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experiences of 2nd birth after traumatic 1st birth?

(18 Posts)
Kri5ty Sun 09-Feb-14 15:25:15


I'm 26 weeks, and under a consultant due to a traumatic first birth. I'm down for an elective c- section and i willf ind out for sure at 34 weeks if i'm goig to have one. (please no lectures about c-sections i know the risks).

During my first labour, ds was back to back and i had back contractions. I was in active labour in hospital for 24 hours, (as i later found out he was stuck.)
I had my waters broken, and an epidural. The epidural worked fine and i couldnt feel my contractions any more, when it started to wear off i could feel them returning in my back.
After a while i started to get agonising pain in my stomach. the pain was constant and was not contractions. (i could still feel these in myback every time the epidural wore off).

A long story short, the mws, would not listen that i was in agony and just kept dismissing me.
The heart rate monitors kept going off and their response was "theres no way his heart rate could be that low".

I ended up being rushed to theatre, where they gave me a spinal block (this stopped the pain in my stomach).
He was delivered via forceps and an episiotomy as he was too stuck for a section and they needed to get him out straight away

After the birth i was left in agony in my stomach for weeks, i couldn't even get out of bed, or hold him.

I developed pnd due to the experience and also due to the fact i couldnt hold him etc. The mws gave me no info and as soon as i found out i was pregnant this time, i started having anxiety attacks thinkins about the birth.

The mw i saw at my booking in app was lovely, and suggested i see a cons for an elc. She also said it sounded like my pain was due to a rupture when they brok emy waters.

My question is-
People that have gone through something similar, how was your second birth?
Im petrified of it happening again. I still suffer with my episiotomy 2 years later, and have bladder problems due to how brutal the foecps delivery was.
I know elc will be hard, but i dont think i can go through a birth like that again.

softlysoftly Sun 09-Feb-14 15:53:09

I Mine wasn't as bad as yours but similarities.

After a sweep at 40 wks I started getting contractions on a Thursday afternoon. Went in on the friday am as they were really bad all night but not regular, got turned away as I wasn't in active labour (felt like it!).

Back in Friday afternoon and refused to leave but given no pain meds all night as they said I wasn't 5cm like you I had crippling back pain she was back to back.

Can't remember the time line after that as it's a blur, I just remember the agony in my spine being exhausted from 2 days and nights of no sleep and a MW breaking my waters to "bring things on" I was given an epidural but made to feel like it was because I couldn't cope and was too loud. In reality I found out later the consultant ordered it ready for theatre as her being back to back had made me push before I was dilated so I was swollrn and she was stuck.

Anyway MWs kept saying I could do it, I had 2 people watching her monitor as she was in distress was given an episiotomy and DH says while the Consultant yelled "I said theatre now" at the blocking MWs DD1 turned and arrived naturally on Saturday evening!

I suffered infection in my episiotomy and a fissure that made going to the loo and walking upstairs absolute agony and I too got PND.

Then got PG with DD2 2 yrs later. I had a chat with my MW who explained babies back to back can make you push before being ready and is very painful I did nothing "wrong".

So fit DD2 I spent flipping every day in the kneeling dog position to make her face front and did hypnobirthing breathing practice. Was told she was back to back at a 38 week scan <<panic>>.

Waters broke at 10pm, felt tummy contractions every 5 minutes at 7am so went in, again got turned away as to be honest I could easily breath through them anf was chatty with MWs. Went home and laid down for a bit kind of in a trance from music/breathing rythmn then woke to the feeling in my back of pushing. Drove to hospital and kept saying to DH that I was pushing too soon like DD1 and was a bit worried but not too painful, in fact made him pstk in pay and display so we wouldn't get a ticket.

on the walk to the unit I felt a really strong back lain like I had done a poo blush. MWs got me in a chair outside and from logged time of entry to DD2s birth was 4 minutes including finding a bed and getting undressed! I still had my sunglasses on turned out her head was already out on the walk confused.

Was discharged 4 hours later, some stitches on previous episiotomy scar but they healed and dropped out in 3 days no pain. Afterpains were bad for a day and DD2 was a bit cold when born but that was it, all a bit shocking.

MWs said that a combination og hypnobirthing and the very very different pain levels involved (nothing NOTHING like back to back) made for an easy birth most of which I slept through.

So after that saga I suppose my pointdis I understand your fear but with it can be totally different the second time around.

softlysoftly Sun 09-Feb-14 15:58:09

Oh and I should note that she arrived right side up so she must have turned from my obsessive positioning practice in the last week.

The best position is elbows on floor and knees on sofa.

TheWanderingUterus Sun 09-Feb-14 16:05:24

Second time around I assumed I would have another back to back baby so read everything I could about it.

I found this blog particularly useful:

I also booked a home birth and a Tens machine which I found very helpful. They offer counter pressure to the back ache and with a longer labour it gives a chance for the endorphins to really build up.

