I was lucky with my birth stories, really.
However, I just read an article on traumatic birth, and I know that there is stuff that I gloss over.
Our first was born in the main base hospital in my region. An ambulance transfer, as my waters had broken prior to admittance to our local birthing unit, and I laboured through the night, requiring lots of pethidene for the pain (posterior presentation, spine on spine, so painful) and was only 2cm dilated 12 hours later. I vomited constantly. So was dehydrated and so drugged I couldn’t think straight. My birth plan was abandoned because I had no lucidity to remember it.
I was admitted via ambulance staff, alone, definitely not lucid, and scared.
Things went reasonably well. Lots of people in and out of the delivery room, I avoided the Caesarian I had been admitted for.
But was left with an enormous episiotomy to repair.
And yeah, that repair caused sexual problems for me for quite some time, probably up to two years, at least.
I couldn’t bear any pressure on the back of my vulva, so rear entry positions were an absolute nightmare for me. I had extreme pain if I needed to insert even a tampon. I thought I was sexually damaged for life. Only just over five years into being a sexually active person.
I now believe it may have been the scar tissue being reopened and repaired again, from the very messy rape injuries I had. I was stitched up then, from the gaping tears my rapist ripped into my genitalia. Maybe the cutting through that caused difficulties in the healing from the episiotomy?
And so, reading this, made me want to vomit.
And admit to myself that I did have some residual trauma from birthing. I have mostly told myself I was lucky. And I was. Three healthy, great kids. And nothing compared to some of the stories I have read!
You don’t hear much about birth trauma until you’ve experienced it yourself, then all of a sudden, women you’ve known for both minutes and years open up about the horrendous things that happened to them. Some are too terrified to have another child. Some have suffered crippling post-partum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some can’t even use a tampon without experiencing a visceral reaction.
That tampon reference got me. Oh fuck. Yeah. That made me tear up, and the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood on end.
And people wonder why I wanted home births. I had the second and third at home, without the trauma. I am not advocating this for everyone, but it was what I needed, and I’m so grateful I did, as I think those birth stories were healing for me. I never required another drug, nor vaginal stitch, birthing at home. I had PND after the first, but never again, after my home births.
And then my blood ran cold, thinking about the terror I had about large penises.
And how I nearly passed out in fear, seeing BG naked and aroused for the first time. The very strong urge to literally jump out the window.
When you put the pieces of the puzzle together, you start to see the patterns so much more clearly. The veins of trauma that run through my life.