Terrified of childbirth after first time

(27 Posts)
mrsm22 Sun 28-Jul-13 12:15:22

Hello all, I haven't been on this site for a while but found it ever so helpful after having my first baby who is now 18 months old. Unfortunately I had quite a horrible birth experience (although obviously I came through it and most importantly my baby was healthy and well) but this has left me desperately wanting to try for another baby but terrified of another frightening labour experience Nd I would be grateful for any advice. As my baby is 18 months old I would like to try again in the next few months for a second baby. I went back on the pill after my baby so plan to come off the pill in a few months if I dare go through labour again. I am a person who hates hospitals and wanted a home birth with my first baby but as my husband was nervous we opted for a hospital birth. To cut a long story short I ended up with a forceps delivery and an episiotomy and lost a lot of blood. I also had 3rd degree tear which I am concerned about. After I was stitched up after my episiotomy, a week or so later I had to go back to hospital as my stitches had all come away and I was left to let the area heal itself. This meant daily baths in salt water 3 times a day, an awful lot of pain and unable to walk or do very much while I waited 2 months for it to heal up itself. If I get pregnant a second time, is it ok to have a natural birth when I have had a 3rd degree year and an episiotomy? My first choice would be a home bitty for next time but I am not sure if this is recommended but I feel that I'd I had had a home birth first time I would have avoided the problems I had in hospital. Any advice would be gratefully received. I would like to give birth at home with no epidural and maybe just has and air but am worried in case their would be risk of my previous tears or episiotomy opening up again or tearing. Many thanks for reading this. Mrsm22

Tigglettchic Sun 28-Jul-13 12:38:19

Hello, I am a first time mum so not got practical experience, however, are you in a position to get an independent midwife or doula?? I wonder whether they would help support your concerns.

The little I know about anatomy tells me perhaps it may be easier this time???

I hope someone more experienced comes along but those are my thoughts??

Rachael200694 Sun 28-Jul-13 20:00:50

Also not mega experienced but this reminded me of my mum telling me about her times during labour. First time she was very relaxed and all went well, no tears and a wonderful straight forward birth of a 9 pound 3 baby. Second time round a doctor examined her and said she was going to have a huge baby which scared her silly. She then found her labour and delivery very stressful and ended up requires internal and external stitches for a 9 pound 1 baby which you'd think would come easier than the first! She feels the stress made her too tense to relax and allow her baby to be born as well as the first. Maybe you having a home birth would relieve a lot of stress and make your labour much more straight forward.
I would tell your midwife all about your first experience and see how she'd feel about a home birth based on that. She may feel a home birth is just what you need! Good luck, I hope you have a wonderful birth smile

memphis83 Sun 28-Jul-13 20:16:22

I am ttc #2 and I had a pretty traumatic labourcwith my first, for 18 months the thought of having another scared me a lot, I spoke to my hv and she got me an appointment with a mw at the hospital, it was like a councelling session, she through my birth notes and answered any questions I had.
I cried a lot but came out feeling a huge amount of relief, she also wrote some notes that would make up a birth plan if I have another one, it said my fears and things that she felt needed to be stuck to e.g the doctors all rushed in at the end and my mum kept asking what was wrong, they ignored her which made me scared so she added that if anything did need to be done this time then they had to explain everything to me.
Maybe this would help you also? They told me its a very small chance I would need forceps second time round.
Good luck

mrsm22 Mon 29-Jul-13 10:53:21

Thank you Memphis83, and Rachael and Tigglettchic! I have also heard that childbirth a second time is usually easier than the first time round but your responses make me see that I shouldn't let my fears stop me from having another baby (although I do sometimes wish I had had twins first time round)! I have an appointment with my doctor a week today so I think I will mention that I would like to try for another baby and ask her advice following my first birth experience. I will post on here and let u know what is said. If there is anything I can help any of I with please don't hesitate to ask . Being a mum is such a wonderful thing but the childbirth part I wish was less scary and more straightforward. Thanks again ladies

cravingcake Mon 29-Jul-13 12:57:26

I had a very traumatic birth with my DS who is now 21 months old. It ended with episiotomy, 4th degree tear, forceps, shoulder dystocia, pph and a lot of mental scars.

