Friend Who Wants An Unmedicated Birth: Well, what did your midwife have to say?
Me: Nothing. I had an OB
FWWAUB: Really? Well, you’re lucky you didn’t have a C-section. At least you didn’t have an epidural, right?
Me: Actually, I requested one.
FWWAUB: Then, of course, you had to have pitocin. Epidurals always stall your labor.
Me: Well, the team wanted to augment my labor with pitocin first. I asked to have an epidural before the pitocin was administered. I was tired of being in pain.
FWWAUB: Did they try to force a C-section on you? Did you or Dr. Man have to refuse?
Me: No. The team did everything they could to avoid one. And, apparently, it worked.
FWWAUB: Well, you healed so quickly! You must’ve been able to avoid an episiotomy, too.
Me: Um... actually no. After pushing for 2 hours, Kiddo’s head wasn’t coming through. So, the doctor asked if he could give me one. The next push and Kiddo’s head was out!
FWWAUB: My god! You must’ve been so disappointed with Kiddo’s birth.
I had this conversation a few weeks ago and I thought it was particularly apt with some of the blog conversations I’m overhearing.
Kiddo was born about 8 weeks ago (he’ll be 8 weeks tomorrow!). I went into early labor at 1:30am on Wednesday, June 29th. For those keeping score, you can see that the total amount of time was about 48 hours (53 hours if you want to get technical). I know that for most people early labor “doesn’t count” (not my words). However, my early labor was not textbook and since it’s my experience I say it counts. It wasn’t textbook as in by Wednesday afternoon the contractions were five minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. However, when I went into the hospital Wednesday night I was only 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. They progressed overnight to where by Thursday at 6am, they were 2 minutes apart lasting 60-90 seconds (keep in mind that contractions are timed from start time to start time) but I was only 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Contrast this with the textbook early labor where contractions can be 10-20 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds-- max.
Also, Kiddo was experiencing suspicious late hear decelerations at first and then later a lack of heart rate variability (See here for an explanation. Skip down to late decelerations.). The latter triggered administering the pitocin. The longer I labored without making progress, the longer Kiddo was experiencing fetal distress. As was later evidenced by the meconium stained fluid when my water was broken.
After writing the previous two paragraphs, I’m wondering why I feel the need to justify myself (I ended up doing the same with my friend above). I am happy with my birth experience. I never started out wanting an unmedicated birth and was vocal about that. My medical team was excellent. I had my own L&D room where I had complete control over the temperature and the lights. I was continuously monitored, but with Kiddo’s heart rate concerns I was more than ok with that. Dr. Man was with me the entire time. Throughout the whole process the medical team told me my options and why they wanted to do whatever (administer pitocin, break my water, have me wear oxygen, etc.). During the actual delivery the lights were low (with a spotlight on my lady bits-- trust me I wanted the doctor to see what he was doing) and the NICU team-- that Kiddo ended up not needing-- was very respectful.
All that being said I’ve still gotten people who tell me that I made the wrong choice with going into the hospital, being admitted, accepting the pitocin/epidural, not seeking out a midwife or birthing center, etc.
I gave birth exactly as I wanted to (ok, I could’ve done without Kiddo’s complications). Why should I be ashamed of that? I don’t know, but apparently I am.