Why birth trauma sucks and I hate it

It’s taken me roughly 30 weeks to write this, or 3 years, depending on how you look at it. I’ve started typing many times, saved drafts, deleted it, started again, thought oh sod it I can’t write it, tried to make a video instead, thought nope, definitely can’t do that. I’m scared to write this. I didn’t even know how to title it, everything sounded silly and I’ve made about 50 changes.

I’ll be honest. I’m worried what people will think. I know putting this out there is asking for any criticism but still, it’s scary. It’s scary, too, though, because writing about it means I am opening up and the more I do this the more real it is.

42 weeks pregnant, 2016

The time seems right to talk about birth trauma. I’m 32 weeks pregnant with my second child, I’m not enjoying this pregnancy, and I’ve recently been accepted onto a special care team to help deal with all my ‘problems’ following on from my last pregnancy/birth. I think about what happened during my last pregnancy, labour and birth every day. I know I’m not alone… many of you have told me you feel the same.

But not only that, the time seemed right because not only is this pregnancy nearly over but, later this week, I’m going to be coming face to face with allll the details of what happened before. I’m so scared about it. I’m meeting with a senior consultant, together with my midwife and talking through my medical notes from my last pregnancy and birth for the first time. Even just writing that fills me with dread and sends the blood down to my feet!

I never could go to afterthoughts birth service and discuss what happened, after it happened, despite recommendations to use that service. I couldn’t think of anything worse… why would I choose to sit and talk about something that I couldn’t bare to talk about?! It just was baffling to me why I would put myself in that situation. Hey, I know, let’s meet up and talk about the worst thing that’s ever happened to you… why not put the kettle on, too?

Twice I’ve been put forward to the perinatal mental health team, both times I said no, thank you, I’m quite alright. I knew/know I’m not, but couldn’t accept the help. And so, for 3 years I have pushed it as far out to my brain as possible and hoped that it will go away. I told myself that, surely, after a few years I will feel better. I mean, so many people have bad births, I can’t *surely* think about it forever?

38 weeks pregnant, 2016

I guess, the truth is… that if you are really traumatised about something it is never going to go away, the only option you have is to try and cope with it. I know I can’t fix what has happened and it’s been really difficult for me to accept that I can’t make it go away… I really wish I could turn back time or even erase that part of my memory. I don’t want those feelings or memories.

I’ve been told that birth trauma is very complicated. I think this is mostly because of the way society assumes parents, specifically mothers who birth the child, should “just cope”. There is little support available for those who have PND, PTSD, birth trauma or anxiety following from a ‘bad’ birth or labour. I’ve witnessed many people saying that women should just get over it, or things like… “of course it hurts, of course there is going to be difficulties, she shouldn’t have conceived in the first place if she didn’t know it was going to be hard”, etc., etc., Women are not listened to or respected when it comes to birth trauma. After they have their baby women are pretty much get forgotten about. What happened during their labour becomes so ‘hush hush’ and even embarrassing, to the point where women who have struggled feel like they can’t tell anyone about it, or be honest about how they feel.

So many mums I know have lied to health care professionals about how they feel following the birth of their baby because they were embarrassed about it. I was definitely one of them.

If someone, anyone else, was dealing with the same amount of trauma following a bad experience, such as a car accident… then they would be treated differently and no one would think they should just get over it.

This all definitely contributes to how bad I’ve felt over the last few years and explains why it has gotten worse over the years for me, and not better. I think it was, actually, at it’s easiest stages when I had just had Eric… because I was so distracted with a newborn. It took a few months for it to really hit hard and then continued to get worse from there on.

I never thought I would get pregnant again. The decision of getting pregnant was very much a ‘now or never, close your eyes and see what happens (not in the literal sense!)”. I knew that if I didn’t just make a spontaneous decision about it then I would never be able to do it. I vowed to myself that if we didn’t conceive quick then I would have to move on because there was no way I had the confidence to think about it. It was the same ‘push it out of your mind’ attitude I had always had when it comes to how I felt about my past birth experience.

