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feelings about someone else's birth

867 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  pinky
what do you feel when someone you know does things "wrong" but still gets a great birth experience? it's one thing to read about it in books and on websites, but when it's close to home ... ouch.

my sis-in-law was induced Monday, the only reason being that she was a week late. i have a new niece, and Willow has a new cousin!
and mama is doing great. she had 4 hours labor, and a few pushes, vroooom out came the baby. she sent pics already, so sweet, looking so much like Willow did! oooooh i can feel my ovaries yelling at me "get pregnant right NOW!" :LOL

BUT ... i feel like screaming and crying and yelling all at the same time. "it's not fair!" my sis-in-law is a good person and i can't honestly say anything bad about her. what gets me upset is that she agreed to pitocin induction for no reason other than her doctor said so, had an epidural automatically (2nd time) and still got the birth she wanted.

i feel like Nature is saying to me, "yes indeed, some women are meant to birth and some are not, that's why it was so hard for you and so easy for her." even though we here keep telling each other that *every* woman can birth naturally, that our bodies and babies know what to do. sometimes that honestly isn't true! in my case, it wasn't. my body was doing great, the baby was doing great, i loved labor (all 30 hours of it!), she was just all wrapped up in her short cord and yo-yo-ing. so technically i did everything "right" and i got a traumatic birth experience (a cesarean with a spinal that paralyzed me for 6 hours).

i'm supposed to feel overjoyed at the new addition to the family. and i do! but on another level, i feel very, very bitter. and sad. has this happened to anyone else, or am i just a petty bitch?
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I ALWAYS think about my friends and family's birth experiences and compare them to my own. I feel all snotty at the people who just breeze through all of the interventions that caused such a tramatic birth for me.

My SIL who is a l/d nurse, has 3 kids. Each time she picked a day to go in and be induced, one week before her due date. Each time she got the epi before the pitocin. She dialates, pushes a sec, pulls her babies out herself, goes home that day, and is shopping 2 days later. Nobody would do those things if they didn't work well at least some of the time.

Its not fair. And I love her and am happy for her, but still. And yes I am a bitch about, but I love Miss Hospital Birth Poster-child enough to keep it to myself.

On the other hand when the birth goes less than perfect, I feel all "I told you so" about it. Yes, I keep that to myself, too. And I do feel bad for them and wish it could have been different for them.

Your birth experiences change your life, and don't feel bad for feeling snarky about it.

My second child was born much more peacefully, not until after her birth did I come to grips with how much the first one screwed me up. I was fortunate enough to have one good experience, but I do feel guilty that it took such a powerfully good experience to allow me to feel happy for other people when they have a good experience.

And in the end, that SIL I was talking about, said she wished she'd had a homebirth, and she feels like she missed part of the experience. Even the ones that seem like they are Miss Perfect have to deal with the enormity of the experience.

Congratulations on your new neice. (Give her a kiss--I'm sorry she didn't get to come on a day SHE chose.)
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Yeah - the bitterness can be bad. I have one brother and one sister. There are now a total of 10 children between us, and I'm expecting #11 in the next few weeks. My son was the this:

I did everything "right"...looked after myself, was thrilled about the baby, etc. I stayed home until it became obvious that my labour wasn't progressing normally (eg. contractions 5 minutes apart, then 3, then 7, then 3, then 5 again, etc., etc.). I had no "perfect birth" - I just didn't want a scalpel c-section and no episiotomy. I went to the hospital and had an emergency c-section for breech - I was 10 cm dilated, and didn't want the surgery - didn't agree to it, and never really got over it. At that time, it was the single most devastating experience of my life (now ranks somewhere near my miscarriages). forward six months. My SIL goes into the hospital, has a c-section due to failure to progress and almost throws a party, because she's so happy to avoid labour. I was sad, but not really bitter, as she had looked after herself really well, and was genuinely terrified of labour. (Her adoptive mom almost died giving birth to her brother, and I think she'd grown up on that story.)

Two years later...I wasn't really over my c-section and had been trying to conceive again for over a year. I thought I could VBAC no problem, and was a good candidate. My sister got pregnant. She didn't want the baby, but was afraid she couldn't get pregnant again (chlamydia scars on her tubes). She went ahead with the pregnancy. She smoked, drank pots of coffee, got no exercise, didn't eat well - you name it. I don't think she drank alcohol, and she didn't do drugs, but she did all the things you're not supposed to.

She went into hospital when her water broke, and I will admit that she had a bad time with the nurses. But, she screamed and begged for an epidural really early in labour. When the epi wore off, she absolutely freaked, because the contractions were so much more painful than they had been. She spent the next couple of hours begging for a c-section and talking about how much it hurt and she couldn't stand it. All she wanted was a c-section. nephew was born vaginally several hours later - I went into the L&D room (had been waiting at the hospital), and the first (and only)words out of her mouth were "you and mom and [SIL] are pathetic" - in reference to our c-sections. I wanted to kill her and I wanted to die...and I'm still bitter about it. Her son is 10, and every time I remember her saying it, I just want to smack her in the mouth...
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I totally know what you mean. A good friend, who thinks some of my ideas are kinda 'strange', had a two hour labor (that was induced)--first baby. TWO HOURS! As if that wasn't enough, she also thought that it didn't really hurt. She felt just some 'pressure'.
Can you even beleive it?

