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Induction followed by c section... I don't feel like I've given birth at all

(20 Posts)
lelapaletute Thu 02-Mar-17 14:19:36

I know this is ridiculous. But I had my first baby a month ago, and I have a really bad lingering unhappiness about the birth. I went two weeks overdue and was induced -on reflection this was a huge mistake, I did it hoping to go into active labour soon enough to still be allowed into the midwife led birth centre, which I didn't get to anyway as induction took ages to get going and I overshot the 40+12 window sad after several days of induction followed by slow, excruciating contractions (baby was back to back and very big) my cervix stalled at 5 cm and wouldn't budge even after 10 hours of syntocin. I caved and asked for a c section. Then they massively overdid my epidural so I was totally paralysed - couldn't lift my head even, couldn't hold my daughter or breastfeed her for several hours.

Upshot of all this is, I am horribly disappointed and I don't feel like I gave birth at all -nothing happened like I'd expected, I never 'went into labour' didn't even notice my waters breaking (they wrong to do artificial rupture in labour ward and told me they'd already gonewitjout my noticing beforehand), I didn't ever get far enough to push, and they ended up cutting her out of me in this really weird, lifeless way. Even the contractions I had weren't 'real', they were artificially induced and didn't get me any closer to my baby being born.

This isn't PND - I adore my little girl and am so happy to have her with me at last, breastfeeding is a struggle but we are getting there and she's gaining weight really well, I have a fantastic supportive partner. But he doesn't understand how I feel, and I feel bad going on about it to anyone else as they say, rightly, that all that matters is that she's here safe and well. I do feel that; but i also feel this huge sense of letdown and failure. I wanted to have two children; now I think I may have to stop at one because I can't bear the idea of the same thing happening again.

Can anyone say anything that can help me get my head around this? I feel like an idiot, but I can't stop obsessing about it and it's spooling what I'd otherwise such a beautiful time.

IndianaMoleWoman Thu 02-Mar-17 14:31:16

I think you have been let down because you were allowed to have unrealistic expectations. The whole concept of being able to plan a birth is ludicrous and it makes me really angry that people are encouraged to make a birth plan - it is setting women up for "failure" at a time when they are most vulnerable.

I understand that you are disappointed, but honestly, as someone who has had a baby in NICU and had two inductions (one successful, one ending in theatre) I can honestly say that in time all you will care about is the outcome (i.e. your wonderful daughter) rather than the process; all labours, whether "perfect" or not, are just a means to an end. Your "end" was happy - a healthy child. Congratulations on your baby and I hope you can come to terms with your birth experience soon flowers

watchingitallagain Thu 02-Mar-17 14:40:10

I had a shitty first birth like you did OP. It did niggle at me for a while but in the end, I just forgot about it. When you talk to people, a lovely, stress free natural birth is actually rather rare.

I've gone on to have another baby (which also resulted in a section) and am expecting again. You really will get so caught up in motherhood that it will feel insignificant eventually.

I'm not saying what you feel now is invalid, just that I doubt you'll feel that way forever.

SorrelSoup Thu 02-Mar-17 14:40:18

Can you go and speak to the perinatal team or a midwife and ask to be talked through your birth story. It really does help to give closure. I had a 2 day labour and an emcs with a ga. It was a traumatic experience and it does matter, it isn't enough to say your baby is here alive and well; you have to acknowledge and discuss your feelings.

I was angry that other women hadn't told me the "truth", but I can see now that some had hinted at that bad experiences. I wouldn't tell a pregnant woman what my experience was like as it's not nice to frighten people, also they can be dismissive, "well that won't happen to me".

A lot of women in my circle have problems with their vaginas from giving birth, so sometimes I feel grateful for my cs.

I caved and asked for a c section
Your can change your language here. You didn't give in! They don't do c sections for nothing. There's no medals for vaginal births, although sadly some women feel superior to me that they had one.

Okkitokkiunga Thu 02-Mar-17 14:41:32

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I have had two births by ECS - the first after an being induced as my labour went to slowly and I wasn't dilating. The second was to get my son out as quickly as possible to prevent his death. I agree with Indiana and having a birth plan sets so many people up to feel how you do. I have never given birth in the natural sense like you. But you grew a beautiful baby and she will bring you many years of joy. I occasionally wonder what it must feel like to push a baby out, but I don't feel like I missed anything - I have my beautiful children. We look like Mummies - just like the ones who pushed their babies out. Our experiences are different, not wrong. I read an article that I found amazingly uplifting and I a friend of mine read it who had given birth to all her children naturally in various situations - water birth, home birth etc and she said it opened her eyes to what c-section Mums go through and she stood in awe of us. I'll try to find it.

