My first pregnancy I had wanted a natural delivery-no drugs, no interventions. We even hired a doula, to support me during this process.
My water broke at 41.5 weeks at1:30 am. I labored at home and had erratic contractions until 10am when we decided to head into the hospital with our doula. I was checked and only at 1.5cm. They let me walk around until 1 pm, my contractions were still not putting me into labor. We started Pitocin, even at the low dose my contractions were going off the chart. My doula said she had never seen such strong contractions from such a low dose. I labored without pain medication until 7pm. To cope I “slow-danced” with my husband and would drop and squat with every contraction; my body trying desperately to bring the baby down and into my pelvis. The nurse eventually forced me into the bed because they “had to continuously monitor the baby”, I was too exhausted to fight with her.
After 5 hours I had only dilated to 2cm. Laying down I was not able to cope with the intense contractions. I caved, after speaking with my doula and husband, and asked for an epidural. After receiving the epidural, at 8pm my blood pressure dropped as did the baby’s heart rate, and I started passing out. They put in internal monitors to keep track of the baby. They actually had to put it in twice, because the first time wasn’t placed correctly. At 9pm I had dilated to 3cm. I rested, not being able to really sleep, off and on all night. At 4am (26 hours after my water broke) I asked to be checked. The doctor refused to come into the room. At that point my epidural had stopped working and I was laboring without any sleep, food or endorphins. The doctor finally came in at 6:30am, checked me in the middle of a contraction and said “oh you are almost at 4cm. good job, keep going”. I started sobbing and saying “something isn’t right, he doesn’t want to come out” My nurse, doula and husband felt so bad for me. After the shift change a different doctor came in at 8am (29 hours) and said I was only at 3cm and the baby was not engaging at all. We had to discuss “other options”. I again said that something wasn’t right.
They prepped me for a C-section-turned off the Pitocin (the contractions immediately stopped), removed the non-working epidural and gave me the foul lemon medication “to prevent me from vomiting”. I was taken back at 11am (34 hours) and given a spinal. I ended up throwing up, despite the medication, and the anesthesiologist was annoyed he had to hold a kidney shaped container to my face. I started crying. My son was born at 11:17am. I was lying on the table, strapped down, behind a sheet and the doctor started counting “One, Two, Three, Four, Five” and I started to panic and saying to my husband “Is he okay? Why isn’t he crying? Is my baby ok?” and then the doctor said that the cord was around his neck 5 times.
He was shown to me over the sheet and then whisked away for the nurses to check him. They wrapped him up, showed him to me briefly and then my husband had to take him to the nursery because he was covered in meconium and had a fever. We later found out that there was an infection in my placenta and he never engaged in my pelvis. I don’t remember much as they were sewing me up in the surgery room. I was then taken to a different floor of the hospital for recovery. I was alone, in pain and in a room surrounded by strangers. I kept asking “where is my baby? Where is my husband? I want my husband. I want my baby.” I stayed in that room for an hour, sobbing, alone, asking for someone I knew. They eventually brought me back up to maternity and when I arrived in my room asked for my baby. Two hours after he was born I was finally able to hold my baby and breastfeed him. The nurse laughed and commented how he had been rooting since he was brought to the nursery. My heart broke, he wanted me, he needed me and I couldn’t be there. Holding and feeding him for the first time was a blur. There are pictures but I barely remember.
When I asked my doctor at my 6 week about a vbac for my next birth and if the premature rupture of my membranes, along with the cord around his neck were the cause of my “failure to progress”. He looked at me and said “No the cord had nothing to do with his not being able to be born vaginally, it was due to you having extra fat above your vagina and he couldn’t push past it. As for the vbac, we will let you try but unless you get rid of some extra pounds it is not going to happen”. I am overweight and have a little extra weight in my hips and thighs but none in my abdomen and I only gained 30lbs during my pregnancy. I was devastated, it was my fault.
My doctor will never say it, but several nurses and my doula did, that my baby boy would either never made it if he had been a vaginal delivery or I would have been the women being wheeled down the hallway with a nurse holding my baby in saying “don’t push”. I hold a lot of guilt about my labor, however through the support of my husband and doula, I have started to heal and plan for my next birth. I will be trying for a vbac. My labor was not what I wanted or planned, but I do believe that my insistence saved my baby boys life.
By: Samantha W.