) i had mild contractions every 30 minutes or so through the afternoon and evening. I went to bed to get some sleep. Through the night I had ctx 9 minutes apart, I slept inbetween. Towards morning they moved to 30 minutes apart and I got more sleep. In the morning we sent the kids off with my sisters. I still really wasn't having much ctx, and I was quite tired I laid on the couch and watched a movie. At 1pm, now 24 hours after my water broke, my midwife came to check on us. I had a slight temp (99.1) and my baby's heart rate was elevated. We decided to go to the hospital for antibiotics and induction because I wasn't really having ctx.

I was admitted, given antibiotics, and around 8pm pitocin was started. My ctx were already picking up before the pitocin started, but the pit soon had them 2 minutes apart. Those pitocin ctx were horrible and it didn't help that my water was broken, that definitely intensifies things. I was also very tired, so that I was too tired to stand up, which is my usual coping mechanism. I was totally frustrated by the i.v. And continuous monitoring, neither of which I've ever had to deal with before, I couldn't move far in any direction. Anyway, with the help of my dh and midwife I made it through the ctx. I felt like I was in transition when a new doctor came in, checked me and told me I was 6cm and baby was high. I was very discouraged, though my midwife told me not to worry, she didn't think it was accurate. After this I soon felt baby moving down and at the peak of each ctx had an overwhelming pushy feeling. my new nurse kept telling me not to push, and then she couldn't find the baby's heart rate anymore (she was looking too high) and I ended up with a scalp monitor. The involuntary pushing came more and more. And that stupid nurse kept telling me not to push, as if I could help it! My dh and mw told me to listen to my body.

Soon the doctor came in telling me I was just hurting myself by pushing too soon, then seeing the baby's heart rate go down to the 90's with each ctx she began telling me I needed a c section. My mw kept asking the dr to check me again and she refused because it was impossible. Well finally she did and baby was crowning! Baby had a nuchal hand and the cord loosely wrapped around his neck. I ended up with dh and mw pushing my legs way back (I was on my back, but tilted sideways still not flat) while everyone shouted push at me. He was blue when he came out, but pinked up quickly. They immediately started up the pit again and some young dr began pulling on the cord, I objected and then the main dr began, rather painfully, massaging my uterus instead to encourage the placenta to come out. They had cut baby's cord and rushed him to the baby table, but ended up bringing him back right away. I nursed him, went to the bathroom, nursed him some more, my mw went to get us food (I was starving! It was 1am when he was born and I hadn't eaten since lunch.) which I ended up only getting 2 bites of.

The doctor was concerned I was bleeding too much. After a second trip to the bathroom, I felt woozy. So we agreed to let her look. She was convinced I was bleeding from tearing my cervix. After a dose of something to take the edge off the pain, she basically stuck her hands inside me and scooped out the blood and clots so that she could see my cervix. I had only one tiny tear that was not bleeding,she didn't stitch it. Turned out my lower uterus wasn't contracting, so I ended up with another medication (in my rectum, fun fun fun) to help me contract, another medication to counteract the side effects (nausea and diarrhea) of the first one and some midol. Then she used a spoon like thing to scrape my uterus and did some more vigorous (and painful) uterus massage. And gave me a catheter. I ended up losing 1.5 liters of blood and am now anemic.

After this procedure, dh went with baby to the nursery for I don't remember what since we refused all shots. But then they couldn't come back to the delivery room, they had to wait till I was moved to a recovery room which took 2hours. I have never been separated from my newborn before. I did have him for two hours post birth, then dh held him for an hour or so during my procedure, then dh was with him in the nursery (though I don't know if he held him then, or could just see him. I will have to ask him) for 2 hours. I did sleep for 1.5 hrs, which was nice, while they kept me under observation in the delivery room. But when I woke I was desperate to see my baby and had to wait another 30+ minutes.

This was such a far cry from my previous intervention free births. It was such an UNnatural experience. I had no trust in that dr and I felt like a walking drug store (I had 7 different substances in my body by the end) not to mention the very invasive post birth procedure (which typically would be done with an epidural). I've been angry, I've been sad, now I don't know what to think. Did I really need all that? Or is it just an example of how one hospital intervention leads to another and another in a snowball? This was our last baby, so I'm also grieving over my lost chance for another home birth. after this experience I realize how great my previous hospital birth was, everything I disliked about that one (which made me really look forward to a home birth) was multiplied by a thousand this time. I think the fact that I couldn't cope in my usual ways, but instead relied heavily on my dh to get me through each ctx (he really was wonderful) also makes me feel like a failure some how.

Eta: my baby weighed in at 10 lbs 13 oz at birth, but only 9 lbs 3 oz the next day, so his birth weight is unknown. But I think somewhere between 9 lbs 3 oz and 9 lbs 8 oz. My other kids were all around 9 lbs; 9 lbs 7 oz, 8 lbs 13 oz, 9 lbs 0.5 oz.

mama to DS born 9/7/05, DD born 8/20/07, DS born 9/4/10 and DS born 11/26/13

Loving our chaotic, crunchy, homeschooling life!
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#2 of 6 Old 12-11-2013, 09:07 PM
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You didn't fail.  You might feel like you did, and it's okay to feel whatever you feel; it's normal to feel that way after a traumatic event.  But the reality is you didn't fail.  Birth is never a cookie cutter event, so even when you couldn't use the coping methods you normally used, you found a way to get the help you needed - from your DH - so you could get through the contractions.  And that is pretty awesome too.  


