Healing After Traumatic Birth
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
Nicole Morales : One of the biggest moments of your life has come. You have given birth to a beautiful baby. When a baby is born one is expected to feel deep joy and love but what if you also feel confusion or trauma or lack of self-worth? What if it affects your relationships with your loved ones? How does one begin to move forward to resolve this emotional and sometimes physical conflict? I am Nicole Morales mother, doula, mid wife and a birthing from within mentor. I am here to walk us through ways one may heal after a traumatic birth. This is Parent Savers, Episode 11.
KC Wilt : Welcome to Parent Savers broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host, KC Wilt. Parent Savers is all about helping new parents preserve their sanity by getting new expert advice from the babyiers to the toddlers. Feel free to send us emails or suggestions on our website https://www.parentsavers.com or our Facebook page and you can also call the Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775. I am a new parent myself. My son Carson just turned 19 months this last week and I am joined by three new parents in the studio.
Kyla Pince : My name is Kyla Pince. I am 31 years, I have a son who is 14 months old and I am an Office Manager for a heart surgeon.
KC Wilt : Great.
Esther Altman : Hi, I am Esther Altman. I am 27 years. I have a daughter who is turning 2.5 years in August and I am expecting another baby at the end of September and I am a stay-at-home mom.
Sarah Overbey : Hi, my name is Sarah Overbey. I have twins who are 2.5 years. I have a boy and a girl. And I work for a Software company in Marketing.
KC Wilt : It’s awesome to have you guys here, thanks.
[Featured Segment: News Headlines]
KC Wilt : We are discussing in her headlines from the Atlantic. A friend of mine sent me this on the Facebook page. The headline is “Why women still can’t have it all?” And the picture in front has a little baby girl in a briefcase and it basically talks about this actually women was pretty high up in like Washington .D.C. She is basically leading talks and you know get graduation speeches and things like them people young women have asked her how do you juggle family? How do you juggle your work? How do you juggle your husband? And all this other stuffs and she has come to the conclusion that “You can’t have it all?” And some people disagree with that because the whole basis of other women in government, in high positions they believe “You can have it all. You can do this” you know all the liberation of women. What do you guys think? Can we have it all?
Kyla Pince : I think that it’s difficult to have a full time career and be the mother, the parent, the wife that you would like to be. It’s very time consuming and it’s hard to give all of your attention to all of those things.
KC Wilt : Oh! Yeah, even it says in the first page, it says we can’t manage to rise at the level as fast as men and have a family and an active home wife and be slim and beautiful you know.
Kyla Pince : Something’s gonna go.
Sarah Overbey : I think that so much depends on the husband or the partner and the support system that you have may be, having family around so how much you can have, how much you can give, what you can do, it just depends on each person surrounding and who they have is their core support system. You know, I lived away from my family and was much harder to have the job and career. And now that I am back in San Diego and living around my family support system again, it’s easier. I can spend more time with my kids or you know putting time into my job so it just depends.
Esther Altman : Well, I am a stay at home mom and that was a choice that my husband and I made together primarily because I realized that I couldn’t take care of my daughter the way that I wanted to while also having a full time job. What I found interesting in her article when she mentions it more towards to the end is the idea that we can’t have it all in the world that we live in today in terms of what professional commitments are expected of us. However, if we would make it more way a women friendly, mother friendly, professional environment, we could do it.
KC Wilt : Yeah.
Esther Altman : And it would be better for men and for women because men want to be home with their children. My husband works from 8.00 am in the morning till 7.30pm-8.00pm at night and our daughter goes to bed at 10.00pm or 11.00pm because of it. He needs to spend time with his kid. But it’s not fair for him to have to work for so many hours and evenings at home and the weekend but that’s the tradeoff we made because in this culture of, you have to work all the time if you want to make any money, we both couldn’t do it.
KC Wilt : Yeah.
Esther Altman : But it’s really sad if we would change it and make it a country where we cared about family, I think women and men could work and also have time with their family and have that balance.
