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Still sad about birth, trying to come to terms

2749 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Jessamy
My baby turned 1 on March 17, and I just now am writing my birth story. It is pretty much the opposite of what I wanted, and I have had a hard time dealing with it.

I really just want to let it go and move on, but I'm being forced to deal with it all again because my midwife feels she did not get paid enough from my insurance. I'm going to post my story below, and maybe you can give me some feedback on what is right and wrong. I recognize that she deserves compenstaion for her job, and she provided excellent pre- and postnantal care. However, during the birth, she put me and my boy at risk. I labored for 30 hours after my water broke and she only checked my cervix three times during labor. Postpartum, she told me that "nothing about [my] labor was normal". Now, a year later, she is telling me I still owe her $2000. My opinion is that she has already recieved $2000 and because she acted irresponsibly during the labor, she should just let it go (plus, I am still paying off the $11,000 accrued during the emergency c-section that I ended up having) and in return, we won't file a complaint with the state board or file a medical malpractice suit.

Am I being too harsh? Should she still be paid? Let me know after you read my story (not quite as scary as the woman who labored for 5 DAYS after her water broke):

(It's a bit long!)

I woke up exhausted the Tuesday I went into labor. I was pretty close to the end of my pregnancy (just 9 more days!) and I was getting huge. I had an appointment with my midwife that morning, and I decided not to go to work that day because I was so tired. Throughout my pregnancy, I wasn't very good at taking it easy, resting, and eating right. I tried to eat well, but that child inside of me just demanded bread! Potatoes! Chips! Fries! Of course, I didn't resist too much. However, on this Tuesday I rested on my left side, took a nap, and just generally took it easy. My husband was not working that day, so I took advantage of that and made him help me finish the nursery. We sponge-painted stars around the room and got everything set up. I must have had a premonition.

We had very little food in the house, and Wednesday was grocery shopping day, so that night we had some sort of hodge-podge meal, and I didn't eat very well. We were watching a movie and I was lying on the couch. It was about 10:00 p.m. and I was getting ready for bed, but wanted to relax for a bit. Suddenly, I felt something "weird". Yeah, that's not a great description, but that is pretty much what went through my head: "Hmm. Something is weird." I stood up, and felt a trickling that turned into a gush. I raced into the kitchen where the floor is tiled and Jerry and I watched as the water pooled onto the floor. It just kept coming!

"Oh my God! My water just broke!" I said, stunned. Jerry just watched the floor, saying nothing and doing nothing. Suddenly, he was a whirlwind of action, as I had started crying. I started shaking and he was trying to calm me down, while I tried to convince him that it was okay, I was just so excited and couldn't believe this was happening. I guess that is how it is with your first child: you know you will go into labor, but when it happens, especially if it is very sudden, like it was for me (I didn't even feel Braxton-Hicks contractions), it is a huge shock!

We called our midwife, and she told me to try to get some sleep. Good luck! Jerry and I don't think well under pressure, and since we knew we would have lots of people in the house very soon, he decided to run to the store to get some food. I should add that the closest grocery store is about 15 minutes away. At this point in the story, you are probably telling me that I shouldn't let him go to the store, right? Well, I was a little distracted, so I agreed. In hindsight, I should have either gone with him or not have let him go. But at the time I thought he would be able to make a quick trip and get home soon to be with me.

Almost as soon as he left, the contractions started. I hadn't felt any Braxton-Hicks, so this was completely new to me. It scared me, mainly because they were coming very fast, and I couldn't seem to get past that initial adrenaline rush. I was still shaking from it, but I can be more stubborn than a horse, and I convinced Jerry that I was fine, allowing him to leave. I tried to watch "The Royal Tenanbaums", one of my favorite movies, one that normally relaxes me. It didn't work that night!

While Jerry was gone, I just moved through the house, trying to relax and calm myself and working through the contractions. When he finally returned, I had moved our birth ball into our bedroom and was sitting on it and leaning against the bed. I spent several hours there and finally at around 3:30 a.m. I decided that I needed my midwife, Christine, to come. I was so uncomfortable, and I was scared because I was only getting about 30 seconds between contractions, preventing me from resting at all.

Once Christine was there we discovered that I wasn't very far along, only about 4 cm dilated, and I still had a ways to go. This discouraged me because I was already tired from being pregnant in general and from not sleeping! I didn't move from the birth ball and tried to rest between contractions, but it was really difficult. I tried to lie down, but the contractions were so bad I immediately got back up. I was getting so tired, and I couldn't eat anything, although I was drinking a lot of water. I started to throw up and my ketones went up. Finally, I discovered that I could eat lunchmeat, and that stopped the vomiting and lowered my ketones.

