Here we are. In full-blown labor.
In my planning phase, I made it very clear I wanted a natural childbirth. No meds, zero intervention, no doctors poking at me, no nothing. I was very determined that I was going to do this the way women, in my mind, should birth. Besides, women have been having children for generations before all these fancy medicines came into play. I wanted no part of big pharmacy in my beautiful birthing experience. And already, I was failing at this plan, because at 10am on 2/2/16, I was induced. I had 24 hours to push this baby out.
It became very clear, very quickly, that my body was not even attempting to correctly dilate. A few hours went by of intense contractions, and nothing was happening. I was only dilated to 4cm, and I had been playing the contraction game since the prior Friday. One of the reasons I agreed to the induction was I was told it would speed up the birth process. This did not seem to be happening. All I got from being induced was really wet slippers, and the realization that any pride or composure I had displayed in front of my husband and doula was now gone.
Sometime mid-afternoon, I was told I needed to consider going on Pitocin. This was supposed to increase my contractions & make dilation happen much quicker since I was not dilating on my own. I fought this option. With every bit of my being, I fought this option. This was not in my plan. This was not what I asked for. This was not making my happy at all. But, after talking to my midwife, doula, and husband about it, the choice was made to start a very tiny amount of Pitocin. It would kick-start the contractions to a more elevated level, and we would move along nicely.
Needless to say, that was not the case.
Pitocin is quite possible a drug that the devil himself invented. It makes your bearable contractions completely unbearable. It feels like someone invades your body and squeezes the life out of you while at the same time stabbing you repeatedly in the uterus. Even at its smallest dosage, I knew I was about to be in for a really terrible next few hours. But, I was determined to do this without an epidural. I could make this happen without any pain medication. I’m a tough girl, and I was going to thug this out one way or the other.
Several hours of excruciating contractions went by. I was sure I was dilating at warp speed, and my baby was on the way. Early evening came, the midwife checked me, and very little progress had been made. I was only 5cm. I asked if I could just try to push the baby out at 5cm. She thought I was joking, but I really would have tried. I didn’t even care that it may tear me wide open. I was so over birth at this moment. They had been upping my levels of Pitocin without me noticing, so all I knew was I had never been in more pain, and they kept offering me pain meds. NO, was always my answer.
Hours, and hours, and hours went by. Every 2 minutes or so a mind numbing pain would take over my body, and go away within a minute, and then return again. Sometimes, I was able to contain my composure and breathe thru them. Sometimes, I zoned out completely and transcended into another realm. Sometimes, I screamed like demons were exiting from my soul. All the while, I was barely making any head way. By nightfall, I was only at 6cm. I had a waiting room full of family, a very tired husband, a doula who was working overtime, and a midwife who was trying to make things happen the best she could. I felt like there was all this pressure to have my baby, and I couldn’t make her come into the world. I was already failing at my role as a mother before it even really began.
Night came and went. Time kept ticking. I had until 11:30am to have this baby or they were taking her via c-section. Erich was starting to get really antsy, and I could see the fear in his eyes every time they mentioned it. Sometime around 10am my midwife came in with 2 options. I could get an epidural, rest a few hours, and see where we were then, or I could get an epidural and prep for a c-section. Oh, and Emma had turned over, she was now in posterior position, so I had to start working even harder to turn her. Everything looked ok so far, but a few more hours and things were going to start teetering on dangerous and tricky. Risks of infections and complications were being explained to me, and I knew what the inevitable was.
I was going to have an epidural. My beautiful, perfect, birthing plan was completely shot, and I was incredibly upset. Emma is planned to be our only child, and I wanted to feel every bit of what it was to bring her into this world. I was now going to be numb. I felt like a complete failure. I looked at Erich, and my doula, and just nodded yes. Let the anesthesiologist in. My white flag was raised, and I gave in to everything I went in fighting against. I’ve never felt weaker, smaller, or more sad than that moment of signing off on the epidural paperwork. No one is allowed to be in the room with you when an epidural is done. So no one saw the tear fall from my eye, and soak the paperwork, as I signed away my last hope for a natural birth.
Signed 02/03/16: Lauralee D Schmidt