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Absolutely terrified of giving birth naturally - how do I conquer this?

(52 Posts)
mrsrawlinson Wed 10-Jun-09 11:12:27

OK, so I'm 11 weeks pregnant with DC3 and it's beginning to dawn on me that at some stage it's going to want to come out. All along I've been adamant that I wanted an elective CS rather than a VBAC. I've got a battery of reasons up my sleeve (not least that everyone I know who's had a natural birth has had a horrendous experience), and had myself thoroughly convinced that it was the right option for me. Anyway, last night I was reading an article in the NCT magazine that the midwife gave me about how to cope with the pain of childbirth, and I got really shaky, hot, palpitations and felt like I was going to pass out. It dawned on me that all these 'reasons' I'd come up with were actually just excuses to cover up the fact that my antipathy towards the prospect of a natural birth is bordering on a phobia. Now my dilemma is, do I give in to this fear and go with my instinct to accept the risks and just get an ECS, or do I try to get some kind of counselling to get over it? It's not that I see childbirth as some kind of essential female rite of passage or anything like that. I just don't particularly like to think that my irrational fears are controlling me. I KNOW that a natural birth is the best, safest option - how do I convince my daft brain that it's true? Even now, I'm nearly in tears just thinking about it!

heartmoonshadow Wed 10-Jun-09 11:17:12

Hi Mrs Rawlinson,

I have no idea on how to overcome the fears -I am a first timer and I am petrified both SIL's had 4 terrible births between them. As have other friends - in fact no-one I know who has had a baby has ever said well actually it wasn't too bad - and mostly these stories were heard before I got pregnant. You would have thought this would have deterred me, but I had been declared infertile so I was never expecting to get pregnant - maybe this is why they were so honest, who knows? Or they could have been exagerating to make me feel better I have no idea.

To be honest I am just trying to go with the flow - if you do find a good way to get over the fear let me know!!!!!

Hope you get some good replies I will be watching for them.

CurryMaid Wed 10-Jun-09 11:20:26

Honestly?

I'm terrfied of it too having had a horrible natural delivery and quite frankly all I can think about in relation to my next pregnancy is how I can convince them to let me have a CS.

So I am quite envy of your position in that sense.

I will probably be flamed for saying this but I think if your every instinct is screaming at you to have an ELCS then there's no problem with doing that.

CurryMaid Wed 10-Jun-09 11:21:04

(although obviously there are risks!)

CaptainKarvol Wed 10-Jun-09 11:29:05

counselling is the way I'd go. Beacuse I know someone who was really helped by it, and went from feeling a c-section was her only option to being fine to try vaginal delivery. That was NHS counselling, by the way, so it's worth asking what is available to you.

sweetnitanitro Wed 10-Jun-09 11:36:46

I've only got the one and I was scared (also had a rubbish painful pregnancy which didn't help) and I tried hypnobirthing. I did still need painkillers during labour but it made me feel more prepared mentally and helped me sleep when I was the size of a whale grin so maybe some kind of relaxation CD or something like that would help you?

mrsrawlinson Wed 10-Jun-09 11:43:29

Thanks for your support, everyone. I've just booked an appointment to see the MW this afternoon so I'll ask her about that hypno thing too. Will report back later.

joanneg20 Wed 10-Jun-09 11:51:16

This thread will kick off, but in my opinion, if you are horrified by the idea of natural childbirth, you should opt to have an elective CS. You aren't even a first timer, so you will be taken more seriously.

Yes, you may conquer your fears and have a great vaginal birth, but on the other hand you also might not.

This is a subject close to my heart, as I've been in your position (and undergone therapy/counselling which has made absolutely no difference) - and I have now chosen to have a CS, which has enabled me to relax and enjoy my pregnancy.

Of course, I know that there are risks, and my CS may go badly, but I've done a lot of research, and there really is no convincing evidence to suggest that a CS performed at 39 weeks on a healthy mother/baby is a riskier option. And I would imagine this is even more the case if you're talking about CS versus VBAC.

CurryMaid Wed 10-Jun-09 11:53:52

joanneg20 that's really interesting. How did you convince them to give you a cs, if you don't mind me asking?

Trikken Wed 10-Jun-09 12:01:57

This is my 2nd. whilst im not so terrified of the birth im more nervous about being left alone with a newborn in the hospital for so long. I didnt find the midwives terribly helpful or constuctive last time, tho I know that it'll be better because now I know how to change a baby.