KC Wilt : There is a lot of countries in Europe and stuff I know Sweden is really family friendly. I wonder it’s just one of the things that you know sometimes I wanna pick up a move to like Europe and find a country that like appreciates me being a mother and my husband being a father. And I guess the article is right, “We can’t have it all” Okay, great things we are talking we will post this on our Pinterest board and you guys can read the full research page itself because it’s more than a 3 page article. It’s very deep and in depth and it’s good to read though. So, you can check it out and read a little bit more how she ends the whole thing so that we can help all Americans to have healthy, happy, productive lives, valuing the people they love as much as the success they seek, put that on our dream board one day.
KC Wilt : Today on Parent Savers we have Nichole Morales birth educator of birthing from within here with us to talk and walk us through how to live our life after a traumatic birth? So, I haven’t explained my birth on this show but it’s out in there in cyber space somewhere but my birth, I’m just gonna give a quick over view of this. So, I labored for a very long time over 20 hours in the last 5 hours, I pushed for 5 hours and I was at a birthing center so it do have medication and pushing for 5 hours is very hard. It messes you up for the next 4 months. You can’t really do a lot of things and then my son was born not breathing and he had to go be rushed off in an ambulance to the ICU where he spent his first week. And of course after pushing for 5 hours you can’t sit but what do you do at the ICU? Sit for a long period of time so there is a lot of feelings on both the ends. So actually that’s how I met Nicole. Someone sort me out to her and she helped actually walk through the birth with my husband and I because you know, stuffs like that it’s hard to get over but anyways I know in this format we don’t have a lot of time to go in depth about our birth story. But I know there are women out there who have experienced all game since we wanted to let you know that you know, speaking related to you so we are share little about each of our stories just so that you know that there are people out there who have experiences. So, we can all add to the conversation and know that we have experiences anyways let you go.
Kyla Pince : Okay, so I had planned for months to have as natural birth as possible at the hospital. I didn’t wanna have any medication. I wanted to you know labor through taking showers, walking around, doing whatever I needed to do to get through the labor without using any medication. And unfortunately, I had really high blood pressure and so they were concerned about me getting a preeclampsia so they had me hooked up to monitors. So, I wasn’t allowed to go more than 2 feet away from the bed and so I could actually use the ball, utilize the ball that was basically all I could do. And then after a while they were more concerned so I couldn’t even leave the bed they had to put a monitor inside to monitor the baby as well because they were having trouble hearing the heartbeat. So, half way through I was fine I was normal and didn’t even have any pain at all and then out of nowhere I was in excrusiating pain. So, I asked them you know, how far long I was? How dilated I was? Because I didn’t wanna have any medication and instead of checking me they said “Oh! You may be 5 centimeters dilated. You are not having this until tomorrow afternoon. There is no way that I can survive until tomorrow afternoon” and so I thought there is no way that I can survive until tomorrow afternoon in this pain. There’s just absolutely no way. So, my husband ordered the epidural for me. I had the epidural. The doctor comes in and she said “You are almost dilated 10 and you are ready to have this baby” So, I was so frustrated, disappointed, angry all the above because you know, I could have made it if I was already at 10 and I knew that it would be whole another story. So, then she leaves, she says “I will be back” and she leaves me in there for over 2 hours waiting for her when I was dilated 10. I could had the baby been pushing or whatever. She left because apparently they were busy and she had other people to go see and since I had the epidural I guess it made her easy to leave me because she knew that I could just hang out. So, I was stuck in the, in the bed and to top it off the epidural didn’t work completely so only half of my body was numb but the other half I could still feel you know, the contractions. And then once she came back she said “Oh! You are ready to have this baby” and I said “Yeah, I have been ready for quite a while now” and I only pushed may be 4 times and he came right out so that was great. But it was just frustrating that my experience was so dragged on and then just a kind of also the umbilical cord was little bit in the way so I also had an episiotomy which I also didn’t wanna have I don’t think anyone wants to have that but so that was also something that wasn’t in my plan or idea for my birth so....
KC Wilt : Sarah?
