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Anyone feel they "failed" a bit at labour?

(38 Posts)
GeneralDisarray Sun 25-Sep-11 12:11:31

Slightly daft, I didn't give a toss before labour about what pain relief I had..or I thought I didn't. My waters broke early and then I was induced, they couldn't examine me because of infection risk until they were pretty sure I was in established labour - and wouldn't give me any G&A before that, when they did examine me I was 5cm and asked if I'd like an epidural and I said yes. I still feel 'bothered' by the labour, not because of the care I recieved, but because of how I was, I hate that I was shouting and swearing in the labour ward with other mothers who were calm (maybe because they were in an earlier stage or maybe because they were just less wussy than me), I hate that I was rude to the doc who examined me and the second midwife on shift and I could see that she felt I was being 'difficult', I think I feel I should have been braver or something??

Anyone else experience this?

moomsy Sun 25-Sep-11 12:52:14


First of all congratulations!!! You have just been through one of the most amazing, toughest and incredible moments of your life - you have given birth to a gorgeous little baby that is all yours and is part of you.

All of us can only hope for and do our best to give ourselves a chance for a textbook labour where the time goes fast, we only use gas and air, baby is in optimal position (and not late either) etc etc...

But babies & labour are something we cannot control. The process itself isn't a competition or a marathon and what matters is that your baby comes out safe and healthy out of all this.

It doesn't matter if you shout, if you demand an epidural or tell everyone present to piss right off.

Just focus on the amazing outcome: your baby! Rather than these worries.

My baby is two weeks old. I was in labour for 4 days. I screamed the birthing centre down for 9hrs and ended up with a cesarean I had to fight for another 6hrs later.

I was really hoping for a natural one but who cares: I have a gorgeous little one in my arms now. Whenever I felt angry about the pain in my stomach or the fact I am housebound for a few more weeks than planned, I take a good look at her and it makes it all go away smile

Don't let it spoil it for you girl... enjoy this magical moment xxx

GeneralDisarray Sun 25-Sep-11 13:05:43

Thank you these are lovely (and emminently sensible) things to hear, she is incredible and awe inspiringly beautiful, I think a part of me feels I didn't give her the start she deserves. Hormones ay..who'd have 'em...

Flisspaps Sun 25-Sep-11 13:10:36

Definitely. Instead of a natural homebirth (or even a natural MLU birth) I was induced at 42+1, had synto, CFM, epidural, episiotomy, forceps, 3a tear, PPH and MROP. I didn't want to be induced but (and I knew I had the choice of expectant management) for some reason I went in anyway.

Despite the fact I had a beautiful, healthy DD who I had grown and carried by myself, I felt I had failed. She is now 18mo and it is only recently that I started to get over the feeling of failure.

I am 11weeks with DC2, and this time am not going into hospital, if I go overdue then I will have expectant management and if baby needs to come out, I won't agree to induction but will consent to EMCS. I refuse to risk the cascade of intervention and destroying my mental health and pelvic floor any further - a homebirth is far less likely to result in a tear, PPH or retained placenta, and if I trust my body enough to carry a baby, I bloody well trust it to get it out this time with as little interference as possible.

Flisspaps Sun 25-Sep-11 13:12:05

X-post with your second post OP.

It doesn't matter how many times people say to you 'oh, you have a healthy baby and that's all that matters' - it usually ISN'T all that matters. Of course, it's massively important and you're always thankful that your beautiful baby is healthy, but comments like that serve to belittle your own feelings and thoughts about the process that YOU went through.

SpottyTeacakes Sun 25-Sep-11 13:42:38

This thread has made me nearly cry. I feel I failed, dd is now 15 months old. It is a traumatic experience made a lot worse by all the people who, are lucky enough to be able to, say that 'it's not that bad'. I don't know how old your dc is but even if you don't stop feeling it, IME you will stop thinking about it so much

NotJustKangaskhan Sun 25-Sep-11 13:51:08

I'm one of the non-shouty types, and sometimes feel like I failed because I didn't tell them where to stick their bad attitudes and needles (had severe adverse, almost died reaction to the after birth injection they all swore that I must have). Hormones, screwing with you no matter what you do!

kerrymumbles Sun 25-Sep-11 13:53:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigkidsdidit Sun 25-Sep-11 13:55:50

I understand. I was induced and once the contractions came they were so, so powerful and painful that I went into a pain coma nad completely zoned out. Came to later once epidural was in, I thought it had been 10 minutes but it was actually 5 hours! I'd pooed all over the place and the anaesthetist too blush

I know it's fine and inductions are painful and it's fine yadda yadda. But I strongly suspect I just would not have been able to do birth without an epidural. So it does niggle at me that I failed, in some way.

I suppose these feelings will fade - DS is 8mo now and I think about it rarely now, as opposed to often when he was new.

GeneralDisarray Sun 25-Sep-11 14:10:46

DD is only just over 2 weeks so early days, it's a horrible feeling I've never felt strongly anti-pain relief/epidurals etc I thought it would be nice to have a relativel calm natural birth but I hadn't set my heart on it (I thought) so why have these feelings hit now?

bigkidsdidit Sun 25-Sep-11 14:48:42

I know! I'm a medical scientist and very pro women having whatever pain relief they want in birth. But I was still disappointed my body didn't behave perfectly. I'm quite hard on myself generally, are you?

bigkidsdidit Sun 25-Sep-11 14:49:37

Congratulations btw smile

DilysPrice Sun 25-Sep-11 15:00:47

Me, I had one caesarian and one forceps delivery (both with epidurals) because I really sucked at the whole pushing-the-baby-out bit.

