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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

After an emergency c-section, is it normal to feel disappointed?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11662points) September 19th, 2011 from iPhone

As some of you know, I was induced on sept 15 (the due date) due to low amniotic fluid. They started with Cervidil and hoped I would progress into labor on my own. Within 2 hours I started having intense contractions. They were only 2 minutes apart. The nurses checked me and I was staying at 1 cm dilated. I had no pain meds in the beginning because I was only 1 cm. However, the contractions continued for over 12 hours with increased intensity and I still had no progress. I tried to be strong but I ended up being one of those women who scream and cry from the pain. I’m sure the whole hospital heard me. I never prepared myself mentally for the pain of that. The nurses decided to give me an epidural at only 1 cm. At first it seemed to help but within a half hour I was vomiting and my skin my itching like crazy. I worked through that part. My water broke on it’s own but I remained 1 cm. I was in and out of consciousness and I’m now being told things that I have absolutely no memory of! After the dr checked one last time (and apparently did a sonogram), they discovered that I had some part of my tailbone that stuck out too far to allow a baby’s head to ever pass it so they wheeled me in for surgery. The last things I remember is being on the table and the dr checking for the baby’s heartbeat. He started panicking. It had dropped to 60. The dr said “We have to get him out now. We have no time.” So, before letting my numbing meds kick in, they started to cut. And I felt everything. I started yelling and wiggling. They realized I could feel the surgery and quickly kicked out my boyfriend and put me under. Next thing I knew, I woke up in my room, no longer pregnant. They brought my son in, and he was beautiful and perfectly healthy but I was really drugged up still. It was so surreal. It didn’t seem like any of it was really happening. I truly didn’t believe that was even my baby. I feel like I was robbed of so much. I wasn’t able to experience him come into this world. I wasn’t able to hold him right after he was born. I didn’t react the way I expected because of all the drugs in my system. Worst of all, I went through hours and hours of intense labor and pain only to discover I would never have been able to have him naturally anyway. My poor baby was in distress and I feel responsible somehow. As the days have passed, I’m starting to feel better about everything. But I still have this horrible feeling every now and then when I think about how completely out of control I was of the entire situation. I felt helpless. Is it normal to still feel this way a few days after the fact? I’m absolutely blessed with this little miracle. He’s amazing. I just feel like I missed so much and we weren’t able to have the proper bonding moments. Maybe I’m just hormonal!

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31 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

It may be that you feel disappointed but were you willing to endure all that suffering? I mean you were cut open. It’s something to be proud of that you were not unconscious the first time.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t have an answer to your question, but… congratulations on the birth of your son!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m so sorry you had to suffer like that. Your emotions are completely your own, and they are valid. Feel them, and then let them go. If necessary, meditate even very briefly on the emotions and picture them leaving and the happy emotions of being a new mother arriving.

And let me add a very hearty Hawaiian “Ho’omaikai!!” (Congratulations!)

augustlan's avatar

I think your feelings are really normal, given everything you went through. I’m sorry this was such a long and painful experience for you, but really glad you and the baby are ok.

What did you name him, by the way?

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, the feelings you have are very common. I am so glad you and the baby are fine. If you need someone to talk to, call your doctor right away.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Pumped full of drugs, subjected to psychological and emtional distress, and enduring hours and hours of prolongued pain… Odd behaviour can certainly be expected and excused, I would not be surprised if you had woke up claiming to have been abducted and experimented on by aliens. It’s perfectly normal to go a little funny after being through something like that.

You should not be disappointed, It’s ok that you feel that way, but try to get over it as soon as possible. You should be proud of what you achieved, I know you can’t exactly cancel giving birth and that there is no achievements in that respect, but you did achieve to get through it without totally losing your mind. It was tough, but you kept it together, and now have a healthy baby. Congratulations!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Labor can indeed suck, mine was awful, too, in a different way, but how cool is it that you get to take home a baby!?!?!? I’ve had bad dates that lasted longer and were ultimately more unpleasant than labor and at the end of those I just…well…nothin’. Congrats on the baby, and remember, the best is yet to come!

zenvelo's avatar

Be gentle on yourself, you went through a lot. Having surgery really takes a toll on people, more than they expect, and you are recovering from that.

