Anonymous Mom: I Was So Traumatized By My Natural Birth That It Ruined My Second Pregnancy

newborn baby boyAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

When pregnant with my first, life was a breeze. Weight gain didn’t occur until the last trimester, there was no morning sickness, no swelling, no achy boobs, nothing. Most people wouldn’t have known I was pregnant had I not told them.

My doctor was amazing and would cheerfully measure my belly, check my weight, give me the monthly/weekly low-down, and then send me on my way. Several times she told me how I was blessed to be experiencing the perfect pregnancy and that I was making her job way too easy.

The last trimester I gained 25 pounds and my stomach swelled — that was the extent of my pregnancy side effects. Even then I remember thinking how pregnancy was EASY, and if this is what it’s like then I’m having 10 babies.

I wanted to deliver naturally, without drugs. My doctor questioned me about my choice to skip the epidural but applauded my decision to do so. Further into my pregnancy, when it looked more and more like I was going to deliver a 10 pound baby, she brought up pain management again and I stood with my decision to skip the juice. My choice wasn’t based on anything other than my Mom didn’t have one, neither did my Grammy, so what the hell. Why would I?

For ideal as my pregnancy was, my labor was anything but. I went from starting labor to having delivered in less than four hours. My water breaking is when all hell broke lose. I begged and pleaded with the doctor and nurses to give me something, anything to make the pain stop. I punched my husband in the face while he was telling me how beautiful I was. I told my Mom she was a lying bitch for telling me that it wouldn’t hurt.

The only part about the actual delivery that I remember is my husband saying, “oh my God,” the doctor telling the nurse to get help, and me screaming like a lunatic as I experienced the worse pain you could ever imagine as every bit of me that can tear in my nether regions tore. And what didn’t tear, the doctor cut. Next thing I knew, I was looking at a baby.

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  • Karin

    My epidural didn’t work, either. No one had ever warned me that could happen. I feel your pain.

    And people are always curious why I only have one child.

  • Jessie

    Oh my goodness… That just sounds so horrible. I’m sorry you had to experience such a terrfying and stressful delivery TWICE. :(

  • DMH

    I can’t even… :(

  • Amber

    Totally understandable. My emergency c-section with no epidural traumatized me to the point that I only have one child.

    I would rather die than go through that again.

    • Maria Guido

      What??? I didn’t even know that was possible! How could they give you a c-section with no numbing? Please tell me I am reading this wrong.

    • Amber

      Because my son was dying. My options were to endure it and get him out immediately to save his life or wait for anesthetic and deliver a dead baby.

      The choice was easy to make at the time but I don’t ever want to be in that position again.

      I’ve met two other people who went through it as well and a nurse told me about a woman who had lost her baby because the doctor refused to do it. I’m glad mine did. It was very, very traumatic though. I felt like I was going insane.

    • Koa_Beck

      Amber, please pitch this story to me:

    • TngldBlue

      Oh. my. god. I can’t even.

    • minimomma

      In our birthing class the instructor told us that something like 97% of “emergency” C-sections aren’t really an emergency and if you are having a true emergency C-section you will know it. When there was a surgical team and cart prepped outside our l&d room because they were concerned we wouldn’t make it to the OR I knew it was real. Although I had already had an epidural put in so I was somewhat numb, but not enough. I have no idea how you did it Amber, I say kudos to you!

    • Jessie

      There is “emergent” and “urgent” and both can mean life or death for the baby. And I’m pretty sure your birthing class instructor pulled that number out of her ass.

    • Maria Guido

      Oh my God. That is one of the bravest things I’ve ever heard – also one of the most terrifying. You’re amazing.

    • The Great Queen Spider

      Oh you poor thing! I hope they at least loaded you up with pain meds after.

    • jendra_berri

      You are an amazing human being, and I am so sorry you were faced with having to be that amazing human being. You’re a damn hero.

    • Sara

      My friend bakes her mom a cake for her (my friend’s) birthday every year, because she had to have her this way. C-section, no numbing.

    • Paul White

      I just about hurled at the thought of it.

    • Melissa T

      My sister got her epidural in about ten minutes before her emergency C…like the anesthesiologist wasn’t even finished when they were loading her up for surgery. So she DID get some numbing and such, but it wasn’t complete for her. She still felt all the slicing and such. :( I can’t even imagine.

    • Blueathena623

      Jesus lady. Hats off to you.

    • LiteBrite

      Holy shit. That’s all I can say.

    • meteor_echo

      … O_O
      Holy shit. Now I want to give you a big, big, big hug.
      Is the kid okay now?

    • Amber

      He’s a healthy 12 year old. :)

    • Annie

      Oh man, that sounds like one of those stories they used to have on 20/20 about people who are unconscious during surgery but feel everything.

      Did it hurt when they touched your organs, could you feel the scalpel going through the layers of fat and such, or was it just tugging by that time?

      The mind absolutely boggles. *So* relieved that you made it out okay, most people would’ve gone into shock from the pain and that’s the worst time to lose blood pressure. You’re a champ!

