The Healing Thread

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Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
The Healing Thread

As natural birthing mamas, each one of us has big plans about what will and won't happen during our births. We have hopes, expectations, and dreams about following our own intuition, letting nature take its course, and learning about our bodies and babies through this primal and life-changing event.

But no matter how educated, strong, and passionate about natural birth a mom is, medical complications can come up. Thank goodness we have doctors, midwives, and hospitals for those situations when it's medically necessary. Or, during labor you may make unexpected decisions about what you want that weren't what you planned. Later on you may have some regret. Labor and delivery is a time when a woman is vulnerable, suggestible, and may need support she didn't plan on. People attending the birth (staff or family and friends) may say or do unhelpful things that lead you to feel hurt physically and emotionally.

Please feel welcome to continue posting on our board even if you had medical interventions or made unexpected decisions during birth. This board is about an attitude towards birth, not what did or didn't happen during a specific birth. And while much of the world may say "who cares, you got a healthy baby, didn't you? Forget it!" Here on Birthing Naturally we are not going to forget it, we understand perhaps more than others that the mom and birthing experience are important and valuable too.

In this thread we invite you to share your healing process with us as you deal with your birth experience in the postpartum days. Despite the arrival of a beautiful baby, you may have anger or grief about the birth itself. Even a good birth can have parts that leave you feeling disappointed. Here is a place to express your feelings, get sympathy, and know that even if your birth wasn't 100% how you envisioned it, that doesn't change that you are a natural birthing mama.

Please only post responses about dealing with your own experience in this thread. Comments to improve it or support someone should go in a separate posting.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What happened during your birth?
What went wrong?
How did you feel about it?
What hurt the most?
How did you cope?
Who helped you?
Who was no help at all?
Who would you punch in the face if you could?
Did you have a would've could've should've moment?
What did you do that you're proud of?
What would you tell other women to warn them?
What do you wish you'd known ahead of time?
How can you come out of this feeling that you grew from this experience?

Suggested activities:

Talk with your doctor or midwife
Talk with supportive friends or family
Keep a journal about your experience, not just what happened but also your feelings
Make some art based on your experience
Sing, chant, or say prayers to aid your deep processing
Make an affirmation towards your healing
Take action within your community

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

A friend in Samuel's birth forum PM'd me the other day. Although she had had 3 c/s herself and had no problem with that, a RLF of hers just went through the same experience I had had and she wanted to know how to help, what to say, what NOT to say...

Why do we not all have a friend like that? It seems they're so few and so far between. My friend Tanya (you gals know as scarecrow) has been great for me. Because she's part of my online community as well, she followed my lodge and all the aftermath, and is the only one of my rlfs who actually understands what I went through and how I'm still feeling. The only one who understands that despite the fact that Miriam is 5 months old, the birth robbery is still present for me, right at the front of my mind in every otherwise-unoccupied moment. And I know how priviledged I am to have a close rlf who I can call and say, "I need to talk" and am not going to hear the words, "About what?"

DH asked the other day at what point he should start to worry - at what point he should be suggesting that I get some professional "help" with this. After talking with the ICAN list, I told him it could well be a long time - if he wanted a "deadline" it could be this time next year.

The thought-loop is always there, playing in the background of everything I do. sometimes I'm distracted enough by life that I don't notice it, but it's there instantly as soon as I'm quiet. It's as if somehow, my brain thinks that by going over it enough times, by mentally playing out every choice I didn't make, that somehow I will find out that this didn't happen to me. Somehow I'll find out that the truth is really that I DID have Miriam normally - that the OB didn't chicken out in that moment where she almost let it go; that the anesthetist said more than "somebody's PUSHING" and I actually pushed Miriam out in the OR despite all odds; that labour didn't start until 8 the next morning; that I hadn't felt so defeated and made them call the provincial emergency service to try to find me a different OB at another hospital; that I wasn't too scared to call the MW I knew who would've come to my house to catch her. somehow if I go over it enough, one of those things will be what DID Happen. I"ll find out that the haziness and confusion of my memory is because it wasn't real. That there was an out, and I took it.

I have so much trouble just really believing that it happened at all, why does it make me so angry and so sad?

I do hurt less than I did. It's like the hurt is getting a bit washed around the edges, like the soft-focus on a film-noir heroine. I'm resisting it, I confess. I WANT my anger. I was RIGHT.

Joined: 09/19/05
Posts: 685

A huge part of the reason I shied away from this board after Jackson's birth was because I was ashamed at how many interventions I had and how unnatural the whole thing was. I felt - feel - it was all my doing because I couldn't stand it anymore and asked for the induction. If I had been more patient than maybe I would have progressed. If I had been more patient than maybe he would have turned on his own. If I had been more patient than maybe I wouldn't have this scar on my stomach. I think I'm having so much trouble accepting it because I see it every day. I go to the bathroom, BOOM it's there. I get dressed, hi, how are ya. A constant reminder of what I still view as my failure.

I have always tried to live my life w/ no regrets and this is so hard for me to not regret. Of course, I'm happy to have Jackson and we're both alive and healthy. That's not what I mean. What I think I regret is lacking the patience to let my body do it's thing. Oh, it's such a back and forth depending on the day. I remind myself frequently that he was lateral - but if I hadn't rushed him perhaps he would have turned on his own? I remind myself even more frequently that the cord was around his neck - so even if we had let things happen on their own I still may have ended up on that table. So many what ifs, if only I had... It's true, they all end up w/ Jackson here but it seems the majority of them also end up w/ me having the birth I had envisioned for myself.

That's another thing I go over often - it was the birth *I* had envisioned for myself. But you know what? I wasn't the one being born, Jackson was. It was his birth, I was just along for the ride. It was his journey but I f*ucked with it. Yeah, I get mad at myself still. I'm getting better though.

The bright side to all of it is that I'm more determined than ever to let the next baby lead and I will follow. I tell anyone who will listen to not ask for an induction. I try even harder to convince people that recovery from a c/s is a gazillion times worse than normal delivery - physically and emotionally. It's still hard. It's hard to come here and read all these awesome birth stories - I am green w/ envy and get upset all over again. I feel like a failure all over again. But I'm getting better. I've started lurking. I've started soaking up the inspiration, the power that comes from you all. I will be ready next time. I will be patient. I will let my baby take control. I will breathe. I will embrace whatever happens.

indymom's picture
Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 261

I think most of my anger & regret about my c/s comes from me not being vocal enough about the recommendations the docs were making. Certainly I can appreciate the severity and risks of pre-e; however, I truly don't believe I was developing pre-e at the time I was admitted to the hospital. By the time I reached L&D, my blood pressure had returned to normal and at the OB's office prior to that, I had only a trace of protein in my urine. I firmly believe that had I demanded to be released to bedrest, I could have eventually gone into labor naturally and delivered Ashlyn vaginally (and naturally) without any problems for either one of us. I feel that the on-call OB (who admitted me based upon reading my chart, and didn't even come see me before his on-call shift ended - JERK) noted my weight gain and my size and simply took the "CYA" approach.

Just as I expected and had read about on this board time & time again, as soon as they started one intervention it just kept leading to others. First the cervadil, then the pitocin, then the AROM, then the internal monitoring, then the epidural in hopes of relaxing my body and allowing for more dilation - with little to no progress. My body wasn't ready, and she wasn't ready to be born, I guess. It's not so much that I regret the c/s - if it would have been a necessity after unproductive natural laboring, I would feel much more comfortable with the outcome. It's just (like Kamila said) that I feel like I caused the c/s, because I agreed to intervention after intervention.

Now, enjoying my beautiful daughter, I try to get past the regret I have from the experience that I feel was taken away from me. I have already started to talk to people in my life about VBAC, and how it is an important thing for me to work towards. My OB is supportive of VBAC, but if any time during my next pregnancy I start to question their commitment to that, I'll switch to midwife care without a second thought. I can't change the experience I already have had, but I can certainly be stronger with my next pregnancy and make things happen the way I want them to.

Jennie, thanks so much for starting this thread. I think it's important for all of us to have this as a place to put our thoughts and feelings.

Joined: 10/21/03
Posts: 172

Everything went wrong. I had an extremely medicated birth, albeit vaginally, my baby wasn't ready to be born yet but my body was unable to continue to nourish him. And the entire medical staff dismissed my concerns as a crazy pg lady who was giving birth and couldn't handle it.

It made me so mad to be treated so condesendingly. I knew that something was wrong, not childbirth, but something else, and NO one would take me seriously. They didn't take me seriously until a week later when they discovered I was on the operation recovery floor recovering from an EMERGENCY appendectomy. I know that had they taken me seriously while giving birth, and discovered what was wrong. Then they could have done the surgery laprascopically and I wouldn't have been so sick for so long.