Part of me thought if I have another baby then I will be able to forget what happened with Eric and if I conceive again then I can just move on. Another part of me thought, that if I conceive again then it would be a healing process… the only thing to make me ‘get over’ what happened. At 32 weeks pregnant now, with baby number 2, unfortunately I can report that neither is true.

When I got pregnant I had very mixed feelings about it. It was extremely different from the first time and everything following that moment has been different, too. I believe this is down to the birth trauma and sadly, I think birth trauma has ruined this pregnancy and made it very hard for me to bond with baby. That is very hard to admit, but I know it is true.

Let’s go back to the very beginning… conceiving Eric. That was a completely different experience. It was following a loss and we were desperate to conceive again. I was so, so happy to get pregnant. From then on my whole life was about pregnancy. I thought about nothing else, wanted to talk about it all day long, counted down the days to my next scan or appointment, downloaded so many apps, read all the books. I was pregnancy obsessed. I was incredibly happy.

Even though I was really sick until 22 weeks, I honestly loved being pregnant and everything about it. I felt incredibly bonded to my baby, even though we didn’t know the gender, and would lay touching my belly for hours at a time and thinking about him/her. I was sooooo besotted with the whole thing and I couldn’t wait to meet my baby. I loved pregnancy so much that I didn’t want it to end. I wanted my baby to be with me inside, safe, as long as possible.

I had a text book pregnancy right until the end. I was glowing (after the sickness!). I was a perfect candidate for a home birth. We got the pool, I read the books, got the apps, did the hypnobirthing. Nothing could honestly knock me down. I was very confident, in tune with my body and positive. I felt so strong as a woman and empowered. I was actually excited about giving birth.

At around 32 weeks I started to feel a little bit… ‘savage’, shall I say. I wasn’t doing much at the time… I didn’t have many commitments, unlike now, so my spare time (and lots of it) was spent with my feet up, not doing much. So when I felt crappy, I just assumed it was normal to be heavily pregnant and feel that way. My belly was huge (I had a front anterior placenta which definitely contributed), had put on quite a bit of weight and I was prone to headaches anyway, so I assumed it was all normal.

It was around 34 weeks my blood pressure was picked up as being ‘on the higher side’ of things. My midwife almost didn’t want to admit that something was wrong… she was soooo on board with the whole home birth thing and really, really supportive; we were quite close throughout my pregnancy and she really ‘egged’ me on. She kept saying ‘it will be nothing, it’ll all be fine, but I do need to monitor you closely now’.

I got swollen legs, it hurt to walk; they were rock hard. I had headaches, I put on a lot of weight at this point, and I felt crappy. But still, I didn’t think that was symptoms of anything… I thought it was just… pregnancy. I mean, I was nearly at the end of it.

I didn’t worry at all because I was so confident in myself and I kept doing the hypnobirthing. Nothing put doubts in my mind, and so it was a very big shock to be diagnosed with pre eclampsia so suddenly at around 35/36 weeks.

I was in the doctors surgery with my midwife and she tested my urine, blood pressure and apologised… I’ll never forget that moment. She was almost crying. She knew it was the end of everything we had prepared for… I think she probably knew that from there on things weren’t going to end well because she wouldn’t stop apologising.

Now I don’t really remember the exact weeks, from then on I know I have blocked things out on purpose so the dates of how pregnant I was might be wrong, but it is still accurate.

From 36 weeks I was in and out of hospital monitored daily and it was an awful experience. It was incredibly stressful and some days I was in the day care for around 8 hours, 7 of those hours were just spent waiting for some answers. I met with doctors they said I should have a c-section straight away. I remember sat in a private room in the day care centre and a doctor sat in scrubs saying tomorrow we can do a c-section and get the baby out asap we need to end the pre-eclampsia for both you and baby. I said no, I was too scared. They said ok go home then.

I was really scared but also just incredibly pissed off at everyone. All the ‘advice’ from the doctors was just so… blase… it was like they were just saying oh go and get yourself a glass of orange juice. It didn’t sound serious and so I didn’t take it seriously. I said I didn’t want a c-section and so I wouldn’t be having one and that was that.

