to be sh!tting myself after a traumatic termination experience

(86 Posts)
oikopolis Tue 29-Nov-11 17:53:59

**Please don't read this if you're easily upset by the idea of abortion/termination, or ob/gyn trauma

apologies in advance for length, don't want to drip feed

It was really difficult to decide where to post this. can't put it in infertility or conception for fear of upsetting people, can't put it in pg loss because it covers infertility... hope this is ok.

DH and I have just started TTC. It's exciting, we're ready for it emotionally and financially, no worries there.

When i was a teenager 10+ years ago, I was forced by my family to have an abortion. it was incredibly traumatic not least because it was performed without anaesthetic (i grew up outside the UK). after i left my family and started life on my own, i had a lot of therapy and it's behind me now. I am still extremely sad about it, but accept now that i was innocent in the situation, and the baby is in a better place, whatever that place may be iyswim.

it was a d&c-type abortion. I was given medication that opened my cervix and then the Dr performed a D&C with a sharp instrument (not vacuum extraction).

(**This is the upsetting part, please don't read if easily upset)

When I was on the table initially, i was being held down across the shoulders/chest. I was moving my pelvis trying to get away from the Dr's hands. The Dr told me to lie still, and if i didn't he might cut me and I would be made infertile. out of fear of what might happen and having realised this baby was not going to have a chance, i lay still for the rest of the procedure.

During recovery i bled for slightly longer than normal iirc, but had no infection etc. Since that time i've been on the pill. when went off it for six months a few years ago, and had normal clockwork periods, just as before the pg. I've just stopped the pill again last week so obvy no natural period yet.

THe problem is I am terrified that this doctor scarred me as he said he would. I now know about Asherman's syndrome (adhesions caused by D&C, leading to infertility) and I am so afraid. I'm probably more afraid of how angry and desolate i will feel if it turns out i can't have children & that terrible memory is all i will ever have, with no baby of my own to hold.

it's very hard to talk about this because a) it involves abortion and ppl don't like to hear about that, b) it's horrific and ppl don't want to believe it happened to me. I am even afraid to tell my current Dr what happened, and to ask his advice, because he may not believe me. MN seems like the only place I can ask.

AIBU to be deathly afraid that i may never get pregnant again, or carry a baby to term? and what on earth do I do to keep going through the fear?

i have told my therapist what happened. She is lovely, and she tries to help me...she actually specializes in infertility counselling (i didnt choose her for that reason, only found out after i started going), but she's from a different world and i know she just can't understand what i've been through. DH furious with my parents (has been since I told him, it was not his baby that was terminated btw) but there is always that touch of helplessness... he can't go back in time and save me, there's nothing he can do. he tries to support me, but there's only so much crying I can do before I put him into a place of stress and worry. which is not going to help TTC.

Also: In the meantime i'm doing whatever i can to gather info about my fertility (temping, charting, OPKs) so that if we have no luck TTC after a year, I can go to the OB with a full complement of info and will be able to push for immediate investigation. If anyone has suggestions about what else i can do, please do let me know.

sydlexic Wed 13-Feb-13 19:50:22

That is wonderful news, so pleased for you.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 13-Feb-13 19:49:03

Many congratulations. I am really happy for you and you DH.

I am so happy for you x

GoSuckEggs Wed 13-Feb-13 19:17:42

WOW! i didnt read the date at the beginning of your OP. i felt such dispair and sorrow.

I have a massive grin on my face for you now! how simply wonderful for you.

Wow. You are incredible. Just wanted you to know that.

And I am so happy that you have your gorgeous boy.

I love gorgeous boys. Mine is nearly as tall as me now!

oikopolis Wed 13-Feb-13 17:29:14

Tortoise I actually really didn't care, even at the time, that the labour wasn't all peaches-and-cream. And I did feel as if I were there smile in a funny way, having PPROM and an induction and monitoring took the pressure off me. I knew it wasn't going to be all woo and natural, so I could allow myself to go with the medicalised flow.

I told dirty jokes to the nurses pre-internal, spent some time delirious with pain after the internal (I was definitely in transition by then, unbeknownst to anyone), started to come to as the epidural slooooowly started to work, and then literally laughed through the pushing phase. The whole thing was just like a giant Monty Python skit complete with machines that go "ping" etc

The doctor who delivered me kept telling me to PUUUUUSH for 10 secs and hold my breath etc., I just ignored her and did my own thing (half the reason I was laughing was at her thinking I was listening to her). So I did feel it was "my birth".

