This is insanely long, but I wanted to share. If you don't want to read it, I will not be offended at all. But I think its important to share the truth of a natural birth (though all experiences are different). And yes, I will try to go natural again with a future kiddo if I am blessed with another. Though I really hope Pitocin has no place in a future birth!!
Nathan Birth Story—
I had an appointment with my OB on Tuesday, August 24th 2010. I brought hubby Mark along since it was definitely going to be a more than routine appointment. Because the baby was “overdue” by this point (he was due August 20th)—they wanted to run a few tests. They wanted to do a non-stress test and an ultrasound. Because the ultrasound room opened up first, they decided to combine the two tests with that method instead.
We had a different ultrasound tech than we had had previously (I loved the usual lady!) but this lady did not do any explaining and very little talking. However, her questions and body language made it very clear that she was not finding everything in perfect condition. Because of her attitude I was ready to cry but trying to hold it together. (Combine a very pregnant first time mom and an abnormal ultrasound and you start to get edgy!) WE waiting in the subwaiting area for what felt like forever to see my doctor again.
Once we got back to see Dr. W she said that my ambiotic fluid looked low and extra thick. She said the thickness could indicate merconium or that my placenta was not working as well anymore. She said she knew of my plans for a natural birth but recommended that we go immediately to the hospital to be induced.
I felt a major lump in my throat and held back tears. Mark started to ask a lot of questions as I tried to keep it together. Internally I was paniced and teary! Mark asked that we have as much information as possible to make an informed decision.
Dr W examined me for the first time in my pregnancy (I had declined previous exams to avoid potential infection) and I was 1-2cm dialated and my membrane was still intact. She tested my leaking fluid with a strip of paper and it was ambiotic fluid. Somewhere in here Mark mentioned that I had been “leaking” for about a week but had not been concerned since ambiotic fluid can replenish itself. Dr W really turned up the pressure in asking us to get the hospital for fear of infection and stated there was no need for an additional stress test because she was concerned about infection. She said she wanted me to know that she was not trying to “sabatoge” my birth plans but for the baby’s safety we needed to immediately go and be induced. She said she would call ahead and tell the hospital to expect us with instructions that I could maintain mobility. I started crying and we decided we had enough information to agree to go and be induced.
Knowing I was upset, Mark suggested we not rush, grab out bags at home, get some lunch and try to mentally prepare for the change in plans. So that is what we did. We went home and finished packing, I ate some bbq and a fruit smoothie and we loaded up the car. We then called our doula, Susan. Mark explained the situation to Susan who asked many of the same questions we did and agreed to meet us at the hospital to make sure we got started ok.
When we got to the hospital, they couldn’t find my pre-registration info so we had to register again. The LDR (Labor & Delivery) was not quite ready for us, so we walked around for a while and grabbed a couple of final pregnancy photos (with my tear-stained face). We were finally called back to LDR 2. (To me, “2” meant ‘peace’ and also reminded me of “running for two” so I was oddly comforted with that room.
I got into a gown and met my nurse. As she talked and hooked me up to things I was crying. She said I was the most pitiful thing she had seen. I was really trying to embrace the new circumstances but knew pitocin would really kick the contractions up and was an intervention I didn’t want or expect, and could not help my tears. She got me hooked up to the monitors and said I was having contractions (the cramps I had felt for a while were contractions) but said she would wait to start the pitocin. Per the doctor’s orders, she did start me on fluids and antibiotics.
Susan arrived about this point and we talked a lot about possible options, but ultimately determined to get started instead of trying to rest first. So I worked to shift my mindset to the new plan and Susan reminded me ‘all is not lost.’
The nurse started the pitocin around 4pm and Susan went home to rest until we were to call her back. We dimmed the lights and I put on my headphones and listened to my favorite songs and just rested and relaxed. I was not feeling anything but the monitors continued to show contractions and I got to about 3cm. A new nurse came in and kicked up the pitocin. Around 9pm I started to really feel the contractions (Time goes fuzzy after at this point so any times and dialation mentioned are via info from the doula)—so it was the first time we let any family know we were in the hospital and a baby was coming.
To manage the pain, I was moving around—sitting on the birthing ball while leaning over one of those rolling tables; sitting on the toilet, leaning over the table while on the bed and back again. Around 11 the pressure, pain and contractions were really bad. I told Mark I didn’t think I could do it. He encouraged me that I could. He texted Susan and she came right away. I said the same thing to her and she said firmly but kindly—‘you can do this, Rachel.’
I was shaking during contractions and feeling bad, but that was the last time I verbalized the doubt—and the last time I said much of anything outloud. I was checked and was 4cm. The nurse made the comment during that check that I would continue to dialate about a cm an hour. I didn’t think I could make it 6+ more hours and was on a mission to get there faster. Within no time, I puked. I remember saying—‘this is a good thing, right?’ since we learned in our natural birthing class that often happens at ‘transition.’ I got up to move around more.
I was in the zone at this point, mostly keeping my eyes closed and not saying much of anything. Even with paid it was such a unique zone to be in. I almost felt I could fall asleep between the major contractions.
Around 12:30am my water broke while I was in the bed. I was a little freaked out when that happened because it was a big gush and it really intensified the contractions (as if that was possible!). I immediately jumped up and said “I have to do something!” and I vomited again on the way to the bathroom. I was again excited to vomit because it felt like I was getting closer!
I don’t remember being checked again—just that I hated checks and that everyone continued to be shocked by my quick progression. At another check the nurse said something about my cervix being partially blocked. Susan suggested I try a side position to help. I started contracting in a way that was so much pressure each contraction that I was involuntarily pushing. The only position that remotely worked to bear with the contractions was on my hands and knees. I would rock back and forth between the very intense contractions and have multiple pushes during the contractions. I was insanely HOT so Mark and Susan were fanning me (later they would say the room was FREEZING to them).
With eyes still closed and only moaning, I kept picturing that the surges were pushing my baby closer but I was in extreme pain. I asked out loud if Dr. W was coming (she was supposedly called about 1:30am). Per Susan I was about 8cm by this point. I kept rocking and pushing on all fours until Dr W came. They tried to (unsuccessfully) attach the birthing bar but instead I moved over to my back and put my feet in stirrups to push. I knew this baby was coming! I could hear more people entering the room (my eyes were still closed) and as I heard preperations taking place I was also getting more excited.
Dr W said the baby was crowing and she could see a lot of dark hair. She placed her hands to guide my focus and pushing as she also stretched things. The nurse did great coaching during contractions and pushing with “ok—push, push, push push, breath…” and repeating again. As the baby started to crown and emerge I felt intense burning. Within 30 minutes of pushing a baby was laid on my belly with the words “It’s a boy!” It was 2:19am when he was born on Mark’s dad’s 70th birthday!
I was so excited and said—“he is a big boy!” I was so relieved to meet him and be finished with labor it was not a “Baby Story” moment. There were no tears, just some relief, though smaller contractions continued. Mark got to cut the cord and then he was put to my chest for a bit as I birthed the placenta and still felt contractions. Nathan had also swallowed a lot of fluid so they suctioned him. He weighed in at 8lbs 12oz and was 20” long.
I was stitched up and Dr. W said the down side to going natural was feeling the stitching and that I had a 3rd degree tear. That was nothing compared to the contractions though still not pleasant. I nursed within an hour and talked to Susan as Mark went out to the waiting room. Susan said I had been a “rock star” and read off some of the times she had written down.
I asked her how the Pitocin affecting things and she said she could see on the monitor what seemed like a pitocin contraction with my body’s contraction right behind it- so I was never actually having a break from contractions.