Second birth was the polar opposite of the first, uncomfortable rather than painful, slightly faster and I felt much more in control. I did have some issues with very slow dilation to about six centimetres (took 18 hours) but then did the last four centimetres in the last hour. I didn't have to push at all, just relaxed and breathed. Hypnobirthing techniques were very helpful to keep me calm and relaxed all the way through.

I actually enjoyed my second birth which was astonishing after the physical and mental trauma of my first.

TheWanderingUterus Sun 09-Feb-14 16:08:46

Also (remembered just as I posted), I let my body guide the positions I needed to be in. First birth they had me on my back for quite a bit of it which was agony. I was only comfortable on my knees leaning against the back of the bed.

Second birth I couldn't get comfortable to deliver except semi reclining, the midwives said it was fascinating as I had a cervical lip and had automatically got into the right position to deliver without their help. Spent most of the labour moving around and kneeling forwards though, that's what felt comfortable.

Kri5ty Sun 09-Feb-14 16:21:23

thanks girls, its good to know they can be different.

I just rememebr how painful the back contractions were, even at 3cm i was in agony when i was sent to the canteen to get something to eat. I was literally bent over the table constantly screaming at every contraction.

I was also on back due to epidural, but there was no way i could have managed without it.
I thiught my spine was being ripped out!

I think the biggest problem was that the mws didnt explain anything, and just left me to it/ignored me. There was no beds free at first, so i was in a waiting room, which was full, bent over a chair, with my bu in some poor guys face lol.

I love the idea of a water birth, but they also ran me a bath at hospital, and it did nothing to ease the pain, nor did gas and air :-(

I will def hire a tens machine this time. DS1 came at 37 weeks, and i kept saying "i'll order it next week".

softlysoftly Sun 09-Feb-14 16:29:33

Yep I got tge spinal pain from the very beginning really even a bath at home was no help as laying back killed.

I felt ashamed and embarrassed of losing control and embarrassing myself that's how I felt right up to speaking to a mw when pg with dd2. I don't think you're mw has been fair just copping out with offering a c section. You need a full explanation of why what happened happened, I cried buckets when the MW said the sequence of events was common and there are very few women who get through back to back labour easily.

softlysoftly Sun 09-Feb-14 16:30:17


Kri5ty Sun 09-Feb-14 16:56:25

She explained that it was common for back to back to be longer and more painful etc

I'm under a differerent hospital, and mws to last time. She was shocked i was never offered a de brief. But having re searched it now, i know what happened etc, so dont think a de brief would actualy help iykwim. Theyve offered me councelling, which i'm still waiting for. But i would have to take ds1 with me, ad i can;t talk about the birth without breaking down/shaking/crying/ being a snotty mess. And with him being a toddler theres no way i could keep his attention to make him sit.

I donlt think i feel ashamed so to speak, more petrified i will go through it again. Even OH was traumatized by it.

Part of me feels an elc will give me some controll back, and i'll be a lot more relaxed and not having anxiety attacks/ palpitations etc.

I just wonder, if i go in to labour before 39 weeks (when they do elc), if they will let me see how i get on, but then if i say i wasnt the c section, allow me to have it.

BadlyStuffedWalrus Sun 09-Feb-14 17:05:13

My first labour sounds very similar to yours, though mercifully shorter. Back to back, failed ventouse, forceps, massive haemorrhage and foetal distress. No pain relief beyond gas and air in the last two hours due to nobody bloody listening. My second labour was a dream. Textbook water birth, went from 5cm dilated to baby in my arms in half an hour. No two births are the same and I think second time around your body knows what to do a bit better. Good luck!

Kri5ty Sun 09-Feb-14 17:11:09

Thank you :-)

I just wonder if i opt for a natural birth, if then during i decide i want a c-section whether or not they will agree. Or just leave me to it so to speak to see how i get on

softlysoftly Sun 09-Feb-14 17:20:21

OK well only you know where your mind is at, all I can do is suggest trying to gain control in others first.

I definitely found reading up about back to back and reading Marie Mongans book on hypnobirthing made me feel in control, and it was the loss of control that I found worst in the last labour (well apart from the spine ripping pain!).

I just took out the breathing exercises from the Marie Mongan book but even that made me feel like if I could control my own mind I could at least interact in decisions made in labour which I was unable to do the first time. Granted second time round I was a little too relaxed and not expecting no pain but there you go!