My contractions started to slow down late morning, but I still couldn't rest. This was primarily because I was really worried about being able to give birth by 10:30 that evening, 24 hours after my water had broken. Christine told me that we didn't have to follow that timeline, but we were still on a clock. That did not reassure me. First, I was worried about being on a different timeline than 24 hours. Second, I didn't want to be on a clock at all. It was so much pressure! I was so worried about my little boy and if he would be okay! Christine monitored his heart rate frequently, and he seemed fine. This helped a little. The whole time I was laboring, I couldn't talk about how I was feeling, and I felt like Jerry wasn't there…he went to the store, he went to get breakfast, he needed to rest. He had expressed concerns about being able to help me during the delivery, but I don't have any family or friends that would be able to help me, so unfortunately, that task fell to him. There were three midwives there, and I wish one of them would have come to me and talked to me about what was going on, but no one did. I think I just needed to talk and get rid of some of my fears, but I couldn't express that.

I started to take some herbs around noon, and my contractions picked up and got stronger. External examination revealed that my crazy kid had his little hands jammed up by his head, so I labored for a while with my butt in the air, trying to massage his hands away from his head! By about 2 p.m. I thought I was getting close to transition! I cried and I was so excited that this was finally going to be over and I would get to meet my boy! However, for some reason, my contractions REALLY slowed down after that, to the tune of about one per half hour! That really scared me, but I was trying SO hard to be strong and I never talked about my fears. Deb, one of the other midwives, had finally gotten me to rest, and I slept for about an hour, but I was so scared that I wasn't having contractions that I couldn't sleep! Talk about counter-productive!

I went outside at around 4-5 p.m. and tried walking and had been trying nipple stimulation. Nothing was helping! Each time I took the herbs (I was only allowed to take them every half hour, but I kept trying to get Christine to give them to me more often to try to speed things up) my contractions got stronger and faster, but that would quickly die off. At around 6 p.m. Jerry and I went outside to walk, and I talked to him about going to the hospital and needing a c-section. Neither one of us really knew what to say or do, so we just decided to wait and see what happened. I was really discouraged, but I didn't want to say anything. I felt as if voicing my fears would make having to go to the hospital a reality, so I just did everything in my power to make my labor progress.
At around 10 p.m. I started to really freak out. I was so tired and I just started shaking and couldn't stop. I got in the shower to try to relax; I later took a bath and had oxygen. However, I think my body was just done! I was so tired from the lack of sleep and all the effort that I just couldn't do much more! At about 2 a.m. Thursday morning, I felt the urge to push. I pushed a couple of times, and then I didn't really feel like pushing anymore. Christine checked my cervix and found it to be at 8 centimeters. Finally, she said the words that, by this time, I was really ready to hear: "You may want to think about going to the hospital." Well, I knew I was done. I knew it long before this moment. I was just so tired. I couldn't keep going, I had exhausted all my reserves.

We went to the hospital, and en route, my baby turned and I started to experience back labor. Up until now, the contractions had been unpleasant and felt like a big squeeze, but now, they HURT. I was terrified. I didn't know why, suddenly, the contractions hurt SO much. I am also a bit afraid of hospitals, which is part of the reason I had wanted to have my baby at home, so I think the atmosphere had something to do with my terror. When I was examined by my ob-gyn (who was great and wonderful and so supportive, even though by all the "rules" I had majorly messed up by laboring well past 24 hours and possibly even by trying to have my baby at home), she determined that I needed a c-section-NOW. I was in complete agreement. I just wanted to get this thing OUT! Also, although my baby had been fine, he was no longer doing so well. He had just been in there too long and was also tired from all his efforts. It was critical that he was born as soon as possible!

At 5 a.m., Peter Braedan Middlemist was born via emergency Caesarian section. He had Apgar scores of 9 both times, and he was gorgeous! When he cried for the first time, I thought my heart would break with love. I couldn't believe he was finally here! I was exhausted but exhilarated. By the look of the circles under his eyes, he was just exhausted. However, because I didn't have an epidural until moments before his birth, the drugs never got into his system and when they brought him to me (several hours AFTER his birth, which I think is awful), he was still awake and ready to nurse! This may be because I was vehement about him NOT receiving sugar water, a pacifier, or formula, even at the urging of my horrible labor and delivery nurse who lectured me throughout my recovery about how dangerous home births are.