    • Frances Locke

      This happened to my mom with my youngest sister. I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. You’re literally my hero.

    • zeisel

      I had a vaginal birth with no drugs and endured a natural 4th degree tear. With that being said.. I’ve never experienced what you went through and I think I could safely say (hands down) I wouldn’t be able to fathom or compare your experience. On a whole different level. Holy sh*t! Women have been tearing for centuries and given birth sans drugs- our bodies are designed to handle; however a c-section………. I need drugs just thinking about it.

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my story. The thought of C-section put me into a panic attack. So we opted for another vaginal delivery, WITH meds.

    • Amber

      I just wanted to pop in here and say thanks for all the supportive comments. I really didn’t expect that. I can’t talk about it anymore though so I apologize for not being able to answer some questions or give the full story to Koa. I started having nightmares again last night. I do have PTSD from it and I am working through it but I can’t get into any details without going to a dark place. You’ve all been very kind though and I appreciate it.

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my story. I had a friend go through what you did. I hope you are receiving counseling, I know it’s helping me immensely.

  • Michelle

    I had an epidural but I was completely unaware that I would still feel an enormous amount of pressure and pain. I don’t know if it just didn’t work for me or if that’s normal for an epidural. I got to the point where she was crowning and I freaked out and it took the doctor calming me down for me to even think of pushing her out. I was totally unprepared for how much pain I felt…and I didn’t tear. I totally get why you freaked!

  • meteor_echo

    Okay, story time.
    When I was a wee lass, my mother worked as an ambulance doc in a small hospital in a provincial town in Ukraine. Since she was tight on money and my father was trying earn some money in another town, she often had to take me with her to her workplace. Sometimes, there were so many calls she had nobody to leave me with, and she’d take me into the ambulance car with her – which is how I saw the most horrible birth ever. Apparently, when she arrived to see what was wrong, she found a teen girl who was giving home birth to a legs-first baby (no doula, just her piss-drunken mother). I remember that the whole room looked like a Silent Hill prop, and the mattress under the girl was soaked through with blood. They did save the girl, but not the kid. I still remember that damn mattress, and it’s been a decade-something since then.
    I’m not sold on this child-birthing business.

    • Frances Locke

      I’m so sorry. Breech babies don’t have to end that way. Two of my three started out breech. I had a great OBGYN who turned them. I’ve always had nightmares about this though.

    • meteor_echo

      I think it was just because this girl had birth with nobody around but her drunken mother (who, though, called the ambulance). By the time they loaded her in the car, the girl’s face was white and blue. I think I had nightmares about this whole thing for a week or so.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Good God that’s horrible.

      I’ve read a few stories about incompetent midwives on that hurt by homebirth website, yeah. It’s never gonna happen. I would love to adopt eventually, but I can’t even imagine having a child, the thought of not being in control of your body (Potentially for the rest of your life) is my worst nightmare

    • meteor_echo

      “the thought of not being in control of your body (Potentially for the rest of your life) is my worst nightmare”
      YES THISTHISTHISITYTHIS. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want children at all – thinking about not being able to be in control of myself is making me have an anxiety attack.

    • 4Real4All

      I had two scheduled C sections because that was my choice. I wanted doctors to be in the control and it was awesome, I felt nothing, talk through it with a smile on my face, and with my husband by my head. It was so easy, I feel like I could have a C section every month. Don’t let fear discourage you.

    • meteor_echo

      Thank you for your kind words.
      However, I still don’t want children. Don’t like pregnancy, childbirth, babies (their cries give me really bad headaches), and the idea of being forcibly attached to another human being for two decades. So, I guess, cats and snakes will do instead.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      That’s horrifying. I think sometimes people forget that up until about a century ago childbirth was the single biggest killer of women and babies in the world. I don’t care if every generation of women in your family back to Eve did it naturally, it’s still bloody dangerous!

  • KaeTay

    I find it strange that they had you give birth naturally with those weight concerns.. my friend had a large baby and it bruised her organs and damaged at rib! So this last pregnancy they induced her early and things went great.

    I only had a 3rd degree tear I believe and the doctor didn’t cut me, I just tore because I was such a good pusher that didn’t have time to even think about cutting me. I also wasn’t given a single pain med for recovery.. not even some flipping dermaplast spray for down there. I remember pacing with my daughter (who only wanted me to hold her and walk her) and crying from the pain. It makes me terrified of having another kid even though two is my max.

    • Justme

      They let her give birth naturally because she’s the pregnant woman and is entitled to attempt her Preferred method of delivery?!

    • KaeTay

      hey don’t be a dick.. most worry about damage to the body and that’s why they typically will induce EARLY and let her deliver naturally I didn’t say shit about C-section.. READ DO NOT SKIM

    • Justme

      Yikes! No reason for name-calling…and I didn’t say anything about a c-section either. I just think that there is a movement that encourages women to take a more active role in advocating for the manner in which they deliver their child. This woman wanted to deliver naturally and seeing as how she had a perfectly normal pregnancy, her doctor didn’t see any reason to induce and allowed her to have the delivery she requested.

