Length of labor (not pushing)
Length of pushing
Who was with me
my husband, my mom, and my doula
What I would do differently next time
Choose a more NCB friendly provider; be better prepared and more informed.
What I did to prepare for birth
I prepared for birth by switching providers at the beginning of pregnancy. Then I started reading up on natural childbirth. Realizing that it would be difficult to have a NCB experience at the hospital I selected, we interviewed doulas and then hired one. Our doula was a huge source of encouragement and information throughout pregnancy. I tried to walk several times a week and most weeks in the second and third trimester, I was able to. In my last trimester, I even felt energetic enough for some in-studio yoga. I even got in some prenatal yoga at home during the second trimester.
How my birth happened
Sunday night I suspected that my water MAY have broken... or was leaking. Why I did not call my Doula right away, to this day I don't know. What a mistake. One of several mistakes I made when it came to decisions about my maternity care.
I put on a pad and checked myself constantly. I had a small gush of fluid Sunday evening, then again Monday evening. Sunday evening, I tried lying down for a while, then getting up to see if more fluid would gush out and I thought that would be my indication that my water broke. When I lay down for a while and then got up again, that didn't happen. So I still wasn't sure.
I kept this to myself, until my OB appointment the following Tuesday. My OB knew I hoped for a vaginal birth and wanted for labor to start spontaneously. I was 39w6d that day. No problem, we would wait. However, she already thought I would need a c-section due to the big fibroid, no cervical change, and my baby still floating.
At the end of the appointment, I told her I thought my water was leaking. Reviewing the sono and my AFI which was 16 (mine was usually 22-25), as well as a culture that showed ferning, she thought so too. My OB recommended immediate admission to the hospital. I was taken to L&D in a wheelchair (mandatory).
So much for a natural, unmedicated birth. Cervadil was applied to my cervix with not much change over night (14 hours). Pitocin was administered for about six hours and while I was contracting steadily and consistently, my cervix was not dilating. I was 'on the clock' and ‘so far from delivering my baby’ that the OB on call (not even my OB -- ironically, my OB was the reason I stayed at that hospital after looking into several birth centers) did not feel comfortable 'waiting.' In his words, I was at that moment ‘so far from delivery’ ... etc etc. My son and I were both doing fine, but since they could not insert an internal monitor to determine the strength of my contractions, the OB would not increase the Pitocin. I don't remember the Pit level, but it was pretty low, and they did not increase it every so often as I was originally told. I wonder if this was a half-hearted attempt at induction. My regular OB pretty much assumed I would need a c-section and this OB no doubt had spoken to her (they were in the same group after all).
At one point, before I consented to the c-section, one of the nurses came back in with a scrub hat on, and I remember thinking that they must assume that I would be in that OR today. How dismissive!
- TALK TO MY DOULA! What was I thinking? I knew that hospital had a 27% c-section rate. I knew my OB expected me to have a c-section. I knew that interventions increase the chance of a c-section.
- Pick a provider who does not start out thinking I will 'maybe' need a c/s.
- When I am in the middle of labor is not the time to try to wade through the obstacles to a natural birth. Facing defensive medicine means being informed.
- Sometimes life takes us down difficult paths. This journey was part of my life, it makes me who I am. I am and will be more informed, I will make better choices.