I am now currently 14 weeks pregnant with DC2 so I feel I can relate entirely to your situation as it took a while for me to really get my head around the idea of another pregnancy and birth. However, I will be having an ELCS to avoid any of the above happening ever again. But that is my choice, which the gynaecologists I've seen in the recovery from the first birth have recommended. This could be an option for you. I do have one friend who had a 3rd degree tear first time and was offered an ELCS for her second but she opted for vaginal birth and her labour was only a few hours and no tears.

One thing that may help is a birth debrief of your last labour (sometimes called birth reflections or similar). Its when you go through your notes with a senior midwife and can work out why certain things happened and why the action that was taken was the best at the time. I did this a few months after my DS birth but during my booking in appointment this time I was offered it again as even though I know I wont be going through labour I'm still very anxious about it all.

Addictedtomaltesers Mon 29-Jul-13 13:18:42

I had an induced labour and a third degree tear with my first dc and was very sore and uncomfortable for a few weeks afterwards. I remember feeling very unprepared for what you can feel like after the actual birth but a really long talk through every last detail of the delivery and how I felt really helped me 'let it go'

My 2nd dc was a natural (but induced) delivery and although I did tear slightly, I hardly felt it and was far more comfortable after the birth. Unfortunately I did also have a massive pph and this terrified me regularly whilst expecting dc3.

However, dc3 was my best delivery yet, natural labour without induction and no bleed or tearing.

I suppose what I am trying to get across is that every labour is different and hopefully a second labour for you would be much less stressful and physically damaging. It is definitely easier to stay more relaxed and I also concentrated hard on what the midwives were saying at the point of delivery to try to ensure I didn't tear again.

My advice would be to definitely try and get a de-brief chat with whoever you would feel most comfortable and to delay going to hospital for as long as possible once you're in labour so that you don't go on their timetable and allow them to start meddling!

Good luck and go for it grin

mrsm22 Tue 30-Jul-13 11:35:27

Craving cake- thank you so much for your reply. Your first birth experience sounds a lot like mine apart from yours being 4th degree which I think it a bit worse than 3rd. Congratulations on expecting your second baby, I hope it goes really well and much better than your first. I think c section might be an option that I could consider but I'm quite scared by the thought of that too (there's no helping me). We're u advised that this is usually safer?

mrsm22 Tue 30-Jul-13 11:45:45

A lot of the problems I had came from my stitches coming undone after my episiotomy. I still don't know at what point this happened as no one checked me over Before leaving the hospital and all I know is that I came home the day After having my DS and was in loads of pain. The midwife came to see me the day after I came home but didn't check my stitches and it was only a week later that she did check and confirmed that all of my stitches had come out and I had got an infection too in the area! She rang hospital immediately and I went in and was told by my midwife that j might be re-stitched up, but the hospital decided not to do that. It took 8 weeks for the episiotomy to heal up itself naturally, I looked a mess and it was very difficult as I want able to sit down Thank you, it was yesterday. Hope you're having a good weekend. Speak soon or lay down properly and had to sit more to one side etc. Addictedtomaltesers- I think what you say about being able to 'let it go' is very true and a big part of it for me is the trauma and what an awful experience I found it. My little boy has just turned 19 months on the 28th July and I would like to just have two children with a nice gap between them so I was planning to come off the pill at the end of September. No idea how long it will take to conceive (does anyone know) but must admit that I so scared and torn between a c section although I would need more info about what exactly it involves and recovery etc, and also the possibility of a home birth as I would feel more comfortable. Are u at risk of infection if u have a c section?

cravingcake Tue 30-Jul-13 14:41:47

Regarding a C-section, part of the reason I am choosing this is because there is an element of control over it and the risks involved. There will always be a risk of infection with any surgery but I personally think there is a big difference with stitches to your bits versus a neat C-section scar. Its obviously a lot easier to keep a C-section scar cleaner and therefore reduce the risk of infection. Plus I can plan for the recovery, unlike last time where I didn't know what to expect and just how long it would take.

I haven't been advised that an ELCS is actually safer but I haven't actually seen the consultant yet to discuss the details. I did see the same consultant during my recovery and they put it in writing that ELCS would be the best option for me should I choose to have another baby.

Don't forget you can control things to get a better birth experience. Things like aiming to have a home birth but refusing induction or instrumental delivery if you had to go into hospital and having an ELCS instead. Obviously sometimes things don't go to plan but if you know what you do and don't want it could help.

