Monday, September 15, 2008

Feeling the sting.

Let me preface all of what I'm about to say with this - I'm THRILLED that Steph was able to have the birth experience she wanted. I know how much she wanted a homebirth and I bet the experience was amazing and everything she ever wanted - that makes my heart smile.

With that being said, whenever I read of a birth experience being EXACTLY the way someone had hoped, I feel a bit of a sting.

I felt the most educated and informed when pregnant with my 3rd baby - I'd spent months preparing for his birth and doing my homework when it came to the kind of birth experience I wanted with him. I read books, spoke with friends AND my doc to prepare myself. I felt ready and knew what I wanted. I wanted a natural childbirth with NO drugs at all, no needles (incl. an IV) and no medical intervention unless it was a life or death situation. My doctor was behind me 100%. My 2nd son's birth was non-medicated (not by choice), but I felt fantastic after he was born and wanted to feel that way again after the birth of #3.

I did the physical exercises the natural childbirth books recommended. I poured over birth plans for hours. I carefully put mine together and I feel blessed and lucky that my OB was so supportive of my choices.

My water broke 15 days before my due date at 1:30 in the afternoon - I was nervous, but excited. I prayed that God would make this experience a good one for me. I prayed for a healthy baby and a birth experience that I could look back on and feel satisfied.

I got grief almost immediately when I got into my hospital room because I didn't want an IV. My doc backed me up, told them that I didn't want/need it and to leave me alone about it - they did, but I was treated differently....almost like a freak.

I knew that I wanted to labor in the water - I was able to breath through my contractions and talk through them, so I decided to hold off on the water because I didn't want my labor to slow down. I walked the halls, rolled on the ball, rocked on my hands and knees and felt good and happy that I was having the birth I wanted (even though the nurses thought I was insane for not wanting the IV - whatever). I agreed to be put on the monitors for 20 minutes out of every hour. 20 minutes was about as long as I wanted to be in the bed, too - it was uncomfortable for me to labor on my back in an uncomfortable bed.

I hit 6 cm without any medication and was in immense pain. I was watching the clock because I was on the monitors and knew that at the end of that 20 minutes, my happy rear was hoping in the tub. Within 30 seconds of that 20 minutes being up, the on call OB (my OB had gone home to change clothes and grab dinner - she was on her way home when the on call OB called her) and several nurses charged in my room and checked the monitor. At that point, they told me that my son's heart rate was dropping after every contraction. They then told me that I wasn't able to get off the monitors anymore and I had to stay in the bed - at first, on my back and then I had to be on one side for 10 minutes, then the other side for 10 minutes.

I remember, at that point, starting to cry. I knew that the birth experience I wanted wasn't going to happen. EVERY pain management technique I had wanted to use (and had used up to that point, except for the tub) was out the window. I was forced to stay in that uncomfortable bed. Because of that, I caved (while sobbing) and got the epidural. I knew there was no way I'd be able to stay in control when I wasn't even able to get out of my bed.

After the epidural, I progressed relatively quickly and pushed my sweet baby boy out in 3 pushes on April 1st, 2008 at 10:22 p.m. The cord was wrapped around his neck and my husband had to cut the cord before we could even get him out completely. I was able to deliver him myself and that was an awesome of the highlights of my life.

The on call OB had a gurney in the hallway, ready to take me to an OR for a c-section. My OB told them to let me go because I had already delivered 2 babies with no issues. Had I been a first time mom, they wouldn't have allowed me to labor while his heart rate dropped.

I'm grateful that my boy was healthy. That's really all that matters. I'm also grateful that I didn't have a c-section. He is my last baby - I'll never experience the birth process again and knew how I *wanted* things to go. I'll never get to experience MY perfect birth.

Henry is 5 1/2 months old now and I think about this on a daily basis. It still stings. I wonder if it will ever stop stinging.


Michelle said...

I'm sorry you didn't get the birth experience you wanted...I think one of the reasons it's so hard when things don't go like we hoped/planned/dreamed of for childbirth is because we only get that "one chance" for each birth to do things how we want. And if something changes and we can't there isn't any way to change it. There are things I wished I could have done differently with each of my kids' births and it makes me a little sad too.

Don't feel like you "caved" by getting the epidural - you did what you felt you needed to do at that moment in time to help you deliver your baby. I do understand what you mean though; I asked for the epi w/Lucas and I really didn't want to do that, and I also felt like I "caved" as well. I felt like I let myself down. I didn't end up getting it because first I had to have fluids put in, then wait for some blood work to come back etc...I was around 8.5 when they asked if I still wanted it and I said no. But I did get a small dose of stadol and I felt guilty about that. With Kayla I went completely natural, so even getting the stadol w/Lucas felt like a let-down! Anyway, just wanted to say try not to be so hard on yourself.