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Jack Jack Attack: My Birth Story

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder

41 weeks and another doctor appointment. My doctor had this way of telling me when I was going to go into labor. The week before last she said “you will go into labor next week.” Last week she said “you will go into labor next week.” I knew she was full of shit, but it didn’t help when week after week went by and nothing happened. Last week we decided if there was no baby by today then we would induce. I knew there were risks to induce and I knew there were risks to wait. I put my faith in my doctor to steer me in the right direction. So when she told me today that we were not going to induce I was confused, angry and felt alone. I had spent the last 2 weeks walking in the dry sand in the hot July afternoon, running up and down the stairs, jamming liquids into my vagina, eating weird foods and cursing people out. My husband and I had followed all of her suggestions and we showed up to this appointment today with our bags packed. The plan was to induce today. I began to get this feeling that I would have no one to rely on. She left the room to do god only knows what. When she returned she said the OB in charge wants to induce. The tension in the room grew. I was glad we were back to the plan we had made, but I was angry. My doctor began to grow frustrated as well as my husband and I questioned the indecisiveness. I trusted this woman with my baby and my delivery and I now wondered why things felt like they were falling apart.

The 24 hour eviction notice had been ignored by my tenant. The next morning my husband and I arrived at the birthing center and checked ourselves in. We were led to the delivery room where we were allowed to set up shop. My doctor did another vaginal exam. No dilation, no effacement and the baby had not descended. My doctor inserted the Cervidil and told me “I’ll be back in 12 hours.” I was so excited. We took pictures, called family, did crossword puzzles, watched TV, ate yummy hospital food and joked around with each other. I read US weekly and got the inside gossip on The Bachelorette. I knew Ashley was going to pick JP. He was kind of hot, but had this wife beater vibe about him. My husband agreed, but said the other guy was douche too.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder

 

Early in the evening I began to feel contractions. They felt like throbbing menstrual cramps. “Yeah, that’s how they start. They will feel like something else later,” a nurse said. We stared at the monitor and watched the lines rise and fall. It was so exciting to see the line go up and be able to feel the onset of the contraction matching it. I was determined to do this labor naturally and feel the full experience of labor. This decision was not made for the usual reasons that women want natural child births. I was in fact terrified of the epidural. Completely and utterly scared-for-my-life horrified of the idea of a needle in my spine. So, I had built an argument in my mind to help me through this. I wanted to really feel labor. I wanted to have this real life experience as I would maybe never get it again. I always did do things the hard way and this would be one more example of that. If I could just remember all of this then maybe it would help me avoid having to face that giant needle that they refuse to even show you in birthing classes. I had also read a natural childbirth book and did “dress rehearsals” with my husband. He talked me through pretend contractions and rubbed my back. We thought about hiring a doula, but what could be so hard? I mean, people stupider than us have kids every day. It can’t be that difficult…

My husband’s jokes stopped being funny at about 8pm. “Get the tennis balls,” I said to him. He took them out and pushed them hard into my lower back. “I think we are entering serious labor,” he said quoting the natural childbirth book we had read. The tennis balls worked for a few minutes then I smacked them out of his hands and told him to stop touching me. He encouraged me to remain calm and breathe. I tried. I really did. The only thing that seemed to work was moaning loudly through the contractions. What didn’t help was that due to being induced things were not happening naturally. The contractions were on top of each other. I had no time to regroup, no time to do something else. “I don’t think I can do this,” I said. My husband kept encouraging me and reminding me of the things we had rehearsed “imagine yourself on top of the contraction, ride it like a wave,” he said. The nurse came in and noticed I had begun to unravel. So far they had stayed out of the room at our request to practice our newly learned techniques of natural childbirth. She didn’t even mention drugs to me out of respect for my decision. I asked the question “what are my options?” I caved and asked for the Stadol, a narcotic. She gave it. As quickly as I felt the cold liquid join my blood and course through my veins I felt higher than a crack head. “You could sell this on the streets,” I said. My husband laughed and sat down clearly relieved that his wife was no longer writhing in pain.