I feel like I was robbed not only of my perfect hypnobirth, but also of the first few months of my baby's life. Even when I was well enough to leave the hospital, I still had some major obstacles to overcome healthwise and mentally.

What has helped me the most has been talking about it with friends, family, anyone who will listen. Everytime I go over the whole thing again, though it still makes me cry, I feel a little closer to being at peace. I know that "I" couldn't have done anything different, beyond insisting more that they test me more til they figured out what was wrong. And even then, the pain disappeared when I gave birth because the pressure was released. Aside from my intuition, I had no way of knowing for sure that something was wrong still.

As far as others go, I reassure anyone that hears my story that the liklihood of it happening to them is very slim. The probability of developing appendicitis in pg and especially in the 3rd trimester is very low. I just happened to be one of the unlucky few Sad

I also continually tell myself that it can never happen to me again. Because it can't. You only get 1 appendix, and mine is totally gone so I cannot go through this again, and while that's a limited amount of comfort, it does help a little.

I truly believe that the only thing that is going to heal me of this birth experience. Is going to be to have another baby. To experience childbirth once again the way it's supposed to be, and to know that MY body isn't broken anymore. To know that without the additional challenges I had, I can give birth in a beautiful, relaxed, natural way. And that I can establish and have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship when my body isn't overloaded with trying to heal itself.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

SO blue today. I'm tired from the holiday weekend and drained - I had a good time but it was crazy. So maybe that's why I'm having a crying day. PLus the Dixie Chicks were on the radio this morning and that song could've been written for me. Miriam's not taking her nap this morning and I'm so frustrated with her, I need alone time so badly right now. I just put her down and she's wailing. bbl.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

OK I'm back. Sorry about that.

TMI coming now. It seems every day there's another little insult to my body. Last night DH & I dtd for the 1st time... 2nd attempt, but our 1st "success". i have no libido, but that's not new to post c/s I'm just too busy and tired most of the time to be bothered with staying up an extra hour to dtd. But anyway, we finally played a little last night and I burst into tears because I still have a band of skin about an inch wide above the scar that has no sensation. I had to ask him to be careful not to touch there because it was so disconcerting to have the touch Stop kwim? And I ended up bawling because it was just so awful to have to say that, to admit that, to ALLOW that into my intimate life. God I wish I didn't care.

I really DON'T care about the look of the scar. That doesn't bother me. But I sure care about that numb area. And I care that the scar is itchy, almost all the time, because i'm developing keloid tissue and so the "healing" that my body thinks it's doing is still going on. It's going to be an incredibly ugly scar - I don't know if anybody is familiar with keloids, but what happens is the scar gets thick and raised instead of getting flat and disappearing. Ultimately it will go silver like any other scar but it will always look like I have a rope on top of my skin. That just irritates me because it's unnecessary though, I don't really care about the *appearance*.

It make me worry about what's going on inside. Am I developing keloid tissue on my uterine scars too? There are 2 layers of stitches on my uterus - do I have a big ropy scar there? THAT I care about. My perfect, beautiful uterus. I had a revelation when I had Samuel, that suddenly I knew what my uterus was FOR... before children it was just kinda functionless and PITA once a month. But I fell in love with those miracle muscles when I birthed him and now they've been damaged. THAT really really upsets me. The idea of my strong, beautiful muscles cut through and scarred. It's awful. I can't express how awful it is to me. And nobody seems to KNOW if you get the keloids on muscle tissue... my chiro said, hmm, I don't know, I guess probably? We have wellbabys with our MD on Friday and I'm going to ask about it. She probably doesn't know either. Maybe I'll call Karen (surgeon) and ask.

on top of it all, a RLF (well, the wife of a friend of mine, I don't really know her that well) was here for T'giving on Monday. She had a c/s, I don't know the reason, for her 1st baby, and is trying to make the decision now about whether or not to vbac. I told her that I wasn't going to say much becuase my experience gave me a real serious bias, but to know that the recovery with a toddler is no picnic, and that having done both kinds of birth myself I would never OPT for a c/s. I thought I showed remarkable restraint LOL. anyway I sent her an email yesterday saying I didn't want to be pushy or anything (I really believe it's HER decision and my place as a friend to support whatever she feels is right for her and her family even if it's not what I would do) but I have a lot of info about c/s and vbac, and if she wanted any of it or if she just needed to hash it out with someone who had been through both kinds of birth and was unilaterally on her side, I was here. She said she wants the research... I'm really glad. So I have to get her hooked up to the ICAN white papers, etc.

anyway I've been musing a long time... thank you for giving us a safe place to cry.

love Robin

Coffeegirljones's picture
Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 238

I come to this thread every middle of the night with the intention of posting my story here. It is forming in my head, but I can't yet bring it to the hands or lips.

I am overwhelmed at how close the emotions still are and really struggle with the anger I feel at myself as much as the situation. It is counterproductive to every aspect of my life at the moment and I feel like that puts me in a place where the experience is defining me more than I am defining it. Not really how I want to move forward.

That's all for now. I had to start somewhere.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Of all things... I just ran up against a problem scrapbooking. Yup, scrapbooking. I was organizing the digital files on my 'puter into potential "pages" for Miriam's book. I got as far as my last belly shot - taken between contractions, about 45 minutes before the belly went away. and then I just couldn't go any further. I just can't. I started looking at them and had to stop. Because there's a big gap in the pictures - the gap between me with my belly, and the picture of me on the table with Miriam beside my face. There's no record. It's not there. Nobody took a picture of her in the instant she met the air. I will never know what she looked like in that moment. I guess nobody thought it would be an attreactive picture, seeing as she'd be all covered in gore... we don't have pictures of Samuel in that first instant either. But him, I REMEMBER. I SAW. It was MINE. Her first moments are just lost to me. I couldn't feel it, or see it... I heard her cry, I have that. but why does it have to be THAT? why is THAT my first memory and it's so detached from myself, somebody could've just brought a baby into the room and how would I know - it was just a baby crying. Who shouldn't have had to cry, who should've been gentrly born into a dim warm room. At least it all happened so fast that I'm reasonably sure she didn't get much of the drugs through the placenta. Through nursing after, yeah. But not the heavy shot. you know, I cling to that. It's become so important... it's the one thing I actually did manage to control. I made them be fast. Paltry. But something, at least.

indymom's picture
Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 261

I'm driving DH crazy lately. I've had "baby pangs" lately, and I've been talking about having another one sooner than we had originally planned. But I continue to go on and on about VBAC and how, no matter what, I'm going to let myself go into labor naturally, even if it means going AMA. I don't know if these are great thoughts to be having. I mean, I hate the idea that I might actually put myself and a new babe in harm because I'm considering such stubbornness.

It's just recently that I've started to feel so "robbed" of the birth experience I wanted. I mean, I've been upset about it since she was born, but now I'm starting to get more angry than upset, kwim?

Damn. When does this start to get "better"? Does it ever?

Joined: 01/22/06
Posts: 126

At the suggestion of Lisa (luckyme2n2) I've dropped in and just started reading this thread. You are all strong, amazing women and I feel a little less alone after reading your posts. While my labor and delivery was not horribly traumatic and I was able to have a vaginal birth, I ended up doing pitocin and nubaine after planning and preparing for a medicine free birth. I'm only just beginning to come to terms with how nearly a weeks worth of prodromal labor broke my spirit and exhausted my body...leading me to the pitocin and nubaine. I am very thankful that I was in a hospital and with a Dr. who are very anti-intervention; in another hospital I might have been induced much more aggressively and/or had a c-section. That said, I did not have the birth I wanted...I feel as though my body failed me with a weeks worth of prodromal labor...

More later...DD beckons...I think I'm just rambling anyway...

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Carla hon ramble away. We're here.

Feeling better these days... more balanced. It could just be that the sun is FINALLY shining after 5 weeks of rain. I think I may have a little bit of SAD because my mood is SO influenced by whether or not the sun makes an appearance - I'm completely giddy, seriously giggling for no reason, when the sun shines - even if it's really cold.

Something changed and I can't pinpoint when. But I've stopped obsessing. I'm still having bad moments, bad hours, bad days, where something has come up that "makes me think about it" but the every waking moment thing seems to have passed. At least, when the sun is shining it has.