When we got back home I had to put away everything from before. The pool had to be taken down, I couldn’t bare to look at it. My ‘hospital bag’ which I hadn’t even thought about or packed as I assumed I would be having a home birth was sat in the corner of the room waiting to be packed but I couldn’t put anything in it. Then I had to go to hospital for daily monitoring.

Daily monitoring was horrible… it took hours waiting for doctors and midwives and results, I was sent to all different departments all the time and a lot of the time, people didn’t know what was going on. I got a lot of mixed advice from different doctors and midwives, just passed along from one department to the next. No one ever sat down with me to properly talk about what was going on or even discuss my health or my choices. Mostly, I just sat around in day care waiting to be seen. Babies were being born and they stressed how busy they were… I completely understand; I would have preferred to go home than sit around giving them more work load.

At 41 weeks I was admitted to hospital “full time” and by this point I was in ‘slow labour’. I remember having a scan and the fluid levels were low, the sonographer told me that, but then I never heard anymore of it.

Being on ward was so boring. Nothing happened all day long and I hardly saw any staff… most of the time it felt like we had been put there and forgot about. The women on the same ward as me kept threatening to leave and one of them discharged herself.

Most days I didn’t see anyone apart from 1 nurse who came to take my blood pressure and give me some pills. I kept asking what was going to happen or what I was waiting for and I just got told they were busy or ‘I’ll go and find out’. So I just waited. I thought I was going to go into labour there and have my baby there, to be honest. I don’t think anyone would have been around to help either way.

I was having contractions, I was in pain, and I felt awful.

My waters went whilst I was on that ward. I think I remember the very moment, it was a morning and I was sat cross legged on the bed and something started coming out down below. Later that morning when someone came to see me and recommend a sweep (for the 673958th time) I told them I thought my waters had gone. They disregarded it completely and quote, “you would know if your waters had gone at this point!”. So from there I assumed it was just some sort of other fluid…

I was on medication for pre eclampsia but my blood pressure was still high. I know this because when I had it checked, and there hadn’t been a proper handover to that nurse/midwife, she/he would panic at the results and go “oh… um… it’s very… high…. I just need to go and get someone” to which I would tell them no it’s ok, I have pre eclampsia. They’d respond “oh, right, that explains it then” and go check someone else’s BP.

I was waiting to go into “proper” labour but it wasn’t happening. The contractions were veryyyyy far apart and I was in “slow labour”, apparently. I was 2cm dilated. I still at this point didn’t know my waters had, in fact, gone, just as I thought; no one checked if they had. At 42 weeks and 1 day I was taken down to the labour ward to finally be induced. My time was up.

I was so, so, so incredibly scared of being induced. At that point it was my worst fear. Looking back I should have put my hands up and asked for a c-section but, it all happened so quick and I was so afraid of what was going on I didn’t know that was an option at the time. I was too dilated to have a pessary or anything similar, so it was just the drip on offer. I can’t put into words how scared I was at that point. Going down to labour ward and going into that room, now, gives me shivers to think back because it was awful. My whole body seized up and I hated everything about it… I was just saying no no no no in my head but knew I didn’t have any other option.

I was so scared that I got Ollie to ask the doctor if we could do it very slowly… and wait a little. They planned to break my waters then start me on the drip. They were rushing around like headless chickens to get me on that drip straight away, as soon as I was in the room they started prepping it without even saying hello and I was just like, “woah, woah, woah, what’s going on'”.

The doctor went to break my waters but there was nothing there to break. I told her they had gone a few days before but no one was listening to me. That was the first issue… so they put me on antibiotic drip. After that they wanted to start the drip and I asked if I could have it on starting very slowly as I was so scared. Doctor basically laughed at me and said “I don’t have all day, I’m nearly finished my shift let’s get this in and started or it will take forever”.

The drip went in and that was that, it all went downhill from there… my body did not react well to that at all and was contracting too much, too fast. Only 4 hours in I was screaming for epidural. The drip was on, off, on, off and the contractions too painful, the gas and air did sod all. I felt like a caged animal in a room where people were experimenting on me… lots of humming and ahhing. I had all sorts of drips going in my hands, bright white lights giving me a headache, the monitor for the babys heartbeat, a monitor for my blood pressure, I was given this pill and that pill. It was not what I had envisioned at all.

