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Really regretting my birth choice and can't get over it

(26 Posts)
aimees75 Thu 02-Jun-16 23:26:26

Just wondering if anyone can talk some sense into me! I can't stop regretting that I chose to give birth to my twins 3 months ago by ELCS.

3 years ago I had a vaginal delivery. It was fine and natural until baby got stuck and contractions stopped, and I had an induction drip, episiotomy and ventouse. I was a wreck afterwards due partly to the exhaustion of the experience. I also had a prolapse and suffered faecal incontinance for a year and needed physio, had a few awful accidents out of the house where I just didn't make it to the toilet in time, and many times at home this has happened to me and still does, in fact it happened only a couple of days ago.

So I opted to have my twins by ELCS. I somehow thought I would not be such a wreck afterwards. And would not make the incontience work. And I wouldn't have to go through the pain of labour.

But the trouble is, I regret it so much. The ELCS was a bad experience, and the recovery was awful. I was too out of it all day to know out which baby was which and I was in so much pain, and the babies were in bassinets and I couldn't reach them as I couldn't move.

For a long time after my vaginal delivery I felt like my baby was a part of my body that was no longer inside me. I don't feel like that with my twins, although I love them so much. I'm just regretting so much the experience I could have had and can't move on.

Sorry for rambling. Just need some reassurance/hand holding.

Lilacpink40 Thu 02-Jun-16 23:31:40

I think it's possible to have post traumatic stress syndrome after birth, any 'type' of birth, and maybe this is what you're experiencing. Being awake through surgery and 'distanced' from birth sounds very hard. Have you thought of any ways to let this go yourself?

aimees75 Fri 03-Jun-16 09:00:39

I'm just trying to tell myself to be grateful for having two healthy babies, for which I am very grateful. I expect I will move on in time, as it gets further away. I just feel like it could have been an amazing experience and I chickened out of it and I can never do it again, I'm having no more babies.

SoupDragon Fri 03-Jun-16 09:08:15

Honestly, I think you made the right decision. After the problems you had following your first birth, I think a vaginal twin delivery would have been risky. I am not medically trained in any way, this is just my gut feeling.

I just feel like it could have been an amazing experience and I chickened out of it

Or it could have been as far from an amazing experience as it is possible to get. How amazing were the after effects of your first birth? You didn't chicken out at all, you made a rational decision based on the facts.

Be kind to yourself. I suspect what you are feeling is not at all uncommon.

The rational part of your brain knows you have two healthy babies and have protected your physical well being, you just need to wait for the irrational hormonal part to catch up.

Enjoy your family smile

SoupDragon Fri 03-Jun-16 09:09:20

Would it help to write down all the reasons you chose an ELCS?

imjessie Fri 03-Jun-16 09:24:59

I've had both , the first a vaginal and it was horrendous but the recovery was quick . Second a c section and although it was calm the recovery took for ever . My baby was in scbu so I didn't have to looks after him and slept . I think you did the right thing having an elcs with twins in my opinion .

MerryMarigold Fri 03-Jun-16 09:31:52

I had a horrible delivery with first (3Rd deg tear) and elcs with twins. It was the best decision I ever made. I was walking within 24hrs though was painful abd the recovery was much quicker than my first baby which took several months. One of them was in the high risk SCBU and nearly died with a chest infection, so it was a horrible time but I didn't regret the birth. In fact I think he may have died in utero of they hadn't got him out when they did. Good luck with the babies, OP. It's so tiring but also rewarding. It could have been so much worse with a vaginal delivery and you may have ended up with an emergency cs which would be a lot worse.

MerryMarigold Fri 03-Jun-16 09:37:35

I'm not having anymore either, but I've done it both ways and if anyone wants my advice I'd say go for the elcs every time!! (Also my first baby had some trauma due to forceps delivery, v bad bruising, is special needs, not sure if anything to do with it, but my twins are totally healthy). My friend's SIL is a gynae in a western country and had elcs with her children as she knows the risks with a natural both are much higher! She's seen it all and knows and made that decision on her personal experience. It was the right decision Op, especially with twins and your medical history. Imagine taking care if them now with worsened fecal incontinence.

