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Would any kind MNers be willing to talk to me about my dd's birth? I would like to move on from it.

(108 Posts)
ShowOfHands Wed 21-May-08 14:53:48

I appreciate that this seems a rather self-indulgant thing to do but I feel that I need to put what happened behind me and I know that to do this I need to talk it through. I have tried the Birth Trauma website but floundered rather in the tales of other births. DH has tried to talk it over with me but obviously our experiences of the day are very different and he adopts an attitude of believing it is best just to leave it in the past. I am carrying around a lot of guilt about the birth and it is affecting not only the way I parent but my decision to have more children. I want a big family but I am so frightened of birth that I'm avoiding any physical contact with DH. The idea of getting pg again makes me physically panic. I cannot think about it.

What I want is something that isn't possible. I want somebody to tell me why the birth went the way it did. I don't understand so much of what happened. I am being sent a copy of the notes but am not hopeful of finding any answers as I read my postnatal notes and they were a lengthy list of lies and conjecture.

The birth briefly:

My waters broke suddenly at 39 weeks and contractions started within half an hour. I was having a home waterbirth. Took 20hrs to get to 10cm and my contractions stopped. I got out of the pool to re-start them and wasn't allowed back in. Contractions started again lasting 2 minutes and with a 30 second break inbetween. I had no urge to push but was urged to push with each contraction. I pushed for nearly 5 hours in every conceivable position. DD did not descend at all. I transferred to hospital. Dishy surgeon examined me and said em cs was necessary as dd was stuck (obviously). I begged them to try something else. Forceps wasn't possible because of her position apparently and they said they would try a ventouse in theatre but not to get my hopes up. Had a spinal block, 3 surgeons attempted a ventouse delivery. They swore a lot and pulled me down the bed with the effort. No luck. I had an em cs. The surgeon who delivered dd said there was no conceivable way she could have been born naturally and not to believe it was anything I did.

See, not that traumatic really and I'm being a bit of a baby. Please don't shout at me. I was so grateful to have a happy and healthy baby and I feel selfish for fixating on the birth. I planned a home waterbirth, skin to skin and immediate breastfeeding. I didn't see dd as she was born and she was taken away to be checked because of PROM and jaundice. They brought her back clean and dressed. She didn't feed for 24hrs and was sleepy because of the jaundice and it took a long time to establish a good bf relationship.

I have so many questions and I know you can't answer them but they go round my head in the middle of the night when I've been having flashbacks. Why was she stuck? What happened? The ventouse tears and scars are by her right ear so her head was on its side I presume? How did this happen? Why couldn't my body deliver her? Why didn't I have the urge to push? Is there something wrong with me that means I can't deliver naturally? Will I never have that urge to push that people talk about?

I feel selfish and self-absorbed but this is affecting my sex life, my confidence and my plans to have any more children.

Please, if you can spare a minute I'd appreciate any thoughts.

Pinkjenny Wed 21-May-08 14:57:14

SOH - you were so fixated on a home birth and I think the whole thing was just so far removed from what you were expecting, it was bound to be difficult to 'get over'. I won't say, 'focus on what a gorgeous, gregarious, beautiful little M you have', because I know that you know that.

She loves you so much, and you are one of the best mums I have ever come across. You truly inspire me. I wish you could move past this, and whilst you do, all of us May 07ers love you and support you very much.

eenybeeny Wed 21-May-08 14:59:27

wow. ok please bear with me this response may not be all I want it to be because I am looking after a toddler whilst writing.

I had a very difficult birth too and lots of guilt. Comfort yourself that it is very common.

You are a wonderful mother with a wonderful baby. I think sometimes we are all sold this idea of the "ideal" birth which is actually unrealistic. (BTW I was planning a waterbirth as well)

What we have to remember is that SO MANY mothers and children used to die in childbirth. Many of us are not able to achieve this ideal birth. We just have to be grateful for medical science that we and our babies are alive and well.

There isnt anything you could have done to change it. You know this!! My baby was prem and I have been told the next one probably will be too. Why? I dont know.

