Baby Hints & Tips

Dealing with traumatic labour

Mother with just born babyMy first son is 19months and I had a very traumatic labour, I had to be hooked up to the heart monitor as his heart rate kept dropping, and I ended up having an episiotomy and forceps delivery as after 2 hours of pushing he wouldn’t even. It was horrible, painful and messy and I suffered PND afterwards. I’ve just found out I’m pregnant with baby number 2. Hubby and I are both very excited but I keep having panic attacks when I think about labour. I’m just wandering if anyone has advice on how to get through this pregnancy and labour a little calmer? I am very worried and scared, and I am also thinking maybe I should just elect for a c section? 

  •  I had an elective C-section as I was extremely anxious about all that could go wrong during a natural birth. Being a medical professional I knew too much. I found it much more comforting to know what was going to happen and felt I had more control. It took away a lot of the unknowns and for me the anxiety too. My C-section was a breeze, the epidural hardly hurts and then was just lying there excitedly waiting to see my baby while they did all the work! Once the epidural wears off you can ask for drugs to help with pain but I was fine with just panadol by the next day and up showering and walking. Within a week I could do most things and after 2 weeks I felt back to normal.  I got a lot of flak for choosing the “unnatural” way but if it’s safe for the baby (almost safer) and will make you less anxious then make the decision that is right for you.   Julie
  •  Definitely discuss these options with your doctor because there are supports available if you want to try natural but you are definitely warranted in electing a section also. I think once you have a plan you will feel at ease and the anxiety will subside. Xx   paisley
  •  Hypnobirthing classes can help release the fear and teach you techniques to achieve a calm and natural birth. I am in Adelaide and run classes but for a list of practitioners look up www.hypnobirthing.com I decided to become a practitioner after a traumatic first delivery and my second birth was so wonderful and empowering. Good luck with whatever you decide.   Kristy 
  • I had a terrible 1st birth so i ended up going c-section 2nd time around and it was the best thing I did.   Leasha
  •  Please try to remember not every labour will be the exact same. You can do it. Believe in yourself and your amazing ability to birth your beautiful baby number 2. You are strong and you can do it. I know you must be filled with anxiety but remember little one needs you to bring them into the world and you can do it. If you and hubby do decide to opt for a c section then dont let anyone make you feel bad. You will decide what is best for you.   Claire
  •  I also had a traumatic birth with my first baby. I had an episiotomy and vacuum extraction to get my little guy out quickly. Unfortunately he suffered from a lack of oxygen and has ongoing problems as a result, so definitely not something I wanted to repeat. However, I went on to have a beautiful water birth for my second baby, no complications or interventions for her birth and it was absolutely healing for me after my first experience. I did need stitches afterwards though, as my episiotomy scar did tear again… She had a big head though (38cm!) and was 4.2kg so that didn’t help me… Lol! I think you really need to think about what is going to make you feel the best long term. For me, I was really upset that I didn’t get to experience a normal birth with my son, so the right choice for me was to go on and have a normal birth the second time. But if you think a csection will ultimately be the right choice for you, and will put you in a better state of mind, that’s completely fine too. It’s a big decision and only you can know what is right for you. If you decide to try a vaginal birth again, I’d recommend trying to avoid induction because unfortunately it often ends up the way your first birth did, and obviously you would want to avoid things going in that direction again. Whether you choose a vaginal birth or csection, perhaps you would consider hiring a doula, they can provide you with a lot of support, both physical and emotional through your pregnancy and birth, which can be great for mums who have previously had a traumatic experience.   Karissa
  •  Talk to your obstetrician and have them reassure you that the same thing won’t be allowed to happen again. I had an extremely traumatic delivery with my second child, which resulted in us nearly losing her and PTSD. I was terrified that the same thing might happen again, and when I had my initial appointment with the obstetrician at the hospital (delivered publicly so this was around 16 weeks) I told her all about what had happened the previous time and she reassured me that it was all on file, as well as my wishes should things go south again, and that we’d be well taken care of. She was amazing and really helped to calm all my fears. After having my first two babies induced post-dates, I went into spontaneous labour at 11 days overdue with my third child and had an amazing delivery requiring no intervention whatsoever. (The pregnancy was a little more high-risk that I’d planned, but we were given the go ahead at 34 weeks to deliver naturally after having a low-lying placenta discovered at 12 weeks.) It was the most amazing healing birth and the midwives who delivered my baby girls were just fantastic.
