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07-03-2007 11:32 PM
anne1006 I know how you feel too. I was induced, ended up pushing in bed with stirrups and a 4th degree tear. I was so discombobulated by the end that when I got to hold him it was like seeing a little alien stranger and I didn't know what to do with. It was horrible. The worst was that they said no more vaginal deliveries and now I'm 11 wks with #2 and I really want a natural childbirth. I've been doing my research and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go vaginally, but until that is over and successful, I don't think I can get over feeling betrayed by my body and health care providers. Everyone just says "Just be happy because you both were fine".......well yeah.....but just because no one died doesn't mean it was a good experience. We can never get back and change the day our kids were born, but we can find peace with time. Never feel alone!
07-03-2007 09:42 AM
nadia105 Pixiewytch, I am so sorry that you had that experience . AS pps said, it is really hard when you do all the 'right' things and don't end up with the experience that you were planning and hoping for. There is no way that you are inferior to those that have had the easy, ecstatic experiences. You did everything you could to prepare for a smooth birth and it didn't happen that way. You got through it and that makes you very strong.

Birthing ds took every single ounce of strength that I had and it really opened my eyes to how little you can control birth. After the perfect birth with #2, I was confident that I had figured out how to have an easy, relatively painless birth and that I would always have an experience like that when I gave birth again. Unfortunately I found out that it doesn't always work that way.
07-03-2007 12:07 AM
pixiewytch OP, I'm not glad you were "taken down a notch" as you put it but sometimes I feel isolated by so many positive birth stories I read about how joyous and ecstatic labor can be. I did everything possible to prepare for my HBAC. I got the mw, the doula, read all the grassroots childbirth books, came up with a birthing plan, and so forth, all to no avail. I had a horrendous 24 hr labor with no relief, ecstasy, or spiritual awakening which ended with another c/s. That was 7 mos. ago and I am still processing it. I'm not depressed per se but often times on boards like this I don't know where I fit in. I feel like a failure when so many women describe their beautiful birthing experiences like the baby just fell out and they worked through the pain like a lovely creative visualization. It just wasn't like that for me, as much as I wanted it to be and sometimes reading those stories makes me feel inferior.
07-02-2007 10:36 PM
nadia105 It helps so much to read that others have had a similar experience and came through it alright -- thanks to everyone who has replied. I do so well most of the time, the kids keep me busy, but this thread brings the emotion up and gets me to try to think through it which I know I need to do.

I am so head over heels with my little guy, I can't wait until I can look at his birth in a different, more peaceful way.
07-01-2007 01:41 AM
cottonwood

I've had two traumatic experiences having to do with the circumstances surrounding the births. In working through it, it helped immensely for me to be around nurturing female energy. The first time was with a midwife when preparing for my next birth -- our hour-long prenatal appointments were basically therapy sessions, with me just talking, talking, talking it out. The other time it was a friend caring for me after the birth, and later writing about the experience.
07-01-2007 01:38 AM
Bestbirths
Quote:
Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
Bestbirths, Did you have more children following your difficult birth?
It was our fifth child. I was really traumatized, not just by the birth and almost dying but by the entire circle of hellish stressful events going on in our lives at the time. At the time I thought I did not want to bring anymore children into this world. Two months later I asked my husband to get a vacectomy for my birthday present. It was one of those life altering big mistakes. I mean, it is good that we didn't have any more children because five is enough for us, but still, now seven years later, I feel ready to try again, and I am still just 39, but it is ok really for us, we have enough children. Someone with a traumatic birth shouldn't do what we did and make any permanent clip and snip decisions though, in time we do heal from traumatic births. Sigh. It's kind of good though because we do have our hands full with five, but if an accident happened somehow where the vacectomy failed, I would be thrilled now, and not fearful about going through childbirth again. I might get more tearful about my decision once I start getting a little older and realize that the decision was permanent and I am too old to have anymore children. On the flip side dealing with the teenager I have now is a potent form of birth control (she's fun: ).

I think to have gone through childbirth right after like, a few years after, would have taken incredable bravery. I would love to hear birth stories about women who went on after a traumatic birth to have other children.
07-01-2007 01:08 AM
prairiemommy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestbirths View Post
When the OP says that she hemmorraged at her birth and then survived, that is really an amazing thing. I hemmorraged at a birth too, seven years ago and now can look back and see that sometimes surviving alone is a heroic act and the story of the birth.
Wow, that pretty much made me cry. It describes my last birth to a t but I never thought of it that way before.

