Time To Heal {Traumatic Cesarean Birth After Homebirth Transfer}

by Birth Without Fear on April 21, 2013

“I planned a home birth for my first son and ended up with a very traumatic c-section. I suffered in silence for a long time and it hurt my ability to be the mother I wanted to be, it hurt my relationship with my husband, and I never knew that other women felt the same way. Since then I have done some therapy and found out that I was in fact dealing with PTSD from the birth. I also went through a traumatic birth healing class and have been attending ICAN meetings. I am in a much better place now, maybe not fully myself, and maybe I’m just too changed to ever be that woman again. But my son just celebrated his 2nd birthday and I was able to enjoy the day and feel joy for the fact that I had him, I birthed him even if it didn’t happen the way I had always thought it would. Here is my birth story, that I was not able to write until my son was 18 months old because it was just too painful. I pray that someday I will have an amazing, healing HBAC story to follow it up.” – Allie

I hadn’t slept all night wondering when this baby would ever be born. Midwife came by the house to do an NST that morning and everything was great, for the 2nd week in a row I was still 5cm dilated. I was pretty sure that he wasn’t face down but my midwife assured me he was in a good position. Who is a first time mom to question the professional right? So I tried my best to picture him in a great face down position and forgot about it.

We spent the rest of the day with family because it was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Around midnight Paul fell asleep but my mind just wouldn’t shut off yet. Around 2:30am I decided I would get into bed, as soon as I lay down I felt the first contraction. I laid there for a while thinking “Yeah Right there is no way this is really labor”. I downed the glass of water on my nightstand and waited for them to stop. But they didn’t, and man did it hurt. I decided to get up and walk around for a while and I felt great like that, still having contractions but they no longer hurt at all. I tried to wake Paul up and get him to keep me company and time them, but he wasn’t having it. I think he thought I was crazy and not really in labor.

Around 3:30am I thought “If this is the real thing I really should get some sleep,” but every time I tried to lie down, I felt pain, strong pain. So I continued to pace across our family room and listen to my Hypnobabies on my MP3. I was really excited because by this time I knew it was really happening. I think my waves were about 6 minutes apart at this point. I would sit on the couch in between, but when one started I got up and paced again. About 6am I called my dad and told them what was going on, my mom was going to be present at the birth and I wanted her to come sometime soon. Paul also called the midwife around that time too.

As long as I kept up my pacing during waves I really had no pain at all. Paul made me some celery with peanut butter to snack on and a big glass of water.

Once my mom, the midwife, and her assistant got there is when things got a little stronger, I still wouldn’t have even called it uncomfortable though. They knew I hadn’t slept in two days and was tired though. So I didn’t protest when they wanted to prop me up on the couch with a heating pad on my back to see if I could rest. And I did doze a little for a while then. I didn’t know it, but my dad had been hovering around in town and wanted to come see how I was doing, so he came and sat with us for a while. It was really peaceful and quiet. No one was really talking very much, just lounging around our family room; having tea, quilting, and watching me labor with the morning sunlight shining in the windows.

After a while resting like that and having more celery and peanut butter our midwife suggested that I get into the birth tub. I was worried that it might slow my labor down but they thought I was established enough that it wouldn’t. So I sent my dad away since I was going to be partly naked from now on out and I put on my WAY too small swim suit top. Oh the water felt wonderful! The tub had little bubble jets around the bottom and with those on I couldn’t hear anything else and I loved the feeling of the bubbles running up my back. It was really wonderful to be secluded in my own little world. Just Jake and I. I floated in the water and felt him squirming, and I wondered what he would look like.

Every so often the midwife would come check Jakes heart rate, and send me to empty my bladder. Then I went right back to the water. Paul and my mom took turns sitting next to the tub, holding my hands during the pressure waves now because that is what I needed. I will never forget my mom (who has no faith in birth because of her own awful experiences and did not like the idea of having a home birth) – she smiled and said “This is how everyone should have babies!”

Sometime after that I asked Paul to get my chap stick and he ever so slowly made his way across the room, I said “how about today?” I wasn’t really angry or anything but that remark made the midwife decide I must be in transition. I still wasn’t really very uncomfortable so I didn’t believe her, but the contractions were a little stronger and lasting a little longer. I was starting to get whiny during them and moan a little from time to time. It was around 9:30am at this point. The midwife said I could go ahead and push if I wanted to, I was a little worried about pushing if I still had cervix left but she said it wouldn’t hurt anything to try.

