Traumatic Labor/Delivery and recovery advice?

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
2778 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

giaf1 :  me. I had a difficult birth story. 

I won’t bore you with the details but I will say 41 hours in labor left me so exhausted that by the time I had my baby in my arms I didn’t feel anything. I was happy that it was over and he was finally out. But no wave of overwhelming unconditional love or anything like that. Also, because he was taken away for a while for tests and other scary stuff we didn’t get to Boyfriend or Best Friend early on which caused problems later with my milk coming in. My baby was born with high levels of bilirubin (probably from the super long labor) so it was really important that he start excreting the toxic waste after 24 hours of phototherapy (sigh, Oregon in the winter means no sun to just put him out in to do the same thing naturally). But those 24 hrs in the day after I had him meant I didn’t get to hold him much since he was all bundled up and in the UV lights…

To make a long story short, yes I had a traumatic birth. About 4 weeks into my recovery I asked my husband to check how I was healing since I felt some pain in one particular spot. So I laid down on the bed and spread my legs in a modified ‘I’m at the GYN’s stirrups’ pose and when he got into ‘position’ my legs started shaking involuntarily, I panicked and started crying and I could NOT have him there like THAT without freaking the eff out. Oh, I also realized it had been traumatic when I was still at the hospital (maybe 4 days post delivery?) and I was walking up and down the recovery ward to ease the swelling in my legs and I casually ventured over to the labor and delivery side of the maternity floor and heard a woman in labor. I paled and said nope nope nope and walked away super quickly back to the recovery side of the floor. When I took my hands out of my robe’s pockets I realized I had crushed the crackers I had in there without even realizing I was doing so at the time. In fact, I have no recollection of making fists or anything. But the FEAR evoked by the woman’s screams and my doctor was in there with her so I also heard her voice…I clammed up and ran outta there. 

So, back to your point about problems bonding and the like. Yes. I didn’t bond immediately and the first six weeks were HARD. The next six weeks were pretty awful. Then one day it just got better. He smiled at me and the world tilted on its axis and boom. It’s been a whole lot easier ever since.

What helped me tremendously to get over the shock and trauma of birth was craniosacral therapy. Anyway Bee, I hope this helps and feel free to PM whenever if you need to talk. 

Post # 4
9546 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Personally, I did not have a traumatic birth, but I know several people that did. I also know several people who had post-partum depression and had trouble bonding due to that. None of that is anything to be ashamed of and it all needs to be treated. I would discuss with your OB or PCP.

Post # 5
1385 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

giaf1 :  have you spoken to you Dr or OB about how you’re feeling and how your birth went down? Or have you thought about writing out your birth story? Sometimes writing it down on paper can really help you acknowledge and process your feelings. You could also get a copy of your notes from the hospital so you can read through what happened.

my first birth wasn’t an easy one and could be classed as traumatic (long labour, episiotomy, ventouse delivery that left my daughter with a scar on her scalp that I can still see four years later) but my midwife provided me with a copy of my labour and delivery notes and happily answered any questions that I had which helped me process my birth.

My biggest struggle in the newborn days actually involved the difficulties we had breastfeeding (I still remember the moment I fell in love with my daughter when she was about six week old!) and talking through my difficulties with an IBCLC helped resolve a lot of the guilt and come to terms with my experience.

Please give yourself time and grace, and talk to somebody about your feelings. You deserve to be mentally healthy and to enjoy the early days with your wee babe!

Post # 6
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

I had a super traumatic birth and I thought I would never get over it. I’m ten months pp now and my right leg still goes numb constantly. BUT I definitely remember telling my husband around four months “I think I like the baby now.”  I honestly cried every day for the first four months but it get SO much better. We’re considering a second and we talk all the time about whether I’ll just ask for a preemptive cSection. Guess I have some time to work through it but I do think about it every day. 

Post # 7
436 posts
Helper bee

I’m sorry you didn’t have the birth experience you would have liked. I think people underestimate how important the birthing experience is to us mothers and how it affects us and our bonds with our children. It’s not always as cut and dry as ‘at least you’re baby is healthy’ as some people make it out to be.