I would try get some counselling (separate to a de-brief) arranged sooner rather than later to help you talk through your concerns and come up with an action plan of what you would do differently if you could.

cravingcake Tue 30-Jul-13 14:48:45

Here's a link to nhs C-section risks

I cant find anything on the NHS website about 3rd & 4th degree tears to compare it to, but you know what the recovery is like for that.

MyDarlingClementine Tue 30-Jul-13 15:02:59

I had a section after first birth. My choice and it was the right thing for me, especially now looking back on it.

I was terrribly scared of infection too, but had none. what I liked about section was a clearer set of risks, and if i had to have controlled stiches in stomach or down below, i wanted controlled in stomach.

MrsPatrickDempsey Tue 30-Jul-13 15:16:03

Hi OP

I am a midwife. In 99.99% of cases second births are easier; they are quicker and the body responds well because it has done it before. You express your preference at a home birth and if you have no medical or obstetric risks by the time you go into labour then I think you should go with the birth choice you want. The current evidence supports vaginal birth after a third degree - as long as this is what you want. A CS might suit others but in your case, if its a home birth you fancy then go for it.

I am really sorry your first experience was traumatic. I hope it reassures you that second births are usually more managable. Have confidence that as you had a vaginal delivery before that you can do it again.

CoteDAzur Tue 30-Jul-13 15:19:59

I had a traumatic first birth + large episiotomy with heamatoma that was infected. Bedridden with crippling pain for 3 weeks, then 6 months of manageable pain all of which was quite traumatic.

2nd time around, I thought I had it under control with hypnotherapy CDs etc but then consultant said chances were 50% that I would have another episiotomy, because scar tissue doesn't stretch like normal perineal tissue. I broke down at that point and pushed for an ElCS until I got one.

It was the best decision for us. Recovery was brilliant - I got up and walked a bit that afternoon, then took a shower by myself the next day. I was fine on Day 3 and didn't need any painkillers. It is infinitely better to have stitches on your tummy than down there in your delicate bits, far from all the 'waste products', where you can keep it dry & clean, and frankly don't need that area to be functional for sexual pleasure.

mrsm22 Tue 30-Jul-13 19:38:32

Thank you so much to all for your extremely helpful advice and opinions which I'm grateful for you sharing, and very encouraging to hear from a midwife too. I have heard that second time round it is usually much easier. My preference is still home birth but what I plan to do is speak to someone when I am pregnant and discuss both home birth and planned c section and weigh it up. Thank you again. I see my gp next Monday not about this but to check blood pressure as on the pill at the moment but going to discuss coming off the pill to try for a baby. I will discuss with my gp her thoughts on natural birth as she saw my notes after having my DS and she has to see me weekly with my episiotomy to watch its progress as it healed up on its own. I will post on here next Monday to let you all know what is said. Best wishes to everyone and thanks for taking the time to respond.

Twinkletoes77 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:41:39

Hi, I was terrified if going through labour a second time. I had a dreadful, prolonged, back to back first labour ending up with forceps and episiotomy in the operating theatre. The episiotomy was excruciating for many weeks afterwards when I could neither walk or sit properly. I ended up developing post natal depression.
For my second birth I was determined things would be different and to this end I hired a doula. It was the best decision I ever made. Unlike constantly changing hospital staff she was always there for me to answer concerns beforehand. She did an extensive debrief if the first labour with me and my husband and we talked at length about how to make it better second time round. She suggested a home birth and I went for it, knowing I could change my mind and go in to hospital at any time during labour. In the end I had a rapid, straightforward labour with a small second degree tear that healed rapidly without stitches. And was in my own bed straight after. It was brilliant.
I just wanted to add my story as I see most people here went for an ELCS. I am sure I could have got one on grounds of mental health. But after much thought I decided after the crappy job the hospital did the first time in my episiotomy, did I trust them to cut my stomach open? No. And yes you can get infections with a caesarean wound and v painful they are too.
I would meet some doulas and talk it through. They won't charge for an initial meeting or phone call and it will help you clarify your thinking. Do the birth afterthoughts meeting with your hospital to go through the notes of your first labour too. All hospitals will do this. If you have any trouble ask the PALS service at your hospital to help you. It may help you to work out what went wrong. After if gone through mine it became clear to me that lots of what happened to me was due to hospital protocol -- eg no need to go for forceps when they did, the baby was not in distress and not was I but they just felt if been pushing too long. This helped make the decision for me to try for a homebirth. Hope it works out for you. When the time came I found I was so mentally prepared I was pretty relaxed and it all progresses really well. It's worth you talking your experience through with a doula. I can't recommend then highly enough!

