4/25/10

Healing from a traumatic birth

The following is from the Woman To Woman blog:
Many women, on telling stories of how they felt abused or traumatized during birth — or some other negative feeling, like having failed as a woman after having a C-section, or something — have their feelings dismissed with, “at least you have a healthy baby.” While there is certainly a place for looking for the “silver lining” in the midst of any cloud, no matter how dark, there is also a place for just putting your arm around somebody’s shoulders and “weep with those that weep, and mourn with those that mourn.” Dismissing a woman’s feelings does not help her — if anything, it only makes her feel worse, because then she has the added guilt of not being able to “just be happy” that her baby is healthy. Certainly she is happy that her baby is healthy… but can she not also be sad that it came at the cost of severe bodily trauma? — Especially if she is fairly certain that the C-section or whatever else that she endured during birth, was in fact not necessary for her baby to have been born healthy and well.
Certainly, not every woman who had a C-section is going to feel this way — and I’m glad of that, otherwise there would be at least 31.7% of women last year who were as traumatized in body and spirit as this apple was brutalized which would be unconscionable: 

It’s horrific enough that even one woman feels this way, much less every woman. This can be a point of contention among post-C-section women — some women can’t understand why others feel victimized by the same surgery that they had no problems with, or were even grateful for. Perhaps the image above will help everyone who does not have negative feelings about C-sections (or other birth trauma) understand those who do.  
Click here to go to The Unnecessarean for the original post

The image below is a painting I created to express some of the emotions about my c-section.
Painting Copyright 2010 - Taryn Goodwin


More information about healing from birth trauma: 
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/healing_trauma.asp
http://www.birthcut.com/
http://www.ican-online.org/
http://www.solaceformothers.org/
http://birthlove.cyclzone.com/pages/csec_vbac/quotes.html#healthy

5 comments:

  1. While I did not have a c-section, I did feel quite traumatized by my first 2 hospital births because they forced me to stay in bed lying down,with IV's, monitors, and gave me epesiotimies against my will. In my first emotional release session with essential oils, one of the things healed in my body was an energetic disconnect by the LIA I was given with my 2nd daughter - supposedly better than an epidural, but it was stupid, by the time they gave it, I didn't need it, baby was crowning and if they'd let me UP instead of down, I'm sure she'd have born sooner and without those drugs. sticking a needle and drugs in people's spines is like sticking a butter knife in a plugged in toaster, something's being shorted.

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  2. Thank you so much for your story and for reminding us that births can be traumatic regardless of whether they result in a c-section.

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  3. I had to have an emergency c-section with my son this past summer. It was extremely traumatizing. I had a wonderful pregnancy and my labor started out smooth and was going quickly until I spiked a fever at 7cm. I had come to the hospital with an infection (unknowingly to me) and it was noted that my white blood cell count was high but I was not given any treatment until I had fever of 103. My "wonderful" doctor failed to treatment at the first sign of infection. I type wonderful in quotes because I did my homework on her and had heard great things about her from many reliable sources. To make matters worse, there was never any talk to of a c-sections prior to going into surgery, she never went out the procedure with me. (Later I read in my medical records that she noted several times throughout my records that she "went over procedure with patient and husband." But my husband doesn't remember her going over it either.) I just remember her leaning over the bed and telling me that, "You need a c-section." I remember telling her and everyone in the room that I was not happy with this as wheeled me to the surgical room.

    I remember them rolling me off the bed onto the surgical table, and I was shaking so bad that had to hold my arms down. I could not stop flailing, I was like a fish out of water, I had no control of my arms. I flailed so hard and so much that my long hair had come out of surgical cap and the ponytail holder it was in.

    I felt a lot of pressure, but all I could see was the blue curtain that started at the very top of my chest almost touching my chin. I was crying, and moaning and felt the wind being pushed out my body several times in a row, and I felt sick almost like I was about to vomit.

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  4. I remember the doctor telling my son had a lot of hair, but he didn't start crying right away. I heard his cry and I was relieved he was alright, they handed him to my husband and he leaned him over to me and I kissed his face but I couldn't hold or touch him. I remember the nurse or someone telling my husband to take a lot of photos because it was likely that I would not remember any of this. The sent my son to nursery told my husband to go with him.

    I felt so alone after they left, I started to cry and moan again and I felt more pressure. I heard a lot of noises that sounded like whip cream cans, I know it wasn't, but the sounds reminded me of a can of whip cream. The doctor didn't talk, no one did.