I'm pg with DC3 and actually looking forward to the birth weirdly though still feel that faint trepidation it could go wrong. I don't think its possible to shake that but again I will use hypnobirthing, adopt weird baby turning positions (try spinning babies website) and will instruct DH that if it all goes wrong what I do and don't want. Eg. yes epidural if absolutely necessary but no to pethidine (sleepy baby). And if we are getting anywhere close to forceps / ventouse being neccessary then I want a c-section instead

Girlsville Sun 09-Feb-14 17:58:23

Hi op

My first birth was v traumatic for different reasons..... Birth was straightforward and quick but I haemmorhgaed very badly and after being v ill for a few days in critical observation had blood transfusions. I was so traumatised,for sme time after. I then fell pregnant ( unplanned!) when dd1 was only 6 months and was so worried about the blood and another pph. In the end I did lose a lot of blood again but the teams were on standby so I was put on drips drugs etc throughout labour and the result was I went home 12 hours after dd2 was born. When I used to think about dd1 s birth I could only cry, but in the end I had such a positive experience with dd2 that it was very healing. I am now pregnant with dd3 and of course anxious about labour but not in the same way as before dd2.

Kri5ty Sun 09-Feb-14 18:29:11

:-) glad you had such positive births in relation tot he 1st!

Thanks softly i will look for that book now!

naty1 Sun 09-Feb-14 19:57:59

OP i had a very similar birth back to back extremely painful.
I got sent home once my waters broke went back in allowed no g&a as not 4cm in the end they offered pethidine but still woke up to every contraction. Ended up being induced as had an infection (high temp) tried the g&a then but it was like just air luckily i was given epi (amazing)
Failed ventuose then forceps. Episiotomy.
Ended up in hospital 4 days baby with jaudice due to ventuose. And on antibiotics for me and baby.
I think i could do it again if allowed a epi when i need it not when they allow it. Hopefully progressing to that stage much quicker

cravingcake Sun 09-Feb-14 20:36:01

I had a horrendous labour with my DS. He was back to back, and took 4 days from waters breaking to him finally arriving. Forceps delivery, shoulder dystocia, 4th degree tear, episiotomy (which tore further), pph, pnd, ptsd. I have been left very traumatised by it all.

Almost 3 weeks ago i gave birth by elcs to DD and i can honestly say it has been a walk in the park compared to what i went through emotionally & physically with DS just over 2 years ago. Yes its hard at times & painfull but i have got full time help as my mum is staying with us as DH cant take time off work easily.

Just wanted to reassure you that elcs is not all bad, as a friend said to me a good elcs can be easier to recover from than a bad vaginal birth. For me a second vaginal birth wasnt an option due to the 4th degree tear.

mandbaby Mon 10-Feb-14 10:46:23

Both my labours couldn't have been more different. With DS1 I started with horrendous contractions at midnight and went to hospital and was given diamorphine. I was only 1-2cm dialated and it took me 13 hours before I was 10cm. I started pushing at 1pm in the afternoon and after 2 hours of pushing, (who lets a woman who has not slept for over 26 hours push for 2 hours?!) they tried a ventouse. This slipped off DS1's head and left a huge swelling (that still hasn't disappeared completely even now, and he's 4YO). I was finally given an episitomy and forceps. All on only gas and air. The whole experience was horrendous and there literally was a moment when they were pulling so hard on those forceps that I didn't think either of us would make it.

With DS2, my waters broke at 1pm in the afternoon. I casually made my way to hospital at about 4pm (contractions were regular but bearable). At 6pm I was finally examined and told I was only 2cm. I could have cried! I thought I was gonna be in for another 10 hours of dialating, but he was born an hour later! All on gas and air again. We were back at home by 11pm that night. I did rip, but healed really well and looking back, it was a doddle compared to my first labour.

Showy Mon 10-Feb-14 10:55:27

I planned a home waterbirth with my first. I was in labour for 31 hours with a back to back baby. I pushed for 8 hours, DD got stuck in deep transverse arrest. Taken to hospital, given a spinal. I had an extensive episiotomy and they tried a ventouse and a manual rotation (both hands inside me trying to twist her round and back up) but it didn't work. DD v v distressed and I had an emcs which was quite tough too as DD was fully engaged and wedged in the birth canal with ear presenting first.

When pregnant with my second 4 years later, I was terrified. I'd had ptsd and pnd following dd's birth and I was an anxious, tearful mess. I was referred to a consultant obstetrician who not only had 20yrs experience delivering babies, he also had birth trauma training. He listened to me, properly listened to me. He went over and over everything with me and gave me choices and options and support. I did try for a vbac and things progressed in a similar fashion. 38 hours after my waters broke, with a back to back baby who wouldn't come out, I had a repeat emcs. Thing was, I went into theatre laughing and came out laughing. I felt in control and informed and though the labour was longer, I was rested and happy. And ds was back to back but I had no pain with him at all (and no pain relief until the spinal before the cs).

I might have had two stuck babies and two emcs but I had two very different experiences. Second time round I felt prepared, supported and in control.

An elcs is a calm, positive and healing experience for many women and of course you should request one if you have suffered birth trauma and feel it the best option for you. Make sure you've been referred for any birth trauma counselling available where you are.

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