(This is the point where looking back I feel like things should have gone differently from here on out. Everything prior to this was exactly how I had always dreamed my labor/delivery would be like. I wish with all of my heart that I had listened to my body and not to someone else… but back to the Birth Story)

So I started half-assed pushing, but I was concerned. I didn’t want to be pushing on a cervix only to have it swell and then be a major road block later. Paul and my mom were holding my hands over the side of the birth tub and giving me drinks of water or Gatorade. I think the midwife could tell my heart really wasn’t in it at this point and asked if I would feel better if she checked me. I said yes, and so for the first time since labor started I had an internal exam. She said there was just a tiny lip of cervix left. So I calmly sat in the water and waited while more pressure waves washed over me. Sometime later she talked me into pushing again, I actually put a small amount of effort into it at this point, but it still was not what my body was telling me to do.

Then I asked her to check me again and see if it was gone. It wasn’t and she offered to hold it back while I pushed past it… .holy crap that was THE MOST pain I felt through the entire process! It was awful and I SCREAMED! But then she said it was completely gone, and there was nothing in Jakes way. So … even though I didn’t have that “pushing urge” that everyone talked about I gave it my all … for the next 4 hours. And NOTHING was happening. I still wasn’t really in pain but I was getting so discouraged at this point that I was weeping while pushing and really whiney in between asking why he wasn’t coming down. We tried position changes: Hands and knees, that felt awful, belly lifting, which was equally awful but I let her do it for a while because I could see how that might be helpful, and facing the back of the toilet with the midwife pushing on my lower back … which just felt strange, because 1, I was on the toilet, and 2 my back didn’t hurt so I wasn’t sure why she kept pushing on it.

I was getting SOOOO tired … is there a word that means more than exhausted? And I still didn’t feel like my body was really telling me to push. But I was starting to feel a slight bit of pressure, maybe if I really use my imagination. I think I just wanted it to be there so bad because that is what everyone kept asking about. Through all of this Jake was still happy and his heart rate was perfect every time she checked it.

They put me back into the birth tub to relax because I was starting to lose it a little at this point, watching the video back I was downright pitiful. They tried to get me to drink a pop hoping that it would give me some energy and gave me another snack. I kept on pushing with zero results. She tried breaking my water, but he was so low that almost nothing came out. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Finally the midwife said, let’s go up to your bed and try some good old fashioned maternity ward pushing. I said ok, it actually sounded great because at this point I didn’t know what else to do. So I’m not sure how, but I walked myself upstairs and lay down on my side because that is what felt natural. Paul was spooning me and my mom was standing in the doorway crying. I was still with it enough to tell her to stop the tears. The midwife was at my feet and her assistant – who had not sad more than 2 words to me the entire day, was standing off to the side staring out the window.

So here is when we did the coached pushing, the midwife said I was making a little progress. We tried tying a sheet to the headboard so I could pull on it, and she just kept telling me he is getting a little closer, I kept telling her to help me and show me how far I still had to push him. I fell DEEP asleep as soon as each contraction was over and woke up just as the next one started, but it felt like I slept for 15 or 20 minutes between each one. I wanted soo badly for someone to get my hypnobabies CDs but I didn’t know how to form the words to ask for it. I knew that the midwife’s face was starting to look a little concerned and I heard her say something about his head being a little asynclitic but I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I *knew* in my heart that he was posterior, but I didn’t want to admit it and the midwife kept saying that he wasn’t.

So I kept on pushing. And it got to the point where she could see him and his thick, dark hair. I felt him with my own hand and I knew how close we were. But then after 6 total hours of pushing I just hit a wall and said that I didn’t have anything left to give and that I was so sorry. Especially to Paul I kept telling him I was so, so sorry. I knew he hadn’t been in love with the idea of a home birth but I talked him into it because it is what I wanted and he also went along with it because our insurance is awful and he knew that a hospital bill like that could take forever to pay off. I felt like such a failure for wanting to go to the hospital. I still knew I didn’t want a c section but I thought just maybe if I went to the hospital and got an epidural, I could get a little rest and keep going. So instead of making the 45 minute drive to the hospital where my midwife had a backup we went to the one 2 minutes down the road. Right about then was when my REAL urge to push kicked in … WTH! And I had to make my way downstairs and to the car in the rain and I was having some seriously powerful, and painful contractions at this point. Paul drove me there by himself and I screamed the whole way.

Once there, the lady at the front desk wouldn’t shut up about me getting into a wheel chair … yeah right, there is a head in my crotch lady. I remember the midwife finally had to yell at her that I was walking and we made our way to L&D where the nurse knew my midwife, which made things go better than they probably would have otherwise.

Before I knew it was I in a bed, stripped of my own clothes and into a gown. They asked who I wanted to do my IV and I said I didn’t care. My midwife did it, and I noticed that her hands were shaking pretty badly. That vein blew so a male nurse did another but didn’t tape it down very well and it came out when I had a contraction, so he did another one further up my arm and taped the hell out of it. The midwife did an internal with my consent because they had to have on record if I was complete or not – I was. The next thing I know my dad has magically appeared and is standing at the foot of my bed next to my mom, Paul is on one side, looking scared as hell, and my midwife is on the other side tears in her eyes helping me focus through the contractions.

