Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Blames Herself

©Anonymous 2011. This raw story was posted anonymously to share an important point on the way to healing from a traumatic experience. As a person moves along the journey of grief, she can often go from blaming others (external control) to blaming herself (internal control). In our society, it’s accepted that people will blame others for violation or blame no one, calling it necessity or an accident. It is very rare that people are able to share their own feelings of blame. This is a dark but vital insight, might be triggering:

I don't know where to begin… 

His conception was a surprise. I was young. I had only been with his father for a few months. We were scared, yet excited. In our talks SO (significant other) would ask me to consider at least going without an epidural. He had done a bit of research and didn't like what he found in the birthing industry.

I remember the email conversation as if it was yesterday. I refused to look into it. I said, "I'm getting an epidural as soon as I walk in that door!" What I didn't know was SO had planted a seed in my head. It began to sprout and soon I wanted to know everything. 

No matter how much research I did I couldn’t save myself from my own fears. I did not fear birth. I feared speaking up for what I wanted. I stayed with my OB even though at our first appointment he told me, "Don't listen to all the old wives tales about how bad epidurals are; they're perfectly safe." I returned thinking all he had to do was catch. That was all. It didn't matter how he viewed birth. 

A few days before my EDD I had a prenatal appointment. Even though I found courage and spoke up and told him I did not want to induce, he scheduled me to come in on my EDD. I went home crying, asking SO what I was going to do now. We decided to change to another OB on my EDD. When I met with this OB he told me everything I wanted to hear. He knew I switched because my last OB was pushing an induction. 

At my next appointment with the new OB he said I was measuring big so I needed to have a c-section because my baby was too big for me to birth. I laughed. I thanked him; told him no one has ever told me I was too small to do anything before. He was not amused. He went on with horror stories and warned me that my baby or I could die.

He looked to his student and said, "See you need to make sure they know the risks. This way they can make an educated decision." He asked for me to get an NST and ultrasound. I agreed. The tech said everything looked great. Baby was doing great. Then the L&D nurse walked into the room. She sat down and asked me to stay and be induced. I told her that no, I would like to wait for baby to come on his own.

She then began to tell her horror stories. I began to smirk and laugh at her. She turned to SO and told him he needed to get through to me, or he would be burying me or our son, or both of us. Before she left she let it be known if I were to come back to L&D in labor she would request not to have me, "Because I know how it would end, and I couldn't have that on my mind." After that, SO and I decided to get induced. 

I called and set an appointment with my OB. When I got there, after waiting the 2 1/2 hours to see him, I was given my induction form. That's when I read the horrid word CYTOTEC My heart stopped. I went home, lost about what I should do at this point. I knew this drug was bad. I called SO to tell him I was NOT comfortable inducing with this drug. He told me to call and see if I could get something else. I did. When I called, the nurse handed the phone directly to my OB. 

Me: I'm not comfortable inducing with Cytotec. Is there anything else we can use? What about sweeping my membranes?
OB: No, that increases your risk for infection
Me: Pitocin or Cervidil? 
OB: Your cervix isn't favorable for those forms of induction.
Me: Oh ok. *hangs up*

I called my SO back on the phone. We had another NST that night. We were told baby looked great again, and right after that I was told to stay for an induction because we could die.

That night SO and I had a long talk. We decided not to induce. The doctor pretty much said it himself. My cervix wasn't favorable, so the baby wasn't ready. Thus began our search for a homebirth midwife at 5 days past my EDD. 

We found one on day 6 and canceled my induction. She let me know she legally couldn't attend the birth without my prenatal records. This, this is where I screwed up my beautiful homebirth. That fear of mine, that fear of speaking up, of authority, finally got me. It took me until 2pm to work my courage up to call and ask them to fax over my records. 

When I called, their office was closed. They close early on Fridays. I thought, "Ok. This is fine. He stayed in this long! We can make it to Monday!" Saturday evening I was up all night with cramping. I woke up still having sporadic cramps. SO and I had a stab at sex. Afterwards I was bleeding a lot, so I called L&D and they said not to worry. Throughout the day I still was getting spontaneous cramps. I figured it was from the spicy food I had eaten.
That evening as I was lying in bed I noticed these cramps were coming in a pattern, and were getting intense. I got in the bathtub, told SO, and noticed I was losing my mucus plug. Soon after we left for the hospital. When we got to the hospital things were really getting started. It was around 1am. I was tired; I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. I was dealing with the contractions fairly well. Everything was moving along very fast. I was being hushed by the nurses, my moans were putting off the other patients (you could hear doors slamming.)

Most of my labor is hazy. SO was in the corner crying while nurses attended to him, giving him juice. During one contraction I felt my water break, but I thought maybe I had just peed. The nursed asked to check me. I told her no I wanted to wait until the contraction was over. She didn't listen. I was leaning over the hospital bed with my back facing her. She proceeded to try to do a vaginal exam. I was in pain the whole time. I was trying to get though a contraction while the nurse was ramming her fingers into my clit.

I screamed, “Stop! Nooo, please! I told you no!” I was trying to reach my hand back to smack her away, but couldn't. I looked over to SO for help but he was just sitting there, sobbing. I had no one. The nurses and my "friend" were all yelling at me, “Well if you would just turn over!"

The nurse didn't stop until I finally was able to reach her hand. I grabbed and squeezed as hard as I could and yelled, "I said no!" But finally, I caved. I turned over for her. I felt so defeated. My water indeed had broken and I was 10cm, and feeling pushy. 

I turned back over and began pushing. I couldn't believe what had just happened. I wanted this to be over. I wanted to be home. The nurses yelled at me to stop and get on my back. I told them no. The doctor said I could push in any position. They said that he only “allows” patients to push on their backs. I ignored them and kept pushing.