I guess my gift is in mothering the child not delivering the baby. Personally I know which one I would choose if I had to be stuck with one.

Best of luck to you. xxx

schneebly Wed 21-May-08 14:59:57

I am sorry you have had such a rought time sweetie - you need Lulumama! She is wonderful. I will alert her to your thread. x

funnypeculiar Wed 21-May-08 15:01:49

Doesn't sound self absorbed at ALL sad, you are NOT being a baby.

Sure someone much more knowledgeable will be along soon, but I had NO urge to push with ds (my first) After a very easy & quick dilation, it took me hours & every conceivable position to get him out. I have no idea what went 'wrong', but I couldn't 'get' how I was meant to push. Ended up managing to get him out with two midwives threatening consultants & my legs up in stirrups. With dd (my second) pushing felt absolutely natural & easy - even though she had her arm by her head I managed to splat her out speedily & felt like I knew exactly what I was doing. smile

HTH with that bit, and sure you'll get more knowledgable advice on the rest of it soon smile

Can you get/would you like a midwife at your hospital to talk you through the notes? My local hospital (& I think most of them now) offer this service.

ShowOfHands Wed 21-May-08 15:01:58

PJ don't make me cry, it's not pretty. She is a gregarious, bright and funny little soul and doesn't deserve a Mum who lies awake in the wee small hours feeling like a crappy failure.

Anyway, I'm not talking to you because of the cricket and its interference in this weekend. I'm going to get dh to drive to ScouseWorld and get you before we trundle down to NavyWorld.

tyaca Wed 21-May-08 15:02:27

hey there SOH... i cant answer any of your questions, but there will be planty round here who can be more helpful. sounds horrible, and i am a bit shock that you wrote "not that traumatic"...

Pinkjenny Wed 21-May-08 15:05:59

Exactly tyaca.

And you disappeared for what felt like days on us! It was quite traumatic for us too. wink

She does deserve you. A mum that is thoughtful, caring, considerate, patient, kind and (I could go on) totally, totally focused on her needs. What more could she ask for?

(And I am literally gutted about the weekend, seriously sad)

ShowOfHands Wed 21-May-08 15:07:34

Thank you for the replies. I do know how lucky I am to have dd and were it not for modern medical techniques I don't know what would have happened. I try to focus on that every day instead of dwelling on the past. I'm not finding it too easy though.

I very much like the 'I had a straightforward 2nd birth' stories.

I may go and talk to the hospital but they're lying eejits. They discharged me after 12hrs because they needed the bed and wrote 'feeding well, no help needed' all over my notes. No, dd wouldn't latch on at all and was sleepy and you refused all of my begging for help. Fortunately the paed wouldn't discharge dd so I stayed in an extra night before they shoved me out the door.

bobblehat Wed 21-May-08 15:08:02

Before I start, I should point out that I can't answer your questions, but I can share my experiences if that helps.

I was induced on my due date with ds1. I have no idea why, I just presumed the midwives knew best. The induction took ages to get going and they would not allow me off the bed.

Although I wanted a hospital birth, I wanted it as naturally as possible. I have a needle phobia so really didn't want any medical invtervention. Anyway, the g+a just made me feel sick so i ended up with an epidural. Still nothing really happened and he ended up being born by ventouse.

After he was born he was taken off me to be examined and I didn't get to cuddle him for ages. Despite all my best efforts (and loads of others) he would not bf.

I felt such a failure - I couldn't do what I most wanted to do in the world.

Fast forward 3 years to the birth of ds2. It was so quick we didn't get to the hospital and he was delivered by Dh. He fed like a dream from the start.

So, what happened first time? I have no idea, but I look at my 6yo now and know that all the pain, angst and everything else was worth it.