I have had a really hard time accepting the way my labor went. I cried for a long time, and I still tear up now. However, I have come to accept that things don't always go the way you hope. I know I made some mistakes, and I am certain that my midwife made many mistakes. In retrospect, I wish I had decided to give birth in a hospital because I may have had a larger chance to give birth vaginally. Although I labored for 30 hours naturally, because my son was born surgically I feel as though I failed. I feel as though I failed him and myself, as well. I have been told I shouldn't feel this way, that I had a "real" labor regardless of how he was born, and that the most important thing is that I have a healthy gorgeous little boy. I am SO grateful that my child is healthy and happy, and intellectually, I know that is the only thing that matters. But in my heart, I still grieve. I hope I can move past this, but I'm not sure I can. I have found myself wanting to get pregnant again, irrationally. Now is not a good time for that from any perspective! I must admit that I know where these feelings are coming from. It is a desire to try again, to try to have that natural birth that I so desire. It pains me to think that I may never experience that, makes me feel like less of a woman.
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I'm so sorry that you had a c-section instead of the planned natural birth. Same thing happened to me and I've by no means come to grips with it completely either. I really don't know what to tell you about paying your midwives other than what did/does the contract say? If you never signed anything saying you owe them a certain amount then they can't legally charge you it.

As for the labor, sounds to me like you were doing a really great job and that your midwives messed up royally. You were laboring and even progressing quickly for quite a while there. Your midwives should have been more informative of your progress and how well you were doing and more helpful, more involved. I don't think that teh 24 hr rule is necessary unless there is something wrong with the baby like it's heart rate is seriously dipping or something. But maybe there is soemthing I don't know... It seems to me like your body stopped laboring because of the fear there, much of which it sounds like the midwives imparted - I have heard that the body won't give birth if it doesn't feel safe.

Well for me the path was I started really early labor, had a prenatal that day and when I went my always normal protein levels in my urine were off the charts and so they sent me to the hsptl (was a free standing birth center) for more monitoring. There, they broke my water and discovered lots of meconium. Plus DD's heart rate was dipping (cord around her neck which they could have taken care of easily enough if I"d been more dilated) but I was only between 2 and 3 centimeters so they surgically removed her. I got her for maybe 5 minutes an hour or so later and then not until the next AM and they gave her vitamin K shots and stuff that I had specifically signed waivers for - but it all happened so fast the paperwork didn't get fromt he birth center to the hsptl.

For the next birth I'm planning a homebirth. Be happy to talk with you more about it all but DD is fussing now....
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I'm sorry your birth didn't turn out like you want. I don't agree with the 24 hour rule at all, BUT I would not have allowed ANY checks after the water broke. Also I'm not sure what the "emergency" was that forced a section. Honestly it sounds like your midwife pressured you and you were tired and wanted an out.

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She definitely doesn't sound like she was very supportive or helpful. I don't blame you one bit for being disheartened by it all.
I'm so sorry you didn't get the birth you had wanted and planned for.

Why exactly did they decide to do an emergency c-section? I'm curious because I had also planned a homebirth and ended up doing a hospital transfer due to a slow labor and exhaustion. My daughter was born vaginally a little more than 33 hours after my water broke. I got a Pitocin drip they did take my temperature regularly to monitor for infection but otherwise I was encouraged to keep laboring.

I guess it's not clear to me from your story what your midwives did wrong. (I think I might not be reading it carefully enough but my daughter is making noise in the other room and I keep checking to see why she's not asleep. )
I think if it was me . . . I would try to separate out my feelings of disappointment with my midwife's conduct during the labor from the issue of finances. Finances are so emotional anyway, that tangling them up with the issues I'd have around the birth itself would make me feel overwhelmed.

I think I would ask myself what my agreement with the midwife was, financially. My midwives have quite clear agreements about finances which I have assented to by choosing them as my care providers. In my case, I know that I am responsible for making sure that they get paid for the work they do, based on a certain schedule of fees, even if I transfer to hospital. I've agreed to be responsible for that regardless of what my health insurance decides to do. I think that for me, it would be important to *me* to fulfill my agreed-upon responsibilities regardless of how I felt about the birth managment. And I'd deal with that separately, not as a bargaining tool. But that's how my particular mind & emotions work, and I know it wouldn't work for everyone or in every situation.

Good luck in dealing with the money, and in finding a way to move through your previous experience and make the choices that will be right for you when you do choose to have another child.
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I'm so sorry mama that things didn't turn out the way you wanted. I wanted to mention that having craniosacral therapy helped me better understand and process my feelings about my birth. It is such a gentle and healing thing. I also take dd, and feel that it has really helped HER process the birth as well as the deep suctioning they did afterwards. If you're interested, you can search for a practitioner here. I highly recommend finding someone trained in somatoemotional release (advanced form of CST). Many hugs, and good luck.
I'm sorry you ended up with an experience that you did not like.
But, i am unsure as to what exactly you feel your midwives did wrong?
All i know is what you wrote, of course, but nothing you wrote sounded like they did anything wrong at all. It sounded a lot like you felt like you did not get the support you "wanted", but i'm wondering if the midwives knew that? *some* women are looking for a very hands-off midwife.....some want a lot more reassurance, participation, etc....
you say in your story that you "wished someone would have come to me and talked to me about what was going on, but no one did. I think I just needed to talk and get rid of some of my fears, but I couldn't express that."
and this
"he whole time I was laboring, I couldn't talk about how I was feeling, "

Did you expect them to be mind-readers? Had you talked in your prenatals about the type of labor suppport you wanted/expected? It sounds like you felt very alone and scared, and i am so sorry for that...but i'm not sure how that was your midwives fault? seems like you ewere very scared to expressed several times in your story that you had lots of fears.....looking at your dtory, i see words like "scared" "fear" worried" "discouraged" popping up a LOT.

