WRITTEN BY ALICE ISHERWOOD (GUEST WRITER)
Alice is sharing her traumatic birth story today. I experienced a traumatic birth with my first baby so her story really resonated with me and it is so important to share these experiences.
MY TRAUMATIC BIRTH STORY
“Now why would you want to do a homebirth?!”
I had to think about this question for a while. And when the answer struck me I decided to be honest about it, even though it wasn’t pretty.
I wanted to birth my fourth baby at home because I vividly remember giving birth in a hospital.
… I remember the feeling of betrayal, when I asked the doctors for an epidural after several hours of immense pain feeling stuck during labour. They told me it was way too late for that and that I was almost there and then decided (2 hours later) an epidural was necessary because the baby wasn’t moving.
I remember that annoyed facial expression of the anaesthetic doctor (he literally rolled his eyes) because I couldn’t sit still due to the strong contractions while he was trying to stick a huge needle into my spine. I remember the sensation, when two doctors threw their whole body weight onto my abdomen to get the baby moving down.
And I remember the tears in the assistant doctors eyes as they rushed my unconscious blue skinned daughter out of the room. Because she, like myself, thought that my first born might not make it.
Afterwards – I also remember – one of the doctors couldn’t hold back from informing me, that I was quite obviously not built for this.
-so after going through all of this (twice) apparently all of it was my fault, right?
But you know what was the worst thing after my first two births? It wasn’t the fear or the pain or the injuries. It was that feeling of failure. I felt like I had failed myself and my baby.
The third time round it just had to be different. I decided to give birth in a different hospital, me and my husband commenced regular conversation about labour, participated in a Hypnobirthing course (which was life changing) and worked on establishing a stable positive mindset. We worked through a lot of trauma and fear and on being a team, one unit that was in this together. We breathed a lot, laughed and cried and when the day came I gave birth to our third little miracle we encountered a phenomenal experience.
Philomena was born in less than 2 hours with no intervention, pain or injuries and we only spent the last 5 minutes of labour in hospital (literally, we just made it…). She was healthy and energetic. And so was I. It was like a dream.
It took me three goes to work out, that giving birth (for me) wasn’t about being in a medical environment, having people tell me what to do and luck or coincidence. For me it was about self determination, trusting my body and space for intimacy – and I believe all of these conditions will be met best in the comforts of my own home.
But these might not be the key factors for you; Every woman has her individual needs concerning birth and I’m sure if the emphasis was set on understanding and meeting those needs instead of interventions and control, birth would be less about fear, trauma and pain.
It would quite possibly be the most amazing experience for all of us.