Can I share my birth story with you please?(39 Posts)
DD is nearly 4 months old, and I thought I was starting to forget but it's been going round my head all day today.
Second pregnancy, ds was nearly 19 months.
I had a S&S at 40+3 and within an hour was getting strong contractions, this was at 10am. Laboured all day and by 10pm I called the midwives out for my home birth. Shortly after that the pain was so strong I wanted to get into the pool for some relief. I started getting the feeling to bear down, and the pain in my back was so intense, I thought I must be 10cm and ready to push. So I got out the pool to be examined. I was only 6cm! After 14 hours of hard labour, only 6cm. I kept saying "this doesn't feel right, this is different to my first, it's not progressing properly" but the midwives just said I was progressing as they'd expect.
This went on for a few more hours, the pain got even worse and there was no relief from it. I didn't get those little breaks in between contractions where you can gather yourself and get comfortable. The pain in my back was constant and intense. The MWs asked where I wanted to be but there was no position that offered any relief. I kept getting hair in my face and brushing at my face to get rid of it. I started on the gas and air.
The urge to push was so strong now, but it felt wrong somehow. I was involuntarily bearing down, I couldn't breathe. It was like when you have really bad diorreah and your stomach cramps up to expel everything and you have no control over it. This hair kept getting in my face but I couldn't get it off, my skin was sore from where I was brushing at my face.
The midwives examined me again and I hadn't dilated any further, so they manually dialated me. The pain of having to lie on my back during that process was insane.
My leg started to go numb, and I got tingling in my other leg and my arms and face. The invisible hair wasn't hair at all, it was too much oxygen in my blood from hyperventilating for so many hours.
With each contraction now I felt sick, and started vomiting from the pain. I couldn't grip the bed or the pool properly because of the numbness in my arms.
I was still bearing down and pushing but nothing was happening, so they examined me again and found that my cervix was stuck around her head like an elastic band. So they had to stretch it over. Then they broke my waters in the hope that it would speed things up. I'd been in labour now for 17 hours. I can't explain the pain. I'd had a pervious birth with no drugs at all but this was so much worse. I'm so ashamed to say it now but I actually wished the baby would show signs of distress so that they'd take me to hospital and I could have a c-section.
Once my waters had broken they wanted me to push, even though the urge wasn't right. I felt an urge but it wasn't the right kind, I can't explain it. Anyway, they realised I had a blockage in my bowel and needed to clear it before the baby could come, so I had to poo. That just went on forever. Dh was holding my hand and the MWs were encouraging me, when it finally came I felt like we should name the bloody thing.
I went up to the toilet for a wee and as soon as I got to the bathroom she started coming. I was pushing her out on the toilet. The MWs heard and came rushing up and she was born within seconds. She wasn't breathing so they wrapped her in a towel and rubbed her roughly. She was so white and silent. They took her downstairs and left me and dh. He was crying. I kept telling him to go down and make sure she was ok but he said he couldn't leave me. Eventually I heard her cry.
It turns out she was back to back. She had turned in the womb and the cord had wrapped around her neck so she was in shock when she was born. I had nerve damage in my leg from where she had been pressing on my spine for 20 hours and my pelvis is still giving me a lot of pain.
But I feel so so lucky that ee were both ok, I knew nothing about back to back labours at the time so I didn't appreciate how lucky we were, having a home birth and all, but I've since done some reading and it's scary. I have two pregnant sisters and I keep thinking of them and I guess I just needed to get this out.
Thank you for getting this far! Sorry it's so long and probably a bit jumbled.
That sounds frightening. Can you request a formal debrief? It might help to talk it through with someone?
Thank goodness you are both OK, that was clearly a very scary and traumatic experience for you and for your DH.
Many congratulations on the birth of your daughter
Oh my love.
