Compare Pitocin Labor to Natural Labor - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am mentally preparing for my labor (in a month!). During my first labor, I did not need to be induced, but a few hours into it the doctors suggested I get pitocin. It was "upped" 3 times. It was aweful! I had strong, extremely painful contractions every 2 minutes that lasted about 45 seconds-1 minute long. However, I was only dilated to 3 or 4. This was right before I went in for a c-section since my daughter was breech.

I thought that there was no way I would be able to get through a medication-free birth if I could barely make it to 4cm without anything. However, my doula for this birth said that the pitocin induced contractions I was feeling at 3-4 cm are what they feel like at the END of a natural labor. Is this true for any of you who have experienced both pitocin labors and natural labors?
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#2 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 09:31 PM
 
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Well, I have never gotten to experience any labor : but, from talking to friends who were induced, it sounds like pitocin is evil incarnate when it comes to contractions. Many women who are induced end up taking pain meds because it is that bad, it is unnatural (I had a friend who managed to get through a pit induced labor with hypnobirthing, but she said it was pretty horrible).
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#3 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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That seems to be the consensus. Women who have had both, spontaneous and Pitocin-induced, say the induced labour was much more painful and difficult.
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#4 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 09:46 PM
 
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I have never experianced natural labor but I have experianced induced labor twice. It was evil, unholy, unspeakable, hell. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Violent & inhumane. I would NEVER EVER go through it again, I'd section myself...in other words, it's bad.

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#5 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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First one .......... Pitocin = I was not in control, some alien substance was forcing my body to do something it didn't want to do.

Next two.............. Natural = what an awesome experience!! I felt much more in control even when the contractions kind of take over I still felt like this is the way it was meant to be...... I was able to flow with it.... not rail against it.
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#6 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ICan'tFindAName View Post
I was not in control, some alien substance was forcing my body to do something it didn't want to do.
That's actually a really accurate description! :

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#7 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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I laboured for 10 hours before pitocin and let me tell you, after the pitocin I asked for an epidural, it was hell and felt completely unatural.


 
 

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#8 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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I will flat out say that pit contractions are WAY worse than natural contractions. I was induced for all three labors, but didn't have pit right away. The natural contractions were very manageable. They flowed, for lack of a better description. Basically, natural contractions rise slowly, peak, and then decrease. Think of a nice bell curve. Pit contractions rise sharply to a peak and then decrease. There isn't a chance to really mentally prepare for them.

My first two labors were absolute hell once the pit was started. They hyperstimulated me both labors and it was just an awful experience. Especially since the nurses kept upping the dosage because I didn't "look like I was in enough pain." GRRRRRR...

However, my third labor was much better since I had an extremely low dose of pit, just enough to give my body a slight nudge. I waited to be induced until I was nearly 2 weeks overdue and I was having some natural contractions anyway. I think it helped that they let me do alot of natural things to get my labor going such as nipple stimulation. That third labor felt much more like a natural labor. I still ended up with an epidural, but only for the last hour and half of my labor.

If you can, avoid the pit unless it becomes necessary. There are several other ways to strengthen your labor that your doula will help you with.
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#9 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 10:52 PM
 
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Pitocin in NOT like the end of natural labor, plain and simple. These other ladies have said it pretty well I think! Never had pitocin myself, but have witnessed many natural and some pitocin labors, have spoken to many women who've done both. It is apples and oranges--different things...so don't be thinking about your impending labor as if you'll have to go through anything like what you experienced w/pit.

Not sure if you were asking about this, but since someone else mentioned pit w/ref to your upcoming labor--DON'T let anyone get anywhere near you with pitocin for a VBAC. Far higher rates of u/r are associated with pitocin induction.
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#10 of 31 Old 05-30-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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Good advice from MsBlack. Also, I would caution to have someone there specifically TO watch. They DO sneak Pit. Not rarely either. I have heard about it enough times that it doesn't even surprise me anymore.

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#11 of 31 Old 05-31-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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With my first I went into labor on my own and things were just fine. I got to 7 1/2 cm and they wanted to give me pit because things were not progressing fast enough for them. At 7 1/2 I barely had to stop a breath and they were nice hills. Then came the pit it was terrible I could tell as soon as it kicked in. I went from being on top of my contrx to totally out of control not keeping up and screaming like a fool. With pitocin, in my experience, there was no rest for me unlike regular natural contrax. A few hours after pit I asked for an epidural.

