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If you are very afraid...(6 Posts)
I want to share my story so far with anyone else who is struggling with a crippling fear of childbirth.
I am 18weeks into a planned pregnancy. This planned pregnancy took me 7 years to commit to, and for the first time since that little pink line made its appearance I can’t wait to meet my second baby!
Yesterday I met with a consultant. I told him I was afraid. He laughed, and told me I would be fine. Tried to explain again, more laughter. This was all good natured, he wasn’t being cruel. He just didn't get it...
DH tried to explain. Nope. I tried again - it was getting awkward. I had to chose between giving up, asking for another consultant or using every ounce of strength that I had to advocate for myself... surprising I successfully chose and executed the third option.
I told him I felt he wasn’t hearing me, I found his laughing humiliating. I’m not a silly girl who doesn’t fancy giving birth, I’m petrified. Everything he was telling me I have been told before. It didn’t happen that way - the trust is gone. I want a C-section. I don’t relish the idea of surgery but it is the only way I can feel ok about giving birth...
Then he started to listen. He became very professional. We spoke to each other respectfully, he clarified when I asked questions. I became a person and not just a set of pregnancy notes.
We suggested that I would have my anomaly scan at 20weeks and meet with the head consultant at 24. I politely asked him if we could make that appointment for 21 weeks. I explained that I am so scared I am not functioning properly day to day. I need to know what is going to happen to me. Those three weeks would make a lot of difference to my life.
He excused himself and left the room.
He returned with the head consultant, who had been working in the next room. The rest is a bit of a haze as the relief that flooded over me makes it hard for me to remember word for word.
He wrote in my notes. Outlined my fears and labelled them as a phobia. I’m so grateful for that - phobia... not ‘a bit nervous’ not ‘apprehensive’... phobia. It holds so much more weight as I will meet so many different hcp’s on this journey.
He suggested so many different options to reassure me that history will not repeat itself (I was a victim of bad luck and poor care, not a medical emergency).
If I think I have gone into labour before 39 weeks I’m allowed to go straight to hospital, no waiting about at home for things to develop. I am to be given an epidural right away - no waiting for 4cms.
He suggested bringing me in at some point during my 39th week to get the epidural fitted before an induction. My jaw dropped. Really!? That was my dream scenario! I didn’t even ask for it because I didn’t in my wildest dreams think it would be an option... a vaginal birth with control over pain relief from start to finish...? No surgery to recover from...? no worries about my milk not coming in...? no stress about having to be sedated if I freak out on the table when I know I’m cut open but wide awake...?
Yes please! I was overwhelmed and said that is exactly what I want to do. So I’m meeting him again in ten weeks to make some more solid plans. He recognised that for me this wasn’t just about getting the birth right, but that a positive birth will have long reaching positive effects stretching into the future. He is right - traumatised is a perfect way to describe how I felt after my first childbirth experience. I can’t even believe I’m going to do it again.
Consultant 1 took over again. We finished the appointment and he booked me in to start with perinatal mental health, there was talk of CBT. I’m also booked in to have an in-depth session to discuss my previous experience.
But most importantly... I’m not as scared anymore. I was listened too and they don’t just think I’m some silly girl who can’t be arsed to give birth! And that happened because I stood up for myself, I kept telling them until they heard me and they understood.
And I can’t wait to meet my baby! That’s a sentence I can’t get tired of repeating!
Well done for standing up for yourself and telling the doc how dismissive he was and how humiliating it is to be laughed at.
I hope it makes him reconsider his practice.
Well done for sticking up for yourself. Hope you have the birth you need and deserve. Do be careful about your expectations of the epidural though - if it is a mobile/self- topping up mind then yes, theoretically you would be in control of it but do be aware that some let it wear off for the pushing/crowning stage: make sure that does not happen to you. Also make sure you have a plan B for it it does not take/only works for half your body. Not trying to burst your bubble, just think forearmed is the way to go. Good luck lovey.
Congratulations! I'm so pleased for you that you've had a good outcome to your meeting and that you're feeling so much better about the birth x
Just wanted to thank you for posting because I'm also feeling very afraid about my first time birth (28 weeks atm). I have suspected ME/CFS and as yet no one is taking me seriously when I say I'm utterly terrified of going into labour, not being able to summon the energy to deliver and losing all control over what happens...then having a massive relapse and not being able to look after my baby!
Gives me a boost to know that there are other people out there who are being taken seriously and are being empowered to have the birth they want! So nice to hear a positive story x
All the very best for you and your baby
YaBasic I almost wrote no bubble bursting on my op!
For now I need to bask in the illusion of control. I know ultimately I can’t have total control, but I think just knowing I’m being listened to, and that my notes will be comprehensive enough for DH to really advocate for me based on my personal needs... I feel like I’m starting from a good position at least.
(I’ll just put some flowers out too to represent the sunny mood I have after such a dark 3 months!)
memyselfandmuffin Maybe you could try the ‘politely calling them out on laughing’ thing?
I’ve used it a few times recently as I noticed sometimes people laugh but in a very gentle good natured way when they are being dismissive. When you highlight that they are technically laughing at you, it seems to make them apologise and be more professional.
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