  • My main advice is to make your caregivers aware of what happened and how worried you are that it might happen again. Then get yourself a counselor who can empower you to feel in control. That’s the main thing I needed, was to stop feeling like it was my fault and to feel like I had a say and that I was in control of the choices I was about to make leading up to my daughter’s delivery. I wish you luck. I’ve been there, and the awful feelings do fade but you never forget how helpless you felt and the terror, but with the right care you can learn to cope with the feelings.    Sandra
  •  I thoroughly, thoroughly advise Hypnobirthing! It is all about being calm and relaxed and it does work.   Jo
  •  The Hypnobirthing course works through your birth fears and past traumas and gives you techniques for a calm pregnancy and birth (even if you decide on c section).   Kelly
  •  I can’t even imagine how traumatising your birth must have been but after such an experience i’m not surprised it has scared you. If you want to try to birth naturally i would look into hypnobirthing or active birthing and maybe yoga it is very empowering and all about making you feel like you are confident and empowered. If you decide further down the track that you are still too traumatised i had an emergency c-sec (no labour) and it was a good experience. Like others have said every birth is different and you may find that after such a traumatic first go your next might be a breeze as nothing could compare to the first. Good luck whatever you decide.   Samara
  •  My first two births were tough in different ways. My second was the scariest an when I fell pregnant a third time around I was petrified of the labour and every time I thought about having to push i would have panic attacks. I ended up going through the midwifery program and had 1 midwife for my whole experience. I spoke with her extensively about how I was feeling and my fears. I think it really helped having someone who was prepared to listen to me and fully support me with my choices and working on my fears. I would definitely find someone in the field who you can talk to in an effort to get through how you are feeling. My third deliver was the most wonderful experience, I trusted the people around me, I trusted myself but most importantly I trusted my body – all the best.  Kate
  •  I had an elective cesarean for my first due to position and size) 2nd a vbac and it was awful 28hour labour, 2hours pushing ending in episiotomy and forceps. The recovery was awful and I swore I would never have any more children. 12months later I was pregnant again and petrified of another natural delivery. I tried not to think about it and much to my surprise I has a totally different experience, 1 hour 30mins of labour. One push and It was all over I’m so glad I didn’t have another cesarean. The 2nd time around was so much Easier hopefully you are the same x   Becky
  •  My 1st labour was horrendous! was induced, ended up with tetanic contractions (no break in between, contraction after contraction) had a placental abruption, lost so much blood, his heart rate was really low. I was all prepped to go for an emergency c section however he was crowning so they let me push. He was born with very low apgar scores, needed a lot of help from Docs to get him breathing. My second, I was induced again, totally different. Bubs was perfectly fine the whole time, only problem was he had shoulder dystopia cause he was so big. Apart from that all was perfect. Apgar of 9 at 1 minute. Every labour is different, you’ll be fine!   Carly
  •  My first labour was very traumatic and afterwards I lost a lot of blood and had a retained placenta. I fell pregnant with my next baby 9 weeks after. I told my doctor about my concerns and we planned around for it. It was better because I knew what to expect. My son’s birth was amazing compared to my daughters.. I still needed an induction and vac ext but it was calm and peaceful. I did go on to have a massive pp hem and lose 3 litres of blood and need to be transferred to another hospital. But I was prepared for it. ( if next baby doctor said will be even more planned out to avoid problems and having at other said hospital )   Victoria
  •  I had the exact same labour as you.. Except mine was induced.. Had excruciating pains for 24 hours.. Pushed for 2.. Then forceps and episiotomy.. I actually filmed the birth and watched it back.. Didn’t realize how bad it really was. But at the end of the day.. As long as baby came out safely I didn’t care what they did to me. 2 weeks later. I’m pretty much fully recovered. Don’t elect c section. Recovery time will be 6 weeks instead of 2-3. All you need to know is that medical teams in this country are so intelligent and reliable if anything were to happen. Trust in them and trust in yourself. You can do it good luck!!   Anna
  •  Maybe talk with your dr about counseling and maybe go to a anti natal class. Work through and talk about how your feeling. I had a 40hr posterior labour with my son and an emergency c section. C section’s are horrid to b honest. Its rather scary being in there and baby gets taken out till they have stitched u back up and most of the time till you’re out of recovery. If it’s something u really think u want then talk to the ppl taking care of u and tell them how u feel. Goodluck and remember this time may b totally different.   Kim