WHY did you want a homebirth? In your story, you say in part because you are afraid of hospitals.....but in your heart, did you truly believe homebirth was safe? Also, you seem to be quite believeing of some of the "obstetric myths" you talk about the 24 hour rule......if you had really done the research, you would know that a 24 hour timeline is very arbitrary, and not based on any kind of research at all...but yet, you seemed to feel like your midwife did something wrong by not holding you to it??? You also said "even though by all the "rules" I had majorly messed up by laboring well past 24 hours and possibly even by trying to have my baby at home)"
This REALLY stands out to feel that you "broke a rule" by trying to have your baby at home??? Think hard about this.

It really seems to me like you never really had a lot of faith in your body or birth, and you were still very much in a medical mindset, with all of the medical "rules" as you put them, foremost on your mind.

What exactly is it you feel the midwives did that was malpractice?
What exactly makes you say you think you might have had the baby vaginally in the hospital? What is it you think an OB would have done to help you brith vaginally?

If you had WANTED a very interventive birth, with lots of vaginal checks and a strict timeline, then maybe a hospital birth is what you should have planned. But again, i'm sorry, but I guess i don't see what it is you think your midwives did wrong. They gave you a hands-off homebirth......up until you decided you were too tired to go on and went to the hospital.

now, perhaps the midwives did some things that were malpractice that you simply did not include in your story, but you know of in your head...if so, then obbviously i can't know about them.

but, to me, from what you sounds like you had a sucky labor, with some ugly malpositioning which made your labor very long, , very slow to dilate, painful, and that you basically just got too tired so you decided to transfer. I'm very sorry it happened to you. It ALMOST happened to me....BUT, know you are not alone...I believe that the national transfer rate for primips is about 25%. This is because first time nothers DON'T know what labor is going to be like, and more often have long, tiring labors....and a quarter of them do end up at the hospital. It's just the way it is.

I'm not trying to be harsh, even though it might sounds like tone is very soothing, and more like guiding you on a brainstorm, to try to think things through......And i want to emphasize that my next quetion is NOT an accusation....not at all, but merely food for thought...could any of your negative feelings be guilt? Guilt that you *maybe* could have just sucked it up and had the baby at home? Guilt that the reason you transferred for wasn't "valid"?? I often hear moms who transfer for "exhaustion" or "pain relief" say later that they felt guilty because they didn't transfer for a "real" emergency. Could you be blaming yourself for the loss of your homebirth?

If you are, please don't beat yourself up about it. You did the best you could. Nature through you a heckuva loop with the double nuchal arm thing.....You are just as strong and powerful of a woman as anyone, even those who did have homebirths.

Again, i hope i don't sound too harsh.
I also had a BAD birth experience. Realy bad. Like, Post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares and flashbacks, anxiety attacks BAD.
When i finally got around to typing a birth story, i put it up for comments..and a couple women gave me food for thought that was, at the time, to me, super-harsh.....but after a while, i realized that *some* of what they said was true, and helpful, and realizing certain things really helped me move on.

I hope you can continue to heal, and at some point...have a great HBAC!!!
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Originally Posted by Petersmamma
I know I made some mistakes, and I am certain that my midwife made many mistakes.
Maybe, maybe not. One of the biggest mistakes it sounds like was not realizing it is YOU who gives birth, and no one can do it for you. Because the apgars were so good, the baby was probably fine, but there are lots of places in your narrative, where you sound so defeated, so ready to give up, that I wonder in the back of your mind if you really wanted to birth outside the hospital to begin with. Some women really *don't * trust thier bodies, particularly if they have been subjected to a previous section, and need to learn what normal really is. Sounds so far to me, like this labor was normal. I am not sure what your expectations were....

In retrospect, I wish I had decided to give birth in a hospital because I may have had a larger chance to give birth vaginally.
I doubt it, given most hospitals' policies against VBACs....