Your son knows he has the best mom, and knows you already, and now he gets to be held by you!

Stinley's avatar

My cousin went through a similar experience and she thought that someone had swapped babies and the baby wasn’t hers. It took her a while to come to terms with the experience and to bond. When I had my first baby, I didn’t feel love for her, just incredibly protective. It took a few weeks before I felt overwhelmed with the joy, then I realised that this was what people went on about. So dont worry just give yourself some time to recover, concentrate on getting to know each other. If you can, try to think that having your gorgeous wee bundle is what matters. Hugs to you both.

Judi's avatar

Oh sweetie. I am so sorry you didn’t get the birth experience that you planned. You aren’t alone in feeling this way. You are blessed to have a beautiful , perfect baby, but my heart aches that this most wonderful time was marred by such feelings of being out of control. Your feelings are your feelings there is no right or wrong way to feel. You WERE cheated out of a joyous birth experience and you have every right to be sad and disappointed.
Eventually, I hope you will be able to forgive your body for not working the way you wanted it to. Kiss that handsome man for me!
My 7th grand daughter was born yesterday and my daughter isn’t talking to me so I haven’t gotten a chance to see her. I’m sad and happy at the same time today too.

wilma's avatar

Your feelings are normal and expected.
All these months you have been dreaming and imagining what the birth of your baby would be like. It turned out nothing like you had planned. Your disappointment and feelings of failure are understandable.
What you need to understand and keep reminding yourself is, that you have a healthy baby, you are a healthy woman, you did your best and YOU are not responsible for the way that your birth experience turned out.
Try to keep reminding yourself that if not for the availability of the Cesarean your baby may have died or been severely injured and you may also have died or been injured.
The drugs given to you for sedation and pain can play tricks on your memory and perception. The hormone shifts after giving birth are difficult when you are experiencing them fully conscious, but to wake up under the influence of drugs and huge changes in your body can be very disturbing.

If you can, try to talk about the birth with the people who were there. Your boyfriend, the medical people or family members. Have them tell you about what they saw happening. Get some new perspective about what how things went, the time that is missing for you needs to be explained to you. What was happening with your baby while you were unconscious? Who held him? Who cared for him? What was happening with you? Talk to those folks, fill in the blanks.
Your feelings are valid, they are natural, please don’t be too hard on yourself.

You will be very busy with your new baby, becoming a mother changes everything in your life. Try to take the time to resolve these feelings that you have, and move on to all the new and exciting things that motherhood will bring to you.
Get professional help if these negative feelings persist. There is NO shame in getting help for these normal reactions that you are having.

Congratulations mommy @ItalianPrincess1217 ! Cuddle and kiss that baby for all of us who miss those days!

janbb's avatar

I had not exactly the same experience but a similar one that ended in an unplanned C-section. I was disapppointed to not have the natural childbirth I had planned on. Since then I have come to realize that no two childbirths are the same and that you cannot count on things going a certain way. Although the birth was not what I planned, how wonderful to have a healthy baby! I did find for me that being able to nurse successfully gave me some positive feelings and also just learning to love and take care of my son. While the birth was not what I had wanted and I did process it for weeks, I am grateful to live in a time when C-sections can be successfully done and both baby and mother come through it alive.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m sorry your labor & delivery went that way. I think we get an idea in our head about how it will be, so it’s natural that we feel disappointed if it doesn’t work out that way. I completely understand feeling badly about all of it. Give yourself some time to adjust to everything (no longer being pregnant, having your baby boy, and not having the experience you were prepared for). I hope you feel better about everything soon. Your journey is really just beginning and I’m sure there will be many bumps in the road of parenting along the way, so maybe you can consider this as one of those bumps in the road. Congratulations on your little boy!!

JilltheTooth's avatar

As frustrating as it is to not have a satisfying birth experience, keep in mind that the most important thing, as @janbb says, is to have mother and baby be healthy. I had a crappy birth experience, and to add insuly to injury, KatawaGrey was so appalled at the sight of my Gigantor boobs that she wouldn’t nurse, so I missed that, too, but I kept in mind that the ultimate goal had been achieved: she was a healthy child who thrived. And is still going strong.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Congrats IP. You just got one of the greatest gifts anyone gets. So it didn’t work out how you were expecting. Don’t sweat it, life is like that. Watch as he or she starts to pick up on things. It’s pretty cool.