I don't know if that helps. I don't know how old your lo is, but it does get better.

mumclaire Wed 21-May-08 15:08:45

Well for starters you aren't being selfish or self absorbed - the birth didn't go as you wanted/planned it and therefore it was traumatic for you. Please don't feel like a failure - many people (myself included) have births that don't go to plan and it does affect you - the midwife said to me that its very similar to post traumatic stress.
Try contacting the hospital and see if someone will talk through your notes with you. I did and I felt miles better. a midwife sat and explained every word of my notes including exactly why I had a crash c-section. A lot I didn't know as I wasn't really thinking straight at the time!!
Hope that helps

ShowOfHands Wed 21-May-08 15:09:11

shock at 'literally gutted'. What has DH done to you now? Did it involve a farking cricket bat? I'd like to use one on him!

wink

Poledra Wed 21-May-08 15:12:16

ShowofHands, I had a traumatic first birth too (also planning water birth) and it did take me some time to get round it. Basically I ended up with an em-cs under GA, so felt for a very long time that I had no given birth to her, rather that she was born. Also had sneaky feeling that they could have given me anyone's baby, how did I know she was the right one (despite the fact she was given straight to dh, and she was also the spittng image of him).
Anyway, I went to the birth afterthoughts folks at my hopsital, where a mw who had not been involved in my care at all took me through my notes. She was wonderful, I broke my heart (had to go twice in fact, as I was too upset to complete the notes the first time). My baby was stuck too, because of the way she was presenting - although she was head first, she had her head tipped right back on her shoulders and her face was coming first, IYSWIM. There was no reason why this should happen again with a subsequent birth and, indeed, I gave birth to dd2 vaginally 2 years later.
I really feel for you - our births were so far from our ideals that we struggle to accept the way they really happened. I would urge you to try and talk this through with a medical professional who can explain it to you. DHs, bless 'em, are generally no good for this, as they tend to focus on the outcome (i.e. both you and baby here and healthy, and everything worked out in the end).
And sweetheart, no-one is going to shout at you here - we only want to help you with what happened to you, and how you deal with it.

JamInMyWellies Wed 21-May-08 15:12:33

oh my lovely girl.

I know as PJ said what an absoloutely fantastic little girl you have. Al I can suggest is that you contact the hospital ask to speak to the head honcho midwife and ask to make an app to go through all of this with them. I know you feel disappointed about not having a home birth but my love I think if you asked around the majority of us May 07'ers did not have the birth we hoped and planned for. I know that prob does not make you feel any better but I so want you to be able to move on from this. You are the most amazing mummy and wife. I can honestly say that when I met you your grace and humour and intelligence shone through and because of that you have a wonderful daughter. Please please my love try to move on from this.

Oh just a thought what about having hypnotherapy it might calm your thoughts enough to gain another perspective.

Pinkjenny Wed 21-May-08 15:12:40

grin

ShowOfHands Wed 21-May-08 15:22:39

<<snort>> at 'grace and humour and intelligence'. I am humbled but surely you're confusing me with another MNer.

You see I can't go to the hospital because I can't discuss this in rl without sobbing. I would snot everywhere and gulp a lot. It'd be like the birth all over again without the beautiful baby. grin

I don't feel like I gave birth either Poledra. My brother told me a few months later that I'd 'taken the easy option' by having a cs and that has stayed with me ever since. I feel like a poor excuse for womanhood. I'm very good objectively and can tell any woman who has had a cs that it was necessary and she should be proud etc but when it comes to me, I just become a ball of angst and guilt and feel like I've let dd down.

krang Wed 21-May-08 15:25:12

Remember this: birth trauma is in the eye of the beholder. If you felt your birth was traumatic, it was traumatic. You do not have to bleed a certain amount, or be in labour a certain number of hours, or suffer an agreed level of pain, before you are 'allowed' to suffer from a bad birth experience.

Speaking as someone who also had a bad birth experience, I can tell you that it is possible to move on, to go forward, to accept what happened to you - not forget it, but deal with it in a healthy way. Two years on, I am fine and am contemplating having another baby. But in order to get to that point, it's important that you deal with what happened to you.

