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Advice on getting over traumatic birth. Due in 8 weeks for second baby

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#1 melhavingaboy

Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:21 PM

Hi All,
Im due to have my second baby in May. Im finding that im growing more and more anxious as my due date approaches. When I think about going into labour I feel sweaty and feel like crying. this is the first time ive written it all down. I know its long. please read, im desperate for any help I can get.

Heres my first experience ( as much as I can remember of it anyway. I think I have blanked out parts,possibly to protect my sanity)
Ill start from the beginning:

3 1/2 years ago I was pregnant with my little girl. I had a near perfect pregnancy. Felt great, little morning sickness, no back pain. I was convinced that I could labour vaginally and was confident in my own abilities. After all..... that's what our bodies are meant to be able to do, aren't they??
At 36 weeks I was diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis ( liver issue- bile accumulating into my blood).
I was told that I could go on medication to take away the itch. I trusted my obstetrician and went to the chemist to pick up the prescription. The chemist told me it was a category C drug and that my obstetrician should have advised me of this. I immediately called the obstetrician and asked what I should do. ( I wanted the itch to go away because I was making myself bleed scratching at night and soo uncomfortable). He said I had two choices. I could take the medicine or be induced at 38 weeks.
I was scared to take a category C drug for fear of harming the baby. So I decided that I would put up with the unbearable itch and be induced at 38 weeks.
Once I reached 38 weeks, I went into hospital on Monday evening at 8pm. I was given the cervical gel to start labour. They told me to get some sleep and throughout the night I would start getting contractions. By the morning, nothing had happened. I was worried that my body wasn't doing what it should be., so they put more gel and told me to wait. Another 6 hours and nothing. I had dilated to 1cm but no contractions yet other than some slight period pain cramps.
By lunch on Tuesday my obstetrician came in and said that we needed to kick start this labour. I laid on the bed and they inserted what looked like a giant crochet hook inside me to break my water. Apart from the hideous pain this caused and the fact I was terrified. My contractions finally started. I got up cleaned myself off and went to find my maternity pads as was still leaking. The midwife told me not to bother with them as id be changing them too frequently and handed me these adult sized nappies. begrudgingly I put them on. albeit comfy, this was far from the relaxing birth experience I had imagined.
Contractions started almost immediately and were painful. I had read lots of articles and books on labour so started to put what I had learnt into practice. I used birth ball, tens machine, and music. My partner massaged my back and shoulders and was great.
They checked my cervix many times between lunchtime and 5pm that day. All of which I found very invasive, each time they would just say. Nope doesn't seem that youre progressing, or doesn't seem to be working, its a shame youre having all those contractions they don't seem to really be doing anything. This was more than disheartening and I lost confidence quickly. I remember crying and asking why my body wont work. I was stressing myself out and adrenaline had kicked in. All of a sudden my labour stopped completely. No more contractions, no more pain. I felt, well....pain free again. They even brought me dinner.
My family knew I was being induced and at 7pm they all turned up to see me. I was embarrassed that my labour had stopped and I had no contractions. I remember them saying, " why has that happened? what are they doing about it? do you go home now? are they giving you a csection?" so many questions.. all of which I couldn't answer and just felt really confused, alone, disappointed and sad.
A new midwife came in the room and asked all my relatives to leave. She could see that I was withdrawing and acting strange. I still don't know what exactly happened, but I think I may have had a panic attack. I remember getting all sweaty, fainty, racing heart and feeling like I just had to get out of there.
The midwife took me to another room and told my family to go home.
She dimmed the lights, lit some scented candles and said she just wants me to relax and have no interuptions. She left me be for 3 hours. During that time my contractions started again. I was contracting well and had now moved to 4cm. Things were looking up. She helped me through contractions and encouraged me that I could do this.
At 10pm that night, the obstetrician came back and checked my cervix again. I felt myself tense up as soon as he came in the room, like a fear response. He said that at 4cm, he thinks that im failing to progress. ( still to this day, I hate that term and it makes me want to cry even typing it!)
He said that we should start a Pitocin or synotocin ( cant remember) drip as this will help me contract better and dilate better. I was given an epidural ( I had wanted to avoid this all along). and the drip was administered. By the time they had started the drip I was shaking. My partner went to get me blanket but the nice midwife mentioned to him that my adrenaline was very high and that's why I was shaking.
After a few hours on the drip ( I don't remember this time- blocked out, I think I was just crying) the obstetrician came back in and told me that I hadn't progressed further. The anethetist was also in the room and I could hear him talking to the obstetrician saying " if she needs a csection, just do it now, I don't want to be woken up at 3am". I don't remember much more of their conversation. I just remember feeling that this birth was not my own, that I had no control and felt like a prisoner just being told what to do.
They left me on the drip a few more hours.
I was then told my baby was in distress and I needed an emergency csection. I was so out of it and so tired by this stage that I just signed the paperwork.
They told me they needed to top up my epidural and did so as we were heading into theatre. The anethetist ( clearly upset that he was called back in around3.30am) checked to see if I had feeling in my legs. I couldn't move my left leg at all but I could lift my right leg and had some feeling in my tummy. He told me that sometimes the epidural can sit slightly to one side and have a slightly less effect on one side of the body.
As the csection started I could feel them cut me on one side of my body only. Not a super sharp pain, as the epidural was slightly working on that side. It was more a burn feeling, not sharp feeling. None the less it was bloody painful.
By the time my baby was born, I was completely disinterested and exhausted.( 4am on Wednesday morning.)
My baby was perfect and was handed straight to her dad. After stictching me up, I could barely keep my eyes open. I could hear the drs laughing saying, hey you've just had a baby how can you sleep. Already I was being made to feel like a bad mother.
To top it off, the midwife that checked my placenta, then asked me why I had been such a heavy smoker during my pregnancy. I wa shocked. IM NOT A SMOKER and avoided being near anyone smoking when I was pregnant. apparently my placenta had become gritty and started falling apart. Later on I found out that this was due to the cholestasis and the bile that hard been trying to cross the placenta.

