Fear of giving birth, plus physical and psychological complications...(12 Posts)
As the title says, and sorry in advance for super long thread, but its easier to explain all than just bits in order to make sense.
So I have a complete fear of the concept of giving birth. In fact even the idea of being pregnant makes me feel jittery, but actually giving birth terrifies me... I genuinely think this could be part of the reason it took me 4yrs to conceive, and now I'm 8wks, I'm excited, but feel like I'm living in a bubble, and haven't really excepted its real yet. In fact I'm so paranoid something bad is going to happen, I feel like I'm overreacting about every little symptom!
I do feel I have good reason for being afraid
not that any other woman doesn't but I was born 7wks prem, and as a result had a few issues at birth. One was that I had a fused labia, basically meaning my "opening" was closed. The Dr's decided that it should open on its own over time, so left it as it was. Skip forward to me about 6yrs old, and nothing happened. My parents decided out of surgery and "coaxing" methods to go with the latter, meaning every night I had to have a steroid cream rubbed in "down there" and fortnightly visits to the hospital for Dr's to poke around and check the creams were doing their job... After almost a year of this, I became too hysterical at the visits so it was decided that they would leave it as it was, which was about 80% open, which they deemed enough to allow for periods and eventually intercourse when older. What they didn't reckon for was that I would get vaginismous out of this trauma (involuntary spasms of vaginal muscles upon any form of penetration = pain). This led me to many years of counselling, gynae visits and "training" using dilators, before I could even use a tampon (18), let alone anything else.
This has also made TTC very difficult as DTD can be uncomfortable, painful or sometimes impossible for me depending on how relaxed I am. To this day I can't have anyone come near me down there with hands, whether it be for sexual or medical reasons without jumping up the bed/table in pain. And so hence the idea of giving birth with people having to go down there terrifies me.
So obviously first thought would be for me to ask for a CS for psychological reasons... Herein lies my second issue. I have a borderline low immune system, meaning that I take a long time to heal. Long and short of it, Dr's can't do anything to boost this. But to give you an idea, when I had my appendix out, they told me I'd be out if hospital same day, and back at work within 5days - 10 at most if there were complications during surgery (which there weren't)... I was in hospital for 5days, and 6wks later, after the stitches having to be re-done twice because the internal stitches dissolved before my body could heal the
tiny wound, they ended up giving me butterfly stitches to hold the hole together to stop it reopening again. I also got an infection where the wound was open for so long... Hence the idea of a cs which is much larger also terrifies me. That or stitches down there, which I'm certain I'll need as I'm already smaller persae. I just really don't know what to go for.
I appreciate that this is a difficult and unusual situation, and that some may think I'm out of my mind for trying, but I've always wanted my own children, and have to believe there is a way of me doing this without rendering me useless for months after giving birth?! And obviously now that I'm pregnant, all being well in my pregnancy, I at some point need to actually have this baby!
miss, given your experiences, no wonder you have fear and anxiety about this. Wish I had helpful advice but all I can suggest is that you talk to GP and ask for a referral to a specialist.
Really hope someone with better knowledge than me comes along for you.
PS. I can imagine that your emotions are all over the place but congrats on the pregnancy anyway! Seemed rude not to say it
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
I think you should be referred to gynae or a midwife with expertise in this area.
It all sounds very traumatic for you and I can fully understand why you are anxious.
Well I think you are super brave!
I think the key thing here is that you need referring to a specialist of some sort who can give advice with regards to your healing problem? Is there a name for it?
This is something that they will have to take quite seriously because good healing is important.
Another option for you could be a water birth. The water helps you bits stretch much easier than if you were on the bed iyswim
Miss, firstly congratulations! Well done on your hard earned pregnancy..am sure when you hold your precious baby all this will seem so worth it!
Your situation is difficult & I can only share my story if it helps?!
I've had multiple abdominal surgeries in childhood (due to adhesions) so having a CS for childbirth is best avoided as it could potentially (or maybe not, but no one knows) cause me long term new adhesions...
So I had DD1 7 years ago with promises & prayers of a vaginal birth. All went to plan. But having a 'poor' system owing to childhood illnesses meant I took ages to recover from childbirth.
Later for a variety of reasons I developed vaginusmus. After a great deal of counselling I overcame that with the support of DH.
Now when it was time for Dc2 I was in a similar situation as you. Not wanting a CS at any cost & afraid of the vaginal birth too.
But in my heart I knew that the vaginal birth would be the lesser of the 2 evils. To give me 100% peace of mind I decided to go private for the delivery. Found a very kind & skilled consultant who promised me that I wouldn't have a CS unless it was absolutely essential & that she would prevent it to the best she could. True to her word she was with me by my side for the entire labour (7-8 hours), took decisions that averted a possible CS & gave me the most beautiful calm & peaceful birth possible. It was the most memorable moment ever!
It did cost me, but I'd do it all over again if I had to, it was the best money if ever spent. The best part was, the moment we signed her on - all my anxieties disappeared..and my fear of the birth process was over.
I don't know if you have the means for this, but if not - you must try to
1. Research your options for which hospital is best for you (I chose one which was 16 miles away, only coz its one of the best in the country)
2. Ask to be referred to a specialist (so that the same specialist can deliver if possible)
3. Try to get treated as a high risk pregnancy (this will be difficult as you are more of a high risk delivery than pregnancy and its hard to convince midwives about this)
If you need any personal input feel free to PM me.