Angie wife to Joe and Mom to Lucas(10) and Alex (7), Elizabeth (4), Joey (2), and #5 due May 29
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#12 of 31 Old 05-31-2007, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, it sounds like A LOT of you have had pitocin! Believe me, I have no intention of seeing the drug in my delivery room. However, it is the only type of labor I have to compare anything to. I am so glad that you all agree that it is much worse than real labor. Maybe I really can do this thing (without pitocin of course)
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#13 of 31 Old 05-31-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatloafkend View Post
...During my first labor, I did not need to be induced, but a few hours into it the doctors suggested I get pitocin. It was "upped" 3 times. It was aweful! I had strong, extremely painful contractions every 2 minutes that lasted about 45 seconds-1 minute long. However, I was only dilated to 3 or 4. This was right before I went in for a c-section since my daughter was breech.

I thought that there was no way I would be able to get through a medication-free birth if I could barely make it to 4cm without anything....
This doesn't make sense to me. The truth as I see it you didn't barely make it to 4cm without anything. You barely made it to 4cm with Pitocin, something you said was awful and cause extremely painful contractions.

I've birthed six children without any meds. While I've had a few painful moments (a head crowning and birthing all at the same time, my pubic symphysis splitting while birthing a child laterally), I would never describe my labors as generally painful.

Never having had a c/s, the only relevant experience I can contribute to this discussion is my contrasting experience with Pitocin. After my first was born my contractions stopped. The MW gave me Angelica to help expel the placenta but it had no affect. She gave me a shot of Pit in the thigh but that had no effect. She performed cord traction, pulled the cord off the placenta, and tried to manually remove the placenta before her secondary stepped in and explained the need to transport. I was given "one for the road" and that shot of Pit also had no effect. Entering the hospital the could air roused me after which I promptly passed out again. They started me on Pit IV. As the doctor's hand was in my uterus all that Pit finally kicked in and I had one instantaneous COMPLETE contraction of every muscle muscle in my body from my knees about 1/3 the way up my rib cage. In a fraction of a second I flipped from stone cold unconscious on my back to bolt upright, completely rigid with the loudest, most shocking primal scream coming from a place I've never since found.

IME natural labor is to Pitocin what standing in a gentle rain is to standing under Niagara Falls.

Pitocin is an anti-diuretic. As a woman's blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy, one birth occurs her body needs to rid itself of the excess blood volume. Most of this is taken care of by the kidneys filtering the blood and excreting the excess volume as urine. As my body was unable to do this from high doses of the anti-diuretic Pitocin, according to two lactation consultants and one LLL leader, I had one of the worst case of engorgement they'd ever seen. I could raise my arms about 30* from my side with discomfort and in debilitating pain to 60*. Beyond that the tissue was just to full to budge with force. My MW, also a certified lactation consultant, was afraid I was going to be HER only mom ever not to successfully BF. (She didn't consider WIC clients HER moms as she only saw them 3-4 days after delivery IF they were already having problems.) Long story wrapping up, I succeeded in BFing my son but only though great challenges *augmented* by Pitocin.

As a woman preparing for her fifth UC, I have full confidence in my body's ability to birth unhindered. I have a low pain tolerance and honestly believe even with my birth experiences backing my up, if I were in a laboring in a hospital that operated under the medical paradigm of labor management, I'd have a doubtful chance of escape without unnecessary and potentially harmful drugs. Disclaimer: I'm not sharing this to discourage hospital-based VBACs, I'm merely speaking about my personal limitations. When I'm birthing I go into a plane where I'm moving with and intuitively responding to labor. If my dh interrupts me by asking what's going on I can brush him away and ignore him or step out of my path for an analytical interchange and greatly risk having a birth *managed* by our knowledge and judgment and predictions rather than just birthed. Disclaimer on disclaimer: I'm not trying to plug UCing for everyone or even anyone, I'm just trying to explain WHY even I doubt my drug-free birthing abilities.

I hope you can find something useful in my ramble. I've ignored my children too long and won't bother proofreading.

Take gentle care,
BV
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#14 of 31 Old 05-31-2007, 03:53 PM
 
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In another thread I followed a link to an article that might be of interest. It's called "The Truth About Pitocin" by Elaine Stillerman.

From the article:
Quote:
In addition, pitocin often has no effect on cervical dilation even though the contractions are much stronger.
~BV
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#15 of 31 Old 05-31-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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This isn't even my thread & I am, personally, so thankful for it! I bet a ton of moms are really feeling good/better after reading it! Thanks all! :

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#16 of 31 Old 06-04-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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I had the same mind set as you at first! I had to be induced w/ DS#1 because my water broke and I was having no contractions...... and remember the pain of the contractions being sooooooooo intense that by the time i was 3 cm's I BEGGED for the epidural.

