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Anger/bitterness and labour...

697 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Storm Bride
I'm not even sure if I have a question here, but any insights you ladies can give me would probably be helpful...

I've had two c/s - both for breech, 10 years apart.
Between the surgeries, I spent several years ttc, and had three miscarriages.

I'm currently pregnant with baby #3 - about 37.5 weeks, and I'm planning to VBA2C. My first c-section was an emergency - I arrived at hospital 10cm dilated, and my son was breech. I didn't agree to the surgery, and didn't want it...looking back, I have to agree to the necessity, as I doubt there was anyone on staff who was trained or experienced in vaginal delivery of a breech baby. (Breech had never occurred to me, as ds was head down the day I went into labour!)

Okay - that's background. Now, my emotional issue - major one.

My sister had a little boy when ds was 2 years old. I'd been ttc for over a year, and was still quite emotional about my c-section. My sister didn't want the baby. She decided to keep him, because she had chlamydia scars on her tubes, and had been told she probably couldn't have children (this was in error, as she now has four). She thought this might be her only chance, and was afraid to have an abortion and then find she'd never be able to have a baby. Anyway...her water broke and she went into labour early (either 3 or 5 weeks). I don't think she was induced, but she was in labour for a couple of days, and was having a rough time - some of that because the nurses were absolutely horrible to her (one of them was actually suspended).

So...right from the beginning, she went on and on about the pain. I really got the feeling she hadn't believed it would hurt to be in labour. She requested an epidural very early on. When the epidural wore off, she was doing worse than ever, because the contractions had become much stronger while she couldn't feel them. She started begging for a c-section. The OB told her a section wasn't necessary, that everything looked good, and he was sure she could deliver vaginally. She just kept begging for a section.

I was in a weird emotional state, because I didn't like seeing her in such a state, but hearing someone beg for a section when I would have done almost anything not to have had one was...rough.

So, my sister finally delivered my nephew vaginally. I went into the L&D room to see how she was doing. (Her son had been whisked into the nursery to have a drainage shunt put in his head - he had fluid in his tissues or something - he looked pretty rough.) I walked in, and before I could even say "congratulations", she said "you and mom and Karen (my SIL) are pathetic". This was in reference to the fact that we three had all had c-sections.

I never confronted her about it, because I was so hurt and stunned at the time. I can't face her down about it now, because she's one of those people who rewrites history. I know she'll deny ever having said it, and say that I imagined it or I'm making it up or something (this is the way she operates about everything - her son's father became someone else when the original father became a complication).'s just festered - for 10 years.

Now, she wants to be there "for me" while I'm in labour with this baby. She's been at a few of her friend's births and says she knows she can help because she's "used to being with women in labour". She is the last person I want anywhere near me while I have my baby...she's the last person I want in the same city as me if it goes to another c-section. How on earth can I deal with this? I guess I can tell her I really don't want anybody there except dh (which is true). But...if she's at the hospital and even stops by for a minute, my negative emotions about her and childbirth are bound to cause me some problems during labour, aren't they? I mean...I was really hurt and angry about the whole thing, and it hasn't ever gone away. To have someone say something like that about an experience that completely devastated me in the first place...

I don't know how to deal with her on teh subject of this baby...
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I walked in, and before I could even say "congratulations", she said "you and mom and Karen (my SIL) are pathetic". This was in reference to the fact that we three had all had c-sections.
I can only imagine how it felt to hear those words, but want to point out that they have nothing at all to do with you!!
It sounds like she was feeling down on herself, whether she knew it or not, and that is how it came out. Childish and hurtful and nonsensical projection.
With a comment like that, it's hard to imagine what could be done between you to heal it- I think it'll have to be up to you to let it roll off your back.

As for your birth, well, it's your birth, and you don't owe anybody any explanation for how it goes or who you choose to have with you.
Has she been assuming you'd call her? How about simply not calling her (and making it very clear to hospital staff that you want no visitors until further notice?)
If you can talk with her about only wanting your DH there, so much the better, but you're right down to the wire, and you need to do whatever will make sure your needs are met.
If she truly has a clue about laboring women, she will respect your need to choose your companions carefully. If she doesn't, well... TS!!

Best of luck with your birth! I'll be thinking of you.
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Ditto to what Ramlah said: Don't let her know you're in labor - at all and make sure to let the hospital staff know about you don't want any visitors or notifications of any visitors.

That experience is pretty awful. It's worth talking about at some point and/or learning to let go of it. Resentment's such a relationship killer.
oh, mama, many, many hugs to you...
i can't even begin to imagine how this is weighing on you, and at a time when you should be focusing on welcoming your newest little one...

i guess i'm wondering how important it is for you to be authentic to yourself. what i mean is, recognizing that your sister may have "rewritten" her experience after the birth of her first child, how important is it to you to verbalize to her how hurt and inadequate you felt after being so devastatingly reminded by her of your disappointing birth experience with your first child. you would want to prepare yourself for not being heard, but sometimes even just speaking of an experience that you have gives it less power over you and helps to heal.

if you feel it is more appropriate for you to not to deal with this situation now at the end of your pregnancy and as you are preparing for the newest addition to your family, then i would simply tell her that you plan on having just your partner there and that you will be happy to let her know as soon as the baby is born. you can enlist the help of the nurses at the hospital by requesting that no one else is allowed to enter your room while you are laboring. i was going to mention HIPAA laws not allowing visitors to the hospital to even acknowledge that you are there, but I see that you are in Canada and I am not sure about privacy laws there.

sending you peace at the end of this pregnancy and wisdom to know what you need to do for yourself and your family during this special time...