There are several things you can do. The first is to contact your hospital's Patient Liason and Advisory service and tell them you want to go through your notes with a midwife, someone who will be able to answer your medical questions. The second is to go and see your GP and ask about counselling. If your GP is not able to recommend anyone, there are a couple of counsellors who specialise in birth trauma on the BTA website. Just talking to people can also help - friends, partner, HV, mother.

There is nothing wrong with you. People suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after car accidents, terrorist attacks, earthquakes - your experience is just as valid as theirs. It does not mean you are a failure, or a 'baby'. It means you went through a terrifying ordeal and are now trying to come to terms with it.

BroccoliSpears Wed 21-May-08 15:26:38

My first birth was oh so SO different from how I imagined it would be. I relate to your question "Why couldn't my body deliver her?", and I often wonder the same about both my children's births.

I rationalise it to myself by thinking that I might have had a birthplan, but dd hadn't read it or agreed to it, so she did things her way.

With appologies if that is too glib for you.

Pinkjenny Wed 21-May-08 15:26:58

I know that I had an elective section because Lexie was breech, but I honestly don't feel like I didn't 'give birth' to her. And I definitely don't think that major, emergency surgery is the 'easy option'. What does your brother know anyway? He's a boy!

And what's wrong with sobbing? If it helps, surely a few hours snotty sobbing is worth it if it helps you to try and think of it differently.

Shall I share some of my anxiety management? Shall I? If the way that you are thinking about something isn't helping you? Change it. Simple I know, but what else can you do, my sweet?

krang Wed 21-May-08 15:28:03

Just saw your last post.

When I went for my debrief with a midwife it was at the birth centre where I'd hoped to give birth but couldn't.

As soon as I walked in, I started to cry, and I cried all the way through my hour-long chat with the midwife.

She was wonderful and I needed to cry. Don't let the possibility of tears put you off. It's better to cry than to bottle it up and pretend everything is fine.

Don't let other people's idiotic remarks get you down. They've never been through it, they don't realise. My favourite was 'you'll forget the pain' (no, I didn't) and 'you've got a lovely son, what does it matter that you had a bad birth?' (it did, it mattered to me, and that meant it was important.)

JamInMyWellies Wed 21-May-08 15:30:05

bravo PJ! Love if you dont like the way you feel change it. grin

Pinkjenny Wed 21-May-08 15:32:03

I know its a bit simplistic, but it has really helped me. smile

Poledra Wed 21-May-08 15:35:24

Umm, SoH, did you notice the bit where I said I had to go back to complete going through my notes because I was so upset? Don't let the possibility of crying put you off - in fact it is probably beneficial. Even now, it can still sometimes make me tearful to think about dd1's birth, and about how down I was after it, but I get over it.

BTW, your brother's a numpty - ignore him angry

lavenderbongo Wed 21-May-08 15:36:58

I had a similar experience to you - although I luckily didnt have a cs but had a ventouse delivery with dd1.

My waters broke and then nothing happened - they then stuck me on the ward to wait and forgot about me. I started having contractions - didnt really know what was going on as this was my first. I was on my own and in tears until my husband turned up at visiting time.

I was very scared and ended up with an epidural and was fairly out of it. I didnt feel dd1 being born and although I did push I still felt it was heppening without me.

However with dd2 the labour started normally and after 12 hours of pushing they were about to send me in the ambulance to the hospital. I went to the loo blush came back into the room and said to the midwife "there is something coming out of me". She told me not to be so silly and then caught dd2 as she plopped out. Very bizarre and wonderful at the same time. I still cry every time I think about it.

My point I guesse is - please dont let this stop you having more children. Every labour is different and you may yet have an amazing birth and another beautiful girl like the one you have.

LadyThompson Wed 21-May-08 15:59:22

You sound like a fab and wonderfully loving mum. You had a bad time, you've been fobbed off by the medical profession (I know there are tons of wonderful ones but grrr) and your brother is an interfering and unhelpful twit (and just plain wrong!!) How can you have let ANYONE down? You gave your all! Anyway, nothing else constructive to say, I will leave that to people more knowledgeable than me, but beaming you a big hug anyway.

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