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The Place He Was Born – Trigger Warning: Birth Trauma

*Updated 29/09/2016

The Place He Was Born

Learning to Love My Scar

 

A Traumatic Birth

My son’s birth was terrible in so many ways. It set me up for some pretty dark days for a long time after he was born. It’s a really hard thing to consolidate that the day he was born was the worst day of my life – when it should have been the best. And it’s so awful that the joy I should have felt meeting my son for the first time was overshadowed by the trauma I experienced. Most of which was caused directly by the actions of the hospital staff.

For some time afterwards both family and friends were angry at the hospital on my behalf. For some context, it was bad enough both the obstetrician and the midife apologised to me for what they did the following day. A friend who is a midwife suggested – and insisted – that under the circumstances I could have sued the hospital.

But while everyone was angry around me I was the one saying “It’s okay, he’s here, he’s healthy, and everything is fine.” Everything was not fine. I was traumatised. I was barely keeping it together. But I just wasn’t ready to unpack that pain.

The Long Road To Recovery

 

Though gradually with the help of a perinatal psychologist I was able to make some sense of what had happened to me.

But even two years after he was born it upset me that my cesarean scar still occasionally prickled and tingled, especially in the shower. The skin around it was numb, so it didn’t feel like it was part of my body. I felt like it wasn’t supposed to be there. I had stretch marks and extra skin on my belly, my breasts had changed shape and I always looked tired, but I was okay with those changes because they were supposed to happen, I expected them.

But here was this scar, this alien feature on my body, this constant, inescapable reminder of what had happened to me.

His scar was a reminder of where they had cut me. And everything that happened leading up to it.

It was ugly. It made me feel unsexy and embarrassed. I hated knowing that it would always be there.

Planning For Another Birth

 

Getting pregnant for the second time was both wonderful and scary. Early in pregnancy I could feel my scar tissue tugging and stretching. Even though I was scared, I planned to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after a Cesarean)

I was told over and over by midwives, my doctor and obstetrician that my scar could rupture. It could be the part of my body that gives way. That it made birthing dangerous. The obstetrician even graphically described the consequences of a full tear – telling me my uterus could rip open, my baby would come out into my abdominal cavity and she then suffocate.

All because of my scar. I was being told my scar put my baby girl at risk. So I had even more reason to resent it.

Telling Him Where He Was Born

As my pregnancy progressed my son, who was three years old at the time, started to have questions about his baby sister – and specifically how was his baby sister supposed to get OUT of me.

He then naturally wanted to know how he was born.

So, I told him in simple and age appropriate terms.

I said that I’d gone to the hospital and the doctor had to cut my belly and lift him out. I showed him the scar. I told him that’s where he came out of me. That the scar was the place where he was born.

And that was when I started to really heal, inside and out.

I’ve come to see the scar as where he left my body and came into my life.

The place he was born can’t be that operating room, it was quiet, sterile and too brightly lit – the place where I was terrified and surrounded by people I didn’t trust.

He wasn’t born from that hospital, he came from me, from my body; he came out of that scar.

Then the scar held together and my baby girl was born in a dark, warm room – where I felt safe and respected – and I healed a little more.

I don’t think I’ll ever be happy about how my son was born, but I can be happy that I get to wear on my body the place he was born for the rest of my life.

 

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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Lisa’s Birth Stories

I have experienced two births and both were total shit. I agreed to the second bub with the hubby thinking that “they” (you know as in “they say that….”) were right in that the second one was quicker and less painful than the first, which was excruciating. If someone had handed me a loaded gun I would have pulled the trigger to stop the pain. Both times. Did I mention the midwife called me a drama queen??

16 comments

  1. Rachael Morrow

    I ve had three c sections because I can’t have my babies naturally and reading things like this just makes me feel even more like I a failure to give birth naturally I really wished that people would consider others feelings before saying things like that sorry but I find this really offensive !!’ I m about 12 weeks away from having my fourth baby and so sad still that I have to have an op again but you know what from c sections I will be able to have four amazing children if I was born in another era I would be dead and so would my first born !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rachel Stewart

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been upset by what I’ve written. This my story about my son’s birth, and my own feelings towards having had an emergency csection. If there’s anything I can change in what I’ve written to be more sensitive, please let me know, as the absolute last thing I’d want to do is hurt anyone by sharing my experience.