I do also think I was on psychological autopilot just before and during the birth. And while DS was in SCBU. I was preternaturally calm. Now several months later, some emotions are surfacing - e.g. I had a cry when he was 4mo about how dreadful it was for him to be stuck with needles in SCBU - but the birth itself doesn't bother me, probably because I had no injuries, no instrumental intervention, and basically an instant recovery.

I hope someone out there reading this is helped by it. Just because things were shitty when you were a kid doesn't mean you won't have a happy ending smile

SlightlyTinsellyExpat Wed 13-Feb-13 04:36:39

Congratulations, OP, and thanks for the update. I'm so pleased for you. thanks

CheerfulYank Wed 13-Feb-13 04:11:33

Just read this and am crying. Soooo pleased for you and your darling DS. <<hugs>>

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 13-Feb-13 03:44:04

Awwwww <sniffs>. Huge congratulations on your lovely son. Clever you, making such a fabulous little person.

I'm sorry your labour wasn't the one you'd envisioned, given your history that must have been scary. But in the end, you felt as if you were there?

oikopolis Wed 13-Feb-13 03:24:00

I never updated this. We had our little boy, six weeks early, in an induction (my worst nightmare) after PPROM. No time for birth plan, no time to prepare, just had to wing it.

Luckily I had a doula and my husband. Managed to go without epidural for a good few hours of active labour but the internal I got at 4cm was so painful and horrible, sent me spiralling into despair, just brought everything back. Ended up getting the epidural solely because I couldn't face another internal, or forceps or the like. It just completely spooked me in the worst way. The poor doctor, I sobbed at her, I think she must have felt awful.

The epidural ended up being a massive palaver, never worked at all on right side. I had been looking forward to a lovely holiday from the pain... never happened!!! Which was quite upsetting at the time!

That internal had been done because I appeared to be labouring so fast... the nurses were all disappointed when I was only 4cm and appeared to decide I was just a big complainer... actually no... DS made his appearance just three hours later after 19 mins of pushing, born in the caul, 5 lbs 10 oz.

Whole induction took 9 hrs, 7 hrs of which was labour. Not a single tear or stitch. Discharged 19hrs later. DS in SCBU for two weeks. Now 6 months old and at 99th percentile just as if he'd been born right on time, my big strong boy, never given me a moment's trouble and the apple of my eye. Just the sweetest, smiliest, cleverest little boy there ever was. <sniff>

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Was worth all the tears and fears smile I will never look back in despair ever again.

Just wanted to update because it seemed churlish not to. I'm not sure who will even read this. But... just in case anyone does, now you know.

Thank you to all the mnetters who supported me. xx I really needed it so very much.

oikopolis Fri 20-Apr-12 17:33:27

i'm sorry for what you've suffered tazzle. i also have CSA in my past and it was also a complex case, though for different reasons to yours... i think you and i probably have had similar experiences in trying to explain things to people. it's a weird position to be in isn't it.

bump hugged smile

tazzle Thu 19-Apr-12 19:54:13

I think awareness is growing despite being soooo rare .... like female circumscision without aneasthesia. It's not an awareness one wishes anyone to need however .. and as you say it does mean that few can really understand.

The culture thing might be part of it but I think that when anyone meets someone who has had an extraordinary abuse and it's unexpected I dont think its easy to take it on board that these things happen. I was abused for 8 years by a paedophile group and thats rarer than most survivors experience ... so again hard for anyone to actually process. We all hear sometimes what we expect to hear rather than what is actually said as well . and when a professional is busy and expects only to have the "normal" pregnant women talking about "normal" procedures and fears like the health of baby / scans / fears of needles maybe etc ... well its just unexpected !

I had teeth extracted as a child when not properly under aneasthesia and never went into a dentists again til aged 19 and desperate (\t times could not even bear to clean my teeth for days /weeks at a time) ....so has something a little similar experince re lack of trust issues with that particular professional wink

little oikopolis must be well into making his or her prescence known ... give bump a little hug please (((0)))

oikopolis Thu 19-Apr-12 18:45:32

thanks tazzle you are so right. the definition of words etc. is a huge issue. i've thought recently that a lot of what i'm feeling/experiencing has to do with me being a foreigner from a poor and violent country, now living in a wealthy and humane country where people (hcps included) have no conception (thankfully) of my experience. i am grateful that this is alien to them; but at the same time i have to deal with the feeling of being isolated with my memories iyswim.

feeling heard is the main thing, at the end of the day.

thanks for the wishes & the support xx smile it means a lot to me.

and that goes for everyone who has ever replied to this thread, i found the response overwhelming tbh and still feel i have never been able to thank you all enough

tazzle Thu 19-Apr-12 01:18:17

I have just seen this and just wanted to say I am sooooooooooo glad that you and your precious little bundle are doing so well.

