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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd was born 6 months ago. It was a rather disappointing birth experience. The lowlights included: vacuum extraction, 3rd degree episiotomy, local anesthetic (which no one told me about), foley catheter (which maybe was mentioned in passing), pitocin (which no one told me about), an IV (for antibiotics due to GBS+), and when it was all done being told "at least you had the birth you wanted to" (I assume because I didn't get an epidural).<br><br>
My dd had apgars of 8 and 9 - everything was 2 except color which was 0 and 1.<br><br>
Well, she's now a healthy and happy 6-month-old. I just received a copy of my hospital chart (at my request) and I read through it once. There was a lot that I couldn't understand - in spots because the handwriting was bad and in spots because I don't understand the medical lingo. There are a bunch of things that I do understand which irk me. There are a few things that seem to be missing (aren't those stupid efm strips supposed to be in the medical record - wasn't that the point of them?).<br><br>
Anyway, I don't know where to turn to next. I want to get past this. I keep playing her birth over in my mind and wondering what I could have done differently. I'm so upset. My dh doesn't understand. I don't know where to go for help. I want help understanding the record and I want help understanding what I could do differently next time and I want help reconciling myself with my dd's birth.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I had something similar with my first birth. Everyone was saying I should have been happy since I had no drugs and the baby was fine. They said I shouldn't care about them doing things they didn't tell me about (like pitocin for 3rd stage and IV fluids) because they didn't cause any problems.<br><br>
For a long time I wanted to have another baby just to "get it right." Then we decided to have another baby because we actually wanted the baby, and I was determined to do everything right and have the peaceful birth where I was in control. It didn't work out that way - we had the homebirth, but it was still really hard and I needed a lot of help. I thought I'd be able to just walk over to a corner and push the baby out, but it was just as hard as the first birth and I needed a lot of hands-on help from the midwives. I was not in control at all. I did everything right and it was difficult nonetheless. I think for some people, birth is just not easy. I didn't enjoy either one and I'm glad we're not having any more. (Though I am still glad I had the homebirth!)<br><br>
You most likely will not get answers from the records. They can basically say anything they want in there and omit things they don't want you to see. I used to work in a mental hospital that kept two sets of records - the records given to the patient if they ask for them, and the REAL records. If you're just having trouble understanding abbreviations, some people here are nurses and may be able to tell you what they mean.
 

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some hard lessons. You both sound like you are intelligent, inquisitive, proactive, hardworking moms. You avocate on behalf of yourselves and your children. In my mom opinoin sounds to me like you learned to ask questions, questions and more questions and then to ask what else...<br><br>
This is only my humble opinion so here are my ideas. There is so much to knwo and how many of us are so highly educated as to know all the answers? Not even our own doctors know all the answers. They give the basics and what extras seem necessary according to our own unique health needs. I've read a few articles that say this varies from state to state.<br><br>
I'm a highly allergic person, who has had several bad medical incidents over time from not having enough information -- in years when this was just not given, to times when I was ignored or told not to worry, to bad things just happen. Each incident has taught me to be cynical and mistrustful -- oh, sorry what I really mean is that I learned how to ask questions and say o.k. now explain it to me again. I learned to ask for the rare side effects. I learned to ask what are common complications and their symptoms. I learned to ask what are uncommon complications and the symptoms. I learned to ask for rules, for how things are treated in textbook and non-textbook fashion. And I learned to ask of myself what else do I need to know and did I feel I had enough information to be at least comfortable.<br><br>
When it came time to birthing, I talked to my Rabbi about religious traditions and rules regarding birth, medical complications and end of life decisions. I had the same talk in a non-religious way with my ob/gyn and my regular doctors. I had the same talk with hospital personnel to find out what they have to do by policy and law in my state and federally. I talked to my lawyer. And then my husband and I talked and talked and talked. We then TOLD our parents the plan and asked that they not interfer with the decision making. Then we wrote it all down so no one could argue and in case my husband would forget in the heat of a moment should it come to that. And then I went over it with my ob and we discussed each point and what things can typically or not typically happen and inserted possible responses. I ended up knowing I had a huge scenario with the desired plot and the possible sub-plots. My goal was to do all I possibly could to get the desired plot to run from beginning to end and up front I had plenty of time to psychologically prepare for disappointments and decide I was not going to be disappointed but cope and continue normally from each change.<br><br>
