The Safe Inside My Head.

Something must have changed in me lately, as I feel much more able to think and write about Sausage’s birth and I’m hoping that’s a positive step. But I must admit, there is something which scares me about the whole process and that’s remembering things which have been firmly buried inside my head. I think that’s a huge part of my reluctance to go to a counsellor, I know there is so much I don’t remember which means that if it were to be unlocked, I might be traumatised all over again.

Something I only touched on minimally when I wrote my birth story was the fact that there is a huge chunk of my labour that I don’t remember. I have small flashes of moments during that time, but so much is still missing. Around three hours, in total. Once my waters broke, I think at around 6pm as my dinner had just been put in front of me, I remember my contractions starting and being very painful. I remember a flash of me pressing myself against a wall as I got it into my head that this would relieve the pain. The next thing I remember is huffing the gas and air and wondering why it wasn’t working. Now I’m having an epidural and laying on my side. Next, I’m laying on my back and they’re doing an examination of the tops of Sausage’s head. Then, I’m in theatre with someone spraying something cold on my stomach and I’m screaming for a general anaesthetic. Then, I’m coming round to the sound of thunder, totally unaware of what’s going on or where my baby is. And I’m not even sure how accurate the parts I do remember are, as Husband has told things a bit differently, and he was a lot more aware of what was going on at the time.

Sausage was born at 9.17pm, so out of a three-hour labour, I remember snapshots which amount to about ten minutes. And the rest of it is all locked inside my head, in a little compartment. And I must admit, I’m terrified that one day the locks on those compartments will simultaneously fail and a whole world of shit will fall out onto me. It’s a very difficult feeling, on the one hand I am genuinely scared of what I might remember one day, on the other I really resent my brain for keeping it all from me, like there are secrets being kept. But I wouldn’t even know where to start with trying to remember, don’t know if I would even want to and even if I did, I couldn’t guarantee that it would all trickle out at a nice slow pace, giving me time to process it all. As I said, world of shit falling on me.

It’s a terrible analogy, but I really do get that part in Inception with the safe that they’re trying to crack, inside the blokes head.

So where do I go from here? I’m at something of a stalemate. People have suggested that I ask to go over my labour notes, but I just don’t know how much good that would do me. I suspect it could be more damaging than healing, and not to sound like a dick, but due to a lifetime of health anxiety I have a slightly more in-depth view of what certain medical terms mean than a lot of layman, so while they might think they’re baffling me with terminology, I could be horrifying aware of things I didn’t know before. I don’t know, I think I’m trying to talk myself out of it. Not to mention the fact that if they allowed Dr. Shithead into the room, the eminent consultant who almost ruined my life, I couldn’t trust myself to not beat her to a bloody pulp with the nearest bottle of oxygen or fire extinguisher. Anger, much?

I’m stuck, basically. Not wanting to remember, but hating my brain for not letting me remember.

And not having a clue where that leaves me…

8 thoughts on “The Safe Inside My Head.

  1. I’m finally on meds because my traumatic birth that led to Postpartum PTSD got to be too much. I know that there isn’t a “magic pill” and I think that therapy will benefit me but I’m also afraid of unlocking that door.

    When I’ve written about my depression on my blog, I’ve always said that I think therapy will help and I’m in the process of finding somone who I’m comfortable with since that’s extremely important. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m being understood though because while commenters mean well, a few keep on saying go to therapy but for me I feel like it’s easier said than done. I’m terrified of reliving this. xx

    1. You’re SO right, it’s incredibly easy for someone to say “go and get help”, but they don’t realise the mental preparation that actually making that first step takes. Plus, along with the ‘magic pills’, therapy also isn’t a magic cure, it takes time, strength and perseverance, a lot of which feels like it’s been totally knocked out of you when you go through something traumatic.

      That’s why this blog, all of the comments on here,Twitter, Maternity Matters and the BTA Facebook page have been SO important to me, because it’s so much easier to communicate with others who’ve been through the same, or a similar, thing. There’s no trivialisation or flippancy, just acceptance and support.

      Thanks Elle x

  2. When I went through the notes from both of my births, I discovered things I hadn’t known. Some were small, such as during the first birth the midwives noted that I ‘claimed’ my waters had gone whilst in the bath in the labour ward (they had) but it was noted that it was ‘unlikely’. Nowhere else on the notes is it noted that they had gone at any other time and I was taken to delivery 30 mins later. There were huge things too, such as in the second birth they intubated my baby to get him to breathe and NOBODY told me or my husband they had done this.
    If I was a mess before I read the notes, I was more so after. It was a horrid time but looking back, I’m glad I did it. I want to read them again and I think I will request it. It was too soon then, I was still in total shock and forgot a lot of what I read. It will bring it all back, how can it not? But I think there is very little chance of moving on without confronting it all and dealing with it. I am speaking to someone on Tuesday about this as I want to deal with stuff now. I think only you will can say when you’re ready, don’t push yourself.
    Lovely, honest post and I can honestly say that I know how you feel.

    1. Don’t be daft, I just appreciate all of the advice. I know I need to deal with it at some point but even now, three years later, it feels easier to bury my head in the sand.

  3. It’s hard to say what will happen until you do it. There is still parts I don’t remember, and I don’t think I ever will. But the way my therapist put it was that PTSD is all about traumatic experiences that still haven’t been processed. Until you allow yourself to process. Them they will be floating around trying to find a way to break through – flashbacks, nightmares, subconscious reactions to hospital noises, etc… You have to deal with it at some point, your mind won’t let you run forever. However, some memories are buried for good reason and it isn’t necessarily the case that you will have to remember every tiny detail in order to move forward.

    Once you start though, you WILL be in for an awful few weeks. Itvwill be painful and you will at times feel you can’t cope. But you should start to get past that after you’ve hit rock bottom. And I don’t think you have hit that point yet from what you’ve said.

    Of course everyone is different and your experience wont be the same as mine… I don’t want to come off all know-it-all, but I have just been through it. It was the worst time o my life – on a par with the birth itself, but although there are still and always will be bad days, it has got better, and it would for you too.

    I think the beat bi of advice I had was that YOU have to define what being ‘ok’ is for you. It might not be feeling fine about everything that happened, you never will, but draw up some criteria to meet that will mean you are ‘better’ in a PTSD capacity.

    Goo luck love, and if you want to chat ever, just get in touch xXx

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