I too have another baby on the brain. which is kinda futile since we're not planning another... but I long for an "oops". But to have an oops you really do have to DTD and that's something that has NOT come back to me yet. Not even vaguely. The idea actually kinda grosses me out most of the time. Poor DH. And really, I'm SO not there, that I don't even regret it on my OWN behalf - the only reason I feel concerned about it at all is for DH. I don't want it, don't miss it. I know some of that is nursing... AF has shown up twice but I have no real cycle yet, and my hormones are still very dedicated to feeding the current baby rather than creating another one. But I know part of it is also recovery from the shock of the whole baby-extraction... I don't want to be touched intimately. I just don't. I don't feel yet like my insides are truly my own; the one thing I can't get over is that there's a scar on my uterus. I'm not obsessing about it anymore... but as soon as the thought gets triggered, I just want to sit and cry. It's absolutely devastating to me.

Joined: 03/22/06
Posts: 2
Trauma

Hi, everybody. I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks and I have so enjoyed reading your thoughts and especially your birth stories.

I'm going through something that I need to talk to someone about so I thought I'd start here.

I'm three days postpartum and had my first full day home from the hospital. My son is healthy and doing well, as am I (no tearing! I am one lucky woman). But I am having a hard time thinking about his delivery.

I had an almost intervention-free labor and delivery. Because I got stuck at 5 centimeters 24 hours after my water broke, pitocin was necessary. Other than that I had no medications and I'm extremely grateful that my team kept me from giving up and getting a C-section (or an epidural, which might have led to a section as well). I'm proud of myself (and DH, who was awesome) for making it through the pain, including five hours of excruciating pushing. But I'm also really traumatized. My labor was the absolute worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life. It was more than painful. It was frightening. For a large portion of it, especially after the pitocin got going, I felt as if I were going to die. Usually pain is your body's way of telling you something's wrong. I just couldn't come around to feeling like it was productive, especially as I went hour after hour without delivering (from water break to delivery was 40 hours). Sometimes I could ride the contractions and use my Bradley training. Other times I felt like I had the worst flu of my life---getting hot and cold and feeling like I was going to vomit any minute. And I was scared out of my mind. At some point I got so exhausted that I was sleeping through the contractions. Then a contraction would come and scare the hell out of me.

I know now why many women choose epidurals, because I did NOT enjoy pushing my son out. It took about ten contractions to get his head out and it was even more painful than the contractions had been on their own (I did not experience the relief of pushing the Bradley method describes). I was so exhausted during this phase that I was actually hallucinating, mixing up the dreams I had between the contractions with what was happening. I was not really present--I was somewhere floating above my body, watching it all but still feeling the pain that accompanied it.

It was also the most vulnerable I'd been in my life. Fortunately I was very well taken care of. But it still feels awful.

I guess what I'm saying is that I only expected to feel happy and proud about a natural birth, not broken and traumatized. I keep replaying the details (involuntarily--must be my way of working through it) and it was just so incredibly horrible.

I wanted to know if this was normal or if I just had an unusually hard labor, or if anyone else felt some of these feelings about their natural delivery.

Understand of course that I'd do it again for my boy in a heartbeat if that's what he needed. I also don't really have regrets. I just didn't expect to feel this way.

Thanks for listening.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I wanted to say thank you to all the posts people have posted on the threads about is natural birthing worth it. They have really helped me come to terms with my birth exsperience and be happy that I had the birth I did and proud of it. Labor just completely took me by surprise by how painful it was. I was completely taken aback by how scared the contractions and pain made me and how I just wanted it over I did not care how. I am glad I had him at home since I am not sure if I would have gone natural at the hospital. Even though from the outside I appeared comepletely calm and focussed I did not feel that way and it scared me. I kept having these feelings like I just wanted to run outside and get away from it all. For some reason I thought that if I got outside all the pain would go away. It was these feelings that scared me the most. I was just really annoyed that natural birth was not what I had thought it would be, but I have realized that is okay. I was so looking foward to feeling him come down the birth canal, but when that point came all I felt was searing pain and I could not distinguish one sensation from another. That was really hard for me. I am really glad I had the birth I did, but I am still coming to terms with the fact that natural birth was not what I expected at all.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I seem to be going through a renaissance of obsessing and i"m not sure what has triggered it. I have a friend who is pg right now and I'm trying so hard not to push my beliefs on her... however I did hand her BFW, my hypnobabies binder & CD's, a completely RABIDLY feminist natural birthing book innocuously called "Tips for Pregnancy and Birth" LOL and "Birthing Traditions from Around the World." I lent out my copy of TWG and am thinking of buying another just so I can lend it to her!

anyway. This isn't about N. But I feel like I need to save her. She hasn't called for MW care which means at this point she's not going to get it (waiting lists around here are LONG). And at the moment she doesn't know enough to care. And I care so MUCH that it's jsut spilling out of me. I keep telling her to shut me up if she needs to, because I seem to be unable to censor what comes out of my mouth.

I'm joining the midwifery consumers group in my area and hope that i'll be able to find some mamas interested in forming a breech consumer's group. I'm just so lonely - I get sympathy on all sides but nobody who is motivated to take any action.

I'm outraged for Miriam. She got cheated out of her birth. I talked to my mum about it - she did say that Miriam was brought out completely calm, so maybe I don't need to worry about it so much. But I do. That missing piece of my memory will never be filled in and I'm having so much trouble making peace with it.

my heart hurts so much still.

indymom's picture
Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 261

Robin . . . lots of love and :bighug: to you. I absolutely understand.

One of my clients called me last week . . . I had talked to her at the end of October and she was due towards the end of November. We had talked about her intentions of a natural birth, it was such an amazing conversation and I was SO EXCITED for her!!

When she called about adding her daughter onto her insurance (I handle the insurance for her company), of course my first question was "did you have your natural birth?" She did . . . she used a tub for her labor, and delivered naturally.

So. As much as I was totally thrilled for her to have the birth she had planned . . . as she talked about her "50 minutes of pushing," etc. I was simply just jealous. JUST SO FRIGGING JEALOUS. So much so that it brings me to tears. WHY did I have to have the problems I had? WHY did I let myself get talked into induction to be followed by c-section? I told her on the phone, point-blank, that "I'm probably the only woman you'll ever talk to who's jealous that you got to experience 50 minutes of pushing." Because I would have dealt with 2 hours of pushing just to have the experience that I missed out on.

Barring my physical well-being or that of my next baby, I WILL have my next baby naturally. I will have the experience that I'm so longing for. I don't want to live the rest of my life not knowing what it's like to bring my child into the world naturally . . .

*sigh*

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

On the passing of 2006...

I spent the first 1/3 of the year pregnant, and most of that trying to find someone to catch my baby. Something you're not supposed to have to do in a country where your medical care is paid for - we're not supposed to have to think about it. The 2nd 1/3 of 2006 I spent recovering from surgery I didn't need. The 3rd 1/3 of 2006 I spent trying to react; trying to find a way to be effective and make change.

I cried NYE. I had a performance, then we (the cast and our partners) stayed for the party... midnight came, I hugged DH and just started crying. And again... he didn't know why at first. no fair that he gets to forget. no fair.

This week, the 1st week of 2007, I'm getting together with my new co-conspiritor, whose DH has volunteered to administrate the website we will create. My manifesto: Call all the MW practices and ask them to spread the word that there is about to be a place to talk about the absurdity of automatic c/s for breech. Call and write the SOGC and let them know that this is NOT accpetable. Call & write my MP and let them know that this is NOT acceptable. What kind of public health care system is it when you can walk into a hospital in the PEAK of health, and walk out injured?

ugh DD crying so much for my train of thought...

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

So my heart is breaking again, all over again.

I just found out that breech birth IS within the scope of practice for Ontario Midwives. I don't know if it was implied or I just assumed that it wasn't and nobody corrected me becuase nobody in MY MW's practice had the experience to do it (they pretty much have to have worked internationally to have gained the exprience for the same reason as the younger OBs). But a MW from another practice had offered to catch Miriam at home as a last resort. I thought she was suggesting somehting illicit, something she'd get in trouble for. My MW never suggested that there might be another MW who could do it it was all, OB, OB, OB, I thought it was high risk and MWs weren't ALLOWED to do it, I'd get this other MW potentially in a lot of trouble for "making" her come to my house. Oh god I jsut feel so betrayed. Why didn't she say anything. How could she let me walk in there not knowing there was another REAL viable alternative? How could she let me sign those papers without knowing? I just want to scream. I feel like I'll never stop crying.

