Need a little encouragement (long)

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Need a little encouragement (long)

Hi ladies! DH and I are currently TTC our second. I was whole-heartedly on the natural birth train with my first and had trouble dealing with trying not to be judge-y of women who weren't going natural. I think birth is not a medical condition that needs treatment, and that it is best for mom and baby to let it happen naturally with as few interventions as possible. I also think that the "pain" of labor is part of the process, and in my experience, the pain was totally manageable with hypnobabies and just trying to keep busy and distracted in early labor, up until the last 2 hours.

ANYway, now that I am thinking about labor and delivery again, I am scared. My son was born quickly and with no major complications, and it was a very easy labor up until the last 2 hours, like I mentioned. But the last 2 hours were nearly unbearable. I had extremely strong contractions that my son wasn't tolerating well (neither was I!), and had to stop pushing and try to breathe through them to keep his heartrate up. It was agonizing, and being asked to not push was like being asked not to fall down when you already tripped (impossible). We were minutes out from a c-section when his heartrate finally came back up and I could push again. They had to change internal monitors twice during contractions (also unbearable, I think I swore at them the entire time they were doing it). The surgeon they called in for a consult asked how much pitocin I was on because my contractions were so strong he wanted to turn the pit down to reduce their intensity, but couldn't of course, because I hadn't had any! There was no break between contractions for the last 2 hours, they were one on top of the other. I toughed it out, but was totally traumatized afterwards, to the point where I couldn't even feel happy when he came out and was put on my chest. It took me some time to really bond with my newborn because I was so out of it and traumatized. I realize there are far more traumatic birth stories out there, of course, but this is how I felt.

So my philosophy and beliefs about childbirth lead me to want another natural birth, but sometimes I feel so scared I think I might just ask for an epidural the second it starts to hurt. I am terrified to go through labor again, and I want to be able to enjoy it when my baby is born, and not feel traumatized and shocked this time. I know every birth is different, and I'm hoping it will be better the second time around, but I could use some encouragement from you natural birth mamas.

Spacers's picture
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I'm not a doctor so take this with a couple grains of salt, or a shaker... Wink

Fast, hard labors are the body's way of getting baby out NOW, and sometimes there's a good reason for them. It's your body's ejection system at work, like vomiting if you eat bad food. Thus, I have to wonder if your baby's problems were the reason for the fast hard labor, not the result of it. Perhaps his cord was compressed or his placenta was failing, who knows? The better thing to do might have been to just push like hell & get him out, instead of trying to breathe through pushing. If you get copies of your medical records, ask for the timed monitor tracings, as well, and see if there's a correlation. That might put your mind at ease about a second labor, or it might lead you to choose different care providers who will pay more attention, or it might lead you to be open to pain meds if that happens again. And remember that every labor is going to be different. Good luck with your TTC!

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I agree with spacers thoughts. not that i am doctor either :). would you conisder seeing a mw that delivers at a birth center or hospital. what kind of care did you have (ob?) I would really spend some time doing everything you can to mentally recover from your first labor and go into your second with a fresh set of goggles on (i know, very, very hard to do) also, yes, get your records and sit down with someone (prob. not an ob, just my opinion). I had a fast labor with my second and cannot imagine having been told to not push!

knowing how your labor went toward the end you could have a lot more natural relief methods in place in case your second is similar. GL on your ttc journey and hopefully the second time around is healing for you.

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A few more details about the first labor:
I was in a birth center attached to a hospital (no free standing BC where I lived at the time)
I had a midwife, who when things first started to get dicey, told me to push hard to get the baby out fast. It made the decelerations worse, so she panicked a little and called in an OB surgeon with a lifetime of experience to come help. He was the one who had me stop pushing, and was the only calm and collected person in the room. DS' heartrate started to improve right away, although took a while to fully come back where they wanted it, so the no-pushing thing seemed to go on forever. By the time I could push again, he had moved down the birth canal on his own and it only took 2 pushes. I actually think this OB saved us from a c-section, because the MW (who also has a lifetime of experience) had tried everything she knew to do. So I am grateful to him for knowing what to do to avoid a C/S. I never felt that it was the fault of the MW, OB or nurses, I really had very few interventions other than the internal monitor (which I protested to at first, but given the situation, it was the right thing to do). They tried to be as respectful of our birth plan as possible and felt bad when we had to deviate from it. So I'm not sure anything could have been done differently, it was just a traumatic experience and I am trying to overcome it and get to a place where I feel like I can face another delivery (hopefully a healing experience, as mentioned!)