The next few days I was a mess. I was elated that I had a beautiful healthy baby girl, and horriefied at my birth experience, Feeling like a failure.

Still to this day. 3 years later. when I hear someone that has given birth vaginally or had a happy birth story. I feel cheated and feel myself get upset and fight back tears. When ever I heard someone talk about a csection I would get sweaty and panicky again.

Im trying for a VBAC in May this year. And I feel im more prepared and more confident to be in more control this time. however im very anxious and scared. Im worried that because ive not gotten over my horrible experience, that I wont be able to relax and will ultimately stall my own labour again. The thought that I might have the same experience again terrifies me.

This is the first time ive ever written my experience down or told anyone other than one close friend. Any advice is welcome.
How do I put this behind me and move on so I can have a good experience this time??

#2 kitkatswing

Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:41 PM

First of all  **hugs**...

I couldn't read all that and not give you some virtual hugs. What you went through certainly was very traumatic and sounds like the staff (apart from that one awesome midwife) all need a good bollocking...

I had a very similar birth story (although only got to 1 cm unfortunately) which ended up with an emergency cs.. I still to this day feel I never had a ":real birth"..

I have no words of advice really though,  except that I hope your little ones impending arrival is smooth and the way you want it to be... Maybe try to focus on the future coming instead of the past?

#3 lazycritter

Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:44 PM

You poor thing. Have you told this to your midwives? They need to know About your anxiety and previous trauma.

You're under a different care system this time I hope?

#4 possumbaby

Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:46 PM

Good on you for writing it all down - that must have been very painful to re-live.  I don't have any words of wisdom or advice - other than to try and talk about the birth of your daughter with your caregivers this time around.

I think any health professional (even the most interventionist) would understand your anxiety, and really feel for you when they hear the cascade of things that went wrong for you.

And BTW, I agree, failure to progress is an awful term - try not to take it personally, its like failure to thrive - they don't mean failure of the child - its failure of the process - but its such insensitive language.

