I recently read a post sharing the belief that a difficult or traumatic birth experience can actually have long term effects on the mother. It left me thinking. Both of my births were difficult for different reasons. I often think about them. Perhaps they have had more of an impact on me than I acknowledged.
Pregnancy number 1 back in 2013 was difficult from the start. The morning sickness was hard and lasted from wk 5-20. It was quickly followed by a gestational diabetes diagnosis which produced its own challenges.
The hypnobirth in a pool which I imagined was never an option now. Consultant led induction on my due date. Everything medical about a labour that I wanted to avoid. Pessary and then oxytocin drip to begin the labour. The oxytocin increased to the maximum level.
Hours later the consultant believing the midwifes had hiked it too high to quick. No wonder I couldn’t handle the pain. An epidural that didn’t work. The pain still unbearable. Topped up and the pain still crippling me. The baby pressing on the sciatic nerve apparently, an epidural won’t work. Eventually an anaesthetist who managed to take the pain away. In my delirious state I called him God!
Over 24 hours later the baby was in distress. Rushed to theatre. Spinal block. Baby pulled out with forceps. Was he ok? Daddy got the first cuddle, I was too busy being sick all over the anaesthetist as I could only move my head to the side! Afterwards a worrying time as I was poorly, a temperature that wouldn’t go down. The next day the catheter finally came out but my beautiful baby boy would not feed from me.
A week of persevering and he wouldn’t even suck a drop from me. He just fell asleep whenever he came close! Feeling like a failure. Bottle feeding it was then. Sitting on a cushion for months. 3 months later after infections. Episiotomy not healing. Cauterisation.
Birth number 2, 2015.I had lost weight I was determined not to have gestational diabetes again. Determined not to be induced. A natural birth for me. But no you had it last time we treat you as if you have it again! What!!! But I’ve tried so hard! A battle from the start with the sickness worse than before.
Finally I proved it to them. I passed the test at 24 weeks, I didn’t have it! I could be signed off consultant care. I could have a intervention free birth.
Or so I thought. In labour I go to the hospital and they want to test my blood glucose every hour, they don’t want to let me in the pool. You have gestational diabetes! What? Have you read my notes? Well it’s hospital policy to treat you as if you have if you had it first time. Having to argue in between contractions that no the consultant said I didn’t have to be treated as it anymore. Bank holiday Monday over Christmas of course they couldn’t check! Luckily my stubbornness allowed me to get in the pool.
All was going well. A back to back labour apparently. Then getting out to be checked the pain ramped up so quickly. Pethidine please. Oh wait we have lost the keys to the pain cupboard! 45 minutes later screaming and swearing. My husband crying because he didn’t recognise his wife.
The baby is distressed. Coming out at a funny angle. Theatre? Forceps? Not again! Thankfully he came too quick. He was out! My amazing boy. A cuddle for mummy. Bliss.
Out of hospital in 3 hours. Perfection. Both my boys together. But dizziness that lasted two weeks. A husband with post natal depression. Struggling with what he had witnessed. He was majorly obsessive with cleaning. He was extremely snappy. Where was my husband?
Once again a baby not feeding from me. A similar story sleep too important for him. Numerous midwifes and others trying to help. All of them after trying everything they know telling me to give up. A failure again.
4 months later and finally things start to level out with my husband. But at the same time hit with needing a new roof on the house. Money problems! My dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
So when the depression hit 9 months after my second boys birth. Maybe the birth had something to do with it. My husband was back to himself but I was starting to feel the effects of all the trauma. Mentally drained. Mentally exhausted. Mentally overwhelmed.
So I think there is something in the article I read. It is important to remember for many women the difficulties of birth can live with them. It can effect them. Change them. We should let them talk. We need to encourage more support for mum’s and dads.