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birth after birth trauma

(8 Posts)
elliejjtiny Thu 06-Feb-14 13:37:14

Everything I've read about birth trauma suggests that you should have an elcs next time so that everything is calm and controlled etc. But what do you do if your previous traumatic birth was a cat 3 emcs so almost an elective? I keep having nightmares about this and I know I should ask the consultant but I'm 18 weeks and still not got an appointment yet. The midwife was sympathetic but didn't know what my birth options would be. This pregnancy is unplanned, I wouldn't have had another baby by choice, mainly because of my youngest dc's birth.

RedToothBrush Thu 06-Feb-14 14:08:04

If you've read that you've not been reading the right things! wink

Its not true in short. What's just as important is the support you get and the way in which you are treated, not just the way you give birth.

Its also not how 'textbook' or emergency your previous birth was. You can have a birth which is 'good' on paper but to you can be very traumatic for various reasons.

There is a specialist in birth fear at the hospital I plan to go to. His policy is not to give an ELCS just because a woman has fears. The hospital policy is never to refuse an ELCS - but what they find is lots of women do request them believing the same as you or because they feel its the only way they can be in control/have a calm experience. But for some women it is totally the wrong approach and a VB is appropriate. They just need additional support to do that though. The key is building trust and a relationship to allow women to feel able to do that.

Without knowing the reason for your previous CS and what your anxiety is about, its impossible to say which group you might fall into. But the real thing you need either way is, support.

An ELCS for anxiety isn't the magic solution that its touted to be. It misses the point, that its about listening to a woman, respecting her and support her - and that could mean a VB as much as an ELCS.

I would ask to speak to the consultant asap to give you the option of an ELCS if you want, but I think you need to have a think about exactly what you are traumatised by and what your fear is - get to the root of the fear to understand it, so you know what you need to minimise to prevent it happening again.

elliejjtiny Thu 06-Feb-14 18:35:18

Thanks. DS4 has a cleft lip and palate so wasn't swallowing much amniotic fluid. Fluid built up and my waters broke at 35 weeks. DS4 was in an awkward not ready to be born position so drs recommended I had steroids and then C-section. I said wouldn't it be better to wait a bit as he is prem and maybe he'll engage his head if we wait a bit and can try for induction instead. Drs said no, risk of infection, he's a good size etc.

DS4 born and I'm too shaky to hold him. DH holds him but I can't see him properly because DH has to sit out of the way of drips etc. I can talk to him though and DH tells me that DS is responding to my voice. Midwife comes over and says DS is grunting and needs to go to NICU. I wail that I haven't seen or held him yet so I get a 2 second hold and the midwife takes him. They have just about finished the op by then so they take me back to labour ward and I tell DH to go to NICU, find out what's happening and take photos. I give him my phone so I can have a photo as well. Just as well really as NICU printer isn't working. I ask the midwife when I can see DS but she says not until I can feel my legs enough to get in a wheelchair. DH comes back and I'm taken to the postnatal ward.

When DS is 6 hours old I can finally go to NICU. He's on CPAP and in a hot cot that is higher than my head when I'm sat in the wheelchair so I can't see him properly. The nurse asks if I want to hold him and she takes him off the CPAP and gives him to me. I cuddle him for a few minutes and then have to give him back as his alarms go off and he has to go back on CPAP.

Back on the postnatal ward the midwives help me express every 4 hours, day and night. The next day they take my catheter out and tell me that I need to "mobilise". This means I have to sterilize the pumping stuff by myself and take the milk down to NICU. Walking is agony and I spend the whole time I'm down there worrying about how I'm going to get back without passing out with the pain. DS4 stays in hospital for 4 weeks. DH has 2 weeks paternity leave, then I have MIL and FIL who come to help. MIL is ok but FIL seems to think I'm just lazing around.

It was a combination of events that caused the trauma. The C-section was the worst bit but having to be separated from ds was awful too.

RedToothBrush Thu 06-Feb-14 20:48:22

If thats the case, I really don't think its about the way you gave birth in the sense that a CS would benefit you - unless it was needed for yours or the baby's physical health. I don't see why it would benefit you mentally. I assume your other children were VB?

Birth trauma isn't just women who fear a VB, they can be women who fear a CS (or aspects of) and wish to avoid the CS (or aspects of) if at all possible.

It seems you want to be in a position where you can move about straight away and be able to care for your baby and thats your primary concern. You don't fear a VB as such so why opt for an ELCS if a VB is an option?

Your fears sound like they are more about not being able to be there for your baby straight away which is slightly different. Is there any indication that this baby has any problems which might mean a CS is more likely?

Sounds like the support you need is more about how you would cope in a situation where there was a problem that required a CS ultimately.

ixqic Fri 07-Feb-14 05:57:47

'Everything' does not say that you ought to get a CS after a traumatic birth. Really it is down to what you would like to do.

I strongly suggest visiting your GP and ask for referral to mental health services to address your traumatic experience. It sounds like it is affecting this pregnancy but it also sounds like it goes beyond that.

I had a traumatic birth and I went on to have a physiological birth after.
There is therapy available to address your feelings and it can start very soon.

Trauma can happen to anyone in any birthing scenario. Don't be shy of going to your gp, baring your soul and getting the treatment you need.

elliejjtiny Fri 07-Feb-14 10:20:06

Thanks. I think it's because all the people who've had traumatic births have had traumatic VB's so they have chosen an ELCS for subsequent births. I don't know anyone who had a traumatic elcs.

My other children were VB's. 2 hours on average with just gas and air and no tears. If I'd had a birth like that with DS4 he'd have been taken off to NICU just after I'd delivered the placenta. I'd have been cuddling him all that time before he went. I could have had a quick shower and change and skipped off to NICU after 20 mins or so. Alternatively if I'd had a C-section but DS4 had not needed NICU, I could have been cuddling him in recovery and been able to look after him with help afterwards.

The only indication of me possibly needing a C-section this time is because there is a very small age gap between ds4 and DC5. Also my waters tend to break before labour starts and I don't think you can be induced with a vbac.

I think I need to have a debrief/birth plan meeting with someone to talk about what went wrong last time and how to improve things this time. I have already talked about getting skin to skin straight away this time but I need to have a proper talk about it in more detail.

RedToothBrush Fri 07-Feb-14 10:36:36

I've seen numerous comments on MN from women who have had traumatic ELCS or by low category EMCS. It does happen.

ZingSweetApple Fri 07-Feb-14 10:44:44


my first was quite traumatic and I actually only realised how bad it was after DS2 was born and I could compare the two!

I don't know what to suggest, an ELSC /ERCS is always more traumatic IMO because surgery/panic is involved.


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