#5 Soontobegran

Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:47 PM

It is difficult if not impossible to put experiences like this out of your head but it can help to discuss them with someone. Do you have a good GP who can go through your fears with ?
It is sad that you don't seem to be have been given the opportunity to debrief as so much of what happened to you seems to be total lack of communication and I am sorry that has happened.

Once OC has been diagnosed pregnancy changes track.
It is almost certain that you will be having your baby no later than 38 weeks and often much earlier dependent on your blood tests and unfortunately an early induction will very often just not work and the interventions just pile up with a C/S being a very possible outcome.

If you manage to not get OC this time and you are able to go into labour naturally when your body and baby is ready then almost all the problems you had with your induction should not occur.

Just hitting on the medication side of things...your obstetrician would not have prescribed a medication that he/she thought would have an adverse effect on your baby. Most mothers with OC will need to take a bit of a cocktail of medications as the risk to not take them are higher than the risk to take them.

I wish you every good luck....I am sure there are many people you'll be able to offload to here who'll have some good advice but for me the ability to have an uncomplicated second birth did wonders for the disaster that was my first.


Posted 13 March 2015 - 01:49 PM

Firstly op - you are not a bad mother or bad at all.

Secondly - its funny what bodies will and won't do. Clearly there is no right or wrong way to birth and considering the number of women who have c-sections each year, its perfectly fine to have this.

If I were you I would seek some counselling to help you make some sense of your experience. I agree with PPs that you should speak to your midwife/Ob about your disappointment in how things went last time.

Good luck op.

#7 melhavingaboy

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:05 PM

Thankyou all for reading my story first of all :)

I think that I hadn't spoken about it previously because its just too painful. Im not the best writer and words cannot portray the feelings I have toward this.

I have never been able to talk about to anyone as I found it too distressing.

Ive hinted to my NEW obstetrician about it. But haven't told him how much it affected me. mainly for fear of bursting into tears in his office lol.

I have my preadmission appointment in a few weeks. Im thinking that I will speak to the midwives about it then. I need them to know because if they know ive had a baby before they might just feel that ' ahh she will be right, she knows what to do". When I feel that I need even more support this time.

Ive being trying to stay positive and read lots of VBAC success stories that make me feel good.

My partner is very supportive and has started asking the obstrician questions for me cos I just clam up as soon as ai get in the office. and feel like crying even if asking a basic question.

Has anyone else on here had a terrible experience but gone on to VBAC successfully.

Thankyou all for your kind words so far. If feels kinda good to get it off my chest after all this time :)

#8 Preg_in_RSA

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:24 PM

I'd suggest some counseling.  Schedule 2-3 sessions over the next month so that you can deal with those intense feelings.  You will be far better empowered to make your experience easier.

#9 Liv_DrSperm_sh

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:45 PM

Hey melhavinaboy,

That sounds like a terrible experience.....I think a lot of us on here have been at the receiving end of a spiral of intervention and it's so hard to reconcile why birth didn't work for you, why weren't you able to.

You are most certainly NOT a bad mother because pregnancy complications resulted in an induction that didn't go well and a section.

I really think you should mention it to your new OB and perhaps think about getting some counselling sessions. YOu can get counselling subsidised by the government, it's called a mental health care plan and your GP will be able to organise it.

The counselling will not only help you come to terms with what happened, but hopefully give you some strategies to cope with the hospital setting which you may find triggering, especially while you're in labour.

Good luck with it mel! I'll have virtual fingers crossed for a completely uneventful VBAC!

#10 Feral-chillibean

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:46 PM

I had an emergency CS with my first daughter.  I did not have a birth "plan" for no. 1 and had planned to go with the flow.  Unfortunately I had not factored in the huge emotional aspect of labour and how overwhelmed I would be by the pain.  My DH always defers all medical issues to me (I am an anaesthetist) and so in a situation where I was unable to "take control" he was also completely at a loss as to what to do for the best.
We were both quite traumatised by DD1's birth, although there were many beautiful moments.  I think it was the combination of me being so completely out of control and him not being sure what to do stressed us both.  We would assume the facial expressions of startled rabbits whenever anyone mentioned labour or birth.
Before DD2 was born, I did a lot of research and decided a VBAC would be better than a repeat CS.  I had the same lovely Ob (who is very open to supporting women's choices, be that VBAC, elective CS as long as it is safe) and gave birth at the same hospital (private, not thought to be VBAC supportive).
We did a Calmbirth course beforehand, which was extremely helpful both as a debrief from out previous experience and to empower DH with knowledge and things to do during the next labour.  I had a successful VBAC (although not completely without drama and intervention but healthy mum and baby by the end of it).
I would highly recommend looking into Calmbirth courses, but it also sounds like you need some more formal counseling to help you process things...

