Friday, 30 June 2017

Getting Over a Traumatic Birth.

*Trigger Warning*
Helen, you may or may not have some urinary and possibly faecal incontinence......actual thoughts going through my head at this moment in time........ *what the actual......*!!! Here is a leaflet to read on how to care for your stitches and perineum and nether regions after surgery, I reassure you that I've given you a designer vagina. Actually the last part wasn't true but I like to think that's what I left hospital with as well as a squirmy baby. In all honesty though this was not at all what I expected after giving birth. Hell no. I watched One Born, it's supposed to be a blissful experience, yes?  I was extremely naive expecting my labour and birth to be quick and without complications, a few pains a couple of pushes and out pops a baby. I couldn't have been further from this with both my labours.




It's something that can be a bit of a taboo subject, something that is perhaps not discussed as much as should be. The days after having a baby you are supposed to be in that blissful newborn bubble and be overjoyed with your little bundle, but what if you're not. I have made no secret of the fact that I had 2 fairly traumatic and lengthy labours, I don't tend to sugarcoat things (unless you're really queasy then I might lay off some of the gory details!). I feel it's important to talk about things and get stuff off your chest and after both my labours, particularly my first, talking it through massively helped me get over alot of the trauma that I suffered. It's strange, I never really thought that the birth had affected me in the way it did, I bottled alot of it away for many months and when I fell pregnant with Elarna alot of my anxieties and concerns rapidly took over and almost consumed me, it had clearly traumatised me more than I perhaps realised. It was difficult to confront demons that I wasn't really aware were there but I did try.



I had very strong feelings that I wanted a c-section 2nd time around to avoid going through labour and although it was an option to consider, I was strongly advised to go into labour naturally, I was assured time and time again that a 2nd labour would be quicker, easier and I would be unlikely to suffer as much as I did the 1st time. I have written candidly about both my births on my blog, you can read Alfie's here and here and Elarna's you can read here.  Although, I'm pleased that I did labour naturally again I do wish that I'd had a smoother and quicker labour, clearly my body is not very efficient at labouring. 

A smile but not really that happy if I'm honest.



There isn't much help and support available after having a traumatic birth, or at least there wasn't after I had Alfie. I am aware of a few online support groups now but I wish I had known about them more if they existed back then. One thing that I would say helped is being honest with myself and to the midwife that visited me at home. I remember telling her I was struggling to understand what happened when giving birth to Alfie and what went wrong. She listened, she didn't judge and quite frankly was a bit of a rock for me, she'd been my midwife since the early stages of pregnancy so I guess I'd built up a bit of trust with her. She arranged for me to have a birth debrief, I was able to go back to the hospital and be talked through all of my labour notes (and I mean all.....even the parts where I was apparently vocal and swearing, haha), they discussed it from the very beginning of labouring to where it all went a little wrong. I was able to ask questions and there was no rush for us to leave, I was able to get them to repeat bits back to me and ask why might these things have happened. It really gave me an element of closure to things and as I was starting to almost blame myself for having some complications it made me realise that it was nothing that I had done but just simply my labour didn't labour as effectively as it should. 




So, in a nutshell........ if you have suffered a traumatic labour, birth or both please be reassured you are not alone and you will get over it. Don't bottle up your emotions, don't lock away those negative thoughts, ask for a birth debrief, it really does help. Don't blame yourself and lastly do give yourself time to get over the birth. I was plagued with negative thoughts and flashbacks for a long time and then more so when I fell pregnant again, I managed to get these under control but don't suffer in silence. 

Has anyone else got any tips to help get over a traumatic birth?


