Birth trauma, what next(8 Posts)
I had a traumatic cat 1 C-section in June last year. To cut a long story short I had an attempted VBAC with DS5 at 36+5. My waters went at 35 weeks and I developed an infection 9 days later. I was induced with a drip but it didn't work. DS5 was found to have his forehead banging against my cervix (brow presentation) and I had an EMCS at 5cm dilated. I was in HDU for 2 days and DS5 was in NICU for 4 days. We both came home after 8 days in hospital. I was mostly on my own as DH was looking after our other DC. He brought them in for a quick visit for 10 mins after school most days.
A birth debrief really helped with the practical side of things and I now understand why things happened as it did. But I still have nightmares about it and cry when I try and talk about what happened. I'm on a high dose of anti-depressants (150mg sertraline) which helps a bit but I was thinking I'd feel more "normal" by now. I see the gp every 1-2 months and she just asks me how I am and tells me to keep taking my tablets. The HV sees me every 3 months or so, does the edinburgh test on me, tells me I've sored really high again (20-23 usually, anything over 11 indicates depression). I feel like I've gone crazy and worry that I'll always feel this way. DH seems to think I'll be off my meds and better any minute now. I feel like I should be asking someone to do something to help me but I've no idea who or what.
Get some counselling. Contact the birth trauma association.
It does go away, eventually, but it does help if you are pro-active about dealing with the ptsd. I had flashbacks for about 6 years before I got some counselling (and only did that because I ended up having a sort-of mini breakdown after listening to a mum at a memorial service for her son).
I should have dealt with it earlier, but was too busy dealing with the reality (dd2 was brain damaged as a result, and we also had two other dc under 3).
So, take some time for yourself, acknowledge it isn't going to go away until you deal with it properly, and seek some additional support.
Definitely get counselling. I was very traumatised after my cs, cried daily, nightmare, flashbacks, everything really. Counselling really, really helped a lot. Dc is 2.5 now and I rarely think of it anymore, after crying daily for over a year. Sending you a big hug. It will get better xx
Yes, talking therapies. Antidepressants are good at making you functional again but they can't go in depth into what happened to you.
I found talking and writing helpful. I talked to therapists, friends and strangers (taxi drivers) and wrote things down (a lot) until it all made more sense and all my feelings were acknowledged. Obviously I didn't share my a entire story in detail with everyone. Therapists heard the most details, then friends and then taxi drivers (other mums in cafes etc) heard a minimal but organised and effective version.
However, because this was in dribs and drabs I felt the need to have my story all in one place and started writing a timeline. Top half-the events, bottom half-how I felt. I carried on until I thought the story was complete (it took a few weeks). Afterwards if I started going over a particular point (whilst walking for example), I'd write notes on my phone. Everything and anything in notes, until each detail "made sense", each emotion was acknowledged (by me), any regret dealt with (ie events were random or there was no other option or I couldn't have known x etc).
I also organised nursery for 2 days a week so I could have time, first to sleep, second to slowly get back in control (ie not rush all the time, have a little space to myself). Not having some form of childcare/help I think would have held me back and it would have taken much longer to process everything that had happened.
Looking at what I've just written, it sounds like I was a woman with a plan and very much in control. It was the complete opposite. It's mainly from talking with therapists that I was able to formulate what was best for me (writing, reclaiming some time to myself to sleep and decide childcare was necessary).
I can't know what will work for you but by talking with a trained professional (psychologist?), some personal needs/wishes should slowly emerge. The birth trauma association seems a good starting point. They'll probably make suggestions. Asking your GP to be referred to counselling would be good too I think (earlier the better as waiting can take around 3 months before you see someone).
I wish you all the best.
Am so shocked you had to wait nine days from waters going to giving birth. That's just awful. No wonder you got an infection, it would be pretty much odds on certainty after that length of time. Hope you feel better soon op. I've had two less than stellar births that resulted in emcs: ds was too big and got stuck with his head squished sideways, thankfully he was fine but I had a major bleed and ended up in HDU. Dd was supposed to be my healing water vbac *bitter snort* instead she was a super fast, pain free labour cum emcs after she turned breech, who had to be dashed straight out of the room and put on a ventilator after arriving three months too soon.
If you've been on your anti ds longer than 3 months and your still feeling like this I would request a change. Once they've settled down get some counselling. I Found the meds were great at evening me out so that I could bring myself to talk about things properly, before that I'd start talking and get half way through first sentence and cry for a good half hour. Things will get better with some help and the fact your asking what you could do means your ready to heal and do whatever it takes to get there xx
Your doctor is treating you for depression but your symptoms are much more suggestive of PTSD. Antidepressants are not useful for PTSD but two types of psychotherapy are recommended by NICE: CBT and EMDR.
Go to the birth trauma association website above, print out the leaflet they have for gps and take it to your next appointment. Tell your GP that you want to be treated for PTSD according to nice guidelines and ask for a referral for psychotherapy. You can and will get better with the right kind of treatment but anti-ds are not going to fix you.
*cbt = cognitive behavioural therapy
EMDR = eye movement desensitisation and something (?)
I wish you well too x
Thankyou. I was left for 9 days because he was early. Even when I started to show signs of infection at 36+5 one of the drs wanted to wait until I was 37 weeks before inducing me. I was hoping for a nice healing vbac after a traumatic elcs with DS4 too. The GP suggested counselling before but said it would be pointless if I have to take the dc's with me. I had counselling for PND a few years ago and had to take my then one year old DS1 with me. I found it was really hard to concentrate as of course despite bringing plenty of toys and snacks it was much more interesting to try and empty bookshelves and filing cabinets. Thankfully DH works from home now so it's a bit easier to get him to take time off for this kind of thing.
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