    I came to in my room, and my son wasn't there. I asked my husband where he was, he was still in the nursery. I wanted him so when the nurse came in (it was shift change) she didn't realize that I hadn't seen or held my son. She went to get him, She said he would be in shortly, but it was three hours before they brought my son to me. During that time another nurse had come in and wanted the baby shampoo to give my son a bath. I told her that he didn't need a bath, that I hadn't held him yet. I was told he had low blood sugar, they had giving a bottle when I wanted to breastfeed.

    Three hours after he was born, they brought him to me, he was in a deep sleep and I could not wake him up. I wanted to look at his eyes, I wanted him to see me, and I wanted to nurse him. He slept a long time, and finally he opened his eyes when my in-laws came to visit us, but I wasn't holding him, my mother-in-law was holding him and said "Oh look his eyes are open." I ask to have him back...I finally got to look into his eyes.

    I spent 5 days in the hospital. With in three days I had to go back to the hospital due to an infection, I had developed a hematoma and it had compromised my stitches, which let in bacteria. A different DR (My DR was out of town on vacation) opened my healing scar and removed large amounts of pus and bacteria. I was given some morphine but I still felt everything, it was extremely painful and my mother was with me and was holding my body down. They had to leave my c-section cut open because you cannot sew back up an area once it has had infection. My mother was shown how to clean the wound and was instructed to clean the area twice a day for up to nine weeks (by then it should be healed).

    In later months my husband tells me he when he first saw my wound, and when him my mother first cleaned it. He tells me it looked like someone had taken in ax to midsection.

    I am currently physically healed from my c-section and my post op infection wound. However, I have not healed emotionally...as I am writing this comment 4 months later missing out on sleep at 5 am....while my beautiful son is sleeping because I can not sleep. I don't always lose sleep thinking about it, but my mind replays this at least two or three times a week when I close my eyes.

    I feel robbed of the birth I wanted, I feel cheated. I feel like I missed out and I would do anything to go back and change things. To be the first to hold my son. To have him nurse and eat from my me and not some stupid bottle. To have locked eyes with him with in minutes of his arrival into the world.

    I felt your pain and I live with it daily as I am sure you do to.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember the doctor telling my son had a lot of hair, but he didn't start crying right away. I heard his cry and I was relieved he was alright, they handed him to my husband and he leaned him over to me and I kissed his face but I couldn't hold or touch him. I remember the nurse or someone telling my husband to take a lot of photos because it was likely that I would not remember any of this. The sent my son to nursery told my husband to go with him.

    I felt so alone after they left, I started to cry and moan again and I felt more pressure. I heard a lot of noises that sounded like whip cream cans, I know it wasn't, but the sounds reminded me of a can of whip cream. The doctor didn't talk, no one did.

    I came to in my room, and my son wasn't there. I asked my husband where he was, he was still in the nursery. I wanted him so when the nurse came in (it was shift change) she didn't realize that I hadn't seen or held my son. She went to get him, She said he would be in shortly, but it was three hours before they brought my son to me. During that time another nurse had come in and wanted the baby shampoo to give my son a bath. I told her that he didn't need a bath, that I hadn't held him yet. I was told he had low blood sugar, they had giving a bottle when I wanted to breastfeed.

    Three hours after he was born, they brought him to me, he was in a deep sleep and I could not wake him up. I wanted to look at his eyes, I wanted him to see me, and I wanted to nurse him. He slept a long time, and finally he opened his eyes when my in-laws came to visit us, but I wasn't holding him, my mother-in-law was holding him and said "Oh look his eyes are open." I ask to have him back...I finally got to look into his eyes.

    I spent 5 days in the hospital. With in three days I had to go back to the hospital due to an infection, I had developed a hematoma and it had compromised my stitches, which let in bacteria. A different DR (My DR was out of town on vacation) opened my healing scar and removed large amounts of pus and bacteria. I was given some morphine but I still felt everything, it was extremely painful and my mother was with me and was holding my body down. They had to leave my c-section cut open because you cannot sew back up an area once it has had infection. My mother was shown how to clean the wound and was instructed to clean the area twice a day for up to nine weeks (by then it should be healed).

    In later months my husband tells me he when he first saw my wound, and when him my mother first cleaned it. He tells me it looked like someone had taken in ax to midsection.

    I am currently physically healed from my c-section and my post op infection wound. However, I have not healed emotionally...as I am writing this comment 4 months later missing out on sleep at 5 am....while my beautiful son is sleeping because I can not sleep. I don't always lose sleep thinking about it, but my mind replays this at least two or three times a week when I close my eyes.

    I feel robbed of the birth I wanted, I feel cheated. I feel like I missed out and I would do anything to go back and change things. To be the first to hold my son. To have him nurse and eat from my me and not some stupid bottle. To have locked eyes with him with in minutes of his arrival into the world.

    I felt your pain and I live with it daily as I am sure you do to.

    ReplyDelete

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