This week is Birth Trauma Awareness Week. I would like to share my experience of a positive birth after birth trauma. My traumatic birth was almost 9 years ago and my healing birth was 9 weeks ago at the time of writing this post.
Those who know me well know that Isla’s birth was traumatic but what they may not know is that it left me with PTSD. When I fell pregnant with Jensen I was crippled with anxiety about his birth for the first half of the pregnancy. So much so that I had a debrief about Isla’s birth with the obstetrician at 20 weeks and then I underwent Trauma therapy with a psychologist. All of my anxiety was around the birth.
With Isla I laboured for 18 hours. I pushed for a total of 3 hours. I had actually developed a Bandl’s Ring. This is extremely rare. 0.02% chance with a mortality rate higher than 50%. When the ring was discovered they took me to theatre. My epidural had been failing so they prepped me for a spinal tap. The spinal tap went too high and stopped my lungs from working. All I heard was “get the dad out” while a mask was put on my face and they converted me to general anaesthetic.
So yes, I was terrified of Jensen’s birth.
Until about 2 hours before Jensen was born, I had planned to go under a general anaesthetic. I battled with this for months. Many tears were shed not knowing if my anxiety could handle trialling another spinal. Between the support from my partner, the trauma therapy and a midwife who was on shift that day I decided not to have the general anaesthetic.
And this time I got the birth I so desperately needed. It was calm and controlled, a slight hiccup with a haemorrhage during surgery but this time I got to see my baby take his first breath in this world and that feeling will stay with me forever.
Birth trauma is real. Its not always physical and easily seen. If someone tells you that their birth was traumatic, believe them. Support them.