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BIG HUGS. With all of that in mind, I can only add that there are many fear-clearing exercises that might be helpful to you in Hypnobirthing--not sure about Hypnobabies, but there are definitely resources out there specific to situations like yours--getting over fear from a previous birth experience.

Also, I know that what helped me get through my not quite so scary but still totally not what I'd expected (24 hours of hard labor, about six of them pushing) was just being so super educated on the negatives of medicalized birth--other than when medically NECESSARY, of course--that it just simply wasn't an option in my mind (unless I had no option). You clearly already know what you're doing, but studying up again on all the whys might help you feel more confident and committed again.

And, no matter what--good luck!

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I'm sorry that you're scared, Maggie. Sad

One thing that I learned during my obstetrics rotation was that first time moms are far more likely to have a hypertonic uterus and really strong contractions. With subsequent pregnancies and deliveries, the uterus is a little more stretched out and doesn't push with quite such intensity in most cases.

When the uterus contracts it cuts off the blood to the placenta. That's normal, but it's why they don't want contractions to last too long or to be too close together. The general rule of thumb is at least one minute between contractions. If yours were right on top of each other and super intense, there probably wasn't quite enough O2 getting to Griffin - that's why the OB wanted you to breathe, to increase the amount of O2 in your blood...I imagine they put an O2 mask on you as well? That is far less common with second babies.

And, it sounds like the OB that works with the birth center was a real gem and would have intervened if things became more serious. Would you be delivering at the same place again?

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Hypnobabies does include a CD with a fear clearing session on it that is excellent. The pregnancy affirmations may also be helpful ("This is a new birth and a new baby" comes to mind)

I remember there was another mom who posted here a while ago who had a traumatic first birth due to hypertonic contractions, but I don't remember her username! She had an amnioinfusion that helped with the fetal heart rate issues. I wish I could remember who she was and find her lodge to look at how her second birth went, but if I remember right, it went a lot better.

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Another thought I have, after reading your follow-up comments, goes along with what Joysiloo said about oxygen, but I wonder if perhaps you weren't getting enough oxygen? That can easily happen with a hard, fast labor where you're just "dealing." If you don't have a trained person right there (doula or midwife) reminding you, it's easy to not breathe properly when you're not getting a break from the contractions. That lack of oxygen in you can send things spiralling. It sounds like you were in really good hands, but I still think taking a look at your records can never hurt.

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Whew! Those last few comments make me feel so relieved. Thank you! I didn't even realize that's what was happening (hypertonic contractions), I just thought I had a monster uterus and it would happen again or be even worse with the next one (since you always hear second births are faster). Joy, I did have an oxygen mask, and I was a little mystified by why they were so pushy about making me breathe through it. They didn't put it over my head for some reason (maybe I wouldn't let them?) so I had to hold it to my face during contractions, and if I forgot (which was most of the time) they would shove it in my face frantically. So that makes sense. So glad to hear it doesn't usually happen with subsequent labors. Just knowing that it probably won't happen makes me feel so much better!

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Like Daphne said (and in my experience) first time births are generally always harder. Once your body has gone through it, it's much easier to do the second (third, fourth lol) time around. That being said, each and every birth is different. I went med free with my first. Labor lasted about twelve hours, and the last few were unbearable. I was screaming through each contraction as I was feeling all of the contractions through my back because baby wasn't facing the right direction. I remember the pain being so bad it made me not want to have any more children. My second and third babies were nothing like that (although I did go ahead with the epi because I was induced with both of them and the pit was making the contractions horrible). I'm really hoping that this baby comes without needing to be induced and I don't have any back labor, as I'd really like to try things on my own this time! I say you do what you feel is right, do all of the preparing for a natural birth as you possibly can (def look into hypnobabies and the book Hypnobirthing!), but if it comes down to you going through unbearable pain again, don't look at getting an epi as any type of failure on your part. Every woman's pain management and threshold is completely different, just like every birth and baby is different... so what might work for one woman may be completely different for you.

I don't like to pass judgement either way (which unfortunately happens a lot with pregnant women and their birthing choices), whether it be "natural" birthers thinking that women who get pain meds are copping out and not going through it the way we were meant to, or moms who choose to always get meds and think that those that don't are hippy-ish. I say to each their own! I'm gonna try to go at it all on my own this time around (fingers crossed!) but if I feel that I can't, I like to know that I don't have to and that I have the option of an epi available. Anyway, sorry this is so long, and good luck!