Sarah Overbey : Well, I planned, my husband and I planned on having one child and walked around when I got pregnant thought I am just gonna have one and then the first ultrasound discovered it was twins so that plan kind of went out the window, thanks goodness. And I basically went into sort of a labor with contractions at 23 weeks got put on bed rest and then had my daughter. Her placenta abrupted and so I gave birth to them at 27 weeks 5 days and it was an emergency C section that was, there was a severe bleeding I had to sign off for a blood transfusion to save my life and mean while they were pulling the babies out of me and they can’t find the heartbeat it was just a very difficult, overwhelming experience. And I remember when they kind of lifted up my daughter showed me your whole you think of having kids you imagine holding a baby and having a moment and mine was taken to another hospital. And so I was at the hospital recovering from a C section and you know, lost lot of blood so I was really week, low blood pressure. And my husband had to leave the next day to continue with fire academy that he was doing and so I was gonna learn and didn’t have my kids with me so I didn’t even get to see them or really hold them for, it was 3 days after I gave birth to them. And then my daughter had some issues so I got to wait a little while to hold her but they are healthy now and but the whole experience…..
KC Wilt : Yeah.
Sarah Overbey : I never wanna go through again but,
KC Wilt : Oh! Gosh the waterworks are starting now…
Sarah Overbey : That’s my, basically my birth story.
KC Wilt : Thanks for sharing, Esther?
Esther Altman : My water broke and I had no contractions and I refused to really educate myself prior to the birth experience because I was petrified with the idea of massive amounts of pain that overwhelms you. You know when I asked my mom what your birth experience was? She was like “I don’t know. You go to the hospital, you get to put that whole baby comes out. It’s so good.” That’s a great accent so you know, that’s my mom’s way of explaining it to me and I was really scared you know I didn’t wanna deal with the whole thing. So, we went to the hospital and right away they put me on pitoci n and I knew I really didn’t need it and I told the doctor I wasn’t interested in it and she said “Okay, fine go walk around for 4 hours, waste your time walking around and then you can come back and get your potoson. It’s your choice whatever you want” And at that point I am like well, the doctor probably knows best so “Okay, I will get the pitocin” Then about 7 hours into it, it became extremely painful for me and they gave me an epidural and that’s when everything became really scary because I am having massive contractions from the potoson and bent over. There is a needle going into my back it’s really, it’s really scary and the doctor was like “Oh! That’s not good” and I am like “What?”
KC Wilt : Words you never wanna to hear.
Esther Altman : I never wanna hear, because I have heard about people being paralyzed or having lifelong issues from an epidural so I was like “Okay, what does that mean?” and he was like “Oh! You just had a little I will do it again” So he did it again and I started getting numb up to like my shoulder almost and about five minutes after that epidural and after he left I started to pass out because I guess I have low blood pressure as it is and they wanna prepare before I started to pass out. And everyone is running in and then trying to fill me with saline and ephedrine or whatever it just, it started a whole line of mistakes made by this beginning nurse that I had in the night shift and she was constantly freaking out and running in and telling me she couldn’t find the baby’s heart rate and it was really scary the whole night. I just couldn’t sleep, I hadn’t eaten so the birth goes for about 24 hours and about 10 hours into the epidural I ended up not having any pain management any more so I had the full experience of the potoson without any epidural. They gave me epidural again and again started to pass out and again the whole saline and everything. And then after about 24 hours where I was already screaming the last 4 or 5 because of the potoson pain the doctor comes in and he is like “Look you are 7cm she hasn’t dropped out at all I think it’s an emergency for C section” and at that point I am like “You can kill me. Whatever you want I don’t care” In 5 minutes he is like “Okay, in about 45 minutes we will do the C section” and then about 5 minutes later for the 10th time or 20th time I don’t even know, I had 5 nurses running in there and going “We can’t find the heart rate, we can’t find the heart rate” And just transferring onto a another table and going in for the emergency C section and then my husband is getting ready and scrubs as I am leaning there on the table we realized that epidural is not gonna work for the C section and at that point they were like “We gonna have to put you under” And I just remember holding onto the doctors hand and just crying “Am I gonna make it through all of this. Does the baby going to make it” and he actually was really like kind he is like “Everything is going to be fine. It’s going to be fine” he held my hand until I fell asleep. And then when I woke up and I was in this room healing with all these other patients who had other surgeries with the effect of C section and I remember going “where is my husband? Where is my husband?” And the nurse going “He is fine, he has your baby” And I kept on asking her where he was and she was like “If you are not going to be quiet you are not going to see him” I really remember that it was like after 2 minutes my mouth,
KC Wilt : Oh! My god.