But I never felt relief. I felt pain, then high, then more pain. This did nothing to provide relief. But everyone around me thought I had begun to feel better because I could no longer scream. I went into my head and now was really all alone. I was awake but dreaming. I had visions of my childhood neighborhood made out of plastic. I shook my head and tried to wake up. It was the feeling just before a trip was about to turn bad. The contractions continued to build and push back against the drug. Soon I was sober again and in more pain than even the most talented writer could explain. My doctor arrived at this 12 hour mark to check me for signs of progression in this labor. I had not dilated, the baby had not descended and my cervix had not effaced. She inserted more Cervidil and said we have to do it again. “I’ll be back in 12 hours” she said. It was during these blurry next few hours where I lied down, moaned, writhed, stood up, sat down, and cried. I threw up for the first of five times. I could not control my bladder through the heaves and peed in the bed. There was blood on the bed. Then my water broke. I didn’t think twice about rolling around in this mess. I was far beneath that at this point. The nurse checked me for signs of progression. Nothing. She then stripped the membranes. I used to shoot off at the mouth that birth is not like in the movies with women screaming and acting like animals, but today I screamed and acted like an animal. That was more painful than delivery itself. I arced my back and flopped around while trying to scream, but it hurt too bad to get any sound out. I don’t remember asking for the epidural, but I did. We waited for the anesthesiologist who took 15 years to arrive. My husband was asked to leave the room. The nurse and I hugged each other with pillows between us. I didn’t feel anything. I turned to lie down and everything stopped.

In that moment I would have divorced my husband, married the inventor of the epidural, made love to them and bore them many children. I could finally focus, think, sleep. I tried to forget about everything for awhile, but I could not stop shaking. My doctor came in and watched me vibrating on the bed for a moment and asked if I was cold. I said no, but I could not stop. She said it would stop; that my body was just experiencing trauma from enduring so much of the natural labor. Or I suppose I should say unnatural labor. I had bitten off more than I could chew by sticking to my original plan of natural childbirth after choosing to be induced. It was getting away from me now. Women reading this that have had children are cracking a knowing smile and those who have not are tensely waiting for the gory delivery scene that will once again have them questioning whether this whole baby thing is really for them. That doula would have been nice right about now. My husband and I were scared, confused and lost. We didn’t know which way to go. We had no plan anymore.

This baby would not descend so I spent the morning (the next morning) squatting, playing tug of war with a towel and a nurse, and finally being given Pitocin. Pain took on yet another level of definition. They said the epidural doesn’t last long. Who knew? Now let’s push and count to 10. Another thing I did not know was how far away the number 10 was. Breathe in breathe out breathe in again hold your breath and PUSH. While you are pushing everyone around you is screaming PUSH! Because I suppose in their minds they are helping you push by saying the word. I never made it to 10. If I could make it to 7 I would be in China. If I could make it to 8 I would land on the moon. If I could make it to 9 I would be the first fucking person to walk on Mars. If I could make it to 10 I could deliver this baby. But I could not. I didn’t know 10 was so far away. My baby has this toy that sings to 10. This annoying woman’s voice very chipper and melodic says “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!” I hate her.