You can do it! Just focus on the result and the baby.
Have you considered hypno birthing? Might be useful for you.
Thankyou for your support ladies, and artistic for sharing your experience. You sound much braver than me that's for sure!
I've always struggled to find HCPs with experience in my conditions especially the vaginismous. The amount of times I've gone to the Dr's and explained to the nurse who wants to examine me that I have it, and they either give a blank face, or worse, pretend they know what it is and then prove they blatantly don't know by "jumping straight in" so to speak and making comments after as to why I'm edging away! Its so frustrating!
I have my first mw apt. Weds, how do I go about getting referred to a specialist? Is that with the mw or at Drs? And what do I ask for? Or should they know? I just have this fear their going to give me a whole speech that "every woman goes through the same fears, you have nothing to worry about" in a very suck-it-up attitude which is what I usually get at smears etc.
OP you are very brave and it sounds like you are doing really well at facing up to your fears and dealing with them.
One thing that occurred to me (and I hope you will excuse the comparison) is that depending where you are in the country, it may be that HCPs, midwives etc have a lot of experience dealing with genital difference because of FGM. I know in our part of London it is very common.
I know you are in a completely different situation, but I think midwives must get special training to deal with the physical and emotional consequences for birth of FGM, so the range of issues that you suffer from might not be too out of the ordinary for them?
If you do decide on a vaginal birth, have you thought about pain relief? I have vestibulodynia (thankfully under control now) and have 2 children. I had epidurals (because of contraction pain) for both births so didn't have to feel the heads crowning, which I'd been quite scared about. I love epidurals . I would also ask about prophylactic antibiotics (there are ones you can take while BF) if you have stitches.
Stick to your guns and get referrals to an obstetrician and also a specialist gynaecologist. Are you seeing anyone at the moment? My existing gynae was my first port of call as she knew my condition really well (for me, she advised vaginal birth). Put a plan in place for what you want to happen if you need intervention eg if you want adequate pain relief, minimal examinations etc.
Finally, plan for being pretty delicate after the birth, whichever way you do it. This is normal but I was totally unprepared for this (thought I'd immediately be up and about as normal). I was exhausted from a long labour and had stitches and generally felt a bit wrecked- it took me several weeks to feel "normal" again and I had a straightforward (if longwinded) birth. It was all a shock and I was a bit traumatised by it, whereas second time around I was much happier and more relaxed as I knew that I would return to normal, with time. Rope in as much help from partner/friends/relatives as you can! And if you do have vaginal stitches, try not to panic. If you have vulval pain issues they are understandable scary but they heal surprisingly quickly (due to high blood flow to the area) and, if done well, shouldn't cause you long term problems. I actually have less vilval pain that I did before kids, possibly because everything is now a bit, erm, looser .
I hope you find some sympathetic HCPs, I know how clueless they can be with vulval pain problems. Good luck, and just remember that the birth is only one or two short days in your child's life- try and focus on what comes afterwards (snuggly newborn cuddles )
Im not sure where you live in the country but look into what kind of midwife support you'll be getting as standard. Some areas seem to give you a named midwife who will care for you throughout. In my area this isn't the case & last time I didn't see the same one twice. As I'm scared of labour due to a lot less than perfect experience last time, I've been able to sign up with an NHS funded yet seperate service where I get a single midwife to care for me. If I was to deliver at home, she'd deliver the baby, but in hospital she can come along as a friend. I feel I need that. I'm planning a section, but even with best laid plans I could o into labour early & will need someone to calm me down. I need that someone yo be my friend, advocate & knowledgable.
Just something worth thinking about it asking your hospital for if you're nervous.
Thankyou for your advice. I just had my first mw appointment, and she is going to refer me to a specialist to see what they recommend. She said she will also speak to some colleagues tomorrow and get some other opinions so she can advise me better in the meantime. She seemed really lovely, which is a shame as apparently she's leaving in January so I will get re-assigned to a new mw then fx she comes back with some good advice for me tomorrow.
It might be worth doing some hypnobirthing, just to have that time to relax and imagine a vaginal birth even if in the end you have a CS. Also an epidural can lead to a CS so maybe a totally natural birth without any fuss may be the way forward. I do really sympathise with you and I hope you have a lovely birthing experience whatever your choice may be!
Such a tough situation, and I'm so glad you're being referred to a specialist. One thing to consider is that for many women there's no need at all for anyone to go near your vulva/vagina, even in labour. Vaginal examinations have no value for most women, and are completely optional. Some midwives like to support the head on the perineum but this is also not necessary.
Of course, none of this can be totally planned in advance, and it may be the case that for good reasons you'll need, say, forceps, but a good relationship with your midwife means that this is as unlikely as possible.
If you have One to One midwives in your area, that would be worth a go, as building a relationship with a midwife you know and trust, who will be with you through labour, significantly statistically reduces the chances of you needing interventions in labour. If not, you might be able to negotiate one to one care from the same midwife in pregnancy, who may then be willing to go on call for you in labour.
This is just a way to try to achieve a vaginal birth without interventions, ie avoiding needing people to touch you.
All the very best xxx
Join the discussion
Please login first.