I was induced at 37 weeks for pre-e. After a long, long labour with an epi that not only did I not want but I realized at the time though that it was a good option - I was tired from being induced for 19 hours with no progress whatsoever (2 cm before induction and 2 cm 19 hours in). I had been up for almost 40 hours and I was in immense pain. I needed to rest. But it didn't even take and I lost control of the pain in anticipation of relief that never came. At that same time, DS3's heartrate started dropping and when I started pushing (which incidentally I did only about an hour after the failed epi was inserted) his heartrate actually stopped. Turns out he had a true knot in his cord and had pulled it taught as he descended and during the pushing stage. We're both "fine" now but I can't seem to stop rehashing the whole thing. The further I get from it, the more I realize how serious both our conditions were. The trauma of the pain has not left me either. Nor has the fact that I was induced at 36 weeks for DS1 (pre-e then too) and that birth, though so much worse in every way, is still so similar to this last one that I'm having to deal with it all over again - things happened that I promised myself I would never let happen again. There were a whole bunch of other things that happened after DS3's birth that made it all very hard, but I'm not going to hijack this thread too much, lol!

One thing that has helped is talking with my psychiatrist (dealing with some PPD issues here as well) about the whole thing. She works out of the same hospital as where DS3 was born. She's helped me to see that I didn't have many options - there really wasn't much room for "What if?'s" because it was such a medical emergency. I also plan to write to my mw, as sometimes I'm much better at writing rather than talking. I also talk about it with Dh and a good friend of mine (who wasn't there but listens well).

I have also written out my birth story but that was right after he was born. When I reread it, I notice that there are really not many emotions in it - I need to go back and edit it to show how I really felt. I find that now I don't feel like sharing it with just anyone - I downplay most of it if someone asks and leave out most parts. It's just too personal.

At any rate, all that to say that Bestbirths, your sentence about survival simply being the story hit really close to home.

To the OP - I hope that you find peace.
06-29-2007 11:01 PM
Lkg4dmcrc
Quote:
Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
I really feel like I got knocked down a peg from my whole 'birth doesn't have to be a painful experience' perch.
In my experience in life in general, getting knocked down and those feelings of letdown or confusion of "how could this really happen to me?" are what need to be processed. I am sorry for your difficult birth and I hope it doesn't take you too long to realize that birth can be painful and if it was, it was out of your control. You can do everything right and end up with a crappy and painful experience or you could do everything wrong and end up with a good one. It truly is not like college in that you study a lot, do your work and you are virtually guaranteed good outcomes. Many women spend years coming to this understanding after a traumatic birth experience. Some truly believe birth in within their control and only when they get knocked off that perch and their butt is bruised do they begin to see how much more complex birth really is.
06-29-2007 02:48 PM
nadia105 Julia, thank you for your kind words. I do think time is going to be the biggest help. I feel kind of bad for being affected by this birth that wasn't 'that bad' compared to so many. I do think I found strength that I hadn't had to use in my previous births and that will serve me in the future.

Toddlers are having a major freakout, I'll have to ponder more later.
06-29-2007 01:23 PM
Romana I had an extremely difficult and painful labor with my first - the last 8 hours were absolutely excruciating. I would never say boo to anyone who got an epidural for pain relief knowing how bad it can be. I don't know why it was so painful. I had minor PTSD (flashbacks, etc.) after the birth for several months. When dd was more than 6 mos old, I finally wrote out the birth story.

The most healing thing for me was to allow myself to take time to process the birth. I talked about it with dh a lot, and he listened and shared his thoughts. I eventually shared my birth story here, which also helped.

Mostly, it just took time. I did not tell myself that I should get over it, or because nothing horrible like a c-section happened that I should just be okay with it. I ignored the comments people made about how "lucky" I was - they didn't know what the birth was like for me.

I love my baby more than anything and I'm glad that I birthed her the way I did, but that does not mean it was a pleasant or happy experience, or an untraumatic one. It was a deeply traumatic birth with a good and healthy outcome. I appreciate all aspects of that now.

Don't rush yourself. My baby is 15.5 mos old now, and I still think and talk about her birth occasionally. I was very preoccupied with it for about 6-8 months after her birth, until around the time I wrote out and shared the entire birth story. That was a major healing event for me and a great release.

Don't let people patronize you, either. More than once when I said how preoccupied I was with the birth, people automatically said I should get counseling. While you may find that's a good option for you, the truth for me was that all I needed was the time and the freedom to work through every aspect of the birth as well as I could.

