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Not even pregnant yet but already shit-scared re:birth. Please help.

(12 Posts)
PinotEgregio Mon 14-Mar-16 10:27:09

Sorry it's long. Trying not to drip-feed.

Been with DH 10 years, married 5. I think we would have started ttc several years ago, if it hadn't been for my MH issues (nothing exciting, depression and anxiety disorder). After a few years of meds and CBT, I've come out of the depression. I'm still seeing a counsellor who helps me keep my head on straight and talk out things I don't feel able to discuss elsewhere.

I wanted kids pretty much as soon as we were married (28 then, 33 now) but we kept putting it off because:

* I hoped I'd get to a more stable point in my career. At least partly thanks to the MH issues, I didn't/haven't. In fact, career has gone pretty steadily downhill. But am now starting to realise that if we wait any longer, we may not have the opportunity.
* I wasn't well enough to look after myself, let alone a baby.
* Even though I am now recovered, I still worry - and I know my DH does too - that I will get ill again.
* I think, due to recent history, I'm pretty much guaranteed PND. Coming through depression was so fucking hard last time I cannot begin to imagine how I will do it while caring for a baby, and feel so guilty for putting my DH through it too

It is the birth that really frightens me.

* I don't know anyone who hasn't been traumatised by their experiences. In several cases their birth directly contributed to their PND.
* My sisters both suffered birth injuries that required surgical repair. Several years on from having my DNs they cannot do the sports that they used to.

Sport was a major part in my recovery from depression last time. It's one particular sport that is not terribly easy to learn. I attend 4x a week and it's made a huge difference to my mental state. I am absolutely terrified that I will suffer an injury in childbirth that will make me unable to participate and wreck my chances of getting over any future depression and overall ruin my quality of life.

I think I'd want a c-section, but I don't know whether that would be possible. I know the NICE guidelines state that a woman should be able to get one on request but I don't know if my PCT follows that rule or not - the most up-to-date info I could get from my local area said they only did c-section for medical need but that was dated 2010.

I know a c-section has a longer recovery time - but I would much, much rather know in advance that recovery was going to be 12 weeks, and then I would be OK, than be told "You'll probably be fine" and then eventually figure out I'll never be able to do my sport again.

I've read back through what I've typed. I hope it makes sense. I know I sound bonkers but I thought it was probably better to sound bonkers on an anonymous forum than sound bonkers to HCPs if I do get pg. I worry a lot that they won't take me seriously.

Movingonmymind Mon 14-Mar-16 10:40:12

That's understandable. And you don't sound bonkers, you sound clear-thinking and more prepared than 99% of people! I think you ,so be right to plan for a c-sedition, for the reasons you give. Btw, check you local CCG (pcts abolished in 2010). Pnd not guaranteed at all, so please don't presume this will happen. I'd say your foresight, coupled with lots of support around you antenatally and afterwards should help you bond with your baby and get thorough the first few months.

I had one awful birth (should have had a c-section) and one which was lovely, supported and all to plan with no trauma or pnd. I put this entirely down to the utterly appalling 'support' I got first time and the much better support -especially from mw- the second.

As for reaching a stable point in your career? Ideal, yes but you can never get everything sorted pre-birth (or maybe only if you leave it too late to have s baby)

Good luck. Sure you're find lots of support on here.

PinotEgregio Mon 14-Mar-16 10:43:03

Thank you so much for replying! Off to Google my CCG...

FellOutOfBedTwice Mon 14-Mar-16 10:48:08

I just wanted to share my experience and say it's not always traumatic. I had DD in 2014. I'm not fit, I'm not brave and my pain threshold is shit. But I had her with just gas and air, in under 7 hours and didn't even need stitches. I was very lucky obviously, but it was a really enpowering experience that I actually kind of enjoyed. I can't be the only one! I've had no long term physical problems as a result of labour. I only hope I strike it as lucky the next time.

Movingonmymind Mon 14-Mar-16 10:54:56

Your CCG likely to be non commital, probably on s case by case basis. I imagine you'd have grounds to ask for a c-section but would need s consultant to approve this once you're pregnant , I should think.

Pinkheart5915 Mon 14-Mar-16 10:56:04

it is normally to be worried about the birth, it's the fear of the unknown isn't it.
Not every birth is traumatic, mine wasn't. My labour was 9 hours but I had a water birth and managed the pain with only gas and air near the end, I had no tear etc. I am doing it all over again in August, just 11months after the last time.

It's got you've had counselling and things for your mental health and that you feel better. I'm sure they'd keep an eye on you in pregnancy to try and minimal the chances of pnd.

About your career, as the previous posted said nothing is ever completely ideal before baby.

kittentits Mon 14-Mar-16 10:59:18

It's really difficult for anyone to say "you'll be fine", nobody can predict labour and childbirth. But on the basis of you saying everyone you know has been traumatised by their birth experiences, nobody I know has. I've had three, and all mine were very positive, I recovered quickly (out shopping within a few days each time) and have had no lasting effects. I suffer from depression but have never had PND.

Also, I think mental health is classed as medical need for a section. I've never had one so I don't know, but from what I have read on here over the years. You may need to fight your corner but if you come across as level headed in person as you do here you should be fine. If you come across a consultant who declines you can ask to see somebody else.