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

Ella was born 9 weeks ago and while I had a rough birth experience, none of it seemed to matter because I was so in awe of my little girl. I was in a state of complete euphoria. However, while by no means have my feelings for my daughter changed (being a mommy is the best thing in the world!), over the past couple of weeks feelings have surfaced surrounding Ella’s birth. I feel disappointed to say the least, and during my most “down” times, I feel completely traumatized by the experience. I have been lurking on this board for quite some time, but have never really posted. I feel almost silly... almost like a “poser” maybe… because I’ve only started posting here after having an entirely unnatural birth. I guess I see this board as a source of support now, and a place to work through my thoughts and come to terms with my experience. This is my first attempt at thoroughly explaining Ella’s birth so forgive me if it’s broken up over time, or jumps from thought to thought. I’m hoping with time it will flow… if not here then in my memory.

Having worked in the labour and delivery unit of the province's only women's hospital, I had a deep appreciation for the power of the human body, although I had also experienced how the medical world can undoubtedly influence the course of a child’s birth… for better or for worse. Some of us (being the nurses and physicians) encouraged and supported women in their quest to birth naturally, while others were total interventionists. I remember one co-worker stating, “I can help any woman get through it without drugs.” I loved the simplicity of her statement and I idolized and looked up to her as a nurse who would really support and encourage a natural birth plan. On the other hand, a nurse who became a good friend of mine believed in IV’s, epidurals, c-sections following previous c-sections and often raised an eyebrow at written birth plans. I watched some amazing births, some medicalized, some not… it totally depended on what mattered to the woman. What I did realize (as I was pregnant during part of my time there before I changed jobs), was that I knew the different outcomes and I wanted a natural birth. Women who laboured without drugs and gave birth vaginally just seemed so much better off in the end (or rather the beginning J). I wanted this for myself and my baby, but in the back of my mind I always had a feeling it wouldn’t go that way… maybe I sabotaged myself, but I didn’t have any trouble picturing the upcoming experience. The only trouble was, I always pictured myself in the OR being cut open rather than the nice vaginal delivery I was hoping for.

There are two pieces to my birth story that I cling to… things that make me feel better about the experience. I went into labour spontaneously at 41 weeks and 3 days (an induction was planned for the following day!) and my water broke on it’s own.

That was sad to even write down. I only feel ok about two pieces of my beautiful daughter’s birth. Hmmm… thoughts aren’t flowing anymore, I’ll pick up later… and thanks again for encouraging me to post here. (((HUGS)))

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

As I mentioned, I was scheduled for induction early on November 10th - a round of cervadil, followed by more cervadil or pitocin if I was “favourable”. Having worked in L&D I had watched the pitiful success rate of women being induced from a stand still, and I went home on the 9th hoping I would go into labour on my own… well, actually I went shopping to buy a baby swing, and then to my in-laws’ house because they were closer to the hospital (DH and I live 2 hours away). So after the quick shopping trip, we went to DH’s parents’ house and got settled in. Somewhere between Survivor and Grey’s Anatomy the painless contractions I had been having for the past week really picked up. After several hours they were about 3-5 minutes apart and I really had to work through them, although I felt totally calm and very proud of my body for doing what it was meant to do. I had avoided the induction I didn’t want! Eventually, DH suggested we go to the hospital and I agreed, hoping with all my might that I’d be more than a fingertip dilated and I wouldn’t become of the women I had all-to-frequently sent home to walk. Smile

After a not-so-fun car ride to the hospital I arrived at the birth unit’s early labour assessment unit. I was five centimetres, Yippee!! I started getting some nausea, but I felt in control and empowered that I had made it to that point with no desire for drugs. My natural vaginal birth was in sight. At that point I was able to envision my birth outside of the OR. I pictured delivering the baby and holding her to my chest… and my nurse’s brain even envisioned the stitching up of a tear.

I was admitted to a room and I was left alone to change into a hospital gown. In the bathroom I had the strongest contraction yet. I squatted on the floor and worked through it (squatting seemed to be a nice position). I left the bathroom and felt my water break and gush down my leg. I was so excited. It was all going so smoothly.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet - the nurse who met me in the assessment unit was the same nurse I had made friends with and the same interventionist I described in my previous post. On one hand I was comforted by a familiar presence, on the other I knew her ways and dreaded the inevitable. She would offer a ton of interventions, and she was pushy about it by nature. This was the first time I should have made a different choice. I should have requested a different nurse. I needed that nurse that could “help any woman through a drug free labour”, but I didn’t request the change out of fear that I would offend my friend.

So my water broke on it’s own… and that was the last moment during Ella’s birth that I felt in control and excited.

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

I know this doesn’t follow the actual sequence of events but, last night I was laying in bed and thought about how grateful I am that breastfeeding has been successful. Ella was given formula in the NICU because her sugars dropped. I was in recovery at the time and they gave DH the option of formula or an IV. He opted for the formula of course, but why didn’t they offer to allow me to breastfeed? Or even give me the option of feeding her the darn formula? She was only there for observation, why couldn’t they “observe” her in recovery while I fed my baby? I was just so glad to have made it out of the OR that I didn’t have the presence of mind to request these things.

After I left recovery, they wheeled me into the NICU to see my baby. I was touching her through the little hole in the incubator when the nurse asked if I wanted to hold her.

Of course I did. The NICU nurse even said something about breastfeeding, but quickly followed it with something about her sugars and that formula would bring them up faster or she would need an IV. So I could choose to breastfeed and she would get an IV, or she would get formula. Not wanting to feel like a selfish Mommy, I agreed to more formula. So before I held my precious one, they topped her up with formula and she promptly spit it back out. Of all the pictures my DH took of our princess, he didn’t take a single shot of her getting formula and I’m so grateful. I feel sad when I look at the pictures, and it would only add insult to injury to see me 2 feet from my baby and she’s getting a bottle of formula she didn’t want. So after an amazing few minutes of getting to snuggle my wee one,

I was taken to the post-partum floor and wouldn’t be allowed out of bed until 8 o’clock that night (she was born at 10:52am). However, once I was made to go to the bathroom, I immediately asked for a wheel chair and the nurse and DH took me to the NICU where I got to breastfeed my baby. She was a wonderfully eager little nurser, and it felt soooooo good to finally feed my baby. She had received 3 bottles of formula that evening and her sugars were still low; after I fed her throughout the night they didn’t give her another bottle of formula. With the assistance of my DH, we travelled the 2 floors down to my baby 3 more times that night to feed her. The interesting part is, she was supposed to come to my room at 8:30pm, but they couldn’t get a hold of her doctor to release her. So all night, between my trips to feed my baby, every little sound in the hallway woke me up because I thought it might be Ella coming from the NICU.

As I started, I am so grateful that breastfeeding has been successful. I had some issues with blisters when she was 5 days old, but with some guidance on her latch they healed within 24 hours. Without being able to feed my baby in this way I think the birth would have totally robbed me of my femininity and my identity of what makes me a woman.

I feel like I may have a lot more to write out, so I've started a journal...
http://www.pregnancy.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=650480&sid=a84c401952ac4d5f861e9e5462d1be02 but I'd still like to visit here just to vent or write out certain thoughts... thank you ladies

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

I just received the most wonderful advice from a member of my birth board... she suggested picking one moment of the experience and making it the "angel singing moment". The moment where everything felt right... I thought about it for a moment and remembered what it felt like to finally hold my little one. I remember stroking her hair and her face and kissing her forehead. It makes me tingle thinking about it.
I'm going to try to use this as a reference point when I think about the experience. As scary and chaotic as the rest was... that one moment was like magic.

Thank you so much for this little piece of wisdom Val..

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Things I didn't do:

I didn't put frozen peas on Miriam's head.
I didn't go swimming.
I didn't find an acupuncturist soon enough.
I didn't go to the hospitals and question the nurses.
I didn't pray to the sacred heart of Jesus, Saint Jude, or Mother Mary, and promise publication (sorry Christian mamas, no offence intended).
I didn't question my MW enough.
I didn't tell the OB to call her partner (my consult) and tell him I was going home if he didn't walk 300m down the freakin' street and catch my baby.
I didn't lock myself in the bathroom and tell them all to piss off.
I didn't go deliver in the parking lot.
I didn't call the other midwife.
I didn't have the hospital call the provincial medical emergency service.
I didn't revoke consent after signing the paper.
I didn't beg at 9cm when the OB had her moment of doubt.
I didn't push.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I'm trying to find an angels singing moment. I'm having a lot of trouble finding anything at all right, never mind perfect. Even the moments with Miriam were so distorted by the environment and all the garbage going on. I can think of moments that should be it except that the whole thing was so wrong. The moment it "should" be is when DH put M beside my head and I could feel her touch my face but I still couldn't even see her. If I have to say "I suppose that's it" then I guess that's not it, eh? It would be obvious? Do i not GET one of those?

indymom's picture
Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 261

Such a neat idea, to find the "angels singing" moment. I guess mine would be when I got Ashlyn latched onto my breast for the first time. I didn't know what I was doing, I hadn't seen an LC yet, my room was full of family - but in my mind, I needed to "complete" my experience by getting her skin-to-skin and at least trying, kwim?