I had a very similar experience with my first and it took me a very long time to be able to face up to the whole thing and move on. There are so many things that go round your head. You can't forget and at the same time bits of it you can't remember with any lucidity. That pain they say you forget immediately, it doesn't go. Your sense memory of it is still there, particularly because of the nerves which are damaged, the pain still there from the whole experience. I felt a jolt when I read about you brushing the hair from your face because I remember exactly this. Hair that wasn't there and how irritating and consuming that feeling was. The pain, the guilt, the fear and that overwhelming memory that something just wasn't right. I don't know how many times I said 'something's wrong' and categorically knew it, but all I got back was calm assurances that it was normal. DD was back to back too but her head was LOT and asynclitic (facing my hip and tilted so she was ear first). The pain was everywhere. My hair, my teeth, my whole body. I was sick with it. No breaks between contractions. Everything you describe. She was too stuck and I was taken to hospital (was trying a home water birth like you) and after a lot of intervention and 8hrs of being fully dilated, dd had finally had enough, got severely distressed and I had a cat 1 cs. She was so ruddy stuck, she had bruises, a torn scalp and muscle damage.
I'm telling you all this so you know that it's "normal". I know it isn't normal at all really but when dd was tiny I kept telling the story over and over and felt like nobody understood and I wants somebody to say "oh yes, that bit, I remember THAT bit". All the facts of labour, the gradual build, the breaks between contractions, the feeling of power or your body knowing what it was doing, all the stuff people talked about, it was so alien to me. None of that happened. There were no comfortable positions, there was nothing that helped, there was no marching around and breathing through the pain/dancing/going with it. I wanted somebody to understand that it wasn't like that all. Labour wasn't something that I 'did', it was something that happened to me. I felt so isolated by it. So, I've been there. The sensations, the loss of control, the terrible, nauseating pain, it was the position. It wasn't you, it wasn't something you did. I've met another MNer who had a baby in a similar position to mine and she described her labour and it was almost a relief to hear that it wasn't just me iyswim.
Anyway, sorry to waffle on. My DD is 8 now. It took me a long time to deal with it all. Too long. In the end I had a debrief and some proper counselling and I finally came to terms with it. I could talk about the day without the sadness or the guilt or the flash of horror. Today I talk about that day and I describe how dd sneezed at birth or how she pooed on a midwife shortly after or I tell my big, brilliant 8yo how tiny her hands were or how soft her skin was. It's all just a story now but I wish it hadn't taken so long to get there.
I had this real visceral need to talk about. I did it on here. A lot. People were so brilliant and all that talking really helped. I also talked to the medical professionals about it all and I really had a proper look at my notes.
I even went on to have another baby. It was 4 years later but I did it.
Talk about it. Talk to your DH and your close family and friends. Have a debrief. Access your notes. Eventually it does feel like just one small day in the story of your time with your child but it takes time. For a while it seems so much bigger than that.
You're brilliant you know. You went through something so hard and you did it. It doesn't matter, you know, that you hated it, you wished it would end. None of that matters. Don't feel you need to waste any guilt over a second of it. The gap between the expectation (calm home water birth) and reality (a fuck load of pain and fear) is a bit of a chasm I know. Don't fall into it though. Nothing you did or didn't do created that.
I wish you all the very best. Congratulations on the birth of your no doubt, beautiful baby.
Saul thank you so much for your post. I can't tell you what it means to me that you've relived that for my benefit. It has made me cry.
You are so right in how you describe it, I feel just the same in wanting someone to share the experience (I mean I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but to be able to hear someone say, and mean, "yes I know".) And the bizarre way the pain reaches every corner - I remember rotating my ankles to try to ease the pain in them. And there was so much pain in the days following too. The usual stuff you'd expect like stitches and piles but also the way that every single muscle in my body had just seized up. I was crying with the pain in my shoulders.
Memory is such a strange thing too - I can so clearly remember tiny details like how I grabbed the towel rail when I was pushing her out and burnt my hand, but I can't remember big things like whether they stretched my cervix out two or three times. And I can't forget the pain because every morning when I wake I get this searing pain through my pelvis that reminds me.
DD also had some damage to her head which was horrible. A huge purple bruise covering her entire scalp that was dotted with little bloody grazes. She cried so much in the first few days and flinched whenever someone tried to stroke her head.
