I read this tonight where Lauren writes to her daughter post traumatic birth and it inspired me to write my own.
I do worry how you might feel if you ever read my ChildbirthPTSDandMe blog (and um this one but that’s a letter to both girls for another time!). One day you will know your birth wasn’t easy and that you were very poorly when you were first born. You will only have to look at the first newborn photos of you to know this.
I do wonder how much we should tell you about your HIE grade 1 diagnosis and MRI result (Evidence of hypoxic event) because YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY FINE. You are the brightest, sparky, funny most hilarious toddler I have ever met. I know I maybe biased but others have said similar things so I can’t be that biased! I genuinely don’t know how you will feel if you find out that your brain was affected during your birth, I don’t know if we should tell you or leave it but then one day you might find out by reading the blog or something, plus you know how utterly useless I am at lying or skirting around the truth.
Thing is you aren’t brain damaged at all (and for that we can count our blessings everyday), the MRI showed evidence of a “neuro-cortical event consistent with hypoxic injury” but there was no evidence of proper permanent damage to your brain. We were offered to have your MRI repeated but you were meeting all your milestones and it was such a traumatic procedure for you first time that we decided your brain was totally ace just as it was. It really is- you are such a bright clever little thing learning new words and sentences every day, if anything your start in life confirms what a total little genius you are. You overcame it all to still be able to give me a round of applause when I have a wee and inform me “well done mummy well done” and then later bring me half a roll of scrunched up bog roll and try and convince me innocently “It fell out, mummy, it fell out, Oh dear! It fell out!” Hmm!? You make me laugh every single day and I wouldn’t change a thing about you (well okay I would like the biting and pinching to stop but we are working on that!).
I don’t know how you will feel knowing how your birth made me feel afterwards (even though I am totally and utterly fine now promise!) and to be honest I probably won’t go into too much detail about the PTSD with you, but if you ever do actually read the blog you must NEVER EVER EVER feel any guilt for what happened. Not ever. I hope you know how much I adore you and how I wouldn’t swap you for anything in the world and the experience made me me, and you you and sod it we are fecking awesome (but I didn’t swear because I am your mother and a good role model. Ahem) so yeah- I love you little Omble Curd- you have brought so so much joy and happiness into our lives, and I would go through it all again for you and then some. You keep rocking on little girl.
P.S You know how mummy overthinks sometimes, well I initially wrote “all my love”, but then that wasn’t right as I love you equally with your sister and LordCurd, but lot’s of love didn’t seem enough somehow. Infinite love is about the right balance I reckon. Love you.
P.P.S I also want you to be proud that our story has helped many other people in the same position. I wrote this post to reassure other frantic googling parents and it is still one of the most popular posts on that blog and “HIE Grade One” is still one of the most common search terms. So we can both be proud how we helped people.
Posted in Birth, Health, LadyCurd, Mental Health, Oddler, Parenting, Ponderances, Things I Love
Tagged Childbirth PTSD, HIE Grade 1, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, PTSD
Dear First Time Pregnant Ladies,
I need you to know this statistic. I wish I had known it before I had Oddler.
Approx 50% of first births will end in intervention. 25% of those will be (emergency) C-Section, 25%of them forceps or ventouse.
That means 1/2 may not get the vaginal delivery they have been expecting, planning or hoping for. There are lots of things you can do to try and minimise your chances of intervention but ultimately what happens, happens and it is most important YOU DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF FOR ANY OF IT.
I spent too long blaming myself for Oddlers Birth and subsequent time on NICU with Oxygen Starvation, I wish I had realised sooner it wasn’t my fault, but a set of circumstances combined, which ultimately we have all healed from, and for that I count my blessings.
That’s not to say an assisted delivery will always be a traumatic experience. I know many women who have had very positive assisted deliveries. In my own case although forceps were used (and I had in my head that I would rather a C-section than forceps) ultimately they saved my daughter from being any more oxygen deprived and they had to be used- a C-section could have been so much worse. It wasn’t a pleasant experience but it wasn’t the worst part of the birth, so please don’t be too scared of assisted deliveries, they can save the life of you and your baby.
I wish you a lovely positive birth experience that you will cherish, and I wish you all the very best on your journey into motherhood. However if sadly you don’t have that experience (1 in 10 women will suffer birth trauma, and that could be regardless of whether you have a vaginal or an assisted delivery) I beg you not to blame yourself for it and to seek help if you are struggling with what happened. The Birth Trauma Association and Maternity Matters are excellent sources of support and information. I also kept this blog detailing my journey of healing so that I could go onto confidently have Omble, which was a healing wonderful experience that I would be happy to repeat- maybe a home waterbirth next time (though it was still quite ouchy! ;))
Lots of labouring love
P.S Always more than happy to talk to women about birth trauma if you wanted/needed. Email me or contact via twitter.
Thought you deserved a bit of a love letter. I love you. I didn’t realise how much until recently.
Previously I wasn’t sure, I mean you were just there, giving me dental checkups and the odd prescription, I didn’t really care and to be fair some of your issues did contribute to my first daughters traumatic birth. (However they were small and circumstance was a bigger factor and the time she spent on NICU receiving top quality care after her birth was amazing).
More recently being pregnant with my second daughter I have become totally in awe of your power and the sheer awesomeness of so many people who work for you. You didn’t have to agree an elective section because I had PTSD and tokophobia from my first birth, you didn’t have to send me on an intensive course of CBT and EMDR to help my sort my traumatised brain out. My consultant, the midwives and head of the delivery suite didn’t have to make loads of extra appointments with me to support me & plan my second birth. But you did all of this and as a result I felt able to try for a vaginal birth again and had the most wonderful 3hour labour on gas &air only birthing my second daughter. Your staff put my brain back together, helped me heal mentally and physically and thanks to you I can truly say I am better and the ghosts of the first birth have finally been put to bed. I really think the NHS have gone above and beyond for me and I never expected the level of care or treatment I got so I am truly in awe of your power and I will be forever grateful.
Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.
P.S saving my life when I had an ectopic pregnancy was also rather good of you- so cheers for that too!