Mental Health Monday: Dealing with previous birth trauma during pregnancy

I am sitting with my midwife and letting the tears roll down my cheeks as I explain how I HAVE to be in control, even of things go wrong I NEED the information and the facts, natter how frightening they sound. I need a plan in place for everything so I know that what is happening to me is MY choice, and I consent.

Mental Health Monday: Dealing with previous birth trauma during pregnancy

I spent a long time denying that my first birth was traumatic and after that I spent a while playing it down, yes it was traumatic but it wasn’t THAT traumatic. How could I be traumatised? What right did I have? I’m healthy (ish) and my son is healthy (ish) and we made it through the whole thing relatively unscathed.

Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong. And I didn’t really let that trauma in, I didn’t accept it or start deal with it until I was already pregnant again, three and a half years on.

So, for context, let’s look at what went wrong…

My labour was 18 hours, culminating in an episitomy and forceps delivery with a spinal anaesthetic that took around 5 attempts to insert between heavy contractions. I had been pushing for 2 hours solidly with no progress and had been given pethedine which was making me lose consciousness between contractions and wake up in extreme pain and confusion, scared out of my wits. My baby was in distress, registering a heat rate of 58bpm and I had been told that I wasn’t trying hard enough – I couldn’t communicate that I could feel that my baby was stuck. I believe my baby was stuck because I was told that I must be ready to push by now, so I started pushing before my body told me to.

Now, there are worse births, but this was not okay. I was not okay. This whole ordeal was followed by a harrowing week in hospital as my son fought jaundice and I was readmitted because of infection caused by retained placenta.

What’s going on this time then?

I wrote about taking control of my second pregnancy very early on, but as my due date approaches my head is now focused on the impending birth.

In thinking about how things went last time I began to recognise that the root of my trauma was the very stark and sudden loss of control, when things were taken out of my hands it was terrifying.

I am tackling the issue by filling my head with information because knowledge is power. I’m learning more about how my body works, what it does and why. I am researching pain relief options and what the side effects are and whether they can slow down labour or pass through the placenta to the baby.

I am sitting with my midwife and letting the tears roll down my cheeks as I explain how I HAVE to be in control, even of things go wrong I NEED the information and the facts, no matter how frightening they sound. I need a plan in place for everything so I know that what is happening to me is MY choice, and I consent. I am very determined not to have any medical intervention this time but I know that sometimes things are beyond our control, so it is important to me to have a comprehensive plan in place for a variety of outcomes. I am going to meet with the midwives at the hospital midwife led unit to write up a formal plan that can be communicated with the team ahead of time so they don’t accidentally repeat the mistakes from last time.

Honestly, I am not even scared anymore. I still get emotional about last time but all that does is fuel my determination to have a better outcome this time. I’ve found the process so far to be very therapeutic and I feel like I have made steps to recover. Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for my birth story!

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Everything You Need to Put in Your Birthing Plan

A plan is just that, rough guidelines of what we wish and for what we want to happen. Even if I didn’t get all of my birthing plan, I found that having one was good for my anxiety, especially in regards to being Strep B positive. You might even find this helpful as a template for your own birthing plan! 

I wanted to be sure that I had a concrete copy of my birthing plan, I thought that they’d be no better place to keep it than our ‘Mummykind’ blog . A plan is just that, rough guidelines of what we wish and for what we want to happen. Even if I didn’t get all of my birthing plan, I found that having one was good for my anxiety, especially in regards to being Strep B positive. You might even find this helpful as a template for your own birthing plan! 
Birthing Plan
Important things to note-
  • I am due to have my baby on the 02/02/16.
  • I am a high risk pregnancy, due to SPD, increased blood pressure, hypothyroidism, PCOS, weight fluctuation and spinal injury (1 x herniated and 2 x prolapsed spinal discs)
  • I am STREP B POSITIVE. Please treat me during my labour to prevent this from making my baby unwell.
Environment-
  • I plan to give birth in the William Harvey Hospital on the labour ward.
  • I am expecting to have to stay in overnight.
  • Where it is possible, I would like to be in a private room.
  • I may wish to listen to music during labour.
Companions-
  • I would like my Mother to be present at all times during my labour.
  • I would like my partner to be present at all times during my labour.
  • My family can visit me in the hospital.
Foetal Monitoring-
  • Due to 4 episodes of decreased movement throughout my pregnancy, I would like to be monitored as often as possible. However, due to my back being painful, I would like to be free to move as much as I can.
During Labour-
    • I would like to be able to move and walk around freely.
  • This is because lying flat is painful with my spinal and disc issues.
  • I am open to trying different birthing positions that I might find more comfortable.
  • Please encourage me to move, even if it is painful for me to do so.
  • Please remind me to drink regularly and use the bathroom.
  • If at all possible, I would like to avoid a c-section birth. I do however, understand that a c-section isn’t a choice.
Pain Relief-
  • To be discussed with the consultant.
  • I have been cleared by my spinal specialist for an epidural if it is needed.
  • I would really like to avoid the use of pethridine if at all possible.
Assisted Delivery –
  • I am fully aware that this is sometimes needed. Obviously I would anticipate for minimal trauma to be inflicted upon my baby and I. Please.
After Delivery-
    • If possible, I do not want to be separated from my baby after delivery.
    • I would love to have skin to skin contact and time to bond with my baby as soon as possible after delivery.
  • I would like to aim for a physiological 3rd stage if I am not too exhausted.
Umbilical Cord-
  • I want my partner to cut the babies cord if he wishes.
  • I would like to opt for optimal cord clamping.
  • I don’t want the cord to be cut immediately. I would appreciate it if cutting the cord could wait until it stops pulsating, so that my baby gets all of the remaining cord blood.
Feeding-
    • I would like to breast feed my baby as soon as possible after birth.
  • I would really appreciate help with trying to breast feeding my baby.
Medications for Baby-
  • I would like my baby to have the vitamin k injection.
  • Please give me antibiotics and take all necessary precautions to ensure that my Strep B diagnosis doesn’t have an impact on my baby’s health.