    • Lissy

      actually its ACOG and AWHONN recommendations NOT to elective induce prior to 39 weeks gestation without medical indication to do so–the risk to baby is to great. A lot of insurance companies will not cover the cost of an elective induction prior to that gestational age either because of the same reason. Many hospitals now have policies in place that are in complete alignment with this, so if you are thinking elective induction or c/s, you may be hard pressed to get it prior to 39 weeks.

      wait the 40.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Many many many many many doctors won’t give you that option. The moment you mention Big Baby most OBGYNs are pushing for C-sections and for the baby to be induced. Often times they don’t need it and babies come out on their own when they’re ready. but OBGYNs hear horror story after horror story and they mainly just want the baby out alive and the women to survive it.

      This whole “Comfort and choice of birth” is fairly new.

    • Justme

      But her doctor didn’t and there is nothing wrong with that.

      And isn’t “comfort and choice of birth” a GOOD thing?

    • meteor_echo

      Read my story up above – sometimes, it can be a bad thing too.

    • Justme

      My point is this….we read all the time about women being heavily coerced into induction or c-sections for the doctors convenience. This story is about a woman whose doctor was cooperative and supportive of his patient. Yes, birthing a child is tough and painful…but she had the baby naturally which was her plan. I thought thats what people wanted – for women to be supported by their doctors? I’m so confused. Women confuse me.

    • meteor_echo

      How about both of them working out a plan which would minimize pain and damage for the woman and the newborn? Not every doctor knows the details of every pregnancy, not every woman has a medical education and proper equipment at hand. A plan which, when gone through with, gives you PTSD symptoms, is not exactly a brilliant plan.

    • Justme

      But for the first birth it sounds like the doctor didn’t have any cause for concern. She had a great pregnancy…maybe the baby was measuring on the big side (which is all an estimate) so he suggested an epidural and she declined. It doesn’t sound like there was really anything that would have foretold her birth experience.

    • Véronique Houde

      and how she would react to it afterwards… Nothing wrong with the way she reacted, but no doctor has a crystal ball and can act accordingly to how the woman might react.

    • 4Real4All

      agreed, both of them should work out a plan. And the more educated one in the field should get the lead in the planning. As simple as that.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Choice is a fantastic thing (Of course along with realistic expectations).

      You just seemed fairly confused as to why KaeTay was amazed she had a choice, so I explained that many doctors won’t give you the choice.

      There’s really nothing farther to go along with it. Just that she was surprised the AM got a choice and me explaining why a doctor wouldn’t.

    • Justme

      And I felt like KaeTay was kind of blaming the AM for this awful experience for happening (like she should have chosen to be induced or something) when in reality, this was a freak thing that could not have been predicted by anyone. I also think that for MOST women (and by all accounts, this AM had no reason to believe she was in danger) this is the kind of doctor that we want to have…one that makes suggestions but ultimately tries to help a woman have her birth plan become a reality, whether that involves all-natural, heavily medicated or even a c-section.

    • Givemeabreak

      ECS is MAJOR surgery. Any form of surgery is quite frightening. Both times I was healthy, and baby was healthy. I’m a larger woman, 6’1″ and definitely not skin and bones. We evaluated the size of my babies and compared them to the size of my body, both times, and even with the assistance of another doctor decided that there should be no reason for me to HAVE to go through ECS.

    • Justme

      I’m 6’0 tall and 180 pounds…my daughter was 8lbs. 6oz., 21.5in and a week early. I did have to have an ECS and the recovery was fine. I was up and out of bed the next day and hauling loads of laundry up the stairs by the end of the week.

    • Jussame

      I had a 9lb 11oz and a 10lb baby both vaginally (with druuuugs) and both with no ripping (midwives in a hospital birth coached me to push in really small quick bursts while the babies were crowning so perineum would have time to stretch), so just to say big baby doesn’t necessarily mean big problems. In fact I don’t know why such a big deal is made about the weight when it’s the head circumferance number people should be worried about. Fat is squishy – skulls need room!

    • Véronique Houde

      I’ve actually heard that for most, big babies come out easier because they work with the mom to get the f* out of the canal, whereas a tiny baby just smushes through, taking longer to push out

    • Litterboxjen

      I had a baby with a giant head — she still is off the charts for head circumference at nearly 2 years old — and I have a narrow birth canal. Labour stalled at 6.5 cm, I was offered the choice to wait or go for c-, I asked for c-.

      My mom had my sister and I via c- because of similar problems; my genetics dictate my babies are to be cut out, and I am and was quite happy about that.

    • Lurker

      I had 7 babies. Ranging from 8lbs 5oz to 10lbs 1oz. All delivered naturally, no pain meds, etc. The only one I tore a little was the 8lbs 5oz baby. My 10lb baby nearly came out before the doctor was ready. I have been over due as far as 13 days as well.