Reallytired Wed 10-Jun-09 12:03:09

Natal hypnotheraphy is similar to hynobirthing but a lot cheaper. I found that hypnosis really helped me. I did a course in Ewell which I enjoyed.

It helped me be more relaxed about the birth and believe in myself. It did hurt giving birth, I would be lying to say that it didn't. However it was far less painful than when I gave birth to my son.

You can get the CDs at quite a good price from ebay to see if it is for you.

joanneg20 Wed 10-Jun-09 12:06:16

CurryMaid - I'm going private. However, I have to say that I think I would have managed to convince even an NHS consultant, as it is a serious terror that I have made every conceivable effort to address. So I would have made sure that any consultant had understood that making me give birth naturally was a serious threat to my mental health. And also that I understood all risks involved in a CS. Fear of vaginal birth is a recognised phobia, and has to be taken seriously.

Reason I went private (despite it being quite a financial struggle!) is that I just couldn't face spending my pregnancy fighting for this, and having the uncertainty and fear. For me, the cost has been worth it, but it is a big price to pay!

I'm a first timer though; I would have thought that someone who has already had a traumatic birth would be in an even stronger position, as you know what you're talking about.

silkcushion Wed 10-Jun-09 12:10:29

sorry to hear you are so frighteneed.

Also shocked to hear that you've never heard anyone say natural childbirth si ok. Mine was definitely ok. It does hurt buit it's manageable and for a finite period. I think human nature is to embelish stories. Sometimes you meet new mums and it's like a competition over who ahd the goriest most dreadful experience.

Depending on yr financial situation I would suggest going to see a hypnotherapist who specialises in birthing. Mine is also an NLP practciioner so has lots of skills that can be used to reprogramme yr thinking about these things. I'm nearly 39 weeks pg and finsihed my hypnobirhting course 2 weeks ago. Not cheap £220 but worth it. my blood pressure has been getting lower(tends to be on the high side) and I feel really relaxed. No idea what this birth will be like (things rarely go according to plan ime) but will cope no matter what.

Whatever you decide - good luck

fleacircus Wed 10-Jun-09 12:12:34

I had a natural birth, it wasn't a terrible experience at all, it did hurt and I had a 2nd degree tear, but also I look back on it as a time when I felt incredibly powerful, physically and mentally. So for me it was an amazingly positive experience. So if people's horror stories are really bothering you, that's not universal.

However, I know someone else who had a very similar birth experience to me but felt entirely negative about it, because she'd planned on having an epidural and in the end there wasn't time. I think it's less the actual experience that makes a difference, more whether you feel in control and that things have gone as you'd hoped and expected.

There are risks in any birth; if you've decided on CS and feel more confident in this decision, and the idea of the alternatives causes you real terror, then maybe you should trust that instinct? It seems like you're losing faith in that decision and also that you feel you ought to want a natural birth.

pingviner Wed 10-Jun-09 12:14:10

Speak to your midwife at your booking visit and explain the feelings you are having - she may be able to refer you for counselling or to other members of the antenatal team who can help. Keep them informed, and be honest about your concerns and fears as time progresses, they can help you plan how to attempt this birth, whether its a VBAC or a repeat section.

Remember, one of the most important things for your babys start in life is an engaged, happy mother, who is not traumatised or shellshocked and can meet his/her needs. Make the decision on whats right for you and your baby - and that involves taking psychological factors into account as well as the biological ones. And you dont have to justify the choices you made at the birth to anyone but yourself and your child.

deakin82 Wed 10-Jun-09 12:15:15

i have had two natural deliveries with my two children and although it was painful at the time nothing can replace that proud feeling that overcomes you once that baby is placed in your arms and dont forget with a csection the recovery time is six weeks with my two deliverys i was up andc about and having a bath within ten minutes. also if you feel you cant cope with the pain you can opt for an epidural, dont worry so much the birth will be over in a few hours and then you have got the rest of your life with your little bundle of joy. good luck honey. xxxxx

deakin82 Wed 10-Jun-09 12:16:58

i have had two natural deliveries with my two children and although it was painful at the time nothing can replace that proud feeling that overcomes you once that baby is placed in your arms and dont forget with a csection the recovery time is six weeks with my two deliverys i was up andc about and having a bath within ten minutes. also if you feel you cant cope with the pain you can opt for an epidural, dont worry so much the birth will be over in a few hours and then you have got the rest of your life with your little bundle of joy. good luck honey. xxxxx

crosseyedandpainless Wed 10-Jun-09 12:35:33

I think that if you're having panic attacks (that's what it sounds like to me) at the thought of giving birth then you may well have tokophobia, (intense fear of childbirth). You need specialist counselling, and maybe to know you have the option of an elective cs if you can't resolve your fears. The counselling is necessary I think - for you to work your way through your feelings, whatever you decide to do about the birth. Have you asked/had a consultant referral for this yet?

