Your Stories: Mary C.
This story was sent in by Mary C.
“I feel I should preface this with the fact that I’m a normal mom. I work out, I drink coffee and drive a suburban. My kids go to private school. I just wanted to tell all the other moms out there that I consider myself ‘main-stream’ so they can relate to who I am when they read this…
“I have been given the miraculous favor of delivering 4 healthy babies. All the births were in a hospital, but my first two births were completely natural and non-medicated. The second two, I had an epidural. I want to share my thoughts on each – medicated vs. non-medicated birth. Please know I have had only positive experiences with ALL of my babies’ births.
“The first two births, I mentally and physically prepped my body and brain for completely natural births. I stayed at home and labored for as long as possible before checking into the hospital. I refused the IV when I got set up in the birthing room so I could walk around. The doctors in Austin, Texas (Austin is progressive when it comes to birth) allowed me to eat and drink – nothing heavy but small snacks and water. The process was long and hard, very hard. It was painful. It was difficult to meet the pain and not fight it, which I learned (very quickly) makes the pain only more intense. I tried – not always successfully – to relax through each contraction. Just when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, they were out. I was done. I felt great. Both babies were born extremely awake and observant. They came out peaceful and stayed that way. The way I felt after these births is what I believe to be the most significant difference in medicated vs. non-medicated births. Immediately after the doctor handed me my baby I felt an immeasurable pull to them. A connection I needed, I wanted, that no one could break. No one could take the baby, I needed the baby on me, touching me, looking at me. I can’t explain this feeling but it was amazing. I held and nursed and snuggled and smelled my babies for at least 30 minutes before I let anyone take them to weigh them, etc. And when I finally did allow this, I wanted them right back and made the nurse go very quickly so I could have the baby back in the crook of my arm, skin-to-skin, as soon as possible. Of course I felt like a million bucks too. No stitches, no IV, no catheter, no numbness, I felt great and was able to get up, use the restroom and sit in a chair with my babies.
“The labor for my third baby was long. I was exhausted from chasing my two little ones around already. I was eight days “overdue” and in labor for 24 hours. I was mentally tired. Labor started slow so I stayed home all day. I went to my doctors office to get checked that evening and she told me to go home instead of check in to the hospital as I was only a 1. I was disappointed and ready to have this baby. I went home, pouted and went to sleep still contracting. At 1 am, I woke up in severe pain. The contractions were coming hard and fast. I was amazed that I could to sleep through so many hours of contractions. I got to the hospital and was a 7. I was so tired and not able mentally to get the pain under control. I asked for an epidural and the doctor came in immediately. I was a 9. Once the epidural was in I started pushing. I pushed 3 times and she was out! Then I saw the true effects of the epidural. I was joking with the nurses and doctors and felt amazing. Too amazing. I was just a tad bit tipsy. I felt like I had a few glasses of wine. I was numb everywhere and not even tuned into my new baby. I immediately let the nurses take her and let my husband hover over her. I was feeling great but didn’t need her. I was in love with her immediately and felt happy but didn’t feel that same pull to her as I did with my first two. I laid flat on my back for what felt like hours before I could feel my legs. I felt itchy and cold and shivered uncontrollably. I watched my husband hold my beautiful baby girl and didn’t really even ask to hold her. I denied the pitocin they give every woman post birth for contraction of the uterus (your body does this naturally as you nurse) as I try to be as med free as possible but still had an IV fluid drip. I could not sit up. I wanted to get up but couldn’t. I wanted her more and more as the feeling came back to my body. We bonded and connected more as the hours went on.
“My 4th birth was in Dallas (not so progressive) at the big teaching hospital downtown. I was planning on a non-medicated birth, but my son was transverse (head sideways) and this was way more painful from the beginning than anticipated. I was offered an epidural right away and took it. I felt like a beached whale. I couldn’t move any part of my body below my abdomen. At one point my whole leg fell off the bed and I asked my husband what fell off the bed. I asked continually for the doctor to turn down the epidural but they couldn’t seem to do it. As labor progressed and I got close to 10, they lost the heart rate on the baby. I believed it was simply the belt position and of course I couldn’t move to help them find it again. Alarms went off and interns started flying in and out of my room. I had faith that the baby was ok and the belt needed to be repositioned but they shoved oxygen over my mouth and did the one thing I requested them NOT to do, which was insert an internal fetal monitor into the baby’s scalp. The baby came quickly with just two pushes. His oxygen levels were a little low so they immediately took him and deep suctioned him. He screamed. I shivered once again. I was numb and felt nothing. The room felt cold and unloving. I cried. I wanted to soothe him but they were busy suctioning him for what seemed like forever. He came back to me scared, anxious, jumpy and fussy. He stayed like this for months. I felt as though I had to work hard to get him to trust me as that trust was broken at his birth. After my experiences with my children, I really do believe our birth experiences impact the temperament of our infants and maybe even our children for years to come.
“All of my births were special. All were gifts from God. All were amazing accomplishments for my body. All of my hospital stays were amazingly intimate memories for my husband and I. All of my births gave me beautiful, healthy babies. I have no regrets but can look back and see those non medicated felt the way birth was intended to be… Hard but kind, loving, warm, peaceful. I am now expecting my fifth blessing and am looking forward to a non medicated birth.”