Good luck!

PinotEgregio Mon 14-Mar-16 11:14:47

Many thanks for the replies everyone smile

It's something I've been thinking about for literally years and this is the first time I've put it all together and said it to other people. I really appreciate you all taking the time to read and share your experiences.

babybat Mon 14-Mar-16 11:23:47

I could have written your post - I struggled with depression through my teens and early twenties, and despite recovering well and being several years clear of meds and counselling, I put off TTC for a long time because I was concerned that my depression would come back and I'd not be able to cope with a child when I had MH issues.

I felt well and healthy during my pregnancy, and had hoped for a VB in the home from home unit, but when I went overdue I started to get really scared that I would end up with an induction, traumatic birth and PND. My midwife was really supportive and set up a meeting for me with the consultant midwife who agreed that as long as the baby appeared to be well, we would delay induction until 42 weeks, rather than 41 + 5, which is the hospital's standard practice. I also discussed with DH and my midwife that if two attempts at induction failed, I wanted to opt for a c-section rather than an epidural, drip and instrumental delivery, as I was very worried that forceps could result in birth trauma that would be a triggering episode for my depression. This was all recorded in my notes and there was a written record of my wishes.

In the end, I went in for induction with the pessary, which went fine, but during the contractions DD got into an unfavourable position and I wasn't dilating. I was given an epidural and put on the drip to try to get more dilated, but it made me very spaced out and I was exhausted and felt that I was being moved towards exactly the kind of scenario I had wanted to avoid. I told the midwife to write in my notes that I did not consent to the use of forceps, and they agreed that it was unlikely that I'd be able to deliver DD vaginally without them, so I was offered a c-section.

DD was born just over two weeks ago; I was discharged from hospital after 3 days on the post natal ward. I am now managing the pain with paracetamol and ibuprofen (phasing out the dihydracodeine) and I am up and about. I'm not expecting to feel 100% all of the time, but recovery is closer to 4-6 weeks than 12.

I would describe my birth as not what I had in mind, but still a good birth. I felt the midwives listened to me when it counted, and my wishes were respected. What is most important is that you have a good birth partner (DH, a friend, a doula or independent midwife) and a good relationship with your midwife - if you don't get on with her during your pregnancy, I would seriously consider hiring someone to support you during labour. Don't assume that your MH is automatically going to deteriorate, but do make sure you've got people around who can help you if you need it. If having a child is something you really want, try not to let fear hold you back - you're much stronger than you give yourself credit for, and you can do this.

MissElizaBennett Mon 14-Mar-16 12:19:40

Hello Pinot,

I just wanted to share another positive experience with you in case it's any comfort. Like you (like most first time mums?) I was anxious about giving birth, but the actual experience wasn't quite the traumatic event I'd feared.

I won't pretend it didn't jolly bloody well hurt, as my DS was back to back and was born that way too, facing up ('a star-gazing baby!' as the midwife put it). It took a good three hours of pushing to finally coax him out, but my whole labour was very short (only 4.5 hours from my first contraction), and I managed a water birth with just gas and air and some amazing strong back massages from my lovely DH and the midwives. I did tear a little but nothing major (more like scratches apparently), and the stitches haven't bothered me since (DS is now 9 months old). It surprised me, but I didn't even need any painkillers in the next few days, I just felt a little stiffer than usual - I was up and about as normal pretty much from the birth.

I appreciate every birth is different, but it has definitely made me not dread the thought of having a second! (though I'm 36 now so perhaps we'd better get a move on with that...)

Good luck with whatever you decide.

BaskingTrout Mon 14-Mar-16 12:49:22

i'm another one who had what was, on paper, a traumatic birth but it was actually fine. it was a very long labour resulting in a stuck baby and an emcs. people said to me afterwards "oh poor you" and things like that. but, you know what, it was actually fine. I coped. it wasn't the most fun day I've ever had in my life, but it certainly wasn't the worst and I got a baby at the end of it!! and i'm pretty damn proud of myself for it.
what I'm trying to say is, even if your birth doesn't go to plan, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will be upset or traumatised by it. you sound like you have thought very sensibly about all of this, and that insight will mean you don't have unrealistic expectations, which is what can sometimes lead to negative feelings post-birth.

regarding the depression, I also struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, i'm mostly fine now. and my mum had terrible pnd with me. I flagged it all up with my midwife, who said the chances are I would be fine, but I would be given extra monitoring afterwards. I was fine. your past issues don't mean its a given that you will struggle.

and one last anecdote, my friend who ended up with a grade 3/4 tear healed very well and was back to running half marathons soon afterwards. I know this isn't everyone's experience, but I wanted to share it to show that birth injuries can be recovered from.

best of luck.

OfDragonsDeep Mon 14-Mar-16 14:26:23

I can't give any advice on the MH issues but I had a c section 6 weeks ago and am not traumatised by it, in fact, it was a really positive, empowering experience and giving birth has made me realise that I want another baby, whereas during pregnancy (especially during the first 12 weeks where I was so ill) I was adamant that I didn't want any more.

Yes, I was scared beforehand and the c section scar was sore afterwards, but I managed on paracetamol, was up walking the morning after (afternoon section) and got progressively better each day afterwards. I agree with PP that 4-6 weeks recovery time is realistic in my experience.

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