I think you are right about the OB, she was indeed wanting so much to be supportive and referencing that to perhaps more "usual" abuses if I can describe is so....... eg someone pg after rape / sexual abuse survivor (hence the surprise about normal sexual relationships).

I think that is is much better to write stuff down, particularly difficult but important issues because we can easily miss something or define words differently when we are emotional ...... doctors too sometimes hear what they expect to rather than what is being said ...... and again define differently just like us ... like you said re defining "forced" termination. Its out of current day references in UK for the medical professional to even consider what you described.

I wish you all the very best oikopolis smile

oikopolis Thu 19-Apr-12 00:46:26

Aitch if you're still reading this i want to say thank you. thanks to what you wrote, i realised a little while after my last post that my OB was trying to be compassionate towards me and i was taking it the wrong way.

she thought she was going to be offering me something that would comfort me - i.e. she'd be using her training to help me not have to suffer. then i pulled that rug out from underneath her, and she had to start thinking (on the fly) of how the hell she was going to help/support me now that i'd rejected what she probably felt was the only thing i wanted from her. it took her a little while to realise i just needed to feel heard. it was unfair of me to expect more than that in a single appt with a person who'd never met me before.

so i decided not to push the issue with her (had an appt this week and it was fine, even did internal, no issues/emotions came up). i'll talk to her again about birth options when we are into the 3rd trimester and we both have a better picture of how the pg is shaping up healthwise. because CS may actually be the best bet due to an unrelated condition. i'm making peace with that now. it's not about the past, i trust she's listening to me now, so i can also trust her advice.

so thanks. you really helped me smile

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Wed 21-Mar-12 00:28:13

i think you are expressing yourself very well, oikopolis... remember as well that CS/epidural/all that stuff is very much the preserve of the OB. they are not a representative sample of women by definition, they see 'problem' births and as a population tend opt for more 'intervention-y' births from what i understand. i have an obs chum, she says they all think natural birth types are a bit nuts. grin

so yes, write it down. you speak for yourself very well.

oikopolis Wed 21-Mar-12 00:03:16

yes. i think i will write it down for her. bullet points. that's what worked for the GP previously so maybe it will help her.

i know i give the impression that i might be profoundly shocked by not being "in control" of labour etc.
when i tried to explain my feelings to the OB she sort of took this tack and i can understand why, of course. but it's not that i want to "be in control"... it's that i don't want to disappear, to not exist anymore, like i did during the abortion.

having a cry now because that's what it is. i want to feel like i exist during this experience

i feel like if i go straight to CS without a trial of labour, i am in effect saying "i don't want to be there, you handle it". (part of this is that i may not be able to have an epidural, it might have to be GA) (maybe i am being unreasonable by believing this)

if i felt the OB understood me, and THEN she suggested a CS for xyz reasons, i would probably be more able to consider it reasonably(? i feel like i am being reasonable, but maybe i'm not) atm i'm just a bit disturbed by how it was all a done deal in her head. that makes me feel like i don't exist... which isn't true... but i'm triggered by that sort of thing so it jumps out at me

it's so helpful to talk about this even though i'm going round in a huge circle. thank you. it will all become clear in time i think

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 20-Mar-12 23:19:08

i wonder if the thing to do is to write that down and give it to the OB to read, if she's not quite getting it. you at least have to start at the same place, and doctors ime are inveterate 'fixers', not good with nebulous stuff. (let's not even refer to the person who assaulted you as a doctor, any more than harold shipman was.)
however, i would also say that the idea of 'birth being mine' is something that most women aspire to, but often it isn't something that medics can control, iykwim? i know you know that, tbh, so i hope that doesn't come across as patronising, it's more that you might have to work through that with your therapist in advance, because for many women, the experience of labour is something that they do find to be beyond their control and does take some dealing with.

oikopolis Tue 20-Mar-12 23:06:17

Aitch i'm not in contact with my father at all. he is probably personality-disordered. my mother (who is the easily-manipulated, dependent type) works quite hard to earn a place in my life and that's the way it should be. (they have since split)

my parents are idiots but tbh i am more disgusted at a doctor who would have an unconsenting girl restrained in stirrups and held down on a table. that is beyond me. i had illusions about drs once... those are gone forever

when i first knew i was pregnant there were a few days when i was deeply afraid, irrationally, that someone would take my baby away from me in some unspecified way. but once i said it out loud to my therapist, it was ok.

i would never have my mother in the room, or anywhere near me before during or just after birth. the birth needs to belong to me. (i think this is what the OB is not understanding. she thinks i'm asking to be rescued from birth... but that's not what i need... what i need is for the birth to be MINE and not someone else's)

i have protective feelings for sure but they don't seem disproportionate to me. i know i will take care of this baby and it will never want for understanding or compassion, or be exposed to harm in the way i was.

