I have written about this in various threads in bits and pieces, but I think it's time to get some support from you birth extremists
since just about nobody else considers this a really disappointing experience.
I had planned a natural childbirth in the hospital. I was doing prenatal care with a nurse midwifery, I took a hypobirthing class, and I was pretty sure I wanted a waterbirth. I was 36 years old.
At work at 5PM on my EDD, my water broke. It was a Thursday. I wasn't really having contractions. I phoned the midwives and my favorite one was on call. She said to eat dinner and go to bed, that I would be in labor in the morning. Well....no I wasn't in labor. So I had a regular midwifery appointment at noon on Friday. The midwife on duty (whom I also liked, but not the same one) said I might have to be induced, but that i should try shiatsu induction and other natural methods. So I went for several hours of shiatsu.
My friends, who had successfull induced several women with shiatsu, pummelled me for about 3 hours. Then we broke for dinner. All the people who had been enlisted to help with shiatsu came to my house. AFter dinner, we went to meet the midwife at the hospital. She hooked me up to a monitor and told me that I was going to need to be induced with cervadil. Then she left the room and went to find the pharmacist. She couldn't find anyone (?) so she sent me home. When she said, "You can go home" I could see on the monitor that my contractions started up!
All Friday night I had contractions. They kept me awake. In the morning I was still having contractions. When I got to the hospital, the midwife on duty was a per diem one whom I didn't like. My contractions shut off totally, like a faucet. She began to pressure me to use pitocin. I got scared that my baby could get an infection. Then I asked her to do an exam, to make sure my cervix had softened, and I was a few centimeters dilated. So we started pitocin. I had a walking IV and telemetry monitoring. The midwife kind of disappeared for most of this.
At seven in the evening Saturday, the midwife we were most comfortable with came on duty. I told her that I was really scared that the baby would get an infection. She said we could have antibiotics and that it was better to get them now than to have them after the baby was born. So I breathed a sigh of relief. She took me off the pitocin and off the monitor and put me in the bathtub. The whirlpool felt dynamite. But my contractions didn't become regular and I had to go back on pitocin.
I had contractions all Saturday night. Our midwife stayed with us (me, my dh and our friend who was along for support.) My contractions hurt, but they weren't very long. In fact they weren't doing much. I wasn't really dilating. Early Sunday afternoon they asked if I would like to try Nubain. I had been pretty determined not to use painkillers, but I thought "maybe I'll dilate." That was kind of a nightmare. I would fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up screaming and disoriented.
So then they said, "We think you might benefit from an epidural." The midwife was actually freaking out a little because it was taking so long and she was getting worried about the baby. At some point I turn on one side and the heartbeat got a little funky. She went to consult with the doctor on duty. The OB looked at the tapes of the monitoring (from Saturday to Sunday afternoon!) and said this is the only time the baby has had any heartbeat irregularity, I think she can do it vaginally. She suggested that I have double the usual dose of pitocin, and the epidural so I could rest and so it wouldn't completely blow me away when the contractions got fierce.
So I guess by then it was late Saturday afternoon? I had the epidural put in. I went to sleep for a couple of hours, and then they woke me up to say, "you are dilated and can push."
But there was so much anaesthetic in my body that I couldn't even feel anything below the waist. I couldn't move my legs. I couldn't even tell when the contractions were done. My husband, my friend, the midwife and the L and D nurse on duty (who was wonderful) all took turns moving my legs into a squat for me.
After some time had elapsed, they checked with an internal monitor to see what was going on, and decided that my pushing wasn't effective. Hello! I can't feel anything! So they cut back on the epidural. Once I had less medication in my body, I went back to pushing. Of course in the middle of all of this the epidural pump broke. So I did get to do the end of the pushing without the painkillers. Of course I had a ton of pitocin through to the end.
My husband says I was pushing for 8 hours, but I think it was really six hours with a two hour break in the middle while the drugs left my system. All together I was, well, not "in labor" but laboring to get the baby out for 44 hours. At the very end of everything, when I was just not able to get the baby OUT, the CNM did an episiotomy. I was pissed, but at that point I mainly wanted to hold the baby. I have thought since this happened that I might have been weaker for not having eaten for several days, as the hospital didn't let me have any food from the time they put in the IV for the pitocin on Saturday, and no drink by mouth from when they started the epidural.
Now, the hard part for me, the part that keeps bugging me, were the minutes that the nurses were checking out the baby across the room. He didn't latch on at birth. he actually had a lot of trouble with his latch, and then the lactation consultant at the hospital insisted we had to supplement with formula and pumped colostrum. So that makes me feel awful. But we did get nursing going--6 months of exclusive nursing (not counting that very first four days) and still nursing now.
A more beautiful healthy baby than mine you have never seen. But I really wonder what I could have done differently not to have this awful non-labor. Compared to many people here I actually had a pretty good experience, I know. I avoided the dreaded C-section and all. But I really wanted to do it myself, you know?
so if you read through that whole dissertation (my doctoral dissertation was actually shorter :LOL) can you 1) offer me reassurance 2) point out what I could have done differently, but uh, not in an attacking way?