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Pregnant and scared about giving birth again

(36 Posts)
ginzillas Mon 04-May-15 07:34:32

I'm 17 weeks pregnant with DC2 and it's really only just hit me that I'm going to have to face my fear of giving birth again.

Sorry - this is a long post....

Giving birth to DD three years ago was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. It was all going well - I'd used a TENS machine to labour at home and was 6cm dilated by the time we got to hospital. Then got in the birthing pool as planned and it all seemed to be going well, with me using gas and air and breathing techniques.

But the midwives hadn't identified that DD was in the back to back position. When they did establish that she was, I was at the pushing stage and they encouraged me to get her out naturally. I was pushing for two hours and ended up getting out of the pool and trying to deliver her on the floor. But it was still no use. She was basically stuck. It's all a bit of a blur for me but I remember feeling terrified. The hospital was very short staffed and the midwife kept having to leave us to try to get a doctor to come and see me. Unfortunately, there were three emergencies in the maternity unit and I was told that we were not classed as an emergency. For about 15 minutes at a time, DH was the only one in the room with me as I was pushing DD out (she kept crowning and then going back in).

Eventually, docs and an anaesthetist came and I was prepped for a C section but then heart checks showed that DD was in distress and I was given a quick injection 'down below', and episiotomy and a ventouse to get her out.

I remember her birth being very brutal as she was 'yanked' out - that's how it felt. DD arrived safely and I am thankful for that. But she was very bruised and I felt guilty for what she'd been through - it wasn't the peaceful water birth I'd planned for. I suffered damage to my coxyx and had physiotherapy for months after to help the pain.

A consultant midwife came to speak to me a week or so after the birth. She said that no mistakes had been made and that, if DD hadn't been back to back, I would have delivered her no problem.

But I've realised now that the birth had quite a powerful effect on me. I ended up with postnatal depression and had counselling. I'm fine now but the fear of giving birth again - and going through another experience like that is terrifying me.

I realise that some women may read this and say 'That's nothing compared to what I went through'. In a way, I feel worse for being so badly affected by this because I know that some people have worse experiences.

I'm seeing a consultant in a month's time because they want to keep an eye on me due to my weight (my BMI is 18 and they say this is a risk factor) and I am wondering whether I should mention this to her when I see her.

I don't feel able to tell my community midwife because she was a bit dismissive when I saw her for my 16 week check.

A friend of mine told me that if I am really scared, I could ask for an elective C-section. But I know there are potentially huge drawbacks with this too and that there is no guarantee they would agree to it anyway.

I just don't want to have another birth experience feeling out of control. Has anyone else had a positive birth experience after a nightmare first delivery?

ginzillas Mon 04-May-15 10:42:09

Sorry, realise that was a ridiculously mammoth post which has put people off reading!

If anyone has any positive second birth experiences - or had an elective C section after difficult first birth I'd love to hear.

Thank you.

Roseybee10 Mon 04-May-15 13:04:12

I had a long back to back labour with dd1 where she kept crowning and going back in for 2 hours. I eventually got her out just before forceps were called for.
I was lucky in that she came on her own but she came out with her arm around her neck and getting her out was horrible.

I had a beautiful home water birth with dd2 in February. She just kind of popped out after 10/15 mins of pushing contractions and was out in 3 contractions from her head being visible.

It's definitely possible and probable for you to have a much easier time this time. Good luck xx

cricket13 Mon 04-May-15 14:43:39

While there's no reason to believe you will have a difficult birth this time, it is YOUR body and you get to decide the best way for you to deliver this baby. It seems like sometimes medical staff try to intimidate women but in the end they can't force you. You can ask to be referred to a consultant who will give you a section if that's what you want. You shouldn't have to spend your pregnancy terrified. Good luck!

Bobian123 Mon 04-May-15 16:34:38

You have my sympathies OP. I started a very similar thread a couple of days ago. 30 weeks with DC2 and really scared-currently swing between denial and terror!