      So I get annoyed at people rushing to be delivered because the Dr fears a big baby, or god forbid someone goes past their due date anymore. I am all for a woman choosing what type of birth she wants. Yes sometimes things happen not according to the plan you want, but let the woman at least attempt the plan she has set out for herself.

    • jessica

      I’m with you on all of that personally. Barring sky high blood pressure or other complications that might harm or kill me or the baby, I wouldn’t go along with an induced delivery myself. That is just me though.

    • Lissy

      I hear you. Inducing or scheduling a c/s for suspected macrosomia (“big baby”) isnt even recommended by ACOG.

    • Givemeabreak

      My first was exactly 13 days past his due date when I woke up in labor. I had 2 more days to go into labor. My second we induced 14 days early because of my blood pressure, the size he was becoming, and my first labor.

    • legallydolls

      I had my first baby all naturally, at home with assistance from midwives. My son was a couple weeks early, weighing in at 6 lbs but perfectly healthy. My labor was fairly short (12 hours from water breaking to delivery, 8 hours of active labor). When it came time to push, the midwives prepped me with oil and told me not push at times so I would stretch naturally. I still had some tears though, but they healed fairly quickly. I think part of the success of my natural delivery was due to feeling comforted by laboring at home and the care of the midwives.

      I also am angered that the doctors sometimes rush mothers to deliver when they fear any complications, instead of calmly and patiently letting the mothers decide what kind of interventions she wants (drugs, episiotomy, c-section, etc). I know that there sometimes is need for quick decisions but there should ALWAYS be agreement from the laboring woman. Doctors that choose to make the decision for the woman is what creates fear of birthing like this woman.

    • 4Real4All

      I agree with you 100 %. A 10 pounds baby is huge and it should have been a scheduled C section.

    • KB

      So you’re a trained medical professional?

      Your ignorance is showing….better cover it up.

    • Givemeabreak

      ECS is MAJOR surgery. Not my idea of a good time. Any form of surgery is quite frightening. Both times I was healthy, and baby was healthy. I’m a larger woman, 6’1″ and definitely not skin and bones. We evaluated the size of my babies, both times, and even with the assistance of another doctor decided that there should be no reason for me to HAVE to go through ECS.

  • Harriet Meadow

    My epidural was only somewhat effective. I still felt like I was getting stabbed in the anus every time I had a contraction, and I could feel the catheter ::shudder:: It turns out that baby was situated with his head RIGHT on my tailbone, and I ended up having a C-section because he just wouldn’t budge. This, of course, explains the pain in the ass (haha). When the anesthesiologist came in to re-do the epidural, it worked a little better, but I had to have such a high dose of meds before the c-section that it made my blood pressure plummet (70/30) and I had to be on oxygen for two days after the birth. The birth of my son was definitely not what I expected.

  • blh

    You’re mom actually told you it didn’t hurt?? She is a lying bitch ha.
    That sounds terrible I’m so sorry. I would’ve killed everyone if my epidural didn’t work.

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my store. And yah, I wasn’t happy with her and probably would have refused to talk to her for a LONG time after this, had it not been for the fact that she was taking care of me.

    • Corinne


      My name is Corinne. I am working on a brand new documentary series about extraordinary pregnancy and birth stories, and I found your article in my research.

      I was wondering if you would be keen to share your story with our viewers or to find out a little more about what we do?

      I look forward to hearing from you soon,


  • Marisol

    I’m sorry your story made me laugh with the added gifs lol but I felt bad for your first birth experience |:

  • Miriam

    Dang, I’m sorry. That sucks. But I appreciated your awesome use of gifs. :)

  • Paul White

    Is it wrong to laugh at the GIFs? cause I felt like kind of a bastard for laughing while reading this

    • TngldBlue

      I know, I feel guilty for cracking up but they were so perfect.

    • Hibbie

      I laughed as well and have a l&d horror story of my own. Don’t feel bad. Humor gets us through the bad stuff.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Especially the kermit the frog GIF. That was just too good. I mean, I have been on the author’s side of that kind of freak-out before, it’s really unpleasant, but I imagine that I probably looked like the kermit GIF

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my story. The picked the perfect GIFS. I laughed at them too. Seriously, I looked like Kermit, no doubt.

  • Andy

    I had a third degree episiotomy without pain relief-I had had an epidural, but after pushing for three hours (sunny side up baby with a short cord) it had completely worn off. My doctor said she gave me a shot of anesthetic, but I don’t think it kicked in before she made the cut and I completely ripped. I did some reading up, and it turns out that the numbing shots can sometimes make the tissue, for lack of a better word, explode during pushing. Which is what happened to me. Three years later, I have a new doctor and after I explained what had happened with my first L&D, she gave me the option of a scheduled C-section. I’m taking her up on it-I’d rather have my belly cut open than be ripped from stem to stern again.

    • 4Real4All

      Good choice !

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my story, I was so terrified of attempting a c-section and possibly feeling something that it put me into a panic attack. I’m seeking professional help now and it’s helped immensely, if I’d been seeing help during my pregnancy I most likely would have gone with the c-section!