I also agree that hypnotherapy might be helpful.

swottybetty Wed 10-Jun-09 12:49:05

sorry to hear you had such a rough time of it first time round. congrats on your pregnancy btw grin.

are the two options mutually exclusive? i aggress with crossey could you stay booked for a CS, but still have counselling, maybe try hypnotherapy etc as well and then just play it by ear nearer the time?

FWIW i wouldnt not have a CS because you're worried you're being 'weak" (which is how i read your line as being controlled by your fears).

cory Wed 10-Jun-09 12:54:46

I'd go for keeping my options open, booking a cs but also trying counselling

I managed the same proud feeling both with a natural birth and with a caesarian, but it does seem like you have some underlying worries here that might be best tackled

ceebie Wed 10-Jun-09 13:00:58

I agree that if elective CS is right for you, then go for it.

If you want to try to get over your fear, try counselling and Hypnobirthing - but also I would highly recommend reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (by Ina May Gaskin) - lots of positive natural birth stories there plus a section on 'The essentials of birth'. I got it out of my local library so the cost is virtually nil, I'm part way through reading it and finding it hugely positive.

SarahL2 Wed 10-Jun-09 13:10:10

I'm petrified too. Had a terrible birth with DS - I had pre-eclampsia, was induced and then sedated and ended up with an Emergency section after 28 hours of labour!

Which is why I don't think my fear of a VABC as a phobia at all. A phobia is an irrational fear and there is nothing irrational about wanting to avoid what happened to me last time!!

I've been referred to the Traumatic Births team at my local hospital and am currently waiting for my appointment.

Thing is, I'm not sure anything can re-establish my trust in the nurses on the labour ward at my hospital. They were so thoughtless, unsympathetic and just plain mean last time.. Doesn't help that DC2 is due on Christmas Day and I am extra worried cause they're likely to be even more short staffed and distracted than they were in March 07 when DS was born.

We could so easily have lost him...

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 10-Jun-09 13:14:26

Having had one horrible traumatic drawn out assisted birth, I had counselling when I found out I was pg again soon after as the fear of all that again was making me depressed and stressed. The counselling did help - it was a midwife and she made an appt to discuss ds1's birth with the consultant who delivered him, going through everything that had happened and why, and that it was unlikely to happen again. It really did help.

Though dp saying 'well it can't be as bad as last time can it' DID NOT help at all!!

However after all that fear, counselling, talking myself into accepting that it would be ok this time, the day before my due date the consultant said the head of a small baby that the midwives had been saying was down but not engaged, was the bottom of a large baby that was lying transverse, so I was whipped in for an ecs the next day.

Can say that having had one of each, I'd push a baby out before having a csect again.

CurryMaid Wed 10-Jun-09 13:37:34

Deakin, sorry but two things - I'm sure people who have c-sections feel a sense of pride when the baby is placed in their arms.

Also you can't always just have an epidural - there might not be an anaesthetist available, the epidural might not work correectly, or (as in my case) you may have one for a few hours then have the m/w refuse to top it up in which case you are still left not being able to cope with the pain.

I do hate the old line about how you can just get an epidural and it won't hurt as it really isn't that simple.

mrsrawlinson Wed 10-Jun-09 14:00:17

FleaCircus, I think you’re right about the losing confidence thing. It wasn’t helped by reading on some midwifery forum all about the risks of CSs, as it made me realise that if I die during surgery and leave my DTs without a mum, it will have been my own decision made largely for selfish reasons. Which of course is helping the situation no end....

Crosseyed, I’ve not asked for a referral for counselling yet but I’m seeing the MW shortly and that’s what I plan to do.

Ceebie, I’ve just ordered that book you recommended – thanks for that.

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