One thing that people always ask when I tell my story is whether my daughter suffered any damages because of the traumatic nature of the birth. At the tender age of 4, I can assure you that cognitively my daughter is just fine, however, the first few months, weeks, and years were fraught with endless worry from me, her mother, about lasting physical and emotional damages from the traumatic birth.
At birth, my daughter suffered complete facial bruising and lacerations on the cheeks and top of the skull. Namely, extensive bruising and cuts were located where the forceps had clamped upon her to hasten her exit from my body. While she was not able to tell me her pain from these lacerations, I have to believe that she was uncomfortable, to say the least, judging by the extent of her wounds.
In the hospital, my daughter was also unable to rest effectively on her back and would only sleep in someone’s arms. My understanding of this now is twofold; 1. she needed comfort that all was OK and 2. she had bruising on the back of her skull that proved uncomfortable to sleep upon.
Upon returning home from the hospital (about 50 hours after her entrance into the world), my daughter would not sleep. She cried, cried, cried, and was unable to be soothed. In fact, the first night in our home we needed to phone the on-call physician for advice. Repeating her performance the second night home, the on-call physician was once again called and we were advised to bring her to a pediatrician on a Sunday morning.
Citing bruising and colic as her points of discomfort by the doctor, we were sent home with our daughter. Her endless crying ceased at about 3 months of age. Although never verified by the doctors, it truly makes me wonder whether her crying out and inability to soothe was an emotional function of her early birth trauma.
When our daughter started eating foods, we began to notice a severe flush in her cheek where the laceration had been most prominent. When we brought her to the allergist (thinking it to be allergy related) we were asked if she had been a forceps baby. While answering in the affirmative, we found out that she had nerve damage in her cheek, caused by the pinching, pulling, and tearing from the forceps. The impact of this damage was described to us by the doctor as an involuntary response, a blush, that would occur when our daughter ate novel foods, or other foods that caused extreme sensation in the mouth such as sweet or sour. My daughter still experiences the impact of this damage on a daily basis while eating.
So, while cognitively my daughter is fine, physically she still bears a scar upon her cheek where the laceration ran deep. She also suffers from the nerve damage in her cheek, while not painful, may prove bothersome to her as she becomes older. My point-my daughter’s birth trauma was not the worst, by far, that could have happened. However, I think we all wish as mothers that nothing terrible happens to our children. Birth trauma is all-encompassing, and, in my case served to impact not just me.
Thanks for reading,