  •  Remember every labour and delivery is different I  had a episiotomy with my first it took 6 hrs of active labour and over an hr of pushing so they cut. But with no.2 it was over i 40 mins. She came quickly no tearing nothing. U will be in more pain after a c section. And take longer to heal.   Samantha
  •  I had a traumatic labour as well, ended with a 4th degree tear. Doesn’t sound as bad as yours though. My doc said next time I would have to have a c section. Put your mind at ease and op for one too.   Melanie
  •  Please look into hypnobirthing and birth without fear xx also, a doula would be a fantastic idea for you.   Alicia
  •  I had the same experience and a c-section was the best decision I ever made, go with your feelings. We need to look after us so we can look after our baby. Healing was 18months with my 1st hard to give her 100% care I wanted to. 2nd baby c-section was a walk in the park. And I was totally available when my baby needed me, healing was amazing up & walking next day. You know your body. Do what you need to.  You don’t need to create anymore problems. You need to be the best person you can. All the best on your decision.   Heidi
  • I’m 24 weeks with number 2 and my first labour was similar – 44 hours and after 40 hours they didn’t realise he was back to back so ended up a forceps and episiotomy delivery but I’m very positive about this birth that it will be quicker and amazing not that I ever thought my 1st labour was all that bad at all. I didn’t really suffer much pain until 4 hours prior to birth when the horrendous back pain kicked in. Have a positive attitude and you will be fine that’s probably why I didn’t think my first was bad because I went in with my head up thinking oh I’ll be fine! Second is generally quicker and easier they say.  Jessica
  •  Sounds just like my labour, I’m very worried about number 2. I hope you start feeling better soon cx   Gemma
  •  I had very quick labours.  I’ve just had baby no 5 9 days ago & I was really worried about it too. I got my own midwife so she knew of my concerns & she was fantastic. So I recommend that & this labour was excellent.  Still a quickish labour, but I felt more in control this time round. So don’t be too worried, it might be a breeze this time round.   Roula
  •  I highly recommend calm birth… I was petrified of giving birth but it helps you to focus and calm yourself which helps your body to do its job. I was lucky and had to intervention free births but I recommend it to anyone to try… maybe seek counseling to get your feelings out so you can move forward and start enjoying your pregnancy… nothing worse than having fear n feeling like that takes over! Best of luck!   Linda
  •  I did a calm birth course, similar to hypnobirthing. It was fantastic in helping me to understand the birth process etc. they run the classes around the country if you look up on google.   Terri
  •  I had most of what you described in my first birth – minus the forceps but add a cord wrapped around his neck 3 times which snapped halfway through his delivery causing absolute mayhem…my second was another natural birth but it was PERFECT – very calm, no cut, no problem other than the midwives weren’t ready! It’s certainly worth trying again if you can move past your concerns – if you don’t feel you can then do what is best for you and go the c section.   Renee
  •  I think you need to consult your midwife & obstetrician and ask lots of questions! Their advice will help you make an informed decision about what type of birth will be right for you and your baby this time around! If you have a natural or c-section the main thing is that both you & your bub are healthy! Best wishes!   Tanya
  •  Honestly I would ask for an elective C-section, you shouldn’t have to go through that again and yes C-sections come with their own issues but they are nowhere near as traumatic as what you have experienced, talk to your doctor but don’t be bullied into doing anything you don’t want to do.   Casey
  •  Every birth is different, my first was very traumatic for me but my second was quite easy as I knew what to expect, my third and fourth even better but they have all been different. Try to relax and maybe consider hypnosis, I suffer badly with anxiety and it helped immensely.   Sarah
  •  My second labour sounds exactly the same as yours yet I pushed my first out with no assistance!! Everyone assured me second time would be easier and I know it’s not what you want to hear but don’t assume seconds are going to be easier because you could be very disappointed and confused as I was I’m going to have a third despite my fear of pushing because it’s just one day! But thinking an epidural next time.   Rhian
  •  Try not to stress; no labour is ever the same. Both of my labours were opposites of each other. Talk to the midwife or doctor about your concerns and see what they recommend and weigh up your options. Personally, I wouldn’t just go for the C-section, just because of the longer recovery and with a toddler and newborn and recovery, it’s a lot to take on. But it’s up to you; I would look around and speak to some people first before making a decision.   Stacey