Of course my BFing experience was traumatic and limited, for a number of reasons, but I guess that would be my moment. I was no longer feeling addled by the epi and ketamine, I wasn't in any pain, and I realized at that moment that I had really done it - I had made a baby! Biggrin

Rmacburn, thanks so much for that little piece of wise info - it's really helped me to think back and reflect.

Robin, perhaps your moment will come to you at a later date. You're still coming to terms with your birth experience, right? Until you're able to fully wrap your mind around the experience and be "at peace" with it (or at least be as much at peace as possible), you may not be able to find your moment.

I think about you a lot and all the things you're doing to empower other women and make a HUGE change to the birthing community. You are to be commended. Big hugs to you, sweetie.

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

My husband is very queasy when it comes to the body. I fully expected (and so did he) that he might faint during Ella's birth. His plan was to stay near my head and try not to see anything that might make him want to run. When the time came however, he was really there for me when I needed him. He held my hand, told me I was doing great and he didn't even come close to fainting after seeing some pretty graphic medical procedures.

So by no means would my husband mean to hurt me and I completely saw the innocence in his question when the other day he asked, "in medical jargon would Ella's birth be called a "birth" because it was a c-section?" I stared at him for a few seconds before my eyes welled up and I muttered, "yes..". Since then I've struggled with his question. If my husband... with his university degree and his infinite sensitivity and love can ask such a question, how many other people out there don't consider a c-section a "birth"?
My baby was born and therefore I've always referred to her coming as a birth no matter what opening she came from but it's made me doubt this otherwise simple, basic thought.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Rebecca I get that. I've struggled with this too.

I think my daughter got born. But I don't feel I gave birth to her. Being born is something that the baby does; giving birth is something a mama does. Because giving birth was defined for me so clearly when my son was born, I really don't feel I gave birth to Miriam. I laboured... but it wasn't me that helped her out of my body. That hurts. A lot. Maybe with time I'll look at it differently. But that is one of the things that makes me so angry. They took so much away from me, I LET them take so much away from me because on some level I believed it right, and the biggest thing I lost was the priviledge of birthing my daughter.

I know this doesn't help, except maybe to know you're not alone in it.

xo Robin

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

rmacburn, I love that idea, the angels singing moment.

Edited to remove my own moment--I realized after the fact that many of the more recent posts were about c/s, and my experience doesn't add to the conversation.

Joined: 07/29/03
Posts: 147

I'm reading this thread and all these thoughts and memories are piling up in my mind like some kind of train-wreck. Three births, none of them what I REALLY wanted them to be, although my DH reminds me that we stuck to the 'important stuff' (like he gets to decide what was important to ME about the births, especially when so many of my sadness about the third involves things that he failed to follow through on). Right now, I need to go sort through all these regrets and losses and sorrows. My youngest child is almost three and still there are days that it hits me; the "why didn't I?"s come out of nowhere and completely derail me and the worst is that I will never get the chance to have the birth I want, and that makes me so MAD, and HURT, and ROBBED... and I never felt like anyone could possibly understand until I found this thread.

So, thank-you... and I'm sure you are all very confused, but when my mind makes sense of it all, I will explain better.

Stef

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

It's funny how the blues are still coming and going. It's like I'll suddenly notice that I've been happy for a while - which will promptly plunge me into dwelling again. My latest fantasy involves yelling "I revoke consent" and delivering M on the floor of the OR onto a towel or something. Catching her myself. I was supposed to catch her myself. And I didn't even get to give birth to her.

I have a pg friend right nw who has been looking to me for birthing and parenting advice... I don't know her that well, we did a show together over the holidays when she got her BFP and since then we've been talking birthing etc. she's 16 weeks now and sold on at least "trying" to go NCB. I love talking to her about it all but at the same time it really hurts... she has a chance to do this now, a chance I may never get again. some of my sadness is just the possibility of being "done"... but I'm so angry that I only got 2 opportunities in my life to give birth and one was stolen from me. Still screaming inside.

Joined: 08/04/03
Posts: 21

I too grieve for my natural homebirth that wasn't.

It's been almost 18 months since Declan was born, and though it was a vaginal birth, I still feel robbed, confused and disappointed in myself.

I thought I did everything I was supposed to. I read books, I took my vitamins, I went to my appointments. I had no complications and I made sure that I didn't get uptight about having that heavenly Mt Dew every once in a while.

But when it all comes down to it, I was flat out naive and unprepared. I thought I would still have over a month to be ready for his birth. We hadn't even had the home visit with our midwives. But once I was at the hospital I got scared. They were telling me that my placenta was old, and that Declan was growing at different rates and threatened to have us arrested if we left. It never crossed my mind to just LEAVE. After sitting in hospital for 10 days hoping that they'd change their mind and let me go, my turn came. 36 hours of cervidil later, DH and I were begging for some peace and a chance to sleep. They agreed, for two hours, and then insisted it was time for Pitocin.

Shortly later after emptying my bowels, loosing my mucus plug and SROM all within 30 minutes I was in the most pain I've ever felt in my life. It was absolutely horrendous. When they offered a drug that would take an edge of the pain I agreed. They lied. It made me completely high and out of it between contractions. It made it feel like these contractions were on top of each other instead of 5 minutes apart. I have NO recollection of anything between the contractions.

They offered an epi which wouldn't numb anything but the pain. AGAIN the lied. I couldn't feel anything from my boobs down. As soon as the epi was administered they checked and I was fully dilated. I was horrified. My child just received the full dose of an epi and would be born within minutes.

They told me it was time to push, but I laughed. I couldn't feel my legs yet they praised me and told me that I was pushing perfectly. I wanted to stab the OB in her eye. Within 10 minutes my son was born - limp, blue, and stoned.

I absolutely feel that Declan was unnecessarily induced and that any lingering side effects of his prematurity are caused by the set of interventionists I encountered in the hospital. Had I had any previous experience or had I known that I would be fighting of the safety of my child I would have been prepared.

Now I am prepared. Just like with Pre-E, my only cure is delivery - a natural delivery on my own terms. I need to know that I can grow a baby and deliver it as nature intended. I no longer want to think about giving birth and feel robbed, violated, co-erced, prodded and caged. I have and continue to prepare myself for the circumstances where I may have to give birth unassisted.

I will not let them steal from me again.

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

"MoonPie" wrote:

They told me it was time to push, but I laughed. I couldn't feel my legs yet they praised me and told me that I was pushing perfectly. I wanted to stab the OB in her eye. Within 10 minutes my son was born - limp, blue, and stoned.

I was also frozen solid with an epi. The nurse and my husband had to adjust my position in the bed and I had my bladder emptied for me several times... it was so terrible... I also tried to push, but my experience ended in a section. My beautiful baby girl was also born "limp, blue and stoned". She had to have an injection of narcan to counteract pain medication and she was bagged and suctioned. She's 5 months old now and it still pains me to the core to think of my baby in this way...

Nothing really helps to ease the pain of this image.. but as time goes on I think about it less, and while I don't plan on conceiving baby#2 for more than a year, I've already began to prepare. The next birth will be more positive... it has to be.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

It's Miriam's birthday today. I actually thought I was going to be perfectly ok but then I realized I was just avoiding thinking about it. On ds's birthday, DH and tend to reminisce all day.. this is what we were doing at this time, then this happened, then that happened.. Poor guy. He started to do that today. "It's 3pm, I think we were in the park, or were we looking for the B&B by then?" I was so shocked and completely hurt that he would bring it up, that's when I realized I was really NOT ok at all. I stopped him cold. I told him it was a horrible day and I had no interest in a blow-by-blow. No interest at all, I didn't want to think about it, I wasn't going to talk about it. Tomorrow we can talk about bringing her home. But I just can't. I don't understand how it can be a year, and still, as soon as it comes up, it's like it just happened. The year has gone so quickly, and it's been so freakin' WEIRD. My priorities have all shifted, everything is different... so much so it's shocking to me that the sky is still the same colour. Everything, especially concerning my health, is sorted in my mind as before- or after- medical assault. My anger is present and accounted for.

Which is not to say that I'm not happy. I'm loving my life these days - I'm too busy, I take too much on, but that's me and it's normal and it allows me my much-needed sense of accomplishment. It also removes any free time for thinking, it's not deliberate but I do recognize that I have always managed my life this way. But I'm having a good time - kids, my work... I'm happy.