But when I hear how much worse it could have been - I don't know how I would have coped in the situation you describe - I feel guilty for describing it as traumatic. Because we were both fine and people have such worse stories than mine.
I know without doubt that I'll never have another child. It's made me realise how much could go wrong and l feel like I'd be pushing my luck to have a third. Plus I could never put my body through that again.
Sorry, I've rambled so much and been so self absorbed in this post!
Thank you drama and memphis - I don't think mine was bad enough to warrant a debrief but I have emailed to access my notes which I think will help.
Oh and her head was all misshapen. I'd forgotten that bit.
Oh the crying whenever you touched or moved their head? I remember thinking dd must have had such a headache. Her head was purple, swollen, torn and bruised. She just squawked pitifully if you touched her head. I remember that.
You do not have to apologise or worry that you didn't experience enough trauma to feel totally shaken by it. What you went through is awful, so, so awful and you feel however you feel. You don't need permission to feel that way. Oddly enough, the time in hospital after I'd transferred in wasn't so bad because I just kept thinking 'oh thank God they're going to do something, we're safe now'. I think being at home and that knowing that something's wrong and hurting in every fibre of your being but not being listened to is the really tough bit.
In terms of the memory thing, I know now from having another baby and from reading up on it, that it was one bit of the labour that was normal. Even in straightforward deliveries you get a peculiar mix of really sharp, clear memories and other bits which are hazy. I'm sure you probably have an element of this from first time round. I remember with dd that I could hear somebody counting in theatre. I have this really strong memory of a woman's voice counting but everybody looked blankly at me when I asked what I was remembering but I could hear that voice, its tone and cadence for years afterwards. But then I can't remember how I ended up in a hospital gown. Somebody must have changed me out of my t-shirt and dressing gown on arrival at hospital and I didn't remember and don't remember how that happened. That used to frighten me, these massive blanks. When I had ds (another emcs but a joyful, positive and happy time), I had the same blanks and clear memories. And there was this moment in theatre when a woman started counting and I looked over to the corner and the theatre nurse was checking all of the instruments were back on the tray and I laughed and cried at the same time because until that moment I didn't even know if my memory from the first time was real.
You have done a remarkable thing. You really have. You won't always feel so raw either. Those early months are fraught anyway. Time is a marvellous healer. The debrief can be helpful in filling in blanks too. I found it a relief to find out some of the stuff that was happening that I wasn't aware of. It gave me a clearer picture when my own memories were a bit hazy in places.
Is there anything they can do about your pelvis and the nerve pain?
I was early to this, and just wanted to add another small comment.
I think you are both pretty amazing for what you went through, and I also think that the support that Saul is giving here is what Mumsnet was invented for.
I wish you both peace and pain-free futures!
Oh op that's sounds bad
I had a tough birth and around four months later it was on my mind daily. I stranger at a new baby group I went to asked how the bith went ( I think polite chit chat) and I reeled off my horror story and starting crying. It was the first time I actually thought 'fuck me we both nearly died' . The stranger who is now a very good friend was shocked gave me a hug.
It's really scary/frightening/traumatic actually thinking about what happened and I think women really need a debrief about what happened, a proper one. Not just a quick flick through your notes when the midwife come to check the baby a few days later as your stillin shock yourself.
Also when you read other women's stories you tend to think 'maybe mine wasn't to bad' but it is. It's very real and can really effect you.
When I woke up DP was crying and said 'he never wants me to go through that again' . He is already asking for another
Fuck that shit!
