This birth story is a little different than those I normally post. It includes some typical hospital interventions. I loved reading it though and especially enjoyed this mother, her thoughts, her joy, and her reflection on how things had gone.
I hope you enjoy it too-
Ollie - born March 12, 2010 at 2:50 p.m. 7 lbs. 10 oz.
I’m rewriting my birth story two years after my son was born. DH and I are ready for our second child, and I’ve been reflecting on my first pregnancy and delivery. My first birth was in the hospital, was very painful and somewhat frightening. I felt vulnerable, scared and completely powerless. No one at the hospital really seemed to care about how I wanted my birth to be, they just went about their business and I was along for the ride.
Until recently, I haven’t given much thought to the birth and haven’t even realized how disappointed I was in how I was treated. I did not stand up for myself during this delivery because I didn’t know that was an option.
The updated version of this birth story is more detailed and includes many things I had forgotten or didn’t think was a big deal before. Since I’ve been researching and reading about natural, unmedicated birth, I’ve come to realize just how absurd my hospital delivery actually was!
I had a wonderful and uneventful pregnancy. I read “Husband-Coached Childbirth” by Dr. Bradley and planned on a natural birth with no epidural, episiotomy, or pitocin.
When it came time for DH and I to discuss our birth plan with my OB, I started to consider a home birth. It felt like he was just nodding his head in agreement at some things but was not supportive at all. Some items he flat out said were not possible because it was against policy. At that point it was late in the pregnancy, and I didn’t have time to find a midwife.
At the last couple appointments with my OB, I asked not to be checked for dilation, but he said it was standard policy to know how I was progressing, so I got checked. That sucked and I hated it.
We went for my regular weekly checkup on a Thursday, one day before my due date. I wanted this baby to come on his own time, and the doctor only agreed to “let” me go past my due date if they did a “routine” ultrasound to make sure everything looked okay. That sounded alright to me, but now I realize it probably was not necessary.
The ultrasound tech said my fluid levels were low. She did measure twice and got the same results. Note that the fluid was not dangerously low, just kinda sorta, borderline low. My OB then wanted to do a Non Stress Test. He did not like the results, so he stripped my membranes and sent me to the hospital so they could monitor the baby overnight and induce the next morning.
Of course I was less than pleased. I didn’t understand why the Dr. was so concerned about the results of the NST that only monitored the baby for maybe 20 minutes. Perhaps baby boy was just napping at that time. I knew he was fine, I could feel him moving around in there all morning.
Once DH and I got checked in at the hospital and into a labor/delivery room, I was hooked up to an IV, blood pressure cuff and fetal monitor around my belly. We ate dinner in the room and I was told it was the last meal I was allowed before the induction.
That night was MISERABLE! Poor DH had to sleep on a teeny tiny couch. My blood pressure cuff kept going off and I couldn’t get comfortable with that damn thing around my stomach. If I moved one way or another to attempt to sleep, it wouldn’t pick up the baby’s vitals and the nurse would come flying in to adjust the strap. At one point around 4 am I took the blood pressure cuff off (my blood pressure was never high at any point in this pregnancy by the way). Of course in comes the nurse to make sure I’m still alive. I told her I wasn’t putting it back on and that I couldn’t sleep with all these wires and machines hooked up to me. She said, “Awe, you poor thing. Do you want a sleeping pill?” I’ve never taken a sleeping pill before, but I needed to get some sleep, so I said yes, please! After she checked my chart and discovered I was to be induced 3 hours later, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s too late to give you a sleeping pill.” Well, damn.
I got about 1.5 hours of sleep that night. DH and I were terrified that this process was going to end in a C-Section. By the way, at no point during the night did anyone seem concerned about the baby. All his vitals were normal and strong, which leads me to believe this induction was completely unnecessary. I did not question it at the time because I wanted to do what was best for my baby.
At 5 am as I was sleeping I felt a trickle and thought I had peed on myself. I was getting up to go the the bathroom and started gushing fluid. My bag of waters had broken. I paged the nurse to let her know. Now this part is really silly. The nurse had some kind of paper strip sensor to test whether or not the fluid was in fact amniotic fluid. I think it was also supposed to tell if there was meconium. Never mind it would be pretty simple to tell just by looking at it (it was clear). The test was inconclusive or the nurse didn’t know how to read it. She said she just wasn’t sure if my water really broke.
The nurse started pitocin at 7 am. I was doing really well managing the contractions for the first couple hours. I sat on my birth ball and in bed, and watched the Hangover to pass the time. At about 11:30, contractions were getting really intense and I thought I had to go #2. The nurse checked me and I was already 6 cm.
But when she was checking me, my pain level went through the roof! That VE was so painful that I lost all control and couldn’t gather myself. I requested the epidural, which I didn't receive till about an hour later. It only worked on my left side - even so it was a huge relief. But awful at the same time. The epidural gave me chills and I was shivering uncontrollably.
I remember being super thirsty at one point and asking for some water. I actually had to insist on getting some water because the nurse didn’t want to let me have any. She brought me a tiny plastic cup that I drank in one gulp. DH had to sneak in a refill.
I was weak from not eating. Seriously, the not eating policy is the most absurd thing ever! How on earth am I supposed to have the energy to labor for 9 hours and push a baby out if I can’t eat? DH said I was so pale he thought I was going to pass out.
At some point during transition, I got nauseous and told the nurse I was going to puke. She put a hand towel next to my head on the bed. I guess she wanted me to throw up on a towel. I couldn’t make sense of this. I looked at her and said, No, seriously I’m about to puke! Give me something to puke IN. So she handed over one of those kidney shaped bowls. After puking my guts out I felt a lot better.
At 2 pm, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my back and the nurse told me I was 10 cm and ready to push. I had gone from 6 to 10 in 1.5 hours. This baby was ready to be born!
I started pushing and could still feel the contractions on my right side, and they were intense! It was so weird because when I pushed, the pain went away. I just gave every push everything I had because I wanted it to be over. At one point I felt enormous pressure and pain in my back (right side only of course) and remember hollering "My *effing* back! Why does my back hurt so bad!?!"
Soon after that, the Dr. said he wanted to cut me and asked if that would be okay and I said yes, please, let's get this baby out! He did a small cut and 3 pushes later, Ollie was out! He weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz. I had pushed for 40 minutes and total labor time was 9 hours.
I really believe DS would’ve been born that day, induction or not. I wish I could have labored at home and avoided the epidural. My water broke that morning and I progressed pretty quickly, so I think he was ready to come anyway. I also believe 100% that I can give birth without pain medication and it can be a wonderful experience. I labored through 5 hours of nasty, pitocin induced contractions without an epidural… in the hospital… on my back. I know I could’ve handled the pain better if I had been allowed to walk, change positions or get in a tub of warm water.
Obviously things did not go as I had planned (shocking I know!), even so it was thrilling, emotional and beautiful and the end result is the most important thing of all - my healthy baby boy. I’m not mad at any of the nurses or my OB. They were just doing exactly what they have been trained to do. This is just a testament to how broken the health care system is. I look forward to a home birth with a midwife for baby #2, assuming all is well and it is a low risk pregnancy.