    • Rachael Morrow

      No I was just saying my what I think so it’s all good I m glad u were able to have a natraul birth after a c section

  2. Melissa Kelsey

    This is someones real experience, some ones real feelings. you might be OK with having a c-section you might not, i know i was, i was more ok with that than natural birth. each person has their own thoughts and feelings about how to birth their babies and each one is valid and deeply personal to them. Rachel is very brave to put herself out there and talk about such a difficult experience she had that might just help some one else come to terms with a difficult and not to plan birth. it is very true that with out modern medicine many mothers and babies would be dead, that doesnt mean they can’t have negative feelings about the surgery, especially when when it is drilled into our heads that if we can’t do it naturally we have failed. best of luck with your 4th c-section.

  3. Lauren Rode

    Rachael Morrow – how is reading Rachels PERSONAL thoughts over her own body and *scar* – offensive to you??? Just because she has feelings and sadness over her birth, doesn’t mean everyone should feel like that.
    I personally had a c-section and LOVED every single minute. I don’t feel as a failure, but I certainly don’t find others feelings on the matter to be offensive.
    You can still be thrilled and happy and elated at the birth of your child, and finally holding them in your arms, but that doesn’t mean you have to discount the feelings of sadness for not experiencing the birth you expected.

    • Rachael Morrow

      Because I m pregnant and emotional for some reason when u r pregnant every one “thoughts ” about what is right and wrong and how fat I should be or not and how I have my baby or not and where I go and what I eat and drink everyone had a “thought ” on what I should be doing and I suppose I just wrote my “THOUGHTS” sorry if I offended u

    • Lauren Rode

      I think its a vicious circle really. I found my experience empowering, but fully understand that others didn’t have the same experience as me…. I personally know Rachel, and know this must have taken her a lot to get to this point to write this down, and then another step all together to publish it. Sorry if I offended you by getting upset from your comments, I just saw Rach taking a huge leap, acknowledging her changed body, and the first comment was less then positive.
      I hope your next CS goes smoothly. x

  4. Amanda Beard

    That made me a bit teary, what a beautiful way to think of your scar

  5. Tammy Kowald

    ‘Exactly how it should have been’
    I find that statement offensive and inflammatory. I have two boys, both born during difficult births, the second by c-section under a full general..ie I was unconscious. How it should have been, is however it takes to end up with a live healthy baby and mother. In a warm dark room, we’d both be dead.
    This persons story is her own but not my experience, nor anyone I know and speaks more to her personal issues rather than to c-section births.
    In my opinion.

    • Rachel Stewart

      Hi, thank you – I didn’t think that it could be interpreted as anything other than my own feelings about my own birth experience. I am going to make that amendment right now on the page.

    • Tammy Kowald

      Hi Rachel.
      I think your personal story is your own and can and should be shared, but I believe too much emphasis is placed by the media on how we birth our babies, natural, c-section, drugs, no drugs, meditation, hypnosis and the list goes on. I think we should all work to support new mothers more as we both know, the hard stuff starts the day you go home, no matter how you birthed your baby.
      Brave of you to share your story so publicly.

    • Wendy Sawan

      Rachel Stewart I don’t think you should make any amendment as this is YOUR birth experience!!

  6. Lauren Rode

    And “people should consider others feelings before saying things like that”….. Sorry, what, that their experience wasn’t great??? But it’s acceptable every single day for people to tell their horrid vaginal birth stories, and women seem to accept it?????
    Sooo what…? People aren’t aloud to verbalize their feelings and emotions after having unexpected MAJOR abdominal surgery? Ugh.

  7. Emily Travis

    That’s a beautiful piece. It seems sort of poetic that it was Jasper’s questions that helped you make peace with your scar.
    And I hope your friend’s birth goes well 🙂

  8. Kathleen Boyd

    Well I personally hate how my c section has changed my body. But you know what , I love that this was performed. I have a beautiful baby girl. On with living, I say.

  9. Amy Ahearn

    I’ve never had a c section- I think this was really well written and brave and an entirely PERSONAL account- I didn’t get the impression that you were judging the way others choose or need to birth their babies at all.