Birth trauma is something that I had with both births. Two completely different births. My trauma from Axl’s birth is why I wanted to go down the path I did for River’s.
Axl’s labour wasn’t super long but long enough. It ended up in a forcep & episiotomy delivery, Axl was on my chest for 30 secs and got whisked away to SCN with Dad by his side. I also had a shocking recovery ending up with an infection. I alway thought it was traumatic, and it was what is was. But once I sat down unpacked it, it was traumatic and still saddens me. I always think the what ifs…
I always said my next birth I would have the Doula, the birth photographer & do a hypnobirthing course. I wanted to do it all I wanted to have a complete different experience. I wanted a natural non medicated birth and I wanted the water birth. I reached out to Kirby who is an absolute Queen. She helped me navigate my way through, she helped me understand my options and what went wrong with my previous birth. She also introduced me too the beautiful Jess who taught us everything hypnobirthing and again made us understand what we could do to help prevent what went wrong or how the last birth ended up. With these tools it made us so much more confident and excited going into the birth.
River’s birth was quick. Very quick.
I was in denial for a while. From the moment the surges started I implemented what I had learnt from the two wonderful ladies and put them into action.
Around 2ish surges started mild & made the calls to advise everyone that they have started. I decided to try & rest, listen to my birth playlist. They increased I thought I’ll jump in the shower use water. The surges came on fast, got out of the shower moved to the bedroom where my husband noticed the changes and decided to make the calls at 2:40. During this time I felt moving my hips slowly and breathing is what helped me through. Having a couple affirmations in my head, I repeated them.
I was in complete denial and it wasn’t until an hour later we made the call to go to the hospital as surges were back to back. I used hypnobirthing techniques and went into my zone. I was no longer silent and used my voice to get through the surges. At 4:10 I had the urge to bear down and at 4:24 our daughter was born. I was able to have a complete physiological birth of my daughter & my placenta. Which is all I wanted after a traumatic birth with my son.
But River arrived very fast. In fact, she was unresponsive when she came into the world.
In that moment those memories and trauma came flooding back.
This time I couldn't hold her on my chest for even a second. Gosh they weren't even going to let me touch her at one stage.
She got taken to SCN with Dad by her side. I was still in birthing suite. I had lost just under 1L of blood. There was discussions about potentially going to theatre to manage the bleeding. I broke down.
Why does this always happen to me?
It was 5.5 hours until I was able to see and hold River briefly.
I may have gotten my unmedicated birth, however it still did not go 'to plan'.
All you ever want is the perfect birth experience. The perfect uninterrupted golden hour and to hold you baby on your chest. I would be lying if I said I don't get jealous when I see these beautiful moments of bubs on mums chest for the first time. In all honesty sometimes I can't look at those photos. And that is ok.
It's ok not to be ok with your birth.
Birth trauma is real and happens to so many people.
Some days I feel great and others I have great sadness about how my births turned out. But at the end of the day I know I did everything I could to give myself and my baby the best birth possible with the circumstances we faced. I know I wouldn't have pushed and spoken up if it wasn't for the amazing Kirby from Olive Juice Lifestyle and Jess from Mother Moon Hypnobirthing . They gave us the most amazing tools and experiences to get what we wanted. Things may not go to plan but the work you put in can definitely make a difference.
Three things I would recommend to any first time parents, things I wish I had done the first time:
Hire a doula
Get birth photography
Do a Hypnobirthing course
And not to mention get yourself an incredible birth partner like mine. You need someone who will advocate for you and baby when you are unable to do so. Someone who will understand your traumas and be by your side.
Mother Moon Note: Birth trauma occurs for 1 in 3 women in Australia, with 70% of this trauma being iatrogenic (caused by obstetricians and midwives) and others by a cascade of events happening TO women. But even when you do everything to reduce that likelihood, and even when birth is very straightforward, sometimes the unexpected can happen.
It is ok not to feel ok if this happens to you. Your feelings are so valid and it does not mean you aren't grateful for your baby, proud of yourself, and know you did everything you could. That doesn't take away from the fact that having baby taken away from you at birth is not biologically normal and it doesn't feel ok!
If you experience this at birth and find these thoughts and feelings come up for you please reach out to a trusted safe person to talk about it. People like myself can also offer Rebirthing Ceremony to give your body and baby an opportunity to shift the feelings that imprinted during that time, and step forward in your motherhood journey feeling connected, releasing the hurt that holds onto you.
Sending love and energy to you mama.