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I cannot face another pregnancy after the birth of my DS

(14 Posts)
Peppermintcrumb Sun 14-Apr-13 22:17:41

I had a terrible birth experience with my DS. I felt like I was being tortured by the midwives who wouldn't let me have any pain relief. The G & A didn't do anything and I was fobbed off when I asked for an epidural. I had an unmedicated episiotomy, forceps and stitiches for a 3rd degree tear. I have had counselling for PTSD and treatment for PND.

I have had a debrief which was just another midwife telling me that my expectations for the birth were unreallistic (labour hurts you know), it wasn't as bad as I thought and that I should be grateful for a healthy son.

I cannot bear to be touched by any doctor or nurse. I have avoided watching programmes like OBEM as they contain too many triggers.

Before I had DS I wanted at least 3 children. I mourn the children I will now never have.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Lilithmoon Sun 14-Apr-13 23:03:26

OP I don't want to read and run.
I can't give a lot of advice but I had an awful last few days of pregnancy and a lot of problems with the birth which left me very traumatised. It took a long time to get better physically and even longer mentallly but I am better now.
Although I will not be having a 2nd baby, this is not because of these issues, and if my life had worked out differently (if I had won the lottery!) I would have had another one or two.
Can you go back to your GP and ask for more help?

LynetteScavo Sun 14-Apr-13 23:07:43

No where near as bad as you've experienced (your experience sounds horrific!), but DH and I were both terrified when I got pregnant the second time.

I was hypnotised to get over the fear of giving birth again, and found it very helpful.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sun 14-Apr-13 23:12:11

I didn't want to read and run.

No expert, and nowhere near as affected as you, but my way of coping second time was a home birth, which was brilliantly emotionally healing. For other women a planned section can do the same thing. I nearly had a panic attack when I had to go to the hospital for my booking appointment (they were too full to do it at my clinic).

There are options if you want to explore them. Your GP can help set you on the right road. And if he/she won't, see a different one.

Ilovestackingcups Mon 15-Apr-13 14:28:37

I too had a terrible first birth experience, and as you feel OP I didn't want to even consider the prospect of ever having another baby. Like you, I had originally planned three, as I am a very happy one of three myself.

I am currently 17 weeks with DC2, but it was a long road to get here, and I hope you can eventually feel able to consider another conception too if that's what you want.

Some of the things that helped me were:

Counselling. I was diagnosed with PND and anxiety following birth, and through my GP was referred to a counselling service. I attended for several months, and by the end I definitely felt much stronger in myself at that time, I still wasn't ready to consider another baby by this point, but it helped me to put the past birth experience behind me, to be a stronger peron in the present iyswim.

Support. from my husband and my family. Also his family in their own way (we aren't that close). I told DH I didn't want any more children, and he was gutted as he wanted more, but he understood me, he stood by me, and when I changed my mind, he supported me again. I also had support from my local GP, who called me in to see her weekly and asked me how I was. This was above and beyond what I was expecting, and helped me to realise that she would be there for me if I ever needed her again. In the end, I left my final appointment knowing I was strong enough not to need to go back.

Hormones. I felt I needed to have another baby. Can't explain it any other way than hormones. They took over that, and a lack of decent telly at Christmas I think how I thought about a future pregnancy. This only happened for the week I ovulated, and I realised after a couple of months that this was my ideal opportunity to just get on and get pregnant again. I have spent a lot of the time when my hormones have been normalised again wondering if this was the right decision.

Confidence. In myself, as a woman who has successfully borne one healthy child to term, and delivered her into the world. It didn't go my way, like you (not that I had any expectations, my problems were more around the later stages of my labour). I was also confident enough to decide how my labour would run. Last time, at the first sign of a contraction, I was nervous. I hardly ate, I didn't sleep, I was in and out of the MLU where I had booked in. I eventually ended up in there too early, they had too long to be too involved in how I was labouring, and by the time I should have been making any decisions, both I amd DH were too exhausted to gainsay what they then did to me. This time, I have told them I am having a waterbirth. I have kept NHS interventions at an arms length because I now see that all births do not neatly fit in the one-size-fits-all mould of the current health service guidelines. I will not agree to any tests I do not feel are necessary (this is a personal choice, not one I suggest anyone else tries for. I have done so because I am a very healthy, young low risk mother who does not want the intervention). I am prepared to have to transfer to hospital again if things do not go well for me or DC2, but that is still a long way down the line.