Aethelwine's avatar

Such sweet words for you and your baby above me. I just want to let you know you are not alone in feeling this way. My first child was an emergency C-section. I felt very alone when I was in recovery. All I wanted to do was hold my son and be with my husband. I started to feel better once I was home and able to take care of my son on my own.

Try not to let those few lost hours get the best of you. Now is your chance to bond with your son. Congrats! Can’t wait to see pics =)

tedd's avatar

Normally I am morally opposed to c-sections, but it sounds like in your case it was completely justified, and there could have been major medical repercussions had it not happened.

I don’t blame you for feeling a bit disappointed because of how out of control you felt, but take solace at least in that the doctors seemingly did what was in your best interest. In the future (I guess next time as it were), you should talk it out with your b/f or whoever your non-labor-experiencing care-giver/relative is (well before labor), and make sure they know specifically what your wishes are in every situation. When they should throw in the towel and go for the c-section, when they should give you the meds, when they should just let you tough it out and suffer through labor for a while longer.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@tedd : When it comes to the delivery of a healthy baby with the fewest risks to both mother and child, unless all those people you mention are trained professionals in this area (childbirth and delivery) I don’t believe they should have much say. The point is to come through the experience the healthiest possible with the minimal amount of damage to mother and child.
As far as anyone being “morally opposed to C Sections”, that’s just amusing. I’m morally opposed to the avoidable death of mother and/or child during childbirth. C Sections may be overused for convenience, but very often they are absolutely necessary.
If your moral opposition is due to profound religious beliefs, I won’t agree with them, but I will apologize for the snarky tone. If not, well,...not.

Judi's avatar

@JilltheTooth , I think @tedd was really talking about planning for her wishes in the birth plan should an unexpected C-section happen. That way, she at least would feel like she has some control over the situation. @ItalianPrincess1217 sounds like she might have some physical issues that would cause any future births to be C-section as well. Knowing this ahead of time, and planning with her doctor will make the second C-section completely different than the first. My second daughter had her first by emergency c-section and her second was planned. Huge difference in the experience.

tedd's avatar

@JilltheTooth My moral opposition has more to do with them being used to make childbirth an in-out procedure that doesn’t last more than a few hours, treating labor like some kind of malady requiring an immediate “fix” rather than a natural process that should be allowed to run it’s course. I have no qualms whatsoever with their use if the child or mother is medically endangered.

janbb's avatar

Yes, I can’t take long to write now but I had a much better experience with a planned second C-section than the first; epidaural only, husband with me, baby in the recovery room. I had switched doctors to try for a VBAC but as the birth approached, there were compelling reasons to make it a planned C-section instead.

While I do agree that there are times when Casereans are done for the convenience of either the doctor or the parents, i do think we need to remember how important a live-giving tool they are.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I appreciate the whole “try to feel like you have some control and plan in order to be prepared and lessen fear” thing, I really do. My point was based on talking to my sister, who spent decades being an OB nurse. She had nightmare stories of SOs and friends interfering when extreme medical intervention was necessary, saying things like “that wasn’t in the birth plan!” and “CSections are just for the convenience of the Doctor, don’t do that!” or “but we wanted a natural birth!” when the mother has stopped dilating and is passing out between contractions, and/or the fetal monitor indicates distress..
I would hope that every woman could plan with a trusted OB, midwife, doula, whatever, what to do in any conceivable emergency, but ultimately I would prefer to trust the medical proffessionals who know what all the signs of distress are and are prepared to deal with it.
Which is way far away from @ItalianPrincess1217 ‘s good news, and I am truly delighted for your joy, Mom, it’s the start of a wild and marvelous ride for you!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 You’re going to be okay and the child is healthy. Count your blessings and go forward.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s always disappointing when things don’t go the way you planned them. I think that birth coaches might prepare women more fully for the range of things that can change your plan at the last minute. My wife went through a long labor—I don’t remember how long and I’m not sure when to begin counting. If it’s when the water breaks, it was more than 24 hours. If it’s when contractions started it was probably around 12 hours.

