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Still sad about the birth of my son

(20 Posts)
Banana82 Mon 28-Jul-14 18:23:12

My little boy is now nearly 12 weeks old and I still can't get his birth out of my head. I had a very much a "what happens happens" approach with regards to his birth and wasn't set on a definite birth plan.

My waters went at home at 35 weeks and 1.5 hours later he was here by emergency c section. He was lying transverse when they scanned me once I got to the hospital and in a blur of medical staff rushing to me, me signing things, being told cord prolapse was a real risk, and that i was 5cm dialated without knowing, I was quite scared. I am very grateful that with regards to the bigger picture he is here, safe and well, albeit a stay in the neonatal unit. However, I can't help but feel...cheated. I feel like my body failed him. I wasn't shown him when they pulled him out. He was worked on for a while before he was handed to my husband. I feel I missed out birthing him. I didn't feel that instant bond when I held him. I wasn't the first to hold him and spend time cuddling him. For a long time he didn't feel like mine. I went up to a ward alone, as it was the middle of the night husband was sent home and my son was sent to neonatal.

If I allow myself to think about his birth it upsets me so much. My friends tell me I am lucky I didn't feel the pain of labour but I don't feel that way. I am glad that this hasn't stopped me bonding with my son but I just still feel in shock I guess. Does anyone else have any similar experiences to tell me I am not going mad replaying things over and over in my head?

Thanks for reading this far!


PickleSarnie Mon 28-Jul-14 19:08:50

Congrats on your son!

I think it's totally normal to grieve a bit for the labour that you wanted. I know everyone will tell you that, ultimately, what's most important is a health baby at the end of it. And off course they are right. But what's also important is the experience. And I don't mean that it's got to be all about lavender candles and sneeze births but when things are taken out of your control and the feelings of helplessness and resignation are horrible.

My first labour nowhere near as "bad" as yours. I wanted a natural birth in the midwife centre. I ended up with a three day labour, pethidine, epidural, surrounded by doctors talking about me like i didn't exist, paralysed from the waist down. Knackered and out of control and with sliced bits from the episostomy. Then my son wasn't
breathing when he was born. He's fine and perfectly
healthy now but I still feel guilty that I was too knackered and numb to feel that "overwhelming rush of love" that you're supposed to feel. I wanted to sleep. I was resentful that my husband got to go home and sleep whilst I was stuck in a room with a baby that I had no idea what to do with. I spent the first night in tears.

I'm not actually sure what all this will do to help you other than, it's normal what you're feeling. If it's any consolation, my second labour was a lovely homebirth and three pushes on the living room floor. So I sort of feel that I eventually got the labour I wanted. I still feel abit sad about my first labour though . And I know that people will probably think im being selfish and ridiculous.

amicablemoomin Mon 28-Jul-14 19:21:33

congratulations on your beautiful boy.

It might be worth contacting the hospital, when you are ready, as many places will do a meeting with you to go through the birth and I've read from many ladies on here how helpful that has been for them as everything was a blur at the time.

Thurlow Mon 28-Jul-14 20:52:33

While my labour was the opposite - 2 days before I ended up with an emcs, at which point I could have snogged the consultant who said I was having one, I was that happy - DD was also rushed off to NICU without me seeing her. I don't remember anyone really explaining that she was that poorly and that this was going to happen, though they may well have done, it's not like I was paying a huge amount of attention...

Anyway, I really struggled for a long time to come to terms with the fact that I never saw and held a squidgy, gunky, newborn baby. My first sight of DD was 11 hours later all tubed up in an incubator. In some ways I imagine it was a similar shock - she was term +9 after a healthy pregnancy, you just don't expect a baby to be rushed to NICU at that point. Just as you didn't imagine having a baby within a few hours at 35w.

I had a debrief when DD was about 18mo and it was such an incredibly helpful experience. In some ways I think it was more helpful later, when things weren't quite so fresh. But understanding what had happened, and why decisions had been made, really helped me come to terms with it all.

We didn't have the idealised birth we imagined, nor the idealised first few minutes. That's a big, big thing to come to terms with. I can say now, 2.5 years on, that while I do occasionally think about it and it is still something that makes me feel sad, as DD has grown up it has receded and become much less important to me. But yes, at the time it seemed to be on a constant loop in my head. It was so important to me for those first few months.

Everything is still very new and very fresh at the moment, and you are still hormonal and coping with a tiny baby. You're not going mad to be replaying it. But focus on your son. He's here now, changing every single day, and that is much more important in the wider scheme of things. I promise you, it will gradually fade and you will feel better about it.