Although I labored for 30 hours naturally, because my son was born surgically I feel as though I failed. I feel as though I failed him and myself, as well. I have been told I shouldn't feel this way, that I had a "real" labor regardless of how he was born, and that the most important thing is that I have a healthy gorgeous little boy. I am SO grateful that my child is healthy and happy, and intellectually, I know that is the only thing that matters. But in my heart, I still grieve. I hope I can move past this, but I'm not sure I can.
You can, and you will, but you must, in order to come to terms with this particular birth, and to heal emotionally...especially if you ever desire more children. Cesareans often have a debiitating effect on how a mother feels about herself, and even when the section is necessary,it takes a long time to heal, and to learn to trust her body again. I don't think your body has failed you, nor your midwife. I think your own expectations may have done you in....Have you read Open Season, by Nancy Wainer?It is a very healing book. I would do a lot more self education in preparation for a vaginal birth. It is a lot of work, but not as much work as healing from major abdominal surgery with a newborn to nurse!

I have found myself wanting to get pregnant again, irrationally. Now is not a good time for that from any perspective! I must admit that I know where these feelings are coming from. It is a desire to try again, to try to have that natural birth that I so desire. It pains me to think that I may never experience that, makes me feel like less of a woman.
But you don't have to not experience it...I believe you can do it, but you must give your body time to heal and find out what NORMAL birth is, not what obstetrics considers normal. There is a reading list on the Unassisted Childbirth Board that is great. And there are many videos of homebirths with VBACs, twins, even breeches, that go perfectly fine. But throw out the labor timetable, if baby and you are ok...that gets a lot of women into trouble....I pray you do have the normal birth i know you are able to have...give yourself some time to heal, then go for it....children are the only thing we get to take to heaven with us....PS...waterbirth is a wonderful pain reliever....especially for VBACs..
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I am sorry that you were so disappointed by the experience that you had

the main things I wanted to say were that when I read your story I got the strong impression that you did not get enough encouragement and support - from your midwives or from your husband - that any labouring woman is in need of
I felt that you were alone with the experience, vulnerable and not connecting with the midwife/midwives (3 of them ??)
so - how did this communication gulf happen - did you know the midwife well, did you feel you trusted her and could rely on her for a homebirth ? was she supportive during your pregnancy care ?

maybe you do not want to give her the 'extra' money because you feel that she did not give you the support/care that you needed ?
there are many kind of intangible qualities that midwives need (I think) to be successful - it is not just about interventions and knowing about births etc. - but they need to be kind, unobtrusive, know their patients well and use their intuition - is this what you felt was lacking ?

I cannot give any advice about whether to pay her or not - but if it hangs on such intangibles then it would be hard to put this down to 'malpractice' as such ............

good luck with working this through for yourself and for your babe/s
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I'm so sorry your birth didn't go as planned.

I personally don't see where the midwives did anything wrong. There was an obvious lack of communication, and maybe you didn't feel comfortable discussing your thoughts with them? They may have been able to help you more if you had told them your fears, and as a first time mom, I understand that you probably weren't sure what you should do in that situation. BTDT!

As for the money... My midwife has it in her contract that if you labor with her and have a hospital transfer, she still gets her full fee. Afterall, she did everything she'd do in a normal birth and deserves to be paid for it. In your case, the midwives were with you for several hours. No, they didn't catch the baby, but they were there for longer than some births even last. So I don't see why they would not be entitled to their full fee. Now if you had to pay for your C-section out of pocket, then maybe discussing a payment schedule with the midwives would be useful - talking to them about the financial burdens of the hospital bill. But I don't see any malpractice here that would necessitate reporting them or withholding fee. But as others said, maybe you didn't post all of the information.

Sometimes, labors just don't go as we plan them too, even if we have the best midwives in the world, and that's just how life is. Yes, you will grieve this labor, and only time will heal the wounds. You had a bad experience, and your feelings about the experience are valid. I hope that you can reconcile with the midwives, and that if you have another pregnancy, that your 2nd birth will go better.
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Wow, I really sympathize with your story.
I don't see malpractice, just a really difficult birth-process that didn't go as planned. Bobandjess99 gives good feedback on this, I think. The last paragraph of your story is what stands out for me.

The feelings of failure

Although I labored for 30 hours naturally, because my son was born surgically I feel as though I failed. I feel as though I failed him and myself, as well.
are VERY common. I had a comparativly simple birth with my oldest, and it took me until he was 5 to clear it. I needed to tell and tell and Tell my story, until everyone involved could HEAR me and say "Wow, that must have sucked for you. I'm sorry that happened to you" instead of trying to deny my experience and belittle it by saying "Oh, but he's healthy, so be glad." OF COURSE we're glad our kids are here and healthy. Of Course we are. But the experience of birth is an emotional and physical one, not just mental, and it's *totally valid* to feel grief over a birth that was so traumatic and unexpected.

I must admit that I know where these feelings are coming from. It is a desire to try again, to try to have that natural birth that I so desire. It pains me to think that I may never experience that, makes me feel like less of a woman.
I think there is such pressure to have a "natural" childbirth, as if that is the only "real" birth experience, that lots of women wind up in a similar situation. Culturally, we get taught that it is through birth that we are proven in our womanhood. It's as if we feel like we have to do it "right" by some criteria beyond our own.