Then the doctor walked in, this man was a complete stranger to me, he didn’t tell me his name or speak to me, but threw the sheet off of me and gave me the most barbaric internal exam I could have ever imagined in front of my dad. Yes I’m sure my father wanted a front row seat to that. Then stood up and told the anesthesiologist that had just walked in to do a spinal instead of an epidural because we were doing a c section. I said I didn’t want one couldn’t we at least try a vacuum first and he said no we will just go ahead and do the cesarean. That was the point where I gave up; I laid my head down and cried actual tears for the first time the whole day. They started doing the speech about what was going to happen once they took me into the OR but I was having a contraction so I heard none of it. Then they wheeled me away, without even letting me say goodbye to Paul. I dropped the F Bomb because they wouldn’t let me hold onto the bed rails while they were moving me. At no point did anyone at the hospital check on my baby at all, until he was out of my body.

Once in the OR, they had me move myself onto a freezing cold metal table, but the worst part was that they made me sit in plank position on it while they did the spinal, it was excruciating because Jakes head was sooo low. Thank God the anesthesiologist was quick because before I knew it he was done and they laid me down. I was in a daze at this point, I had no focus I felt like I was high, everything was spinning. I was too out of it to be scared. The drapes went up. I felt the put the catheter in and pinch my tummy, they tied my arms down and I felt the cut, not the pain, but I could feel exactly what they were doing. Then finally Paul was there and I remember feeling awful for him. How is an already scared husband supposed to walk into a room to see his wife already gutted like a fish? He was pale and looked terrified; I had never seen him look like that before. Then what seemed like a blink later I heard suctioning across the room and Jakes first gargley cry. I wanted to see him so badly, they didn’t even say your baby is born, or it’s a boy, or anything, no one spoke to me. Then Paul was gone, to be with the baby. I was alone, no idea where my baby was, no clue what was going on with the lower half of my body.

Then Paul came back, with our son swaddled up and the pediatrician over his shoulder. They said he was fine, and they were going to take him to get cleaned up. I wanted to say “No, I want him to stay here, if he is fine there is no reason to take him”, but I could barely breathe, let alone speak. I did manage to squeak out that I couldn’t see him, and Paul held him a little lower but then they were ushered away. So there I was strapped down and all alone and I hear the doc say something about bleeding, I thought great, I’m going to die and everyone is going to say it is because I tried to have my baby at home. They gave me Pitocin, and something else that starts with an H to stop the bleeding, and it must have worked because the nurse standing in the corner with a bag of blood ended up leaving with it. The doctors started talking about what they had been doing on that Memorial Day before they got called in. The Stranger Doc poked his head around the corner and said I did the incision so low you will still be able to wear a bikini…like I give a shit about that and no I can’t, did you not see my stretch marks while you were down there?!? Then he left without another word. They took me to recovery for a little while and someone FINALLY told me that my son was 9lbs 11oz. I pretty much knew he would be close to 9lbs so that wasn’t a shock to me.

I was wheeled to my room and Paul was there, Jake was in the warmer … my first thought was that I was pissed that no one was holding him. But I never said anything. He had Band-Aids all over his feet and I asked why – they had been constantly checking his sugar because he was so big. I was really pissed, I didn’t have GD and I was checked more than once, some babies are just big and healthy. I felt awful that my little boy had been a pin cushion while I wasn’t there to stop it. The nurse swaddled him and handed him to me, I felt so awkward. I was lying down flat and I was still numb so I couldn’t move. I wanted to sit up but I didn’t know how to ask or to do it because I was still so out of it. The nurse asked if I wanted to nurse him first or let the grandparents come see him real quick, he seemed happy so I said whatever and in they came. Just to take a few quick photos and then left so I could feed Jake. I was a little hurt that my midwife didn’t stay to see if we were ok, but I couldn’t worry about that now.

I asked the nurse if they had an LC there and she looked like she had no idea what I was talking about, then she said well the girl that usually does that will be here tomorrow … WOW really that is great… Thank God he latched on like a pro and it didn’t hurt at all and he ate well. My parents stayed with me while Paul went home to get us clothes and things and all they did the whole time was talk about my crazy hippy midwife and how this was all her fault, and I didn’t want to fight so I just nodded my head and said yeah, yeah, I know, but inside it was tearing my heart apart. Paul came back from getting our things and while he was making his bed on the pullout sofa I told him again how sorry I was that we had to come to the hospital, and he said “I knew all day we would end up here”. I was crushed, but didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing at all. He might as well have ripped my heart out, the one person who was supposed to be my rock and my main support and who was supposed to have unwavering faith in me had none.

