March for Babies

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Traumatic Birth"

So I left a comment on this site in reference to my own birth experience and how I felt about it in terms of "trauma". It went something (exactly) like this"

The birth of my daughter was traumatic. Not because it wasn’t natural but because it was 16 weeks early. It was unusual in that as a micro-preemie she was born vaginally vs. via C-section. They didn’t even have time to check to see if I was dialated at all. I DID suffer PTSD following her birth and during the time she spent in the NICU. It was the worst experience of my life. But in time, through loving her and mothering her and caring for her I did get over it. Do I wish I had a long natural labor listening to music that I chose and spending time with my own mother, mother-in-law and husband as I labored? No. That was the birth plan. Things did not go as planned. Things went terribly wrong. But you know what? I made it through a bit worse for wear. My daughter lived and survived CANCER to boot! (The cancer is thought to be related to her prematurity.) My husband made it through (he was traumatized too, are there Dads speaking up as well?) and we have the family we always wanted…4 years later.
“TRAUMATIC BIRTH” is true in my case, not because things didn’t go as planned, not because I did not have the care I needed or deserved, but because my daughter could have DIED at any minute in the following 3-1/2 months…but didn’t.
I am now a healthy mom. I now have a healthy 4yo girl. I am over the PTSD of her birth and NICU experience. It DOES get better.
I do not tend to share my birth story when in the company of strangers because it is truly scary. Not just a “birth-plan-gone-wrong” but a true medical nightmare! Some think that medicine has no part in the birth experience at all. If that had happened in my case my daughter would have died immediately. I would not have my happy healthy blonde haired blue eyed mini-me that I have today. I am SO grateful for the medical staff who saved my daughter from the NICU staff right down to the OB’s receptionist who told me that I should go down to L&D “just to be on the safe side”. If I had not gone, my daughter would have been born in my office and she would not have lived. THANK GOODNESS for the amazing medical professionals who have cared for me and my daughter in the past 5 years.
I hope you all find the peace you are looking for, the peace that I have found with my beautiful funny and incredibly loving family.

What say you? Was your birthing experience "traumatic"? What makes you think so (whether you answered yes or no)?

I definitely think mine was overshadowed by the NICU and the whole "my daughter could die at any second" thought process that we held for about a year or so. To this day, if I realize that I have not heard her move on the baby monitor (4yo still has the monitor in her room) I listen intently to check whether she is breathing or not. I STILL wonder if THIS will be the day that I go to check on her or wake her up for preschool to find her dead.

That being said, it has nothing to do with HOW she came out of my body. It has everything to do with WHEN she came out. Do you think I would feel this way if I had been pushed/forced/co-erced/convinced to have a C-section?

This same thought is contrasted by the friend of a friend who went in for a normal prenatal checkup to find the baby had died in-utero overnight. If one day can make such HUGE differences for preemies in the NICU, it HAS to make a difference for babies past their due dates as well. Don't you think?

I don't know.


amanda said...

I'm glad I'm not still the only one using the monitor. I'll hang on to my video monitor until he actually tells me to get rid of it.

I was scared to give birth after everything we went through to get, and stay, pregnant (7 IVF cycles, multiple pregnancy losses.) I wished for one of those peaceful births where my son was placed on my chest, etc, but it didn't happen.

I was induced at 37.5 weeks given my history and other complications, and he was born not breathing. Instead of hearing baby cries, I was the one who got to cry as my blue baby was taken out of the room to be resuscitated. I don't think I breathed as long as it took him to finally take a breath.

We obviously didn't have the NICU experience you did, only one night in the NICU for our guy, but yeah, our "birth experience" was not what I had imagined, what I had dreamed after everything we went through to get to that point.

It was traumatic for me, because at that moment, given everything we had gone through to that point, I did think that I had lost him. That's the only birth experience I'll get, so it's pretty darn lasting.

Yes, it could have been much, much worse, and I am so very thankful it wasn't. I think it was my history that made it "traumatic." I never thought I'd walk away with a take home baby, and when he was born not breathing, well that just did it.

I'm lucky despite the less than "prefect" birth experience.

Thalia said...

I also didn't have the 'perfect' birth experience, although much much less traumatic than you or amanda - I had to have a c section given transverse breach and my age, no dilation etc. It was a planned section and was as good as that can be. So it wastn't traumatic at all, really, just not the birth I'd dreamed of. But it was what it was, and it was the right thing to do, and at the end there was my daughter and she was fine. Which was all that mattered.