How long does healing take? Is there ever going to be a point this doesn't bother me? In many ways I hope not. My anger feels righteous and I want it. If I let my anger go, they'll have won. I'll just be another mama who let them hurt her and didn't say anything. Is that self-destructive though? How much anger can you keep without giving yourself cancer or something? How do you know if the anger is constructive or destructive? It's motivating - it keeps me going, it makes me write content for the website, think out next steps for the CBB, write more letters. If I were to let go of the anger, would I still have the need to do these things?

Sarah-Jean's picture
Joined: 10/25/01
Posts: 1335

I've been contemplating posting here a long time now and never had the guts as it seems wrong for me to post here. I mean, my last home water birth was perfect, just the way I wanted it to be... There was no real stress, nothing went wrong. It was THE perfect birth I'd been pining for throughout all of my previous pregnancies...

My problem lies with what happened afterwards and the care I recieved afterwards. Not the birth itself.

Is that really stupid? Probably is, I don't know. Especially when you consider this was over a year ago now. But it's affecting the way I feel about my upcoming home water birth. I WANT that same birth experience, but I'm terrified I'll be left to rot like I was last time.

I can't even really describe what was wrong. I just didn't feel supported by anyone, not my DH, not the midwives, nobody cared for me.

My first memories of the night after my little Ashton was born was of virtually passing out from being tired on the sofa... Waking in the early hours of the morning calling for my DH who was on the sofa opposite me to help me get to the bathroom as I needed a bath (had flooded and hadn't had a bath or wash since the birth). He didn't help me up the stairs, I had to run my own bath, I fell into it and hurt myself... Then after I'd had a quick wash I found I couldn't move much and spent the next 3 hours calling for my DH to come and help me. He never did. I was left in freezing cold, dirty water just hours after giving birth.

Then in the following days I was very weak. I was never given an opportunity to rest after any of my births, but I thought having a homebirth would make things different, and then when I got the womb infection I was so ill I couldn't get out of bed. Nobody bought me anything to drink, or eat. I was lucky if I got two small glasses of drink a day and lucky if I got one full meal. I was trying desperately to breastfeed during this time - something I'd never managed before... Then I got thrush as well and when I was crying in the middle of the night in pain from breastfeeding I was told to stop fussing or I'd wake the other kids...

Then a few weeks after I'd given birth (maybe 6-8 at best) I was still struggling through the breastfeeding and was told I'd have to leave my baby for 3 days to go and help with an exhibition he was doing. I wasn't allowed to take a breast pump and I tried in vain for over a week to pump enough to leave. It wasn't enough and I got a call part way through the day saying they'd had to buy formula.

By this time my supply was seriousely dwindling. And I got no support whilst trying to re-establish it... Then my infection came back and by the time I was allowed to rest I was quite seriousely ill. I was hallucinating, fitting, throwing up, unable to eat or drink. One night it was too much and I asked DH to give him a bottle of formula, he complained bitterly at being woken during the night, and insisted I breastfeed even though I was unable to safely hold the baby due to shaking and dizziness...

By the next day I was much worse and was unable to feed him... I told DH point blank he needed to give the baby formula, which he did and basically by that evening my supply seemed to have dried up. I was unable to hand express, baby was unable to get anything and it never came back despite my best efforts.

Now don't get me wrong. My DH isn't a bad man. He'll normally do anything for me - I only have to ask... So why oh why didn't he support me when I needed it most. It was sooo important to me and I felt like I'd been left to rot, completely unsupported.

I am now terrified he'll do it again... Except this time I'll have five children to look after and it's making me question whether I should go ahead with a homebirth or not, despite the fact I really want too. I mean it wasn't much different with my hospital births, he just assumed now baby was out everything was back to normal, except with DS3 I managed to convince the hospital to let me stay in a few days afterwards so I got a couple of days of rest...

I don't really know why I feel so bad. Over a year later, surely I should be over this and have forgiven him. But it feels like he let me down when I needed him most and it makes me wonder/worry about what will happen this time around. :cry:

Anyway, just needed to unload all this. Thanks for giving me a place to do so....

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

"Robinna" wrote:

How long does healing take? Is there ever going to be a point this doesn't bother me? In many ways I hope not. My anger feels righteous and I want it. If I let my anger go, they'll have won. I'll just be another mama who let them hurt her and didn't say anything. Is that self-destructive though? How much anger can you keep without giving yourself cancer or something? How do you know if the anger is constructive or destructive? It's motivating - it keeps me going, it makes me write content for the website, think out next steps for the CBB, write more letters. If I were to let go of the anger, would I still have the need to do these things?

If the anger is motivating and doesn't distract from your happiness on a regular basis, then I certainly agree that it can be a good thing. Nothing would change in the world if people stayed quiet and forgot about the wrong-doing in their lives. All too often I come upon women who've had terrible birth experiences, and yet they stand by, "we both lived, so I can't complain." Well... of course it's important that everyone is healthy now, but it's like saying it's ok to be mugged because afterwards you're still healthy. It can still leave long lasting damage, and nothing will change if it's just forgotten about...

Joined: 05/24/05
Posts: 944

Sarah-Jean... your story is heart-breaking. Half way through your post I had to stop reading and come back because I couldn't process it all at once.

I am a firm believer in the wonders of a homebirth... but in your circumstances, I may consider a hospital birth, and talk the doc into giving you a few days to stay there. You will need to stand-up for what you want as far as the birth... but post partum, you will get three meals a day with snacks, all the water brought to you that you can handle, help to the bathroom if needed 24/7, a little rest from the other kiddos at home and a chance to bond with your new little bundle. And you can get some extra help with breastfeeding too.

My heart aches for you... and I can only hope that your upcoming birth is more positive. Please continue to post with us.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Robin, you'd make an outstanding doula.

I have an angel singing moment - it was when I heard that sweet cry, even though it was in the distance, as soon as I heard it I sighed a breath of relief and began to cry a little. It was the most beautiful moment of my entire life. I will never forget it (although now it's hard to remember exactly what her cry sounded like, but I remember the feeling all the same.) Whenever I think of my birth that's what I focus on.

indymom's picture
Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 261

Leigh, I'm glad you're here! Aless is so darn cute with her little denim hat on.

I had a long conversation last night (after a few too many rum & diet cokes) with a friend of mine. His wife had two natural hospital births. It was so funny to talk to this burly dad and hear him go on about perineal massage, episiotomies, breastfeeding and placentas!

I'm always thrilled for others who are able to achieve their birthing goals, but a small part of me is also very sad and jealous. It seems like EVERYONE I know gets the birth they want, whether they want an experience full of interventions or a home unassisted waterbirth . . .

I'm still just so pissed that I wasn't strong enough to stand up for myself. I KNEW it was a mistake when I was walking into that damn triage area. I should have turned around, walked out and called my OB's office to tell them I was going to go AMA and lay on my couch and eat chicken. Smile In retrospect, I would have taken my BP every 30 minutes at home if it would have meant going into labor naturally instead.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

i do have an angels singing moment.. As soon as the ob sais jeffy was out i said "where's his cry? i waited nine months for that sound!" and then i hear the tiniest wimpiest little waaaahhh and that was it. it was kinda like him saying "here mom, happy? now leave me alone" it was so cute hehe

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

You know i'm STILL looking for that angels singing moment. I was scrapbooking M's birth-day last night (yes, I am THAT far behind in my scrapbooking!) and actually found I could smile at the picture of us, where I'm still on the table and DH is holding her beside my face - he held her there until I could take her. His arms must have been killing him by the time they got me off the table, he didn't even have a stool. And I wept again over the gap between her birth and when I got to see her. Why did nobody take pictures? OK dumb question, because they had their priorities straight, that's why. But I long for that moment. I'm posessed by the idea that my angels singing moment is that one that I missed, where she was lying on my belly and I couldn't see or feel her, but only had the assurance of my MW that she was there. :cry:

She is such a loving being, and even at 16 months she is already showing compassion to others - when ds cries she goes straight to him and pats his back and tries to kiss him or give him a toy. I think she wanted her head by my heart, that's why she stayed breech, she felt my stress about trying to find someone to help me birth her without surgery and wanted to comfort me... how's that for wires crossed?

One thing for sure. Never again will I permit being polite or honouring a bad agreement to get in the way of what I know to be right.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

As I gear up for the birth of this little girl, Kai's birth comes freshly to mind again. I'm even nervous about just writing about it again, as it makes me so emotional. The end result was marvelous: an absolutely gorgeous and healthy baby boy. The journey to the end sucked so bad and I'm still so upset about it. Steve and I stayed up late last night talking about it and about our desires for The Wombat's birth. The conversation started with me asking him, "What do you think about hiring a doula?"