The next morning the Stranger Doc came back in to push on my stomach and look at my incision, and before he walked out the door he patted my on the knee like a child and said “See how easy this was, next time call me and we will just do it this way” and he walked out of the room. If I thought I could have gotten out of bed I would have murdered him on the spot. He had no clue how hurtful that was to say to someone who so badly wanted a peaceful, natural birth and did not end up with one. I hated him so much that a week later I was seriously tempted to remove my own staples so I didn’t have to see his face again.

The nurses were really kind to me for the most part, but there were a couple that definitely looked down on me for being the “stupid girl that tried to have her baby at home.” Jake had been born for about 35 hours before they would let me try to get out of bed. It was the most horrendous feeling I could have imagined to stand up and feel like your organs are going to fall out of you. And I immediately started shaking all over; the nurse quickly grabbed a chair and sat me down in it. It was like that for the next 3 days every time I got up, I may have made it a little further but not without shaking horribly all over till my teeth chattered.

My midwife did finally call me 3 days after Jake was born, to ask when she could come pick up her tub and other supplies that had been left. I told her to meet Paul at the house and she could get them, we agreed on a time and Paul left me to go meet her. I didn’t know it until we were home a week, but Paul told me that she was late meeting him and he was getting more and more mad by the minute so he put all of her things on the porch and came back to the hospital. When I found out about that I started crying, I felt bad that everyone was so mad at her because I felt like the failure for not being able to birth my baby. It wasn’t until over a year later that I realized some of the things she did weren’t really the best choices and that her skill set wasn’t as high as it needed to be. The next 2 mothers she assisted also transferred to the hospital and had c sections.

We went home and I still could barely move, it was almost 2 weeks before I could stand up straight and I ran a fever for 3 weeks. Stranger Doc said it was because I was breastfeeding – which is a load of crap. I couldn’t do much of anything with Jake because I was in so much pain, my mom moved in and she changed him, dressed him, bathed him, and rocked him. Basically all I could do was breastfeed him when he wanted it. I had not bonded to him at all because I was just in so much pain and was so depressed. I thought he was cute and I liked to sit and look at him, but I didn’t feel like he was mine, or that I was a mother. I never even counted his fingers and toes, which is the first thing that new moms are supposed to do! I felt like even though I went through all of that that I didn’t actually give birth, he was cut out of me so nothing seemed real. I was emotionally numb but so sad at the same time. I didn’t have any real feelings of love for my son until he was 4 weeks and 2 days old. I missed his entire first month of life because I was in a depressed fog. I hardly remember anything from that time. But what I do remember is waking up every night crying with nightmares about the surgery. For the next 9 months I would have these nightmares nearly every night. I couldn’t be intimate with my husband, and our marriage came very close to falling apart all together. I felt like Paul didn’t understand why I was so upset, and had no clue how much I felt like a failure and that every second of the day I was questioning all of my choices from the day Jake was born.

I hate that my husband didn’t have faith in me. I hate that the midwife’s assistant was a doula and NEVER said one encouraging thing to me. I hate that was weak enough to let someone talk me into ignoring what my body was telling me, but even worse than that I hate that Jake was born into a cold, bright room, into the hands of strangers who were didn’t care about him. I hate that I never got to see him covered in birth fluids, I hate that I never got to see the placenta that kept him nourished all of those months inside my belly, I hate that I wasn’t strong enough to push a baby out of my vagina. I hate that everyone knew I was planning a home birth and they still look at me with that “I told you that was crazy” look. I hate that I am terrified to get pregnant again because I don’t want to fail again. I never lacked faith in my body or feared birth until I went through it. I hate that I couldn’t do the ONE thing that my body was made to do. I hate that I feel like I have been a crappy mom to Jake because I feel so sad about his birth.

mother and son

Jake and Mommy on his 2nd Birthday.

family making it through PTSD from birth

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie April 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

So sorry you went through this…….:( Reading your story, I could feel how what seemed to start as a dream turned into a nightmare.
The blessing though, is your handsome little man. Your child loves you and frankly doesn’t care how he was born. He just cares that he was born to YOU. You are a good wife and a good mother. Never forget that.
*hugs*

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Diana April 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I couldn’t have said it better.

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Amanda April 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through, it sounds like you are describing an assault. Your birth experience is sacred and it was taken away from you by the very people we are all told to trust without reservation. You were right to listen to your body. There are excellent doctors and midwives and birth workers out there, and I hope you are respected when you birth your subsequent babies. Courageous of you to be able to write about your experience so other women can be aware. All the best x

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Nikki April 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

This is the first story on here that sent chills through me. We had such similiar experiences that it was eerily like reading my own story. I am a childbirth educator and doula and had an almost identical experience trying to have my son. It has been almost 4 years, but I still struggle to even look at pictures of his birth. The one thing that that resonated with me is your feelings about your support team, the assistant, and the midwife. I am wondering if we had the same midwife/assistant, because that is EXACTLY how they acted. I am sucha huge supporter of home births and midwives, but I feel like I was really let down by mine. I don’t talk about hating my midwife, but deep inside I am so angry at her. I believe that if one little thing would have been different (like when she told you to push when there was still cervix), then both of us would have had our beautiful baby boys at home. We are not failures, but rather we get the opportunity now to remind all the birthing women after us to TRUST THEIR BODIES. For they are miraculous. :-) Don’t be afraid to have another baby. I KNOW you get the healing birth you so well deserve!