But do think about a debrief, especially if you are thinking of having more children. I found understanding what happened in DD's birth has helped me when considering whether to do it again.

nameuschangeus Mon 28-Jul-14 21:11:11

I feel your pain OP. My ds1's birth ended up in a crash section and I felt cheated and traumatised, and like a failure as I hadn't managed to do things 'properly'. I was never offered a debrief and I had no idea that such a thing was available until a long time later when I read it on here. The birth of my ds2 made things better and helped me get over my feelings of failure but I would really recommend talking it through with someone, I wouldn't want you to feel like I did, it wasn't nice.

lizhow14 Mon 28-Jul-14 21:30:22

My first birth 4 and a half years ago was traumatic....planned home birth but ended up in hospital and had every intervention bar a section. I got through it and thought I was fine, however it wasn't until after that I suffered with flash backs, nightmares, cried about it whenever I spoke about it etc. I felt so out of control that I became obsessed with breast feeding as I felt I could control that. No matter how many people told me I was lucky to have a healthy baby, my mind couldn't focus on that and instead focused on the birth.
It went on and I spiralled into depression, at 6 months I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and post traumatic stress. I have had lots of therapy and medication and eventually went for a debrief with the supervisor of midwives in November as although I had come to terms with what happened, I still felt angry/cheated when thinking about the birth. The debrief did help; I realised that it wasn't my body that failed and my birth was a result of over medicalisation, although I do still feel slightly resentful over this fact, I know that it wasn't me who failed and that my body is capable of birthing (now currently 29 weeks with 2nd baby and feel great!)
Please be reassured that what you are feeling isn't wrong. When you are ready I think a debrief would be valuable. May be worth having a chat with your health visitor for support.
liz x x

DinoSnores Tue 29-Jul-14 11:43:22

Congratulations and I am sorry that things happened so differently than you might have hoped.

I haven't been through anything like that, but one thing stood out to me in your post that I can relate to.

"I didn't feel that instant bond when I held him."

I just wanted to reassure you that lots of mothers don't get the magical instant bond on giving birth, even when things have gone perfectly. I had a very uncomplicated, textbook home birth and didn't get it with DS. It was something that grew over time. It doesn't mean that you have failed him, that you are any less of his mother, that your bond isn't going to come.

Hope things get better for you and that something like a birth debrief can help.

Mrsgrumble Tue 29-Jul-14 11:53:39

I also had two days of labour (slow) and have previously with adults with learning disabilities due to luck of oxygen at birth. When I was advised to have an emcs due to diffulties I was happy. Baby was safe, I was safe.

I don't think beyond that. I also didn't get to hold baby for nearly an hour. Dh did the skin to skin. It wasnt a mad rush of love but I was proud and relived.

All of the dangers outweigh the lack of a natural birth for me.

I wonder if you need to talk to someone. You have been through a huge amount and being a new mum is so stressful at times. Are you getting time to yourself? Some support?

Mrsgrumble Tue 29-Jul-14 11:54:36

Worked with

micah Tue 29-Jul-14 11:55:48

It's normal- I felt exactly the same-v. similar birth. Except I had a fab m/w who put DD straight in an incubator, warmed her up, fed her and generally made sure by the time I was out of recovery she was able to come to the ward with me.

I'm 9 years on now and it's in proportion. But at the time I was pretty PTSD about it. I had a horrible newborn period too- she cried, I was exhausted and needed to recover from the section and the shock, she was incredibly clingy and would not be put down.

DC2 did help, we had an amazing VBAC clinic which went over all my notes, the risks and benefits of elective CS vs. VBAC, and the statistical likelihood of a VBAC being successful. I chose a CS due to the risks, and that was very healing knowing given a choice I would put baby's health before my need to "achieve" a vaginal birth.

Go easy on yourself. Cry, hate those people who moan about how terrible their straightforward birth was, and also anyone who says "I didn't need intervention because I hypnobirthed/had a positive frame of mind". Time will heal smile

theborrower Tue 29-Jul-14 14:47:57

Yes, I completely understand where you're coming from. I had an EMCS for my first daughter and can relate to what you're saying - I felt that I'd missed out on something, not just 'an experience' but I felt it was a process that would have prepared me for my daughter, but instead I felt I'd just been handed a baby. I felt like my body had failed me, that I had missed out on holding her, and I did have issues bonding with her. People didn't seem to get it, about why I was upset about it, apart from one friend who had also had an EMCS.

I stumbled upon this website when I was looking for online support. It's got a lot to read on there, but I hope you find it helpful.

Congratulations on your new baby x

FoxtrotOscarBackToEconomy Tue 29-Jul-14 16:39:48

Congratulations. I too can understand where you are coming from. With DC1 I had a crash c-section relatively early in labour and didn't see my baby at all until 1 hour after the birth.

As a result of how I was feeling about the birth experience with DC1, in the run up to the birth of DC2 I had perinatal counselling with a psychologist who is experienced in working with people who have had difficult births. It was very helpful and reassuring to be told that much of what I felt was normal. Ask at your hospital if they have this available - you might find it helpful in addition to going through your birth notes.

MrsGiraffe12 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:17:45

I feel for you OP. My lovely 6 year old DS was born by EMCS at 32 weeks and was 2 days old before I saw him and 4 days old before I held him (mostly due to how poorly I was). Then not being able to breastfeed due to a combination of drugs and not liking the breastpump as it took hours, I felt an incredible sense of guilt, for a long long time, which was made worse when people said I had it easy as I didn't have to labour.