Here's what happened with Kai:

I was up for 2 nights in a row with contractions. They went away pretty much during the day. Then they finally kicked in and stuck one early morning. I hung out at home for a while then we went into the hospital. Mistake #1. Should have stayed a home longer. I was 3 cm on admission. I walked and walk with my sister and DH helping me through contractions and sometime in the late afternoon I was 6 cm.

During that 6 cm check the doctor said pretty much, "OK, I'm going to break your bag." I was like, "Uh, OK." What is a woman to do when her legs are up in the air and hasn't really given it any prior thought and isn't given any time to think about it at time? Until then, contractions were bad, but I was hanging in there.

Immediately after, I wanted to die. Absolutely. I was welcoming death. Of course, later, we discovered Kai was OP (occiput posterior) and likely that contributed to the through the roof, absolutely unbearable pain.

But I believe that the AROM contributed to his malposition. I don't believe that if I'd been allowed to labor (however slowly) on my own that the pain would have been that dreadful. My poor DH was so worried about me and says he has never, ever seen anyone in so much pain. It must have been agonising to watch. With all that pain the poor nurse anesthetist had a devil of a time getting the epidural in. 2 hours after the AROM, we finally had a functioning epidural, along with a 9cm cervix and an OP baby stick at 0 station.

Of course at the time I blessed the epidural. And I still do. Now I realized I've come to be terribly p!ssed off about the AROM. I need to do a medical lit. search on AROM and malposition.

The clincher for the whole thing is that the doctor is one of my best friends. I can't and won't talk to her about this. This is done and over with and I still have a lovely baby boy. I need to look forward and truly find a way in myself to believe that I can do this and this time have a better experience. I still love my friend, I still see her (although rarely since she is uber busy), and I don't see the sense in talking to her about it. So I talk to my DH about it. And I will talk to my current OB about it at our next visit. I just know I'll cry though and I hate crying with strangers. (OK, so my OB is not really a stranger, but you know what I mean.)

Kai did not rotate and after trying to let him "labor down" for a few hours, augmented with pitocin (which I didn't realize I was getting until after the delivery), I started pushing at 0 station. I pushed for 3 solid hours. I've run a marathon before, and this was 20 times harder. Even with an epidural. I don't know where that strength came from. Finally, as the vacuum extractor was being brought out, Kai miraculously turned and there he was! Once he turned OA, he came out lickity split.

So I discussed briefly with my current OB his use of AROM. Of course he's an advocate if labor stalls. As a family practitioner who does a ton of OB, I have to admit, I used to use AROM alot for "stalled" labor. I've changed my tune since Kai's birth. My OB is cool - sensing my nervousness, he's encouraged me to write a birth plan. I don't require much. I just want a fighting chance. And I'm convinced the AROM was too early and was the pivitol point in the birth experience going down hill.

Since my last appointment, I've come to realize I want a doula. My DH is a wonderful man, but he is, after all, a man. He can't possibly know what my body is feeling and he is not the intuitive type of person to know how to help. I would love, love, love for my big sister to be my doula. But she is an RN and besides very close to me. I think another contributing factor at the last delivery was having far to many relatives and friends (over half of which were MDs or RNs) in the room. Their presence, I'm sure, put undue pressure on the medical staff.

So, I have to figure out if my OB is cool with a doula. I want another woman there who can help me reach my experience, if that experience is indeed attainable. I realize sh!t happens - I've been on the receiving end of it and Lord knows, I'm so thankful I can perform a C-section. But I want the warm, caring, calm, soothing and experienced support of another woman who has done this successfully before with me. I know that will help me tremendously.

I'm sort of looking forward to my next OB appointment: I want him to understand how crazy anxious I am about that AROM and make sure he's down with the doula. I'm sure he will be: all 3 of his kids were delivered by midwives. Now I have to figure out how to hire one and find one that I click with.

Oh, I forgot to say that DH told me last night that he has absolutely no doubt that I can do it. That means so much to me. Now I have to believe it deep down too.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

My brain is still playing out alternate scenarios. Last night it played out "breech birth in the bathroom" through until completion and I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Why can I not find a way to be OK with what really happened? I seem to be unable to forgive myself for not knowing enough. Sad

abkinsey's picture
Joined: 07/13/06
Posts: 323

I am ANGRY at my old docs. Totally and completely LIVID. They put my life and worst of all WILL'S life at risk. I would like to think that I was the "fluke" but I know I'm not. One of my friends had her epidural fail in a c/s and they kept her awake even though she felt the whole surgery. Another friend was given AROM during a totally normal but slow labor, her cervix got swollen immediately, and they did a c/s. Another friend's wife was given TWO c/s for FTP. Come to think of it, I'm the only Mom I know who managed to have a vaginal birth with them. It makes me LIVID!!!!!!!! How can they be so careless with the lives of women and of innocent babies all in the name of a dollar??????? They put me and my friends and our children at risk. How dare they! HOW DARE THEY!!!!!!!!!!!!

abkinsey's picture
Joined: 07/13/06
Posts: 323

Sometimes I wonder if Will is so fussy at times because he was traumatized by the things that happened in the hospital. What he went through was just.....SO MUCH....especially at such a young age for such a little person. I can't imagine how it must have felt to not understand what was going on and why and to have the sort of cold and rigid welcome he got into this world. He had that freaking monitor on his head, the vacuum which gave him a big ole bump, was suctioned deep on a cold table instead of held in my arms, was tossed every which way by the nurses in an attempt to "massage his bladder" (why is it necessary to shake my baby upside down and roll him to all sides and roughly push down??????), and then I was not allowed to hold him ( :cry: ) because they wanted him in the bilibed. I could only hold him to nurse and he would cry and cry with his arms outstretched in that stupid little blue bed, just begging to be close to me. I wanted nothing more than to pick him up and hold him. It completely broke my heart. I feel like the damage they did to him there will take a long time for him (and me) to work through because that was his FIRST experience with this world and it was an awful and traumatic one. Sometimes I feel like his fussiness is due in large part to him trying to establish the fact that I REALLY WILL be there for him, to hold him anytime he wants, to comfort him, and that I'm not going to leave him alone somewhere to fend for himself. I feel like he got a shaky start to that trust-bond and it's understandably taking a while to work through that. Of course, in all of this, I wish I had done better for him. Yes, I did better that alot of people in my situation in that I turned around the labor and got out of a c/s and was determined. I did the best I could with what I had. And then, I was so exhausted afterwards that I couldn't think clearly. If this were happening now, I would tell them, "NO, you may not keep him in that bed. NO, you may not toss him about. NO, you may not put the monitor on. NO, you may not take him from me, NO, we will not give him any formula to get rid of the jaundice (we gave him a few cc's at dr's and lc's insistance and I so wish we hand't listened to them). NO, you may not talk loudly around him. NO, you may not turn the bright lights on. NO NO NO NO NO!" I wish I could go back and make it different for him. My heart breaks for him. It really does. I want to tell him I'm so sorry that's how things were for him. Since I can't change it, I guess I'll just keep holding him, hugging him, kissing him, loving him, reassuring him, and staying with him until we both can heal. I'll make better decisions in the future with his brothers and sisters. I'll do things much differently. Of course, I could be completely off the wall and this could have nothing to do with what Will goes through, but somehow, I just don't think that what happened could have been good for him, and I know it wasn't good for me.

abkinsey's picture
Joined: 07/13/06
Posts: 323

Thank you God for working a miracle. When we prayed you showed us what we needed to do next. You prompted me to call Amber. You gave me strength to make it through and to focus and do what I needed to do. You showed me the beauty of natural birth. You protected Will in the hospital and brought us all through the trauma in one piece. Thank you God for helping me learn how to heal physically and continuing to help me learn to heal emotionally. You have truly been my protector, my strength, and my solid ground. Thank you Amber for remembering about Ina May's visualization. Thank you Allen for staying with me the entire time, for believing in me, praying for me, for having faith in the process, and for being SO FREAKING excited the moment that Will was born. Thank you to the three ncb friendly nurses who encouraged me and believed in me when I wanted to do things differently. Thank you Will for being patient with Mommy and for being so strong. Thank you to all my friends and family who prayed and sent their strength.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