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Belinda April 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

What an ordeal you have been through. You are such a strong woman! Look at all you accomplished, even without supportive competent professionals. Your job was to grow your little boy in your womb, and give him life. You did that! And now, your painful story will be an inspiration and learning experience for other mamas. You took something horrible and turned it into something good for others. Pat yourself on the back, and know that you are not alone. :-)

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Zahra April 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

So sorry you went through this. While my experience wasn’t as bad as yours, there isn’t a week, 18 months out, that I don’t think about how my birth center experience turned into a c-section. I blame myself for letting the childbirth happen to me instead of being a participant. I blame myself for listening to my midwife when she said “Yeah, he’s Posterior, but babies usually turn during labor.” without telling me that Posterior labors often turn into transfers to the hospital. Going to the hospital wasn’t my plan B, it was my Plan Z. And c-section? It was the plan Z-cubed. I love my boy, but I hate the way he was born. I fear that my next pregnancy will turn the same because I can’t let go of my anger and blame. I know I need help, but I don’t know who to turn to. There’s no ICAN chapter near me (I’m in Quebec) and I’m afraid a standard therapist won’t know how to treat something between PPD and PTSD properly and make it worse instead of better.

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Emma Rose April 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My heart aches for you, and I am so truly sorry that your birth story turned out so differently, and so much more painful than you wanted it to.

You say that you weren’t strong enough to push a baby out of your vagina, but I want you to know that this entire story resonates with your strength. I cannot imagine the pain and disappointment this experience has brought you, but you ARE strong. You show your strength in this story by admitting how you were wronged, standing up and facing your fears and regrets, and by not making excuses for yourself or for your care and support team. Your honesty in this story is amazing and it shows your strength. You are an AMAZING woman and mama for breastfeeding your son—giving him the best nourishment possible—despite your exhaustion, PTSD, and more. You are an amazing mama for accepting help so he gets all the care and attention he deserves, even as you are struggling. And I think you show in this story that you absolutely CAN do it. You were so in-tune with your body—you listened to it. Unfortunately you had care providers who, instead of listening to you and helping you to interpret your body’s signs, gave you advice that conflicted with what your body was saying. You had a midwife who told you to push before you felt ready to. You had a doctor who insisted upon a c-section when your body was saying it simply needed a break. You are not a failure, and neither is your body.

With the right team around you—a midwife or doctor who believes in you and your body, and respects your wishes, perhaps a Doula who can help you and the rest of your support team unite and stay positive and encouraged—and with the knowledge and experience you have gained from your eldest son’s birth, I have the utmost faith that you can and will have the peaceful, positive birth experience you want next time around.

Your son is so beautiful, and so are you. And YOU ARE STRONG.
<3

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Meredith April 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I felt like a complete failure after my first delivery as well and my second delivery was the complete opposite. I had learned so much about my body and myself and I was determined to do what was right for me and I did. With Noah’s birth, my husband was a source of frustration and hurt and with my second son’s birth, he was a better doula than any I could’ve hired. I also took a while to bond to my first child. But none of that changes how much I love him now and how much I learned from my first birth, even though it did not go the way I had planned. My husband and I are now closer than ever and have 4 wonderful kids. I am wishing you the best. Have grace with yourself and others~ you sound like a thoughtful, loving mother to me :)

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Alyssa April 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I walked away from reading your story and it stuck with me. I felt that I had to come back and comment on it. You ARE NOT a failure. The health system is a failure, your midwife failed, your support system failed, you my friend did not fail.

You ARE a success. You are a success because you grew a living being inside of your body. Your body nourished and grew an amazing little boy; you gave your son life. You are a success because you addressed your PPD and sought therapy. You are a success because you want something better for you and your family. You are a success because you have learned from this experience.
Please do not blame yourself or consider yourself a failure. You are amazing, you are strong. You will heal and you will overcome.

I may not know you but I am sending you much love and healing thoughts.