I decided this because it was the only way to be satisfied with anything that might happen. My second delivery didn't go at all according to plan. And for all that I replay that in my head I am not disappointed with it. Sure I'm upset at how things went. But for all it didn't go according to plan and was happening without me, I was still in control every step of the way because I made the choices at every step. Yes, things pushed me one way or another and I pushed back if I could and sometimes it was a choice of one but went that way not because I had to (of course I did) but because that was they way to choose to go. Sometimes the energy of a situation simply knows where it needs to go which might be very different from what your brain is telling you.<br><br>
What happened to your child can't change no matter how well you understand them. You don't have to like what happened or even agree with it. But you do have to live with it and it is up to you to decide how bothered you wish to be. After my daughter was born and I was so disaapointed by things that happened that I called the hospital to make a formal complaint. I ended up speaking to a panel of hospital personnel about my experience so they could figure be proactive in future prevention. Call your hospital and your doctor and make appointments for consultations.<br><br>
I wish you luck finding closure and I hope you are able to enjoy your new little one.<br><br>
Blue
 

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Where do you go? MDC! No really - I think that writing about your birth issues is a positive step. And I've found that the women at MDC are kindhearted, well-educated women who will take the time to help.<br><br>
I developed preeclampsia with my ds, and his birth was "medical." I had an induced labor with Cytotec and pitocin, electronic blood pressure cuff that took a painful reading with every contraction, catheter, IV antibiotics and mag sulfate, internal fetal monitor, 2nd degree tear . . .<br><br>
Just about everything except an epidural. And since I didn't have that epidural, it was a "natural" labor. Uh huh. With the cast of thousands at my feet. And that witchy surgical assistant telling me to stop making noise and focus on pushing that baby out.<br><br>
In the three years between babies, I started reading about empowered births. And ways to reduce the risk of preeclampsia. MDC helped me decide to have a very different second pregnancy and delivery.<br><br>
I feel very fortunate to have had the homebirth that I dreamed of with my second baby. Her delivery didn't go exactly as planned - she beat our midwife here by 10 minutes! I didn't have the water birth that I had hoped for. But dd's birth was peaceful and private.<br><br>
But I don't think I would have had our beautiful homebirth if I hadn't experienced a difficult hospital birth. I didn't even realize that I was dissatisfied with ds's birth until way after the fact. In the hospital, I was treated like a beligerant child because I wanted to wear my own nightshirt. At home, I chose to wear nothing!<br><br>
Keep working through, and know that we're here for you!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> is all I can really say. I too had a rough experiance with dd 2 1/2 years ago. One of the best things for me has been to really educate myself on everything that happened and take full responsability for the birth of my future children. I feel like for me it was a matter of not fully trusting my self to handle the birth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone for your kind responses. Greaseball, thank you especially for your response. I know in some part of my mind I could see myself having a homebirth next time and expecting it to somehow be easy and boy would I be surprised if it was just as hard! Thank you for giving me realistic expectations.<br><br>
I read and educated myself so much before and during pregnancy. I'm sure my expectations were too high, but there are things I wish I could go back and change. I know that I can't go back and change them and even if I could I don't know that it would make any difference. I just keep replaying what I remember of labor and delivery in my head and how I wanted it to be and get so upset and unhappy. I guess I was hoping to read my chart and be able to say "okay, I understand, I guess maybe my dd really did need what I gave her", but instead I find myself saying "boy am I angry, I still don't understand why this was really necessary".<br><br>
I've tried talking to my dh but I just feel like I'm whining. I don't feel like he has any understanding of why I even need to keep talking about it. I guess I'm not sure why I understand why I have any need to keep talking and thinking about. Talking and thinking about it certainly isn't going to change what happened anymore than thinking about winning the lottery is going to get me that winning lottery ticket.<br><br>
Overall, I guess I was/am disappointed with the care I got from the covering midwives. I was expecting much more. I was expecting them to help me get into comfortable positions. I was expecting them to make me get out of bed (well, I wasn't really expecting to be curled up in a ball on the bed, which is how I was for a while, but in hindsight I certainly wasn't expecting them to let me be like that, even if it's how I wanted to be). I was expecting them to wait until I was ready to push. I wasn't expecting a "cheering" section. In fact, the midwife who delivered dd actually told our doula-in-training that the only thing she should do differently next time was that she should have joined in the "push-push-push" cheer. Umm... I really don't think so! I thanked the doula for not joining in. It was bad enough with the midwife and my dh yelling at me to "push-push-push" when I didn't have any urge to push.<br><br>
Thank you for the offers to help. Thank you for the kind words. Thank you for setting up more realistic expectations for the future. Thank you!
