My first experience with child birth was a beautiful but extremely scary experience. At 22 weeks my son was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome so I had to deliver at C.S. Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor which is 3 hours from my home. Because of that they scheduled to induce me at 38 weeks. When they began inducing me they started with a prostaglandin strip but it had to be removed because with every contraction his heart rate would drop so instead they had to dilate me with a foley bulb manually. I went almost my entire labor with no pain medication and I received help from a doula that the hospital provided for me and she was great. She helped me find a variety of different positions to labor in and positioning balls to use. About a hour before he was born I received a shot of morphine and an epidural. Shortly after the epidural I was moved to an operating room to deliver as a precaution. My son was delivered by a student with assistance from her teacher and placed immediately on my chest for momentary skin to skin and my husband got to cut the umbilical cord. Then he was taken to another room attached to the OR for evaluation and I got to see him momentarily on my way back to my room. It was a scary experience but I was always reassured by my nurses and doctors and when the whole thing was overwhelming they would step back and give me some space to collect myself. With my second son my water broke the morning after my due date and I was admitted to the hospital. I was there for 24 hours without going into labor so they started me on an antibiotic drip and pitocin to induce me. I went through most of this labor with no pain meds but received stadol shortly before he was born. The nurses helped me labor in a variety of positions which allowed the whole process go the way I wanted it to go. When he was born he was placed on my chest and proceeded to pee on me right after my husband cut his umbilical cord. He was able to stay in the room with us and it was a very rewarding experience all around.
My birth history has been quite a journey and the difference between my first delivery and my fifth couldn’t be (much) more vast! I’ve learned so much between babies and grown to know how my body works so much better and have been amazed to be able to put the things I’ve learned into practice. I’ve also been able to look back at previous births and see where I could have improved the outcome.My first pregnancy, I played entirely by the book. I diligently tracked my progress with ‘My Pregnancy Week by Week’ and attended every appointment. I went to the hospital’s childbirth education classes and paid special attention to the part on epidurals. That was the one thing I knew for certain from the beginning. My mom had epidurals and that was how it was done.
Not long after midnight about 10 days before my estimated due date, my water broke. I called into the hospital and they said to come on up. As soon as I got there, they confirmed that my water had broken, put me in a room, and hooked me up to the monitors and pitocin. Not long after, I was in pain like I’d never known. I’m pretty sure it was dialed up too high. I’d gone from not ever having felt even a Braxton Hicks contraction to going through the roof with each wave. There was no gradual progression, just went from 0-1,000. I was told I couldn’t have any pain relief until I was dilated to 3. They checked and I was only 1.5. I couldn’t even imagine being able to live through this long enough to get to 3! The next Dr that came had mercy though and allowed me an epidural. I ‘rested’ for several hours before being told it was time to push. I don’t know for sure how many hours I pushed, flat on my back, with little progress, but it was to the point that my husband was panicking and the doctors told me I didn’t have much longer before I was taken for a cesarean. They then tried the vacuum extractor and I finally was able to get him out.
I was exhausted beyond belief and kinda laugh/cry to see the pictures of me right after. Looked like a freight train had gone over me. I don’t recall any bonding really… It was just so ridiculously traumatic.
Next up was a relatively delivery though I still have my regrets. I agreed to an induction because I was at 40 weeks and my doctor was on call. There were no extenuating circumstances, the doctor just said we’d do it, and we did. As far as inductions go, it was perfection. Pitocin was dialed in just right, it progressed well, and she came before the epidural even kicked in.
While I understand inductions are sometimes necessary, or simply just what works best for families, I do wish I’d have waited. She was 2 lbs lighter than any of my others and we struggled to breastfeed. I just don’t feel like she was ready and I wish I’d have given her more time.
Third and fourth deliveries were pretty similar. Water broke, contractions progressed, epidural given, a few hours of rest, then some coached pushing. Nothing really noteworthy.
Some time after my fourth was born, I decided to train as a birth doula. I researched everything I could find, read so many books, and attended a childbirth education class put on by an experienced doula. The difference between this class and the hospital one was amazing! I learned so much more about how women’s bodies work and was astounded at how little I’d learned before. It was also interesting to analyze my previous deliveries with this information. I could see what I wish I’d done differently with my first. Especially not going straight in before I started contracting and not having anything to eat for over 24 hours before going into the one of the most physically exhausting things I’d ever done. That set me up for failure from the beginning
Shortly after training, I got pregnant again and while pursuing being a doula was put on hold, I was excited to use all my newfound knowledge in my next delivery! I continued to read everything I could get my hands on and worked towards creating a birth plan for the first time. I ate dates like crazy, drank my raspberry leaf tea, got adjusted by my chiropractor, and my amazing hubby listened to everything and learned with me. I was excited to try for an unmedicated delivery!
The big day came and was so completely different. I thought I might be in labor but needed time to myself so hubby watched the kids while I went to the grocery store. On my way I was timing my contractions on an app and was getting more sure. I labored in the aisles, swaying and breathing through contractions easily. When I got home, I let hubby know and we set off to drop the kids off at Nana’s. I checked in to the hospital already dilated to a 6 and my water still intact.