After the epidural, I naively thought that I could just wait to dilate and then push the baby out. The epidural took 99% of the pain away, but along with it, my ability to move. So all I did was sit there and sleep – I couldn’t lay down because it made the baby’s heart rate go low. That’s the only ‘good part’ for me… as I wasn’t in pain at that point. Little did I know though that whilst I was sat there snoozing Eric was stuck.

The drip started at around 7pm and fast forward, because I don’t really like the part about how I ended up in theatre and I can’t remember much apart from running around and people shouting, but it was about 6am. I was pretty convinced that Eric was going to be born dead and at that point, I was honestly just VERY ANGRY.

I wasn’t particularly scared or even upset… just angry. Angry that I had carried my baby all that time for nothing, angry that I was laid on a table like that and everyone was rushing around not answering me and not listening to me, I was angry at the way everything had turned out and throughout the whole process I was still left in the dark because no one told me much if anything about what was going on.

I hate looking back at what I could see and hear at that moment. Being laid there on the table with the cloth up. Ollie was sat next to me. I asked them to tell me when they were going to cut, they said it had already started. The baby came out, he was fine – it was a boy – a healthy baby boy, we already had a name for him. Someone brought him next to my face but I didn’t feel much at that point – I remember feeling a little bit of his cheek and I was crying but, I also wanted him to go away. I wanted for someone to put him back inside me, stitch me up, make it stop and I could walk out as normal and start again.

At that point I was bleeding out a lot and everyone was shouting, “get blood get a vein get a vein do this do that” it was very loud and then I said I was going to die, I kept asking if I was going to die, my chest felt very tight and then I was being sick everywhere. It went black for a while, someone said “we may have to do a hysterectomy but you’re going to be ok” and then all I remember after that was being wheeled out of theatre.

What happened in theatre is something I think about allllll the time. When I was a kid I used to think having teeth out was scary, well, that was nothing compared to this! I get flash backs about it and play it over and over. After I had Eric, actually, I didn’t think about it much… I didn’t know what had happened until a few days after. All I knew was that I had lost a lot of blood, 3 litres, but hey ho, I was alive and so was baby so everything is OK.

I was in hospital in total for about 2 weeks… whilst I was in there still nothing really was said to me about what had happened. Lots of people apologising, feeling sorry for me, saying awww I’m sorry such and such happened.

I was in another world, with a newborn, and so I wasn’t really thinking about anything else. I felt sort of like I had just split myself from what had actually happened and where I was. It didn’t feel like it had happened to me… and writing this now, I’m like “why am I making out it’s a big deal, when it’s not?” Honestly, I’m not saying what happened to me was the worst thing ever because I know it’s not… there are many other, real, issues in the world right now and this is minor compared to it.

All I knew was that I was poorly, I had lost 3 litres of blood, and it was going to be a long recovery process. Both me and Eric had all sorts of drips in. I was in so much pain from the c-section I had morpine and every pain killer going (which I know now is not just from a c-section, which is major surgery in itself, but because my womb was put under so much stress, then massaged with whole hands inside of me (I felt it in my ribs in theatre) and stitched around a lot of times to stop the bleeding). It still hurt so much. I kept asking why pain relief was not working. It took ages to get discharged. 🙁

From then on… it was a bit of a mystery for a while what happened besides the obvious. Following the labour no one could find my notes and I was discharged with lots of bits of paper. The hospital told me this and that and I was discharged with lots of medication.

My midwife, at home, came to see me and she stood at the door crying, apologising. She didn’t know the full story but had found out bits and bobs and she was so, so sorry. “But at least baby is ok!”

And that was that, really. I “recovered”, like all women do… and you get on with life, like all women do. As I mentioned at the start, I just pushed it away and tried really hard not to think about it. I told myself I was upset that it hadn’t worked out the way I had wanted it to, but not everyone gets the birth they want, and so, I just had to get over it.

Over the last 3 years I’ve mentioned bits and bobs here and there to a few people but mostly just said “I had a bad time but, you know, so do most people!”. I really hated going to baby groups or anything post natal where parents are encouraged to sit and talk about their labour.