I had a traumatic birth experience. It was a 14 hour labour in total, although the hospital only considered the last 8 hours as labour. For the most part, my labour went fine apart from suffering from back labour. Then out of no where I suffered a placental abruption and my sons heart rate went down, way down. At that point he was too deep in the birth canal for a c-section and I remember the midwife telling me ‘we need to get this baby out of you NOW, and you need to push REALLY hard’. Knowing that my son’s life depended on how fast and efficiently I could push him out is a thought that has haunted me ever since. And I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have a really big pelvis and he had a small head. 

After he was born he needed to be resuscitated. Thankfully that didn’t take long and all went well there. However, despite my placental abruption, the rest of my placenta was pretty hell bent on staying in and as a result I started hemorrhaging. They eventually got it out but not before I needed a blood transfusion.

Then they noticed my Bridal Party was rising so they gave me some medication for that but my Bridal Party continued to increase. I was at risk of a seizure by then and it took 3 times the recommended dosage to get my blood pressure down to a normal level.

And then the breast feeding trouble started. I honestly don’t know what was worse – the pain of labour/birth or the pain of breastfeeding. It was a combination of my son’s bad latch and my breast hypoplasia that made me decide after 4 gruelling weeks it was time to formula feed and forget my dream of breastfeeding.

Then starting the PND. That is something I don’t think I will ever get passed. And I will certainly never forget the opportunities it robbed me of. In part, it destroyed my relationship with my son’s father and delayed the bonding process with my son by almost a year. There are no photos of me with my son together when he was born because I hated what pregnancy did to my body and I didn’t have any bond with my son at the time. I didn’t take a photo with him until he was 9 months old after I finally started getting therapy.

I know for a fact I will NEVER have another child. I never want to go through that experience again. 

My only advice to you is definitely get some counselling and do whatever you need to feel better about yourself. The happy you are within yourself, the better the mother you can be. It doesn’t have to be anything to do with looks at all, perhaps having a massage once a week would make you feel better, but make sure you are doing things that make you feel happy and confident in yourself. I would also recommend getting as many supports in place as possible. Are you part of a mother’s group? If not, definitely join one. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself like I did. It’s the worst thing you can do.

Goodluck, bee. PM me if you ever need xx

Post # 8
2766 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I know in the UK after a difficult birth they offer the opportunity to meet with a midwife to go through your notes to help you understand and process what happened. Might be worth seeing if they can do that for you. 

Post # 9
6276 posts
Bee Keeper

Twizbe :  yes I was going to say this. I also know in my town there’s a birth trauma support group. Maybe it’s worth looking into local groups like this for you too OP?

Post # 10
4998 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I had a really tough labor and delivery – 50 hours of labor, 4 hours of pushing, an episiotomy, a tear, hemorrhage, blood transfusion, extreme swelling, and my milk didn’t come in for about 10 days. My baby is 10 weeks and I feel pretty good, not totally normal, but I’m back at the gym and running and I can talk about my delivery without crying!! We are still having trouble breastfeeding but I don’t know if that had to do with anything. Give it some more time and you’ll feel better!  

Post # 11
6765 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011 - Boy #1 12/2015, boy #2 02/2018

giaf1 :  You’re doing great just by talking about it. Even though I had an easy and quick labor and delivery, I did have problems  with my blood pressure. I ended up hooked to the IV feeling miserable for the first 24 hours. I had problems breastfeeding. Even though I wasn’t medically depressed, I developed anxiety. The biggest thing was not having family or friends around to talk and get that human support. I thoughtI was failing as a mother. This is actually a rather normal feeling, but some of us deal with it differently. My advice is seek medical help and make sure you let those you love know how you’re feeling. Feel free to PM. 

Post # 12
1192 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I think you are doing the exact right thing which is reaching out and talking about your situation.  I didn’t feel an immediate overwhelming love for my baby and my birth was long but not complicated.  I think the adjustment to parenthood is hard and to add a hard medical recovery on top of that makes it even harder.  I’d recommend talking to your doctor about it and they might be able to offer you some resources.  

I know personally, I felt much better after the first 9 weeks.  I felt WAY better and wanted another baby by 5 months.  Try not to be so hard on yourself and make sure you are taking care of you too!

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