To be honest, I didn't feel totally ok about it all until I had a miscarriage last year and it made me realise it's not the exit route or the feeding type that matters, it's the bind you firn with your baby, and at least I got to bring DS home after a long stay in NICU, there's a baby of mine I never got to meet, which was more upsetting for me than DS birth.

I'm now 34 weeks with DC 2 and whilst the mode if birth is planned c section (pre eclampsia again, but well managed at the moment - may turn emergency) I know when to speak up and say what I need and want and will just focus on the prize - bringing home another baby :-)

But yes - I agree in speaking to your hospitals team, they may have a clinic or something where you can debrief, which may help :-) also speak to your health visitor. They arnt as demonic as media make them out to be xx

Matildasmam22 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:30:49

I was you 18 months ago. It sucks I'm the same as mrsgiraffe, I had a late misscarriage in May and it just made me appreciate my lo a bit more.

She was a thirty weeker and she went straight to neonal after emergency CS. I did end up on AD'S and having counselling. Birth is a traumatic expirience even the "good" ones. One that's out of your control is harder.

flowers and congratulations on your lovely baby.

Saltedcaramel2014 Wed 30-Jul-14 08:40:59

I feel like I could have written your post. It is tough. And it's ok to grieve for the birth you didn't have - in fact I think it's important. Talk to people about it - friends/health visitor etc. Don't keep your feelings to yourself. I found it hard that people said 'all that matters is you have a lovely baby boy'. Of course that matters - it matters enormously! But not having your birth turn out the way you expected is almost a separate thing - as you say it can be linked to feelings of your own body having failed you. In my experience these feeling faded at about 20 weeks and now at a year on I rarely think (anything negative) about the birth, only joy at DS being here. Keep talking to us and anyone you trust in RL who will take your feelings seriously. It doesn't matter why you are feeling this way, your feelings themselves are valid.

Banana82 Wed 30-Jul-14 14:26:06

Thank you so much for all your replies. I feel relieved that my feelings are normal.

My feelings are similar to yours Thurlow. My first real time with my son was hours later in neonatal. Not the normal gunky cuddle I expected. And yes, theborrower I had no time to adjust to the fact my son would be coming and felt like I literally went to a room and was told "that's your son in that incubator". A very unnatural experience to me.

I had a debrief whilst I was in hospital and fully understand why a c section was needed and am fine with that. I know that it was 100% needed to deliver my son safely and am very grateful that everything was ok. I think it's the first few days afterwards that are playing on my mind. The fact I was on a ward surrounded by new mothers and their babies, hearing them feed and comfort them whilst I was alone without my boy. But then the rational side of me knows that he was on neonatal because he was unwell and had to be there to get better.

I have lots of support in real life. But I just can't admit how I feel. I am so grateful my little man is here and happy and healthy and the bond I feel with him now is amazing. That's all everyone tells me is the main thing. But I just can't help still feeling sad about things.

Happy36 Wed 30-Jul-14 14:30:52

Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy.

I think you have to accept this time that the end justified the means. You and your son have a lifetime to bond after those early hours were taken up by his physical health which took priority.

Many others will have regrets about births that weren't as expected or wanted so you are normal however my advice would be look forward now, not back. Good luck and lots of love.

HRMumness Wed 30-Jul-14 14:43:39

I had a crap first birth, back to back with an epidural, episiotomy and ventouse delivery. As it was early in the morning when DD finally arrived, they kicked out my mum and DH and I was left after 3 days of barely any sleep, alone, stuck in bed, holding a screaming newborn baby who wouldn't latch. The midwives were so busy I had little help and couldn't even get myself water as they left it out of my reach. It was 2 years ago on Monday and it still makes me sad to think of it.

I didn't get that rush of love, I felt overwhelmed and a total failure as I could not get DD to latch and I felt it was all my fault because of the rough birth.

Having said all that, I would go through it all in a heartbeat if I knew that I would have this lovely healthy smily 2 year old who makes my heart melt. Each day my love for her grows. I'm sure it will be the same for you too with your DS. The birth may always make you feel a bit disappointed but it is such a small part of your child's life in the long run.

cailindana Wed 30-Jul-14 16:15:54

If it's any consolation I had two pretty much run of the mill births (one at home) and my mind still had a hard time accepting that this little squalling naked thing had come out of me. Despite a fairly straightforward home birth with my DD, I still got PND and struggled to accept her. Giving birth is a crazy, shocking thing no matter how you do it, but you had the added scare of it all being so sudden and urgent. It's no wonder you're having difficulty processing it. It will get easier with time.

DinoSnores Wed 30-Jul-14 16:32:52

Being grateful for how things might otherwise have been and knowing that things might have been worse DOES NOT mean that you can't still be sad about things. I hope there are people IRL who can be sympathetic to that.


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