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BIRTH TRAUMA SUPPORT THREAD.

(422 Posts)
VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 10:29:31

As has come up on a number of threads, many of us seem to have suffered from birth trauma.

It's all well and good knowing facts and figures, which of course, can ease our fears slightly, but with every birth having a chance of going severely wrong, adding that to birth trauma issues is going to convince us that we could be in whatever small percentage of people do suffer from our fears.

This thread is to help us come to terms with what happened during our previous births that left us with these emotional scars and to support each other through the journeys that we will go through in both our minds and possible future/current pregnancies.

There have been previous threads on which people have oupoured their experiences but acknowledgement and discussion is more than each of us telling our own experiences, so I ask that not only do we tell our own stories but we acknowledge other's and help them to discuss their past too.

Giving birth should be a calm, and beautiful thing, not one full of fear and panic.

OracleInaCoracle Thu 07-Aug-08 10:42:13

what a great idea vs!

ghosty Thu 07-Aug-08 10:55:15

<shuffles in and gives VS a nudge and a mumbled 'Sorry for earlier' and sits down>
Not quite sure what I am doing here as my youngest is 4 but felt I should come seeing as I just had a go at VS about my own birth trauma on another thread where I had no place to be on account of my youngest child being 4 ....
Ho hum ...
Not going to start with my story but happy to lend huge amounts of support to others at this point. Birth Trauma is terrible and can affect you for years, even with loads of support etc
{{{{to all}}}

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 10:57:52

Ghosty, DD is 7. She will be eight in November.
Her birth is still with me now, it didn't help being forced to have a CS without any help dealing with the original trauma with DS1, almost 4 years ago but time makes no difference.
If anything it makes it greater the longer we carry it with us.

mslucy Thu 07-Aug-08 11:10:24

I do think I experienced birth trauma - 3 years ago when I had ds.

I have totally blanked my experience of birth out of my mind as it was so horrible.

I had loads of issues with my mother that surfaced after birth as well, though weirdly I didn't get pnd and felt full of love towards ds (who I still worship). I also have a good relationship with dh, which seems to get better as the years go by.

Now pg again after a bit of a struggle and thinking about a planned c-section to avoid horrors of birth.

I'm much more scared of birth this time round as my experiences were so negative.

I've found hypnotherapy very useful in dealing with my many anxieties and use relaxation techniques in difficult situations - I put myself into a trance when I had to have a CVS last week.

Could this be something that would help?

Bumperlicious Thu 07-Aug-08 11:19:49

I don't want to go into my story yet but I do want to join this thread. I'm really going to have to do something before I consider another child, but I don't know where to start. My labour wasn't even that bad, I just hated it and dread doing it again.

damdaffs Thu 07-Aug-08 11:27:00

hi all! not sure my birth experience was half as bad as some, it was relatively straightforward tho very painful as i was induced. I did feel very alone during the process and trapped, had to stay on bed due to being on a monitor, couldn't understand (and still don't understand) why i had to fight and fight for pain relief. Having said that duriing the labour everyone around was pretty supportive.

But..... i think the totally crap aftercare when i went to the post-natal ward threw me into more of a trauma than anything. Basically there wasnt any aftercare - apart from some forced attempts to get my dd to breastfeed by jamming her head on my boob, which resulted in her screaming every time she saw them, and so she never latched on. Everyone on the ward was treated like 13 year olds at some kind of institution for wayward girls. It was like we were all being punished for something! I was desperate to get out asap but didnt know if i could self-discharge with a minor in tow. Anyway i did get out after 24hrs after much nagging but it left me feeling so angry. I got very down for some months afterwards and felt like a fraud as i didnt bond with my dd for a while.

I know my experience isnt a one off, why do they treat women like this? Is it because we are seen as copers and will put up and shut up? Or because childbirth is 'natural' and so the pain doesnt count? I wish i knew. Somethings gotta change hasnt it?

Sorry if this is a bit ranty!

spinspinsugar Thu 07-Aug-08 11:35:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spinspinsugar Thu 07-Aug-08 11:41:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JRocks Thu 07-Aug-08 11:43:34

I'd like to join, although my DS was born 3 years ago in November, I still feel like I've not fully understood what happened to me.

I was induced at 36+6 as a result of pre-eclampsia. Mostly the labour was okay, from what I can remember. Got distressed by the amount of people jabbing canulas in my hands (inefficiently) as I needed antibiotics for GBS. Had to wait for epidural as the anaesthetist was busy (I'm fairly okay with this, hospitals are busy). The epidural didn't bring my blood pressure down so on beginning to push my midwife quickly realised my BP was going through the roof and I was at risk of major complications like stroke etc... Room suddenly full of people gearing up for an assisted delivery, DS born after about 11hrs since waters were broken. Shortly afterwards I collapsed and haemorrhaged. Came round to a room full of people, could see my mum crying in the corner, DP looking gobsmacked, midwife asking me if I was breathing (WTF? if you don't know, how can I be?!) A doctor pushing saline through my arm and my consultant hurriedly stitching my episiotomy as blood is gushing out into some sort of container. I kept thinking 'I want to see my baby before I die' - as I was convinced that was what was happening.