AllChangeLife Fri 03-Jun-16 09:40:21

I would have done what you do. I think you made the right choice. I ended up with an emergency c section - because of that next time (if there is a next time) I will go for an ELCS. Because you can control it. Which is so much more important if there are two babies!!

So much weight is given to the birthing process in antenatal classes etc - when all that really matters is getting the babies out!! So many other countries all do c sections now because it is so much safer - especially with twins.

However - we can tell you this until we are blue in the face and it won't make a difference if you have been affected by this birth and need to talk to someone ask you GP for some advice. They are there to help, especially if you find a sympathetic (female?) GP who gets it!

MrsJayy Fri 03-Jun-16 09:45:22

Birth trauma is a recognised thing now never used to be women have certain ideals about having babies but the reality is sometimes like yours so much different we are meant to forget all the gruesome stuff and just be grateful our babies are out. What you went through sounds tough but you did have a major operation and of course you were going to be in pain and out of it you made a decision about the section based on the terrible experience you had with your first its ok to feel like you do

blondieblonde Fri 03-Jun-16 09:46:18

I've had both - it's not easy.

It sounds like you were let down by midwives and your support network - the babies were in basinets and you couldn't reach them? Someone should have been helping you, putting the babies on you, reminding you of their names, and of making you feel special and aware of what an amazing thing you'd just done. I think instead you should feel a little hurt by the lack of support. Without it modern birth is such an alienating experience.

Have you properly celebrated the twins' arrival? Perhaps having a small gathering, just for 'a glass of fizz' with some of your most supportive friends/family would help you feel how positive things are.

You have done so amazingly to carry twins to term and have them born healthy. Twins have always been a magical, lucky thing and you should know that however they came out you are a warrior mother, and they will always love you.

C-section is the pits at first but I am a year on and totally healed.

MrsJayy Fri 03-Jun-16 09:47:17

Well its not ok to feel like that because you feel awful about it but if i was in your position id have opted for an section too

Toofondofcake Fri 03-Jun-16 09:50:26

I felt like that after birth of DD1 by EMCS I felt like I'd been robbed of the experience I had wanted. Our hospital had a birth reflections service who you could talk to about what happened, what - if anything - went wrong and how you feel about it. Maybe your hospital offers something similar? It really helps to go through it all. I couldn't talk about my first birth without crying for a long time but feel much better about it now.

Hope you find a way to feel better about this in the future but remember your twins still think you're the best mammy in the world regardless of their birth method.

You made the best decisions you could at the time and have been through so much aimees to bring your babies into the world.
You got them here. Well done.
I hope you will have many happy times ahead together flowers

fakenamefornow Fri 03-Jun-16 10:06:34

Stories like yours make me so cross.

I think we have been sold a big far lie by pregnancy magazines, nct, etc that birth is a beautiful experience and should be easy and natural and if it isn't then you have failed somehow or been failed by those attending to you. Childbirth is hard and as far as I can tell rarely seems to go home set out in a birth plan .

Don't beat yourself up about how things went op, do get help with how you feel though and the physical damage it's done. flowers

MrsJayy Fri 03-Jun-16 10:13:44

I had my first baby 20odd years ago it was horrific and i needed an operation to repair my insides 7 days after, im sure it contributed to my PND but when i spoke to my HV about it she said look at your lovely baby was all worth it in the end shock Thankfully when PND was diagnised my HV was fantastic I just think we are conditioned to think our bodies and minds are meant to cope with this kind of thing. Op if these feelings are affecting you speak to your Gp

MotheringShites Fri 03-Jun-16 10:33:39

OP, I have both twins and a single baby although my twins were born first. Like you I had ELCS with the twins and then a VBAC. Birth choices aside, I found the two experiences to be completely different. Not only because of how they were delivered but because the relationship feels different when you're caring for two babies. You are split between them. I bonded with and adored my twins but I always felt like I missed out on the intensity of the relationship my friends had with their PFBs. Try not to compare the two experiences. They will be rewarding in different ways.

FretYeNot Fri 03-Jun-16 10:40:44

I think fakename is right, women are indeed sold big fat lies when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. We're supposed to glow in pregnancy and running is good for us, well, some of us could barely walk and looked like shit. We're supposed to pop them out whilst imagining our vaginas are like flowers... bullshit, labour is hard work and can cause real damage. And as for motherhood, for every woman who looks immaculate with her adorable baby who is sailing through through the early weeks, I bet there's fifty others with uncombed hair and red-rimmed eyes who haven't eaten a hot meal in days.