 

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I thought I had done everything right to have the birth I wanted (midwife-assisted homebirth), and even though I did have the homebirth, I was very disappointed with it. A very pushy midwife, hours of pushing, counting to ten. I felt kind of humiliated and defeated by the whole thing. I'm a very private person, and vain too, so being so ugly and exposed (and exhausted) was hard for me. I felt bullied by the midwife. I was so angry about it for quite a while. I couldn't even look at dd's newborn pictures w/out getting mad. I guess the passing of time has been what has helped the most. I came to accept that the midwife was doing what she thought was best, that it was a stressful situation for her too. (decels...well, probably caused by her IMO) Realizing that was a turning point for me, but it took about a year. I now know what to ask about when choosing a midwife the next time. But really, those strong emotions get tempered in time. I've tried really hard to look at the good parts of the birth. How darn cute Louisa was when she slipped out and landed on the pillow! In truth, I guess I just found labor and recovery to be really difficult. It hurt too much to sit down for over a week. Lately I've started to look back fondly on that time. I think coming here has helped a lot. Seeing Greaseball's posts helped me because I really identified with her experience. Just give yourself time to process it. In the scheme of things, 6 months is pretty soon. I really feel for you. Many of us have been there.
 

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Hello jraohc, I just wanted to add my 2 cents here.....<br><br>
You mentioned a lot in your first post, about "doing everything right". I just wanted to say that this is a misconception a lot of womyn have about labor and delivery. The truth is, you have birthed another human being! What an amazing miracle! No matter how that baby ended up arriving, it doesn't change the fact that you grew her physically and spiritually for 9 months! I alsodidn't have a perfect delivery with my first-they still did routine 3rd degree episiotomies in Africa, where I delvered.<br><br>
All we can do as womyn, is educate ourselves, search for midwives/OBs that are respectful of a womyn's right to guide her own birth, (unless it is an absolute medical emregency), and do your best to have a plan. In labor, there are too many variables to factor in, that it would be nearly impossible to predict every step or outcome.<br><br>
It's not about doing it "right". You did it. You are a Goddess! Celebrate that! And don't rob your new one of the best emotional growth she could have, now that she's here<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Babies can sense our pain and troubled minds....If she could talk, she would put her little hand on yours, and say: "Hey Mommy, it was a rough trip. But I'm here now! Thank you for all you did to give me the best start you could. When I give birth, I'll remember the lessons you taught me-Now where's that breastmilk!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
"We are always exactly where we are meant to be".<br><br>
Peace and Light,<br><br>
Marcie
 

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there must be something about the 6-month post-partum mark...<br><br>
...that's when I began to question some of the procedures I went through with my first baby's birth, a OB-attened hosptial birth.<br><br>
I had a highly-interventive birth, but that's what I expected at the time. In fact, many things happened the way I <i>wanted</i>.<br><br>
But 6 months later, I began to question the neccesity of the episiotomy that still ached and pained me. I started a thread on another BB (pro-breastfeeding site) contemplating these same kinds of ideas, jraohc.<br><br>
And where do we go from here?<br><br>
Luckily for me, a response to my thread waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when included the suggestion of using a doula for my next birth. In my neck of the woods, this means the oppertunity to attend a 'parent topic night' an informal meeting about doulas & birth topics, with a chance to meet doulas to hire. <a href="http://www.childbirthcollective.org" target="_blank">www.childbirthcollective.org</a><br><br>
For me, it meant I got to learn about truly natural (natural does not mean epidural not working or turned down) and truly supported (supported does not mean bewildered hubby at head of bed) birth. I immersed myself in the culture of positive birthing as much as possible. I forced myself to stop watching "A Baby Story" and to start reading trashy "American Baby" and "Babytalk" magazines with a critical eye.<br><br>