In any case, it took her forever to dilate and at the end, the midwife realized she was afraid to push because she felt like she would tear apart if she did. So the midwife “threatened” her that if she didn’t push the baby out in such and such a time, she’d have to have a cesarean.

People love natural childbirth and my wife wanted to try that. She regretted it, I think. She definitely never wanted to do it again, although I hear second births are easier than firsts. Perhaps women should wait for the second child to try natural.

This is to say that there is no need to beat yourself up for what happened. You had a plan, but it had to change at the last moment. Now there are probably reasons other than your mind that are the cause for your thoughts. You might even have a bit of post-partum depression.

You should talk to the midwife coaches or whoever you have available and ask them these questions about your experience. That’s what they are there for. Have they given you a number to call if you have any questions? Call and ask.

I think that children are wonderful, especially if they are your own. I hope you have a wonderful experience bonding with your child. If you are really wondering if it was switched at birth (and that is understandable) then you might consider a genetic test, if you can afford it. But I bet you can smell your child’s head and know he is yours. Feel the way he latches on. If there is any doubt in your mind, then please talk to a professional about these feelings.

You have a child that has the potential to be anyone. You will have the pleasure of guiding your son through the first decade or two of life. It is a grand journey and I hope you enjoy it—even the tough parts.

Rarebear's avatar

You will have bonding moments aplenty over many years, but yes, it’s normal to be disappointed. But you’ll get over it. Congratulations on your healthy baby and concentrate on that!

Ayesha's avatar

Congratulations!! I hope you feel better. He’s going to be great!

BeccaBoo's avatar

Your a mass of hormones and emotions right now. Tired and probably frustrated if your milk is coming in. Your bound to feel a complete dejection about the birth especially as it’s not what you had planned for the special entrance of your son, and also getting the feeling you were robbed of the most natural way for your son to be born. However you have to look at this in a different way, if your waters had broken and your baby was already on his way down the birth canal, there are several complications that could have caused this to be a very different outcome. You would have had this explained to you, however as you pointed out you were drugged up. They gave you your son in the safest and most healthy they could without risk to either of you. Now I know this won’t stop you feeling the way you are, but in a few months when things have calmed down and your feeling a little brighter about things, you will realise that he is here and healthy and nothing else is important.

Congratulations to you.

Bellatrix's avatar

Some great advice above. I have never been in your situation but it would seem perfectly normal to feel disappointed that an experience you have been waiting for and planning for and imagining will go a particular way, ends up being quite different and so very distressing. As @yarnlady said, if you feel you need more support, seek help. You have been through a hugely stressful event.

On the plus side, congratulations to you and your partner on the birth of your beautiful son. So glad you are both well and have a wonderful life together to look forward to.

geeky_mama's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 – I can understand your wishing the birth went differently—after all these months of having hopes for how your birth experience might be.. You aren’t alone there, it happens to many of us. It’s OK to feel disappointed – and that feeling can indeed be amplified by hormones.
The goal is always a healthy baby and mom—and at least the outcome is good for you and your new son. (By the way, love the name!)

I don’t know if it’ll help at all—but try looking at it from this way..
My first birth was 3 days of labor, 2 of them augmented by pitocin. An epidural that didn’t take on one side (after day 2, and 3 days of no real sleep, no food or water by mouth)...and THEN after 6 hours of pushing (had to sign waivers because more than 3 hours is against ACOG guidelines) and vacuum assist I delivered a 10lb baby who DID break my tail bone. (Guess my doctors failed to see that tailbone that was in the way—it’s good yours noticed!)
Getting up from a sitting position (or sitting back down to nurse the baby) was excruciatingly painful for the next 4 months. I had difficulty walking and caring for myself and my newborn. My recovery was verrrry slow (and painful) and I required quite a bit of reconstructive stitching up “down there”.

So, while the emergency c-section wasn’t what you hoped for—hopefully your recovery will be better for not having a broken tailbone. It’s totally okay to be disappointed that it wasn’t the way you’d hoped..but hopefully in time that disappointment will fade as you enjoy motherhood and care less about how he arrived.

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