I think you did the right thing, medically, having the section, especially given the damage you sustained with your first. I can understand how you feel now, and you must be exhausted looking after twins while recovering from major surgery. I think there's a bit of a stigma around c-sections and there shouldn't be. You gave birth and don't let anyone tell you a section is the easy option. It's major surgery.

With my youngest (vaginal birth, very quick) I had a post-partum haemorrhage and spent her first night wired up to machines drifting in and out of conciousness. I barely realised she was there, I certainly couldn't touch her or care for her. And I did have PND afterwards. In the long term, it hasn't affected my relationship with her, she's 12 now and a delight but it definitely interrupted the bonding experience when she was newborn.

I think you may benefit from speaking to someone about the whole experience, but please be reassured that you chose the safest birth for you and your babies, it's okay to grieve for the lovely birth you feel you didn't have and that bonding can be a longer process than we are led to believe.

You didn't 'chicken out', there's no 'chickening out' when it comes to birth because there's no way you don't give birth. Whether it's vaginally or via c-section (planned or otherwise), you give birth and your body goes through trauma and upheaval. I guess it's like going skydiving, for some it will be a fabulous experience, for others, terrifying and leaving us with lasting damage but once you leave the plane/conceive, there is no such thing as chickening out. (Big hug for you xx)

puddock Fri 03-Jun-16 10:48:58

It sounds like you would benefit from a debrief from a Birth Afterthoughts service, where you talk with a midwife about the decisions, feelings, and outcomes surrounding both of your birth experiences. You can find out if it's offered locally on your NHS trust website or by contacting the supervisor of midwives.

Cherylene Fri 03-Jun-16 11:12:28

Hi - I had twins over 20years ago. They were my second. First baby was a very fast delivery (some tearing that caused issues and PPH but hey-ho!!) and the twins were also a fast delivery, both vaginal with no help and the second even turned to head down. So, on paper, perfect grin.

However, it was not like that in real life. Instead of the team of professionals one is supposed to have, I had a very young junior doctor, acting on orders from the Registrar, who was in bed, and a midwife, who was a bit dippy and had to disappear half way through DT1's emergence to get the rubber gloves and delivery trolley.

They appeared to be following some tick list of how twins should be born, rather than taking any note of what was actually happening (or for that matter looking at notes from last time). So I had the young doctor fumbling about trying to break my waters and put in the needle in my arm (in case labour needed speeding up - which even he admitted was unlikely).

After that, they came very rapidly, DT1 was born in the side room with only DH, then we were dashed to the delivery room where DH, thankfully noticed that DT2's head was appearing (by then they had me in stirrups with the end of the bed missing) whilst the entourage, who had appeared by then, were busy faffing with their piles of instruments etc. He assures me he would have caught DD if she had dropped and there is no way he would have dropped her. He is a very good catch wink.

They then spent 2 weeks in SCBU where we were messed about with one person saying one thing, another saying another thing (our 'named nurse' went on a fortnight holiday the day after they were admitted confused as did the Consultant). I never got to sit and look at them like when I had the one, I and was always trying to pick them up alternately so that I wouldn't get attached to one more than the other confused.

From my point of view, it was totally utter chaos. No one seemed to know what they were doing until the Grand Finale. I was so glad that DD turned as I had no confidence that she would have been born safely if she had needed help. I was really scared for them. I have wanted another baby, but there is no way I would put myself through all that again.

If I had been in your position and had the choice, I would have gone for ELCS too. I think it was the best choice in the situation you were in.

Be kind to yourself. You have done a lot in the last few months and two babies and another child really isn't easy. I have a friend who had VBAC, shortly after this and we both felt that our experiences were a very long way from what we had hoped.

sunnysunnysumertime Fri 03-Jun-16 20:13:22

I doubt the bit about not feeling like the baby was part of your body is down to the CS itself. I had CS with DC1 and strongly felt like he was part of my body for ages just as you describe for your 1st. As PP said it sounds like u were let down by poor after care.

