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Birth trauma

Posted by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 1:03 AM
  • 40 Replies

I'm in my clinicials in L&D, where I hope to one day be hired.  I LOVE this department.

Today, I helped a mom with a perfect labor, totally uneventful, free of interventions (no saline lock, even!), beautiful, only to be followed by a horrific birth that must have been extremely traumatic for her.  Thankfully her baby was healthy (after heart tones in the low 70s- code status is 60), but I worry for this poor mama.  The worst part for me was that I felt like I couldn't do much to comfort her, as she speaks only Spanish, and my Spanish is VERY broken.  I can only hope that the measures I DID take with her offered her SOME comfort.

I could relate to her on this, because after smooth pregnancy, I had a traumatic birth myself.  I understand some of what she will experience in the coming days and weeks (maybe months or years), and I hope she does okay emotionally (physically it's going to be a rough ride for awhile I think).  I'm grateful that I will be there tomorrow, and I plan to visit her in postpartum to see how she's holding up (with my Spanish-speaking instructor if possible).

Did you have a traumatic birth?  Was there anything that anyone did or could have done that offered you comfort?  How was your recovery, physically, emotionally, spiritually?  How do you feel about the experience now?

I know that traumatic births cannot always be avoided, unfortunately.  My hope is to alleviate SOME of the pain that we go through with these experiences.  Please feel free to share yours.

Suzanne

"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 1:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Konalove
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 2:41 AM
I had a traumatic birth with my daughter just over 6 years ago. I don't know that I will ever get over it or not feel some sort of guilt for the decisions I made. Of course, at the time I thought they were the right ones. I went on to have a vbac at home in 2009 and expecting to have another this jan. my daughter slept through my sons birth but she plans to be there for this next one and I hope that with her being there, there will be some healing. I may not have given her the best birth but I can show her what birth is suppose to be and I think that is pretty important.

I feel for you. I could never work in a l&d ward. It would probably cause nightmares every night.
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darbyakeep45
by Darby on Nov. 30, 2012 at 4:48 AM

I love that you're in this field Suzanne...so up your alley:)  I didn't have a traumatic birth with my son...it was an unexpected birth meaning I had him early because he wasn't growing, and I did have a c-section because he was breech and needed to come out ASAP, but things were fairly uneventful for the most part.  What I struggled with was having a special needs child with a chronic illness and leaving him at the hospital (NICU) for a month.  It was very hard.

Alyson121
by Alyson on Nov. 30, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Yupe, with my c-section.  10 years later i still have numbness in the area where i was cut.  I didn't let it consume me, so it never really looked at it as traumatic.  I do know the damage that was done to my body.  I think if i would have held on to it, i wouldn't have been able to have 4 more babies VBAC afterwards OR any home births.

musicpisces
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM

I was wondering how it went with Brady.  Did you know about his anomalies prior to his delivery?  How far along were you?

I can't imagine having my newborn in the NICU.  I've spent a little time in my rotation there, and my heart just breaks for the people whose babies are there, especially when it's so out of their control.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

I love that you're in this field Suzanne...so up your alley:)  I didn't have a traumatic birth with my son...it was an unexpected birth meaning I had him early because he wasn't growing, and I did have a c-section because he was breech and needed to come out ASAP, but things were fairly uneventful for the most part.  What I struggled with was having a special needs child with a chronic illness and leaving him at the hospital (NICU) for a month.  It was very hard.


Suzanne

"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

musicpisces
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Fortunately, today was a MUCH smoother (is that a word?) day.  I was able to follow up with the Hispanic woman today, and she looked fatigued, but better than I expected considering.  I'm guessing it's still going to be a very long road for her, with the culture, though as far as fathers go in their culture, he seemed very involved, and her mother was there for support and was helping with the baby.

Today my patient delivered an hour after I arrived, and and I spent that hour with her, doing efflourage (belly rubbing) that she liked and gently reassuring her through the contractions (she was a champ!).  She had a beautiful birth, and her baby was healthy and happy, and it was a really nice relief after yesterday.  She and her husband were SO sweet, and their 19 month old daughter, who arrived a few hours later, was freaking ADORABLE.  Her husband also makes really good chocolate peanut butter brownies.  =)

It was a nice follow-up to yesterday.