The nurses and doctors came in and out. When one arrived at my feet she would ask “has he descended at all?” The others would look up with exaggerated positivity and say “Yeah! A little!” “Do you think I am stupid!?” I yelled. “Something is wrong! I know it!” I then began to beg and plead with them to get this thing out. “Please, you guys, you don’t understand. I can’t do this. Please help. Give me a c-section. Where is the suction thing? Where are the forceps? Please, you guys, I can’t do this. Please. You guys.” They put more Stadol in my IV. My son was coming down posterior. This is when the baby’s face is away from the tail bone so that the back of his head presses down on it. It’s what they call back labor. I had also pulled some muscles in my ribs from throwing up so there was the feeling of knives in my chest. They kept repeating that I was the only one who could get this baby out. They just did not seem to understand that I truly believed I could not do it. So I needed to get the fuck out of there right away. I tried to get my legs out of the stirrups. I tried to just get the hell out of there. But I realized I could not escape. I became at one point convinced that the only way out of this was to die. I wanted to die. I felt trapped. So I punched and kicked the IVs and machines around me. There were many people coming and going. A small Indian man arrived. He was the head honcho I know now. They called in the big guns. This baby was NOT going to come out and it was too late for a c-section. He placed his fingers inside my vagina and pulled as hard as he could. My whole body jerked. This man means business. Finally someone is going to help me. My son had pooped in me and amniotic fluid was gone. He spoke to the other doctors and nurses. All I heard was “episiotomy.” The doctor said to me “we’re going to give you a small incision.” The word small may have been an exaggeration, but anyway. Alright bitches! Let’s light this candle! Come on, slice and dice! Knives and scissors came out. I had renewed hope and began to push and groan and grunt like an animal. Blood began to rush from me. I began to fade. I vaguely remember about 15 people around watching. I don’t remember much after that. I heard a female observer say “I see the head!!!” The baby came out. It was a boy. I could only say “ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod.” I had dreamed of this moment so many times. The joy, the tears. Now I sat and stared. No emotion. Drugged up and numb.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding her son.

They handed me my son, Jack. He latched on immediately. I watched him nurse; just watched him because I didn’t need to intervene. He knew what he was doing. He didn’t wait for direction. I began to joke around with the nurses. I apologized for the drama. Just as fast as the pain came, it went. It was like coming up from under water. I took a breath and it was all over. Things were clear again. I held this baby like I had been holding him my whole life. I handled him with ease. No one told me what to do. I just knew. Like Jack knew how to eat. The pain, the fear, the drama is a distant memory now. Even in that first day I forgot most of it. It took my husband and me comparing notes to recall the events. We laughed. We swore we would never do this again. Another thing that didn’t last…

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. Ummmm, great post. But I can’t help but notice your last sentence… Are you expecting again???

  2. both this story and your breastfeeding story remind me a lot of my experiences with Valencia … minus the back labor/dramatic ending, and the eventual breastfeeding triumph. :] you’re a great writer!
    –carissa

  3. no, not expecting, but definitely not “one and done” like we thought for a bit after that delivery. it was a funny moment when we were walking with our new baby through the park when he was about 2 months old and i said “well, maybe we could have another someday.” my husband said “DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST!?” i said yes, of course. he said “I DON’T THINK YOU DO!!!” he got over it and is now on board too! thanks for reading!!

    • Thanks for sharing. I am one of those “nurses” that you hate that count to ten and “push” with you. I hate for my patients to be in pain but I always respect their wishes. OP babies are the hardest to deliver. Awesome Job Little lady!

  4. thanks carissa! it’s nice to find people who share these intense experiences!

  5. Wow, great intense birth story!

  6. Thank you very much for reading!

  7. It’s funny but reading several of your posts all I can think is how I first met you in the yard of ISA wearing that t-shirt with the US flag printed on it 😀

    btw, I had a natural birth and once it is clear the baby is normal etc the first thing I said to my husband was, “Lets not hurry and do this again…”

  8. ah, yes, my flag shirt. i’ll have to revisit isa in one of my posts soon. i have to think that there is something wired in a woman to reject the idea of any more babies for awhile after birth!

  9. according to my obgyn you actually need at least 2 years for your body to be fully recuperated and ready for pregnancy and birth. So she always encourage her patients to wait before getting pregnant again. I didn’t ask for scientific reference though.