#11 dancermum12

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:48 PM

You poor thing, no wonder you're so worried.

I'd recommend counselling of some kind too. Do you have a Calmbirth course available in your area? I think that would be really valuable, otherwise look for a birth trauma support group or specialist, or even a doula.

I had nothing like your experience but still don't want a repeat of my first birth so I'm seeing a doula to debrief and start preparing for my second. I'm not planning on having her actually present at the birth but she was happy to do some preparation with me - we will probably have 2 sessions, depending on how I feel. (My Calmbirth instructor didn't have much availability that matched mine unfortunately, otherwise I would have seen her for some private conversations.)

Definitely discuss with your midwives and OB, and your husband. I know they are hard and scary conversations (I know I'm going to cry when I talk to the doula) but it's time to start building up your confidence and letting people know where you're at.

Lots of hugs & I really hope it all goes well for you and baby this time!

#12 melhavingaboy

Posted 13 March 2015 - 02:52 PM

thanks :)
Im hoping for a completely uneventful VBAC too :)
id never considered going to counselling. silly know. but id always considered myself a strong person that could just deal with it. I guess I realise now 3 years on, just how much I wasn't able to :) Ill look into the gvmt funded plan. Thanks

Feral- chillibean.

Thanks for your reply. Ive had a quick look at the calmbirth site. it does look like something that would be good for me. as I know I need to do everything I can to relax. Im happy that you were able to VBAC and get the birth you wanted.

Thanks for the info :)

#13 MrsPuddleduck

Posted 13 March 2015 - 03:08 PM

If you're worried about getting upset telling your new OB all of this, could you send them an email with all of this detail in it so he/she knows your history?

OC is a prick of a thing and can often lead to births with higher levels of intervention :(

#14 Taffatups

Posted 13 March 2015 - 03:11 PM

View Postmelhavingaboy, on 13 March 2015 - 02:05 PM, said:

Ive hinted to my NEW obstetrician about it. But haven't told him how much it affected me. mainly for fear of bursting into tears in his office lol.

I have my preadmission appointment in a few weeks. Im thinking that I will speak to the midwives about it then. I need them to know because if they know ive had a baby before they might just feel that ' ahh she will be right, she knows what to do". When I feel that I need even more support this time.

Don't be afraid to cry in front of your ob - if anything it will let them know how scared you are and how serious this fear is to you.

My friend had a really bad birth experience with her no 1 and just recently had her no2. She was going to the birthing suite but after a discussion with the midwife she was booked to see an ob to make a detailled contingency plan with options about what to do if one thing or another occurs. This really helped her to calm down as she knew there were plans in place in case the same problems occured. I have advised my sister (who is now pg with her no2 and also had a bad experience with no1) to ask for the same.

Good luck :)

#15 PocketIcikleflakes

Posted 13 March 2015 - 04:07 PM

I don't have any more advice to give as pps have already given toy so much excellent advice.

I just want to extend my sympathies and wish you the best.

I'm due for my VBAC within the next month and I've found counselling very helpful. My experience was not traumatic but I do have deep seated anxieties about it which I didn't realize until very recently.

It also really doesn't sound like true failure to progress. It's more like they failed to provide you with an environment suitable for birthing until you got your last midwife who kicked everyone out, gave you a calm quiet space and left toy alone. It sounds like everything got going for you then.

Be brutally honest with your provider. If you don't get support then you still have time to have a think about changing care providers

Best of luck with it all. I hope you get a beautiful healing birth.

