When Things Don’t Go as Planned: Making Peace with Your Birth Experience


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By Tamara of Boxer and the Baby

Like most women I had this ideal labor and delivery in my head. It was so beautiful. I would sway on a exercise ball, sit in a bathing tub and breathe through all of my contractions. But like most women that never happened. I was apart of the one in three women who gave birth through a C-section.

I felt shame, anger, disappointment, hurt, betrayal and resentment. I wondered what I could have done to avoid a C-section. Maybe it was genetic. My mom had an emergency C-section with two of her three children. I was convinced something was wrong with me. My body had betrayed me.

After taking some time to talk to my doctor, my mom and my God I finally made peace with it. I wanted to share 3 Things that helped me make peace with my birth story.

Don’t Blame Yourself
Any mom and medical professional will tell you… you don’t have control of your pregnancy. There are so many components at play when it comes to labor and delivery.You are so physically and emotionally open to external influences. I’ll give you an example from my labor day. I was 5 cm diluted and laboring just fine without medication as planned. I had my nurses to come in one after the other to attach monitors. One flipped me from one side to the other like a pancake. Then another stood at the foot of my bed with hands on hips and said with an attitude “What are you doing for pain management?” In my mind I thought I was doing well. My contractions weren’t unbearable so I was breathing through them. But that question disarmed me. I began to ask for an epidural at that point.

Looking back I understand why the nurse behaved that way. Although I still don’t agree nor did I appreciate her bedside manner. She was concerned about my son’s decreasing heart rate. And assumed my moving in response to the contractions was causing his distress.

Grieve If You Need To
I went through the 5 stages of grief after my C-section. I really can’t explain it. Although I had a healthy baby and recovery something still died inside of me. Maybe it was a little bit of my faith in God and myself. If you’re anything like me you prayed everyday about your birth plan. I explicitly prayed that my labor would not end in a C-section. And when it did I felt shut out from God. And people are so quick to tell you how you should feel. But I need the freedom to express my discontentment and disappointment with both God and myself. After I did that I was able to forgive myself.

Time Heals All Wounds
Time was the biggest factor in my recovery both physically and emotionally. My C-section scar is more than just physical. You go through so many emotions in postpartum recovery. Your hormones are out of whack and you’re sleep deprived. Oh yeah and there’s a new little person that you’re getting to know. There’s little or no time to fully internalize your thoughts. I put in just as much time researching my postpartum recovery as I did my pregnancy. That takes time in itself. This also gave me the time to formulate questions for my doctor.

Did you experience any disappointment in your birth story?

Leila

About Leila

Leila is the founding editor of Baby and Blog. She splits her time between editing hair and culture site, Black Girl with Long Hair, whipping up butters at BGLH Marketplace, and writing here. She adores her husband and two kids, her parents and her friends. But she hates Chicago weather although she is slowly coming to peace with it...


  • Alisa

    My birth experience was certainly not what I expect at all, even though I was 6 months pregnant and hadn’t created a formal birth plan yet(I just knew that I didn’t want to get an epidural). I was pregnant with a beautiful baby boy, and his due date was supposed to be in January of 2011. One morning(10 days after my 20th birthday) I woke up with extreme stomach cramps. I stayed in bed for a few minutes and tried to wait for them to subside, but they were growing increasingly more painful. I went to the bathroom and discovered that I was bleeding. I went to the hospital with my (ex) husband and we waited 30 minutes for a doctor to come and see me. When he finally arrived, he examined me and told me that I was having a possible miscarriage, so I was rushed in an ambulance to a hospital 45 minutes away. When I arrived, my doctor came and examined me, and discovered that I was in premature labor at just 25 weeks! They gave me drugs to slow down my labor and strengthen my son’s lungs, but two days later on October 5th, 2010, my son was born at just 1 lb. and 5 oz. He ended up having to stay in the NICU for almost 3 months before I could take him home. So to make a long story short, my birthing experience was definitely unexpected, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it.

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  • Zoopath

    I tried to have a hypnobirth which meant driving 40 minutes for classes for 8 weekd and rehearsing the scripts every night with my husband. My husband kind of went into some hibernation/shut down stress mode. I’ve never seen him like that before or since. He went to all the classes and helped me practice but when the rubber met the road he was useless. I had hired a doula but since she knew my husband went to all the classes and was supportive of my plans we figured she could just meet me at the hospital. I would try to wake him to help me through a contraction and he wouldn’t wake up until it was over. When I was finally able to fall asleep he didnt’ set an alarm so we over slept a bit and had to drive through rush hour traffic with me wailing in agony. I was ready for the epidural when I arrived I tell you what. My daughter had some decels and it turned out that she had a nuchal cord so I’m lucky that I didn’t get sectioned. I did have an episiotomy which wasn’t that bad actually. I think hypnobirthing is great if your can hypnotize yourself and have a functioning birth partner but I was not able to get into the zone.

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  • http://gravatar.com/jesusinthecity777 jesusinthecity777

    Hi!

    I, too, had a crazy birth challenge that was EXACTLY the very thing we prayed NOT to happen! And this was after my first labor and delivery with my daughter, which we thought nothing could be worse than!…. Well, something was! And it happened to us!

    Anyway, my husband and I struggled with a lot of similar feelings and reactions you had. Thanks for opening up and sharing them!

    I was reading this newsletter from our pastor today and it brought to mind these issues from our birth story and I wanted to share it with you too!

    https://www.tscnyc.org/sermon_newsletter/2013/August/2013-08_Carter_Conlon_The_Miracle_of_Weakness.html

    Hope you are blessed! All the best to you and yours!
    Aja

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  • Dvaaunaturel

    My birth experience did not go as planned. I keep trying to move on in my head but the moments just continue to replay in my mind. Although I knew a c-section was a very real possibility for me I was not at all prepared for the event when it happened. I was sent to the hospital, for the third time in about a week and a half, due to concerns about the baby heart rate monitor results/activity and was told at around 8 pm I would be delivering that night. Excited yes because I was finally going to meet my angel but prepared I was not. I thought I would have more awareness and focus after delivery but I did not and I did not get to do many things like immediate skin to skin contact after delivery. This continues to bother me. Also our initial go at breastfeeding did not go well and I formula fed for a little in those first few weeks. Luckily breastfeeding I proved and we are going strong. I just wish I had been mentally prepared for the what ifs so that I could have tried to plan somehow. I know there was nothing I could do about how things went. There was little I could control. Now I just focus on my precious gift and what I can control which are my thoughts about the whole birth experience. I need to accept, make peace and move on.

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