I look back at what happened now just… fed up about it. I’m tired of thinking about it and it bothering me every day. I don’t trust the NHS and I am trying to my hardest to let go of this grudge against everyone, as if it was their fault for what happened.

I’ve found it difficult talking to any health care professional… even just seeing someone in uniform made me feel like jelly. I saw a consultant after my 12 week scan in this pregnancy and I had to tell them in the room to stop talking because I felt really faint.

That’s how I knew I didn’t dare go to the after thoughts birth service. The idea of going back to the hospital was not my idea of fun, another reason why I thought I would never have another baby and why I’m scared now to go back there to do it all again. I must be mad.

It’s hard to explain how I feel because it’s very complex, like a lot of different layers. I’m not just upset that I didn’t get the birth I wanted. I’m not just angry because of the lack of consistent care in hospital. I’m not only upset because I had a near-death experience. I lost 3 litres of blood, I was in theatre; that would be scary for anyone… and I get that. I can admit that and that’s just a fact. I understand many people have had it worse than me and also better than me. I’m not jealous at those who have had a nice birth, home birth, or a birth like I wanted. I’m not just upset that a lot of things happened that I didn’t want to happen (pre eclampsia, induction, c-section).

And so, I can’t really pin point exactly why I feel the way I do, all I know is that I do hate every single memory about it from the beginning to the end and it still hurts now, and it won’t go away.

I feel like everyone has let me down, even people who were not involved at all. I still have a lot of anger about it… and sadness. It really bothers me when anyone suggests hypnobirthing or a birth course or when I’ve been contacted by businesses for private scans or collaborating with me for my blog with something relating to pregnancy/birth. Even though, it is nothing personal to these people exactly I am just angry at everyone who says anything about it to me and wish I was “normal”.

I am incredibly close to Eric and think our close attachment is another way in which I’ve tried to deal with the birth trauma, nearly losing him, nearly dying myself… I felt I’ve had to keep him really close because otherwise I am alone.

He is the most important thing to me in my life and will be forever. I’m just so grateful that I don’t hate him like I hate everything else about the experience. That’s the only good thing that’s come out of it. I feel so guilty for what I put him through, I really do blame myself in a lot of ways and I think his birth has made him who he is today. I think it explains why he has always been a “difficult” baby, why breastfeeding was so hard for about 6 months, why he would never be unattached from me and wouldn’t settle without me for so long. Even now at over 3 years old I think a lot of the “problems” we have with him is because of the way he was born.

And then how it has affected this pregnancy… that’s complex, too. At the moment I am under a special care team called the continuum care midwives. This is a new ‘project’ from the NHS following on from a ‘bad births’ campaign. I was put forward for it from the hospital… as they picked up pretty soon that I have problems following on what happened with Eric and saw me as a ‘great candidate’ for it (what an awful thing to say in a way…).

I’m very lucky to get a place onto this team because only 7 women get a place on each ’round’ as there’s only 7 midwives in the team. The idea is that you see the same, small team of midwives from beginning right through until post natal and it’s very 1-2-1. Because this only started very recently, I was already 27 weeks when I was referred onto this team, I haven’t had the full process and joined more than half way though.

I’m not religious and don’t believe in any thing like that… but I do believe in fate… and I’m not sure why this has happened to me, when there are so many other women who have struggled worse than me, but I just count my blessings I was chosen. Because I don’t know what would have happened otherwise. It was like… almost as if it came just at the right time because I could feel myself slipping and thinking “oh my gosh, I don’t know what I’m going to do”. I’ve been really scared of PTSD/PSD and worried about how I’m going to bond with this baby… so I’m very, very grateful I’ve been referred onto this team as it really is going to help.

Ouseburn farm: 3 day trip in Newcastle: Things To Do With a Toddler

The best thing for me about this team is that it isn’t for any specific type of birth/labour. They work together as a very close knit team so wherever I end up, one of the midwives who I know from the team, will be with me during labour/birth. They know all about me, what has happened before, what I’m scared of, my health, what I can and can’t have, they even speak for me if I can’t do it. The head midwife of the team, who deals with me at the moment, is absolutely amazing… let’s call her L.

