We arrived at the hospital at 6 pm Sunday night, met our doula in the lobby and headed on up. They checked me in, got us settled in the room with telemetry monitoring and the birth tub, and sent the CNM on call in to check me. She set us up with twenty minutes of monitoring first to check on the babe and the contractions, and then checked my cervix (while "irritating the hell out of it" -her words). I was 1-2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and was having contractions about every 6-9 minutes. She sent me off to walk the halls while she consulted with the other staff members. My contractions picked up a bit, so I was pretty excited, and then she came in to chat at about 9pm about our plan.
The plan was to stay the night, see if the contractions intensified into active labor, and until then I would need monitoring for 20 minutes every hour and a half. I agreed, and we settled in to try to get some sleep. During the night, the contractions basically died down into nothing, which of course I found very discouraging.
So, 7 or 8 Monday morning, CNM comes in to talk about that day's plans. She mentions pitocin, but says I don't have to have it right away because that day's OB has not put a time limit on my ruptured membrane status (which by their clock is 30 hrs already, but in reality is 58 plus). I mention that I'd like to try nipple stim first, and they agreed that was a good plan. So, in no particular order, we try nipple stim, knee chest position because I felt that the baby was no longer well engaged due to all the lying back I had to do for the monitoring, we belly-banded me (like a rebozo scarf only we used a sheet), they sent my husband and me to the shower to make out and release natural oxytocin (which felt a bit like a conjugal visit), walked the halls, tried homeopathic remedies, etc... you name it, we tried it. I got contractions back to 9 minutes, but nothing better.
I decided at that point that my personal time limit would be 2 pm that afternoon to start a little pitocin, and see if that was all we needed to get things moving. I really felt like we had exhausted all of our options, and I thought if we started the pitocin much later, I'd be completely exhausted for the labor. I did ask to be checked first to see if there had been any progress, and also to see if the head had moved around or tilted at all. One of my conditions for pitocin to be effective was that the baby be well positioned, otherwise I really felt like it would be useless.
I was found to be at 2-3 cm, 60% effaced, and was stretched to 3 cm. And the head did appear to be well applied. So, pitocin was started pretty much right at 2 pm.
Contractions picked up almost instantly, and by 3 pm I was on the telemetry monitors and walking around. I was no longer comfortable walking by 3:30, and was having a fair amount of pain. Contractions started getting incredibly painful by 4:30, and the next hour was like being strapped to a medieval rack. I tried lots of different positions, and (ironically) found leaning against my IV pole while gripping it was actually the most effective (husband and doula rubbing back, squeezing hips, etc).
I asked to be checked because I desperately needed to know if I had progressed, and the CNM came in at 5:45 and stated that I was at 4 cm. I was terribly disappointed and wanted to can it at that point. My CNM was headed in to assist at a c-section at 6 pm, and I so wanted to be that mama, who was preparing for a spinal! But, the nurses and CNM agreed that my contractions were too strong, and backed off the pitocin, and I asked to try laboring in the birth tub to see if that would take the edge off. Between the two things, I got enough relief to make it through the next hour, or at least they were more manageable.
At 7 pm, I was checked again, and found to be... 7-8 cm! Yikes. I asked for an epidural, and then after the next contraction, rescinded and headed back to the tub. One more hour in the tub, and I was feeling pushy.
Now, I should mention that all this time, there have been concerns about late decelerations. At one point, I was wishing there were, so I would have a reason to give in. At the end of my tub time, they were having such a hard time getting the heartbeat that they decided an internal monitor would be best, so that was put in as I got out.
Things looked pretty good as I started pushing, but as the head descended, the heartrate variables got larger and larger, and everyone was calm, but concerned. I tried pushing from a side-lying position, which was better for a while, and then we needed a little oxygen between contractions. Then, the OB came in told me that we needed to try directed pushing because it was getting a little hairy with the baby's heartrate and we needed to speed up the process as much as possible. It turned out that as they finally could see the head, they could also see a prolapsed cord coming with it, wrapped around her shoulders.
So, now I had a sports event with 4 nurses, a pediatrician, the CNM, and the OB, my husband and the doula. Did I care? Did I open my eyes? I don't think so.
I pushed my heart out, burst every blood vessel from my boobs on up, and with the help of a vacuum for the last two pushes, delivered a meconium covered somewhat floppy beautiful baby girl at 9:38 pm. Her apgars were 6 and 9, she recovered beautifully, and was in my arms a few minutes later. She was 8 lbs, 7 oz, 20 inches long. I had two superficial tears with two stitches, and was otherwise none the worse for wear unless you considered my speckled face and body, two black eyes, and completely bloodshot eyes!!
After she arrived and I had the ability to check out the monitor strip, I could see the concern. Her heartrate dipped into the 60's and 70's with every push, and then it started rebounding into the 190's. Considering the circumstances, the staff was incredibly calm and reassuring, and never made me feel like there was actually something wrong.
I absolutely cannot believe she is here, and that we were successful, and I can't say enough about the staff of my wonderful hospital. Every single nurse, midwife, and OB that was on during my stay came in to congratulate me and say that they were rooting for me all the time. The CNM's all whispered that the OB's let things slide that they really shouldn't have in terms of hospital policy, and that this really wouldn't have happened in any of our other local hospitals (which I firmly believe).
I totally caved during the first hour in the tub, and asked for a c-section and for all the pain to end, and I don't know who said it to me, but this got me through - "You are doing what is absolutely normal for your body to do. Nobody here is thinking of you as a VBAC mom, you're just a normal laboring mother. Nobody's worried about your baby, nobody's worried about your scar, and you CAN do this."
It was absolutely the hardest thing I've ever done, and certainly the most painful, and absolutely 100% worth it and not even a faint comparison to the births of my other children. I will say that I was kind of hoping that childbirth pain was a little overexagerated, but maybe pitocin and ruptured membranes made it a little worse - who knows, and really, who cares!!
I am on cloud 9 about the whole thing, and I owe a lot to the support of everyone here, and in my real life.
Thank you all for checking in on me, and I'm so happy to write a happy story!
"You are doing what is absolutely normal for your body to do. Nobody here is thinking of you as a VBAC mom, you're just a normal laboring mother. Nobody's worried about your baby, nobody's worried about your scar, and you CAN do this."
Congratulations, mama! You definitely beat the odds! Pit absolutely causes harder, stronger contractions. Enjoy your babymoon!
You are one strong mama! You even ADMIT to asking for an epidural and c-section (as I think probably most mama's do in some weak moment), and yet you persevered through it! Good for you!
Maybe I just didn't notice... what did you name her?
Enjoy your babymoon, and thank you so much for sharing your story!
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
Midwifery Student and Mama to 2 daughters and 3 sons.
I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.
SAHMlovin' to DD 10/00 & DS 10/04 If your son is intact, keep him safe, visit the Intact Care forum Circ, a personal choice, Your SONS 11/98 6/99 Thyroid cancer survivor. With 5 & 2 Boxers wishing for
thanks for sharing!
That's right, you read it right!! We had the most amazing experience ever; I will try to recreate it as best I can, though some details are fuzzy! This will be long, but hopefully good!