Eventually everything calmed down and I started to feel better. Later when they took me out of bed to wash me and change the bedding, just sitting in a chair made me black out again, again came round to flashing red lights and a room full of people.

Sorry to go on, but it didn't end there. I'll not bore you with the post natal stuff now. I've never wrote it all down like that before and it's actually upset me all over again. It obviously just doesn't go away. People go through so much worse than me, but it just shouldn't be this way for any of us.

I'm concerned that future pregnancy may be marred by terror of going through birth again.

(Well done if you read all of this, thank you for starting the thread VS)

Bronze Thu 07-Aug-08 11:46:27

I'm joining but don't know quite what to say. Two great births then a horrendous ones left me a bit crappy. DD is 2 now and I still cry about it.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 11:46:42

MsLucy, it could well be, yes, we all find different coping methods. For you it may be hypnosis.

For me, this time round, It was all about control. I may as well start with my story, it may help others to both open up and to be able to identify how their trauma will/may manifest itself.

You will see in my story, bumper, that I don't believe a birth being 'bad' is really much to do with how much trauma you suffer.

When I was 19, I fell unexpectedly pregnant with DD. I was in a very unstable relationship, If I hadn't found out I was pg, I doubt it would have lasted 6 months.

At 23 weeks, I went into hospital with pains, was told if I went into labour it would be classed as a miscarriage rather than prem birth so was pretty scared, but got sent hoe after they couldn't find anything wrong.

At 32 weeks I went back in, in pain, not even that much pain, I could've probably dealt with the pain much easier if I hadn't had a huge row with my then bf and glassed him two days before (long story!) but I completely overreacted and wallowed, my mother took me to hospital.

I was in hospital for a week, on all sorts of drugs, by now nothing was taking the pain away, but they couldn't find anything wrong, no bleeds, scans seemed fine etc.

The cons decided it was probably a cyst or an ulcer and took me down to surgery for an exploratory op on my ovaries and bowels.

When I came round I was in agony and was told I had a very poorly baby in SCBU, my placenta had abrupted and I had lost 7 pints of blood internally.

I didn't get to see DD for two days as I was too poorly to go to SCBU and she was too poorly to come to HDU.

I didn't expect her to survive, especially as she stopped breathing three times, and closed myself off to her, I didn't want to love her incase she was taken away, but she wasn't.

I had severe PND, during which time I attempted suicide and suffered kidney failure because of the OD, but got better and just got on with things.

4 years later I got pg with DS1 and because I hadn't dealt with how rough a time I had with DD it all came back to me, the loss of control and I was really nervous (NOTE: IMO, My birth trauma is NOT because of DD's birth, but because of how my second birth was later handled, I do not believe the severity of the birth makes any difference to the trauma).

I told my cons I wanted a VBAC, he flat out refused, using the 'reasons' that I would probably have placental abruption again if I tried labour (no evidence of this exists) or that I would rupture my scar, mainly because ds1 was going to be a 'big' baby.

I cried, I begged, I pleaded, he would not allow me to have a VBAC. (I didn't know back then just how wrong he was being). The section was booked for the 29th dec. Xmas day I spent drinking a bottle of whisky to try and induce labour so I wouldn't have to have the section.

When I went down to surgery I was crying, I was telling the doctors/nurses/midwives/anyone that would listen that I didn't want this. They still operated. They took my baby away from me in the middle of the operation with no need to. I was terrified he was going to die.
This was a routine uncomplicated elective caesarian.

Three years later, I'm pg again, with DS2 and I find MN (and Lulu and the other lovely ladies on the VBAC thread) and am able to get the control of my birth experience that I needed (birth story of DS2 here but I'm still very aware that when we ttc no4, all these feelings are going to come flooding back, less so thanks to the help I received duringDS2's pregnancy and the good experience I had with him, but they'll still be there.

So, like I said, for me, it's control, I need to be able to control my own experience, I need to make the decisions, I need my birth plan to be followed as much as possible.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 11:55:23

Sorry, lots of x-posts, have a sleeping baby on lap, so typing one-handed!

Damdaffs - I think care has tons to do with it, the baby being totally dependant on you is one of the scariest things you will ever encounter and we do need better post-natal care in so many cases.
spinspinsugar - perfect(? can you call something so bodged perfect?) example of medical intervention fucking things up. I'm pleased you managed to have a good experience with dd, though suffering racism after the birth shock I'm speechless.
JRocks did you find that with so many people around the whole thing turned into a blur? I know when I try and piece together what happened with DD it's like trying to remember a night out when youve had way too much to drink! The looks on other peoples faces were what reallyscared me. I don't think I could've coped this time round if DP hadn't been so supportive and held it together so well.

mslucy Thu 07-Aug-08 12:04:26

I wish I could blame the hospital or anyone really.

I just don't think my body coped very well with
having such a big baby in it.

The only thing that really irritates is that I knew ds would be massive - I could feel him in there!

No one believed me.

I was over a week late which didn't help either.