I wish you healing in this, and I really HEAR YOU! *hug*
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Thanks for all the comments, mamas! It definitely feels better to get it out there, ykwim?

I imagine I am not expressing myself here very well, since many of you are saying you don't see that my midwife did anything wrong, then when I talk about it to people IRL, they all agree that she DID mess up. But maybe they're just scared to disagree with me?

I would like to respond to some of the comments. I don't feel guilt, well, I do, but it's just typical mommy guilt, not guilt that I could have "sucked it up" and had him at home. I was FINISHED. Period. I was finished HOURS before it was ever suggested that I go to the hospital, but I wanted to have him at home so bad that I wouldn't say anything. In retrospect, I wish I had said something before the uncontrollable shaking started. Then maybe I could have had him vaginally at the hospital with a bit more support. I did everything I could to calm down, relax, rest....baths, showers, walking, oxygen, herbs, aromatherapy, distraction, trying to sleep, etc!!

I agree with some of the pp's that maybe I didn't really feel a home birth was safe. I'm not sure I'm ready to admit that, even now
But if that's how I feel, eventually I'll say it! My feelings now are that I will only have a hospital birth in the future, because for me, it does feel more safe. I know that my uterus now has a larger chance of rupture because of the incision, and if it does, I have SEVEN minutes before I die. That's not enough time for me (or dh) to even consider being at home or at a birth center. If I do have another kiddo in Houston, it's a big enough place that I am sure I can find ONE obgyn that will support a VBAC. If I'm not in Houston (
: ) then hopefully I will be somewhere more AP friendly and I will be able to find a VBAC supportive Dr. But regardless, I don't feel safe having a home birth ANYMORE. Again, I'm not sure how I felt before ds was born....maybe I didn't really feel it was safe.

I know that many of the mamas here are very AP, very natural, and that's great! I, too, often question Dr. and their "wisdom". But the 24 hours thing....that IS important to me because there IS a risk of infection. And that DID scare me. I wish I would have been able to speak up for myself (SOOOO ironic, b.c the main reason I didn't want to be at the hospital was b.c I didn't think I would be able to be a good advocate and would succumb to the pressure of the epidural, yet once I got there I had NO problem telling them what to do when it came to ds (no formula, sugar water, pacifier, etc) and yet with my midwife, who I *thought* I had a good relationship with I couldn't speak up. Hmmm.) because once I hit that 24 hour mark, my head told me he needed to be OUT.

Here's what I think the midwife did wrong: after the fact, she told me "nothing about my labor was normal" yet she let me labour to a point that we considered dangerous. Maybe we should have said something before, but truthfully, I didn't really think I needed to say something. I thought she would follow standard medical procedure. These are definitely my mistakes as well, as I should have been a better advocate for myself (ah, hindsight...) I REALLY feel she put me in danger by letting me labor so long. I know most (if not all) of you will disagree, but I feel that without a hospital, I really would have died (preferably me and not ds). When we got to the hospital, ds was in distress, the cord was looped around his neck twice and I couldn't stop shaking. I would have died of exhaustion and hopefully ds would have been born before he was damaged. That, to me, is medical negligence.

I know the outcome may not have been any different, but I think that had I been at the hospital, I would have had more support (good L&D nurses are AWESOME) which saddens me, because my midwife KNEW that I needed lots of support and she didn't give it. I also could have had pitocin, which may have made the contractions more regular. I know, I know...nothing may have changed, the outcome may have been the same.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for validating my need to be heard. Thanks for your words. Thank you for making me think more deeply about what happened and how I feel and how I felt. I am definitely on a healing track, as I am writing this without a hint of tears (hooray!
). I know most of you will disagree with what I have said here, that medicine isn't as good as a woman's intuition, but think of all the women who died in childbirth. It may be something natural, but it isn't easy, and not everyone survived. I'm glad I live in a time with medicine so I can be around to watch my son grow up.

(addendum: dh just said that if I had gone to the hospital immediately, like as in no home birth, I probably wouldn't have adovacted for myself, but because I had been through so much, by the time I got to the hospital, I wasn't about to have gone through all that and then let them give ds sugar water. Interesting, and true!)
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Just have to add that your stats on rupture are wrong (the 7 minutes until you die....) many ruptures are never even noticed. They do not all cause death if not discovered in 7 minutes.

