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Gutted I couldn't push

(63 Posts)
dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:22:06

It has taken me weeks to realise but I think that's why I'm still so upset about my LO's birth. It's been over two months and I still feel almost ashamed whenever people refer to labour/ women in labour are on tv etc. It's like I didn't work hard enough or something. For some reason I missed the cues (mw also said I wasn't ready to push but now I think I was...) and by the time I was given the go ahead I had lost the sensation and my attempts were ineffective. I am so gutted, I know it's stupid as I have an amazing healthy LO, but I saw the pushing part as the most important, productive thing I could do and totally failed. And I will never get the chance to do that again. I am trying so hard to get over it but things keep popping up and slapping me in the face. I almost feel like I don't deserve my baby. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous, but I just can't help feeling it... Well, it's out there. I think that's what's eating me.

blushington Sat 11-Dec-10 23:23:24

Hey man, if I could have a baby without the pushing I would! Did you have a section then, or did LO just come out under own steam?

dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:24:42

Also feel an insensitive bitch when some people can't even conceive, feel so guilty about this, but I can't help it however I try!

dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:25:46

good point what am I like?! Nah I had forceps

mamakoukla Sat 11-Dec-10 23:27:48

concentrate on your baby! The most important thing was not the pushing but the baby. As you say - healthy and amzing. What more could you ask for? Put it behind you and focus on what you do have.

I had something similar during labour. I was told not to push then had no sensation or need to push. I think my efforts to push when there was no feeling that I wanted to is partly the reason why I felt incredibly bruised afterwards. The cushion went with us everywhere for a few weeks. Forbid my husband drove over a hole or bump i nthe road grin

piprabbit Sat 11-Dec-10 23:28:30

Please can you tell us you birth story, if you feel up to it. It would help me understand why you feel so strongly that you failed.
Lots of women struggle with the pushing bit.
For example, I had an epidural. It wasn't very effective for the pain, but it did make it hard for me to be sure I was feeling the urge to push. Felt like I was pushing away randomly, just hoping I was timing right with the contractions.

dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:40:10

To cut a long story short, after 12 hours of 'coping ok' in labour I suddenly lost the plot (I think this could have been transition?) and was convinced I needed to do a huge poo!! (funny but so not funny at the time) the MW told me not to push or try to poo (!) as I wasn't fully dilated and I spent ages trying not to push in agony and screaming so so much. I think maybe I was actually ready but noone had checked me and I hadn't the presence of mind to realise that was probably actually the baby! Anyway by the time they checked and gave me the go ahead I had kind of suppressed the pushing sensation ( I was trying so hard not to poo this makes no sense to me now!! I wish I had just gone with my instincts) so was kind of pushing without really feeling it and the next minute baby was in distress and had to be yanked out.

This sounds so stupid doesn't it.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sat 11-Dec-10 23:40:23

I pushed for 6hrs and dd didn't budge an inch. How useless am I? This natural thing you're supposed to be able to do, women in comas can do it fgs but me, nope, couldn't manage it.

I know how you feel. There's no set thing you have to go through to feel sad or traumatised or upset by your baby's birth. If you need to talk about it to move on, then do it. See if your hospital offer some kind of debrief facility so you can talk about what happened.

I spent the first hours, days and months of dd's life apologising to her for failing, for letting her down, for not doing the one thing that women do in their thousands every day. It took 3yrs for me to seek help for how I was feeling. And now I can say...

It was not my fault.

You can be happy your baby is healthy, here and amazing but you don't have to ignore the way you have reacted to the birth.

I know now and can tell you categorically that pushing a baby into the world does not make you a mother. It's all to come.

But talk, get some help, you're not alone in this.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sat 11-Dec-10 23:41:50

Do NOT say it's stupid. Do NOT. Please go and talk about your experience. Either it was mismanaged or there was a very good reason you were told not to push at that time.

You did nothing wrong lovey.

piprabbit Sat 11-Dec-10 23:43:07

There have been some threads on here recently about women who pushed even if they are not fully dilated, and the fact that it may be isn't the huge no-no that everyone used to think.