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Christina April 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a traumatic and unsupported delivery. I was a maternity nurse and it breaks my heart that people treated you in such a way. Despite my medical knowledge I believe with the right properly trained people that home births are possible. I also believe that sometimes complications beyond our control happen and c-sections are necessary. This DOES NOT make you a failure! You are a strong woman, you followed your instincts throughout your labour. You pushed for an extended period of time, without medications! You moved and transferred to a hospital with a baby low in your birth canal. You are strong and you are beautiful! Don’t forget all that you did accomplish. When you decide to have another baby, you will have knowledge you didn’t before. This will make you stronger and wiser. Hopefully, you can find a good mid-wife and have the support to have the beautiful experience you desire. But always remember, you never ever failed.

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Crystal April 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I’m sorry too that you had to experience this. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way. But as your post title says, It’s time. Time for forgive, others and yourself. Time to accept healing. It’s time. Be blessed on your journey of healing :)

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Anna Ross April 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

All I can say is that I SO understand you… Seeing you and your little one is like seeing myself and my little one, something in the expression, maybe… All I can say is that somebody who hasn’t been through this can not understand your feelings. Make peace with the past even if it’s painful and forgive yourself,,, that’s what I’d say to myself… Although I’m not sure what’s the best way to overcome birth trauma.

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Stacy Finney April 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I understand. I too, planned a homebirth with my first child, also a boy. Our stories are eerily similar. After my son was born, I became a doula through DONA. Also, I’ve had another child. . .she’s 3 months old and such a joy. I planned an HBAC and had a GREAT support system. We had a lovely CNM, a doula, and a doctor back-up who was supportive of our decision for a homebirth. Labor went beautifully and at 8cm, something changed. I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was wrong. Anyhow, I did have another Cesarean. But, when my doctor got in there, she saw what was wrong. I had quite a bit of damage from my first Cesarean. My bladder was in the wrong place, I had a hernia with intestines starting to poke through, and my layers were not suturing together, they were just laid in there to heal however they healed. But, I had a very detailed plan in the event of transfer and nothing was done to my baby without my consent or knowledge. I was empowered and educated going into my 2nd birth and sometime during pregnancy, I felt peace about accepting that I may have a repeat Cesarean. That was a reality. Would I like to push a baby out of my vagina as I have seen while supporting so many other women to do? Hell, yes! Will it be a possibility for me, probably not. But, I pray that my daughter will be able to have babies normally and naturally!

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Maya April 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Your story rings in my heart because I also went through a HB that ended up as a hospital transfer with a C-section…and now my baby girl is 7 months old and a lot of aspects of her birth still hurt. My first month was also a blur, I cried a lot, felt like I was falling (literally) every time I tried to sleep. I felt angry at my midwives who (after several months I realized this) had failed me and sold me a promise of a humanized birth but were lacking in several “humanized” factors in their way of dealing with things. INcluding PP, they NEVER visited me or called or anything, and I felt for the longest time it was my punishment for having asked to go to the hospital. It seems like we went through something very similar – I also didn’t feel like pushing after I was 10 cm…people started suggesting I do it and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, and after HOURS of this forced pushing (and yes, even maternity style coached pushing which was painful as hell, including pusing down on my belly) I gave up and said I needed to go to the hospital because I was, as you said, beyond beyond exhausted.
I sought help afterwards, went to a PP support group and was able to talk about my birth story with people who cared and were non-judgmental, it really helped…My mother also never believed in HB and my husband thinks I was too “weak” or “influenced” by my mother, so I had no option but to seek other people to talk to, which worked out wonderfully.
I hope you can forgive yourself, like I try to do as well – and realize that everybody is responsible for what happened! And your body is perfect – it responded to what was going on around you, the tnesion, the insecurity, adrenaline… All the best…

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May April 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I’m so sorry for what you went through. I went through something similar; wanting and preparing for a natural birth. Being force to have a medical birth. A doula who was not supportive, but actually said hurtful things to me several times. I too was very traumatized and later diagnosed w PTSD. Something that helps me, now that I am pregnant w baby no 2 is trying to “learn” from the experience. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is the only thing along w yoga that keeps me going. And what I leared is I need to trust myself and ONLY surround myself w people who fully believe in my ability to give birth. I need to trust my instincts. I never liked that doula, why on earth did I hire her? Because my spouse thought she was nice? Etc etc etc.
There are no second chances w giving birth. This time I will follow my instincts ONLY. Any and every person that does not feel exactly right will have to go. I will birth completley on my own if necessary.

I wanted to share that w you because when I read your story I read a story of a woman who was intuitively in touch with her body but did not have the proper support around her.

You did nothing wrong. YOU did not fail. The failure is with those who did not trust your body, your instincts or you gave you what you needed. You ARE strong.
It is horrible to experience abuse when you give birth. I refer to my birth as a rape, because that is exactly how it felt.
I am so sorry for all that happened to you. But know that it was not your body, nor you who failed. You did all you did INSPITE of not getting the support you needed nor having the midwife listen to what your body was telling you and what you so clearly communicated when hesitant to push etc.

