Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Post-Partum Psychological Dystocia

During vaginal birth, occasionally the baby gets stuck and can't get out without some assistance. A change in position. The use of forceps or a vacuum. A broken clavicle. A change in delivery method. If the dystocia is managed appropriately, the baby and mother emerge relatively unscathed. If not, there are injuries that range from from mild to traumatic and debilitating.

I am happy that I have a healthy, thriving daughter. There was a time, from September 2010 to February 2011 when I was doing "okay" just not thinking about the experience - just basking in the new mommy joy...being thankful for every milestone reached, thankful to have a happy baby, thankful that life in general was good. I am very thankful (by whatever small miracle) that I do not associate my daughter's birth, with my daughter. It sounds absurd, but my daughter is seperate from the process which brought her into the world - she is not her birth, she is not responsible in any way for what happend.

And yet I'm stuck - I don't cope well whenever I reflect on what did happen. Sometimes when I read a news story about a mom denied pain relief in labour or having a c-section delayed or unable to access timely care, I find myself back there. In the delivery room. Terrified. Sometimes, ff the conversation turns to birth, and other moms are reflecting on their experiences - I am back there. In the delivery room. Terrified. Sometimes (often) when I turn my mind to the next baby, who is wanted but not yet conceived. I am back there. In the delivery room. Terrified.

Sometimes I'm just angry...and at others sad - in no small part because I know that it didn't have to happen.

It's been 17 months - the passage of time has done little to resolve the outstanding issues, and given what I know now - time alone is not the cure.


  1. I have read your blog with lots of interest, I had a cesarean when I thought I wanted a 'natural'' delivery and could not imagine anyone wanting the reverse. I understand more since my second child was born and even more so since reading your blog. I just had to reach out and tell you that a resource I found helpful was a doctor's referral to see the maternity social worker (scary title but wonderful person). I do not know if she can influence your delivery but she might have ideas on how to help you get what you want. At any rate I hope you do find some support . . . and maybe a different doc after reading a couple earlier posts!

  2. I think most people don't get this side of the birth spectrum, arguably there is less acceptance for this, than even an attempted Homebirth. I only hope that might change, ideally before baby number 2 (very unlikely), but at the very least before my daughter approaches the maternity care system.

  3. No they don't and I think I did not till I had my babies (that is me above). I cannot imagine that after having had the trauma of the experience you had that anyone would refuse a section for you. I don't get it, which is why I wondered if Jill Davoren could help you. I had a history that I thought I had dealt with that came up in horrible flashbacks during my daughter's birth and continued for sveal months. My goal in the next birth was to avoid cervical exams and have a more controlled situation - and of course because I was a repeat section that was not a problem - they also had me meet the whole surgical team before going in so I could see them without their masks and changed the colour of the drapes in front of my face as blue is a trigger colour in stressful circumstances. I just wonder if meeting with Ms Davoren could do anything to help you. I hate to think that you might not have a second baby, as you want - not because I think more children are a necessity or anything, due to this situation. Is there really no OB interested in helping?! I just find this shocking, especially when people can choose to birth in water at home or unassisted which seems more dangerous - guess they can choose because they don't need anyone to help them (if all goes well). I will kep following your blog in the hopes of hearing your success

    1. be very careful when dealing with social workers especially Jill she can't always be trusted to act in your and your child best interests
      Trust me I know!!!

  4. sorry about typos, sleeping baby in one arm! And hope the headache goes away soon.

  5. What's angering is how foreseeable the trauma would be, a woman who from the get go has said 'I want a csection', who in no way prepared for a vaginal birth, who has never given birth before, who is then forced into a trial of labour and vaginal delivery under the belief that no anesthetist is available and then finds out a year after the fact that her care providers betrayed her.....

    ....thankfully the headache seems mostly resolved now....