The MW was initially quite dismissive of me until I burst into tears recounting the birth of dc1, so I would say to be quite explicit in explaining your anxieties.

I'm going to be discussing the birth plan (ha) at my 32 week appt, not really sure what exactly my plan is yet wink.

I have heard lots of lovely positive second birth stories and, chances are, it'll be a much better experience next time. Good luck flowers

Applecross Mon 04-May-15 16:40:25

I'm sorry people have been dismissive - I was terrified second time round (due to pph the first time which I found terrifying). Dc2 was a cake walk - only gas & air, 13 hours and she was out, I had a few minor tears. No comparison to dc1. People ought to be taking your fears seriously just to reassure you, it helped me to know they were prepared.

Dogsmom Mon 04-May-15 20:31:38

It's not right but sadly sometimes you need to persist and push to be listened to.

My first daughter was back to back and after 30 unsuccessful hours had to be delivered with an episiotomy and ventouse as her heart rate kept dipping very low, like you I was terrified of giving birth again and was given a debrief where the consultant seemed very uninterested and said it was a textbook delivery and something they see all the time, she didn't understand that for me it wasn't textbook it was incredibly painful and frightening. She said I was moments from an emergency cs but nothing to worry about.

When I had dd2 a few weeks ago I told every single midwife I met that I'd had a rough time before and was nervous, they were all very lovely and reassuring, once I was in delivery and knew who my midwife was going to be until the end I told her in detail what'd happened and said I wanted to know what was going on throughout, good or bad, I didn't want to feel out of control again and see the worried looks and quiet nods for one to fetch a doctor as they did with dd1.
She was fine with it and as each hour passed she kept me fully up to date with everything.
I also had an epidural much sooner, with dd1 I lasted 26 hours but had one within 4 hours of arriving this time, it was much easier to concentrate on what was going on and to focus without being all consumed with pain.

Dd2 did end up with a ventouse again as after 2 hours of pushing she still wasn't out but as I was more 'with it' as soon as I heard her heart rate dip I asked for them to help her out.
It was a much, much calmer experience altogether and I look back on it in a positive way.

ginzillas Tue 05-May-15 07:14:35

Thanks so much for all these reassuring replies. I really appreciate it. I feel a bit better now that I've written it all down and have got it clear in my mind.

When I see the consultant in a month's time, I'm going to bring it up and what they say. Otherwise, I'll speak to my community midwife. I didn't mean that she had been dismissive about my fears - more that she was quite breezy in general and the appointment felt a bit rushed. I didn't feel hugely comfortable talking about anything emotional with her.

But I'll see how I get on with the consultant and then the midwife. Knowing that I'm not the only one who has felt like this is reassuring. And it's great to know that some of you have had positive experiences second time around.

Thank you.

LadyCurd Tue 05-May-15 07:36:57

Just wrote a massive long reply that got eaten. But basically the blog link details my story from demanding a c section with number 2 to having an amazing three and half hour labour on gas and air!

I'm now pregnant with number 3 and seeking help again just in case. Highly reccomemd CBT and EMDR to help process birth trauma.

Good luck!

Scoobyblue Tue 05-May-15 10:45:22

I had a difficult birth with dc1. Dc2 was 2 hour labour from first twinge to birth and I was in and out of hospital quicker than Kate Middleton (although looking a lot less glamourous......). Definitely speak to someone about your concerns but my two births were very different.

Jackiebrambles Tue 05-May-15 10:59:24

OP it sounds like you did brilliantly.

I had a back to back labour and I found the pain so unbearable I couldn’t cope at home and turned up at the hospital only 1.5cms dilated!! Luckily they saw the state I was in and didn’t send me home. My 16 hour back to back labour ended in an EMCS and I am opting for an ELCS this pregnancy.

