I wrote this as soon as I could after the birth so I wouldn't forget anything... but that also means I probably ramble and might not make sense. Bear with me.
Because of pre-eclampsia, my midwives and I decided that the best choice for your health and mine would be to induce labor on Wednesday August 19th. I was due on the 15th, and had been having mild contractions off and on. I was very nervous about the induction. All along I had done everything I could to have as natural and intervention-free a pregnancy and delivery as possible, and I felt like that was slipping out of my grasp. Levi and the midwives were very supportive and reminded me to stay positive. I started feeling thankful that we have the technology available to deal with things like pre-eclampsia. I also did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions and realized that the hospital where we would deliver and the midwives we were working with were really quite different than most hospitals. They favored a long slow labor with very little Pitocin, their goal was to give me as little outside assistance as possible and to let my body do its thing. So I started feeling better about things. I was determined to have the most joyful and positive birth experience I could, and stop feeling guilty about things not going exactly the way I had planned. I also prayed and prayed for some kind of sign that my body really was ready for this. I got my answer to that prayer on Tuesday morning when I lost my mucous plug and found out that I was already 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced!
On Wednesday Levi and I arrived at the hospital, anxious and excited, at 7:30 AM. We were admitted and got settled in our beautiful birthing suite. Our nurse was a wonderful woman named Vicki who had been in exactly my position (wanting a natural birth, but facing induction) with her first daughter. She was very supportive and intuitive. Vicki helped get my IV started and around 9 Merrilyn came, checked me, and started the Pitocin. I didn't feel much at first... then I started feeling crampy... then I could tell when contractions started and stopped. Then I felt uncomfortable in the bed so I got up. I realized that I really liked going through the contractions standing up. So from then on I tried many different positions to try to help you move down, but the majority of the contractions I stood up and rocked my hips for. At some point my mom arrived from Ohio. She was great, there whenever I needed anything but not distracting or anything. At first my labor was slow and steady. Merrilyn broke my water around 12:30. Contractions got a little closer together and a little stronger over the first 10 hours or so. I was dilating slow and steady also. I spent some time in the jacuzzi. Since I was on Pitocin, I had to give up my ideal of having little to no monitoring during labor. I ended up asking for an internal monitor, which is something I thought I would be very against. But I recognized the necessity of being monitored because of the Pitocin. The external monitor was wireless, but we kept having to adjust it and it was really making me lose my focus when the contractions were starting to get really strong. The worst part of the internal monitor was being in bed for a contraction or two while Merrilyn placed it. After it was placed though it was great! I could move around however I wanted, I could walk or sit or sway or whatever and not think about whether it was reading correctly. And Merrilyn and Vicki had an exact picture of the baby's heartbeat and the strength and duration of the contractions. This allowed them to really fine tune the amount of Pitocin I was getting.
I was proud of myself after the first 12 hours of labor. I felt like I was staying on top of contractions and that Levi and I were really working as a team. By now Vicki had left, and our new nurse Tina had arrived. She was really encouraging and I really didn't notice her that much because she did her job so well. I was starting to really need the break between contractions, so I would stand and sway during the contractions and Levi would squeeze my hand to give me something to focus on. I felt like the contractions peaked really quickly and the sloooowly went away. I sat on the edge of the bed in between. Then around 7 or so I started feeling dizzy. I would get really hot and then really cold. I started shaking for a little while. I was still coping pretty well, and really trying my best to give different positions a shot. I had a lot of bloody show, and was around 5 centimeters at 7. I was laying on my right side on the bed, trying different positions to help my hips open up and I had the first contraction that I couldn't stay on top of. I vocalized a little bit and tensed up. Levi was fabulous and reminded me right away to relax my face and make low noises. I said something like "I can't keep up with them." and Merrilyn said "That's because you're transitioning!" She checked me at 8 and I had gone from 5 to 8 centimeters in less than an hour! That made the contractions easier to deal with because I knew they were being productive. I stood up then and threw up a lot. Everyone at that point thought I was near the end. Another hour or so passed of increasingly strong contractions and I kept telling Levi "I just feel stuck." Merrilyn had decided to check me again soon, and everyone but me seemed very confident that we'd be pushing soon. I didn't get my hopes up. I felt like I could relax fully during the contractions, and I felt the contractions in my hips instead of the front or back or my bottom. Sure enough, no matter what we did or tried I stayed at 8 centimeters for the next 4 hours. I tried any position that Merrilyn brought up, on the toilet, on the bed, sitting up, leaning back, leaning forward, tilted to one side, sitting, on the birth ball, on the couch, etc. I realize now that Merrilyn was concerned a long time before she betrayed any of that concern to me.
After midnight I still had made no progress. Merrilyn very gently and in between contractions suggested that we start thinking about our options to get this baby delivered. She was concerned that maybe he was too big to descend any lower, or maybe that the induction was no longer mimicking a natural labor. The word Cesarean was used and I started getting upset. Here again, I had tried everything I could to avoid extra interventions and I felt things spiraling out of control. Merrilyn gave us some space and I prayed hard and long. I used the next few contractions to really listen to what my body and intuition were telling me. My gut told me that I these contractions were harder and closer together than what I would have experienced naturally. I felt like I was staying too tense during the contractions, and so the contractions were ineffective. So I made the difficult choice to have an epidural. Levi was also disappointed, but very supportive and made me feel safe listening to my body. I felt like I had let myself down and like I was doomed. I was terrified of the epidural, and scared that I would have a section no matter what.