Seemed like a huge deal at the time, but once the scars have healed and your tiny baby is running around demanding chocolate biscuits it returns to its proper perspective - giving birth is just one of the things I'm crap at, like ballet dancing. Never going to have to do either of them ever again.

Flisspaps Sun 25-Sep-11 15:26:10

kerrymumbles That is exactly the sort of comment I was talking about.

Cyclebump Sun 25-Sep-11 15:37:16

I didn't experience it myself but my mum did. She ended up having three C-sections, the first being a crash section under general anaesthetic.

I knew she had regrets and some feelings of failure but it wasn't until I gave birth that I realised how bad it had been. I was incredibly lucky and had a very straightforward delivery. Mum was with me and cried buckets, she admitted that it was partly the relief of knowing I wouldn't feel the way she had, guilty and a failure.

I think far more women have those feelings than let on but I really hope you feel better soon xx

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 15:38:36

I felt like this for a long time after dd was born. She was back to back with me and couldn't come out so I had to have an emergency ceasarian.

I found those feelings went away when I had DS because I got called for an appointment at the hospital to talk about the option of having a caesarian for him. I was able to discuss what exactly happened with the doctors there and find out details I didn't know in the exhaustion of the moment. It helped me put it all into perspective for me.

I also opted for a natural birth the second time and all went well that time.
However, if it hadn't, I think I would have been much more able to see birth as just the start of the rest of everything rather than the main event itself.

I wonder if there is a way you could ask to go over the medical notes of the birth with someone? Is that a service hospitals offer?

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 15:44:23

I should also add that DD's first birthday was surprisingly tough. I felt like I was re-living the confusion and disappointment of what happened but still none the wiser really.

metalelephant Sun 25-Sep-11 16:00:59

Flisspaps, I hope this time you get the labour you long for, but the truth is it is about a healthy mum and baby whatever the journey. One could have a textbook labour in terms of all the stages going just right, pushing successful, no interventions and an oxygen starved, illl baby. It can happen, and it used to happen a lot before interventions.

So often, when we lament our cascade of interventions we forget that our babies could have died or gotten sick without them; I'm due to give birth any day now, so understand how you feel and if it all goes tits up re my wishes but I fat my healthy girl at the end, I will certainly feel grateful that we made it alive.

I wish you luck and a blissful labour and most of all a healthy outcome for both of you x

metalelephant Sun 25-Sep-11 16:01:49

I "fat" was meant to be I have!

CailinDana Sun 25-Sep-11 16:43:05

I had a textbook birth with G and A but still felt incredibly shell shocked afterwards and still sort of can't believe what I went through. It's such a weird experience that I think no matter how it goes your brain won't compute it very well. You had a particular plan in mind that didn't happen so that makes it all the more overwhelming. I don't know if it makes you feel any better but even though my birth went almost exactly to plan I still don't feel at ease with it, I still feel like it was a massive experience that I didn't really feel in control of and I feel my expectations were naive. I worry about future births because I know that no matter how prepared I feel it'll still be an odd uncontrollable rollercoaster that could go any way at any time. I think your brain is telling you you failed when in fact what it feels is shock - shock that you had such a mad experience that you expected to be in control of but weren't.

Giving birth is strange, just plain strange. I don't think anything in your life will ever be like it. You fool yourself into thinking you know what to do beforehand but the reality is that until you're right in it and everything is gone doolally you'll just never ever know what it's like. Don't blame yourself for that, it's just a reality of life. You wanted it to be a certain way and it wasn't. It rarely is what anyone expects. It's hard to let go of your sense of control and the feeling that you can accomplish things. Giving birth isn't really something you do, it's something that happens to you. There are things you can do to give yourself the best chance possible of it going well but when push comes to shove what'll happen will happen and you need to get your mind to accept that you cannot possibly have failed as there is no such thing as failure in childbirth, just as there's no such thing as failure in sneezing or breathing. It's a thing that happens, as scary fantastic thing, and in the end all going well you get the best gift possible.

metalelephant Sun 25-Sep-11 17:26:24

that's so true CalinDana

SpottyTeacakes Sun 25-Sep-11 18:00:17

That's so nice cailin smile

Zimbah Sun 25-Sep-11 19:24:16

Very true Cailin. I felt like I'd failed at labour but DD2 is now 4 months and I'm feeling a lot better about it. I felt I'd failed because I didn't push 'properly' - 2.5 hours of pushing, the first hour was non-directed and the baby didn't move down at all. The second 1.5 hours being directed by midwife did the trick in the end. I feel bad that I didn't push properly, I screamed a lot which I knew wasn't helping the baby move down. But having spent a lot of time reading MN and other forums, and with the benefit of time, I don't feel too bad about it now. Funnily enough it wasn't something I'd done before (ELCS with DD1)! I wouldn't run a marathon that I'd been unable to practice for and berate myself for not enjoying it or having good running technique! But that is what birth's like, however much you prepare in terms of reading up, birth CDs etc or even doing yoga or whatever, you can't prepare yourself for what it actually feels like at the time.

PetiteRaleuse Sun 25-Sep-11 19:28:32

There is no failure at labour.

Everyone handles it differently.

Congratulations OP!

1944girl Sun 25-Sep-11 19:29:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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