  •  i had this with my second baby my next 2 did not have this problem thank goodness hopefully everything will go smoothly for you good luck.   Wilma
  •  Why don’t you start considering the elective c-section now? It will take your mind off thoughts of labour and enable you to get some distance from it. Later on in your pregnancy you could revisit the idea and see how it feels; talk to a midwife that you have established a relationship with and see what she has to say. My friend had a traumatic first birth and her second she birthed with no pushing (she was too scared) your body is amazing and can birth a baby on its own. Good luck.   Tanya
  •  I can highly recommend hypnobirthing, helped me through my first pregnancy and now I’m really looking forward to my next one due in March. I’m sorry you had such a horrific experience the first time, I hope this time is everything you want it to be x   Natasha
  •  I Had the same sort of labour with my first they cut me they tried suction and finally he came by forceps I was so scared with my second but it was an awesome labour compared to the first so just think positive and hope for the best is all I can say I didn’t have any problems with my second and she was bigger than my son good luck.   Tash
  •  Have you looked into doulas? Well worth it!!   Steph
  •  I also had pnd after my sons birth. My milk didnt come in properly I felt like I missed out on the first moments with him cause of the c section. There r down sides to both really. Just talk all ur fears out and work out wats best for u. Xx   Kim
  •  My first labour was similar to yours, my 2nd was a breeze as my body adjusted to it.   Stephanie
  •  My first labour was terrible, long, and painful, baby wouldn’t move down, had to have forceps, episiotomy etc. when pregnant with my 2nd I took comfort in people saying every labour is different and it really was! It was very quick and needed no intervention and didn’t tear. I have since had 3rd and that labour was different again! So just remember every labour is different. Good luck  Michelle
  •  Every pregnancy is different, and so is the labour. If it really worries you, talk to your midwife/ob about your options and weigh everything up. Just remember at the end of it all you’ll have a happy little baby.     Kai
  •  I had the same problem but with c section, my heart dropped to 50. I was hooked up to a heart machine and in time I began to sweat and was very cold. So in saying that problems can happen wether you have c section or natural.   Brooke
  •  I’m sorry you had such a hard time, the only advice I have is that every labour is different, so try not to think about it too much. Maybe talk to a councilor or someone close to get the thoughts off your chest.  Kailah
  • Nitrous Oxide and Prozac.   Joanne
  •  My first was just like yours…..the second labour was a breeze. Chances are it will be different.   Vashti
  •  I had two c-sections. One was an emergency and second was elective. The elective was a much much better experience for me. I wish you the best whichever way you choose.   Cyndy
  •  C-section all the way, was quite relaxing and was walking around town 2 days later!   Amelia
  •  Mine first was exactly the same but my second labour was totally different it was an amazing experience. But my first scared the shit out of me.   Tiffiny
  •  If it worries you that much then yes ask for a c section. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary stress over what to do. Talk it out with your dr/ob/ midwife and tell them of your concerns and what you are considering doing. Once you’ve made your choice I’m sure you will feel much more relaxed. Good luck and congrats.   Hailey
  •  Personally a C-Section scares me. At least after given birth naturally, you don’t have to recover from surgery. I had a traumatic first birth with my now 13 year old, after been induced a few times in a few days I was so tired I didn’t know that I was dilated. He was stuck half way, he was very distressed and they had to use suction to get him out. He was born grunting and at 3 days old I walked into the Special Care Nursery only to see him having a seizure. My son had a bleed on the brain in which did disappear. He was in the care nursery for a week. My second child’s labour was induced, my water broke straight after the gel was applied and his birth only took 6 hours with no complications. Calm yourself down stress isn’t too good for the baby. I am currently 11 weeks pregnant and sometimes think of the birth. Remember it’s a long time away, all pregnancies and births are different. At least with natural birth when it’s over it’s over and no recovering from having a C-section. I didn’t know I was dilated because of the drug (the spinal one) and couldn’t feel anything.   Emma
  •  My first was similar then number two was quick and uneventful and number three was quicker and easier again, don’t stress, every pregnancy different and every birth different and every baby different, c-sections have their down side as well, not being able to hold your other child and no lifting , no driving etc, can be a tough gig too… do what you want don’t be pushed into anything, enjoy the ride x   Wendy
