Your Stories: Susan M.
This story was sent in by Susan M. I met Susan when she was 32 weeks along. After hearing one of my talks, she changed her birth plan.
Our first son, Ty, was born in 2010 at 41 weeks. My doctor insisted that the baby was getting “too big” and that it was time to induce. I was admitted to the hospital at 11:00 pm, cervidil was administered, along with Ambien because there was no chance of restful sleep in that hectic setting. At 8:00 a.m. the following morning a Pitocin drip started, followed by the breaking of my water at 10:00 a.m..
My intention from the start was to have a low intervention birth, but clearly this was not the case. The Pitocin was causing very intense contractions, and in attempt to not get an epidural at 4 cm, I opted for the nurses recommended narcotic, demerol. The demerol did not “take the edge off” like the nurse insisted it would, instead I it just made me feel drunk. At 7 cm, I couldn’t take the severe Pitocin contractions any longer and was administered an epidural.Already exhausted and loopy from a night of interrupted sleep on Ambien, I quickly fell asleep and “labored” to 10 cm unknowingly.
After approximately 3 hours, a nurse came in to check on me and have me switch positions. When she woke me up, I immediately started vomiting. A quick check revealed that I was 10cm and for no telling how long. A few beginning pushes also revealed that my baby was in distress. My pushing caused his heart rate to drop from 150 to 60 beats a minute. Immediately the intensity in the room changed. I was informed I would probably have to have an emergency C-Section.
On my urging, my doctor agreed to allow me to try a vaginal labor. I pushed three times, the doctor performed a massive episiotomy and my blue baby was born. He quickly was whisked to the station where the NICU doctor and two nurses worked on my lifeless blue son while we watched the clock, waiting for what felt like the longest 2 minutes of my life, till he finally let out his first cry. I was so very grateful for my sweet, living, breathing baby boy, however the recovery and healing process was extremely hard and painful. My body felt like it was in shock. When the epidural wore off, I was greeted with the pain of the episiotomy. I had no appetite for days and I felt as if I had the flu. It took what felt like months for me to feel “normal” again.
When I found out I was pregnant 6 months later, I was less than thrilled to say the least. Oh,the thought of another little miracle was certainly thrilling, but the thought of the labor was terrifying. I was horrified to have a repeat of the labor experience that was still so relevant and such a painful memory. I was so upset that after my first doctor’s appointment that I didn’t even want to return to the doctor. I had spent the last 6 months regretting the way Ty came into the world; I was scared to repeat the same mistakes.
I was 32 weeks pregnant when I heard a talk at my Mom2Mom group at church [by Gena Overby] and I felt like my eyes were opened to the fact that I should not have regret over Ty’s earthly arrival, but I could make different decisions going forward. I had a deep desire to have a safer and healthier delivery for our second son, so I made the decision to give birth naturally with no unnecessary intervention.
On Tuesday, October 25, I began early stage labor with Colt before getting out of bed at 8:00am. I had contractions at work all day which were completely inconsistent with no pattern. After work they continued to increase in strength and frequency through the evening and into the night. At approximately 1:30 a.m. I hit early labor second stage, I could tell an obvious change in intensity, and they started repeating at a little less than 5 minutes apart. We called my doula and she said “meet you at the hospital”. We met her there at 3:00 am. The hospital was part of my husband’s compromise with me. He supported me delivering the way I chose to deliver, as long as I still delivered in the hospital setting where he felt we could have intervention, should we need it. I would have preferred a different setting, but the compromise was fair, given I had switched our game plan at 32 weeks.
My first check showed I was at approximately 5-6 cm. My doula was awesome. She coached me on various positions, helped me into the shower, helped my husband clean up the floor when my birthing ball blocked the drain and I flooded the shower, alternated with my husband rubbing my back, but really acted on my behalf as a buffer from the nurses, who had no qualms with asking in the middle of a contraction “was your strep b test negative or positive?”…etc. She helped be a filter and guided our decision making.
Robbie, my husband, did incredible. He was so supportive, encouraging, loving and excited. It was wonderful to bond with him during my labor with Colt. Not to be too cliché, but it was such a beautiful and spiritual experience. We prayed together during contractions, laughed and cried, breathed and worshiped, we even sang. Such a night and day difference from the work he had done on his laptop while I labored sleeping for 3 hours with Ty.
After being at 7-8 cm for about an hour, my doctor recommended breaking my water. This sped things along; it also corresponded with what felt like breaking my back. Robbie and my doula alternated putting pressure on my back…my precious Colt was making his entrance “sunny side up” or posterior. When I hit transition, I understood why most women gave up at that point, but my support reminded me that Jesus was my strength and that I could do this!
Second stage I am still marveling at how my body took over. The uncontrollable urge to push, even a few outcries which I totally couldn’t stifle, then the incredible release and euphoria when our healthy baby boy was born and immediately placed on my chest. I was able to hold him, take my time with him and nurse him immediately. I didn’t want to let go of him even for a second. Oh, he was and is perfect in every way!
The interesting thing was that I felt so great immediately after, it was stunning. My body seemed to react completely different than the first time. The pain I endured was purposeful and was rewarded with an immediate release of endorphins,adrenaline and hormones. My body did not have to go through the dramatic process of being drugged to a state of complete numbness, or the side effects and physical shock of the drugs wearing off. With this birth I felt healthy, my hormones didn’t feel completely out of whack, I had a healthy appetite, I felt stronger spiritually, emotionally, physically and such a strong connection to Robbie and Colt!
What a wonderful experience. I learned about a well-kept secret, that women are strong! I am strong!! I am looking forward to our third and final experience, when we bring baby #3 into our loving home, the right way!