Oh op hugs sounds like my first birth, he was LOT and in deep transverse arrest and a 9lber and stuck, stuck stuck. He came out by section after three hours of pushing then I had a big haemorrhage and ended up in HDU. His birth was stuck whirling around in my head for months. What got me the most hett up was the pitying way my hb friends used to look at me, as if 'what do you expect, you deliver in hospital you get the cascade of intervention you deserve'. I knew he was big, I knew he was stuck, I knew it all felt wrong and was in no way comparable to their text book labours. I laboured in water kept active no gas and air til 6cms, I felt like I did all the same smug stuff as them but you know what Ina May can do one, labour IS an unpredictable and dangerous business. The less said about my planned healing water vbac for dc2 that ended up with her being delivered three months prem and ventilated the better. But yes, all those women blessed with an easy birth that think the rest of us just make a big deal over it, they just don't get it at all x x
That's sounds so frightening for you all. I had a very difficult back to back labour with ds1, it was terrifying and I ended up with a very complex forceps delivery and a major haemorrhage. We both nearly died. Ds1 was in nicu for a week. He was born with the cord around his neck. The midwives and Drs almost broke my pelvis (which might mean I have to have surgery soon), still in daily pain 2.6 years later.
I had to have counselling to get over what happened.
I fell pregnant 10 months later and I had an elective c section. Best decision I ever made.
Please talk, encourage your DH to talk too. If you feel you need counselling, do it!
I don't know you, but your post touched me and made me all teary. You did an amazing job. I hope that your daughter is well and thriving!
I had a tough second labour 18 wks ago. I talked and talked about it to anyone who came within earshot for the first six weeks, crying a bit each time. Then I wrote everything down. Now I can talk about it and not cry. I've started feeling proud of myself rather than scared of the pain and how close we came to DS not making it.
The thing that choked me most was how jealous I felt of people who had straightforward labours and births. Why couldn't I have had that either time? How come I had to go through what I did? Then I figured that labour is over, I don't have to do it again or relive it. It's done.
I feel so sorry for you OP.
I talked to my gp and she suggested counselling if I wanted it. I didn't go for it, but would consider it or a proper debrief if it weighs on my mind again.
(Labour for DS, #2 child: weekly presentation scans for 4 wks running as baby was transverse and oblique. Admitted to hospital at 39+4 as he was transverse with cord and foot presenting on unstable lie. Ended up with artificial Rupture of Membranes in theatre. Then on syntocin drip. Baby was head down but back to back. Needed epidural. His heart ratedropped during contractions and once gfinally fully dilated his hr stopped recovering. Midwife called Dr in to turn baby manually but didn'twork.only just pushed him out before ttheatre was prepped for forceps or emergency c section. Painwas extreme. Fear of baby not making it was extreme. Feel better about it all now.)
Amazing the way no-one ever mentions that babies can end up back-back, and the potential problems it can cause. I'm due with No 2 now and asking the midwife to check babies position every week.
I had lower back pain (dislocated tail bone) and pelvis problems after my back-back birth, I can remember being in pain every day for weeks - a couple of sessions with an osteopath fixed both like magic, really worth a try.
My first was back to back, my second was in the optimal position. Both delivered vaginally but with forceps for the first.
Both births were so different, the first made the second seem just like a bad period.
I totally relate to what you are saying.
I really didn't understand the importance of position before this. If I had another baby shaping up to be back to back, I'd have a section.
My first was back to back and eventually had to be yanked out with rotational forceps. Awful. Was so glad I was in hospital as not sure how things would have gone if I was at home. Second time round was a breeze! No pain killers and he just popped out very quickly. Hang on in there you will start to feel better and the memories will be easier to deal with with time x
Just in case anybody is pregnant with a back to back baby and reading this, it's not necessarily a guarantee of a difficult labour. Plenty of women have back to back babies and trouble free labour and deliveries. Each labour and delivery have to be taken as unique events and the experience of the woman labouring needs to be listened to during and after the birth.
Incidentally, my second was back to back too though I had an emcs before he got as far as deep transverse arrest like his big sister. I have to say that labour with him was painless. Utterly painless. I could feel the contractions and see them on the monitor but they didn't hurt at all.
Total and utter, unadulterated luck.
