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Advice for birth after traumatic first labour

(26 Posts)
lydiangel83 Sat 07-Nov-20 06:34:52

Any advice experience welcome please. I had a birth reflections meeting after traumatic forceps delivery with no pain relief and resulted in broken coccyx. Reflections didn't really help as hospital admitted they made mistakes,

Three years later still broken and I am terrified of labour again.

I am due no.2 in January and would appreciate any advice on how others have got over their trauma or learned to deal with it,

I don't want to have a C section just because I am afraid of the alternative but equally no one knows how much pain I will be in with my coccyx after vaginal delivery. Consultant view was that coccyx won't harm the baby and we can get more steroid injections to deal with pain afterwards (which help but don't eliminate pain).

There's also the fact I'm terrified of vaginal delivery! How have others gotten over this?!

Thanks for reading this far x

OP’s posts: |
LadyCurd Sat 07-Nov-20 06:56:47

Oh lovely, I couldn’t read this and run as 9years ago I was in you boat pregnant with #2 and terrified. I blogged about it here

I found birth reflections useless too, what helped me was writing to the supervisor of midwives at the hospital who was amazing and took me under her wing and pushed for me to get the care I needed, you have to feel listened to and supported not dismissed if your next birth is going to go well. I nearly got a doula to support me in next birth but in the end didn’t. Second birth didn’t quite go to plan as was supposed to be early epidural but there was a crash section so they had to take it out, the hospital was mortified and so apologetic but actually it was the best thing as had a vaginal birth on gas and air and it was so healing, but I didn’t have risk of further damage like you.
Some EMDR may help with you processing your fears around the birth, I also found hypobirthing cd and the book juju sundins birth skills helped me with strategies to Keep calm and in control.
Basically get assertive with the hospital, get someone on your side pushing for the care you feel you need.
I went back to supervisor of midwives for my third birth and again she made sure I was looked after, my name was on a list In the labour ward of women Who need extra help and all the midwives were so good with me.
Good luck

ClaireP20 Sat 07-Nov-20 07:12:27

Hi OP, I also had a difficult forceps birth (luckily with spinal block) 6 years ago. All was going ok until the put the induction drip in and then everything went very painful and very bad. So much for the months of hypnobirthing I did!
Anyway, this time I requeated a C Section. I was terrified of it and peole kept telling me it was really painful etc. So I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. However the consultant said I could have one, because of my anxiety around giving birth, and it turned out to be wonderful for me. I took lots of painkillers in with me for afterwards (hidden in change bag, that was a tip someone gave me) and I took what they gave me plus my own paracetamol. But actually I was up showering the next day and sitting up to look after baby. By the way, I was really worried about how I would lift the baby out that first day and night after my operation, but it was fine (plus they sleep pretty constantly at first!). I remember the whole birth, the first beautiful cry, seeing my baby being lifted - things I hadn't seen before because of the state I was in. Plus I was well rested and calm. So not only was my birth experience really positive, but it affected so many things. I didn't get post natal depression again, which I did get after my horrible birth. I was able to breastfeed (again, the traumatic birth affected this and no milk came in). Breatsfeeding means I now co sleep and get a good 8 hours a night. It just affected so many things for me. Honestly OP, you must make your own decision, but I honestly believe that a c section is the way for you to go, because we have had similar experiences. X

TheDetectiveBadge Sat 07-Nov-20 07:15:32

I had a c section. It was great! I found it much smoother, calmer and straightforward than my traumatic birth. The recovery was absolutely fine. Much more difficult recovering from the vaginal delivery! I'd definitely have a c section again.

Newuser123123 Sat 07-Nov-20 07:17:17

I would have a c section to avoid further damage to your coccyx. Society is so dismissive of birth injury and women's pain and trauma in general. Get the elective booked, prep your body and mind for an operation and then enjoy your new baby x

redbirdblackbird Sat 07-Nov-20 07:20:35

Same as above. I had a horrendous first Birth, it still affects me now emotionally. However I had a c section with 2&3 which were just amazing. I felt in control because I knew the date etc, the pain was far less than I had with my natural birth and well managed

TheProvincialLady Sat 07-Nov-20 07:23:19

I had a very traumatic birth too and would literally tremble when I went past the hospital. I did a hypnobirthing course (in person, with CDs to listen to every day at home) and it utterly transformed how I felt about the whole thing. All the fear went. In the end I had a lovely home birth which was virtually painless. I had a doula which helped massively. Then had to go into hospital anyway 3 days later because of a complication and didn’t feel afraid of that either.