  •  I had a episiotomy with my first n suction after 50 hrs non progressing labour. I then feel pregnant 3 yrs later n was scared swell. But in the end I had a a 7hrs 45mn labour I tore n needed suction again but healing was better 2nd time as well. I would never elect for c section just remember lots of heap breathing.   Belinda
  •  I had a very traumatic first birth and suffered pnd I had a c section for the second and was very forceful in how I wanted things to go like dad cutting the cord and chest to chest before I was taken to recovery it was so much a better. Experience for me and with number 3 it will deg be another c good luck.   Kim
  •  I feel your pain. My first labour wasn’t my ideal birthing experience and ended in an emergency c section (but you don’t need to hear all the details), so as soon as I found out I was expecting no:2 I opted for an elective c section straight away. It was the best thing I could have done. The elective c section I recovered from heaps better and quicker than the emergency one. I was told by numerous doctors and midwives to try natural and I did consider it but I’m so happy that I didn’t. You do what’s best for you; I personally think a c section. Yes it’s major surgery but nowhere near as traumatic as what you’ve already been through. Good luck.   Chrissy
  •  I elected for c section through public, ask to be booked in to discuss with obstetrician and inform what you want and why. They will likely book you in for a Caesar if you wish, best thing I ever demanded!   Laura
  •  I had a traumatic labour the first time around and I was also worried about the second. So I did classes of pregnancy yoga and used relaxation techniques I learnt there to help with labour (it did help :)) I managed to have a successful vbac. I just had to put myself in the mindset that my body knows what it needs to do and when but if intervention is needed I know that I’m in good hands. Good luck with your next birth I’m sure you will do fine.   Crystal
  •  This sounds similar to my births apart from the PND thank god!!! Even though your labour was traumatic your body recovers more quickly from an episiotomy than a c section. Some ways you can try and overcome your fears is surround yourself with supporting people ,gentle exercise and stretches/yoga ect maybe some hypno birth or calm birth classes perhaps a water birth try to look after yourself by eating good and doing things that make you happy if you still feel like you can’t go through it a planned c section might actually help you by getting you prepared and relaxed by taking that fear away just remember a c section has its risks as well whatever you choose it will all be worth it in the end no matter the pain when you are holding your precious bub. Good luck with you pregnancy and I hope you get the birth you want.   Shannon
  •  I had very similar labour with #1 he was 17days overdue. I was in early labour (contractions 2min apart with no dilation) for 5 days then after 12 hours of established labour and heart rate dropping several times I was told they would try suctioning him out if that didn’t work then an emergency c-sec was going to have to happen I was exhausted after all that he was delivered naturally – when he was 16 months I fell preg with #2 I was so scared every second nite to my husband I would complain and be very worried about the birth ect but her labour was text book had contractions went to hospital my waters broke 1/2 hr later baby girl born no stitches no time for pain relief easiest birth ever – my Advice every birth is different your body knows what it has to do this time so relax it will all work out Good luck    Celeste
  •  My first was so scary and horrific and I was so scared for number 2. Made it worse that hubby couldn’t be there because he was away for the Army too! I was offered a c section but a beautiful midwife helped me make the decision to go natural. It was the best labour, only 3 hours and only 15 minutes pushing. The best advice is to be honest with your doctor about how you are feeling and they will tell you the risks and benefits of both. Ultimately though, if you are going to be stressed through your whole pregnancy, it won’t be good for bub in the long run and a c section might be the better option. You’ll know what’s best for you Hun, just take your time with your decision, it’s still early days    Sammii
  •  I recommended getting a doula for your next birth its what I’ll be doing after a traumatic labour ending in a c section for my vbac next time also some counseling to help you get through your last birth you can probably ask your midwife about it good luck   Tara
  •  Perhaps an elective c section or you could opt for an elective epidural. My first was long, forceps tears etc my second and third were induced with elective epidurals and all was very controlled. I was calmer and they were 4 and then 2 hr deliveries ( with a 10lb 5 bub) good luck.   Jodie