Esther Altmen : That was a little bit like delusional like where is my husband? “What’s going on?” and she was like “You be quite or you gonna have to wait longer” So, that when you know I was quite and the healing process after the whole thing was really hard for me, nursing was really hard, having an emergency C section and thankfully my baby was fine and she was totally healthy and that was a huge relief for me. But it was a very stressful experience for us, no sleep for 24 hours because nurses were running in and freaking me out and then you don’t eat right? You can’t eat when you are in the hospital for 24 hours after C section I think you don’t eat for another 12 to 20 hours or drink anything. So, by the time everything was kind of over I didn’t wanna eat or drink, my husband had to force me to be interested in the physical things again because it’s just you go through so much fear and pain you are almost shut down, at least I did. So…..
KC Wilt : Yeah, well thank you ladies all of you guys for sharing all of your stories. It really touched me so these stories are very deep and there is a lot inside each and every one of them and I really wanna acknowledge that because we are probably not gonna deal with that today. We are not gonna really have the time for all of us to sit down and talk about all those different moments that, that you do carry with you after such an experience. So, thank you guys for sharing them.
KC Wilt : Today on Parent Savers we have Nicole Morales and she is helping us walk and talk and heal through our traumatic births. Nicole what is the definition of a traumatic birth?
Nicole Morales : Traumatic births can be different for everybody because you are in the middle of such an intense experience you know, moms can have different things that come up within the stories that you said today you know, where you have injury, death or something happening to themselves or to their babies and they take that with them after the birth experience and it just stays with them. And different people can bring you know, trauma can be different for different people can look like regret of how they even had with their birth plans. A very beautiful, wonderful birth to one person to another person may not be that way. They might have certain agreements that were from either as a child or an adult or what they think a birth should look like going into the birth and if it doesn’t look that way. That disappointment comes out as being trauma. It could be you know for example that could be you know birth is not painful and what if they experience a painful birth that could be quite traumatic or that you know, birth is you know, is going to be a full day of labor and what if their baby comes out you know, before they make it to the hospital what that looks like. And so it can look different ways that way and also it can be something more intense like flashbacks or re-living emotional memories or physical memories after the birth like post-traumatic stress injury. And it also can, the other thing the traumatic birth can do is we engage certain aspects of neurological- our body, our responses that are like reflects us and we have fight flight freeze response.
KC Wilt : Yeah.
Nicole Morales : And I find a lot of people freeze or have these moments of feeling frozen during their birth and if you go back and you think about your birth and you think about where you may have wished you had yelled out and said “No” or yelled out and said “Oh! you know, I don’t want this or could you please” or even just moments when you are told not to push and you are ready to push or you know, where you wish you had gotten up and done something different. In all of these things that we know we want to do with our bodies somehow we just shove them right back down inside of our bodies and they kind of stay in there and they can stay trapped in there. And then you, overtime they come back up to be released so those kinds of things that can be traumatic within you.
KC Wilt : Definitely.
Nicole Morales : That you carry with you.
Esther Altmen: I totally see that after I gave birth I saw every pregnant women I will be like “You know that has to come out” and I saw the week after I gave birth I remember driving on the streets I have seen a women with pushing a stroller and holding her kids in hand and she had one and she decided to have a second like how do you do that? I actually started to cry every time when I saw pregnant women I would cry, I got so upset. So, how do you move on with your lives because you have to take care of a baby and I wanted a big family so not after my first child I want a big family but I don’t want to go through the birth process ever again so how do you survive that? How do you take care of the baby’s plan for more when we are so emotionally discarded from it?