 

32 comments:

  1. Being male, it is hard to fully understand how traumatic it can be as the experience is the extremes of both physical and mental feelings. Our 1st born was a horrendous birth - labour was a very long period over 4 days in and out of hospital, started in a birthing pool and ended in theatre. My wife had her heart set on a natural birth as possible. She took so long to recover from surgery (forceps delivery) that it made life hard after birth and as it was our first, my god it hit us. As her partner, I obviously felt the affects of that. However, our 2nd born, was a dream birth. He was born in the birthing pool and it happened very quickly and was calm. Recovery was great. The 1st experience definitely has put doubt in our minds if we want to go through it all again but then again we did have a 2nd after all! I believe time and support from family and friends is vital #ThatFridayLinky

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  2. Writing about it is extremely helpful, so is connecting to other new mother's who may have suffered the same. When I had my first child the birth was extremely traumatic ending in an emergency C-section under general anaesthetic. My husband at one point had thought I'd died (After I came back from theatre) and I woke up thinking my baby had died because my husband was so distressed. The next six months I suffered so much, my scar hurt, my back hurt from a misplaced epidural and I had the most awful case of mastitis. It was no wonder I had PND. There was no internet back then and no-one to talk to :( My second birth was much better, labour was quicker and the birth was good. I think if it had been as bad as the first I may not have gone on to have three more!! I have to say though, my easiest but most surreal birth was my last which was an elective C section. My baby was feet first breach so I had no choice and I was so worried, but it all went so well and I honestly didn't feel a thing! x
    #wotw

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  3. How awful for you, I definitely think TV shows have a lot to answer for when it comes to showing these perfect labours. It's really good that you could go back to the hospital and have it all explained to you. I think knowing the facts can help you deal with it better. #WotW

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  4. awww, sorry to hear you had a traumatic birth story, it is good you could deal with the negative thoughts. I think remember that ever pregnancy/labour is different but in the end it is worth it for the little bundle of joy X #wotw

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  5. When I had my youngest by c-section I wasn't numbed properly and halfway through I felt everything! It was rather traumatic and because of it I have such a fear of hospitals now. Ugh! #WotW

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    1. The same thing happened to me Kim! I thought it was something that only happened in horror films till that day x

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  6. I had a water birth with my first, just over 7 hours, but then like you, I had to go to surgery to repair my third degree tear. I then asked for a C Section with my second as I'd recovered well and didn't want to chance it happening again. Both different experiences, but both special in their own ways. I think focusing on the healthy baby helped me, though like you, I didn't really think about it until I was pregnant again. Good tips, definitely talk it out x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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  7. I had an very traumatic birth with my third and I must admit it can sometimes hit me hard. When I think that I may not be still here its an odd feeling. Its so important to share and thank you for doing so #thatfridaylinky

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  8. A very honest post and I have no idea what it would be like to give birth sounds like you approached with a positive way Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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  9. I agree. There should be a group that mothers can reach out to after experiencing a bad labour. I have seen some bad practice amongst midwives too whilst partnering with my children to see the arrival of my grandchildren. My first born was really dramatic. I was induced and it all went terribly wrong. I could have done with someone to talk to about it after. xx
    www.vanityandmestyle.com

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  10. It's funny how your mind pushes things away and you didn't realise how much it had affected you until it came round to doing it again. I think there should be more help out there, but things do seem to be slowly improving #bestandworst

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  11. Popping back thanks for hosting #bestandworst

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  12. I'm so glad you had the support for this hun as I remember it sounded horrible for you, both times. This post should be really helpful for others too xxx #bestandoworst x

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  13. I've always had fairly straight forward births, except where Oliver was born at 25 weeks of course. The birth itself was easy and he pretty much fell out with no real pushing after 3 days in labour! The worst part of my birth with Pops was that they couldn't get the placenta out and the midwife was clearly getting tired and ratty after a night shift and was also getting a bit panicked...which probably accounts for the scar tissue I had removed a few weeks ago and the nasty water infection afterwards. Either way, every labour is different and as you say you do get over traumatic births and there is support out there. Thanks for hosting #bestandworst

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  14. I don' think I had a traumatic birth, but it definitely wasn't easy. I had the whole nursing unit fussing over me afterwards as I was as white as a ghost, but in the end it was all worth it to see my little boy. We don't often speak about it and just bottle it up thinking this is what mother's go through, but you've reminded us that we shouldn't suffer in silence. We need to voice it out and share. #bestandworst

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  15. Saying hello from #bestandworst. I didn't have the best of births either so scrolled frantically though this. Some things are best left very firmly in the mental drawer marked "Don't open".

