Why I Had the Rest of My Kids with a Midwife: The Birth Story of My Oldest (Part 2) –
I was in labor for three hours with my first child. I know. I know some people are in labor for days. All three hours of my first birth were medical personnel making me feel like the birth was taking too long. I have no problem with medical personnel. I’m glad we have medical professionals to treat illness. However, I do not believe a healthy, normal pregnancy is an illness. After years of my own research and three additional births with a midwife, I now believe the vast majority of births could be accomplished without any complications if we allowed the bodies of women today to do what God created their bodies to do without trying to help them along with a host of unnecessary interventions. If only I had researched the matter thoroughly before my first pregnancy, I could have had the same pleasant birth experience I later had with all of my younger children. Hindsight is always 20/20. Thankfully, I learned as I lived.
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So we went to the hospital . . .
If you haven’t read the first part of this series, you will need to go back and read Part 1 to know how we got to this point. We weren’t supposed to piddle around at home, but we did. Then we went to the hospital to get situated, so the doctor could come after office hours to start the Pitocin which never did happen. We got to the hospital just fine, but guess what? There were no labor rooms available. They were all full! I wasn’t giving birth to Jesus, but there was no room at the inn. If I had known how this birth would be at the hospital, I might have been happier if they had sent me to a stable though.
They had to put me in a regular patient room. It was no big deal because I wasn’t going to be in actual labor until they started the Pitocin anyway. [insert sinister laugh because I really fooled them] For a while we were just hanging out in the room. I was reading one of the books I needed to finish for college. I was having the same Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having for ages. I was comfortable other than the stupid monitors and the IV. I had to pee often because I was nine months pregnant, and every time, I had to hit the call button, so they could unhook me to walk to the bathroom. The whole situation was extremely annoying. They were annoyed with me for having to come in there to unhook everything. It wasn’t like I really wanted to be hooked up to all that stuff anyway. I would have much rather been sitting in the bed without it. Basically, I tried to just hold it for at least an hour between potty breaks to keep from annoying the nurses, but I really wanted to go every fifteen minutes (or maybe even five minutes) because my bladder was being smooshed. By then I wasn’t just spotting either. It was more than spotting, and I was still crampy from having my membranes stripped. I really wish I had just stayed home a couple more hours. My mom had always told me not to go to the hospital until I absolutely had to because of being trapped there in the bed, and I should have listened and piddled around at home even more.
They never got around to inducing . . .
Finally, my doctor came after her office was closed. I wasn’t dilated any more than before. My parents and siblings stopped in while the doctor was there. It happened to be my mom’s birthday, and they were all going to Red Lobster. My mom asked if she should just stay. The doctor said she had plenty of time because it could be early morning or later before I would actually deliver. She told us they weren’t going to start the Pitocin until there was a delivery room available, so my mom left with everyone else thinking she had plenty of time. None of us had any clue I would be pushing before she returned from dinner. The doctor decided to try to break my water before she left. She wasn’t sure how much amniotic fluid would be left, since she knew it had been leaking. She used what basically looked like a crochet hook to break the sack. It was a big gush of fluid, so there was apparently quite a bit of fluid left. Then the doctor left to go have supper as well. She didn’t actually expect to see me again until morning because induction usually takes a long time, I guess.
That was after 6:30 pm, and they were still waiting on a room, but almost as soon as the doctor and the nurse left the room, I was hit with an extremely intense contraction. The hubby thought we should hit the call button, but I wouldn’t let him because I didn’t want to bother them. They hadn’t been so thrilled with my three trips to pee, so I told him we needed to wait at least another hour before we bothered them again. I went through an hour of extremely hard contractions. These were much harder than I ever had with any of the other births even at the very end right before pushing. They were basically knocking me down every few minutes. There was no more reading my book because one would start almost as soon as the other ended.
Oops, now you’re at 7 1/2 cm and not even in a room yet.
After an hour of that, a nurse came to check on us. This time it was a new nurse. She was nice and super sweet. She immediately checked my dilation after seeing how I was reacting to the contractions. She was pretty surprised because I was at 71/2 cm, and she couldn’t believe we hadn’t hit the call button earlier. She told us they were in the process of cleaning one of the labor/delivering rooms because they had sent a lady home after her labor never progressed. We later heard someone say that lady had been in four times that week and was eventually released every time. The whole evening we had been hearing one lady screaming horrendously every ten minutes or so. The screaming had stopped shortly before this. We can only assume all the screaming was coming from the false-labor lady.