You could try writing down or talking about the birth you'd dreamed of and the birth you actually had and allowing yourself to let all your feelings about it out. Or if you feel this is affecting you day to day you might benefit from talking to someone about this. You could ask your GP to refer u to a counsellor. They would help you to work through the grief and feelings.

I think you absolutely made the right decision btw. Faecel incontinence is no joke I can't imagine why anyone would want to take risks with it. You have no reason to doubt your decision on this one! flowers

aimees75 Fri 03-Jun-16 22:49:28

Thank you all so much for your replies and for telling me your experiences.
I think SoupDragon is right, I do have to wait for the irrational hormonal side of me to catch up. The twins are healthy and I have control (somewhat) over my bowels.
Yes I was unable to reach one of the babies as the bay was so small she had to be at the end of the bed and I couldn't move at all for 2 days. DH had to leave to look after DD1.
The recovery from the ELCS has been a nightmare and nothing like I thought it would be. I had a chest infection that was misdiagnosed as a blood clot in the lung to make matters worse, which i wss told would be life threatening, and had to stay in hospital for days waiting for a diagnosis and worrying I would leave my babies without a mother.
Anyway you have all been so reassuring and I'm really grateful for your comments.
MotheringShites, you are so right. With twins everything is divided in two, the intimacy is not quite there.
Anyway , thank you all for the hand holding, it is so much appreciated and I do feel a lot better about my choice now.

MerryMarigold Sat 04-Jun-16 09:59:10

I also had my babies in a normal bay for over a week. (for half of that ds2 was in SCBU). Most people I know with twins had a private room. My hormones also went mental and I had hives which prevented me sleeping and could not be treated with steroids as I was breastfeeding. Lasted a couple of months. Any second child will not have that exclusive bonding time that you get with the first, as you are sharing yourself and your emotional energy out with one more child. Hope the rest goes well. I had PND a bit later, I think they were about 6months when I went back on ADs but I still breastfed whilst on them. They really did save my sanity so I would highly recommended. X

Gosh, being misdiagnosed with a blood clot in the lung didn't make things any easier aimees?
Post-natal wards should really get some of the other basics right, such as making sure mothers can be close to their babies, even when there are two of them, or after CS (when support will be needed)
I would have liked more room in the bed to have my baby in with me overnight rather than those inappropriate narrow hospital beds with a bassinet at the side. DD was never keen on being put down to sleep on her on especially at the beginning.
If the basics were right it would help a lot with coping with other challenges that may be more difficult to address.

Zaurak Sun 05-Jun-16 13:23:58

Fakename is right. We are sold this myth. It's not true. Birth is inherently risky - it's risky for a healthy woman with no complications. Yes it could have been an amazing experience but it could also have been utterly horrendous. To be honest, the chance of the former is low.
I had a c section that went a bit wrong - several things happened and then the anaesthetic failed before they were done so yes, not terribly fun for me. I was off my head on the drugs they gave me in response and so I didn't see ds for hours. The wound is huge and I felt in shock. It was a very profound experience.
What helped me was the surgeon coming round the day after and running me through what happened and what they did in response. It reframed it in my mind from 'omg what the...' To 'gosh, I am lucky to have had such responsive surgeons.' I'd not understood everything that went on in the theatre (I live abroad and they weren't using English. And I was in a bit of a state,) I found it hugely helpful and I'm very grateful to her for taking the time.

It is possible to be very shocked by birth. Then compounding that you've got no sleep, a major op to recover from and Twins to care for. Frankly the idea that you should skip off the ward in tears of joy is ridiculous. You've had a major operation. Give yourself a break! Can you imagine a patient having a major op, being given minimal painkillers, no sleep and care of two tiny babies? No! Yet women are supposed to just cope.
Is it possible it's bringing back awful memories from birth one as well? It sounds like you had an awful time and have been left with significant injury. What are they doing to repair this? If nothing, then that needs sorting. You need to be (once you've recovered of course) going full guns out to get a referral to see what can be done.

Postnatal care is absolutely disgraceful in the uk. You've done an incredible job - carried and birthed three babies. I'm in awe of anyone who manages twins!

Be kind to yourself. Rest as much as you're able. Draft in whatever family help you can and do NOT overdo it too fast. I had a few times post section where I did too much and I regretted it.

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