I'm sorry you didn't get adequate pain relief for the post-partum procedures.  I had a fairly straightforward manual placenta removal with not quite enough morphine and even that was definitely worse than the birth.  Do you think it would make you feel better to write a letter to the hospital about that?  It also sounds like the birth was very physically traumatic for you, which is of course going to be emotionally distressing.


As to whether or not you "really" needed all that?  In many ways it is impossible to know.  It can be helpful to get your records, write a list of your concerns, and debrief with the doctor who attended your birth and a doctor you trust.  Have you had the opportunity to do that? 


Some people might speculate and say, "Well if you hadn't done it, this or that might have happened."   This or that might be good or bad.  But there's no way to know.  You had some signs of an infection, which can be dangerous.  Later, your baby showed some signs of distress and things got hectic.  That must have been very scary for you.  But taking the cautious route is sensible.  Might you and baby been fine without it all?  It's possible.  Might you have had poor outcome?  It's also possible.


It sounds like you have a lot to process about the birth - both physically and emotionally.  Do you have a counselor or support group you can go to?  Many women find it helpful to be able to talk about their experiences in person.  

DD1 6/2009 DD2 5/1/2013-5/5/2013 (HIE) DS 3/2014
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#3 of 6 Old 12-19-2013, 09:59 AM
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You did what you felt you had to do at the time. Who knows what would have happened if you would have tried to fight them off. In my experience refusing interventions only leads to assault. I'm sorry that you're in pain, especially because it's your last baby. It sounds as though you have some very good supports around you to help you get through. Congrats on the new baby.

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#4 of 6 Old 01-03-2014, 11:47 AM
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OP, I was left feeling similarly after my fourth birth.  I questioned myself so much - my labor also started with my water breaking for the first time, and I think it shook my confidence in combination with other events, which seemed to compound and left me feeling violated. 

:hug  What would it take to help you, me or any other suffering mother heal?  Seems like discussing it is a great first step!  :grouphug

Two years have gone by, I'm expecting our fifth baby, and I'm finally ready to revisit these emotions and thinking about writing my birth story. 

I found some interesting resources and ideas for healing/processing birth trauma and shared them in this forum in case they might also help others.

read.gif+dp_malesling.GIFreading.gifmoon.gifblahblah.gifjog.gif(All waterbirth.jpg. 3 @ homebirth.jpg30stork-suprise.gif*31*32*33*34*35*36*37*38*39*40?41*42?h20homebirth.gif 
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#5 of 6 Old 01-20-2014, 07:52 PM
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I want to reach out and hug you but at the same time I want to scold your midwife.  Your  first 24 hours of labor had enough variations clueing towards much needed intervention, your midwife should have been assisting you much earlier on. It is not a sign of a  progressing labour to have contractions change from 9 minutes apart to 30 minutes apart. Your midwife ought to have been assessing you within 12 hours of labor starting. SHe dropped the ball and put you in an adversarial relationship with the hospital staff for no good reason. Your baby struggled for an unnessary amount of time putting him in harms way.  Your midwife was the direct cause for your so called bad birth.  Your baby is now relying on you to not juge your self on the birth.  You are more than just the sum total of your organs and how they function.

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#6 of 6 Old 03-22-2014, 12:51 PM
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The previous poster is incorrect.  There is nothing wrong with a labor that ebbs and flows, especially for a fourth baby.  There was nothing wrong with you or your baby it sounds like.  You would have to make that judgement yourself after understanding what any possible signs of distress could have been (temperature? not's heart rate?  baby, but the accuracy of certain heart tones meaning distress is very controversial).

Decels when the baby is crowning are normal.  They are caused by head compression, and any doctor should know that.  That was also a good sign that you were RIGHT and baby was close to being born at that point.  I think transporting in for a 99,1 temp is a little ridiculous, unless babies baseline was way different than usual, etc.  Likely your midwives rules and regulations were what were the basis for that decisions (with waters being open for that amount of time).  Sounds to me like you were in early labor and would have had a normally progressing birth in about the same timeframe if you had just stayed home.  After waters being open, it is important not to have vaginal exams too, so I would have hoped for you that they would have just listened to you about where you were in the labor process instead.  

It also sounds like they caused the excess bleeding due to early cord clamping (makes placenta larger and harder to birth), pulling on the cord and vigorous uterine massage which can cause incoordinate contractions that only let part of hte placenta come off the wall, and can make the uterus unable to clamp down as it normally would at all.  It doesn't help that you were on pitocin so the natural process was sort of out the window, and also that they took your baby away at birth, even for a minute.  Your baby needs the baby's cues in order to get the message that ti s tiem to deliver the placenta, just as much as the baby needs you to keep them warm and feeling safe.

Just by 2 cents, or 20 in this case perhaps.

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