Let me have a look around and see what I can dig up.

dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:45:02

Unpure that is exactly how I feel. Exactly. Thank you!!!!!! I have been offered a debrief but am scared it could make me even worse. What if they point out more things I "failed"at?! I am so unsure as to what could help. (again, I know I sound like an idiot)

piprabbit Sat 11-Dec-10 23:51:37

There are lots of women on MN who've struggled with pushing when they were 'supposed' to.
Try taking a look at these links:

And this article here talks about women who have the urge to push before being fully dilated.

You really are not unusual, and you have nothing to beat yourself up about. Your body has nurtured, grown and birthed your baby. You have had help and support throughout that process, including during the birth itself - accepting that help and support is not a failing. Be proud of your achievement and take the credit you deserve.

dappymoo Sat 11-Dec-10 23:52:24

Oh my god this is such a relief to get out and realise why I keep getting upset. Must be part of the battle right..?! I guess a debrief is worth a shot. I'm obviously not getting over it despite what my sensible head keeps telling me.

arizonagirl Sat 11-Dec-10 23:52:48

No time to reply at the moment but just saw your post and it struck a chord. To be brief, I have just had a vba3c and have spent the last five years emotionally scarred and so upset that I would never have a natural birth. I felt like a failure, couldn't hear others stories without feeling envious, saw things on tv which made me sad etc etc.

So I had my vbac and I pushed for four hours (still had to have a bit of help from a ventouse). And it was great to have a natural birth. But...I still felt there were things that could have been better, made the whole thing more perfect - and some of those things are ridiculous things such as my first song didn't get played. Pathetic. So what I am trying to say is that I think the vast majority of people feel sad and disappointed about something to do with their births. I think it is all part of the anti-climax of the big build up over nine months. ALSO: I am having pelvic floor problems having pushed for so long. At least you didn't get that AND you got that natural birth I dreamt of for five years. I would have envied you so much a few weeks ago. The other thing I have learnt after a long long journey is that although I was sooo pleased to get my vbac the regrets I had were just so unnecessary. Having had my natural birth I now realise that it isn't that important afte all - certainly not worth dwelling on over those wonderful first few months. Having come out of all that disappointment I can promise you that the most magical part of motherhood comes after you leave that labour room and is probably lying in your arms as you read my post. Trust me please - I know now! - it really just does not matter. And if you had of pushed your little one out it really wouldn't have felt that much better to you now. Honest : )

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sat 11-Dec-10 23:53:05

Well you failed at nothing. But there's no time limit on it. You can go at any time, it doesn't have to be now. And you can specifically just ask questions you need answers to. Though I warn you there are some questions that have no answers.

The terminology is difficult. 'Failure to progress' for example. It's not a comment on you, it's just the stupid phrase they have to use.

You don't fail at labour and delivery. You don't pass. You don't get a medal. But you do have a reaction to it. It does leave you with feelings that you sometimes can't handle. And that's really common.

There are women who will have terribly traumatic, physically difficult, even dangerous deliveries and come through it feeling positive. There are women who will have textbook labours and feel utterly shocked. It's not something you can prepare for or know about until you experience it. You cannot know how you will feel during that time or afterwards. You cannot control the outcome of labour. All you can do is try and come to terms with it.

You say it was your one chance? You won't be having more? I think that's important. Because you feel you'll never experience it. You hear all those tales of how exhilarating it is, how proud people were of themselves and you feel robbed, right? The most primitive and amazing and unique thing and you didn't get to do it and now never will? I know how that feels. But you did it. You grew a baby inside you, you delivered that baby safely, you trusted the staff around you, you are, I have a sneaking suspicion, a lovely, caring Mum who will be adored by your child like nothing in this world. You did do it. It might not be the way you imagined but it's nothing like a failure.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sat 11-Dec-10 23:54:27

And congratulations to you. You've done an amazing thing.

Your baby is practically newborn. You're not remotely physically or emotionally expected to be over anything just yet.

SE13Mummy Sat 11-Dec-10 23:58:17

You've not failed; you've given birth to a healthy baby who doesn't mind if s/he arrived by pushing, pulling or surgery. That's success. Not failure.

Go for the debrief but be upfront about how worried you are that you somehow did something wrong... I'm sure they'll reassure you that giving birth to a healthy baby is definitely not the stuff of failure!

