Is it OK to feel Cheated?

Is it OK to feel Cheated?

My little boy is 21 weeks old. He is in awe of his world and is developing fast each day. I have thought long and hard about writing this post, but during a brief twitter conversation with the lovely @tryingtobeamum I realised that it was good to be honest about how I feel.

When I was pregnant I became twitter friends with lots of mums who were due around the same time as me. I had planned a HomeBirth and met with one local mum who had had a home birth earlier last year and was really supportive in terms of the advice she gave me.

The pool was booked and we were due to collect it at the weekend, when I was 37 weeks. However on a routine ante-natal appointment at 36+2, the dreaded protein was found. That put my ideas of homebirth to bed and from then on in everything else about my son’s arrival feels like I was cheated.

Last night there was a programme on ITV about homebirths, and even seeing the tweets about it upset me. The birth experience for me is still raw. I feel like I was cheated and failed. I struggle to watch One Born now. I end up in tears each time.

It’s really hard to describe this. I knew that setting my sights on a homebirth was dangerous and that I had to be realistic that things could go wrong. But I had a healthy pregnancy and there was no reason to suggest that my plans would go awry.

I had wanted a homebirth as I wanted to have as little intervention as possible. I believe that we as a society have medicalised birth too much, and my concern about being in a hospital was that you inevitably end up on a doctors timeline, things must happen by a given point.

Being confined to a hospital for 10 days was my idea of hell. I felt like I had failed. My body had broken when I needed it not to. I think it is only through my sheer persistence that I was ‘given every opportunity to go naturally’. My poor husband was running from to the hospital then to work, then back to the hospital, all the while putting the finishing touches to the mammoth work we had had done in our house (complete renovation of the upstairs bedrooms) whilst also keeping family informed about what was happening and doing his best to not worry about us. I maintain that he had the rawer end of the deal.

I ended up having a Doctor deliver Daniel and lots of things went wrong. Looking back I believe the Doctor ignored my wishes in some respects and went with his own judgement, but I can’t ever prove that. Decisions were made for me, I felt like I lost my autonomy as a person and became just another labouring mother. The only thing that could have made it worse for me was if I’d ended up having a section – It was the thing I was most frightened of throughout the pregnancy.

I feel guilty for feeling cheated and for being upset when I talk (or rather ignore) the circumstances of Daniel’s birth. Too many people I know have felt real tragedies in the past year. I took my son home. My son is downstairs enjoying his morning snooze. But despite recognising all this, I still feel enormously cheated.

Am I wrong?

I see my twitter mum friends writing and recording their children’s birth stories. For me that is just a little bit more than I am able to do. Maybe one day I will make my peace with it.

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2 Comments

  1. Helen
    25th March 2013 / 15:52

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your article. I too feel cheated. I would have liked a home birth but my husband was too scared for us, so we compromised and opted for a birthing centre instead. I was so looking forward to it. The midwives were fantastic, facilities amazing, the focus entirely on the woman’s ability to birth her baby naturally, the way nature intended. Unfortunately, at 40+1 I had a second episode of reduced movements. The hospital wanted to induce me and, terrified for my baby, I agreed. They kept me in overnight (why I don’t know) and started me off the next day, and things progressed very slowly until they put me on a hormone drip at 40+4. By this point I was so knackered as I hadn’t slept in 3 whole nights. I begged for an epidural, which is been so against. I ended up stuck on my back all day as I was totally immobile. By 7pm I was ready to push. My epidural wore off. My baby turned back to back. The anaesthetist was busy in another theatre. I was left begging them to put me down for 2.5 hours, baby stuck (although in old health), and me desperate for someone to just knock me out. I was in so much pain that I actually wanted to die. I stopped caring what happened to my baby. I’m actually crying as I write this as I feel so ashamed. Finally the anaesthetist was free, administered another dose, I was whisked to theatre and had my baby plucked from me by forceps. I suffered a 3rd degree tear. My baby was born healthy and screaming, us was taken by the midwife and rubbed down and wrapped up before being handed to my husband. I only got to give her a quick kiss before the midwife announced she was taking her into the ‘recovery room’. My husband had to run after her. I was left being stitched up and wondering why on earth my baby needed to go. It transpires there was no reason for baby to go. I have written to complain to the hospital about the lack of skin to skin until well after the delivery, and about the way the midwife treated me and my husband. She was rude and condescending and did nothing to soothe me in my time of greatest distress and vulnerability. I’ve written to the hospital twice since 26.02.13 and haven’t yet had an acknowledgement. I feel so bitter. I’m so grateful that my baby is here with me and, because of that I wouldn’t have declined the induction given the same circumstances again. But I feel so cheated out of my delivery. I feel cheated that I didn’t get to push my baby out, that she was pulled out by a doctor. I feel angry that when I was unable to get up all night due to numbness I couldn’t pick her up when she cried and I had to wait 20 minutes for someone to answer my call button. Angry that they then couldn’t understand why I was crying too. Angry that I wasn’t offered gas and air when I was without epidural for those hours when baby was stuck. But most of all I feel guilty. That I took the epidural which left me flat on my back and I believe led to baby going back to back. Guilty that I lost sight of the baby inside me and was instead consumed by my own terror. That I barely registered her first cry and didn’t even see her being whisked away by the midwife. I didn’t get to see her all purple and screaming. I had to ask my husband what she looked like. And as for one born every minute – it used to be my favourite programme and now I actually can’t contemplate watching it. It’s all too painful.

  2. 1st April 2013 / 20:06

    Hi Helen,
    thank you for sharing your experience, it sounds like you had a really raw deal, I’m so sorry to hear that.

    I hope in time that you feel better about things, its so hard though. Perhaps writing and talking about it might help? Please do feel free to email me (sarahdoyle@mail.com) if you want to e-chat about things
    xx

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