BUT if i had been pregnant again in my home country, i think i would be a fucking wreck. so many triggers. also if i was pregnant by some knobber and not my DH, i think i might feel differently too.

ajandjjmum Tue 20-Mar-12 21:31:07

Glad things are going well for you and baby, and am glad you are getting the appropriate medical support in place. You've handled this brilliantly.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 20-Mar-12 21:16:41

i can't think who would understand, unfortunately (or perhaps more fortunately). that level of violation, by parents is pretty hard to get your head round. i'm so sorry and angry for you, and i share the doctors' admiration for you, tbh.
i'm curious to know if you have any relationship with your family, if it's not too nosey to ask? you might be over-whelmed with feelings of protection and love for this little one coming, i know i was and i get on well enough with my folks. how do you think that will go, do you feel like a 'normal' pregnant woman in that respect? (ie, bonkers. wink)

oikopolis Tue 20-Mar-12 16:16:13

thanks for the congrats. means a lot to me smile

yes i suppose that could be it. it's difficult. i feel like my experience is so foreign that nobody can understand it or even really listen to it.

they try to put their own beliefs and words and feelings and reactions onto it, or compare it with something they went through, and then it all gets messed up and they can't understand me.

and i know that's to be expected.
but it just makes it so hard to be understood. or to feel understood. i so badly want to FEEL understood.

talking about it here is almost easier, because it's more like a monologue with kind comments from others. IRL it's obviously more a dialogue and it's so much harder.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 20-Mar-12 01:06:27

i wonder if what she was expressing was admiration rather than disbelief, iykwim? you do sound like you have processed what has happened to you at a young age with massive maturity and a sense of self-worth that might easily have been fatally eroded by what you went through. congrats on the pregnancy, btw, this is a lovely thread (iykwim?)

oikopolis Tue 20-Mar-12 00:55:41

well i had my referral appointment and the OB is very nice indeed.

she said she had read my letter and had found it difficult to finish, had felt very disturbed by it. this is an appropriate response however much i dislike disturbing people blush so i just said "i understand". she said that if i ever had the slightest worry i was to phone her up for a chat. really a lovely woman. she's had a baby herself already and that's comforting, i feel.

the only thing that threw me was, she was utterly bowled over that I wasn't requesting a caesarean as a matter of course. she thought (i think) that this was why i had pressured the GP to refer to me early.

i explained that i didn't want to place yet another doctor in control of my body and birth as a matter of course, but that i would have a CS if that was the best choice for the situation, in terms of my/baby's health etc... that i wasn't afraid of birth, just of my doctor treating me like i wasn't there.

she seemed amazed by this. i didn't know what to make of that really. am i insane? is that a crazy thing to want, a normal birth? she kept saying "well if you're sure you want to labour..." as if that was ridiculous. it's not that i want to labour... i just would like to try for a normal experience.

anyone who has an opinion on this please let me know what it is. i am open to the idea that i'm being silly here.

actually she also said one other thing that made me feel weird. she said "i'm very surprised that you've been able to have a normal sexual relationship after what you went through".

that made me feel a bit like i was a freak. it's hard to explain. like she was saying "any normal person would have never recovered from this. either you're not normal, or this never actually happened"

am i being oversensitive??

sigh
i'm going back in a month and will address all these questions with her then. am a little bit deflated though. she was so so so nice.... but some of her reactions jarred...

BUT then i try to remember that she is reacting to something that is very far outside her frame of ref and she is not always going to know what to say. maybe i am being oversensitive...

beside that my pregnancy is so healthy it's actually a bit obscene. baby was bouncing around like there's a trampoline in there at 12 week scan this morning. and it turns out i am measuring 14 weeks, not 12.

BIWI Sat 04-Feb-12 10:46:32

I'm so glad to hear that you are being the proper courtesy, respect and care that you deserve.

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