Even now, as I know so much about birth and continue to learn more, I long to hash-out my own birth experiences again and again, in real life, with people who care.<br><br>
And who cares? Who understands? Not very many people at all.<br><br>
I know what you mean, about sounding like you're whining to dh. It can sound like crazy-talk to the mainstream mamas out there who also all had IVs, cut crotches, yanked-out baby heads--WHY COMPLAIN that the sky is blue, they say, not knowing birth can/should be different.<br><br>
Because there isn't anyone in my life right now that cares and understands (and has the TIME to hear me drone on and on! LOL) I have written my first birth's details in excruciating detail. My paper is up to about 14 pages, typed. Writing has helped me.<br><br>
Another thing that helps me feel better is the knowledge that I can prevent other women's suffering. I had an episiotomy, and before I had one, I figured, what's the big deal? women get these <i>all the time</i>, what's the big deal?<br><br>
It took my own suffering to understand how big the deal is. And I have spoken about my experience to friends and family, and maybe I should tally up the intact perineums I've influenced, because it's a decent number (half dozen?) and of course, my own daughter will never suffer a flippant cut to her body.<br><br>
As for your medical records, even if you requested them, it's possible that you didn't get all the juicy stuff--it took me 'til my 2nd pregnancy when my hbmw explained that I needed to request the <b>NURSE'S LABOR PROGRESS NOTES</b> in order to get the <i>really</i> good stuff.<br><br>
Keep talking, keep reflecting. Keep lurking about here at mdc. Start another thread w/ specific questions about the hard-to-understand medical lingo in your charts--I deciphered some of it on my own as have other posters, and we've got pamamidwife and a few L&D nurses that post here who could shed some light on the subject.
 

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well there are lots of things to do, you could get someone to help you read it, you could get a medical dictionary or look up the info on line. But before you do any more research write down your birth story first the one that belongs to you how you saw it and what you were thinking how you felt, the good and the bad.<br>
After 2 hospital births I started learning what I didn't know, some things you just cannot even be prepared for ahead of time because docs and nursing staff are individuals and bring their own ideas and routines in that maybe no one else would even do sometimes this can be an unexpected good thing but I hate it when it isn't. In any case working on myself and learning what I didn't know in the long run led me to becoming a midwife. Predating the births by many years I had been raped and never told anyone and never though about it or even really named it, but some of the things that happened during the births was similar, maybe not even particular actions but attitude and how vulnerable I was.<br>
When I was teaching birth classes and learning midwifery I had a new neighbor who had a very traumatic birth with her first and she did not want anymore children and she really didn't want to talk about birth stuff but because I was so involved she started thinking and talking about the trauma. It was affecting her marriage. I and another friend , listened gave her some feed back and she got her records and we went over them. She understood what happened and then she wrote the doctor and the hospital letters. She also had a dream, what would normally be a frightening dream re-living the birth but in a much bigger way like when they put the fetal scalp monitor into the baby it looked like an huge drill except she also had a narrator voice which told her what all the symbols were and what they meant after that she was at peace with the experience, and she actually had another baby a few years later. There are many ways to work through birth stuff, and if you listen nearly all women will tell you the stories of their births. They will also listen, if nothing else tell your story.<br>
So you got the birth "they" though you wanted, and maybe it is as close as they could even imagine you wanting. Was there kindness was there grace what were the good parts? Try to remember these too.<br>
take care<br>
how about telling your birth story here?