#16 girlfrompdx

Posted 16 March 2015 - 03:24 PM

Sorry you had that experience with your first birth, OP. My first birth was traumatic as well; I felt totally out of control and it shattered all the joy I had carried through my pregnancy. I was scared to do it all again, but my second birth was lovely, and healed a lot of that prior grief.

As PPs have said, I strongly recommend seeing a counsellor; there are many who specialise in traumatic birth debriefing.

Best of luck. I hope all goes well for you this time.

#17 melhavingaboy

Posted 23 March 2015 - 04:30 PM

Hi All,

since posting on the  site ive been back and forth as to whether to go for a VBAC or RCS.

Im concerned about the vbac and having a repeat of last time, but as my labour was so out of my control I feel im more prepared to deal with it this time and accept if it comes down to an emergency CS.

I would still love to try and birth vaginally ( I hate saying naturally!)

but because im scared im still weighing up whether I should just go for the RCS.

If I happen to go into labour and start my vbac but change my mind during labour, can I get a CS??

#18 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 23 March 2015 - 04:44 PM

I haven't suffered birth trauma as such, but from what I know from friends who have, I think its SO important to let people know what your story is, and help them understand what your fears and triggers might be. They won't know how to help you during your labour if they don't understand what you are hoping to heal from, if that makes sense.  

I'd love you to be able to take your story to wherever you birthed last time and take that OB to task about the things he said in your earshot, but I also totally understand how hard that would be.

Wishing you the best of luck in the coming weeks. My trauma was more related to post birth stuff and having been able to stand up for what I needed to experience the second time around made the whole thing so wonderful (but it also made me sad about how things had turned out the first time, so watch out for that too )

#19 YoBagaBaga

Posted 23 March 2015 - 07:04 PM

Melhavingaboy, sorry your first birth was difficult and not as you expected. I hope you have found a professional to speak with to help you work through your feelings as well as your expectations of this birth.

My first pregnancy my waters broke just short of 38 weeks. After 6 hours I had not progressed and my contractions were fading so I had. A syntocin drip started and an epidural, 10 hrs later my contractions were still not well established and I had only dilated 1 cm. My obs gave me my options and I opted for an emergency C-section.

Everything went fine but I always felt that I had failed. What if I had just waited longer? Why didn't I trust my body to do its own thing? Would it have been different without the intervention? I had a healthy happy baby but I was disappointed in myself. Why could I not have birthed my baby "naturally".

Like you, I was apprehensive throughout my whole second pregnancy. Should I VBAC? But the risks are higher. If I had just let my body do it's thing the first time then I wouldn't even need to be contemplating this decision now. If I choose to have another C-section then that will be it, C-sections for every other baby after, did I really want to commit to that?

My waters broke at 40 weeks. I had finally opted for a VBAC. Things were different this time, my contractions started strong and hard, after 5 hours I needed an epidural. My obs came to check on me a few times, first time, no dilation yet, second time 1cm. Woohoo progress! He let me labour for 18hrs - I was still only 1cm. He started another syntocin drip, contractions were strong and painful but after 2-3hrs I was still only 1cm. After labouring for 22hrs my gorgeous boy was delivered by C-section. This time I was exhausted. But I found peace with the whole process. My children were destined to come out the sun roof. I had done everything I could but it was just the way it was meant to be. It also helped me resolved my feelings of guilt with my first pregnancy.

I am now pregnant with number 3. It will be a planned c-section. And I am happy that I am not at all upset about it.

Sorry my post is so long winded. I just wanted to say that I understand and I think it's something a lot of us go through but we just don't know how to talk about it. I really hope you are able to work through your feelings and know that at the end of it all you are a great mother.

#20 melhavingaboy

Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:25 AM

YoBagaBaga thankyou for sharing your story.
Im sorry that your VBAC didn't go to plan, but im really glad you found peace with the process this time. youre right we shouldn't feel guilty AT ALL. and it makes sense in my brain that I shouldn't feel guilty about the first time. but the niggling guilt still hangs aroun for me. that's why I think I need to vbac this time. at least try.

lol to the comment babys coming out the sunroof :)

I think that this time around I will prob feel similar to you did. at least if I try for a vbac and it goes pear shaped ill be glad that I tried. Ill feel more at peace with the process rather than just feeling robbed the first time around.