I'm at peace with the birth now, and have been for some months. I would like for it not to be so painful next time, but I'm prepared for whatever may come. I also learned that I should be more prepared for the unexpected, including a c-section. I've grown tremendously because of the experience. It changed me forever, and ultimately, for the better. It was hard to see that at the beginning.

and healing to you. You will work your way through it and make peace with this birth - it may just take time.

Julia
dd 1
06-28-2007 10:25 PM
nadia105 Greenthumb, thank you for that article. It made me feel like the birth went much better than it could have (meds, c/s, etc). The line about it being okay to be happy with your healthy baby and not happy about the birth experience made me cry. That sums up where I am. When people ask about the birth, I just say it was long and hard b/c it doesn't seem like they really want the details and I don't want to cry about it. maybe if I find the right time I can tell some of my close friends more about what it was like, I know they will listen.

Bestbirths, my second birth was also the ideal birth, 5 hours, no real pain, completely relaxed and wonderful. I think the contrast is part of what makes this birth seem so hard. I thought I had it all figured out, but it doesn't work that way. Did you have more children following your difficult birth? We may be done, but I worry that if I have another this birth will be a hangup for the next one.

I think I will ask my mw to give me the details of what happened when during the whole thing, I really can't remember any of that. I'm trying to resist the urge to just shove this whole thing deep into my memory where I don't have to deal with it. I know that wouldn't really solve anything, it would just prolong the healing.
06-23-2007 12:50 AM
Bestbirths I know what the OP means when she talks about having an awesome birth followed by a difficult one. My second birth was the "perfect" homebirth, trauma free, fast, uncomplicated, no pain, and no pushing, the baby just slid out.

Then my third birth was induced by the midwife with stripping membranes and emotionally we needed him to be born because we couldn't afford to stay 4 hours from home. Our home was in a remote area hours away from midwives. The labor was unnaturally hard. I felt totally out of control, abnormal, and unable to relax. I allowed the midwife to break my water. I had an anterior lip. The midwife was pissing me off by messing with it. She was trying to help push it out of the way, and it was miserable. My tummy hurt in front terrible. Everything I believed in like the whole no pain, relaxing, no pushing thing was all messed up because it wasn't the right timing. I pushed against that painful anterior lip to get him out. I ended up having to scream and push ds out hard. Practically in one push. He ended up in the NICU with respiratory distress. I feel like the whole thing happened because the birth was rushed. I also had a very hard time with unrealistic expectations, just because one birth is fabulous, doesn't mean the others will be. Especially when you begin to mess with the birth process, more things can happen that you don't want. It helps to think "if I could do it all over again I would have done _____" In my case I would have been more comfortable at home, and letting the baby choose his birth timing when he was ready.

That birth knocked me down from my whole birth perch too. Ouch.

When the OP says that she hemmorraged at her birth and then survived, that is really an amazing thing. I hemmorraged at a birth too, seven years ago and now can look back and see that sometimes surviving alone is a heroic act and the story of the birth. A midwife told me that i still needed to face death to deal with the birth where i had the hemmorrage. As I try to work through the birth, it has helped to work through emotions i was feeling. Suprizingly it wasn't so much the fear of death that got me as much as the feeling of abandonment afterwards when I was very weak and everyone had returned to work. I was near death with a uterine infection and weak from a hemmorrage and alone. Since I have abandonment issues from my dad abandoning me, that really got me right where it hurts.

It's taken quite a few years, seven, and I am still processing that birth.
06-22-2007 09:23 PM
greenthumb3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestbirths View Post

Some people use cranial sacral therapy to release birth trauma.

Oh, yes! I have heard this, too. I have also heard massage can help. Touch can make such a difference. I wish I had had more of that. (MY DH is not at all a holding hands, close contact kind of person)

And like you said, bonding with baby, lots of skin-to-skin can keep the oxytocin flowing, helping to facilitate a feeling of calm for you and for your little one.
06-22-2007 09:17 PM
greenthumb3 When processing my first son's birth, which was traumatic for me, I read an article from LLL online. It is entitled, "Making Peace With your Birth Experience" and is written by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD. It helped me to begin to process my feelings about the birth. I think I had a mixture of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, looking back on that time. Almost 5 years ago this fall. Attending LLL meetings really helped me to deal with my feelings, and being surrounded by those certain mothers who accepted me whole heartedly made a world of difference. Consider meeting with a post partum support group, or talk with other women, like your MW, who accept you and can help you feel supported through this time.