 

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I had to have pitocin with my last birth and ended up with the epi-neither of which I wanted. But I have a healthy baby and for me that is all that matters.<br><br>
If I were you I would try and concentrate on your next birth. Maybe find a doula or a midwife-or consider delivering somewhere else. I would not let your first experience taint any future beautiful childbirth experience.<br><br>
Good luck and I'm sorry things didn't work out the way you had planned.
 

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Yes the 6 month mark seems signficant. I came home from hospital with PTSD which turned to depression and I was suicidal when Conor was 6 months old. I had to transfer from a HB and the staff punished me. It has been a long, hard road to recovery. There was no support group so I started one. It's in my sig :)<br>
You have every right to feel angry and ripped off. There's a great article called "You should be grateful" by Gretchen Humphries which I just posted on my site. It may well speak to you too.<br>
Hugs, keep venting! And learning so some good may come from your experience with your next birth.<br>
J
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Here is a wonderful article from La Leche League's New Beginnings magazine with lots of helpful tips:<br><br><a href="http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMarApr02p44.html" target="_blank">Making Peace with your Birth Experience</a><br><br>
It took me about 2 years to process "get over" my first son's birth. I used the knowledge I gained to make my second birth (at home) better.<br><br>
I think one of the most important things to do is find open ears... someone who is willing to listen, and let you talk. You will find that at MDC.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Greaseball</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For a long time I wanted to have another baby just to "get it right." Then we decided to have another baby because we actually wanted the baby, and I was determined to do everything right and have the peaceful birth where I was in control. It didn't work out that way - we had the homebirth, but it was still really hard and I needed a lot of help. I thought I'd be able to just walk over to a corner and push the baby out, but it was just as hard as the first birth and I needed a lot of hands-on help from the midwives. I was not in control at all. I did everything right and it was difficult nonetheless. I think for some people, birth is just not easy. I didn't enjoy either one and I'm glad we're not having any more. (Though I am still glad I had the homebirth!)</div>
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Wow, this describes my situation almost exactly! Even though I had a nice homebirth, I keep thinking things could have been better. I didn't get to have a birthing tub, I ripped, the shoulders got a little stuck, I didn't get photos. I love my homebirth and it was a better experience, but I'm glad I'm not having another baby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you very much everyone! I really appreciate all of your advice and suggestions and kind words! I am feeling much better about things than I was a week ago.<br><br>
I have read through my records multiple times and gotten some much appreciated help in deciphering them. I have talked with dh more about the birth and he actually said to me "if you want the next one in a birthcenter that's okay". Now I want to work on him for a homebirth, but I was surprised that he actually suggested the birthcenter on his own, with absolutely no prompting from me. Also, dh agreed with me that we did not really give informed consent to the two "procedures" (internal monitor and vacuum). He also was very disappointed in the midwives.<br><br>
I'm planning on writing a letter to the group of midwives, although I'm not sure if I'll ever actually send it. We'll see how it turns out. I'm sure it'll feel good to write it, however, and help me work through the birth a little more. Part of me really wants to march into the midwives office and talk things over, but I think I'd probably end up getting defensive and more upset, so I'm going to work on a letter instead.<br><br>
THANK YOU!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jraohc</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have talked with dh more about the birth and he actually said to me "if you want the next one in a birthcenter that's okay". Now I want to work on him for a homebirth, but I was surprised that he actually suggested the birthcenter on his own, with absolutely no prompting from me. Also, dh agreed with me that we did not really give informed consent to the two "procedures" (internal monitor and vacuum). He also was very disappointed in the midwives.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banana"> Sounds very similar to my husband (and I did have a homebirth this second time!)<br><br>
