Another month has flown by, and we’re back with a new guest post for my Love Your Labour Series. The aim of this series is to show that not every labour goes the same, and not everyone feels the same about their labour. It can be difficult to comes to terms with a traumatic birth, so hopefully by sharing their stories here, these ladies can prove that we can love our labour, even if they don’t go to plan. This week’s post is from Clare of NeonRainbowBlog.
Hi my name is Clare and I blog over at NeonRainbowBlog – My blog is a place where I share my tricks and tips for living a healthy lifestyle after losing 100lb naturally myself. More recently I have started to post lifestyle posts as we navigate through an Autism diagnosis with my youngest son and raising a tween aswell (eek!)
1.How did you prepare for your labour? Did you have a birth plan or an idea of what you wanted to happen?
I went into my first labour very unprepared, I just thought if I didn’t think about it I wouldn’t get anxious and wind myself up. In hindsight this was a mistake as I totally could of used the knowledge of what to expect! I remember writing in my birth plan “See how it goes!”
2. Did you find reading labour stories helped you in the lead up to your labour in preparing yourself for birth?
I didn’t read any, but I wished I had to help me prepare. The second time around it definitely helped to read the experiences of others.
3. What happened during your labour that meant it didn’t go to plan?
I went 10 days overdue so I had to be induced and because I was totally unprepared for labour I really didn’t cope well. I opted for an epidural but it took 3 attempts to get it in right after the first was in the wrong place and the second one leaked. I remember just feeling out of it for most of my 24 hour labour, when it came to the time to push the consultant discovered that baby was brow presentation and I wouldn’t be able to push him out and I needed an emergency c-section. As my body was already pushing I had to go to sleep so they could get him out quickly and safely.
4. How did you feel immediately after the birth? Did you struggle to come to terms with the labour or did you accept that it had happened?
I missed the entire birth, his weighing, changing, first feed.. by the time I came around he was almost an hour old. At the time I was tired and dazed, happy to be a Mummy and I got swept up in the excitement. I do know I loved him immediately and I think that helped me cope with the trauma of it all, that even though it was hard and I missed things, we bonded straight away.
5. How do you feel about it now? Have your feelings towards your labour changed as time has gone on?
My feelings definitely have changed, I tend to go through motions of acceptance and sadness, if we talk about his birth it makes me sad that I missed it and I will dwell on that for a while but I started to accept as time went on that it was what needed to be done for the safety of us both. I’m not sure I will ever fully get over it, because I can’t change the fact I missed it all.
6. Do you find talking about your labour helpful or have you struggled with this? (either in person or through writing about it)
I don’t tend to talk about it a great deal and personally I think that helps me, I am not sure if that is because I accepted that it was what needed to be done, the fact it hasnt affected the bond I share with my son or just that I am not one to share my feelings very often.
7. Did you seek any professional help to guide you through your experience, either by speaking to your midwife or doctor, or an organisation such as Birth Reflections? If so, did you find this helped? If not, do you think this would have helped?
I haven’t had any professional help as I have social anxiety so talking to a stranger isn’t something I am good at. It’s hard to know if that would of helped me at the time or not.
8. Have there been any long lasting impact due to your experience, e.g. has it affected your decision to have more children?
It definitely affected my decision when we wanted another baby, I wasn’t sure for a long time if I could bear to possibly go through it all again, but I spoke to some friends on parenting sites and they gave me lots of advice to talk to my consultant asap with what plan I wanted the second time around.
9. Would you change your approach for future births eg by not having a birth plan or by doing more research into types of births and options if things don’t go as planned.
Planning is definitely what helped me second time around. We decided on a planned section with help and advice from our consultant but even with all the plans my waters broke the day before and we had to go with plan B, this time it was less stressful and I was awake and happy!
10. What advice would you give to someone who has been through a similar experience?
Confront your feelings. Anything you feel is valid, if you cope better for just moving on with things then great, but if you need extra help there is no shame in that at all, trauma affects everyone differently and you cannot help the way you feel, there is absolutely no shame in needing help.