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<p>Anyone else who had a traumatic experience last time? I had a vaginal birth, but it was accompanied by a lot of fear and unknowns about my daughter's condition, not to mention all of the trauma caused by the 4 months in the NICU after she was born...</p>
<p>If you had a traumatic birth experience, what are you going to do to process it before this birth? Any plans?</p>
 

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<p>I have a daughter 5/04 and son 7/08.  My daughter's birth was a vacuum extraction and was not what I wanted.  Was it "traumatic"?  I don't know, but it definitely wasn't what I wanted.  I felt like I needed to do a lot of processing before my son's birth.  My son's birth was a wonderful homebirth and definitely not traumatic.  I still feel like I'm processing my daughter's birth as I think about this current pregnancy.</p>
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<p>I don't have any specific suggestions for you regarding processing.  What do YOU think YOU need?  I would imagine you need something.  For me, I guess I did a lot of imagining how I would have liked her birth to have gone, what I could do differently (starting with choosing a home birth and a much smaller midwife group), and learning a lot about what I had the control to prevent.  But obviously your daughter's condition wasn't preventable and a 4 month stay in the NICU wasn't something you could change, although maybe there were things you learned anyway that you will hopefully personally never have to apply again.  Personally, I'd say if you have stuff to process then you should talk to your partner, talk to your care provider, post on boards like MDC, and if necessary talk to a mental health professional, if you feel it'd be helpful.</p>
 

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<p>My first birth was traumatic, and when I was pregnant with my second, what really helped me put it my first birth aside and expect a good birth was that I spent a lot of time listening to the birthing affirmations tape that came with my Hypnobabies kit.   It wasn't necessarily helping me process my first birth, but hearing all of these positive, affirming statements about my upcoming birth was very helpful in preparing myself psychologically for a good birth. </p>
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<p>My first pregnancy and birth were very traumatic.  I had a vasa previa and bled throughout the entire pregnancy.  I was in the hospital for most of it and when I was at home I was on a monitor and on complete bedrest.  I had a c-section at 35 weeks because it was too risky to allow any contractions to happen.  I was told that DS would likely have some brain damage or cerebal palsy, possibly other issues as well.  Needless to say, he is perfect in every way and I am the one left battered and bruised!</p>
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<p>I went through a pretty severe bout of post-traumatic stress disorder.  I still have panic attacks occasionally.  When I found out that I was pregnant with DD, I was horrified that we would end up in the same place as we were before.  I was terrified that I would bleed, terrified of another c-section and scared that DS would have to be with caregivers while mama was on bedrest again.</p>
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<p>Around 20 weeks, something inside of me just clicked.  I don't know how to describe it, but I just KNEW that I was a BIRTH WARRIOR!!!  I was going to take back all of the fear - reclaim it for myself and birth the way G-d intended - at home, with my family and friends and on my own terms.  From that day forward I did not look back.  I believe that the only way to resolve a traumatic situation is to confront it head-on.  For some people, threapy can help with that.  For others, yoga and meditation can go a long way in the healing proces.  For me, it was a combination of education (mostly through MDC!!) and visualization.  I spent a great deal of time putting my birth intentions out there in the universe and releasing my fear with each day that passed.</p>
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<p>Hopefully, over the next 7-8 months, all your friends here on MDC will help inspire you towards healing! <span><img alt="joy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif" style="width:42px;height:39px;"></span></p>
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Discussion Starter #5
<p>I'm planning on talking a lot to my midwife about everything... for the most part, it's trying to accept that things will go differently this time, that my husband and I can have a healthy baby and a normal birth... It's really hard, I was in a great mindset during my pregnancy with my daughter, until we found out she was sick, and during most of her sick time, when she could have died multiple times, I was in denial for the most part. I got PPD when DD was about 7 months old, a month after we finally brought her home, because that was probably the first time I let myself FEEL everything that happened. But all of it is still so fresh- the fear, the worry that something will happen... when I go through her old clothes, my heart races and I get this awful nervous feeling, even though I KNOW she is ok now. Everyone talks about processing birth trauma, but no one explains HOW to process it... especially when the majority of the trauma came AFTER the birth.</p>
 