Nicole Morales : Well, everybody moves on in different ways you know, and you know everybody has unique birth there is not we can create generalizations but you know all births are unique and all postpartum transitions are unique. And just like birth healing is gonna be unique to different people and you know people find different ways, ways of healing I mean some people will heal by writing out their birth story and talking with your friends and they feel as if they come to a place of healing. For somebody else they might actually heal through a subsequent birth or not heal through a subsequent birth. Some people just to get from the beginning of the day to end of the day might need medication. And you know looking at the whole range of things and experiences it might be that any medication to get through the day or to get through the week or to get through the month to the point where you are able to start working through some of the issues that you have because there is such a range of how people, how people cope. But I think different things that they can do is first I invite anybody to have compassion for themselves and that they start forgiving themselves and looking at what they do well or what they did well during this experience and how they do well and their days to day in that you sleep, eat, take care of yourselves, and reduce stress you know, they are also ways of moving through some of this looking for coping tools. Coping tools that you may have had since you are child or coping tools that you have found as an adult and being mindful and being in the moment rather than worrying about all of the different things ahead of you and just work on one thing at a time and also recognize how these things might have had relationships with people around you or even bonding with the baby and looking at ways you can start renewing that bond. So this is also a different way of not necessarily moving on to your day to day. And also I think that is important because you know you mentioned something about the next birth, it just also realizing that in preparing for the next birth really looking through, really dealing with some of the issues that came up with the past birth and facing some of those things and reframing them, reframing them in a way that you can come into your next birth feeling open to birthing.
Sarah Overbey : Well, Nicole I have a question for you?
Nicole Morales : Sure.
Sarah Overbey : My husband wasn’t able to attend our daughter’s birth because I had to be put under and even though he won’t talk about it I know that there is some kind of trauma or pain for him regarding the fact that he wasn’t able to be part of that process. How do you suggest I deal with that and help him?
Nicole Morales : Well, I think first of all that you are already starting to deal with it and help him because you are acknowledging the fact that he probably has those feelings. And his experience, partner experiences of birth are very different than mother’s experiences even if they are in the birth room with them going through every single thing at a time. His experiences are also not one, not necessarily being there with you I mean, partners when they are in the birth from different things that different rules, different hats they play and even when they are not in the birth room they have different hats that they wear. So, in the birth room for sure they are wearing different hats like their labor support, there is lot of expectations on partners.
Sarah Overbey : Oh! Yeah.
Nicole Morales : So, labor support you know protect her, supposed to protect the person in the room. They are also supposed to be present for the birth of their baby and the birth of them as a father. So, as somebody who wasn’t at the birth there are certain things that they hope they had done to set certain things up and there is certain things that they have to deal with after the birth has happened you know, but still have those certain archetypal roles of supporting their partner. And so there are gonna be emotions in regards to were they there for you and were they may not have been able to be there with you? So, I really encourage partners to actually have a separate time to may be seek out some help and work with their birth story. I don’t see men as usually having a group of men to go talk about the birth story what they felt?
C Wilt : So sad.
Nicole Morales : Yes it is you know, and talk about what they feel like you know they might have felt adequate and they might have felt as if they weren’t able to be something as they wanted to but I do find that moms issues with birth are sometimes completely different than what dads are even if they were in the same room because they do have different even as a witness you have different experience. And he is a witness in a different way; he is a witness in a sense that he has witnessed things from a far I don’t if he got updates. I don’t know sometimes not knowing what’s happening can be just as traumatic as knowing what’s happening. And so there is so much there to work with, within a birth story and I think that is nice some people do some work together but having that work to do separately so that people can feel all of those feelings that they might not reveal to the partner because they don’t want to give them more trauma.
KC Wilt : Oh! More emotional now because exactly that you know we spoke with Nicole and she has walked us through and at one point she said what’s the moment that you don’t share with anybody? When you cross over, when you tell your birth story and my moment was completely different than my husband moments you know and hearing that moment just speak hearing that moment and he felt helpless was so hard for me to hear you know. So, Nicole when I was given pamphlets and stuff in the hospital in my checkup saying do you feel like you wanna hurt your baby? Do you feel like you wanna all these programs of postpartum and well it’s real I wasn’t suffering from that so what is, what is the difference between postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress? I know that there is different people that are qualified to handle each of those?