I was asked at booking in what I wanted to do and at that point I was undecided about VBAC so told them I wasn’t sure. I had decided by 16 weeks so told the midwife I wanted a section. She referred me to the consultant midwife who I saw and together we went through my birth from last time in detail. I found it really cathartic so I recommend that you do the same? I think you should be able to ask for a full birth debrief.

Anyway she was very pro-VBAC for the following reasons: the same birth position (ie back to back) is apparently unlikely to occur again, my body has gone into spontaneous labour and dilated etc so knows what to do etc. BUT! I told her I wanted to get some control back into my birth experience and she understood that. So I’ve got an appointment at 36 weeks to have the final discussion with a consultant and book my ELCS.

Anyway, I'd recommend the birth debrief. I found it really helpful.

nutelladipper Tue 05-May-15 20:14:08

Unfortunately I've had two shitty births.
I was induced with DS and after 36hrs had a 2nd degree tear & episiotomy and ventouse delivery. The labour, delivery and postnatal days was crap, painful and horrible. Generally not in control and confused.

When I got pregnant with DD I went into it with a really positive attitude. I wanted to prove to myself I was capable of a positive experience. I refused to be induced. Laboured naturally and quickly but I was in control. Suddenly it all went wrong and panic was in the room. I have never spoken to anyone about it. Just blanked it out. I just felt overwhelmingly disappointed yet again I "failed". DD was born with forceps, another 2nd degree tear and another episiotomy.

So roll on another couple of years and I'm pregnant and shitting myself. I met with a consultant to talk about my options and I basically cried throughout whole appointment so much so I couldn't answer or ask any questions.
So I've now had an appointment made to talk about the "trauma of my births". The consultant was fairly hard faced initially but did say when I was leaving that she is happy to do what ever I choose and if I want a c section I can (followed by rolling off the risks whilst I sobbed).

I am yet to make a decision (I'm 24 wks). I will see a senior midwife to go through previous things in a few weeks and then I meet with consultant at 34 wks to talk about my decision.

One thing I totally relate to in your post is being totally aware people have experienced so much worse. I feel I should just shut up and be grateful.

Sorry huge post! No advice but you're not alone!


lauren222 Wed 06-May-15 08:22:15

I just had my first birth 10 weeks ago at Barnet Hospital. The time from 1st contraction to DS being born by emergency c section was 35 hours.

Contractions started roughly every 4 minutes and were extremely painful. I turned up at the hospital only 2cm dilated but couldn't cope without gas and air. After spending the night on the maternity ward I got to 4cm and was transferred to the midwife-led unit as I wanted a water birth. I got to 9cm (having a shot of pethidine during that time) but then the midwives realised that something was wrong. I then found out the baby was back to back. I was transferred to the consultant-led unit. The anaesthetist rolled her eyes at me when I was having very painful contractions and asked my husband to leave the room while she set up the epidural. She then had problems getting the epidural in. In the end it took 5 anaesthetists 90 minutes to get it in. After that I saw the consultant who recommended that we go straight to an emergency C-section.

I was very traumatised by the birth experience. If I do have a second child I don't know what I would choose. I would say that the recovery from the section was very tough and makes it much more difficult to look after a newborn. Also, I couldn't move my arms after the surgery. DS was placed on my chest and I couldn't touch him except to lean forward and kiss his cheek.

Dildals Wed 06-May-15 10:49:04

I had a traumatic first birth and now pregnant again.

I have been quite assertive about getting the help and support together, medically and mentally, to make sure this time it's going to be different.

Earlier posters have already mentioned it, but i would recommend emailing or calling the consultant midwife or the supervisor of midwives to talk about your anxieties and how they can help to make it better. Sometimes the NHS needs a little push to understand that you need a bit more care. She really pulled my care team together. I got to see the consultant who all of a sudden knew who I was, rather than one of her team, who just followed procedure. I also got referred to case load care, which means you have a midwife with you in hospital that you know and trust, rather than whoever happens to be on duty. I don't know whether your area does case load care of course. For me it was v important to have someone at my labour that knew me, knew my history and knew their shit. I think I have that now. I am still leaning towards an ELCS, but at least I have the care in place for a hospital birth, should it happen that way (best laid plans and all that) or should I want that.

