parent opinion

"I just had the most amazing birth experience, but I’m afraid to talk about it."

I feel like nobody wants to hear about how my third baby basically fell out of my vagina.

We seem to gravitate towards the bad news – the war stories and the battle scars of birth. I feel awkward talking about my one hour labour, it doesn’t seem socially acceptable to recount this at mothers group.

Sharing birth trauma stories is valid and important, but I think it’s crucial that we are exposed to a balance of positive and negative.

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Here’s the thing, my firstborn was a textbook birth trauma. Emergency C-section, separated from baby for 24 hours post-op, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosed 18 months later.

My second was an induced vaginal birth requiring an epidural, forceps and an episiotomy after a 10-hour labour. I spent weeks in recovery, my stitches came out and part of my vagina was pretty well flapping in the wind while I munched on panadol for two weeks straight.

My third? I was still induced due to a crappy placenta, but basically a sniff of Syntocinon sent me into pushing contractions and the midwife almost missed it.

I could scarcely believe it had been that easy, and all of a sudden I was holding the baby that seconds before was inside my belly. Pushing her out was hands down the best experience of my life.

The kid was yelling in my arms, a picture of health and didn’t even go in the incubator for assessment. A doctor never came near us. I held her for hours before they weighed her. My vagina felt that good the next day I could not tell I had a baby. It was a dream and I felt like I was high for days afterwards.

Virginia and her family
Virginia and her family after the birth. Image: Supplied.
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It feels like I’m gloating, but I need to shout this from the rooftops because I want all the mums out there to know that a birth trauma does not define you. A sh*tty first time is not game over.

Every birth is different and you have choices. I knocked back about 20 offers of a Caesarian, even on the third. Even after one successful VBAC some doctors still preferred the risk of Caesarian despite the fact that I was a suitable candidate for a vaginal birth.

And even if you do opt for a repeat Caesarian, or it’s not safe for you to plan a vaginal birth, you have choices around how your subsequent births play out. Tell the doctors what you need, bring your music into theatre, opt for lowering the curtain when your baby is being born, get your birth partner to take photos.

 

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Day 5 of the best dream ever.

A post shared by Bush Bambinis (@bush_bambinis) on

And for goodness sake, if you are someone who has a positive birth story - please share it! Our victories are just as important as our battle scars.

Sharing our traumas is really important but these stories need balance. We’re talking ourselves out of a positive experience before we even get to the hospital.

Do you have a story to share? Let us know in the comments.

Virginia lives in regional NSW with her husband and two kids. After finishing up as a journalist with the ABC she turned her hand to freelance writing and mummy blogging. She’s also an Instagram enthusiast.

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