FWIW, I was delivered (33 years ago) by c-section with an epidural; only the third to be performed in the UK apparently. I've never considered my mother to have failed because she was unable to give birth to me without medical assistance.

arizonagirl Sun 12-Dec-10 00:00:11

unpure - that primitive, amazing and unique thing was what I needed to get for five years...but do you know what..too much emphasis is placed on it. Yes, it is a great feeling but dare I say it, just a teeny weeny bit over-rated??? And anyway dappymoo, you did it!!! You didn't have a section - you had a natural birth. So many people will secretly envy you for that!!

arizonagirl Sun 12-Dec-10 00:00:34

unpure - that primitive, amazing and unique thing was what I needed to get for five years...but do you know what..too much emphasis is placed on it. Yes, it is a great feeling but dare I say it, just a teeny weeny bit over-rated??? And anyway dappymoo, you did it!!! You didn't have a section - you had a natural birth. So many people will secretly envy you for that!!

dappymoo Sun 12-Dec-10 00:03:41

Thank you pip. I'm not the only one! Tears absolutely streaming down my cheeks as I read that article. I wish to god I had ignored the advice not to push. Of course I don't know that I needed to for sure or how anything would have panned out but every inch of my body says I knew exactly what to do. Damn it.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sun 12-Dec-10 00:03:59

SE13, thank you for saying that. I worry dd will think I let her down still. She's 3 now and is very proud of my c-section scar. Tells me it's her special doorway.

My debrief was with an obstetric consultant who spent 3hrs with me (I cried an awful lot, be prepared for that). He answered every question. He then sent me a letter a few weeks later (6 pages long) and it was lovely. His opening line was 'I have 18yrs experience of delivering babies. You did nothing wrong'. I can't tell you how much that validation helped.

FossilMum Sun 12-Dec-10 00:07:16

Please don't feel so bad. The whole point of pushing is to get the baby out safely. Your baby got out safely. That's all that really matters.

Not that your feelings don't matter. They do. But don't put yourself down. You tried your best with the advice you were given from 'experts', and as you suggest it may be that their advice was misguided. That's not your fault.

Yes, you needed forceps to help deliver him. But so do lots of women who do push.

You created your baby, you grew him inside you, and you're nurturing him now. You do deserve him.

piprabbit Sun 12-Dec-10 00:07:28

dappymoo, I also think that in the first couple of months after having a baby there is an awful lot of time when you are sitting around and time is dragging a bit (I'm thinking night feeds in particular). Your hormones are still all over the place, you are suffering from sleep deprivation, a loss of yourself as an individual, all sorts of huge feelings and emotions are going on. During that time it is easy to keep re-running your birth experience through your mind, and in the process lose some perspective on what actually happened and why.
I know some of the things that happened to me began to eat away at me as I picked over them (like picking at a scab) - usually alone and exhausted. Some how, it never felt like the right time to raise these thoughts with anyone in RL in the light of day or during a social visit.

I think having the chance to go through it all at a debrief sounds like it could be a really useful. I'm very impressed you've been offered the choice.

dappymoo Sun 12-Dec-10 00:09:03

Oh what lovely things you say. Thank you thank you thank you. I actually love you.

UnpureAsTheDrivenSHOW Sun 12-Dec-10 00:09:22

dappymoo, you need to forgive yourself. Thinking 'why didn't I do xyz', 'why wasn't I more forceful' etc is a waste. And I bet there were reasons for the decisions made and advice given that you may not have been aware of. I thought I knew what had happened during labour, I missed a whole lot of stuff that's in my notes.

It is frustrating and upsetting that you know you weren't listened to and you knew your own body. I remember saying I knew something was wrong and everybody shushed me and kept saying 'one more push'. I knew 'one more push' was bollocks. 87 other pushes hadn't worked fgs. You probably feel that you're an intelligent, erudite woman that in all other circumstances can argue your corner but in the thing that mattered you couldn't make yourself heard? Didn't try hard enough? You can't do that. You can't measure your reactions in labour to your normal reactions. You had to trust the professionals. You have to have faith in them. You were vulnerable. You did what you genuinely thought was best at the time.

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