I have a bit of a problem with labours and deliveries like ours described as "horror stories". I hear that a lot. A sort of squeamish 'oooh no, don't tell me horror stories'. While it is every woman prerogative to ask not to hear anything but tales of simple, straightforward delivery, I don't like dd's birth reduced down to that label. It wasn't a horror story. It was real. Just very, very real. Its bare bones wasn't terror or horror or gore, it was a very real, unasked for unfolding of events. Before I had her and I was aiming for a calm, homebirth in water, I did labour under the illusion that I could breathe the baby out and I was designed for it and I would meet the pain with positivity and on and on and on. I thought I wanted it enough, I'd visualised it enough, I'd done everything 'right'. I never realised back then you do just get the experience you're given. It's not about pain thresholds or how much prep you did or how much you want a calm delivery and to hypnobirth through it. It's about the baby and you on that day and when that baby takes a wrong turn, it just changes the course of events in a way you can't control.
Isn't it wonderful that we laboured and delivered in the 21st century when modern medical care can deal with these eventualities? I did my family tree when on maternity leave with dd and reading the lists of babies and mothers who didn't make it in my own family, did offset some of the sadness in a very poignant way. My great great grandma had 14 babies and buried 7 of them. I hunted down the graves that survive today and sat and looked at them with baby dd in my arms and that sort of helped too. It was the beginning of being thankful for a birth that I never really wanted iyswim. Not that I am implying you should ever feel grateful just because you survived it and the baby survived it. Quite the opposite in fact. Trauma simply is and you don't have to temper it. I just found it an important part of the healing process to really recognise the truth of that day outside of all my sadness and guilt.
Thank you for sharing this op, I'm so glad that you and your baby are basically ok despite a terrifying delivery.
Talking to others who have had similar experiences is helpful. My first pregnancy ended badly and forums like this one saved my sanity. It's difficult to get people to understand in the real world because these experiences are fortunately rare.
Saulgood you say everything that I want to say so much better than I ever could! You remind me of my favourite bit of advice - Mother Nature can be a bitch.
Wow, thank you all so much for sharing your stories, and your very considered posts. It is really helping me, in that painful but good way like rubbing a stiff muscle.
I'm so sorry for the pain and fear you all experienced, but I'm so happy that we can support eachother from across the country.
What does LOT mean though please? I never actually saw my notes at all, none of the visiting midwives or health visitors did either, the first midwives must have taken them straight to the hospital or something, I'm not sure.
As for my pelvis and nerve damage, the leg is fine now, took about a month of numbness but it's back to normal. I haven't seen anyone about the pelvic pain, I didn't want to waste anyone's time. I'd know if I'd done something really bad, wouldn't I? I'm also getting mild period type cramps almost daily (no period), and have some <ahem> differences to my vagina. At my 6 week check she just said it's too early to tell if it could be a prolapse and to wait until baby is 6 months. Not really important but it's all just so present still.
Thank you again everyone, youve all been so lovely and so helpful.
Perhaps give yourself those extra few weeks to heal a bit more but I do think you should look into getting your pelvis checked out and certainly the way they had to manipulate you in order to safely deliver the baby could have caused internal trauma. My Mum's colleague waited 20 years to have a mild prolapse fixed and said she could kick herself for not having it fixed sooner. I screwed up my pelvis and left leg during the delivery and it is all thankfully, tickety boo now. You don't have to carry around the physical scars of it though I understand why it takes a bit of courage to go and have the whole thing looked at. I'm certain that you haven't done anything "serious" but I suspect you've got some things that can and should be fixed.
LOT is left occiput transverse. The baby facing your hip/sideways. It can be normal for the baby's head to twist into this position briefly during its descent but sometimes it enters in this position, descends, stays in that position and gets wedged. This is called deep transverse arrest. They tried to manually rotate dd (the surgeon had both of his hands inside me) but she was so wedged that they couldn't get her to turn and they couldn't push her back up even. She was properly wedged with her ear coming first. Lord only knows where she thought she was going.
Oh goodness how scary. I've heard about a 'lip' before preventing full dilation. That must have been agony!
I know what you mean about the bearing down and having no control over it though. That happened to me second time around and it was quite scary!
I had a back to back baby first time and it's f&&&&&& agony. It's so much more painful when their head is ramming into things it shouldn't be and can't get down properly.
You sound like you did amazingly. The constant pain with no let up is what I experienced with my first. 12 hours of unbearable agony with mws telling me I wasn't in established labour and with-holding any kind of pain relief besides paracetamol was awful.