Suzanne

"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

musicpisces
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 11:40 PM

That's awesome that you were able to have a VBAC at home!!  I hope this next one is smooth as well!  I would LOVE to be able to do that, but DH won't hear of it.  =(  That's so neat that your daughter will be attending this birth!  DS is fascinated with pregnancy and birth, and loves "reading" my maternal child text (he's 4).  Sending you lots of positive thoughts for a healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery (and baby!!)!

L&D is definitely not for everyone!  It has its ups and downs like anywhere else, but I absolutely love it!

Quoting Konalove:

I had a traumatic birth with my daughter just over 6 years ago. I don't know that I will ever get over it or not feel some sort of guilt for the decisions I made. Of course, at the time I thought they were the right ones. I went on to have a vbac at home in 2009 and expecting to have another this jan. my daughter slept through my sons birth but she plans to be there for this next one and I hope that with her being there, there will be some healing. I may not have given her the best birth but I can show her what birth is suppose to be and I think that is pretty important.

I feel for you. I could never work in a l&d ward. It would probably cause nightmares every night.


Suzanne

"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

musicpisces
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 11:43 PM

That's great that you were able to have VBACs, especially home births!  Yes, those scars definitely can leave you with numbness, and it seems no one tells women this.

I'm still trying to let go of the emotions and fears tied to my son's birth, and being in L&D has definitely brought many of them up for me.  I still have a couple of years before my own next birth experience (would not be wise to do this during nursing school!), and hopefully I'll be in a better place for it by then.  I really hope for a VBAC (DH refuses to let me have a home birth after the last one).

Quoting Alyson121:

Yupe, with my c-section.  10 years later i still have numbness in the area where i was cut.  I didn't let it consume me, so it never really looked at it as traumatic.  I do know the damage that was done to my body.  I think if i would have held on to it, i wouldn't have been able to have 4 more babies VBAC afterwards OR any home births.


Suzanne

"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

fullxbusymom
by on Dec. 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I had a traumatic birth with my 4th. As soon as it was over I never gave it another thought. It was done and over and my baby was healthy. Could have cared less there was nothing to recover from emotionally or spiritually.
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BramblePatch
by on Dec. 1, 2012 at 9:29 AM
I had two c-sections, both elective. Nothing traumatic about either one... I think its rather silly to dwell on the birth your child had. At least the child is here with you, alive and well. Some women never have that. So in other words, get over it :)
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mypbandj
by Jen on Dec. 1, 2012 at 9:54 AM
2 moms liked this

I think that tramatic birth is all relative. In other words, 100 women could each have the exact same birth experience but each one would view it differently. I think that while you thought this womans birth was tramatic, she may not have the same feelings about it.

I don't do it anymore but I used to be a birth instructor and doula so I have helepd many women with their births. One mom I worked with had given birth at the hospital in a way that I would have considered tramatic. But from her viewpoint, she felt relieved that the hospitals and doctors had saved her and her baby from death. From my viewpoint, they had nearly caused their deaths! So in MY personal opinion, these people did suffer a birth trauma. But in their eyes, they did not.

There is another mom that I know who is blessed with very easy births. She is an earthy-birthy mom and spends a lot of time sharing with other women how birth SHOULD go. Well, what happens is, other women who end up talking to her, go away with a brand new feeling that they suffered birth trauma - even though their birth was completely normal (maybe out of the realm of the earthy-birthy mom) but now these moms believe something went wrong b/c earthy-birthy convinced them that had they only done it HER way, it would have been easier...better. So here you have women who did not suffer a birth trauma...yet later decide that they did.

For me personally, I did have a tramatic birth. I know many women here are saying - get over it, you have a healthy child - well, I'm sorry but birth is important to me. I feel like telling someone to "get over" their birth experience is no different than telling a woman who can't have children to just adopt and get over it. Why dwell on not being able to have your own kids when you can adopt, a kid is a kid.

My first birth didn't go at all how I had planned it. But its what pushed me to learn more and do more. It's how I ended up becoming a natural birth instructor and doula. I've been many births and helped many women. And from those women that I helped, many of them in turn have gone on to touch the lives of other women by becoming doulas, blog writters, childbirth instructors, breastfeeding educators, birth advocates, nurses (birth center and homebirth), etc. Its awesome!

Because I was so upset by my first birth, I started planning my 2nd birth long before I ever became pregnant. I had my 2nd baby at a free standing birth center, with two doulas, my husband, my son was there and his special helper and my best friend. I had the perfect birth (for me). No drugs. No IV. VBAC. And that birth was VERY healing to me.

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