Communication. This time, I have started telling everyone who will be invovled in my labour what I am planning. Last time I assumed a lot of things would just fall into place. They didn't. For example, I have a very nervous DH who wouldn't know what I wanted unless I had written it down, and who would fold as soon as a medical professional suggested an alternative, unless I let him know how that affects me. Last time, my mum ended up with me (unplanned) to give DH a rest. This time, she's asked to be there from the start. I have a friend who has also promised to support me. These are all people who will be able to advocate for me during my labour. This is my safety net.

Time. You do forget things. Time gives you the chance to really step back and think about what you want for your life, makes you consider taking that terrifying step anyway (and bugger the consequences).

I do hope that you can come to terms with what happened to you OP, because at the end of the day, I decided I wouldn't let the NHS ruin the life I had planned for myself, with my husband. If it all goes wrong again, I hope to have the confidence to realise that it was just one day of suffering, and that I will have almost completed my family regardless of any poor medical treatment. I hope you can come to realise this too, as it sounds to me like you would like to have the option to consider more children at some point in the future.

PM Me if you'd like to have a chat about any of this.

MyDarlingClementine Mon 15-Apr-13 14:49:25

I felt like you did although I did not have any of the dreadful things you had done to you. I was however in too much pain and also put off an epidural.

Next time round I spoke to MW at booking in and said I was shit scared about labour again.....I had appt with amazing consultant who granted me an ELC>

It wasn't easy, I was the most scared patient they had in a long time they said but 6 months on, I do not think about the op, I am healed, all is well and esp down below!
The point being after my first labour - I was traumatised for a good 4 years, and went back to same hospital to meet consultant I burst into tears remembering the lift I went in and the pain I was in trying to get into it last time. Four years on talking about the birth which was pretty straight forward I was in tears it was awful, I cried for a solid 45 mins telling consultant about it.

I had a chat with Head MW to think about inducing me or something and having epidural as per what consultant offered but the head MW was even trying to put me off what the consultant has said!!!

She also gave me quite brain washed interpretation of my I lost faith and had ELC, everything about the birth and months after have been a different story, in spite of being unable to move due to operation I was still emotionally and physically better prepared to cope and deal with NB.

There are ways and avenues to get round your fear basically if you want another.

RedToothBrush Mon 15-Apr-13 18:12:17

Peppermintcrumb, are you aware of the Birth Trauma Association?

They may be worth getting in contact with.

Your midwife who you had a debrief is in need of retraining. She should be aware of how traumatic birth can be, and even if you don't have serious complications the mental health side of even a 'text book' birth can have devastating effects.

Given you have already been diagnosed with PTSD then you a strong case to go back and complain about this insensitive, dismissive midwife.

How much do you know about tokophobia? Its fear of childbirth which is so strong that it affects the way you behave and has an impact on your day to day life. It can prevent you from having/or having more children simply because the fear of giving birth is so great.

Secondary tokophobia is the result of having had a traumatic birth of a child. It is a MEDICALLY RECOGNISED CONDITION. You CAN be diagnosed with it. I'm not saying you are tokophobic, but given what you are posting, I would have thought there is a possibility you might be.

This is important as it means its something you can and should be treated for - not dismissed by someone as having 'unrealistic expectations' - its a mental health issue. You just need someone to realise the level of distress this is causing you.

I want to stress, you don't have to have an awful birth to end up with birth trauma. The irony, is research seems to show that you can have a pretty horrendous birth on paper but be totally fine; its actually its the way medical staff treat you, communicate with you, allow you to keep your dignity, listen to your concerns and involve you with decisions about your care that are far more important. Hence why even 'text book' births can lead to trauma.

This is why the treatment your midwife at the debrief was so bad, as she only reinforced your fears and actually makes you more fearful because her dismissiveness is exactly this problem with communication. And why I say you should complain about the fact that she has failed to listen to your fears. It is not acceptable for her, to essentially, blame you for having PTSD and to blame you for the healthcare professionals that let you down during your first birth.

Having said all that, PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP HOPE, if this means so much to you. Some people are starting to pick up on the problem and realise the extent of the problem.

Have a read, of this article about support for women with fear of childbirth or this one (I don't think there is anything that might trigger you in either of those). Perhaps they might might you think that there may be a way forward.