    • EmmaFromÉire

      Honestly, fair play to you. This is the most frightening birth story i’ve ever read. You’ve kept this 20 year old pair of legs quite firmly crossed!

      All jokes aside tough,i’m glad you’re feeling good after seeing someone! Are you considering a third child?

    • Givemeabreak

      Nope, no more pregnancies for me. My husband got a vasectomy. Counseling or no, I honestly don’t think I could handle another one.

  • Rachel Sea

    That’s awful, I’m so sorry. Even if you don’t have any other children, counseling is probably worth it. You describe some of the symptoms of PTSD, and those can be hard to get over without help.

  • Melody

    I feel awful for you. My last 2 epidurals didn’t work and I had a 3rd degree episiotomy. I can’t imagine what you went through with babies that big. The worst was when the nurses kept telling me that I was just feeling pressure and that my epidural was fine. And I can totally relate to being terrified of giving birth during my next pregnancy. I used to panic thinking “Holy shit, this HAS to come out eventually. What have I set in motion?!?!?’ I was really hoping they could like completely knock me out and deliver the baby while I was unconscious, but no dice.

    • Givemeabreak

      Amen, preach it. Seriously. I think about 75% of the nurses I’ve dealt with where kind, honest and did their best to help. The other 25%, have a special place in hell awaiting them.

  • Rachelle

    I just want to buy you a really strong drink and shake my head along with you over strong expletives and nervous laughs. I feel lucky that all I managed to do was rip out my epidural while trying to flip my sunny side up baby, get it redone (while my mother begged the nurse to cut me open instead and telling me to stop being a hero) and rip in a star pattern (intact perinium FTW). Damn girl, just damn.

  • chickadee

    Dear my pregnant body,

    Thank you so much for merely giving me slow-to-develop labors rather than hideous monster ones, and thank you for responding so very well to epidurals. Thank you for never putting me in the position where I ended up with a story that makes me squeeze my thighs together in protest.



    And to all of you with the birth horror stories below (and above), your children had better shower you with awesome Mother’s Day gifts and bless you with delightful adolescences. Because you have suffered enough.

  • Breastfeeding Without BS

    I am amazed that she was not offered a scheduled cesarean as an option after a fourth degree tear and psychological trauma–it is standard practice to offer ECS to women if they want it after this kind of experience. Amber, I am so sorry these terrible things happened to you.

    • Givemeabreak

      :-) This is my story. We discussed ECS. I was more terrified of that than I was of attempting another vaginal delivery. I am now seeing professional help and it has improved me immensely.

    • A. M. C. B. W.

      Oh man, I loved my CS. I am sorry you had to go through that stuff. I felt the fear of God when my epidural stopped working.

  • The Great Queen Spider

    My mother couldn’t get an epidural. It wasn’t even an option for her. She suffered a fractured spine as a teen so I guess they don’t allow them for ladies who’ve had back injuries.

    • Jessie

      It depends on the back injury–if back surgery is involved it’s helpful to bring OR records.

  • Marie

    First-time pregnant. Shouldn’t have read this. Really shouldn’t have read all the comments. Nope nope nope nope nope.

    • 4Real4All

      Hi Marie, I will repeat this comment I sent to Meteor earlier: “I had two scheduled C sections because that was my choice. I wanted the doctors to be in control and it was awesome, I felt nothing, talk through it with a smile on my face, and with my husband by my head. It was so easy, I feel like I could have a C section every month. Don’t let fear discourage you.” Plus: we have to best photos and even recorded the babies first cry. Elective C section is for all the women who don’t want to take other risks and don’t want to experience the pain. I was up and running 2 days after the surgeries. No big deal. At all. Seriously. Good luck!

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I had an epidural, and still tore and had stitches in 3 places, couldn’t walk without pain for a week at least, was terrified to go to the bathroom and was afraid I was wrecked for life. That being said, 2 years later my lady bits are totally back to normal, I can’t wait to be pregnant and have another baby, and I have even considered doing it sans epidural if I can. (My blood pressure spiked after my second day in labor so they wanted me to do it to keep it down) It doesn’t have to be scary or traumatic, even if it is really painful. Every woman reacts differently, so don’t be scared :) You might even have a super stretchy perineum lol.

    • KB

      Don’t let this story or these comments (especially the completely ignorant ones) scare you. Approaching birth with fear is only setting yourself up for more pain. And PLEASE don’t believe all this talk about c-sections being “less painful” and “less risky” because the “doctor is in control”. That’s utter bullshit. C-sections are MAJOR surgery and are indeed a big deal.

    • Mette

      Marie, not every labour and delivery is awful. Don’t read all the bad stories (too late for that?). I have two wonderful boys, pregnancies were okay, not too bad, but not a bliss either. Both deliveries were fast and “easy” (6 hours from first contractions untill babies were out, and no complications), so there was no time for epidural. I won’t lie to you; it hurts like crazy, but it is worth it! When you hold your baby for the first time, it’s just undescribable. And you’ll probably be amazed at what your body can handle, I know I was.
      I wish you a calm and good delivery :)

    • tcarp0624

      Don’t panic, as every woman and every birth is different. I’ve had 2 vaginal births, both with epidurals. Honestly, for me, my period cramps hurt worse than labor. I did have episiotomies both times, and that was indeed horrendous, but even those can be avoided, or minimized.

