Helping my husband cope
When my bub was born, it was by emergency Cesarean section. I had been in labour for 30 hours and was not progressing. Also my son was in distress. When he was delivered, he was not breathing and did not have a pulse. The doctors rushed him to the special care nursery and were able to get his vitals back to normal quite quickly really. Due to the sedation, I did not understand what was happening, but my husband did and was not handling it well. Our bub spent the first 12 hours in the special care nursery before he was brought to us. He has been healthy since then, except for one hospital visit where he was having difficulty breathing on his own.
My question is how to help my husband recover from the trauma of the birth. Even though it has been six month since our bub was born, my husband remains very protective and overly concerned for our bub's health. It makes for a stressful home environment at times. I expected that I would be the over-protective mum, but it turns out it is my husband who was most affected by the traumatic birth. How do I help him understand that our son is safe now?
My 3rd child was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery when he was 2 months old. Though the trauma was different from what you and your husband experienced, the real knowledge of knowing you lose your son is the same.
While we were in the hospital, I met another mum who had a newborn with the same congenital heart defect as our son had. When it was time for her son to have surgery, they couldn't wean him off of bi-pass and this was very concerning. When the nurse came to tell that mum the news, she nearly fainted.
All of our sons did just fine and are healthy boys now, but the trauma can be very real. My friend experienced much of the "over protectedness" that your husband has, to the point that it affected her marriage (though 13 years later, they are still together).
Unfortunately I don't really have any suggestions about how to help your husband. It may just be one of those things that will take time to work through. Every little fever or bump may send panic into your husband, but after awhile I hope that he will learn that your son will be fine. He probably never wants to feel those painful feelings of almost losing his baby, again.
If something comes up that you'd like some opinions on, feel free to post them here. We have a lot of really great mums on this forum - some with many children, some with professional medical backgrounds, who can give some good, solid advice and offer real life experiences.
What may help your husband most is just educating him so he feels empowered and not helpless in the care of your son. There are many natural/holistic things you can do to speed healing when bub topples over and gets a bump. There are things you can do to reduce the length and severity of a cold or a flu. There are things you can do to boost his immune system so that he is less susceptible to getting sick.
One of the first things I would do, if this were my child, is I would find a CranioSacral Therapost who specializes in treating infants. I would have the therapist do some treatments on him to help get his whole skeletal system aligned and the cerebral/spinal fluid flowing optimally. Being that he was a C-Section baby, he didn't go through the normal compressions that the birth canal provides. Getting everything into alignment could help avoid any more breathing problems and will offer increased immune function.
Having a Cranio-Sacral treatment is very easy on babies. It looks like the practitioner is just laying her hands on the baby's head, and under his back. One of my babies fell asleep during one of his treatments because it was so calming to him. Our whole family has been treated by a CranioSacral Therapist and as I understand it, they are as prevalent in the UK as Chiropractors are in the USA.
Here are a couple of videos which show you what CranioSacral Therapy looks like on an infant. Please keep in mind that different therapists will treat in their own style, and this particular midwife is doing a baby led treatment.
I'm going to ask Jane (midwife) to take a look at your question and give some suggestions if she has any.
First off, thank you so much for such a thorough response. I greatly appreciate the time. Thank you also for sharing your personal experiences with me. I'm happy to hear your bub is doing better. :)
Your advice about educating my husband was a light bulb for me. I believe he did feel out of control of the health and safety of our son during those first few hours of his life. I think if I help him feel more competent as a parent, he will relax more with time. I've taken over most of the child care responsibilities because I stay home and my husband goes to work. He most likely is feeling lacking.
I have never heard of Cranio-Sacral treatment, but will look into it. I was disappointed to deliver via Cesarean section and have heard that going through the birth canal is important. I will browse this site and see if I can't find more information.