I’m writing this a couple of month later. So some details are a little fuzzy for me now. I tried very hard to keep it as accurate as possible though.
First, a recap of my other births:
1 – Water broke by itself, pitocin, no pain meds or epidural used. 12 hours. 43 weeks pregnant.
2 - Induction, Nubian and epidural used. 11 hours. 41 weeks pregnant.
3 – Induction, no pain meds or epidural used. 10 hours. Hard part lasted only 30 minutes. 42 weeks pregnant.
This was my fourth pregnancy and once again I was very anemic towards the end of it. I desperately needed a blood transfusion but my insurance wouldn’t pay for it. When I found out that they wouldn’t be giving me a transfusion, I begged to be induced. Much to my surprise, they said ok.
My due date was roughly August 17th. I showed up on August 10th for my induction. This was my fourth labor and I was terrified. My labors seemed to be getting worse every time. My third labor was induced, but pain med free. It was fast, intense, and very painful. So I still had some left over birth trauma from that experience. This was Jimmy’s (my dp) first baby, so he was equally as nervous for his own reasons.
It was around 7am. We sat in waiting chairs in the hallway for a long time while they got a room ready for us. During that time we saw three c-sections happen. Jimmy drove me crazy with all of his nervous chattering. By the time my nurse came to bring me to my room, I was tired of him, and I made him go wait in the waiting area.
The morning started off full of drama. I had three different student nurses try (and fail) at getting my IV in. I have great veins too, so this was just all mistakes on their parts. Finally my nurse kicked them out and just did it herself. The midwife who was originally scheduled to handle my delivery decided that I was too high risk, so she turned me over to the OB’s. Then there was a problem with my only being 37ish weeks pregnant. They debated sending me home. But in the end, decided that I was sick enough and in need of an induction that day. Doctors kept coming in and out to ask me all kinds of questions. And finally I was checked (2 cm, baby very high), and they started the pitocin.
I laid there enjoying the alone time for a while before I finally sent Jimmy a text around 11am asking him to join me. And honestly I just did that because it had been a few hours and I felt bad about him being alone out there all that time. Not because I wanted company. So we sat there and hung out while I had little contractions. I have always been really good at handling labor pain, so everything was very casual. I kept my doula’s updated by text. At around 12pm, one of the residents checked me and I was already 5cm. I was told then that this labor was going to go quickly and to get ready to have a baby. So I sent a text to my doulas telling them that it was time to come to the hospital. Jimmy went to eat some lunch, and I got to be alone again for a little while.
My doula’s were best friends, and both student douals in training. I was the first birth for both of them where they would be acting as a doula. So they were very excited. They didn’t waste any time either. They immediately got me water and juice (I hadn’t had anything to drink all morning), and had me stand up by my bed so that the baby could drop down more. I was still having noticeable contractions, but nothing terrible. Jimmy came back from lunch and we all sat around just chatting for the longest time. I remember feeling annoyed with the conversations and kind of wished that it would be more about me lol. I kept getting tired and needing to sit down. But I was constantly being reminded by the doulas to drink my liquids, my ensure, and to stay upright and moving. So I did. They also kept trying to get me to drink honey, but I never did get up the nerve to try it (I try and avoid getting sick during labor).
A few hours later and my contractions are still going strong. Some of them are even painful now. I feel like I am getting close so I ask to get checked. I had made zero progress. I was disappointed, but still cheerful. We continued with the drinking, standing, swaying, etc. The nurses and hospital refused to let me go for a walk. I was pissed, but didn’t fight it too much (in retrospect, I should have). I made a million trips back and forth to the bathroom to pee.
It’s now early evening and shift change. My mean ol nurse was replaced with another mean nurse and I got to meet my new resident. She was very young, and very laid back. I asked to be checked again and she reluctantly agreed to. I was still only 5 cms and the baby was still high. All of that standing, swaying, contracting had done nothing. I was getting frustrated, scared, and wanted to see some progress already. I kept saying that my goal was to have the baby by 10pm, and I could see that was probably not going to happen. We tried though. My doula’s had me walk all over the room while they followed me with my IV pole (this was a hilarious sight in that tiny room). I stood up, I rocked my hips, I swayed, etc. It was cute how one of the doulas did all the moves with me. I continued to contract and it was hurting pretty good now.