Hi, also wanted to add the reason the death statistics went down during the mid-1950s is because of the advent of both prenatal care(no matter who gives it) and antibiotics. But the rates of maternal deaths are going back up in the US now, because of the higher # of C/S, cytotec, and general medical mishaps. Midwifery is NOT medicine, so if someone was needing a more medical approach, they should be seeing a doc, not a midwife. In general. Glad you are able to recount your story without crying. But openness in communication is vital between client and midwife. She may not have really known how deeply you feel about the safety of hospital birth, which therefore(because you felt unsafe at home) probably greatly extended your labor...
Since you asked... I think that you are being too harsh. I'm still not sure I see how what your midwife did was so wrong. Would you have felt more confidant or comforted or capable by her telling you that "nothing about your labor was normal" while you were still in labor? Would it have changed anything about your body's ability to labor (other than to undermine it)? No! So why mention it at all? Not to mention, normal labor doesn't always equal safe birth. There are women who have very "abnormal" labors who have perfectly safe births (like me, both times), so in essence that comment is rather meaningless as a barometer of how safe your labor was.

As someone else pointed out, 24 hours after your water breaks isn't a magic number at which point you get an infection. Yes, it increases your risk of infection, but it is just as true to say that going 6 hours past ROM increases your risk more than when it was only 5 hours. 24 may be a number that sticks in your mind and causes stress, but it's not a guarantee. Going 30 hours is barely beyond that, so I don't see it as irresponsible at all.

The infection is caused by foreign bacteria being introduced into the womb environment. The longer you go, the greater your chance, but you can minimize the risk. For example, if for some reason 6 people have their hands up your hoo-ha giving you cervical checks in the first hour after ROM, you have 6 times the chance of getting an infection than if you go 6 hours and no checks. It really isn't about arbitrary time limits at all. By only checking you 3 times, your midwife was doing her best to protect you. (BTW, I was only checked 4 times during my 38 hour labor - a hospital birth, if it matters - so 3 times sounds right on to me.)

I know what it is to experience less than the ideal birth, and I was disappointed in my first birth, too. But it really sounds to me like you want someone to blame, and have made the midwife that person. I'm not saying this to be mean, only to suggest that maybe you re-examine the feelings you have, and their causes. Threatening to file a complaint or malpractice suit is a really extreme reaction. No one was hurt by this. You'd be ruining her livelihood and causing her a world of trouble for letting you labor at home past your comfort level. It's natural to want to blame someone or something when we feel hurt, and to want to lash out, but there are better ways of working through the pain you feel than sueing your midwife.

I've often thought that whatever our mood was about the birth tends to color our whole perspective. I've heard birth stories where an unplanned-because-it-went-so-fast-and-easy homebirth was described as horrific because the mother was frightened and thought of birth as a medical procedure, and I've heard the most medicalized intervention-happy birth talked about in glowing, loving terms. And both of those points of view are perfectly valid. I really don't know what kind of birth you really wanted in your heart-of-hearts, whether the disappointment you still feel a year later is putting all the negative language in your story of if you really felt that way in the moment. But taking it at face value, I would tend to agree that maybe you should've either read up more on what is "normal" in birth and homebirth situations in particular so that you had more confidence in yourself (it sounds like your expectations might have been unrealistic), or just gone to the hospital in the first place.

Whatever kind of birth you have next, I would strongly suggest you hire a doula. Their job is to be your advocate, give you support, think of all the things that you know but might not think of while you're in labor-land. Doulas are not there to replace your DH, part of their job is to assist him in supporting you.

I know many women who've expressed that they wished their midwife had spent more time being supportive. This is where a doula comes in. Doulas are in no way responsible for your medical care and cannot make any decisions for you, but that's what makes them very important. With a doula there, the midwife can focus entirely one the medical side of your care, and not be distracted by your emotional needs. A midwife can only do so much. Would you rather have a midwife give you emotional support or medical?

Also, a good birth class will always give you more confidence about the birth, and will give you more coping tools and general info about the birth process. Birthing From Within is a good one

Hope you find peace.

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I hope you can find some peace soon, and that your heart heals over your birth experience.
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I am so so sorry for your pain. I really feel for you. I too was very traumatized by my birth of my second son. I had preeclampsia 6 weeks before his due date and ended up on IVs, in the hospital for over a week, was induced, and finally gave birth vaginally to a perfectly healthy but tiny 3 pound little boy. They did not allow me to hold him for more than a second and whisked him away into the NICU. I was not allowed to hold him or try to nurse him until several hours later when I was engorged and he just wanted to sleep. He had formula and was trapped in the plastic box for a few days (even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with him) until I finally took him home (convinced at this point that he would probably die any moment without the constant medical attention.) I had been programmed to assure he ate precisely every three hours for thirty minutes only and had 33 ml of milk so I pumped and used bottles to assure he wasnt starving to death. Thank God my Pediatrition was sane. "Why are you using bottles?" she asked me, he's little, not sick." A weekafter he was born I finally took him to my breast and trusted his abilty to nurse and my ability to feed him and our lives finally became wonderful. I was as angry as a caged lion whose cub had been stolen for many months after his birth. I had planned a midwife assisted hospital labor and felt guilty, angry, and furious with myself too for losing my voice and my power in the hospital. I felt that our first week had been stolen. I do believe we need alot of advocacy when we are in that much pain and fear and in my case so very sleep deprived. I share my story just to point out that a hospital or medical birth is not necessarily any better. Some births just don't go as planned. I have forgiven all the folks that I believe made wrong decisions (such as taking him away from me after birth and putting him in the NICU "just in case") but I know they did mean well and Thank Goodness he is home with me now, a joyful two year old. Time will ease the pain. For me talking and venting helped a lot. Finally I just let go a bit of the anger. I think validating how hard you did labor, how long you tried, how each decision you made was to try to do the best for your baby is important. It is easy and it seems almost compulsive to find fault (with our selves and apparently even with other moms.) I keep re-enacting stronger responses in my mind, wishing I held tight to my baby and didn't let him go. But it is wrong that we have to be warriors while giving birth. Next time you will know so much more and will be able to communicate better in advance about what you want. If I were to have another, I know I would be more empowered after the baby is born. But the reality is, you were strong and loving and courageous enough to bring this baby safely into this imperfect world. You did it. Best wishes, Jennifer
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I read your post and I just wanted to add two thoughts--