Twinkletoes77 Tue 30-Jul-13 20:45:54

And ps -- Maggie Howell's hypnobirthing cd is great. I listened to it every day in the final weeks and more often than not fell asleep but I am sure it went in on some level as I was just so chill when the came. Worth a try if you have mental demons you need to calm down.

mrsm22 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:46:55

Twinkletoes77- I can't thank you enough for sharing your story and that information. That is exactly what I will do. By any chance, you didn't have your baby at the LGI did you? I understand if you'd rather not say but a lot of what you say is how it went for me. My labour which started at home was going really well, by the time I got to the hospital I was 5 or 6cm and managing fine but I stupidly went for an epidural at that point, when I was doing really well with the pain. I think the epidural must have slowed it down as like you, I had a very prolonged labour and the hospital insisted on forceps as they thought I had been pushing long enough! Still to this day not sure if that was necessary or not. Like you, my baby wasn't distressed. I was very tired and hungry but that was all. My episiotomy was like yours and I can totally relate to how you felt. I did wonder if I was going to suffer with postnatal depression as I was almost bedridden with pain. I couldn't sit or lay comfortably and walked 'wonking' to one side for ages. It made me feel down, although I didn't suffer with postnatal depression. All you want is to be at home enjoying your new baby, not too uncomfortable to leave the house! I cried about the pain I was in and didn't sleep for weeks for thinking about the birth and kept visualising it all. I thought the hospital were dreadful with me, my experience and after care was appalling. My DS was born at 7.51pm and that night when I was moved on to the ward with other mums and babies, I had a particularly unpleasant midwife who when I asked her if she would mind passing me some water as I couldn't reach on the trolley (I was in loads of pain and still numb from the epidural) she told me that I wasn't an invalid and could do it myself! My husband wasn't happy about her but what can you do? All these things put me off a hospital birth. And your story makes me definitely sway more towards a home birth like I originally wanted. Can I please ask you, what is a doula? Is this a private midwife? Where do you find one and do you only contact one when you are pregnant? I remember reading in a magazine when I was pregnant with my DS that you can hire or pay for a midwife to be there during the birth and to answer any questions along the way. Can you give an idea at all of the costs? Many thanks

mrsm22 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:48:29

Oh and I will definitely have a look for that cd you recommend nearer the time!

Twinkletoes77 Wed 31-Jul-13 02:10:37

A doula is like an extra, paid, birth partner whose job is to support you and your partner. They are entirely about 'mothering the mother' and are motivated to empower you to have a good birth, whichever way you decide is best. They will normally do two or three sessions with you before the birth, debriefing your experience and planning the bext one. They might be able to lend you books, cds, birth pools etc. Then be on call for you for your due date, two weeks before and two weeks after, and come out to your birth be it in hospital or at home, and stay for as long as it takes for you to have had the baby and be tucked up in bed. It doesn't cost any extra if your labour takes days. During labour they might rub your back, help you get into positions etc, make you tea, fill the birth pool, whatever you want them to do. Then postnatal ly they do a couple of visits and can advise on breastfeeding (they will have contacts for breastfeeding counsellors etc if needed), make you lunch, take the baby out for a walk so you can sleep or whatever you like. More info here: http://doula.org.uk/content/what-doula. Costs -- I'm in London where they can be up to £900ish. Outside London they are cheaper, more like £500 I think. And you can get trainee ones who are obliged to charge £200 or less I think. Have a good look round that website I sent you for details. It is such a brilliant thing if you had a bad first labour to know you have that unquestioning support of someone who knows you and is on your side.
Independent midwives are a different thing. They cost about £5k I think and will replace nhs midwives. Whereas a doula is not medically trained -- you still the need the nhs midwives and they are quite happy to work alongside a doula. If you have a private midwife you are opting out if the nhs. They will do all you ante and postnatal checks and cover your birth. A good option if you fancy it and one of my friends hired a private midwife for two homebirth a and had good experiences.
You can contact both, doulas and midwives, before you are pregnant to talk through their services and what they would do.
To answer your Q I was at a London hospital so different one from you for my first labour but similar experiences by the sound of things, and I think not uncommon at all. The postnatal ward was hellish for me too, I was v keen to avoid it the second time. The experience of getting in your own shower after birth, and then snuggling straight into your own bed with your new baby (who I am up feeeding now!) is just wonderful and a thousand times better than any hospital ward.