It’s now late evening and I ask to get checked again. My resident was a very hands off, let nature take its course kind of doctor. So getting her to agree to another check wasn’t easy, but she did it. No progress had been made!!! I was so devastated. I was tired, in pain, and starting to give up at this point. My courage was also starting to wear off and I started talking about maybe getting an epidural. I wasn’t in too much pain yet, but I was so afraid of the pain getting worse and it being too late for the epidural. My birth trauma from last time was starting to get to me and I was freaking out a little bit. Everyone kept saying that it was up to me and that they would support me either way. I was so annoyed with that answer…I just wanted someone to think for me! A few more painful and exhausting contractions later, and I asked for the epidural. My nurse told me that the anesthesiologist was busy, but that she would get to me soon.
This is where my story turns on to a blur of pain, trauma, and hell. My contractions started getting very painful. My doulas were helping me breathe through them but I was really beginning to panic. I was getting agitated and having a hard time focusing on my coping skills. Sometimes I would do well and let them help me breath and move through the pain. But mostly I was writhing around on my bed in agony and snapping at people when they tried to help me. The anesthesiologist kept having to go to other, more urgent patients. So hours went by with no epidural. At this point, things are bad. I am hurting, yelling, snapping at everybody…I just can’t control the pain. And to add insult to injury, I only progressed about 1cm during all of that time. So now I was at about 6cm with the baby still being high up there.
It’s around midnight now and I am crying and begging for the epidural. I’m told there is yet another emergency c-section happening and that the anesthesiologist still can’t get to me. I start begging for a c-section and of course everyone was just ignoring me and that idea. I asked for a shot of Nubian to tide me over. My nurse gives it to me pretty quickly and it worked immediately. Sweet relief! I love Nubian. I started worrying about my doulas and I kept telling them that they could go home if they wanted to.
At this point I kept passing in and out of consciousness thanks to the Nubian. I woke up once with a breathing mask on. My oxygen levels had dropped really low and I was supposed to keep wearing the mask. Well some terrible cotton mouth had also kicked in and I didn’t want my mask. I wanted ice chips. So my doulas fed me ice chips about every three seconds from this point until the delivery because the cotton mouth was just unbearable. My mouth was so dry that I couldn’t talk, it was awful. Everyone kept trying to keep the stupid mask on my face and I just wasn’t having it. It smelled funny, I had cotton mouth, and it was uncomfortable anyways.
The Nubian was making me feel nauseas and I was beginning to freak out again. My doula’s had me lay down and I remember them massaging me for the longest time so that I could rest. I felt so bad about how late it was and how tired everyone was. At this point the doulas and Jimmy were sleeping in shifts and I just felt so embarrassed about everything. Especially for believing that this labor would go “quick”, like I had been told so many hours ago.
A few hours later and I still have not seen the anesthesiologist. Everyone keeps saying “soon” and that really starts pissing me off because obviously it isn’t true. The Nubian is still working a little bit, but it’s beginning to wear off and the pain is coming back quickly. During my Nubian sleep, I had progressed to a 9. Since I was coping better now after my rest, and the epidural was obviously never going to happen. My resident suggested just breaking my water and pushing the baby out already. I felt pretty refreshed by now and I was ready. I’d done two other natural births and been fine. So forget the epidural…let’s push out this baby! I was pretty excited to be getting a natural birth after all and I was happy that things were finally coming to an end.
So my water gets broken, the Nubian finally wears off, and the pain come back something fierce. Another hour or two goes by and I didn’t see the resident at all during that time. So my window of opportunity to push out the baby while I was still drugged up and happy passed right on by. My doulas tried everything and I just could not get a grip. I wanted the epidural and I was refusing to push out the baby until I got it. I was on the floor screaming in pain and just not handling the contractions well at all. I started begging for more Nubian and being devastated when they told me no. I tried manipulating everyone I could into giving me more Nubian, and it just wasn’t happening. I am in bed, still screaming, and in so much pain that I can’t listen or focus on trying to push. Everyone keeps getting annoyed and telling me that this could be over soon if I would just settle down. It was upsetting the hell out of me to hear that, because I just physically could NOT settle down. The pain was too intense to even consider it. I was so confused and upset with myself. I had done two other natural childbirths before. Why couldn’t I control myself or this pain any better?
