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I had my first baby in 2003 using a group of certified Nurse midwives and a doula at the only hospital in the area. The midwives were great, the doula was an angel, the hospital sucked. This is what a lack of competition will do for your healthcare....

The practice consisted of 3 midwives with a backup doctor (that I never even met). Each appointment we rotated between the midwives, so I was familiar with all of them. Of course, I still had a favorite, and thankfully, she was the one on call when I went into labor. There was also only 1 practicing doula in the area, but she was an absolute wonderful angel. She worked at the hospital as a CNA and nursing student, so she knew where everything was.

My only complaint about the midwives was that they got pushy about inducing me once I went past my due date. I finally agreed to try an induction at 41 weeks. So at 41 weeks, I checked into the hospital around 8 in the evening to have a dose of Cervadil. Lovely thing about living in rural ND, I was 45 miles away from the hospital. So once I had my 2 hour EFM strip done to prove that I was tolerating the Cervadil, I left the hospital to try to get some sleep at a friend's house. They wouldn't let me drive all the way back home in case something went wrong. Go figure, as soon as I got comfy in bed, my water broke. So right around midnight, we head back to the hospital.

After they determine that I wasn't having any regular contractions, they said "oh, we'll just let you sleep for tonight and get you started in the morning." Yeah, ok...find me ANYONE who can sleep in a hospital bed with those damned EFM belts on and nurses checking on you every half hour or so!!!!
I'd all ready been up all day and barely slept a wink that night. My husband got to sleep on a cot they "luckily" managed to find to bring into the room. (yeah, this LDR room had only a hospital bed and a really uncomfortable chair)

Next morning, my midwife comes in and says "Ok, lets get you up and moving. We'll try a shower and walking to see if that gets you contracting regularly. Otherwise, we'll have to start some Pit." So off me, my husband, and my doula head into the doctor's lounge to use the shower. No shower in my room, and the only other showers were community showers. But since there was no doctor on the OB floor, we were "allowed" to use the doctor's shower so we had a bit more privacy. We showered for a while and walked around for a while, which got me contracting.

However, it wasn't a regular enough pattern to satisfy the nurses, so my midwife ordered Pit about noon. This meant the dreaded IV. I have a horrible phobia about needles when they are pointed at me. I can give shots no prob, but you point the needle at me.....I just don't do well. So the nurse comes in to start the IV and goes straight for the "cheater" vein as my husband calls it. Its the one right along the side of your inner wrist. Usually easy to hit in a pregnant woman, but also damned close to an artery and alot of nerves. Well, I warned her I wasn't good with needles and she totally blew me off. She went for the vein and I jumped from the pain. The nurse got all huffy and said "Now I have to try somewhere else." She went for a vein in the top of my left hand and hit a valve. She kept digging and digging trying to get around the valve and ended up blowing the vein. At this point, I was ready to come up out of the bed and smack her. She said "I'll try once more and then get someone else." Well she couldn't get it and sent another nurse in to try. I explained to this nurse my problem with needles, and she was "Oh, well I will just give you a little Lidocaine before we do the IV." The lidocaine worked like a charm. She got the IV in no prob and I didn't flinch this time!

So ok, now I have the Pit going and am stuck in bed because of the CEFM required. Thankfully between my baby kicking me to warn of an upcoming contraction and my husband and doula rubbing my back and various other things, I managed to go over 5 hours without any pain meds. It also helped that I had my room just the way I wanted it: dim lights, lavender aromatherapy, Enya music playing, the door closed, and minimal interruptions. The nurses were calling my room "The Cave." Finally though, they managed to hyperstimulate me with the Pit and I had back labor. At that point, I requested Nubain "just to take the edge off." After a few hours, I stalled out at 7 cm. The nurses started whispering about heading for a c/s. At this point, I was getting really tired and hence the pain was starting to get the better of me.

My midwife Kerry, my doula, my husband and I started discussing options. We settled on trying an epidural to help me relax (the whole fear-pain-tension theory) and relieve the pain in the hopes that it would allow me to progress. The anesthesiologist showed up and had horrible English of course. It took them over an hour to get the epidural placed because I was having so much pain with the contractions it was nearly impossible for me to stay in the proper position. Eventually they got it. Soon after, I drifted off to sleep. After a short nap (20 to 30 mins), I woke up and said "I think I have to push!" My midwife checked me and said "Wow, you're a 10! Go for it!" So I pushed and pushed, but my stubborn son refused to go past the pubic bone. Since I had the epidural, there weren't many options for trying other positions.

Suddenly my doula pipes up, "How about tug-of-war?" My midwife said "What is that?" My doula grabbed a sheet and said "She holds the middle, we all hold the sides, and when she has to push, she pulls on the sheet. It'll help her use the right muscles." So, with my husband and doula on one side, 2 nurses and my midwife on the other, we played tug-of-war. Sure enough it worked...pretty soon my midwife said "I see blonde hair!" That was the one thing that really stuck in my head. I never expected the baby to be blonde, even though my husband and I were both blonde as kids. All babies I've ever seen in the birth shows all had dark hair or none at all!

So now I was pushing with no prob and soon we discovered why my son was so stubborn -- he was coming down with his hand beside his head. I ended up with a second degree internal tear because of it, but I didn't mind cause I had my son vaginally! I got to touch him as he came out and was just absolutely overjoyed. I remember saying over and over "I did it!" 23 hours after my water had broke, I had my 8 lbs 11 oz. son in my arms.

Unfortunately, this moment was interrupted again by hospital policy of doing all newborn procedures in the nursery. So off went my husband with the baby while my midwife helped deliver the placenta and stitched me up. He got to give him the first bath and everything. Soon they brought him back and I got the greatest picture of my husband holding our son with this look of complete awe and love.

After my 2 hours postpartum were up, I walked to my new room, which baffled the nurses. They couldn't believe the epidural had worn off so fast. Thankfully I ended up by myself in a double room, so they let my husband use the extra bed to spend the night.

By the next day, I was getting very frustrated with breastfeeding and the nurses were little help. I just couldn't find a good position to let the baby latch on because I was large breasted and just couldn't get comfortable in the damned hospital bed. Again, my angel of a doula came by and suggested I try the football hold. She helped me arrange some pillows and the baby, and bam...no more probs.

The third and final day was our 1 year wedding anniversary, so we had our couple's dinner before we checked out. We had a steak dinner with sparkling juice on a nicely decorated table. I was so glad to be getting out of the hospital and going home.
 

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Great story!! I love how you had the couple's dinner at the end. I really wanted to do that, but missed the boat!!

Good luck on the December VBAC!!
 

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ndakkitten,

WOW about that birth and stay at the hospital expect parts of that one nurse, and breastfeeding stuff. Good luck with your upcoming VBAC and hope everything goes well.
 
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