Twinkletoes77 Wed 31-Jul-13 02:45:27

And have a look at this website for stories successful homebirths after forceps/tearing: http://www.homebirth.org.uk/youcant.htm#6

mrsm22 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:36:34

Thank you ever so much Twinkletoes! I'll put my little boy to bed tonight and get reading up on all of this. I had my baby in Leeds but yes our experiences first time do sound similar! It's so frightening really. I'll get back to you when I've had a read and looked at the links you've sent me.

bluestar2 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:25:40

My first birth was a long affair. My waters broke at 2 am and I was fully dialated by 4pm. After a failed attempt in water I was brought out And put on a drip to speed things. Baby was back to back and his head was oblique only we didn't know that until much later. He was born at 0037 the following morning. They had refused to give me an epidural on the basis I was fully dialated and it would affect pushing despite me being 10 they allowed me to push for a while upped drip the repeat process over time. When consultant arrived they were taking me to theatre for ventouse delivery as he realised the position was preventing birth. At some point before getting to theatre I moved position and I felt baby move and had to push but heart rate was decending In baby so they wouldn't let me until consultant got back. Due to position and tightness of cord round neck I couldn't have safely delivered without help so a nce episiotomy and ventouse later my Ds was born. It was so long with out pain relief I was terrified my body just couldn't do it again.

My second I began contractions at 8.30pm and they came thick and fast . I just made hospital and ds2 was born at 1137pm the same night. This time it was so intense I couldn't understand as it hadn't been that intense last time. That was because I had dialated so quickly. Now I still tore but not on episiotomy line, about 10 stitches some internal but they would have discharged me within a few hours if I hadn't wanted some help establishing bf as I struggled last time. But I was mobile and fine albeit it stingy almost immediately. I suffered a bit of shock from quick birth, dropped bp and shakes but it passed within an hour.
Your body really does remember, second time ds2 had turned back to back prior to labour but this didn't not slow the pushing down at all ( 12 min).
Good luck with your birth. Trust your instincts you will know your body better this time so if you have no medical reason then go for your home birth.

mrsm22 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:34:35

Thank you bluestar2, your first birth experience sounds frightening too. In fact I haven't heard many people have a good experience first time round, but it is very reassuring to hear that people like yourself had a much better time second time round! I only intend to do it twice so I pray my next time is different. I really enjoyed being pregnant with my DS and felt really well all the way through. Apart from being tired, I felt great and looked well so it was such a shame to go through an awful labour experience which then took two months for me to be properly up and about with a finally healed up episiotomy. Did you manage without any pain relief? I am hoping next time round for just a bit of gas and air (if I can do it)!

woodsies1975 Thu 01-Aug-13 10:08:48

Much like cravingcake, I had an ELCS after a pretty disastrous first delivery with my DD. I never intended to have any more children but mother nature had other ideas and a few years later I found myself looking at a BFP. I freaked out and when I saw my mw for the first time on my booking in visit I sobbed and sobbed. She said there and then that I ought to think about an ELCS and I went for it, at only 8 weeks I saw the consultant and asked her about the risk of further injury after my first birth. She couldn't tell me for sure, they never can, but my DD was 9lbs 7oz and they say second babies are bigger. We talked about prolapse, and about the risks of c sections, but in the end I said I didn't want my fanny around my knees in my 30s so I went for a CS. I know there are risks associated with surgery, but it was bloody amazing. I have no experience of a normal vaginal delivery, if I had, then yes, a section would feel very odd, but after what I went through getting DD into the world, the section was calm, organised and safe. I recovered much more quickly from the section that I did from 4th degree tears. Plus DS was just shy of 10lbs so I think it was the sensible thing in the end!

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