You could also consider hiring a doula.

I do find it ridiculous that I had to make so much fuss (in a diplomatic way of course - these people are going to handle my bits, I want them to like me!) for something that is actually available. And I feel sad for women less assertive that need this as much as I do.

For what it's worth, the recovery from my EMCS was OK and I am hoping the recovering from the ELCS will be even better.

Hillijx Thu 07-May-15 17:16:25

My first birth was quite similar, just not as extreme. Back to back, ventous, episiotomy but luckily no lasting Ill effects just a long recovery from stitches. Second time I wasn't scared as was convinced my problems were due to first labour and induction. It was a lovely 2.5 hour labour, no stitches, all healed and comfortable within a week. Third time I was petrified as thought my second couldn't be replicated, I was then put in for induction which scared me even more. I spent the weeks leading up to induction doing all the movements, positions that promote a good position for baby (spinning babies) and it was another straight forward labour and only took a few days to heal up.

I would always take natural over Csec as a friend of mine had a long healing process from hers. That being said, to have a good labour I think it's important to stay in control and take it as it comes, first time round I couldn't do this but managed to with dd2 & 3 and I think that made the difference. So if you think you will be too afraid and let that effect your labour then a csec would not be a bad thing, most people heal quickly with mini,Al scarring and say how straight forward the whole process is. You do with what you feel most comfortable with as getting a baby out regardless of method is hard work. But if you do pick natural, second is nearly always easier than the first. Good luck

ginzillas Tue 21-Jul-15 21:35:33

I am the OP and am resurrecting this thread because I'm seeing the consultant midwife tomorrow about my birth plan. Thank you to all those who shared their stories and advice. Sorry I didn't come back bit I've been in denial about giving birth again.
I'm very anxious about the appointment tomorrow. I just read through the notes from my first birth and felt panicky and was in floods.
Now I've had an argument with DH who doesn't seem to understand what a big deal this is to me. He doesn't think that I should ask for an ECS because of the recovery. He said 'you only had minor intervention last time'. I had episiotomy, DD was ventouse. I then ended up needing physio to help damage to my back (this back pain in my lower back has now returned in pregnancy. I'm in agony a lot of the time) and also needed counselling. I just don't feel I can risk all that again but feel so confused over what to do. Help!

AtrociousCircumstance Tue 21-Jul-15 21:54:05

Hi ginzillas,

I could have written your first post - my labour with DS1 was very very similar to how you describe: midwives not identifying he was back to back, birthing pool, baby 'stuck', prepped for C section and then ventouse. It took days, all in all. It was fucking awful! So I really relate. Blasted ongoing back pain here too!

I was terrified when I was pregnant with my second child and thought I would opt for an ECS. In the end I went for a natural birth again, mainly because I paid for some hypnotherapy sessions to work through the fear. It helped me unhook from the trauma I was carrying.

I really understand. I also had a session with a birth trauma counsellor who went through my notes with me. It all helped. But the hypnotherapist helped the most - I had three sessions overall. You don't have to 'believe' in hypnosis; she was a kind, attentive, intelligent person honouring my feelings and helping me detach from bad memories.

Don't let your husband influence this. I'm sorry he's not being more supportive. But please, if you can, seek some support elsewhere. It helped me enormously.

However I am not suggesting you shouldn't go for the ECS! Go for it. Your DH cannot for a second understand what we go through when we labour. Do whatever feels right for you.

My second birth experience was quick and comparatively easy, by the way! And I had an epidural, which was bliss. It couldn't have been more different.

