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I just had my 4th homebirth two days ago. Although the first was very frightening at the time, and all were very painful, I didn't feel traumatized afterwards (I felt relieved and proud, mainly). This one was different.

First of all, it was a very fast birth - less than two hours from the time I realized I was in labor, and transition and crowning were back-to-back, with absolutely no second stage in between. This was hard enough, since I never had the feeling of actively doing anything - no actual pushing - I just ended up feeling like something happened to me, sort of like being run over by a train.

Then, while I was trying to process that experience, bond with my baby, etc., I was confronted with another scary situation - my MW thought I was bleeding too much (although I felt fine) and saw some broken blood vessels on the edge of the placenta, which led her to conclude there was a piece of it left behind. At first she and her assistant wanted to give me pitocin, which I asked them to hold off on (thank goodness!) because I was afraid of trapping the piece that might have been left behind. I nursed the baby and showered, and afterward they still thought I was bleeding too much. The MW then convinced me to let her try to extract the retained piece manually (saying the alternative might be a hospital D&C). I agreed to it, but I felt like a trapped animal and was crying. I was completely terrified - afraid of pain, afraid of possible complications, worried about the fact that I didn't know if it was the right decision or not.

As it turned out, there was a piece of placenta left behind. I still wonder whether it would have come out on its own, and whether any damage might have been done, and I'm afraid of getting an infection, worrying about every odd sensation I have these last two days. The manual extraction really seemed like getting my guts ripped out - it was nearly as painful as the birth, and far more frightening. I really wish I could have at least had pain meds for it - I don't birth without meds because I like pain, but because I don't want to disrupt the birth process!

Whenever I think about it now, I feel like crying and get a sense of anxiety - I feel as though my body is against me, or like I was somehow tricked or trapped (although I don't know by whom), and although I don't plan to have any more children, I have an irrational fear of it all happening again.

I just had to get this off my chest - thanks for listening.
 

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I'd say that your feelings are perfectly understandable...and I also believe they will pass in time, possibly in a not-very-long time. Seems to me you are have a post-stress let down, a touch of Post-traumatic stress; and this is probably caused at least as much--if not more so-- by physical factors as mental-emotional ones.

What I mean is, your body just went through a painful invasion. It may well have been a necessary one--or at least, one that was about as logical a choice as a 'wait and see' approach for that piece of placenta. In any event, it was a tough call and you did the best you could in choosing--but your body is still dealing with the after effects. Your very cells and tissues of your yoni and uterus are still recovering, they are still sending out 'distress signals' and your brain and immune system are still sending help to soothe/heal those tissues. The kind of pain you felt is very different from the pain of labor--labor is a strong sensation for sure, and some women find it quite painful, but it is not a sensation of distress from the body. The pain of the manual removal WAS a sensation of distress from your body, necessary for your health or not.

So--be very very gentle and kind to yourself in every way. Assume that this early pp time is going to require more gentlekindness and nurturing than usual, ask for comfort and comfort yourself as much as possible. Know that lots of rest and TLC is needed, remind yourself that this is normal, necessary and helpful for you this time (more than usual pp TLC). Consider using foods/supplements/herbs to boost your immune system to prevent infection as well as to provide yourself with help in resting/calming. You probably know that when one of your kiddos gets a 'bad owie', they need to be held, soothed--verbally and physically--just as much as they might need a bandaid, or stitches. Part of the healing help we give our kids is that comforting--which can help the child calm down and emotionally integrate the episode as much as physically helping the injury. You probably need this very sort of comforting right now, along with the rest, nutrition, etc, that aids in recovery from such an event.

Perhaps there is a mental-emotional element involved; maybe you question your choice, or just wonder why things didn't go as smoothly as usual with 3rd stage. But I really believe that most of that, in a case like this, spins off of that body-distress--and as you soothe and heal physically, your thoughts and emotions around the event will also calm down. Of course, you can help yourself by giving yourself positive reminders that your choice did make sense, that sometimes labor and birth don't go as planned but you're grateful that what occurred was fairly 'small' in the grand scheme of possible complications, that you are healing more and more each moment....visualize your body flushing out the pain/distress toxins from your uterus even as your lochia is flushing out the normal remnants of pregnancy tissues and hormones...celebrate your capacity to heal, and your victory of living through this event, making a tough choice, all that.

But of course, crying is good too! Acknowledge and express how you feel, whatever you feel, let it move through you. We can't always prevent hard and painful things from occurring in life and birth--so then, allowing and supporting our own natural healing processes, physically and emotionally, can help us to integrate and recover from difficulty.
 
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