It could happen to you!
Apr 20, 2000
While pregnant with my son, I had a very healthy and normal pregnancy. I received excellent prenatal care and participated in several childbirth and parenting classes. I was actually looking forward to going into labor and giving birth! My mother had very easy labors that were quick and required no pain medication or epidurals. I was very confident that my delivery would be similar. I couldn't have been more wrong.
My water broke on a Monday afternoon, just as I was getting into the shower. My heart began pounding and I was VERY excited! I called my husband at work, and he drove home in record time. I was told in my lamaze class to come to the hospital right away if your water breaks because they want to monitor for infection. So we checked in at the hospital and waited for the labor to begin. My contractions were very irregular, so they started me on pitocin, which is supposed to increase the intensity of your contractions and bring them closer together. That was my first mistake. All of a sudden, I was jolted with intense, horribly painful contractions. This went on and on until I begged them to take me off of the pitocin. They agreed, but my labor slowed down so I was back on the pitocin. Since my water had already broken, they didn't want me to walk around because they feared the umbilical cord would slip out and the blood supply to the baby would be cut off. So I spent my entire labor on my back in bed. That was my second mistake.
This went on and on for hours through the night. My poor husband was trying to help me as best as he could, but no massage or breathing technique could help me at that moment. I screamed my heart out with every contraction, until finally I asked for an epidural. That was my third mistake. They agreed, and I received it at 3am, Tuesday morning. Ahhh, relief! That stuff is amazing! I was paralized from the chest down and could finally get some sleep. I continued to labor all throughout the morning into early Tuesday afternoon. The epidural began to wear off, so I asked if I can have another dose. The nurse checked me and said I was dialated to 9cm, with just a little bit of the cervix left. She didn't want me to have anymore of the epidural so that I could feel the urge to push. Well, I never did get to 10cm; more like 9 1/2. They told me to push anyways, hoping that I would push open the last bit of cervix. I pushed for over an hour, when I was checked by my doctor. He delivered the heartbreaking news that I was not dialated enough and my baby would not come out. I was told I would have to have a c-section, after 25 hours of unbearably painful labor. I cried like I've never cried before. I wanted so badly to give birth naturally and have the doctor place my baby on my chest after delivery. I had dreamed of that moment for months, and now that dream was over.
As they prepped me for the c-section, I was still having contractions and the epidural had worn off completely. I was screaming through each contraction with tears rolling down my face. When my son was delivered, I could not see him because of the drape that blocked my view. I could only hear him. I will NEVER forget that sweet cry. With only a quick glimpse of my son, they took him away along with my husband to get him weighed, measured, and cleaned up. I laid there shaking in that cold operating room, dazed and tired. It had been a very long night.
Recovering from the c-section was very hard. I was so drugged up that I don't remember much about the first days of my son's life. I had to ask my husband what happened and who came to visit. I stayed in the hospital 4 days before I was able to take my precious baby home. To this day, over 8 months later, I still feel the emotional pain of not giving birth naturally. I have physical scars from the experience, but the emotional ones are much deeper. I love my sweet baby boy, but still to this day wish things would've been different. I am looking into Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) for the next baby.
Okay, you're probably wondering why I labeled pitocin, staying in bed during labor, and an epidural as my mistakes. Here is why: I've since done a lot of research on why c-sections happen and have found pitocin to be a major factor. It brings on contractions too fast and too hard for most women to handle. It forces labor to become unnatural and way too intense. That leads to women wanting epidurals, which is another factor that can lead to a c-section. Epidurals can slow down or stop labor completely, and could have harmful effects on the baby. As for staying in bed, that is the exact opposite of what you want to be doing in labor. In order for the baby to move down into the birth canal, you must be moving, changing positions, or walking. I laid flat on my back the entire time. I completely forgot everything I learned in lamaze and the nurses never encouraged me to move around. Although I couldn't get out of bed because of fear of the cord slipping out, I could have laid on my side, got up on all fours, etc.
Now I'm sure there are women who have had an epidural, or used pitocin that went on to have natural, vaginal deliveries. Of course I'm not saying that this will happen to all women, but these things are definate factors that can lead to c-sections. The reason for me writing this is to let other expectant moms know that you need to be educated about childbirth beyond the lamaze classes and breathing techniques. I never did any reading or research on c-sections because I thought it would never happen to me. I would give anything to go back and try it again with the knowledge that I have now. All I can do is hope this knowledge will benefit me with the next baby.