I’m not sure how L manages to be able to say exactly the right things at the right time but she does. She is so understanding without being patronising and doesn’t disregard anything I say. I haven’t been able to open up a lot to her but that’s okay because she knows everything what has happened and doesn’t force me to tell her. Knowing that she knows, and being able to say as little or as much as I want, really helps. Every time I see her, it’s like she has all the time in the world for me. I already know that thanks to her, things are going to be a lot different than they would have been.

Very recently, a few weeks before I was referred onto this team, actually, I found out quite a few things about my birth/labour before that I didn’t already know about. It’s been really shit to find this stuff out, especially after so many years have gone by. It’s made me even more angry in a way because I’m so frustrated at the whole experience from before. Finding out more things went wrong which I didn’t know about at the time, and being told that many ‘problems occurred’ and ‘things did spiral out of control’ and ‘things shouldn’t have happened which did and that is our error’ makes me want to scream at everyone “I told you so!”.

And, all of this has been going on whilst I’ve been pregnant which has really been hard to deal with. At times I’ve felt like putting my head in my hands and saying “why did you not all tell me this before, why have you been hiding this for so long and thought it was OK to tell me at 7 months pregnant?” but I guess until I was in a position where they had to tell me, they were not obliged to do so before.

Thanks to L, who has done a lot of chasing up notes, details, going through it all, talking to consultants and midwives here and there from years ago… we’ve been able to find out the whole story from start to finish. I’ve found out that I had a rare condition of my uterus (which could be hereditary or from a previous D&C) which means there are far too many veins/capilleries in there than is normal. This means a woman who has a c-section is more likely to lose a lot of blood or die in child birth compared to those who don’t. This explains why I lost lots of blood. In addition, my womb did have a heavy hemoerage at the time of the c-section which was most likely due to the fact that I was on the drip for so long and had pre eclampsia.

This explains why they couldn’t control the bleeding and why I nearly had a hysterectomy. We found out that Eric was stuck inside me, probably from around 10pm, until the c-section at 6am, facing straight ahead with his chin not tucked under (how they are supposed to be laid). They know this from how he came out in the c-section on a mark on his head of a certain ‘stage’ indicating how long he was like that for. This explains why I didn’t dialate more than 4cm, and why the labour wasn’t progressing even with the drip on full whack, because he had no where to go. He was being forced down with the contractions from the drip but had no where to go. This is incredibly dangerous and can damage the spine. It explains why he was stressed… but thank goodness, at the very least, he was only born covered in meconium compared to what could have happened to him. That part really, really upsets me the most. Knowing I was sat there and he was stuck like that.

Birth is complicated and you know, there is nothing I can do now. No one knows why so many things happened and the thing is, it’s done. No one, really, is to blame, (apart from myself for refusing that c section to begin with, I won’t let that go). I’ve been told I shouldn’t have been induced like that at 42 weeks with pre eclampsia but I was so there’s no point dwelling on that.

Apparently, my blood pressure had been on the higher side of things from very early on and there had been a ‘trend’ of high blood pressure in my notes from about 28 weeks pregnant. They now say, that I shouldn’t have been left to labour on a drip with contractions like that for nearly 12 hours (which caused the hemoerage in c-section), and the baby should not have been left inside me from 10am to 6am in that position facing straight ahead with chin up. No one knows why I was ignored when I told them about my waters breaking before I was induced and no one knows why so many things seem to contribute to what happened… they just say, “it was an error and it won’t happen again”. Who knows.

Sometime this week I’m going through all the details with L and a senior consultant. I’m not 100% why it has to be done in this serious manner, maybe it’s because there are things they did wrong and want to get it set straight and maybe even apologise? or maybe they are just worried I’m on the edge of a break down and keeping a close eye on me. It could be nothing.

L recommends I find out all what happened in great detail and there’s “things even she can’t explain”. She believes part of the reason I feel like this is due to lack of control of it all and how it spiralled at the last minute… there is confusion in what happened to me and once I know for sure, I can deal with it in a better way. She’s told me that if I don’t find out and analyse it all, I will live in doubt and make up parts of it, either worse or better than what actually happened. She said I can’t carry on this way and I need to know so I can try put it to rest.