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<p>have you written your story? I found it really helpful to write it all out. my story isn't as dramatic, but my little girl spent some time in the nicu too, and i really grieved the loss of the birth i wanted, and the time i lost with her when she was a newborn. Writing it out in as much detail as i could really helped show me the possitives in the whole experience. Before, i thought that I had a traumatic birth (induced at 34 weeks for PROM, in hospital), but when it all came out, i found that there was a lot of strength in my story. I had done so much more than I had thought I did. I did what was best for her, and it wasn't easy, but i was stronger than i thought.</p>
<p>I really liked the Birthing from Within book- it talks about dealing with fears, and working through traumas. some really right brained stuff, but it does give you some concrete things to do to process</p>
 

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<p>I actually kept a blog the whole time she was in the NICU (<a href="http://www.faiths-place-08.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.faiths-place-08.blogspot.com</a>), so I wrote the story as it happened... and a few months back I wrote the whole thing out from beginning to end, pregnancy through present, and that felt very healing. The logical side of me knows that a lot of positives came out of the experience, including me trusting myself more than I ever could have otherwise (because she "should have" died multiple times, but by me following my instinct and doing my research, she didn't). But the emotional side of me is just afraid of something happening again. I was SO set on home birth last time, and so disappointed that it didn't get to happen, and got little to no validation for that grief... I think the biggest thing is that I'm afraid something will happen again to keep us from having the home birth, or else that I'll be held up in labor with flashbacks from last time or something... I will have to re-read Birthing From Within.</p>
 

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It can be really difficult to work through these things with people who don't know. They want to help you focus on the positive- usually by telling you to focus on the fact that we have live babies, so the rest shouldn't matter. I get the sentiment, but it really minimizes the loss. I have a really good friend who planned 2 home births and ended up with 2 c births. She did everything right, but it just didn't work out for her. She did a lot of work before her second babe was born- so she could be ok if it happened again. One thing she said was helpful for her was going through and naming her fears, and then naming what would happen if they were realized, and how she would deal with it. She also made the wonderful analogy comparing birthing to a wedding. She knows people who have had perfect, extravagant weddings, but rotten marriages. Also know people who have had beautiful home warerbirths, but have a lot of challenges as parents. She said that she would rather have the messed up wedding, and a wonderful marriage. When it comes down to it, it is one day in our relationships with our children. She's one of the best moms I know.<br>
You have been through a lot- it's almost like you have a bit of post traumatic stress- with the thoughts comming back unbidden, and the anxiety with looking at your faiths baby clothes. Have you talked to someone about your feelings? Like a professional? The woman my friend worked with was a prenatal educator, and I know some good counselors who work specifically with birth issues- but you probably don't live in my neck of the woods! Might be someone who could help you work through your fears.<br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>Thanks. That makes a lot of sense, and really like that wedding analogy. I am planning on talking to my midwife in-depth about it, and if she thinks I need it, I'll probably talk to another friend who is a psychologist who deals with birth stuff... Good thing I have a lot of time to work on it ;)</p>
 

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<p>I didn't consider my last pregnancy and birth traumatic at the time, and I'm just starting to realize that it was. I have a lot of resentment still from what happened. I was fine, my son was fine (thanks to the nurse, no thanks to my midwife!). I didn't really understand until years later how angry I still was. It was enough that I didn't go back for even a regular ob/gyn appointment for 6 years.</p>
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<p>I was dead-set on a home-birth after my last birth, partly because of how much the experience upset me, and partly because I felt pretty invincible after delivering a 10lb 12oz baby! I'm not so sure on that now. For one, the closest homebirth midwife is about 45 minutes away and the truth is that I did have some complications with both my previous births. Nothing too serious, but enough that I'm sort of doubting a homebirth option, especially since the closest hospital is 20 minutes away.</p>
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<p>I don't know how I'll take charge or change things with this delivery. I did get a new midwife, only problem is her go to doctor is the doctor that my last midwife worked with (actually in his office, this midwife has her own separate practice) and I really, really hated him. I am much older now, I had just turned 18 for my first birth, and just turned 23 for my second. I know and believe in my body a lot more now. I am more confident in my body and my decisions and I think that will help a lot. The midwife I'm seeing I'm iffy on. I've only met with her twice (and I haven't set up a prenatal appt yet - I'm waiting till after the Holidays) - she's a close talker, and I know it's dumb but it annoys me. She's pretty highly recommened and my sister is seeing her for her prenatal and delivery too, so - we'll see what happens - I have a couple other options ready in case I want to switch.</p>
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<p>I guess the biggest  thing for me and the best advice I'd be able to give is to try and make peace with previous birth experiences the best that you can. Learn from those experiences. If there's anything in your power to change this time - do it. If not try to let go the best you can and trust yourself and your body.</p>
 
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