They brought in a different bed and made me switch to it. We had to wait through a couple of contractions because I couldn’t move. They got me into the right room. Someone told me they had called my doctor to get her back there. I told the nice nurse I wanted an epidural. She said it was too late. I know this was a lie because an anesthesiologist came to the childbirth class. He told us he could give an epidural clear up to the 10th cm as long as the patient could hold still between contractions. I asked for an epidural again. The nice nurse said I was doing so great and really didn’t need an epidural because I had made it that far without one. Someone then suggested Stadol instead. Stadol was possibly the biggest mistake of my life.
Stadol is the drug from heck!
They said Stadol would “take the edge off” and make me “not care about the pain.” It did not take the edge off. The pain was exactly the same, except the room was then spinning. These flowers on the wallpaper border were floating all around the ceiling, and I felt like puking, and I couldn’t even hold my head up. It didn’t make me not care about the pain. It made me think I was going to die, and I didn’t even care that I was going to die. Actually, it made me want to die. That was the only thought I had as soon as the Stadol hit my IV. I was literally thinking, “I’m going to die. It hurts so bad, I want to die, and someone else is going to have to raise my baby, and I don’t even care.” This is the most totally opposite thought to anything I would ever think on my own. I had never and have never since ever had any sort of wanting-to-die thought. How on earth is it responsible to give people this drug? If it sent me into such dark thoughts, what about people who have previously had suicidal thoughts? Is it really safe to give people a drug that does that? I was under the influence of a mind-altering drug, and that was the scariest few minutes of my life. The pain before the drug was nowhere close to as bad as the way Stadol made me feel. And lest you think I just had some kind of abnormal reaction to it, my sister said she had all the very same thoughts as soon as they gave her Stadol.
Then my husband’s college basketball coach decided to drop in.
While the room was spinning, my husband’s college basketball coach showed up IN THE DELIVERY ROOM. When the hubby didn’t make it to practice that evening, he assumed we must be at the hospital, so he found it necessary to pay us a visit to ask if my husband would be able to play in the tournament game the next evening! Had I been coherent at that moment, I might have been ticked, but I was too intoxicated by the Stadol to even care.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, my mom got back from Red Lobster. My dad and siblings had dropped her off at the door. Nobody expected a baby within the hour. My mom had leftover shrimp scampi which my husband was eating, and that was kind of rude because nobody had let me eat all day. I had eaten a little something for breakfast, but we were planning to grab a late lunch after the appointment. People who take a medical approach to birth think you can’t eat when you might be in labor. Midwives tell you to eat a light meal when they think you are in labor.
I had to smell the garlicky goodness of other people eating shrimp scampi while trying to give birth, and the coach was still there saying, “Will you be able to play tomorrow? Are you sure you can’t play tomorrow? Why can’t you play tomorrow?” Honestly though, if I had been with a midwife for this birth, he would have played in the tournament that next day and the rest of the weekend because I would have felt great and been fine to travel. We drove to the Grand Opening of a Bass Pro Shop three hours away almost the day after I gave birth to the youngest. I could pretty much do anything I wanted right after giving birth with the midwife, and I only had to stay at the birthing center 12 hours. But since I had this child in a medical environment, my husband did not get to play in his tournament that weekend. You can read about my experience giving birth to all 11 pounds of my son without pain here.
The doctor made it back just in time.
By the time my doctor, who had been at home “eating frozen waffles and about to go to bed” got there I was almost at 10 cm. The doctor told them no more Stadol because I couldn’t lift my own head. She thought it might be close to knocking me out. That was fine because I just wanted the awful Stadol to go way anyway. It didn’t occur to me that I could tell them to stop it. Once it was wearing off, I could think clearly again, and everything stopped spinning, and that was way better. I just had the lip of the cervix left, but they thought I should try to just push through that. My body wasn’t really trying to push yet, but I didn’t know any better because it was my first birth. I just did what they told me to do, but trying to push through the lip of the cervix turned out to be a very bad idea . . .
And you’re going to have to stay tuned again! [Part 3 now available.]
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My oldest daughter is now married, if you enjoyed her birth story, you may also enjoy the story of her wedding.
The Baby Book by Dr. Sears is my favorite of all I read during my first pregnancy. I have the older edition. Two of his sons are now doctors (one is a host on The Doctors) and have added their insight as well. Martha Sears is especially knowledgeable about breastfeeding.