We planned a homebirth with an amazing team of midwives (a CNM and an LM/CPM) and a doula this September. The first 12ish hours of labor were painful back labor, but manageable. I was in the tub, in the shower, on the birth ball, inside, outside, etc., and I felt challenged for sure but not suffering. My husband was great. He and I were both born at home in about 12 hours, and were super excited and hopeful that we would have a great experience.
After about 14 hours of labor, I was only 3 cm dilated, which I found discouraging, but everyone kept reminding me that some women dilate all at once, and as a doula myself, I knew this was true (and I'm a first time mom so I knew it was probably going to take a while). I was definitely prepared to be in labor a long time, or at least I thought I was. After another 10ish hours, however, I hadn't moved past 5 cm and was really starting to fade, physically and emotionally. My midwife tried unsuccessfully to turn the baby manually from his posterior position, while I laid on my back in the middle of a contraction. Yuck.
After 24 hours of labor, in more pain than I thought was possible, I asked to be transferred to the hospital. I was done. When I got to the hospital I got an epidural which completely wore off after 2 hours, so they gave me another one, new needle and everything. After 6 hours or so, I was still at 5 cm so they gave me Pitocin, which took another 6ish hours to work.
Finally after 32 hours I was complete and ready to push. I pushed for 4.5 hours and the baby was clearly visible, but not out, and I was starting to really lose it at hour 4.5. I just wanted him OUT. I was so exhausted and my back hurt so much, I was getting to the point where I wasn't sure I would even want to hold my son when he was born. They gave me oxygen.
The OB was great and super supportive, and finally suggested a vacuum extraction so that I could avoid a C-Section (the baby's heart rate was excellent the whole time). My homebirth midwives told me that they thought the OB was giving me good advice, and I agreed. One pull of the vacuum got his head out, thankfully, but they still had to do an episiotomy. On top of that, I had four third degree tears that made it very hard for me to take care of my baby after he was born.
My son was not only OP, but also asynclitic, and everyone agrees that he was never going to come out without assistance. I believe this is true. I feel extremely fortunate that I had not only wonderful low-intervention midwives, but also a compassionate, expert, mother-friendly medical team when I needed medical care. I know I'm also very fortunate that I have a healthy living baby. Of course. Not everyone does. So I feel like I need to leave it at that and move on.
I'm still a little sad. I have had two friends who had babies after I did, both in 7 hours from start to finish with no pain meds and wonderful memories. I don't have wonderful memories, even from when my son was born and laid on my chest. All I remember is exhaustion, helplessness and pain. There were moments toward the end of my home labor, and the whole car ride, where I kind of wanted to die.
Now I feel grateful for everyone who helped me and grateful that I have a healthy baby, but my confidence is shaken. I'm a doula and I was sure that my body was going to get this done on its own. Instead, it practically took a military operation to get him out of me. I needed so much help, and by the time I got to the hospital, I was more than happy to be a medical patient, because that's how I felt!
I feel uneasy when I meet with potential clients now, all of whom want to have unmedicated births. When they ask me if I had one, I have to say no. I want to have another baby, but I'm afraid to try another homebirth because I just can't risk going through that car ride again. And on top of these feelings is guilt, because other people I know recently lost babies, and I didn't, so what am I complaining about, etc.
My doula and other support people all say "you were amazing" and "you're my hero," etc., and even though that's what I would probably tell a client of mine as well, I feel very far from that.
Thoughts that might help me get some perspective? Thank you all.
Tag: transfer, hospital transfer, vacuum extraction