He is the most delightful child you could wish for so I don't think he suffered and it's something I will never discuss with him - my mother has moaned on and on about her terrible birth with me for as long as can remember.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 12:09:00

How big was he MsLucy?

How far gone are you now? Have you been having regular growth scans? (I know a one off growth scan means next to nothing, but I had scans every fortnight and DS2's weight was almost exact)

damdaffs Thu 07-Aug-08 12:15:24

I know what you mean about being in control, vs, it would make a huge difference, but isn't one of the problems with labour that its a bit like the weather; you just don't really know whats going to happen on the day? I wanted a home birth but i got hospital induction with every intervention bar a CS. How to feel empowered and in control when in reality, well, we aren't and just don't know what our bodies are going to do in labour? Maybe feeling we are involved in the decisions along the way is a start?

BTW i'm hopping to and fro, got a LO flopped on the sofa with bit of a temperature....

spinspinsugar Thu 07-Aug-08 12:19:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 12:19:25

I was lucky that this time round my cons understood (different hospital) and all decisions were mine she quite clearly told me that she was their to support my decisions and tell me my options and any risks.
So, yeah, I don't expect to be in control of the situation as in I can control exactly what will happen, but I want/need to be able to make the decisions as to what course of action we take.

spinspinsugar Thu 07-Aug-08 12:23:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spinspinsugar Thu 07-Aug-08 12:24:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OiMum Thu 07-Aug-08 12:38:06

Hi there. I feel like a bit of a loon posting this on here because you ladies have all had it much worse than me but I really do think that my pregnancy and birth are going to completely dictate how I treat my ds for the rest of his life.

I had pre-eclampsia when carrying him which was picked up at my 5 month scan as I was at King's Hospital where they were carrying out a research program into P-E. I was from that point scanned every 1 - 2 weeks and with each scan it became more & more obvious that he wasn't growing well and was suffering from fetal growth restriction. All this time I was also suffering with incredible sickness, coughing up blood and bile an average of 8 times a day. Not nice. Towards the end of my pregnancy I would lay awake all night waiting for him to kick as he was slowing down and no-one would listen to me- I knew there was something wrong but was just looked upon as a neurotic first time mother.

Anyway- at 36 weeks a consultant at Kings decided that I needed to have an c-section and deliver him within the next 12 hours. They then realised that because I'd moved to Kent (and informed them) they had inadvertanantly excluded me from their budget and I simply couldn't have him there. I was told to go home and call my local hospital to see if they could 'fit me in'. Bearing in mind that I had just been told he HAD to be delivered asap. My mother and I took turns at crying / screaming at the consultant who flat out refused us. To cut it short, I ended up in a local hospital the next morning only to be induced 3 times, in labour for 4 days and never getting further than 4cm dilated. I had a mild stroke and my son's heart stopped. They then decided a section might be a good idea and he was delivered rapidly and swept off to ICBU where he spent just one night as he was perfectly well, albeit tiny (4lb 5oz).

My upset is that I feel Kings were more interested in guinea pigging me for their precious research and left us far too long and that even though it was evident to everyone that my baby needed to be delivered urgently, they took their sweet time about it when all of this could have been avoided.

It's only recently that I even considered having another child and before I had him I wanted a tribe of children (probably partly due to naive innocence as to how much hard work this job really is!). My mother favours my brother (not being self pitying here- it's well known within our family) as she had PE and an AWFUL birth with him and has protected him and pandered to him ever since. I just worry that I will to the same with my ds. I am not a smothering mother, I let the boy get on with it but we are incredibly attached to one another and sometimes I will just sit next to his bed staring at him for ages. Christ- I'm crying!! I had best go- this is one long message- apologies ladies!!

OiMum Thu 07-Aug-08 12:40:11

Christ- I just did exactly what you asked people not to do and outpoured my own story. Forgive me, please!

I think this is a great idea as there's no-one better to speak to than other mothers who have been there, or close at least.

Just reassuring words can help and this is probably the best place to find that.

damdaffs Thu 07-Aug-08 12:43:05

...so do you think that with subsequent births you are treated not QUITE so much like a cretin, plus you have forewarning of the crap you might get, so you can head off any silly behaviour from the midwives and medics etc? please say yes, i am trying for a second one!

VictorianSqualor Thu 07-Aug-08 12:43:54

Not at all Oimum! I didn't mean don't tell us your story, just don't tell us it and disappear, we can all tell our stories, but we need to acknowledge each others too.
smile

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Thu 07-Aug-08 12:44:04

A good idea for a thread.
I had some trauma when I had ds. He is now 3.5 and I am only just starting to 'get over' it.
He was born undiagnosed breech on his due date. My waters went at home and I stayed at home until I was 3 mins apart. When reaching hospital they discovered something was wrong and it basically went wrong from there. The doctors didn't tell me what was happening and the midwife completely ignored me throughout. I was taken through for a c section. The worst part for me wasn't the operation but the care before I went in to have it! I felt like a piece of meat.
I am now 16 weeks pg with number 2 and have to decide how to labour.

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