I also think it is amazing that you were able to breastfeed after that ordeal! Good going! You are strong, you are capable, there is nothing wrong with your body or your bodys ability to birth. What is wrong is this societies view of birth and the myths and terror that surrounds it.

I hope you find a way through the trauma and can come out a different, but even stronger woman on the other side. You are amazing, you are a hero! I look forward to reading your blogpost on you second birth; a VBAC at home, in peace, surrounded by supportive and intuned people ONLY!

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Molly April 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Your story shows that the way a woman is treated matters so much. A section sometimes is necessary, sometimes not, but a non-emergent situation should not provoke ptsd! I’m sorry you didn’t have better support, and I’m sorry for your loss of experiences. The failure doesn’t lee in your body, but in our cultures thoughts about birth, and the way we treat mothers and babies. you deserved a cocoon of love, especially after a disappointing birth. it’s so important for women like you to share their stories, I think it’s the only way things will change, if women demand better. demand it next time, you deserve it. what a strong mama you are. your son is lucky to have a powerful, courageous woman to raise him. many hopes for continued healing.

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Natalie April 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm

I am so sorry you had such a traumatic experience instead of the peaceful birth and easy transition into parenthood you had envisioned. The last paragraph where you list all the things you hate is so sad and probably where many comment that you shouldn’t hate this and that and mainly yourself. If that is how you feel then that is how you feel and nobody’s words can change that. What you can do, however, is use this list to your advantage and start to work on forgiving. Forgiving yourself for not standing up to the midwife, for not being the mother you wanted to be etc. During birth a woman is so vulnerable and any hurt goes so deep that it takes a long time and a lot of work to heal; I send you my best wishes for healing and that one day soon you will see that you did all and the best you could at the time.

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Teresa April 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I believe you can do it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a natural (home if possible) birth.
Get rid of the hate, forgive and just love. That will give you peace. Love yourself, love your son and love your partner. And fight for the best birthing team, they’re your support (this includes your husband, he needs to believe as well). I pray that you find peace and have a beautiful, wonderful VBAC.

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Mellissa April 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

You are a courageous woman who went through a very traumatic birth and is brave enough to face the feelings and recount the story for others. You are not a failure! You endured hours of labour, which exhausting and demoralising, and you were treated with disrespect when you were at your most vulnerable and delicate. I wish that all medical professionals could read your story and know what is going through the mind of a labouring woman, and learn what not to do and say.

I hope that you can see that none of it was your fault at all, that you made your absolute BEST effort to have the birth you wanted for Jake and that much of the blame for your traumatic birth lies in our culture of not revering women or upholding their natural and right desires for a calm, loving, supported birth. I am sorry that you feel guilty as a mother because of your negative feelings around the birth. I hope you have given yourself a chance to mourn the loss of the birth you thought you would have and that you forgive yourself.

Wishing you years of easy and happy parenting to make up for the awful start! Your son can delight you in so many ways now that he is out. And if you do have another baby, may you have the best, most empathetic support available.

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chelsea April 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I went through closely the same thing. Id love to talk to you. My son is 3 weeks old and my family is constantly saying i shouldn’t feel the way i do but i can’t help it. I feel so bad for you. I’m so sorry.

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Rachel B. April 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm

You have ever right to feel however you feel! No one should ever tell you to feel a certain way. If someone tells me that “at least you have a health baby” I respond with “maybe if a mothers mental health was valued I wouldn’t be in this mess!”

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Rachel B. April 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I had a very similar home to cesarean transfer. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry that the medical team failed you. Hugs*

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Kimberly April 26, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Your story made me literally cry. I had a bad delivery with my daughter. I had an emergency C-sectinon with my son so they told me oh you have to have one with her but nothing went as planned.. I ended up having her Christmas because I was hard headed and not on bedrest. I ended up delivering at a hosptial hours from my home with docs who knew nothing about me and only cared about well I get off in 30 mins.. It was horrific. Not saying I dont appreciate what they done but I felt like everything was taken away from me and my choices. They didnt listen to me and listen to the baby before they just wheeled me in and took her. Didnt call my doctor and then he didnt call me for days, I ended up calling him. I had PSTD and suffered for about 4 months from it. I almost lost everything and barely remember having her. All i know is I didnt see her for 48hrs because I was on mag for bp and she didnt get to breastfeed for 2 weeks later (she was 34 weeks). So after delivery I had a machine sucking the life out of me and I felt like a failure. Your story really touched me as I am wanting a home birth now with my third and everyone thinks Im nuts and Im a failure because I couldnt have my son naturally. I am so sorry you experienced this. Your a great mommy and you tried and gave it your all and it took me months to realize that. WE have beautiful, healthy babies and no matter how they are birthed, we still brought a life into the world. HOping your next can be a vbac, dont let anyone discourge like I did!!!