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that's an extememly messed up thing for her to say. if you feel like you don't want her around you when you're in labor (i wouldn't want her anywhere near me either) then you should tell her the truth and maybe consider telling her why you feel that way. i understand what you mean about not wanting to bring up the past,especially if she'll just deny it anyways, but she *is* your sister and she should know about these feelings you have towards her.

good luck with your vbac! i'll be keeping you in my thoughts
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Originally Posted by ramlah
I can only imagine how it felt to hear those words, but want to point out that they have nothing at all to do with you!!
I was so sure I'd have a natural birth...I laboured at home right up to 10cm, as my doctor wasn't the type to feel that the whole birth should be at hospital. (I wasn't planning a homebirth - just no meds or anything.) And, I really thought I was handling labour it wasn't as bad as I'd been expecting. I think I'd become a little cocky about the whole thing. At the time, I even thought my c-section was some kind of punishment for being so arrogant about having a natural...

And, I really felt as though I had failed - if I'd just tried harder or done something differently, it wouldn't have happened. I think that's why the "you're pathetic" thing upset me as much as it did. I agreed with her.
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Originally Posted by cheeseRjedi
...then you should tell her the truth and maybe consider telling her why you feel that way. i understand what you mean about not wanting to bring up the past,especially if she'll just deny it anyways, but she *is* your sister and she should know about these feelings you have towards her.
I may try to do that at some point...after the baby, though. This pregnancy has been more of an emotional roller-coaster than all five of the previous ones rolled together (because of the VBAC vs. ERCS issue). I don't think I'm up to dealing with that until after baby arrives.

I wish I hadn't used up my ability to deal with her on smaller issues. We shared a house from the time ds was almost five until he was nine. There were quite a few arguments and blow-outs during that time (not least because she used to put all the blame for my marital problems on me - never mind that she knew my ex was doing cocaine behind my back and stealing from me!). I eventually got to where I just didn't talk to her about these things.

I don't even know how important my relationship with her is to me at this point. But, she does the "you'll never see my son again" kind of thing when she's angry with someone, and I love my nephew (her first) as though he were my own. I spent a lot of time with him when we shared the house...took him and ds out for picnics, to the aquarium, the carnival...downtown to see the sights - you name it. If she started blocking my access to him, it would destroy me.

Thanks for the kind words, ladies. Maybe I really do need to address this with her, even if it doesn't accomplish anything. The feeling that I can't ever tell her when things are bothering me is really hard to cope with...and this one's a biggie.
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Wow... that must really be hard to deal with... and from a sister too...

My only suggestion would be to hold onto your truth - no matter what that does. Confront your sister next time the topic of her being at your birth comes up. Be gentle, but be honest. Just say that what she said hurt you... even if you just say, "I would not feel comfortable with you at my birth because after you had your baby and I walked in to see you, you said something that really made me feel bad. You may not remember it, but I cant forget, and seeings though you are used to being with women in labour then you will understand and appreciate my decision."

What she does with that confrontation is up to her and has nothing to do with your integrity. You know what happened and in your heart you know you have the right not to have her at your birth.

Claim your power and focus on having this baby in the best way possible - no matter if you have a section or not these are YOUR births and you no less of a woman.
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UGH...I know just how you feel...upon hearing that I was having a c/s, one family member immediately informed me that her dh said "he knew you'd need a c/s because God would get back at you" (for going with midwives instead of an OB). The poor little babe hadn't even been cut from me yet.

These family members weren't informed about the next pregnancy. They found out when they got the birth announcement. Our contact has lagged since then. :LOL It was so worth it to gestate in peace.

I agree that you should wait to say anything til after the birth. You don't need that hanging over you right now. Just avoid her as much as possible and don't let her know when you're in labor.
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Crystal: While I wouldn't wish a comment like your family member's dh made on anyone, in a way I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's been on the receiving end of this kind of thing. To this day, I'm astounded that anyone would say something so nasty to someone about an unwanted surgery and horribly disappointing birth experience. It was just so...vicious. I'm glad you cut them out of the loop for your second birth.

Raven: Thanks. I still don't feel as though my children were really "born", and it's hard to deal with. But, I'm (finally) getting to where I don't see it so much as a failure on my part.
I'm so glad you don't see it as a failure! Although I think CSs are highly overutilized in America (I'm so glad your sister's OBs didn't cave), there is certainly a time and a place for them, as I am sure there was need in your son's birth! I think OBs are (generally) "cut happy", but I'm SO thankful that the technology is there for the women and the babies that require it, like you and your son.

What you did do soooo wonderfully and beautifully and perfectly was to have a natural pregnancy, trust your body, and grow a beautiful healthy boy inside of you! And that is such a wonderful thing! It's an everyday miracle, but nonetheless a MIRACLE!

And you're doing it for the third time!!! That's awesome!! So only you can make this choice about what is best for you and your baby, but I tend to agree that you don't need to discuss it with her before the birth. It sounds to me like it would only create more stress and tension between you, which will cause more stress for your body and your baby, especially considering your goal of delivering vaginally. But this is up to you. You'll have to enlist DP and hospital staff to keep your privacy. They can deal with it, not you.

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Originally Posted by chiro_kristin
I'm so glad you don't see it as a failure! Although I think CSs are highly overutilized in America (I'm so glad your sister's OBs didn't cave)...
Me, too...especially since he's my OB for my VBA2C! Well...unless I go into labour before he gets back from vacation. *scared*

It's nice to know that he's not completely "cut happy" going into this. I think he'll be slightly more inclined to intervene with me than with someone with no history of uterine surgery...but he's still not in love with the scalpel. For someone in my situation, that's very reassuring.

And, thanks for the kind words...I do have a tendency to beat myself up so much about how ds (and dd) came into the world that I don't give myself any credit at all for anything else...successful b/f, hours and hours of cuddling and walking them, etc. And, those are things I have a lot more control over!
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