Thank goodness baby is ok. Sorry you didn't have your calm, serene home birth but it sounds like it was still a positive experience in the end.
Bloody hell saul, that's made me feel sick with worry just reading that and it happened to a stranger 8 years ago! You actually lived it. You got through that and went on to have another, that's just so incredible. I'm not surprised it played on your mind for so long afterwards. Thank god you were both ok.
Thank you rosy (it won't let me spell your name with the e - sorry!) yes the lip, that's what they called it. I think it took a few goes before they managed to get it over her head. It was agony. I don't remember the feeling but I remember screaming in pain and being held down because I was involuntarily trying to get away.
Wow this thread is timely. I just had a VBAC today with a back to back baby. Had previous c-section for failure to progress.
The labour was slow, taking 24 hours to get to full dilatation. The latent phase was agonising, I was asking for G&A before 4cm. Once I got to 5cm after about 12 hours they wanted to put up a drip so I opted for an epidural. I could still feel the pressure in my back but it was manageable with G&A.
The pushing part was a bit of a nightmare, they took the G&A away and had to do a ventouse. Turns out baby was also a brow presentation as well as being back to back.
My philosophy was always that I would go for an epidural if baby was back to back or if I needed synto. I'm so glad I did, I honestly don't think I would have coped without it.
I appreciate it's a different ball game when you're having a HB as the option isn't there. Back to back labour is the absolute pits.
You're right, it really sucks. How are you feeling now?
I definitely would have had an epidural if I could have. Gas and air just didn't touch it.
Just wanted to offer you and , Foulsome, Saul and the others who have had a really rough time.
And to second the suggestion of counselling to help you to come to terms with what happened, to agree with Saul that you have to realise that it was just one of those things and in no way your fault.
Also to suggest that you get some physical help with your nerve/hip pain sooner than later - and although it's not everyone's cup of tea, I would strongly recommend you get to an osteopath. Physio is all very well but they don't tend to actually check the bone architecture, nor do anything much about it (I've had a few sessions with physios).
DS2's birth was quite interesting on the grounds that he was transverse oblique lie, also unstable (head up under my ribs, kept swimming around) because I had a swimming pool in there. I had to have him turned (ECV) on the day of induction, having had 2 days of preparation with Cervidil; and then had the first attempt at breaking my waters (didn't work), and then was put on the syntocin drip, and then a couple of hours later they managed to break my waters and labour started properly, and full-on. DS2 also got stuck behind the anterior lip - he wasn't presenting quite right and ended up with a huge haematoma on his head (Looked like a yarmulke!) and I was getting terrible nerve pain down the inside of my R leg because they kept lifting it as I pushed, so I was pushing onto the nerve. I had SPD as well, so none of that was helping.
Anyway. The end result - they turned me onto my back, he somehow dropped clear of the anterior lip and shot out in 2 pushes (crowned and then straight out) but I was in shock, didn't even realise what I was doing, and then this blob was dumped onto my stomach and I had no idea what it was for about half a minute. I was just so relieved that the "thing" was out of me!
So - body was in shock. Nerve pain down my leg and SPD pain were horrible. All that pushing to no effect had caused me to put my sacral and lumbar spine into hyperflexion - I'd changed the shape of my lower back. I knew this because I couldn't go to the loo to poo properly afterwards. Took 2 visits to the osteopath who'd been treating me throughout the pregnancy (keeping mostly on top of the SPD) to get my lower back to relax back to its more usual shape.
DS2 wasn't as badly affected as your babies - but he did have a bit of what looked like jaundice as the haematoma on his head broke down.
Now, you say you had this birth 4 months ago - if you're still having nerve/hip/back pain (any or all) then do please consider an osteopath, as I said. It can also help if your body is still in physical shock from the trauma.
I'd also mention that, even though I didn't have such a bad experience as you, I still had traumatic flashbacks for over a year after DS2 was born. That feeling of stuckness and the godawful nerve pain going down my leg, and feeling like my pelvis was going to crack - argh.
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