I was obsessed with birth books for the two years after my first birth and one day my husband, totally unprompted, announced, "uh, ya' know, I see that you've been reading, and reading about birth, and if you want a homebirth, you can do it." DAMN STRAIGHT! I already decided that in my mind. If HE wanted to have a baby, then HE could go to the hospital! :LOL<br><br>
I think you are on your way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
And writing a letter is a <b>great</b> idea! It doesn't matter whether you send it or not yet, what matters is that you write it.<br><br>
Your midwives sound like "medwives." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Wow, I just got the following in my e-mail:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Attached you will find an invitation to a sacred circle for women<br>
about birth and healing. Please feel free to pass this invitation along<br>
to anyone you know who may be interested in coming to heal birth trauma.<br><br>
Suzanne Arms is coming to Los Angeles, and will be guiding us<br>
through this special four-hour journey. Suzanne's skill and intuition with<br>
creating safe space and leading sacred journeys is extraordinary. She is<br>
masterful with balancing going deep, processing, being together and<br>
coming through to the other side with a great new understanding. I highly recommend this event!<br><br>
The event will be focusing on healing any type of birth trauma, either<br>
from giving birth yourself or from attending to someone during birth. It<br>
is both for moms and for birth professionals.</td>
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It's on Sat, 12/18, 2-6pm. Sliding scale fee $30-80. Dang, wish I could go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's been a few more months. For the most part I thought I had reconciled myself with dd's delivery/birth. Then there are days like today. My friend just had a baby - induction because her doctor was going on vacation. UGH! Coming back here helped. Thanks again!
 

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I wish I knew something to say that will take all your pain away. I know that pain very well. I won't go into all the details, but I really suck at childbirth-even saying that is hard. I did not give birth to my children, they were surgically removed. I fired my OB mid prenancy and found two midwives with a less than 2% Csection rate. I did the bradley classes, read "Spiritual Midwifery" till I could quote it, was a champion squatter and I had no doubts about my bodies ability to give birth.<br><br>
But, it was not to be and I suffered with terrible rage, self doubt, anger and resentment for months after first delivery. With my second DD, I was still hopeful and ready to get it right, but I had a uterine rupture and another csection. My children are 5 and 7 and I still mourn for that experience. But it is not going to happen as I cannot carry any more children. I don't think there was a lightbulb moment that made it easier to deal with. But I did have to talk about alot, research alot, get my questions answered and let time pass.<br><br>
Good Luck to you!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Gabesgrrrl</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hello jraohc, I just wanted to add my 2 cents here.....<br>
You mentioned a lot in your first post, about "doing everything right". I just wanted to say that this is a misconception a lot of womyn have about labor and delivery....</div>
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After my hospital birth I experienced the same kind of disappointment and rage that other women here are reporting. After the birth I was lying in the hospital bed sobbing and the docs told me the exact same thing as above "You can't always get exactly the birth you want", they said "You should be grateful to have a baby".<br><br>
In fact, I was grateful to have a baby, but I was still ferociously angry that people had abused me emotionally and physically while I was having that baby. It took me over a year to work through this, but I eventually realized that I was really, really, really angry about two things:<br><br>
First, the doctors I had placed my trust in had betrayed me. They had promised that they would take care of me, make me comfortable and listen to my preferences, but when it came right down to it they didn't do any of those things (and in fact, they got huffy and defensive because I was so upset and claimed that they were too busy saving lives to worry about feelings).<br><br>
Second, I was enraged at myself for being stupid enough to be taken in by the lies they told me.<br><br>
I still haven't forgiven the hospital. Eventually I did forgive myself because I could accept that my bad choice was because of inexperience.<br><br>
--AmyB
 
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