Before I deliver my second child I'd like to take the opportunity to relive my first delivery experience. I am going in with the same idea this time around, but have found a voice and support staff that agree with me. I am hoping for a healing birth.
Chicken Little's incubation period was extremely typical and problem free. I saw an OB the entire time, even though my heart and head told me that midwife was the way to go. I am a creature of habit, and having gone to this particular OB/GYN office for 10+ years it was hard to
consider making a switch.
I saw the same OB the entire pregnancy until 38 weeks. She was off delivering a baby at my appointment time, so I was handed off to a different OB. It was at this appointment that interventions started that I never even saw coming. I remember this internal exam being particularly painful, I chalked it up to just being so used to the other OB. Two years later I have come to the conclusion that this OB stripped my membranes without my permission. I feel completely violated and angry that someone would decide to damage my perfect pregnancy in this way.
That night after watching some evening television I noticed my pajamas were damp upon standing up to go to bed. I thought it was unusual, but in the end ignored my wandering mind figuring that it was either sweat from the hot August night, or maybe I had finally turned into one of those pregnant ladies that had bladder control issues.
A few days later things started to get quite funky. I had a horribly itchy private area and could barely control myself. I assumed I was getting some type of yeast infection. I called my OB office and they bumped up my 39 week appointment by a few days and got me in. Tests revealed no yeast infection, but a lot of bacteria. They gave me a cream to use in order to stop the itching and that was that. During my appointment with the OB she noted a concern about the size of my baby. She wanted to order an ultrasound to check on babies size and he had not done a whole lot in the last few weeks. For whatever reason, they couldn't get me in for an ultrasound for 4 DAYS!!! I kept telling myself that if it were serious they would have got me in right away, but it was definitely a stressful week.
Come Friday September 5th at 11:20 we were ready for our appointment. Rooster and I had planned on dining at one of my favorite restaurants afterwards. A huge mistake on my part at this point was skipping my midmorning snack thinking I would totally pig out at the restaurant. Note to self - always load up on liquids and food before an ultrasound... especially towards the end of pregnancy. The ultrasound revealed that I had extremely low amnio fluid. First off.... DUH, because I hadn't eaten for 3 hours and secondly... amnio fluid had been slowly leaking for 8 days! The OB ordered an immediate induction. They stripped my membranes (this time with my permission) and sent me to the hospital.
I called my parents and our doula to let them know the baby was coming today. At the hospital I came upon a whole new set of problems. Having a nurse that supports your idea of labor is key in making a pleasant experience. I arrived at the hospital a completely overwhelmed and terrified first time mom armed with a natural birth plan. The nurse actually laughed at my birth plan and said that I was being mean to deny myself pain medications. I let her comments roll off of me as I had bigger things to worry about, but this should have been my first clue to request a change in nursing staff. I was stuck with her abuse for about 8 more hours.
I now know that you can "fire" a nurse... but that isn't something they always advertise to you. As a scared first time mom I just took abuse for 8 hours... never again.
The nurse broke my water and attempted to put an internal monitor (but CL wouldn't cooperate - YAY!!). With just the membrane stripping and broken water I was contracting and progressing very well. The nurse mentioned that she didn't think we'd need to use pitocin. I was so relieved! Not 30 minutes later the nurse came in and snuck a bag of pitocin on my IV pole. We were completely blindsided!! I was in a scared, dark, angry place - but wasn't standing up for myself or my labor experience. This is not where you want to be as a woman in labor... you should be relaxed, calm, and participating in your labor.
I did the usual stuff of sitting on the birth ball, taking baths/showers, walking the halls, and swaying. It was intense as the nurse kept coming in every 15-20 minutes and increasing my pitocin. She would make rude comments like "You're still smiling, it must not hurt yet," even though I was totally using all my energy to embrace the pain and not turn it into suffering. I firmly believe she had the opposite goal.
Around 7pm there was a shift change that probably saved my labor from turning into another "emergency" c-section from pitocin distress on the fetus. The new nurse came in and cut my pitocin dose IN HALF!!! She informed me that this was "your labor and we're going to do it your way." I immediately relaxed and swiftly dilated. It's amazing what feeling like you are in a comfortable environment will do for your labor!
While laying on my left side in bed with only my husband and doula in the room I suddenly thought that I was crowning. My doula peaked under the sheet and confirmed my thought, and quickly got the nurse. The nurse pushed the "little red button" and then the "big red button" and within minutes the room was full of resident and student doctors. They all tried to shake my hand and introduce themselves, which I thought was a little odd... within a few minutes and with very little effort on my part my son was born into this world. I don't even remember pushing, I just know I was making low moaning noises and he just came flying out.
For more information about "pit to distress" check out these links;