I believe that the hormones of the labor proccess tend to make a woman who might be normally fiesty pretty passive. I believe you when you say you trusted your midwife. Please forgive yourself for that. I think our minds in labor do go into a mode of gratitude toward those who are helping us. I have been at thousands of births and it really is pretty rare for women to stay assertive..I think you may need to forgive yourself most of all..

Maybe things would have gone differently in a hospital, but also its quite likely they could have gone the same and you would be not forgiving yourself for choosing the hospital...?

Also, about Apgars. You don't want to wait to rescue a baby until they have low apgars. Please don't let people guilt you into that. If your baby had been born with low apgars and you were worried that waiting too long had damaged him it would be a much, much harder thing to deal with. It is definitely possible to have a baby telling you he needs out and still have good apgars.

I hope you can come to terms with your birth experience...I wish I had more wisdom but those were my thoughts. You will have people, as you know, second guessing and criticing your choices no matter what you decide or did decide. Most of all you need to please yourself that you did your best at the time. And please remember that a mom's brain in labor is just not the same as the one you have now, and you know a lot of things now you did not know then, you were hurting and exhausted. Treat yourself with the same love and attitude you would treat another person.
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I really felt for you and your story. A tough birth and the natural feelings of being somehow robbed of the achievement after all that hard work!

I am very lucky to be the Mum of five wonderful children, but can only suggest that its much harder when you are a first time mum. Nothing prepares you for the pain, for the indignity, and for the callousness/indifference that humans have for one another. I would lay bets that it was as traumatic for your DH who would have felt like hell for putting you through all that, and he probably sat there mute, wishing he was in a pit or somthing for making you go through that. New Dads feel as unable to control the situation as new Moms.

But it doesnt take away from what you HAVE achieved, you have a beautiful child that you created and nurtured in your body. You now look after and care for this little human being. Your a great Mommy and you have a great deal to be proud of.

Experience is a wonderful thing, with your next birth you will know what to expect, it wont be such a shock and you will have the ability to remain in control of the situation. Your body had probably never known pain before and I am pretty sure you were in shock, which precipitated the whole stress and made you unable to speak out and possibly hindered your labour and caused your baby's distress. It's a very normal reaction, and one most of us go through at first.

It's such a shame it didn't go as planned, but the ultimate goal, a live healthy baby was achieved. Despite your feelings of failure you achieved something truly divine, you created a life, something to be very proud of, needing a little help was normal and natural under the circumstances.

Now as to the midwife, while I am sure she did her best, it is her job as a healthcare professional to assess the situation and to make sure your needs were met. I'm not sure she was responsible for your labour ending the way it did, but perhaps she should have been more empathic, had more experience with first time mothers, known you were in shock/distress and been able to get you assistance earlier when things weren't progressing as planned.

I would not engage this particular midwife for any further births, as she and you don't appear to have the neccesary communication and connection that such an intensely personal moment needs. Further I would encourage you to have perhaps a female friend/sister/mother there whos been there and can give you the kind of moral support you so obviously needed, as well as your husband and a midwife. A best friend, someone who knows whats going on having experienced it first hand and can help you achieve your goals, that you are 100 percent comfortable with. Someone who knows you and the will know when your frightened and in trouble and will not be afraid to speak out and ask you or the midwife.

I had my mother with me for my last birth, and truely she was marvellous. She was competent and capable, and she knew without being told when I felt panicky, when i hurt and how I was feeling. Her firm cool hands kept me calm and that sense of security that your own mother gives you is priceless. She backed me up when I spoke to the midwife and could parrot of my history as only a mother could know the medical history of her children.

I wish you well with your next birth.
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