I had always wondered how Lauren’s birth had gone. I remembered our last hypnobirthing session in front of a roaring fire at her house. When I finally heard from her and read her traumatic birth story it brought me to tears. Working with Lauren inspired me to train other practitioners in the techniques that lifted the feelings that had haunted her. She has generously shared her inspiring journey to recovery below.
‘I had an absolutely magical labour with Ellen. Hypnobirthing techniques put into practice, it was a speedy labour, mostly in the pool, very calm, and I felt completely in control and in awe of my body and what it was doing.
The second and third stage were dreadful. Ellen was a big girl (9lbs 13oz) and in the back to back position. I pushed for three hours and was then told I’d need to go to theatre for a spinal aneasthetic and assistance with forceps. Once Ellen had been born, I had about 20 seconds with her before she was whipped away. The placenta was being stubborn and ended in the cord being pulled and snapping, a bad hemeorrhage, and eventually having to have the placenta removed manually.
In the following days it turned out the spinal aneasthetic had punctured my Dura cavity, resulting in a week long migraine and shoulder pain, and the loss of the use of my arms. (Which in turn stopped me from breastfeeding…). This meant more surgery to repair the damage.
9 weeks after that, I had to go back into surgery as I had some retained placenta. This surgery resulted in a punctured uterus, which became infected and resulted in pelvic inflammatory disorder.
I developed post-natal depression in the first week of Ellen’s life. Ellen had developed colic by this point also which didn’t help the bonding process.
We recognised it early on and I received counseling within a CBT group run by the NHS. This helped in as much as getting me out of the house and meeting other mum’s who were struggling. Gradually I began to pick myself up, but I was far from being happy. I felt a little like I was going through the motions, getting through each day. At the time I was grateful for just being able to do that. I obsessed over the birth and would think about it constantly. What I could have done differently, what the midwives could have done differently, etc.
I finally got around to sending Alex my birth story in August, eight months after the event. She suggested I come to see her for a session. At the time I thought I might as well, it couldn’t hurt, but didn’t fully believe I needed to. How wrong I was!
We started the session with talking over the events of the birth and the time that followed. I gradually let my guard down and started to realise that it was far from a resolved issue. Alex asked astute questions that I think nobody had dared to ask me, and I hadn’t dared to ask myself. I had a lot of pent up guilt over the whole situation, and a lot of anger. It also became clear that a lot of my feelings towards it were damaging my relationship not only with my daughter, but with my husband too. I had a very poor attitude towards myself, and blamed myself for a lot of things that were beyond my control.
As I entered a deep state of relaxation, the emotions I had locked away came to the surface. It shocked me that I had buried all of this so deeply. I was finally honest with myself. Alex talked me through letting go of all the negativity, playing it through in my mind a few times and then destroying it. Discarding it.
I walked away a lighter person. How corny it sounds but the sun was shining and the birds were singing. I sat in the car before driving away, took a deep breath, and felt a huge sense of relief. I was free of despair! It was something I had learned to live with, not realising I didn’t have to live with it at all.
I would say that day was the turning point in my new career as a mother. I have found the joy that it brings, and oh my – what joy! I no longer ‘go through the motions’ of motherhood. I am savouring each day, and above all, can’t wait to add to my nest and do it all again!
I can highly recommend birth trauma treatment. Birth isn’t always beautiful; it can be a hugely traumatic thing. I was so ashamed to admit that it had affected me so much. It still seems to be such a taboo subject. I’m so glad I opened up about it, and so grateful to Alex for helping me to let go.’
Traumatic Birth Recovery
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