    Sending hugs

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  16. Hi, thank you for sharing your personal experiences of giving birth. I'm sure it will help someone else not to bottle up yheir feelings and seek help. It was great that you could revisit the labour ward #bestandworst

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  17. Sorry to hear about your experience but good on you for sharing it #bestandworst

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  18. Sounds like you had an amazing midwife, im really glad you got the support you needed, a debrief sounds like a good way to get your head around things. xx #bestandworst x

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  19. Time. For me all that worked was time.

    That first birth was a complete doosey!

    #bestandworst

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  20. Oh Hels, what a rough time you had with your births! Well done for sharing this-hopefully it'll get others to share their experiences too and get help from their midwives/gp's to discuss what happened.

    #bestandworst

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  21. Such an important post and one I'm sure others will find useful again and again. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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  22. My wife has a pretty hard time of it and it was very tough to just stand there and watch. I can't imagine what a woman goes through but know that for many of us men, the feeling of helplessness is not an easy one. #bestandworst

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  23. My first was c-section because he was breach and I had low fluid levels. I was gutted because I wanted a natural water birth but the procedure itself went well. With my second I always planned to go vbac to as soon as I feel pregnant I was terrified something would go horribly wrong and actually pushed for an early c-section. Lucky I did as my scar was actually in the process of rupturing when they opened me up, I dread to think what would have happened if I'd ruptured at home. The trauma didn't end there though, the spinal only worked on the top layers of skin and I felt everything, as I was rupturing there was no time to wait for more anaesthetic to be administered. As soon as she was born and I knew she was safe they knocked me out. The next day or two I was pumped full of so many drugs I was out of it and don't really remember a lot, other than being told that given the ruptured scar even after a five year gap between babies I shouldn't have anymore. No-one was with me when I was told and I was so drugged I don't even know if I responded, if I had known it was possible to have a debriefing session I would have definitely gone for it to fully understand what happened. My experiences with both c-sections couldn't have been more different and recovery was a lot harder second time round. There should definitely be more support available afterwards rather than all the form filling and box ticking.
    #Bestandworst

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  24. Thankfully my births were all straightforward but I did need stitching up each time... #bestandworst

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  25. When I read posts like this I always feel so lucky that I was able to have 2 problem and stress free labours. Glad to hear you were able to talk it all through and feel better for it xx #bestandworst

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  26. As a dad I felt like I was sitting on the side lines during both our births. Our first, Fidget's, went just as expected, but the second was far from expectation. We were rushed in to surgery because his heart rate was falling and he had to be dragged from mum. There was blood everywhere. It was quite traumatic all round. After the first birth we had no reason to believe the second would be any different, but there you go. The complication during the birth of our second child was compounded by the angst of losing two pregnancies in between our first and second. So I can understand the need for the whole debriefing scenario for some. I was in bits inside watching the love of my life going through so much. Birth is not always Hollywood style. Great post.
    #BestandWorst

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  27. Great advice NOT to suffer in silence. #bestandworst

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  28. I'm so sorry it was so traumatic, I think there are so many women who struggle to get over traumatic births. I think it is so important to make sure that you address that trauma and not bottle it away, good on you for sharing this. #bestandworst

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  29. Whilst the birth itself wasn't traumatic itself, I did have to go back for a second stitch up 13 months later. That was a tad traumatic. Basically feeling like you'd given birth all over again with no child to show for it. #bestandworst

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  30. I had no idea you could have a birth debrief - that sounds like such a good idea and so helpful #bestandworst

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  31. I don't remember having a traumatic birth but after I'd had LP there was a lot of stuff going on that I don't really remember. I know I almost passed out when they tried to move me. If I'd known about the birth debrief I think I would've wanted that just to find out what happened. You're right though, no one should suffer in silence.
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

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