It was grieving--a process, like a PP said, too, which took me about a year to move through it to an extent where I was okay-feeling. I had to grieve the loss of many things, and I tried my best to understand and make sense of how I felt and what may have caused it, but I still don't "know" all the reasons, but eventually I did feel better. My second son's birth really helped to heal the old wounds, which are now not nearly as painful as they first were.

I second what another PP mentioned, about talking with someone about possible depression, especially when combined with a traumatic experience like you had. If you find your mood altered, crying, lack of appetite, and just not feeling like "yourself", reach out and get the help you need, whether it is counseling, a post partum support group, some herbs or medications, whatever. This is important, and you are worth the time and effort it takes initially to find help for you. Better yet, if your partner or midwife can assist you in helping find appropriate resources, this can relieve the burden of getting the help you need off of your shoulders.

I hope this doesn't sound too "PollyAnna", but write down anything about the experience that you felt good about or was worth-while to you. The positive aspects of the experience, what you did feel good about at the time, can get blurred over time as you try to make sense of what happened.

Also, talking with your MW and getting the details, when you feel ready. It might make a difference to know some things as they happened through someone else's eyes, or specifics, like how dilated you were at a certain point, hear that you were doing what you could, etc. Use that advice wisely--sometimes it is helpful at certain times, and not at others.

I am sorry to hear how hard this is, but know you are supported here and cared about. You will be okay.
06-22-2007 01:19 AM
Bestbirths I processed mine through my birth story, then more recently by doing rebirthing excercises on my daughter who was the birthed child. She has remembered fascinating facts about her birth that really do make the birth story more hers than mine. Truely, she is a hero, and a example of how finely crafted for safety and survival a baby can be.

Some people use cranial sacral therapy to release birth trauma. You can prevent or heal birth trauma by not separating the mother and baby, extended breastfeeding for a year, and lots of cuddling and holding. There is another thread here about babies releasing birth trauma from crying in arms to release stress.
06-21-2007 11:54 PM
Celticqueen
Quote:
Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
I had my third child two weeks ago and he is absolutely wonderful. The labor and birth that brought him into the world, however, wasn't. I hadn't been thinking about it at all really, but I went to see my mw today to have my stitches checked and I just started to cry out of the blue and couldn't really stop. Now I have been crying off and on since then and this is NOT normal for me. I would like any advice anyone has on how to move through this.

Me, Dh and my mw were all expecting a rapid labor that would be relatively easy and uneventful. What happened was a 14 hour labor (longer than my first by an hour and my second by 9 hours) with a lot of pain in the front and in my back despite ds not being posterior. It turned out that he had his hand up by his face and it was his elbow digging into my back, keeping him from coming down (I was at 8 cm for about 6 hours) and causing a tear along my old scar. I was so tired by the end and I just wanted to stop hurting. It was bad enough that I now understand why people sometimes use pain medication in labor (I was never near that point the first two times). After I pushed him out and got to hold my beautiful babe, the pain didn't stop. I had to be stitched and the local didn't work that well and then I started to bleed a LOT and a nurse was shoving on my stomach SO unbelievably hard to get out the clots that were forming. That was really the worst part

My first two births I felt proud and strong and victorious afterwards. This time, I feel like I just survived, that's it. I really feel like I got knocked down a peg from my whole 'birth doesn't have to be a painful experience' perch.
NAK. I am so sorry for you. Sounds identical to mine 5 months ago in terms of thr bleeding and shoving my stomach to keep from clotting. I was so mad.
06-21-2007 11:53 PM
mom3b1? My births have all been extremely difficult. The first two moreso because they were medically mismanaged. My third was far better, but still unusually long and unusually painful.

It's hard to explain, but the victorious powerful feelings do come later. Right after my birth I did feel really great about it having been vaginal instead of c/s like my first two. After the birth I was ecstatic to be out of pain, but I did feel really touched by the level of pain I'd experienced. It took a while before I felt up to even thinking about the possibility of EVER doing it again. I remember that I had some strong feelings, but don't remember what it felt like.

Sometimes birth is really hard, sometimes it's not. We don't have that much control over it. I do believe that fear can make it worse. I do believe that staying active can help our babies get into the best possible positions, but these are just general influences we can have, not absolute guarantees. We aren't powerless, but we're not in control either.

For me, it's something I've just had to accept, and make my peace with. This next one could be harder than ever, or easier. I could have my first fairly easy fast birth, I doubt it, but anything is possible. It's an adventure, that's for sure.

Welcome to the difficult labor tribe!