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Jolanie Lubbe April 27, 2013 at 4:14 am

This story made me cry. I am so sorry that you had this terrible experience. I am shocked at the absolute malpractice of your midwife!!!!!! – her licence should be taken away to avoid this from happening again. Sadly, it’s midwives like these that give home birthing a bad name and make us woman that choose to birth at home look like idiots (that’s what I`ve also been told during my last pregnancy for wanting to birth at home).

You mention in your blog that you hate that you were not STRONG enough. That is not true, you ARE strong!!!! You chose to go ahead with the homebirth regardless of your husband and mother not fully supporting you. That takes guts!!! People don’t realise that the support during birth is the most important thing. The fact that your midwife also didn’t respect and listen to YOU and only YOU and what your body is experiencing inside is absolutely insane! I pray that you will have the awesome homebirth experience with your next child with all the support and encouragement that you need. Thank you for sharing this story! You are truly brave.

And remember there is wonderful midwives out there! Find one that you can connect with on a “friend” level. I was fortunate to have had a wonderful midwife that allowed me to listen to my body. She never told me what to do once. I was in control the whole time and she didn’t even tell me to push. That was completely up to me. We still have contact even 1 year later. I hope you can find a MW like that for your next birth!

All the best to you!

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Ann May 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for sharing this story. I had a similar birth with my son nearly two years ago. The loss of a homebirth dream can be so profound. You are truly a warrior.

I wanted to share that there is a project out there specifically for supporting mamas who planned an out of hospital birth that ended in the operating room. It’s been really valuable to me in my healing journey. http://homebirthcesarean.com.

So much love you to. You are a fierce mama and you went through so much for your baby. Love to you.

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Courtney May 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I can relate to your story in a lot of ways. I hoped for a birth center birth, and after 40 hours of labor I had to transport to the hospital. The OB was equally a jerk as yours was, and I even got the pat on the knee too (wtf is up with that?). My healing process is continuing, and sometimes I still feel just so so sad about how things went.

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Libby Kline June 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I am also a homebirth cesarean mom. I wanted to share an incredible organization with you https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Homebirth-Cesarean-Project/140165822819792?fref=ts These women are also homebirth cesarean mothers and are writing a book about our experiences. They also have a support group on Facebook that has been invaluable to me and many others. https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/269845423099636/

If any other mothers reading this story have had similar expereinces please feel that you can reach out. There are others who have been through this, you are not alone.

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Elisabeth July 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Wow, the home birth story sounds so much like mine! I think your midwife was worse than mine, really, but she did similar things, like urging me to try pushing when I didn’t feel like pushing. My baby turned out to be a surprise breech while pushing and I got scared because up until that point I had been concerned about breech, even during my pregnancy, and I felt my midwives and my husband thought I was wrong to put that “negative energy” into my birth. I found out later that they actually just thought I was having a freak out just before my baby came. So of course when she was actually breech I lost faith completely in my midwives, one who is also touted as a “built in doula” since she used to be a doula and yet the only things she said to me in labor was “your fear is getting in the way” and “this is a test of motherhood” AFTER finding out about the breech. Anyway, so I was scared and finally decided I was going to the hospital. This is where my story is different, and where yours would have been if the attitudes of the people around you had just been different. The OB was awesome. He told me he was sorry, he knew this didn’t turn out how I wanted it, that he suggests surgery since I had been pushing for so long with little progress but that I also had the right to refuse care. Hello! Loved him for that. The anesthesiologist was the same. My midwives waited for me after the surgery. The OB showed me my baby all bloody and fresh from birth. She was not washed. My photographer was allowed in as well as my husband which was awesome, and the nurses were all pretty awesome after and if they thought I was stupid I didn’t notice. The midwives then went to my house and cleaned up long before my husband went back to get any of out things; you wouldn’t even know we’d spent over 24 hours trying to have a baby there. Anyway, I am a HBAC due now in August and I just read your HBAC story, it is inspiring to me, than you for sharing. Congratulations and I am so happy you had such a wonderful experience the second time!

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Allie July 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I am so glad that you ended up with a wonderful OB for your transfer! That would have made a world of difference in my situation. I hope you have a rocking HBAC in the fall mama, follow your instincts and let your body do the work for you <3

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Sunshine July 29, 2013 at 4:31 am

My heart goes out to you. I feel like I was bullied by the hospital and my partner to have a c-section with my first! All I really wanted was to at least go into labour but I ended up giving in to an elective c-section as my baby was breech and I had GD. I felt like nobody even cared about me, just as long as the baby was healthy that was all that seemed to matter to them. Do they really think I would deliberately want to hurt my own child??? Now I too am scared to have a second as I want a natural as possible home birth but it is very hard to find strong support and it feels like everyone just thinks your a stupid woman for wanting something so ‘unsafe’.

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