I’ve been told to try to think of this baby and this experience with a fresh mind and I shouldn’t, by all means, bring in the delivery room/theatre/wherever I am at the time of birth with this baby, all what happened before. That sounds so easy… I know… but I don’t know how to do it. It helps when L tells me it’s normal to feel this way and she respects all of my feelings. A bit part of her help so far has been just through listening to me and respecting me.

They also want me to go to the hospital and see all the departments. All the different areas in the labour ward, the room I was in last time, where the theatres are, the day care… everything. I almost drop dead when L suggested that. I hate going to the hospital even for scans (which happen about every 4 weeks at the moment) let alone to see where I was before. But she said if it makes me feel that way now, can I imagine feeling that way and being in labour, coming to the hospital in labour… the fear could be so powerful that labour stops all together. I know what she means, I understand completely but I am still scared of seeing it all.

What will happen next, I don’t know. At the moment we are just waiting in limbo to see if I get pre eclampsia as that could change everything. Due to this condition in my uterus with the veins, they really, really don’t want to cut me open for another c-section as it is a big risk of high volume blood loss. I’m terrified of that part I really don’t want to go through that part again… I’m so scared of blood now.

I feel like one option: vbac, is just beyond what I could ever be capable of, and the other option: c-section, is my other worst fear, and, most likely means that I lose a lot of blood again.

Either way, if I have a c-section, I’m having blood transfusions and I’m being laid in theatre on that operating table with people panicking about me and oh my I’ve no idea how I’m going to cope with that. I can’t honestly think how I will bring myself to even walk to theatre… I envision myself kicking and screaming and they have to put me under because I’m that scared. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

For my own benefit, and to avoid that, I want this baby to come out the other way… I want a healthy vbac, of course I do. But when I say that it just feels like a load of big lies to myself and to everyone else.

I don’t have any confidence. It’s all been taken away from last time. This pregnancy… it’s like, I’m on the other end compared to before. I can’t bare to think or do any hypnobirthing, read any books, think about natural birth or labour, I am not interested in a pool birth or home birth or even considering any of that. I can’t really look at baby clothes, I don’t want to buy any, but I also can’t dread the thought of this baby wearing the same clothes Eric. I’m dreading packing a “hospital bag” everything feels so fake. I don’t feel very motivated. I’m glad I am pregnant and I am grateful but. It’s just not the same.

I honestly want to close my eyes and this baby comes out another way which isn’t either of the 2 options I have. I want that, and I want to erase all my memories from before so it doesn’t affect this baby.

I’ve had all these complicated feelings and birth trauma for 32 weeks now and I’m sick of it, to be honest. I want pregnancy over and done with but I’m too scared for it to happen, so I feel very stuck. I just hope in the next… however many weeks… L and her team can keep working their magical powers, fill me with confidence and make it all OK… I don’t know how, but that’s the only hope I have.

Thank you for reading and if you feel the same way, please feel free to reach out to me… I wish I could do it the other way but when you’re reading this on a screen I don’t have the ability to know who you are. I can’t talk about this stuff much face to face, but we can always chat online. My email is naomi@tripswithatot.com and I will always reply to you. I just want everyone to know that, regardless of your labour and birth, your feelings towards it are important and shouldn’t be disregarded.

It’s not a race and no one is a winner or loser. No one has the worst or the best birth experience, and I’m not here to try and make out I had it worse than anyone else. We are all the same and our feelings matter, whatever happened. I could have had things a lot worse, a lot better; it doesn’t matter to how I feel now.

I really hope that whatever the reason why you read this post, it helped you somehow… whether it gave something to read for you for 10 mins, made you feel like you can breath through your own crap feelings about your labour/birth and not feel as alone, or gave you some confidence to talk about how you feel to someone you trust. I could never approach a doctor or the afterthoughts service or counselling about what happened but if you can, then please do. Tiny steps and you’ll get there.

Please do check out the light charity, too, as I know they offer lots of support in Sheffield to parents in need.

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