Being honest I think it really is luck of the draw as to how you are treated. But maybe knowing that there help available out there, albeit in really limited places and that it can be extremely difficult to access might be of help.

I've seen loads of women on this forum, who have said similar things to you, but then eventually have gone on to have children or more children.

If you would really like more children, don't give up. Try and find where these services and support exist and fight for them.

Good luck with whatever you decide in life.

TuttiFrutti Mon 15-Apr-13 19:55:45

Please, please don't let one bad birth put you off having more children. It nearly made me cry reading "I mourn the children I will never have".

Can you face the idea of an elcs? I had one after a terrible labour ending in emcs, and it was a wonderful experience. Calm, peaceful and totally pain-free.

peachypips Mon 15-Apr-13 19:59:41

Oh you poor thing. My heart goes out to you. I had a nasty first birth, but my second was an easy 45 min sneeze birth. First births seem to be more dicey generally.
Wait a couple of years and reassess. I was ready about then. Bless you.

Queenofknickers Mon 15-Apr-13 20:06:32

I really feel for you Peppermint. A really good, but little known, treatment for trauma and PTSD is called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprogramming) - it REALLY works and often just in a few sessions. I had it to deal with my first traumatic birth experience and it changed my life. I was referred by a psychiatrist but you can can find a practitioner yourself (they are stringently controlled). You don't have to feel this way forever or lose out on the family you have dreamed of thanks

amimagic Mon 15-Apr-13 20:09:57

It took me 9 years to be able to go through it again, but my relatively easy second birth sort of "healed" the previous trauma. Hypno Birthing worked wonders for me second time around.

It's all about how you are treated IMO, not the pain itself, and it should be more recognised within the profession. All i wanted was someone to be nice to me.

Fairylea Mon 15-Apr-13 20:16:03

Oh gosh you sound so much like me.

I had a terrible experience having dd, literally the same as you. I struggled to bond with her as a result and had awful pnd for a few years afterwards. I felt so sad about the whole experience, it wasn't what I expected at all and the midwives were awful.towards me.

It took me ten years to even consider having another child (and two marriages later!) But when I met my now dh we both wanted a child and I knew the guidelines had changed and I'd be push for an elective section on birth trauma grounds, which is what I did.

It took me three consultant appointments and lots of begging them but they agreed to let me have a section and it was wonderful. I went to a different hospital and I found it a very healing experience... sounds very strange maybe but the section gave me the rush of "wow!" ...

You need time to heal and to talk about your experiences. But don't rule out more babies. It doesn't have to be the same again.

lola88 Mon 15-Apr-13 20:27:10

I feel exactly the same as you i did get the epidural it wasn't the pain during that was the problem for me it was that they gave me so many drugs shot after shot of pethadine which wasn't working that i ended up totally out my face i can hardly remember a thing had no interest in DS at first because i was high as a kite and once the drugs wore off i felt like i was on some kind of come down. I don't really remember a thing until about 10pm (ds born at 3) which really upsets me and the recovery was awful.

I was dehydrated so they gave me lots of fluid which puffed me up so much i couldn't fit in my clothes and had to wear size 6 shoes home (was a 3.5 when i went in) then i got 2 infections in my stitches which the midwife refused to test for 2 days so ended up terrible back to hospital to be re cut it took 8 weeks before i could sit down or walk without pain... 14mo later i'm still sore. People say the day they gave birth was the best day of their lives but it was the worst day of mine i'm afraid

They say i can have a section but i just think thats more wounds and scars and pain sad I kind of hope i fall pregnant by accident because i don't think i could ever activly try to go though that again.

atrcts Mon 15-Apr-13 21:20:26

I felt the same after a really hard birth (induction, forceps, episiotomy and new onset of severe SPD after birth).

Also the baby was a really hard baby, barely slept, colicky and had such severe reflux that he had to to go hospital to be put back on reflux meds until he was a year old as it made him stop breathing!

I also thought that I wouldn't be able to have another for medical reasons and so went through a stage of really grieving the loss of the family I longed for (more than one).

However, miracles happen and I'm pregnant again.

This time round I'm having an ELCS and the thing that swayed the consultant was the damage done through forceps delivery first time round.

How would you feel about a CS? It does seem a shame that you would be held back from the family you want to have, especially if there is a way you can see forward.

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