I thought for sure there was no way I would be able to have a med free VBAC, but I BELIEVED I could when the time came.
and let me tell you.......... it was painful from the 8-10 cm mark.... but it was a different kind of pain. Maybe it was because I wasn't afraid of the pain like I was the first time around...I accepted it and rode it out.. but I still don't feel it was as intense or as painful as the first time around.
( and it was AMAZING TOO!)
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#17 of 31 Old 06-04-2007, 11:44 PM
 
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I have only had one baby, and the labor was pitocin-induced (post-dates) and I swore as soon as they gave it to me that I would never in a million years consent to that living hell ever again.

I was 100% and 4 cms. without ever.feeling.a.single.contraction. My OB (whom I liked before and still after this experience, I just don't plan to hospital birth ever again) said I was the perfect candidate for Pitocin - it'd "kickstart" labor for me. She was worried about my blood pressure and low amniotic fluid, and I was overdue and ready to be done, so I consented.

2 hours after the first "test dose" level of Pit drip, baby was born. It was pure hell. I really wish I had had more faith in myself and the baby and not consented. But, knowing what I know now, I'll do better for myself and babe next time.

Though the medical people saw me as the perfect candidate for meds, I felt then, and feel more strongly now, that I never needed the meds, would have done just fine without, and would have had the baby within a couple days on my own. I think I was the perfect candidate to be left the hell alone, but the medical professionals always seem to think we're broken and need fixing, I guess.
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#18 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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1) 3 DAYS of Pitocin induction before labor finally started with water breaking, 37 weeks, emergency c-section after 9 hours of hell (on the Pit drip)
2) Pitocin induction, 38 weeks, 7 hour not-so-fun labor (ouch!), easy VBAC in the end, thank goodness (only 7 pushes!)
3) NO PITOCIN (membrane stripping), labor started with water breaking, 38 weeks, much different! Contractions for the first few hours were SO much easier than on Pitocin.

I am looking forward to NO interventions with #4 and a much easier labor after I have baked as long as baby needs.

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
"Well behaved women rarely make history"
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#19 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 03:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
Good advice from MsBlack. Also, I would caution to have someone there specifically TO watch. They DO sneak Pit. Not rarely either. I have heard about it enough times that it doesn't even surprise me anymore.

Very true. It was given against my wishes/knowledge. Same thing happened to my twin sister as well. My older sister hasn't gotten her records so who knows.

Mama to my spirited J, and L, my homebirth: baby especially DTaP, MMR (family vax injuries)
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#20 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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From the article in a previous post:
Quote:
By 1974, it was an established medical fact that its failure rate was 40% to 50%. In 1978, an FDA advisory committee removed its approval of pitocin for the elective induction of labor. Interestingly, the drug never was approved by the FDA for use in augmenting labor.
Obstetrics continues to prove that it is the one field of medicine that refuses to give evidence-based care.

My experience:
1. Pit augmented labor. IV meds and epidural.
2. No pit. Unmedicated VBAC
3. Not possible to have pit. HBAC.

The difference is like night and day. Pitocin contractions are the horrible, awful, painful contractions women are afraid of. Normal contractions are rhythmic and purposeful. They are able to be handled, even at their height. Pitocin contractions are abnormal and extremely difficult to get through without an epidural. Women have done it, but they don't ever describe it as easy to do.
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#21 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
I would never in a million years consent to that living hell ever again.
That's why I had my subsequent sections.

~Marie: Mom to DS(17), DS(16), DD(14), DD(10), DD(8) & someone new on the way.
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#22 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 08:32 PM
 
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Well, I feel pretty good reading this! I was induced from 0 with cytotec and pit with Anneke. It was bad news, but I did make it through with no pain meds. I'm really excited to have a natural labor at home this time.
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#23 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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I've had Pitocin induced labour with my 2nd baby. Two weeks after due date it was decided that I would be induced, so into hospital I went. It all started at about 9.00am with the drip. The drip bag was attached to a trolley so I could still move about. Every half hour the amount was increased and labour quickly sped up. Support from the midwives was great and 3 hours later my 9lb boy was born vaginally.

My 3rd baby was caesarean because she was breech. The midwives and doctors did not know how to deliver a breech baby so I had to have the abdominal surgery!!!