    • Lissy

      there are wonderful and inspiring stories there for you to read. I assure you, as a L&D RN, and a mom of two (two natural, med free deliveries) that not all births are like this. They are the rare exception and not the norm.

  • rccola

    My first pregnancy and labor was a dream…my second pregnancy and labor (happened to be a boy like the author) was anything but! We had very similar experiences…my labor went way too fast (I went from every ten min, low pain at 11 pm to holy shit we need to go to the hospital because i’m pretty sure i’m going to give birth in the bathroom at 11:30 pm. he was born at 115) for me to get an epidural. he was 9 lbs and i felt every ounce. I behaved badly with all my screaming and crying and i’m certain if there had been anyone else on the delivery floor i would have traumatized them. my husband is already talking about having another….but i’m still having nightmares :)

    • Givemeabreak

      I hear you. My labor went so fast with the first one that it was like, boom, he’s here and coming quick. There was no time for anything except try to be strong (hjahahahaha, I dare anyone to try and be strong with scissors up their butt) and get it over with.

  • Jamie Wicker

    I had a natural birth w/ my first child. (not by choice). I was almost 35 weeks, and was crowning when we got to hospital… I wasn’t screaming or anything, I didn’t think it was that bad UNTILL… Baby #2 41 1/2 weeks, had to be induced. The induction pain was the worst, most unnatural horrid thing. Ever. I had an epidural which barely worked. The contractions were atrocious. I would take my natural birth over the second one any day.

  • Givemeabreak

    This is my story. I wrote this article. A couple of things. I’m 6’1″ and I weigh apx 230 lbs when not pregnant. So a 10-ish pound baby wasn’t that big of a deal for me. We did briefly discuss a c-section but it put me into a panic attack with the thought of going through a c-section and feeling it. I chose a vaginal delivery WITH drugs and prayed… I mean PRAYED. My second delivery was so easy.Even with being induced and even with me freaking out (and the GIF of kermit is very true to what it looked like) it wasn’t really that bad.

    And the GIF’s are awesome. Kudos to whoever picked those out.

    And yes, I am seeing someone now for the PTSD and it does help.

    And my husband got a vasectomy (Thank GOD!) so no, I’m not going for third times a charm.

    I guess any other questions?

    • Teal

      I’m glad to hear you’re getting help. :)

    • LinZoo

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it’s important for people to know that natural birth can go very wrong. All the stories you read online are usually so full of rainbows and hearts and I think it’s misleading. I have a question, did you have the same doctor for your second birth? Do you think you would have still had a 4th degree injury if she had not cut an episiotomy, or if she had cut it angled away from your anus instead of downward toward it (if that is what she did)? I heard they can cut them at an angle, but most of the time they cut them downward and it actually causes 3rd and 4th degree injuries. :(

  • Gail

    My epidural didnt work either…for my c-section. Kinda traumatizing. Then for my 2nd they did spinal block and it DID work but only after they tried 5 times & I was hysterically crying in pain and panic that I was totally going to feel it all again. I figure if we try for a 3rd I should just knock myself out with a frying pan before!

  • A. M. C. B. W.

    Why didn’t they offer this woman a C-section the second time? My epidural wore off, several attempts later, I was blissfully numb and holding my kiddo. C sections for life!! ;-)

  • Been there.

    This is what happens when you don’t arm yourself with education. The fear/pain cycle is a real thing. A doula, some childbirth classes… Heck. Reading a book of two would have told you right away that every pregnancy and birth are different. Did you prepare your body for labor the first time? Did you do exercises? Did you stretch your perineum? See a chiropractor? Did you deliver on hands and knees or in a squat? All of those things would have helped to prevent a tear of that degree. A good doctor that knows how to stretch and support tissues would have a gone a long way as well.

    • Teal

      Way to be condescending about someone else’s trauma. :( Shame on you.

    • Givemeabreak

      I did read books, I took several birthing classes. I woke up in labor that morning and my husband rushed me to the hospital and delivered just hours later. I delivered both of my boys on my hands and knees. The first one because that was what was the least painful, the second time it just seemed to be the way to go after the first. During both labors I had a labor nurse in massaging my perineum. Maybe instead of being such a condescending know-it all you should look it up. Most of the women that go through a fourth degree episiotomy it’s because their labor went so fast. Rude people have no business in my world.

    • Maria

      Right, because if you do everything “right” beforehand, get the “right” doctors, doulas, use the “right” exercises, etc birth is a breeze? You don’t seem to understand that the human body is not a machine that can be trained to always do things the way we want them to. No amount of prep or technique can 100% prevent a physically damaging birth nor the accompanying emotional damage. Maybe YOU need to read a book or two about the realities of birth from the perspective of those who respect birth more than they trust it.

