A Labor and Delivery Story (#1)

My first child was born two and a half weeks late. That’s right, two and a half weeks. My due date was June 5th, and on June 21st we went to the hospital to induce. Baby boy ended up being born on the June 22nd.

I had wanted a completely natural birth (in a birthing center) and was under the care of a certified midwife. At a week past my due date, she had us schedule a sonogram to make sure everything was alright. At two weeks past my due, date we had to sign a waiver about it being our decision to keep waiting for labor to start naturally. By that time, since it was our first pregnancy, I was freaking out a little bit. Stress and anxiety aren’t good ways to induce labor, and sure enough, it wasn’t happening for me.

Our midwife had trained with another midwife who was now working at a hospital out of town that uses midwives for labor and delivery. Our midwife spoke highly of her and suggested that we might enjoy the experience of labor and delivery more with her than being in a local hospital with a complete stranger OB (because our midwife would only have been allowed in as a visitor at our request, but not allowed to help or participate in anyway). So we found out when the other midwife’s next shift was, and decided to go induce.

Though we hated the idea of having to be in a hospital and having to induce, we were REALLY excited to finally meet baby! It was uncomfortable though, wanting to fight all the interventions and yet being there FOR them.

A different midwife was on duty when we first arrived than the one we wanted. She broke my water and started me on pitocin to get the contractions going. My husband and I ended up hating her, lol. She kept saying, “This is why you are here, to induce.” True, but we didn’t want to do everything right away and all at once. And OUCH! Pitocin contractions were the worst! It hurt sooooo bad! My entire back was in pain, my whole torso really. I threw up several times because the pain was so bad.

Oxytocin

Fortunately, we had an excellent nurse come on duty and take care of me. I asked if we could lower the Pit, because I had wanted a natural birth and was in A LOT of pain. She got the dosages down and got me OFF of the pitocin an hour or two before it was time to start pushing, while making sure my contractions remained steady and building. It was a major blessing, and I could definitely feel a difference in the type of contraction (pitocin versus natural). By the time I was off the Pit, my contractions were crazy intense and still pretty painful, though not nearly as overwhelming as they had been on the meds. Oh, that reminds me, I was given medicine to stop me from throwing up too, which was stupid. I hate that snowball effect. I wouldn’t have needed it if it weren’t for the pitocin.

My husband’s job was back massages during contractions. He said he was pushing so hard he could see bruises forming, but I was like “I can’t even feel it, message harder!” lol. I got to sit on a labor ball (an exercise ball), which was awkward because they had broken my water. So I had tubes going up inside me to add back the fluid the stupid first midwife had so hastily tried to remove. I was sitting on those absorbent square pads and sheets or towels to not make a huge mess. I leaned over the bed, miserable in my pain, during every contraction.

I was on an IV and allowed ice chips, but wasn’t allowed food or water. I know that is important in case an emergency C-section is needed, but it was the worst. At the birthing center, you are expected to sip water constantly because you aren’t on an IV. Snacks are okay in case the labor is long because you need to keep your strength up. Those things make sense! It is crazy that women are expected to starve for hours and then work so very hard to push a child out when all their strength is already zapped from the intense contractions.

Mine wasn’t a long labor. My body caught on quickly, and like I said, I was able to get off the pitocin and have somewhat of a natural birth like I wanted. I didn’t get an epidural. I think we got in our room around 5 or 6 pm, the inducing stuff happened between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. I think I started pushing in the late midnight hour, or that was when everyone started coming in the room at least. When it was time to push, I asked for the bar that goes over the bed so I could hold onto it with my arms and be angled in a sort of squat instead of just lying on my back.

I was exhausted and the midwife suggested it was hurting more than helping to use the bar. But it felt easier, the angle and gravity helping. So I tried hanging onto the bar with my arms, letting it rest under my elbows, and was able to keep using it.

They threatened me with an episiotomy if baby wasn’t born on the next push, and he was born just two pushes later 😀

My husband was there next to him and got to cut the umbilical cord. Then baby was taken across the room to be wiped, weighed, tested, and whatever else. I told my husband to go over with him instead of staying with me, hahah, and he did. Then, finally (perhaps four minutes later perhaps ten), baby was placed in my arms. They said skin to skin contact was good and placed him on my bare belly as we started nursing.

People cleared out of the room eventually and we got some alone time. Grandparents visited then went home (it was after 2am by that point). Then we were transferred to a tiny room, because we had been in a labor-and-delivery-specific-suite before (rolls eyes). My husband had to push together his tiny pull-out bed (and still trip over it) just to have room to walk up to me and baby.

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We were then woken up every four hours to check temperatures and such. We had to stay a second night because baby was born after midnight. We were woken up constantly again and again that night too, because even if we just nursed or just changed baby, the nurse still needed those stupid stats and was going to wake everyone up to get them. Needless to say, nobody slept well.

Being vegan, the food offerings at the hospital were abysmal. I mean, hospital food is crappy anyway, but add the fact that you can only eat half of it and without any flavor…bleh! Plus we were in a smaller town than ours and so the restaurant options sucked too.

We checked in to the hospital on a Friday afternoon and finally got to leave on Sunday. Baby was home for the first time on Sunday afternoon, nearly two days old. My second labor and delivery, laboring and home and delivering at a birthing center, was dramatically different. I’ll post about it next.

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