"I can’t go back to being who I was before, and this is true to some extent to any new mother but I know I need to find a way to accept what has happened in order to move forwards"
I had an absolute breeze of a pregnancy, no morning sickness, lots of energy - and I worked out twice a week with an exercise physiologist to ensure I was being kind to my body. Throughout my pregnancy I developed a great rapport with my OB. My preference was to have a natural birth, with minimal pain relief, but I was also pretty flexible. We had discussed that if I needed to have a c-section that was ok, and to make the call early rather than to leave me labouring for 24-48 hours.
On the day my baby was born, my waters broke and then 7 hours later I went into labour. - my contractions were 3.5 minutes apart from the beginning. Unfortunately my baby had turned to the posterior position, so after 4 hours of excruciating back contractions, I went into hospital. I had dilated 7 cm, but knew that my baby wasn't coming in time soon as she hadn’t moved a cm during the 4 hours - so I opted for an epidural, which was amazing!
After I was fully dilated, I was instructed to push - which I did for over two hours - but my baby wouldn’t budge. At that point, an OB I didn’t know tried manual rotation, as did my own OB about 30 minutes later. My body was starting to go into shock, so my OB recommended that I go to theatre and that she would try to bring my baby out with forceps, and if that didn’t work I would need a c-section. I was given a long list of risks associated with c-sections, but told nothing about the forceps.
So, after being rushed down to theatre my baby was born with the assistance of rotational forceps. But, in order for this to happen, I had to push, my OB had to pull with all of her might, and I had on orderly on each leg as counter-force against the pulling. At the time, I had reflected that it was a ‘violent’ birth, but left it at that as we were both healthy...
Compared to the mothers in my mother’s group, my recovery was slow. I had mild incontinence issues and a lot of pain that wouldn’t subside. At 8 weeks postpartum, I saw a gynaecologist to get an IUD put in. She told me I had a prolapse - which is something I’d never heard of. So, I went to Physio, went to see a urogynaecologist and everyone confirmed that I had a prolapsed bowel, bladder and uterus. This would never get better as during birth, the force had been so significant that the muscles on one side had ripped off of my pelvis - and we don’t have the technology to re-attach muscle to bone...
When I reflect back on my birth experience, I’m very frustrated that my OB (or birthing classes) didn’t tell me about the risks of prolapse from forceps. Having now educated myself, I know that the use of rotational forceps is highly likely to lead to forceps. A c-section has risks, but I was not given the opportunity to make a fully informed decision.
So, for the rest of my life, I won’t be able to run or do any exercise that involves two feet off the ground. I’ll be the bag holding mumma...