Ellen D

Ellen D

I had a very challenging experience with the birth of my son 5 years ago. I was 27, the first in my generation to have a child and I needed to get induced (5 days overdue). I come from a line of strong Mediterranean women who have all given birth vaginally with limited pain relief, so the pressure to follow suit was daunting and added a mental and emotional strain on top of the challenges that were to come in my labour. The process of induction and the hormone drip was excruciating, and no one prepared me or my support (husband and mother) for the distress that it brought on to all of us in the delivery room. The pain was something else, I can’t even describe it, and at times I felt like I was drifting in and out of consciousness. I was in such a state, screaming, desperately wanting the pain to stop, to the point that my mother had to be taken out of the room as she was about to faint from my trauma. I was 5cm dilated and feeling delirious, and at that point I begged for an epidural. After it started to take effect, I managed to catch a break, but after trying to push for 10-15minutes my obstetrician advised that my boy was not turning into my birth canal and I needed to go into surgery to try other options, and potentially an emergency caesarean if nothing else worked. I was so scared as I was not mentally prepared for major surgery, even though my obstetrician advised me to be open to the chance for it, and I remember looking at my husband and feeling absolutely defeated and that I couldn’t live up to my family’s standards. I ended up having an emergency caesarean as my son was experiencing deep transverse arrest and it wasn’t possible to deliver him vaginally with forceps or a vacuum. With what was meant to be a wonderful moment to meet my son for the first time, I felt like a failure – I couldn’t take the pain, I couldn’t deliver him “naturally”. I feel this disappointment also impacted my physical recovery time, along with the pressure to get better sooner to look after my newborn. This led me into post-natal depression which extended into my relationships. The path to recovery was hard. I needed individual and couples counselling to come to terms with the experience and to help repair my now strained relationship with my husband as the stress and trauma pushed us both to our limits.

Tags: Psychological trauma, PND, PTSD, emergency caesarean
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