|LOOKIT THAT HEAD!!|
Recently I posted about my having to face up to the fact I will be giving birth again so soon after my first. Which was really, terribly traumatic. I asked if there were others who had been in the same situation who went on to have if not a lovely birth, than at least an easier one! I was overwhelmed and inundated with such an array of stories and techniques, I wanted to share them here with you all. Because for everyone who sent or submitted a tip, there was someone else saying: "Help. I'm in the same boat and I'm terrified!"
Thank you times a million to everyone who took the time to offer advice, help, positive stories and good wishes. They are all SO appreciated.
I also worry I must have been terribly frustrating, because a lot of the advice was stuff I'd already done the first time... and was awesome until it wasn't! I had wonderful care in a private hospital, fantastic, warm, midwives who valued my wishes and input, I had trust in my body and the process of birth, I'd been doing yoga for years, I wasn't scared, I learned acupressure and calm visualisation techniques, had acupuncture, planned an active labour and nice waterbirth and went into the whole sideshow like a warrior woman - I could DO this! I was ready, willing, and positive I could make it the best experience I could.
As flexible as I was with what was to come, I just could not know how it would all spiral out of control and I definitely couldn't know how brutal a vaccuum delivery could be. Nor how common. Nor that if you've had one, you're at a higher risk of post-natal depression (which I didn't get, thankfully, but so many do), and that it is the trigger for SO much trauma. Including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For all the hours of reading and research prior to labour, I either didn't absorb this information, or it just wasn't in the things I read.
However, it is time to work through the residual issues and focus on the task at hand - bringing a new bundle into the world with a renewed sense of positivity and strength, and a minimum of freaking out that it has to come through somewhere that ain't done healing yet. Yeouch.
I'm happy to report that just about everyone who offered advice said that their second birth was a world away from their first. Faster, somewhat easier, and needing far less intervention. And some even enjoyed it! Here are the tips that they shared:
♥ Birth Skills by Juju Sundin and Sarah Murdoch. (Working Women Australia)
♥ A Modern Womans Guide to a Natural and Empowering Birth (Fun_Sophie)
♥ Guide to Childbirth by Ina May (Madeline at The Things We Do), (Staying Sarah)
♥ Birth Journeys (Madeline at The Things We Do)
♥ Find a sympathetic ear & talk, talk TALK. Hire a doula/mw if you think it will help (Shae from Freerange in Suburbia)
♥ Don't stress about the unknown. Take your time to make the right choice for you. (Danielle at Hello Owl)
♥ What helped me was being as well informed as I could be (and not just about how I wanted the birth to go, but about hospital procedures, my OBs preferences and what I might do if things went wrong), realizing I could say no or negotiate, and making peace and accepting that I would make the best decisions I could at the time (Kate at Picklebums).
♥ Seek out a therapist who specifically deals with birth trauma. There are several techniques which can be helpful depending on how you're coping and what the issues are. My therapist uses a technique called 'tapping' and also EMDR, both of which have been proven to be very beneficial to people who have suffered trauma and PTSD as a result. You should be able to find someone local to you here.Your GP can refer you so that it's covered by Medicare as part of your mental health plan which covers you for 10 visits I think (Nicola Judd).
♥ Calm Birth techniques (Anna at Green Tea n Toast) (Rhi at Hummingbird's Song)
♥ If you're going to have an epidural, have one straight away! Plus a shower with shower gel that smells so pretty it takes your mind off the pain (Absolute Amy)
♥ The best advice my OB told me was to trust my body. And he also said that well informed women rarely make bad decisions. So ask a gazillion questions (Maria at Mum's Word)
♥ I think the big difference was the trust I had in myself and my body. Depending what hospital you are going to, you could see if they have a mental health maternity nurse. The RBWH has a marvellous one who really helped me with my anxiety. It's worth a look into and discussing your concerns with them.
I highly recommend a water birth as it helps soften all your bits and it hurt a lot less for me. Talk to as many midwifes as you can but if you can form a relationship with one or a handful of midwifes you know will be at the birth that could hopefully help too. With my first I had never met any of the midwifes who were at the birth so didn't know whether to trust them or not whereas with my second I had three midwifes the whole time who were all present at some point of the birth. It definitely helped me as I trusted them which lessened my anxiety.
Another thing we did was attend birth classes. We hadn't attended them with my first, we literally had no idea about birth or babies, went into everything blind with lufflump. We learned so much about birth, but most importantly about the processes the hospital takes during every situation. This was important to us as I gave birth at different hospitals and we wanted as much education as possible about everything. (Ames at Accidental Wonderland) - she said her second birth was "amazing"!
♥ You need to be able to trust your obstetrician and discuss your feelings with him/her so you go into it confident with your decisions. It also helps to be in tune with your body esp the pelvic floor and understand what you want / need your body to do and help it do its job. But at the end of the day , it all comes down to size of the baby relevant to your pelvic outlet and the position your baby is in as to how the delivery will go which comes back to an open and trusting relationship with your doctor You need to be able to trust your obstetrician and discuss your feelings with him/her so you go into it confident with your decisions. It also helps to be in tune with your body esp the pelvic floor and understand what you want / need your body to do and help it do its job. But at the end of the day , it all comes down to size of the baby relevant to your pelvic outlet and the position your baby is in as to how the delivery will go which comes back to an open and trusting relationship with your doctor (Fiona at Pelvic Floor Exercise).
♥ Lots more education about how I needed to be "in my head", and a properly supportive midwifery team (Veronica at Sleepless Nights)
♥ I think it helps if you approach each birth as an entirely unique experience, with a healthy sense of optimism :) (Jade at Jade Musing)
♥ Knowing your caregivers helps a lot! And hypnobirthing. (Kate at Kate Says Stuff)
♥ Just think positive. Ask the birthing angels for help (I know that sounds wanky ...) But it works! (Bronnie from Maid in Australia)
♥ Perineal massage! (Sara from 'Tis the Life and Shae from Freerange in Suburbia)
♥ Prenatal yoga … best thing i did. 3 day labour/emergency c-section with first, vbac with 2nd, tho still tough. breathing helped (Tracey)
♥ My only advice is, don't have two at once!!!!!!!!! (Sharnee at Suck My Lolly)
♥ The mantras I created from reading Birth Skills (Amy from The Misadventurous Maker)
♥ Second time always easier! Just have to trust your wonderful body! (Elisa from With Grace and Eve)
♥ Birth Without Fear
♥ Face of Birth movie
♥ Lotus Calmbirth
♥ Here we go again - I'm freaking out about my second childbirth
♥ Making peace with birth (Jodi at Che and Fidel)
♥ The Truth About Traumatic Birth
♥ VBAC - Alyce at Blossom Heart Blog
♥ Madeline at The Things We Do
♥ Natalie at Mummy Smiles
♥ Anna at Green Tea n Toast
♥ Sarah at Staying Sarah
♥ Various beautiful birth stories at Gregarious Peach
♥ Emmy at The Truth About Traumatic Birth
♥ Women's stories at Birthtalk
And there's always an elective caesarean to consider.
Phew! A lot to take in, huh? At least it was for me, the online community is so generous and supportive, the advice was coming in thick and fast. And in the very wise words of Claire, beware too many birth stories! Take and absorb what feels right for you. Oh and if you sent me advice and I've not listed it here, please let me know.
And if you have anything to add, please leave a comment or email me at mamavegetable @ gmail.com and I will include it in the list.
I hope it will end up being a post of great help to me and others in my position. Thank you all so much for sharing xx