My midwives and hospital could give me everything I wanted except one thing. I basically knew that my hopes of having a totally natural birth would be ruined on one circumstance: ruptured membranes not followed by the start of labor. I played the odds and just hoped wouldn't happen to me, even though it happened to my mom with her first birth (and her second, as a matter of fact, but with that one--me--she was able to induce labor naturally). I know that I really started leaking amniotic fluid on Thursday morning, though it was tested Thursday in the midwife office and Friday at the hospital and the tests were negative. That means I had over 48 hours to allow labor to start naturally, and it did start, on Friday, but it was a very slow start. I went from 1.5 cm and 80% effaced to 2 cm and 100% effaced between Thursday and Saturday morning when I went back to the hosptial. I really did need to go to the hospital when I did because I was very tired from contractions and lack of sleep and I learned later that had they not discovered that my membranes were ruptured, they would have sent me home with something to help me sleep, and I would have accpeted that intervention because exhaustion did not help my labor. The discovery of my ruptured membranes meant pitocin. I cried at the mention of pitocin and told Mindy I wanted as much time as I could to try to get things going on my own. Circumstances beyond anyone's control: a different OB was backing her up that day than usual and she could usually get her regualr OBs to give women 12 hours, but she knew with this one all she could get for me would be 6 hours, and that would be pushing it. I'm glad I got those 6 hours because I would regret it if I hadn't. I agreed to the pitocin because it was, as I requested in my birth plan, going to be the lowest dose, but the contrax caused by that low dose were a heck of a lot worse than what I'd been having. I wish Mindy had ruptured my headwaters earlier because I want to know if that would have made a difference in my progress. She ruptured them right before they started running the pitocin, and those contractions made it hard for me to relax. Technically, my water was already broken, so there wasn't much harm to be done in artifically rupturing the headwaters. I think I regret the pitocin more than the epidural. It was such a relief to escape the pitocin contractions and all I needed was to rest! I just wanted it to be over soon and get to see my baby. My birth was pretty medicalized with the epidural and pitocin, but I avoided episiotomy (because of my choice of care provider), forceps/vaccum extraction (probably because of the epidural) and c-section (also because of the epidural). I was also able to welcome Tehani in a dimly lit room with skin to skin contact. My DH was amazing through the whole experience and I'm so lucky to have him.

Joined: 03/21/08
Posts: 1
The birth of my daughter

I loved the question list at the beginning of this thread! I especially loved the question about who I would have punched in the face. I'll answer that.

My daughter was born a week late, they had scheduled me to be induced, but I went into labor the night before. Instead of letting labor go on naturally like I had wanted they pumped me full of pitocin and hooked me up to every thinkable machine there is in fetal medicine! This was not how I had envisioned bringing my daughter into this world. Take note here, that this was a normal pregnancy with no serious complications. Instead of being able to walk around during my labor, I was bed ridden the entire time. I had wanted to go completely natural, but by 6 centimeters my husband told them to give me an epidural. This is the part where I answer the above mentioned question. Before the decision for the epidural was made I was having really strong contractions that seemed to be coming one right after the other. During one particularly painful contraction I let out a scream like sound. It really wasn't that loud. My mother in law told me that that wasn't necessary and that I was going to scare the other laboring mothers!!!!! And my father in law who kept making these ridiculous jokes about pushing the baby out. Saying I better hurry up. My daughter was born healthy ( after 18 hours), but I still wished that I had taken a closer look at my birth plan and been more assertive while in the labor and delivery room. I would have told every one to get out except the doctors and my husband. I guess I'll know better this go round!!

Joined: 07/14/07
Posts: 382

My coworker's wife had her baby today. She had a beautiful birth center experience with hypnosis. I want to cry for myself and what I HAD planned and how my birth turned out. She looks beautiful and happy in her photos. I was so uncomfortable I couldn't even smile the first time I held Tess.

Joined: 02/25/07
Posts: 290

I'm not here very often. In fact, in the last four months or so I haven't been here at all. I feel like a traitor, I feel like a hypocrite, encouraging women to have natural births when I, myself, made the decision to go to the hospital instead of staying home.

My beautiful, energetic, smart, loving son is six and a half months old, has two teeth and crawls. He was born 3 weeks late by elective c-section for failure to progress. Failure to Progress. I consider this to be the most bullshit reason for a c-section in human history, and I chose it. ME. I brought it up, I convinced my husband, I convinced myself. Me.

And yet, he had a knot in his cord. A KNOT in his CORD. A friend of mine said, "if he had died in the birth canal, you never would have forgiven yourself" and she's right, of course. But we didn't know about the knot, and as the ***** midwife who attended my surgery said, "his cord is really long. It probably wouldn't have pulled tight". I still want to slap her for saying that. If she hadn't, I probably wouldn't have ever second guessed myself.

But she did, and now I have the arguement with myself, every time I think about birth.

But I induced!
[INDENT]I was 43 weeks pregnant, ruptured membranes, six centimeters dilated, and miserable with a PUPPP rash.[/INDENT]

But I could have waited!
[INDENT]Perhaps. Or Perhaps he could have died.[/INDENT]

I never should have played with my cervix (My midwives did S&S for four weeks prior to my birth). I never should have tried "natural" induction methods. I should have taken the hint when the castor oil didn't work. My body dilated to six centimeters with a start-and-stop labor over the course of weeks. My water broke during a vaginal exam. I had hard contractions, but they were days apart.

BUT HE HAD A KNOT IN HIS CORD.

Round and round I go. Was he trying to tell me something? Or was he just biding his time? We had serious breastfeeding issues in the first three weeks, would they have been less had I waited to deliver vaginally? Were they because of the anesthesia? Did I harm my son by having surgery? Or did I save his life?

I tried everything during my induction to get the baby to come out. I stayed upright. I relaxed. I don't remember the work of the contractions, or the pain of the back labor, I only remember how it hurt to pee, and how tired I was. I was amazed when he was born and it didn't hurt to pee anymore (after the catheter came out, anyways).

God, I don't know. I'm terrified that I'll never be able to have a home birth, never be able to birth vaginally. I've surprised myself by visualizing my next birth in the hospital instead of at home. I don't want to go to the hospital. They're great, but I want to stay home. I think. But what if the next baby has a knot in its cord, too?

Will I ever stop beating myself up?

abkinsey's picture
Joined: 07/13/06
Posts: 323

So, there really is hope in recovering from traumatic birth. The flashbacks have decreased. I feel happy again for the most part. Will, while still high needs, does not have as many nightmares or cry so much. We are getting our lives together. We are healing, we really are. This is not to say that the trauma and pain is completely gone. No, it's still there. But, it's not consuming every living waking moment of our lives. The other day I realized that Allen and I no longer rehash what happened during Will's birth 10 times per day. We might even go a few days without bringing it up to one another. We're finding peace.

Beyond all of that, we have started using our experiences for positive good in the world. Something about going through something so traumatic doesn't seem as bad when it can be used as a positive force in the world to help other people. I've started an ICAN chapter locally. I've gone to conferences. I've met with legislators. I've written letters. I've done research and started planning for the next birth (whenever I might get pregnant), planning for a homebirth.

Allen has been talking with friends who've also had wives go through traumatic births. He educates dads with pregnant wives wherever he goes. He's even involved in ICAN. He's got a birth choices bumper sticker. Lol

Will is smiling more. He doesn't have as many nightmares. He is not so skiddish or clingy (though definitely still high needs) and enjoys going for playdates, out to parks and museums, and doing fun things. He no longer wants to stay in the house sobbing in my arms. He's feeling more secure and attached and it is showing.

In all of Will's improvements I have realized how very REAL his trauma was. Birth matters folks, it matters alot; and fighting your way back after a traumatic one is no fun, especially when also trying to help a traumatized baby to find his way back, too. But, as I am finding, it is VERY possible to do so with lots of help , support, determination, and commitment.

All of this healing business is a process, a beautiful but grueling process. It's not one I would have chosen but yet it is such a meaningful process. I'm nowhere near done with it. I come up with new questions about what I went through all the time. I search for answers. I let myself feel and then I move on. I'm not completely through it all, but yet I'm no longer stuck in it. I'm able to think about it and then place it on a shelf for a while until I take it down the next time. When a flashback does come it does not hold the power over me it used to hold.

Talking has helped me, especially talking with others who understand because they've been there....and talking with my husband who WAS there with me and equally traumatized. Prayer has helped me. Taking simple actions such as planning something fun and meaningful for each day has helped me. Journaling has helped me. Helping others has really helped me and continues to give purpose and meaning to my life now. My identity and sense of serenity has really been coming around.

I think the Serenity Prayer says it well for me....

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

abkinsey's picture
Joined: 07/13/06
Posts: 323

Just to add....do you ever look back to the first days/weeks/months after a traumatic birth and wonder how in the HECK you managed to make it through? I have been thinking about that and I am in absolute awe...

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