It sounds like you might be better with a c section but whatever you decide, hypnobirthing might help you to lose the terror. Or EMDR therapy as someone suggested above. Even if you decided never to have another child it would still benefit you to deal with the trauma, which is just awful and you don’t need to live like that.

lydiangel83 Sat 07-Nov-20 07:26:08

Thanks everyone for your replies I really appreciate I ate it. I guess I just don't know what help I need. I have consistently asked for counselling but not available in my area apparently!

@LadyCurd what care did you get that you needed?

Not heard of EDMR therapy what is this please?

Thanks again everyone and so glad you had positive subsequent experiences x

OP’s posts: |
TheProvincialLady Sat 07-Nov-20 07:26:27

Oops sorry I misread and now see that number 2 is already on the way in January 😊

MrsR2018 Sat 07-Nov-20 07:27:54

Following OP.
Sending calming thoughts but unfortunately I have no advice.
I did a hypnobirthing course with my first (and currently only) baby, I was no scared of birth at but was induced due to GD and it all went horribly wrong. It ended in EMCS and the whole experience has put me off ever wanting anymore.
People suggest a section but I found the recovery rough mentally, so much I wanted to do but “couldn’t”

MrsR2018 Sat 07-Nov-20 07:28:48

So many typos, sorry!
*Was not scared of birth at all but was induced

ClaireP20 Sat 07-Nov-20 08:28:37


I had a c section. It was great! I found it much smoother, calmer and straightforward than my traumatic birth. The recovery was absolutely fine. Much more difficult recovering from the vaginal delivery! I'd definitely have a c section again.

So would I x

AlexandraEiffel Sat 07-Nov-20 08:32:14

I had lots of specialist counselling (privately) a doula and a home birth so I was well away from the hospital environment and more in control. Hope if goes well whatever you decide.

Widebum Sat 07-Nov-20 08:38:56

My son is now 20 but I had a horrendous failed ventouse and very quick forceps / large episiotomy birth with him, he was 9lbs and back to back, really quite stuck. He was in special care for a few days with trauma and it took me many months to fully recover.

I had DD just over two years later, this time things were so very different. My waters broke at 10am, there was meconium so I went to the hospital to be told again DD was back to back. I was so upset at the thought of going through all that again. I stayed upright and walked and walked all day, determined not to lay on my back all day like I did with DS. Things progressed very quickly during the afternoon and evening, maybe because I stayed upright and moving and DD was born vaginally very easily with no pain relief at all (not even a paracetamol) at 10pm.

Second time around my body just seemed ‘looser’ - I barely had to push really, I knew I needed to stay calm and try and let things happen - my body seemed to know what to do second time around.

I was able to get up and shower immediately after the birth and left hospital the following morning with just a tiny tear along my old episiotomy scar. A few days later I was out and about as normal. Totally and completely different to my first.

Hope this gives you some positivity that things can be very different second time around. Good luck! Whatever you choose just make sure it’s right for you. That’s all that matters

Jsh125 Sat 07-Nov-20 18:34:19

I had an awful 1st birth (induced with drip, failed ventouse, forceps, 3b tear with no epidural) & found ourselves expecting number 2 when he was 15 months old. I was terrified about giving birth again but my midwife was amazing, she was a different one to first time but was so positive that there was no reason why the same would happen again that it really reassured me & allowed me to believe it myself. I also did a short hypnobirthing type course, literally an afternoon but it made me feel like I had more tools & techniques to remain in control of my labour.

Baby number 2 was a totally amazing waterbirth, still had a 2nd degree tear but it was everything I had hoped for with number 1.

I guess it partly depends on the reasons behind your traumatic birth - fortunately for me they weren't issues that were especially likely to happen again - but definitely try & find that midwife who will champion your cause, give you confidence you can do it & can refer you onwards if that will help.

Ultimately the most difficult bit is that no one can tell you how labour number 2 will go but for me I definitely felt like I'd taken more steps to be more in control & clued up about ways I could help myself in labour.

Good luck, whatever you chose to do I hope you have a much more positive birth experience this time

lydiangel83 Sat 07-Nov-20 21:29:35

@Jsh125 glad it was better for you 2nd time. What short course did you do and how did u get a midwife who supported you?

OP’s posts: |
lydiangel83 Sat 07-Nov-20 21:30:30

@Widebum how did you prepare for second birth? I can't even remember what we were taught in NCT etc about the basics of labour!