Good luck. And go for the ECS if that's what you need. But perhaps seek out some professional help to support you in whichever decision you come to.


cookiefiend Tue 21-Jul-15 22:08:35

I had an EMCS last time so not as bad as your experience. I am 24 weeks and keen to avoid the same thing you describe- the spiral out of control- which happened last time. When I saw the consultant I made clear that this was my fear- I was not keen on cs, but most of all want to avoid the emergency situation that happened last time (as far as possible). She was very understanding and explained everything. She made it clear I was in control- if I want a cs I can have it. I do not want one, but knowing a coild if I want is a relief in a way. Tell her what you want to avoid. You had long lasting birth injuries and no one should minimise that.

As an aside- I am told that recovery from an emcs is worse than an elective one- it was fine. Much better than my friends with forceps injuries in a way because my incision was controlled and neat, rather than the horrible damage they had. choose what you want- don't worry about what anyone else thinks. If you do go for natural birth try and find positive stories. The woman I know who had a forceps delivery had a brilliant second labour experience- totally different.

Sorry I have no real useful advice as j am behind you in second delivery, but wanted to offer support.

ginzillas Tue 21-Jul-15 22:21:13

Thank you. I really appreciate your replies. Atrocious our experiences sound so similar! I'm glad the hypnotherapy helped.

DH has said he'll support me with whatever I choose. He's just worried that by having elective CS, I'd struggle to cope with two kids while I'm recovering as we don't have family nearby. However he has glossed over the fact that last time I couldn't sit down for weeks due to back pain from delivery! That pain is now seriously restricting me in this pregnancy. I just need to stay calm during my appointment with the consultant midwife tomorrow. Every other appointment I've had to discuss the birth has ended up with me sobbing and unable to speak.

ginzillas Thu 23-Jul-15 20:50:07

Just an update. Had my appointment and ended up crying and unable to talk properly as we went through the notes.

I asked about the possibility of having am ELCS. The midwife was lovely but tried to persuade me against it, as did DH. They both said that if second birth goes to plan it will be 'healing' for me. My fear is that if it doesn't, what will be the state of my mental health?

Naty1 Sun 26-Jul-15 17:57:27

I had same 1st birth but b2b with ventouse and forceps. 2nd degree episiotomy. Very painful to sit.
2nd birth last week, not b2b, no intervention (venouse or forceps)
Downside not given epidural i asked for so pushing (15min) uncontrolled and have 2d labial tear which feels worse than the episiotomy.
Maybe an epidural next time so if you did need ventouse etc it could be done more quickly.

AtrociousCircumstance Sun 26-Jul-15 22:45:36

Ah sorry that your appointment was so stressful.

Remember this is YOUR decision, not your DH's and not your midwife's.

If you do decide to try for a natural birth please sort yourself out some counselling/hypnotherapy. You and you alone need to find a position on this where you feel you can own the decision, regardless of outside pressures.

AtrociousCircumstance Sun 26-Jul-15 22:46:41

Actually scratch that - seek some counselling and support whatever you decide. To help you decide. And if you do go with the ECS then it will help you to feel confident in your choice.

ginzillas Sun 26-Jul-15 23:12:44

Thank you. I've gone back to being in denial that I have to give birth again. Even though I'm now 29 weeks! The consultant midwife suggested hypnotherapy. I did a yoga birthing workshop first time around and the breathing exercises were brilliant. My fear is mainly of the baby getting stuck like last time and me feeling out of control. If I go for a VB there is no guarantee that won't happen again . That's what I find terrifying.

AtrociousCircumstance Sun 26-Jul-15 23:52:08

I know what you mean, that's what I was scared of too. Second births are often easier but there is no guarantee.

The hypnotherapy helped me come to terms with my fears and access a sense of calm and control. The birth trauma counselling session helped a lot too, to make sense of things.

It also really helped to know that I was ready to ask for an epidural as soon as I could (and it was amazing - I still had some sensation but the pain was minimal).

I'm a big believer in throwing everything you can at a problem. You need extra support right now. And there is nothing wrong with getting an ECS if you so choose. It's your body.

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