  • mbr

    Oh Honey, I don’t have much to say other than I totally feel for you. I am so sorry that you (or anyone) has to go through this and I completely understand your continuing panic over the trauma you faced. Thank you for sharing and being honest. Many other women have experienced this and perhaps your candid thoughts will help others heal emotionally, too. Best wishes!

  • Hayri

    If it was that traumatic for you why on earth did you have another?

    • Givemeabreak

      I thought I’d be able to handle it better than I did. I know now, that is not an option for me. I am seeing help now and my husband is “fixed” there will be no more biological babies for me.

  • Teal

    A fourth degree episiotomy? Youch! I can’t imagine how traumatic that was. No wonder you were so scared the second time around!

    • Givemeabreak

      Yah, it was NOT a lot of fun. Seriously.

  • Betsytward

    I have a similar story and have major fears about a second pregnancy and birth. My “precipitious labor was under three hours from the first sign to baby. I had 3rd degree tearing about 20-30 stitches. I couldn’t sit up straight for 6 weeks. The fear in labor like that is hard to explain. I had taken 40 hours of Bradley childbirth lessons and new all about labor management. The worst is how people always say, oh, you had such a short labor! How lucky! Even my mom is unwilling to legitimize the fear I have of a secOnd labor bc she says it was just so short, how can it be so bad? Just wanted to let you know I feel your pain. I don’t know if your dov diagnosed your labor as precipitious, but it might make you feel better to look it up. It is nice to know my second might not be that way:) although for me, the doc said it was genetic…

    • Givemeabreak

      I used to think that the next person to tell me how lucky I was to have short quick labors, was going to get a high five to their face with a brick. After 2 labors like this, thankfully only first had the 4th degree the second I had none, but still… I’m done with labor. Would I like to have more kids, you betcha. Am I going through this again? NO. Hence the face that my DH got a vasectomy for Christmas.

  • AmazingE

    Dang. It’s stories like this that help me appreciate how truly lucky I am. I have two children (one 7, one 8 months) and the two experiences couldn’t have been more different. With my first, aside from some really intense morning sickness in the first few months, being pregnant was a breeze. L&D on the other hand was a nightmare. I wanted to try for a natural birth, and boy was that the biggest mistake i’ve ever made. I ended up being so traumatized by the pain that I couldn’t have sex for a year and a half because I was terrified of the pain of giving birth.

    Fast forward six years and i’m pregnant again. This time around my pregnancy was nothing short of hellish. Every awful pregnancy symptom you could have, I got. Headaches that wouldn’t go away, blood pressure issues, blood sugar issues, muscle pains, joint pains, the works. Thank the gods I had an OB that listened to my concerns about the pain associated with L&D, because as a result I had a smooth, mostly painless delivery.

    At any rate, I wanted to thank you for sharing your story, because one thing i’ve noticed is that people sometimes have a tendency to dismiss or gloss over some of the nasty realities of pregnancy and giving birth. I understand that every pregnancy and birth is different for every woman, but the way I see it, sugar coating some of the less pleasant aspects of the whole thing doesn’t do anyone any favors. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst is what I say.

  • mommageek

    I am guessing this poor woman did nothing in the way of child birth classes or preparation or natural pain management techniques that would have gone a long way.
    For example, perineum massages with borage oil etc can help prevent tearing in the weeks leading up to birth.
    If she had a midwife or doula they could have helped stretch her as the baby crowned so the epi may not have been necessary.
    I too felt traumatized after my first birth, but my water broke first and I had 14 hours of extreme back labor, without drugs as I birthed at home. I made it through.
    When I was pregnant with my second I joked I had PTSD from the first and also spent a good amount of time stressed out about labor, then I found “Thank you Dr. Lamaze” a book by a mom who actually learned from Dr. Lamaze and his nurse in france and used the techniques in her labor back in the day when they were basically putting women into comas to labor.
    I used the techniques for my second labor and made it through much more easily, again without any intervention.
    I’m pregnant with our third, and will be trying the same route.
    Each pregnancy and labor are very different, but a lot of the issues this poor mom encountered could have been headed off if she had been informed of all the things to expect and possibilities. I hope that she is able to move past the pain and fear and birth.

    • blh

      A baby coming out of your vag is going to hurt, especially one that big. Hoe exactly is a birthing class going to help that??

  • bookworm81

    9 lbs 10 oz and 26 inches? That’s got to be a typo. My 10 lb 4 oz son was only 22 inches and he was skinny (my daughter was the same weight but shorter so she was a chunk). Another 4 inches and he would have looked emaciated.

    • bookaday19

      My son was 7 lb 11 oz and 21″. How your 10 lb son could have been skinny at 22″ I’m not quite getting. That said, I’m not sure I’ve ever known of a baby over 22″ – 26″ seems outrageously long (tall? I mean, that’s over 2 ft!).