OP’s posts: |
lydiangel83 Sat 07-Nov-20 21:31:17

@MrsR2018 sorry to hear you had a rough ride sad

OP’s posts: |
Hellothere19999 Sat 07-Nov-20 21:39:01

Hi, I’m not quite the same as you but had a horrendous labour and ended up having an emergency c section. I would definitely go straight for the c section if I were you. It is a hard recovery but probably a doddle compared to what happened to you previously! Plus you are pretty much mobile again after a few days x

Jsh125 Sat 07-Nov-20 23:43:34

@lydiangel83 I think my midwife was total pot luck. Just happened that midwives had rotated / swapped around & the one at my surgery second time round was just totally on my wavelength & was so positive. She made me believe it could all be totally straightforward second time round.
It's rubbish that it's down to chance whether you find a midwife you click with but remember it's your pregnancy & you can ask to swap if you think they're not really taking your concerns seriously or you can ask to talk to someone else about it.
The course I did was a daisy birthing one, I think they're National but not sure. It was called something like a birth preparation course & was just 3-4 hours of an afternoon which fitted in perfectly with toddler, work etc... but it without doubt helped me have more faith in myself, a greater understanding of how to help myself in labour & a confidence that I didn't just have to agree to whatever was being suggested if I didn't feel comfortable.

Widebum Sun 08-Nov-20 09:43:53


I didn’t prepare for the second birth at all really, I just made sure I didn’t lay around in the early starve of my labour and just tried to keep upright until as late as possible to keep things moving. Part of the reason I think I had such a hard time first time around was the first time around from the first pain I went straight to hospital and I laid down and rested rather than keep moving and upright.

I had a very slow, long labour, DS was back to back and had a huge swelling on his head. 20 years ago things were very different, the hospital I went to was put in special measures over the way that expectant mothers were treated, basically like you were an inconvenience. There was no positive support. I was shouted at when my water broke over the floor and told to get back into bed (it was midnight and the midwives all wanted to sit and chat in the office rather than see to me or clean the mess up). Just an awful experience.

Second time around I used a different hospital and was more assertive, also helping myself by walking around right up until an hour or so before she was born.
Combination of a slightly smaller baby than DS, everything inside now being a bit looser and keeping active until the last minute all helped I think.

LadyCurd Sun 08-Nov-20 16:17:42


Thanks everyone for your replies I really appreciate I ate it. I guess I just don't know what help I need. I have consistently asked for counselling but not available in my area apparently!

@LadyCurd what care did you get that you needed?

Not heard of EDMR therapy what is this please?

Thanks again everyone and so glad you had positive subsequent experiences x

I got a 1:1 appt with an anaesthetist to discuss my options. I got introduced to all the staff leads so I knew their faces and they knew mine so any shift I arrived on someone would know I need extra support. I got regular meetings with supervisor of midwife to make a plan. I got a private tour of the labour ward at a quiet time so I felt safe and the environment felt familiar we went right from front door and she talked me through every detail (I didn’t have first in that hospital and the sound of labouring women still trigger me plus first birth was middle of night and they didn’t answer the door for ages so that was part of the trauma)

I was referred for EMDR which is eye movement desensitisation reprocessing and CBt sounds airy fairy but worked a treat. The traumatic memories hugely healed. Usually contraindicated in pregnancy but we decided together was best option for me. Seriously I was very lucky that I happened to contact the phenomenal supervisor of midwives who was incredible and determined to do everything in her power to make a positive experience next time. She was amazing.

Good luck. I hope you find someone at the hospital on your side. PM me location if you want. I now have contacts....

lydiangel83 Sun 08-Nov-20 20:46:11

Thanks @LadyCurd great that you did so much to make sure you were happy with your surroundings. I only have been to a maternity ward once since having my baby and that was to see a friends poorly baby in NICU and I was so upset to be there. I would love a ward tour but don't think it'll happen due to COVID. I don't think my midwife is that interested but I am consultant led care now and she seemed nice so I will see what she can offer when I speak to her again in a week or two. Thanks again for your advice x

OP’s posts: |
lydiangel83 Sun 08-Nov-20 20:47:14

@LadyCurd I am in Bedfordshire (Leighton Buzzard) is this anywhere near you!?

OP’s posts: |
LadyCurd Mon 09-Nov-20 09:21:02

Sadly not but check out the maternal mental health matters campaign. Also Alison Shaloe is amazing and might be willing to travel. She was my breastfeeding support midwife (ran a free group in my borough) and was amazing and so calm and healing just chatting to her.

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