Hugs,

Kiley
06-21-2007 11:25 PM
nadia105 Thanks for the support ladies. I haven't written the birth story yet. I had really just put the whole thing out of my mind and it stayed there until I saw my mw and it all came flooding back. Her take on it was that I went through this for some kind of reason that I will find out sometime. She was great and ready to listen, but I had no idea what I even wanted to say about it, there was just this rush of emotion.

Dh had no idea anything was up until after the kids were in bed and he finally saw the tears. He said that most people never have one natural birth and that I should feel great about having done it 3 times. He doesn't really understand, but I don't really expect him to. He was there for the whole thing, and knew it was a painful marathon, but there is no way he could know how it felt to be the one going through it.

I'm just glad that the birth and my feelings about that are so completely separate from my feelings about ds. He is everything I had hoped for and more, such an amazing little boy .
06-21-2007 01:22 AM
CrunchyParent I have been in your shoes and personally think that the most difficult aspect of processing a difficult labor and birth is being with the disappointment of things not looking as you expected them to.

A few resources to consider:

Pam England (Birthing from Within) deals a lot with healing birth trauma. Look here There are also Birthing from Within "mentors" who do counseling to help women overcome traumatic birth experiences. Look around the site, it lists them by stare somewhere around there.

Shoot, there is a book too that I want to recommend, but I'm not finding the citation right now. I'll come back when I dig it up.

Also, writing out your birth story can help you begin to process the event.

Discuss it with others (e.g. family members/care providers) who were there to get a better understanding of what happened.

Talk about the traumatic experience with others who have experienced birth trauma.

My first birth (MW-assisted drug-free waterbirth) was very traumatic, much more so than my second birth (emergency c/s due to transverse breech). It took me many years to process the first birth experience, but I think it's safe to say that I have recovered from the trauma and have made peace with the experience overall. I wish the same for you in time.
06-21-2007 01:16 AM
moonmama22 I'm so sorry you are feeling this way right now. My ds's birth was difficult and traumatizing, but since it was my first, I didn't have anything to compare it to. I still think about it frequently, and still wish that his birth had been what I had imagined it would (not that it ever does happen that way!) Talking about it, writing it down, thanking fortune that my ds was healthy, those are some of the ways I have tried to get past it. I would like to have another dc in the future, but will always be anxious that it will be as bad or worse than the first. I hope you are able to get through your pain, and perhaps find a positive way to see the situation.
06-21-2007 01:10 AM
attachedmamaof3 I am so sorry!! It sounds to me like you may have some post-partum depression going on in conjunction with some grieving over the birth you pictured having but didn't get. You may want to talk with your MW and see what she thinks!! I had some depression BIG time with my first, and getting some help REALLY helped my ability to overcome some issues I'd been having.
06-21-2007 12:51 AM
skyblufig I'm so sorry that happened to you! I don't have much to offer besides lots of . I know it took me the better part of a year or so to really process my ds's birth. Keep going over it, tell your story as much as you need to, write it down, and know that you did the very best you could under the circumstances. I know I would probably have begged for some pain meds : , so I totally admire your strength, mama! Wishing you peace & healing,
06-20-2007 10:41 PM
nadia105 I had my third child two weeks ago and he is absolutely wonderful. The labor and birth that brought him into the world, however, wasn't. I hadn't been thinking about it at all really, but I went to see my mw today to have my stitches checked and I just started to cry out of the blue and couldn't really stop. Now I have been crying off and on since then and this is NOT normal for me. I would like any advice anyone has on how to move through this.

Me, Dh and my mw were all expecting a rapid labor that would be relatively easy and uneventful. What happened was a 14 hour labor (longer than my first by an hour and my second by 9 hours) with a lot of pain in the front and in my back despite ds not being posterior. It turned out that he had his hand up by his face and it was his elbow digging into my back, keeping him from coming down (I was at 8 cm for about 6 hours) and causing a tear along my old scar. I was so tired by the end and I just wanted to stop hurting. It was bad enough that I now understand why people sometimes use pain medication in labor (I was never near that point the first two times). After I pushed him out and got to hold my beautiful babe, the pain didn't stop. I had to be stitched and the local didn't work that well and then I started to bleed a LOT and a nurse was shoving on my stomach SO unbelievably hard to get out the clots that were forming. That was really the worst part

My first two births I felt proud and strong and victorious afterwards. This time, I feel like I just survived, that's it. I really feel like I got knocked down a peg from my whole 'birth doesn't have to be a painful experience' perch.

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