Enjoy your little girl.

hellomarshmallow Thu 02-Mar-17 14:49:58

I think you would benefit from a professional debriefing. I completely understand your feelings

I felt similar after my first csection, but not my second. I think years after, it's just because I realise the giving birth is just a tiny, tiny part of motherhood. The struggles, pain and endurance you go through over the years are the real challenges. This makes me feel more empowered. You have lots of choices ahead of you as to how you parent your child; whether of not you have a csection, induction or water birth are very much dependent on factors well beyond your control.

Agree with pp about the language choice and how you see your birth experience. Try not to see being induced as a mistake; the alternative may not have been favourable to you or baby, so look at the positives if/when you can.

And congratulations smile

hellomarshmallow Thu 02-Mar-17 14:50:31

Your feelings are far from 'ridiculous!'

Okkitokkiunga Thu 02-Mar-17 14:50:43

here it is

I hope it helps you as it helped me.

FurryTurnip Thu 02-Mar-17 14:53:27

I was induced then it went pear shaped and ended up with EMCS. I felt very similar to you. I felt somewhat 'cheated' out of the natural birth I had imagined, and also for a while didn't feel a total connection to my DS as I hadn't 'produced' him in that way.

It gets better with time. In the nicest possible way, those early weeks where you are now are really tough and you have a lot of time, awake at night to ponder on such things. It will feel easier with time.

Like others said, you may feel differently once you talk to other mums. Perfect births don't exist. I still would have liked the chance to try, but after seeing a friend who had such bad damage from childbirth that she suffered double incontinence for a long time after, I feel a bit of relief.

Enjoy your baby, you made her, you grew her, you did all the work!

sarahmags Thu 02-Mar-17 14:54:50

Hi Op,

I can completely sympathise as I had a similar ish experience.

I was induced at 40+12, pessary did nothing, confusion when trying to break my waters, thought they'd already gone, although I had no symptoms, syntocin drip for 6 hours then emergency section with GA.

I woke up from the GA concerned about the oxygen mask and hot feet, the fact I'd had a baby was a complete afterthought. I then spent 24 hours in theatre recovery, my Dd was in special baby. My husband went between the 2 of us, but I was completely detached and didn't really think about her until the next day.

For a few months after I felt just like you have described. I felt like I'd been given a baby to look after, but saying I'd given birth to her made me feel like a fraud as I did nothing!

So now I am almost 3 years down the line and while I still look back on it with sadness, I have moved on and rarely really think about it now.

I hope, in time, that you will feel better flowers

eurochick Thu 02-Mar-17 15:13:32

To be honest, I think time is the best healer. There was a problem with blood flow through the placenta and my baby needed to be delivered at 34 weeks. I begged to be allowed to try induction but they didn't think she would be strong enough, so it was an elcs. I hated it and felt very removed from the process (not helped by the baby being whisked away to nicu). It does bother me that I will never feel a contraction or know what it is like to labour. I couldn't bf either - she was too small and weak to get the hang of it.

It does bother me sometimes tbh, but less as time goes by. She's 2.5 now and will be an only. I do feel like I have missed out on a rite of passage. Of course I'm glad that she's here and safe, but that doesn't mean that I can't feel less than overjoyed about the manner of her arrival. I get irritated at the "you're both fine and that's all that matters" attitude.

lelapaletute Fri 03-Mar-17 07:50:11

Thank you ladies. It is good to know that this isn't abnormal and that I probably will get over it in time. This is a particularly emotional time I guess and it's still very raw.

True enough that "normal" births aren't that normal - of our 8 ladies in my NCT group, we all planned the low intervention water birth, only one of us actually got it - everyone else either had to be induced, or ended up having an epidural and/or an EMCS. But I'm the only one where EVERYTHING didn't work - everyone else either went into labour naturally or delivered their baby vaginally themselves. So I'm struggling with that.

But I hope as time goes on, and I care for my daughter, I will start feeling like I 'earned' her - rather than, as a PP so insightfully says above, feeling like I've been given a lovely baby to look after without actually having birthed her. Hopefully breastfeeding will help too, as it gives me something only I can do for her because I am her mum.

Thanks for not just telling me to put my big girl pants on - I am trying to get past it, and the stories you've shared give me hope that I will eventually xxx

Munchkin1412 Fri 03-Mar-17 08:19:01

I felt a bit like this. Was induced at 40 + 10 but nothing happened for days , only got contractions from the highest level of the drip and had an epidural because of this so couldn't feel anything! And then whisked off to theatre. I felt like I hadn't actually given birth, I'd had it done to me if that makes sense. Felt weird about it for months but you do let it go when life with a baby starts to happen and it stops being all about the birth...

sycamore54321 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:11:11

Congratulations on your beautiful baby and settling in to motherhood.