I had a natural 20 hour labor with 2.5 flippin hours of pushing! (ok, that definately sounded a little bitter. . .
) And I for sure can't say that it was virtually painless. Because ds's hand came out first, we had to have a tiny bit of help from the vacuum, also. But--I have to say that I look back fondly at Noah's birth.

Nope--you are not alone!

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Angierae, i also keep my feelings to myself. it's so great to be able to talk about this stuff here!

i already feel less bitter with a few hours to think about it. because i love my sis-in-law and i am genuinely glad she had the birth she wanted!! even if she'd had elective cesarean i'd be saying that, if it's what she wanted.

she did say that the pitocin contractions were horrible, too fast, and it was all a blur. what seems like an "easy" birth to me was rough on her. perhaps almost every woman in her heart of hearts will have complaints and regrets about her birth(s), even if they never voice them?

my other sis-in-law, she had a late miscarriage but for some reason she's the one i end up talking to about birth and baby things. she is so genuinely interested, even through her sorrow she loves to hear about other women's births, she asks so many wonderful, deep questions! i know that next time i talk to her, she'll be intuitive enough to say again that it's a shame i didn't get the birth i wanted. i keep hoping and praying that she'll someday have the baby and the birth she wants. she may not have a baby but i can feel the loving mama-self in her heart already
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Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel. Dh & I spent the entire pregnancy preparing for a natural childbirth. Longer than that, really ... we knew long before we conceived that we wanted a drug-free birth. Fast forward to 36 weeks, when my mw/ob team started pushing me for an induction or elective c/s due to Fiona being "too big." I fought with them and cried all the way home after every visit from then until the day she was born. I ended up laboring for nearly 36 hrs., at least 15 of that hard labor. When I got to the hospital, the interventions started and I ended up laboring entirely on my back.
: Around hour 30, after I had been screaming through every single contraction for 12 hrs. or so, I finally agreed to the epidural. Fiona was born a couple hours later -- 10 lbs. 9 oz. I found out later I was very, very lucky to avoid a c/s. Apparently no one in the entire practice believed I could birth her vaginally. How's that for labor support?

Fast forward 8 months. My nephew's 18 y/o wife had not really expressed any strong desire to "go natural." She did take care of herself, and I love her to pieces, but my mom told me of her labor: she didn't make a peep the whole time (no drugs), she didn't cry or anything. I was like, thanks mom, she pushed out a baby half the size of mine. I'm so sorry I had a
painful labor and yelled and cried.

Yes, I'm pretty bitter about it. No I would never EVER say anything to her. And yes, much to my mother's horror, I'm avoiding the hospital if at all possible the next time around.
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride
the first (and only)words out of her mouth were "you and mom and [SIL] are pathetic" - in reference to our c-sections.

That's horrible. Just HORRIBLE. You're a better woman than me ... I probably would have smacked her.
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Originally Posted by heathenmom

That's horrible. Just HORRIBLE. You're a better woman than me ... I probably would have smacked her.
I think I was actually too hurt...and too be angry for the first few minutes. And, I don't think I could bring myself to smack someone who was still on the table in an L&D ward, no matter what they said to me.

The worst thing is that I never confronted her, and now there's no point. My sister is one of those people who re-writes history every five minutes. If I faced her about it after all this time (especially as her 4th - one of her twins - was a c-section), she'd just deny ever saying it. So, I really just left it to fester - and it has. When someone really gets you in a sore spot like that...I already felt like a failure for the's hard to just shake it off, even when you know they're being totally ridiculous.
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I guess I'm one of those women too. I had two epidurals and still got great births. A friend of mine was committed to a natural birth and she got one-- but it was a very, very difficult birth and she has a lot of physical and emotional scars from it. I know she feels the same way about my birth as you do about your SIL's birth. It's not something we talk about a whole lot.

It's all relative.
We all have our share of struggles in one area or another-- be it a difficult childhood, struggles with depression, medical challenges. For most people it all evens out in the end. Nitara's birth has been about the *only* easy thing in her entire pregnancy and life so far.

I hope I'm not being insensitive. We all just get what we get in life.
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I have found that I have a lot of complicated feelings about other people's natural births. My SIL also had her first baby over the weekend--a natural birth that she worked hard for--and I love her and don't begrudge her that experience at all...but at the same time when I hear stories like that I want to cry, I'm definitely still mourning the birth experiences I haven't had (I've had two unplanned c-secs that I worked very hard to avoid).

I just try to trust that there are lessons I've learned from my birth experiences that are important for me to have. And also that there are lessons that others in my life can learn from, too.

And then I look at my babies, who are a balm to all my wounds.
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