Finally the anesthesiologist comes in at around 6am. I will leave out a lot of details because I am still pretty traumatized by my experience with her. She was beyond mean and cruel. She has no business working with people in a health care setting. Because I was so close to delivering the baby, she ended up giving me some sort of temporary epidural that only lasts for an hour or so.
It started working immediately and I was ready to push out that baby now. My resident had me do some practice pushes, and then she left because she thought I needed to rest. She didn’t think I had the energy to push out the baby. So she wanted me to sleep a little bit. Of course I didn’t sleep any. At some point I got a shot of phenergan. I wasn’t even nauseas, but I was so concerned and distressed over the possibility of throwing up that they just gave me the shot as a preventative (and to keep me quiet lol).
So the hour (and golden opportunity to end this hell) passes by quickly, there are no doctors or nurses in sight, and now the pain is back again. I can’t handle it any better than I could before the temporary epidural. The baby is “right there” and everyone wants me to start pushing now. But I can’t again. All I can do is fight the contractions and scream. I can’t even describe the pain; it was just absolute agony and torture. I am begging for a “real” epidural and they are trying to get the anesthesiologist to come back. Of course she is awol again though. The room is full of doctors and nurses and I hear comments about a c-section. I also have one jerk doctor telling me that “you know it has to hurt some right? you can’t have it be pain free”. So I screamed at him that this is my fourth labor, I know what the pain is “supposed” to feel like, and that this pain is nothing like that. Something just felt very wrong. I was so scared because nothing felt like “normal” labor.
So I’m there screaming and fighting contractions. Still begging for Nubian or even a c-section (and all the medical staff was just ignoring me and my requests). I am still being fed ice chips by the doulas every few seconds because of the unbearable cotton mouth. Finally the anesthesiologist comes back to give me a real epidural this time. She makes fun of me (again) in front of everyone and only one staff member actually had the nerve to tell her to knock it off. I am sobbing from embarrassment and frustration. She puts in the epidural and it doesn’t work. They say it will take some time to kick in. Fine. So a nurse has me do a practice push while her hand is inside me. Well I peed all over her hand.
For some reason peeing in front of everyone like that was just the last straw. I tried to throw out Jimmy and the doulas. I was embarrassed and just wanted to birth alone. I don’t remember for sure now, but I’m pretty sure I begged them to come back about 10 seconds later lol. The epidural still wasn’t working, but I didn’t care anymore. I was mad and ready to be DONE. The doulas held me legs, Jimmy stayed behind me and supported me, and I began to push. I am a good pusher and it didn’t take long. The pain was still very intense and I screamed and sobbed through all of the pushing. But I got angry, and I did it.
Veianya Elizabeth was born at 8:44 am on August 11th. Twenty-six hours after arriving at the hospital. Of course right after her birth is when the epidural finally kicked in and I spent the next several hours paralyzed from it.
This birth was very traumatic for me. I can’t even go back and re-read or edit this story because going through it in my mind again is just too upsetting for me (sorry for the typos and such). The following couple weeks were pretty bad too. Veianya had a lot of health issues and required a lot of time in the NICU. In retrospect, my body was not ready for labor and Veianya was not ready to be born. My other babies were cooked until about 42 weeks and obviously they needed that time. Because Veianya was born at 37 weeks and acted very much like a preemie; she also had many of the same types of health issues that preemies have.
I am SO grateful for my doulas. If it weren’t for them, I know that I would have for sure ended up with a c-section. They stayed with me up until the very end even though they were exhausted (especially impressive considering that they were working for free). I am also grateful for the resident who was not into clock watching or pushing for c-sections. She had faith in me and in the birth process the entire time and kept telling me that I would vaginally birth that baby “like it or not”. I know that most other doctors would have rolled me into surgery hours ago.
So there is my story. Sorry so much stuff is fuzzy. It really was just a long, terrible night of nothing but non-stop pain, agony, frustration, and embarrassment. So much for my belief going into it that by the fourth baby, they probably just fall out! And because of this, I do not see a fifth ever being in my future. I think I have enough birth trauma to last me a lifetime now.
Thanks for reading. :)