I am so sorry you feel this way. It is why I have so much disdain for the 'natural' discourse pushed by the majority of midwives, mainstream internet groups, NCT, etc. It fails to deal with the reality that 'natural' does not in any way mean safe or better. It creates a false belief that good mothers do X, Y and Z, and implies that by following these steps you will produce happier/more successful/healthier/more loved/"better" children. I think it is horseshit. We have no control over our bodies when it comes to this stuff. We just don't. No matter that I'm sure you'll find someone on the Internet to tell you that agreeing to induction was wrong, or you should have stood up more, or eaten more kale in the first trimester or whatever. It's all nonsense. The simple facts are that your baby was large and poorly positioned. This is NOT your fault, not her fault, not anybody's fault; it just is. She was overdue and each day her placenta would have been getting older and closer to its expiry point. The alternatives to getting that beautiful baby out, in whichever way was needed, simply don't bear thinking about. You made the best choices for her.

I really am sorry you feel this way. I know you say it isn't PND but I wonder if it may be just a little or if worrying over this issue might increase your risk of PND developing. Is your HV, GP or midwife someone you could talk to? Both to discuss the facts of the birth and also its impact on you?

Can I also make a suggestion? You say breastfeeding is helping you feel like a mother. Please don't get too hung up on it being linked to your identity as your baby's mother. Mothering is not about how we use our bodies to give birth or to feed; it's about loving and nurturing and protecting and caring for and guiding and educating our beautiful babies. I would absolutely hate for something to impact your breastfeeding (very unlikely but still) and make you feel even worse.

As others have said, your language is reinforcing your feelings of failure. Would it help to think about it as if it were someone else? Would you tell another mother that she hadn't given birth because she had a section? That she didn't do it properly because she was induced? That she wasn't a real mother because she adopted? Of course you wouldn't, so see if you can extend some of that thinking to yourself.

Go easy on you. You have done an amazing job. Please find someone to talk to and know that you gave birth - yes you did - to a beautiful baby. You do sound like you are really enjoying her - give her a huge cuddle from all of us.

SumAndSubstance Fri 03-Mar-17 14:34:22

I used to feel like you, OP. I did go into labour (at 42+1), but ended up having an EMCS after 30 hours labour with insufficient progression. For quite a while I felt like I had 'failed' and one of my (male) friends actually sent me a text asking how the birth went and when I told him, he replied, "Too posh to push, eh?" angry But now, I think about it a lot less and, as pp have said, have come to realise that it really doesn't make a blind bit of difference to my relationship with my lovely DS, nor my worth as a mother. As it happens, I am having an ELCS for my second and don't feel the same about this one (not that it's happened yet!) I would definitely ask if you can have a debrief though as it might help you to process it all better.

InfinityPlusOne Fri 03-Mar-17 17:25:38

My first birth didn't go to plan but it was failing at breastfeeding that set me on a downward path. Many of us have these expectations that aren't met when it comes to birth and the early days (and even beyond) and it can be so upsetting. Having said that I had another baby a few years later and although again I was induced and I've never known what it is like to go into labour naturally I did manage to push her out (very quickly in a complete turnaround to the first time). One birth doesn't necessarily indicate what subsequent ones would be like.

That said it is far too early to be thinking about that and I believe you would benefit from talking to someone about this. It's all very well for others to say you should concentrate on the baby and count your blessing etc but your feelings are important and if you do get to express them, my experience is that will help you recover.

Also you most certainly did birth that baby, she also grew in your body for 9 months and wouldn't even exist if not for you. A labour does not a mother make!

NataliaOsipova Fri 03-Mar-17 17:34:05

It is why I have so much disdain for the 'natural' discourse pushed by the majority of midwives, mainstream internet groups, NCT, etc. It fails to deal with the reality that 'natural' does not in any way mean safe or better.

Yes, yes, yes! Spot on. You have a beautiful, healthy baby. You have not failed in any way; there never was a test. Agree too that the whole notion of birth plans is absolutely ridiculous - your plan is to have a healthy baby with minimal damage to you. And you cannot know ex ante how things will turn out and what the optimal course of action to achieve that will be. In days gone by, you and your baby would probably both have died. Instead, intervention has saved you. Hooray for intervention, that's what I say. I'd focus on that - and on enjoying your lovely new arrival.

Kintan Fri 03-Mar-17 18:56:33

You made a baby, that's so awesome! You grew her in your body - of course you have 'earned' her. Who cares how she was born - you and her are safe and that's all that matters smile I'm not trying to minimise your feelings, but I hope you can start to focus on the positives. I had an emcs after an induction too so I do get where you are coming from, but as a previous poster said emergency c sections aren't performed unless they are necessary. Congratulations btw!

hellomarshmallow Fri 03-Mar-17 19:59:33

sycamore amazing post

EurusHolmesViolin Sat 04-Mar-17 22:09:35

You sound a bit traumatised tbh. Not uncommon after giving birth, especially the first time. I think many of our heads are still a mess so soon after. Mine was after my first, which was a vaginal delivery. Not surprised you cant contemplate any more so soon either. Also normal!

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