  • KDL

    This could be me in reverse. Awful first pregnancy, great delivery. Fantastic 2nd pregnancy (9 years and ALOT of convincing later) and awful delivery, complete with 4th degree episiotomy and an epidural that wore off 5 minutes before the cutting began. I’ve decided I’m done now!

  • Junebug

    I feel you. While I didn’t experience trauma to my lady bits, my son suffered a brain injury and is severely disabled as a result. I SHOULD have had a c-section but alas it didn’t happen. Vaginal birth is so overrated. My next birth will be an elective c-section, for sure.

  • SisterBenedict

    Thank you for your honesty in telling your story. I’m glad that some women are now coming forward and telling the truth about their experiences, so other women aren’t surprised when bad things happen to them, too. I have no children and am surgically sterile, and I’m frequently challenged by parents about my very personal decision. I am tokophobic, which means I have an intense fear of pregnancy and childbirth. Experiences like you suffered are yet one more reason I’m glad I made my choice. I wouldn’t be able to handle that degree of agony, period, and even the thought of it has made my palms sweaty.

  • HomebirthRocks

    Epidurals cause more damage than they prevent to the pelvic floor muscles and take much longer to heal from. I had two big ole boys and I’m a tiny lady and never had so much as a single tear because my midwife used olive oil and coached me to push slowly so my tissues could stretch instead of tear. Healed in 2 weeks. Choose a midwife, midwives don’t do episiotomies unless there is a major emergency. OBs do them almost every time unless you are saying “do not cut me!”

  • bookaday19

    I’m always amazed that anyone wants to feel the pain of labor. I didn’t have a birth plan, didn’t want to massage my “taint” w/oils, would never consider letting anyone but a trained OB/GYN deliver and care for me, didn’t want to do anything other than show up at the hospital, have an epidural inserted (preferably while bending over the Sign In desk!), and just hang out until baby came. Water broke, labor started 8 hours later (was at hospital whole time), got epidural 2 hours later (middle of night, took a while – those two hours hurt!), got pit drip 4 hours later because didn’t dialate past 2cm, had C section 22 hours after water broke – it was easy, totally pain free, and recovery took about 10 days. 2nd baby was scheduled C – and I’ve taught my teenage daughter to hope for a C when her turn comes (hopefully in about 15 years!) – they are the best!

  • Lilly

    I also had an immeasurably painful natural birth with my only child, even though during my pregnancy I had affirmed my fearlessness with HypnoBirthing classes; I was looking forward to a “relaxed, perhaps painless” birth. Total bullshit (in my experience). My labor was very fast, and there was absolutely no serene downtime in between contractions (which were already about 20 seconds apart). Thankfully everything turned out flawlessly, medically speaking. I didn’t tear, I recovered quickly, and my new baby was perfect.

    I did experience more than a year of nasty PPD, which I did not admit and which no one seemed to notice. I was so resentful of the pain and the fact that no one cared and in turn, I resented my baby. In my mind this little being had hurt me so badly, like I had been abused. I think that is part of birth trauma, our bodies remembering that pain, and it doesn’t matter how much you love the person who caused it. It’s still real.

    I think the turning point for me was when I saw a sexual healer. Truthfully we weren’t doing a proper session; this man is a friend of mine and sometimes lover who happens to do incredible sexual healing work. But we were in a sexual situation, and at the point where he had his fingers on my cervix, I suddenly felt an intense rush of tears. They came up like vomit, and he just kept his hand there while I cried and cried and cried. He asked me what was coming up for me, and it was my birth. I just knew it was. Two and a half years later, and I was finally releasing the pain of my childbirth experience. I realize now that after that, my emotional relationship with my son just opened up and went to this next level that I wasn’t sure I’d ever achieve.

  • Teleute

    You were very brave to have gone through with that second pregnancy. Childbirth was by far the worst experience of my life, though the baby was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Never, never, never again. I’ve got the one I want.

  • Anne Puschmann LeClaire

    Ugh… I went through the same thing with my first and had a 4th degree tear from episiotomy after a horrible induction. I shouldn’t have been induced :( I had nightmares with my second pregnancy. I switched to a homebirth midwife and delivered the same sized baby without even hardly a bruise. It was so healing. I hope all of you that went through birth trauma can find what brings you peace too.

  • Mmno

    Aww I’m so sorry you had a bad experience. You should definitely look into Hypnobabies. I did that and had a painfree birth. It helps retrain your mind about birth, keep you calm, and help you enjoy birth. Xoxo

  • ms_elroy

    Sounds like they had you push waaaay to quickly and way too hard the first time. Your doctor should have had you wait and hold off a bit. They are the ones that failed, that really sucks!!

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  • Kay

    Holy shit. Just… Holy shit. Screw childbirth, man. Never. Nope.

  • www

    Oh stop complaing! Be glad you could GET pregnant, have your stupid husband with you there and love you through it! It’s a natural process and it was your choice for not using a drug!

  • Shannon

    You are such a good story teller :) this made me laugh the whole way through. Im so sorry for your pain though :(

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