My 4th baby, I was determined that I was going to have him naturally. I did not have access to the computer or internet when pregnant with my 3rd baby but I didn now, so I researched up as much as I could. I had never experienced true labour by myself without intervention so I was determined that I would, this time, let my body do what it is meant to do.

9 days past due date it all started. 5.00pm, Light at first and very manageable. Just like period cramping. Was every 6 minutes. I kept moving about, walking, bouncing in my fit ball, watching tv, dvd's, anything to keep active. I rang the hospital and they said only come in when I *felt* like I couldn't cope anymore. We finally went in about 8.30pm. After that labour progressed at a nice rate until about 2.00am I agreed to my waters being broken. They were strong and hard to break. 20 minutes later my boy was born a VBAC. He was 10lb 4oz and I had no tears.

It is achievable but you need to be determined and strong and have people around you that will be your voice in your support too. Good luck.
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#24 of 31 Old 06-05-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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There is no comparison. My natural birth was much easier and less painful.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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#25 of 31 Old 06-06-2007, 12:41 AM
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The comparison is simple: my Pitocin-induced contractions (with the birth of DS1) were unnatural and violent with no respite. Natural contractions (with the birth of DS2) allowed me to feel the movements of each muscle and gave me a little break to rest in between contractions. Even in the final stages of natural labor, I never felt the need for medication...and my natural labor was 68.5 hours long.

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#26 of 31 Old 06-27-2007, 12:54 PM
 
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Natural labor is much easier to cope with. The intervals tend to be longer, giving you the strength to realize you can get through another contraction. Also, since you aren't hooked to anything, it's much easier to move around as much as needed. With pitocin induced labor (from early labor) I gave in to an epi probably around 4cm, thinking there was no way I could take another multiple hours (I was also tethered with all the tubes and stuff), with natural only at home only at the end did I start to feel like it was getting really hard, although I felt I could go on for a long while. I did start to wonder after an hour and a half of pushing how long I could go on, but that's a bit different from laboring and I had a particularly long pushing state (3 1/2 hours), and it was more about the exhaustion of pushing than the pain. I never thought about drugs the whole time, only worried if a transfer might be necessary.
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#27 of 31 Old 06-27-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I've only had pitocin but it wasn't bad. I was already at 9.5 cm and my contractions had stopped for some reason. They wanted to give me pitocin to start them up again. I resisted for about 2 hours because I was afraid the pitocin would cause me to NEED an epi and I didn't want that. I had a very good doula. She explained everything to me and the nurses. In the end we started with a very slow pitocin and the contractions started again. I never felt I needed an epidural. If I had it to do over again, I'd just wait for labor to start but I wanted to add that in my circumstances it didn't seem any worse. I presume it's because I was already mostly dilated.

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#28 of 31 Old 06-27-2007, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I have responded so many times to my own post, but I again want to thank everyone for their input!!!! I am SO EXCITED for my labor and birth. and if this sounds silly or not, I cannot wait to feel the "pain" of my labor. I just want to feel like a woman is supposed to feel during labor. I CANNOT WAIT!!!! I am due any day now
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#29 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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Oh, it's night and day. Pitocin makes it all so painful. Natural contractions weren't like skipping through daisies for me, but at least they accomplished something. With pitocin I never got anywhere. I had massive, agonizing contractions that did nothing but annoy the baby and cause me pain. Natural ctx nurt a lot, for me, but I had a sense of accomplishment because they were moving the baby along. I could feel changes in my body and knew he was coming out, albeit very slowly.

With pit I went for 5 days, then 6 days with two different births, and never got very far. I ended up with c/s both times. With natural ctx it took 36 hours, and the baby came out without surgery.

The best part of not having pit, and being at home without intervention or machine, was that I could move around. I wasn't tethered to an IV pole, pit pump, bp machine, and eventually an epidural line. I could use my birth ball, walk around, get into water. It's amazing what you can do to make your labor more comfortable, and reduce pain, if you aren't tethered to machines! Water works way better than epidural, in my experience.

Kiley
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#30 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 03:06 AM
 
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I had pitocin with my first, and a natural labor at home with my second. The pain with the pitocin was horrid, the contractions were one on top of another and didn't seem to be doing anything but cause pain. I had a very looong painful labor with my second, and honestly it was very painful, much more than I expected it to be, but I think it has to do with the way my second son was positioned- he came out with a nuchal hand. Also, there were breaks between the contractions. I knew when they were coming and when they were ending.

Mama to my spirited J, and L, my homebirth: baby especially DTaP, MMR (family vax injuries)
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