If my babies decide that they must come out the sunroof then so be it. but I think I should give it a shot :)

And if it works out this time and my VBAC is successful, I have the option of going to vbac again next time if I need to :)

just a question. is it common to put a woman who is vbaccing on synotocin?? my ob said he wont do that due to risk of rupture???

#21 splatthecat

Posted 24 March 2015 - 06:51 PM

My first birth was extremely similar to yours and for my second I chose an elective CS, my obs told me he wanted me to have a "good birth experience". It was amazing, I got to hold baby straight away and had no pain (my epidural also didn't work). And as a bonus I wasn't exhausted when I got to hold my baby for the first time. Please don't see a cs as a failure

#22 *BellBird*

Posted 24 March 2015 - 07:13 PM

Hi OP,

I've not had a traumatic birth, but I wonder whether a doula might be something for you to consider. I had one with my first labour and just found having someone there the whole time who has seen it all before and can be a support person and advocate was great. Whenever I got anxious about anything she was always able to reassure me (and DP) help me refocus. It would add to your costs obviously, but if you found someone experienced with VBACs, but you were clear about what would be a trigger to opt for C-section, you might find the whole thing less stressful whichever way it goes. You may need to interview a few to find one you "click" with (I'd be happy to recommend mine if you are in Sydney) but it could be a solution for you?

Good luck.

#23 feralisles

Posted 24 March 2015 - 07:56 PM

You're not a failure and neither is your body OP.  You made the best decision you could in difficult circumstances - the fact that your placenta was so degraded tells you that you did the right thing agreeing to an induction.  I have a good friend who lost her baby during labour because of cholestasis - it does happen, unfortunately.  The poor blood flow through the placenta means that babies are likely to become distressed during labour, and in that situation a CS can prevent a tragedy so you shouldn't feel bad for agreeing to it.  You were putting your baby first, not being a failure.
The down side of inductions is that they don't always work, especially when your body is just not ready for labour.  That doesn't mean your body failed, it means the induction failed. The exhaustion, anxiety and disappointment all take away from the magic of your baby's arrival - no wonder all you wanted to do was shut your eyes and sleep.  That doesn't make you a bad mother - just an exhausted, traumatised one.
If you are lucky enough to make it to full term and go in to labour naturally you may well have a very different experience.
If the cholestasis recurs you might choose to go straight to CS so at least it can be planned, calm and controlled.
Which ever option you choose, I hope you have a wonderful, healing empowering birth.  I found, as others have said, that a good second birth went a long way to healing the trauma of the first.

#24 happycookie

Posted 24 March 2015 - 07:59 PM

I just wanted to second the idea of a Calmbirth course.  I had a traumatic experience the first time, induction, baby in distress, c-section.  I felt out of control and uniformed throughout.  I felt traumatised and shaken by the experience for a number of months afterwards and suspect I may have had some PND for at least 8 months.

I did the Calmbirth course in preparation for a VBAC for my second.  I changed OBs as I didn't trust the judgement of the first one.  Both of these things made a huge difference.  There is also a woman in Melbourne who specialises in birth trauma counselling and I was considering going to see her.

In the end I had a scheduled c-section as I was 10 days over and still hadn't dilated.  It was my choice and I felt in control of what was happening.  My main aim was to avoid an emergency c-section as I wanted the baby with me straight after birth for feeding.  

I was disappointed about not going into labour and birthing vaginally but  I ended up with a really lovely, calm experience and it did a lot to help me recover from the first birth.  The Calmbirth course and the meditations that you do with it helped my mindset during those really difficult last 5 or so weeks.

Good luck, I hope, whatever ends up happening, that you feel supported and in control of what is going on - as much as you can with birth anyway.

#25 ladybird89

Posted 06 April 2015 - 02:51 AM

Melhavingaboy I have no advise just hugs. I have just recently had a similar birth experience. I hope you have a much better experience this time around xo

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