The anesthesiologist was awesome. He answered all of my questions and was very quick and efficient. Before I knew it the epidural was placed and everyone was helping me get propped up comfortably in bed. It took about 20 minutes before I could rest comfortably during the contractions. The lights were turned off and everyone found somewhere to lay down. We decided to give it 2 or 3 hours... our hope was that since I was now able to relax fully during the contractions that I would be able to progress. I actually got some sleep. At 3:30 Merrilyn came in to check me. Tensest minute of my life. I knew that if I hadn't made any progress that I was looking at a section. She said "You're ready to push." I couldn't believe it! I cried a little at this point because I was so happy. I had still been feeling disappointed about the epidural, but now I really felt like listening to my body and my great midwife had paid off. I was offered many different positions to push in, and the epidural was turned down... I still had good control over my legs. I had always imagined pushing in a squatting position, and I had always imagined just doing my own thing and pushing without direction. However, my body had different plans. Pushing actually felt good when I was semi-sitting pulling my knees to my chest. And I found that having my mom count down from ten during pushes really gave me something to focus on and helped me focus my energy on getting the baby out. After the first few contractions like this Merrilyn said "Ali, this baby is not coming out with a c-section." and that really gave me the energy I needed for the rest of labor. I pushed for around an hour and a half, then the head was out, Merrilyn checked for the cord, and then I pushed again and his body came out. They put him on my chest immediately. He was full of amniotic fluid and coughed and sputtered for a bit before giving us a good cry, as if to say "Hey! I'm here!" Then he settled down and took to just looking around at me and Levi and the nurses. After the cord stopped pulsating Levi cut it. Levi took his shirt off and held the baby skin to skin while I delivered the placenta.
I was amazed by this whole experience. Never in a million years could I have predicted a birthday like this. Solomon Grey was born at 5:33 am on August 20, 2009. He weighed a whopping 9 lbs 15 oz. 21 1/2 inches long. And I didn't tear at all! Recovery has been much better than I anticipated and we are home and learning how to nurse.
Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).
It maybe wasn't the birth you wanted, but it was the birth you and your baby needed and it worked out wonderfully!
I know a lot of mamas who were induced or had labour augmented for one reason or another, and the epi near the end made all the difference in letting their bodies relax enough for baby to make his or her way down.
Congrats, it was a wonderful story!
Grace - wife to Jeff and mama to Nigella (11/08) and Orrin (01/10)- expecting a new addition (05/12)! Life is a whirlwind, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride!
Congrats on the birth of your son!
(my hospital pitocin birth story is here, if you want to check out a similar situation: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...110&highlight= )
Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies: Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10
Just a positive note: if you plan any more children in the future, their births will probably be easier. My second dd was a completely unmedicated birth with relatively little pain and only 10 minutes of pushing. I always felt this was partly because I perservered and got through my difficult vaginal birth with the first (otherwise it would have been a VBAC and I would have been much more anxious and afraid).
Melissa, wife to Brian, mommy to my home born, breastfeeding, sling-riding, sleep sharing, cloth diapered, intact kiddos Adam 11/09 and Leah 8/12.
Don't ever be afraid to share this story and be proud of it, you made excellent decisions for you and your baby.
Sami , wife to , mama to Tate 10/14/05, Kaleb 12/17/07, Bram 3/13/10-11/17/12, Alden 2/1/12, October 2014
I, too, had a pitocin induction (didn't get an epi though) and a 9 lb-er almost a year ago.. You did an amazing job! This is a great example of how epidurals can be used for GOOD!
Enjoy your new baby!
Catie - Happy wife to Aaron (01.05), mama to Liam(08.08), and Ian (11.10)! and due Feb 2013 with blessing #3!
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
As much as I cringe when i hear people having to get induced, there are sometimes good reasons for it. Pre-eclampsia is one. it is amazing that they let you go past your 'due date", and they let you labor fairly naturally and move around. i understand how distracting the monitors are- although I didn't have an internal one, I had one constantly with my first baby because I ended up doing pitocin, even though I was at 5 cm. i was progressing fine- I went from 3-5 in about an hour and a half or so, then I got to 7 fairly quickly after the pitocin, but the contractions were so unbearable. I also had back labor, and since it was my first baby I didn't instinctively go to my hands and knees. I screamed a lot during that birth lol I also ended up getting IV drugs. If I could REDO that birth, I would do so many things differently. lol Pitocin is not fun- at least you had started a little on your own and you weren't starting from 0 cm! It does make the contractions more un- natural. i decided that after my first birth, while it ended in a vaginal birth, it wasn't the "natural" drug free birth I wanted, so I researched how to deal with back labor and then found out I could have a water birth in the hospital (the one i delivered my first child in did not have tubs). I probably could have showered and stuff...so I had a water birth with my second child and vowed to never birth on land if I could help it again! lol And now, I am planning my 4th water birth!
being stuck at 8 cm for four hours doesn't sound like a picnic either! i have heard so many times about the epidural helping people relax and get to 10 cm really quickly. It might not be your ideal thing, but at least you know that you progressed, and maybe next time, you won't need the augmentations! I loved the part where your midwife said, this baby won't be coming out by c-section! It sounds like you had a great team of supportive people. And sometimes, after a long hard labor, your body gets so tired...and you need a boost...so maybe the little nap was good and the bit of epidural you had was good for that.
congrats! It sounds like you have a nice healthy baby, and that you have come to terms with the birth as it went. You learned from it too. All births teach us something.