Nicole Morales : Yeah, well I think it’s also important that there is something different what culture calls baby blues which could be some reaction after the endorphins leave moms generally get BP and feel calm down after the endorphins from the birth over and they are settling in. But with postpartum depression you know it doesn’t have to be that a traumatic birth experience leads into postpartum depression it’s just sleep someone more at risk for that. It could be hormones it could be right now or seeing a huge and flexible with thyroid disorders; with hasty mottos that definitely leads to postpartum depression you know not getting sleep for many nights and having difficulty in transition with the baby. Judge yourself as a mother over your birth experience also you know previous trauma in not only as a post-traumatic stress you know with post-traumatic stress injuries you have personias having flashbacks and having recurring memories where they are seeing themselves as powerless or helpless. And sometimes the people who have post-traumatic injuries had already had serious traumas in their life that happened before their birth experience and the birth experience layers on top of it. So, these are, they can give quite more extremes as well so and healing goes in cycles so you are gonna feel like “Oh! Wow I really healed now” and then a conversation comes up and you will realize that you are not quite; you are not quite healed because that’s the way we also learned to protect ourselves. We just healed a little bit and we kind of pulled back and then we heal a little bit more and pull back and some people may never heal from their birth they might just carry out with them with the rest of their lives.
KC Wilt : Where can women go to share their story to help with the healing process?
Nicole Morales : Well, I first wanna say that I think that sharing stories and we shared some pretty intense stories here today and it really deserves a sacred space you know sharing your birth story deserves a sacred space for you can really be heard and helped and loved by the people listening to you. And I think women can get some of that going to like a red tent and telling your birth people will really listen to you. They are not sounding half of you, they are not putting pressure on you it’s just about what do you wanna share and just about how can you fled that out? It’s also going to communities of women might be your friends and it might be I can and it might be people just who are just there who can listen to you with lots of love and with openness. But I also wanna say that I do something called birth story circle and there is other birthing within the mentors who do it as well and we do something called story labyrinth and doing a birth story labyrinth- it’s really having you look back at your birth story and what does it look like? And breaking it down to certain things but sometimes or stories kind of become dead if we look at our old stories we can’t like a record on a record player that just bounce down all the different layers and gets deeper and deeper it’s almost like a memorized script of how it went? But there is a certain point when those stories are still alive and usually there is trauma there the difficult stuff there for any birth witness. You can go back in and you can see the different possibilities healing within those moments that still exist. And I think those possibilities require important within a story and I think we all can learn to heal by not just story telling but also by story listening can change what happened in your births or your birth stories but we can look back and reframe them.
KC Wilt : Thank you Nicole Morales for helping us today to walk through our pain of traumatic birth. If you want more information on today’s show healing after traumatic birth go to the episode’s page on our website at https://www.parentsavers.com or you can go visit Nicole’s website https://www.artofopening.com. Thank you for being the part of our show we look for better and more conversation on our Facebook page and on our website.
[Featured Segment: Toy Talk]
KC Wilt : Before we wrap up today’s show here is the latest toy talk.
Brian Miller : Hello, Parent Savers I am Brian Miller, Geppetto’s Toys special T toys in San Diego. Thanks for listening we are gonna talk about 3 year old what 2 to 3 year old like to play with? First of all at that age they actually do some co-operative plays, beginning games, lazing beats and activity were you can do one to one correspondence. So, such as a counting game or a memory game were you can say one and there is one and there is one apple, two, two apples those are great things do were you can have hand eye coronation and also have one correspondence for beginning counting. Co-operative play things were two children can do together even if they are doing parallel play side by side they are both building towers of block for example that interaction is really, really important beginning class is wonderful for a 2 or 3 year old with a safe craft, it’s nontoxic certainly writing with crayons or scribbling with crayons or coloring with crayons there are lots of nontoxic paints available for finger painting, drawing pictures, getting messy that’s the fun exploring the texture and the color and have the colors mixed together. So, all of those things are beginning art of activities great for a 3 year old to play with. You can visit our website https://www.geppeto’stoys.com for more ideas or also please listen to Parent Savers for more toy tips in the future.
KC Wilt : That wraps up today’s show we love to hear from you if you have any questions for experts about today’s show or topics we discussed call our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775 or send us an email to our website https://www.parentsavers.com or Facebook page and will answer your questions in an upcoming episode. Coming up next week we are talking about “The Dirty on Diapers” and discussing all of our diapering options. Thanks for listening Parent Savers “empowering new parents everywhere.”
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing any health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
[00:35:26] [End Of Audio]