  •  Could try hypnobirth classes, or just a hypnobirth cd. I have a cd I’m listening too and have found it useful after a distressing birth first time round. Second baby due in about 6 weeks and I’m feeling much calmer than I was. All the very best.   Rachel
  •  I’ve had one bub – he’s 8 months old now. I had him naturally and drug free and he was 10lb 5oz. I had a 11 hour labour in total and over 2 hours pushing. I heard them say that they were giving me an episiotomy so they could use forceps. I had him out one contraction after the cut; I was so scared of the forceps. Even with the episiotomy I tore, and my friend who was there who had just done a midwife rotation in her medical degree said that without the episiotomy I would of torn right through. I liked though that with the adrenalin I could get up and shower straight away and move around – even though it was painful to sit for two months after. I’m guessing that I couldn’t have done that with a c-section. Like everyone has said though, every labour is different. When it comes down to it though, the decision is up to you and if it means that you can relax and not stress out your entire pregnancy about the birth, you might be more comfortable opting for the c-section.   Sarah
  •  I have to say first labours have to be the worst nothing can prepare you no amount of classes or knowledge you’ve read!! But everyone after that can be different as you know what it feels like how it happens and how YOU can control what happens!! What you need to keep in mind is the recovery time with a c-section you have 6-8 weeks of no driving no lifting above your belly no no stretching and finding hard to lay on your stomach if you’re a stomach sleeper!! You can do things this time round like sitting up as straight as possible leaning forward and so on to make sure baby is face to spine and during labour making sure you try to sit up as much as possible or walk around or use an exercise ball!! Panicking after a horrendous birth is natural!! I had an alright first birth till about an hour after I had my daughter!! I was shit scared about the same thing happening with my son!! But the doctors where able to control the environment to make sure the same problem didn’t happen again!! Your best bet is to search out a doula that can help and support your through this pregnancy and birth.   Jessie
  •  All labours are different, i had a similar one with my first, other than the pnd. My second and third have been a lot quicker (20 hrs quicker), gas only and felt great afterwards. My advice would be just think positive and go with it.   Nerida
  •  I didn’t have a labour nowhere near as bad as yours but did have assistance in giving birth with episiotomy and suction. I am now 35 weeks with our second and have been having mini panic attacks since about 30 weeks. I’ve been telling myself I’m just being silly and I quickly try and find something to distract myself but I just can’t help feeling that way….. If I was in your situation I would be talking to your midwife when you go for your next check up to see if you can go straight to an elective c section. Even though they say no birth is ever the same There’s no way I would want to try natural again if the first one was so traumatic. Fingers crossed for you.  Leah
  •  I’m planning a vbac after a stressful emergency c section with the first. I have a fantastic midwife and she suggested I read “birth skills” by juju sunfins, as I felt that I couldn’t stay calm and in control in my first labour. So far the book has had some great tips and I believe I can do it. Best of luck!   Melissa
  •  Your first labour sounds similar to mine, I also suffered PND after. BUT… I went on to have an AMAZING labour with our 2nd! Like some other mummies have said, every labour is different and I think it’s normal to feel anxious about birthing again when your first experience was so traumatic. Maybe see a councilor to help with the anxiety about it all. And, as someone else suggested, maybe look into hypnobirthing classes. Best of luck!!! Xx   Marysia
  •  My friend has a very bad labour it only happen in 2% of births each year she was traumatised too but had a very successful second labour that was nothing like the first good luck and keep talking to the medical staff about your feeling and how you don’t want it to be like your first and everyone will be happy to help it is after all your labour not theirs.   Cassie
  •  I had a similar labour with my first & had exactly the same feelings leading up to the birth of my second. I did my research & spoke to my midwives. My trauma was largely due to mismanagement by my dr. & my second birth with midwives alone was so amazingly different. Second bub was over a pound heavier & I was up an hr later feeling like brand new. Feel free to inbox me if you have questions or just need some more reassurance.   Phoebe
  •  Really depends on whether you want to try for another natural birth, how important is it to you?! If it’s something you really want to achieve, maybe you could look at hiring a doula? If you don’t really care and you feel that a c section would help to relieve your anxiety, maybe that’s the best option for you. I’d just weigh up all the pro’s and con’s either way and do what feels right.   Renee




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