My son's head began to crown. The nurses and my "friend" grabbed my arms, trying to force me on my back. I fought, but once again, I caved. I had no energy, so I just rolled onto my back. I felt defeated again.

Soon after that my OB was in the room, yelling at me to push. I didn't want to push. I felt a strange sense of fatigue and defeat. They kept yelling at me to push, so I did. I pushed, and soon he was out. 

My labor was about 5hours. My son weighed 8lbs 13oz. I did it without any medication. I wish I could say it was natural, but it was not. I also wish this is where my story ends, but it does not.

As soon as he was out they give him to me for a very brief moment, then they took him away. I yelled out, "No vitamin K shot or eye goop!" But they had already given it to him, even though I expressed I did not want it being done when we checked in to the hospital. I began asking for him, begging for them to bring him back to me. My OB told me not until I delivered my placenta. So I pushed and pushed until it came out.

I just wanted him.  A nurse came over to hand him to me. As she does she says, "Wow, 8lbs 13oz with no epidural, amazing!".My OB's response? "Stupid if you ask me."

I was wheeled into my room. As soon as we got in there SO fell asleep. A nurse came in shortly to take DS to the nursery for testing. I asked SO to go, but he had fallen asleep. I asked the nurse how long it would take. I needed to get in that shower. I felt so dirty from what they had done to me. I asked if he would be back by the time I got out. She said yes.

I took a 15 minute shower. I stood in there, sobbing. When I got out I called for him to come back into my room. I was told he would be with me shortly. After 30 minutes passed, I called again. I was a told a nurse was getting him ready and he'd be with me soon. I fell sleep waiting. It had been 2 1/2 hours when I woke up! I called again. I was told he was down the hall. Another 30 minutes passed.

I said to myself, "Fuck this, I'll go down there and demand my baby!" And I had every intention to do that. Fear of speaking up was gone at this point. But when I went down there, I looked into that nursery and I couldn't remember which baby was mine. I ran back to my room sobbing, broken. I waited for them to bring him to me.

He finally came into my room when he was 5 hours old. I did not get to see or hold my son for 5 hours. Soon after that visitors arrived. As soon as I had finally been given my baby, they were there to take him from me. 

The whole time the visitors were telling me to go to sleep while they held MY baby! When he cried they shushed him, not giving him to me, even when I asked. I felt as if he wasn't mine. I didn't know what to do. I just sat there, staring blankly.

My baby ended up losing 2 ounces of weight. The nurses assured me it was completely normal and that I needed to give him formula to remedy it. At this point, I just went along. I had reached a point of complete defeat, as if the baby was theirs and not mine.

That was my hospital experience. I did suffer PPD, though it wasn't diagnosed. Long after birth, I would burst into tears everyday over nothing. I've never felt connected to my son, not even now. 

I blame myself. This is my fault. I made these decisions. I didn't speak up in the beginning. I gave up and I gave in, over and over again.

If only I would have called the OB sooner. If only I would have switched to a MW instead of another OB. If only I would have just stayed home and had an unassisted birth, safe from everyone.

This is my fault, even though all this time I blamed everyone else involved, including my son. I blamed him for arriving on that day. After I had to fight so long about being overdue. Why, why that day? Why couldn't he have waited just one more day?

Now I know I was a horrible mom. How could I blame him? It took me a lot to work thought all of this. Though I no longer blame anyone else but myself it's hard to think about his birth. I thought after my homebirth (next birth) I would heal. To be honest I haven't. It just made me realize what I could have had with my first son. My homebirth only made it all too clear what we should have had, what we deserved to have.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” – Max Ehrmann


  1. I wish I had known better before I had my son. I went along with induction which ended in a c-section. =/ We will all heal sooner or later from our traumas. All we can do is grown and learn. Every day I learn something new to better myself and know exactly what I do and do not want the next time around.

    You are not alone honey, you are not alone. *hugs*

    I'm hoping you kept your baby whole! That would already put you ahead... "You stood up for your son in regards to that!" =)

  2. How sad to feel this way. I think its unfair to blame yourself, you can't choose how people act or even treat you. They own that.

  3. Hind-sight is 20/20. I learned more with each birth and still after 7 would have done somethings slightly differently! 5 were born in hospital & two at home. Home was better. I had decent first 3 hospital, then home. My twins were in hospital & wish I had figured out some way of having them at home. I had to fight for everything! Twin B was double footling breech & facing up. Resident messed up delivery & we are lucky she didn't end up with damage. The after birth was horrible. I was "raped" by the res. scooping clots & causing great pain. I re-lived my rapes. Not just in that moment, but for months after wards....if only....hind-sight is 20/20. Next one was born at home...healing yes..but it will never make me forget the other birth. Time heals, but does not take away the scar. Hugs.

  4. Don't be so hard on yourself. like sixpaq said hindsight is 20/20. Enjoy your baby. Heal yourself.

  5. It seems like the self blame is part of the healing process. I know that the mother was not to blame, far from it, but maybe that is what she needs to do to deal with it. Such a sad case of ignorance (on the part of the medical team), abuse, and flat out rape. The author had to have been one of the most informed, strongest first time mothers I have ever heard of. The only reason I escaped induction and possibly an unnesacerean was fear of giving birth. My closest experience with childbirth was watching the character Murphy Brown on tv. I wanted to try for a natural birth, but I thought classes were needed (though I have to say classes do make things so much easier) and classes were not a possibility for me. I did not have my natural birth until my third.
    The OB & hospital were failures, and the one nurse acted criminaly. Serious retraining is needed. So very sad.