  10. I have done this 3 times, well the induction part. All without the Epidural. This line describes EXACTLY why too “Completely and utterly scared-for-my-life horrified of the idea of a needle in my spine.” I had medication through my IV with all of my kids. Like you stated it did NOTHING. I SWORE with my first two that it took the edge of the horrible contractions. Only to find that in my most recent delivery. It did no such thing, I was miserable with contractions and couldn’t feel when I needed to push. I am down and determined to have one more baby, and he or she will be born at home because I absolutely refuse to do that ever again. Pitocin is made by the devil I’m sure of it. I had citotec (the very dangerous cheap one) with my first delivery and only learned of its dangers with my last pregnancy.

    What a scary story though! Amazing but scary. I feared my first birth would be like this. But at least your beautiful son came into the world safe and sound <3 and absolutely beautiful!

    So are you pregnant again? If so A BIG CONGRATS TO YOU!!!

  11. I too made the decision for a natural birth based on my fear of the epidural needle. But I was blessed I was able to deliver all three of my babies without it. With my third I had pitocin which I hated! As far as something happening to make women rejecting the idea of anymore babies after birth, Im not sure.I know at least 4 women who got pregnant at 4-5 months after giving birth. I think thats unhealthy and one of them is having major complications because of it. Her doctor told her that her body just wasnt ready to get pregnant again. Anyway beautiful story.

  12. Just found your blog and having a great time reading your posts! I also had planned a natural birth that was all effed up by Pitocin. Asked for the epidural and then the bitch didn’t work! We hired a doula, and am still so grateful she was there, highly recommend having one. Anyhoo, I have yet to read all your posts, but I’m really interested in your take on ‘attachment parenting’ given your social work experience. Would love to hear more about the affects it/lack of it you think it has on kiddos. I Look forward to reading!

  13. Just found your blog and read your baby’s birth story. It is so much like my daughter’s! I started with cervidil/cytotek, then pitocin, and had stadol (which I HATED for the exact reason you stated), and the epidural didn’t work right for me. Its so nice to read other women’s stories who are so similar to mine. And I don’t know about you, but I look at my first labor and delivery as a learning experience. Now I know what NOT to do next time! (:

  14. It’s the first time I’ve actually read your birth story and wow I can relate to so much! My second baby was back to back, I got “stuck” at 5-6cm and they gave me pitocin. I point blank refused an epidural after a botched one first time round, the way you described the pain…yep I know that!! I have never before or since felt such intense pain! Strangely enough number 2 was my last natural delivery and within moments of her being born she breastfed like a pro and we had neurosis skin to skin so I do have some lovely memories too. Number 3 was an crash c-section at 29wks & 4 was the same at 26wks, they took birth trauma to a new level for me! I’ve never written about them but wondering if it may be therapeutic?
    Thanks for sharing Abbey x
    P.S Breastfeeding number 4 (now 25mo) as I type…badass!! Haha

  15. Sounds like my 1st delivery. My water broke and then I didn’t go into labor on my own. Was given pitocin and then endured 6 hours of the most excruciating contractions all with no pain meds. BUT I will tell you that my 2nd one (27 months later) was a whole different story. Went into labor, had NO pain, seriously my husband didn’t have enough to do. Had the most relaxed, serene birth experience with my 2nd. Every birth is different, don’t be afraid.

  16. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I had a natural birth plan already to go and I even typed it! Nothing went the way i had planned. But 9 months later I would never change the c-section that brought me my beautiful daughter! I would let them cut me a million times over for her. I really thought having a natural birth would make me a better mom. I now know it doesn’t matter how you get your child here, because that is just a single moment. My daughter is so much more than that one moment!

  17. As a former laboring mom who agreed to Stadol, I totally agreed with your description of how it makes you feel. As a former L&D nurse, I totally agreed with your description of the counting and pushing. And your last sentence describes me – each time I was in labor I said NO MORE. Yeah. I have five. Great story. Loved it and could totally relate all the way around

  18. I so relate to this and your breastfeeding journey. To tell you would be a long story but next time, my husband and I will have a doula.

  19. I had a natural birth planned, even planned to deliver at a small birth center with a midwife. I had to be induced by the midwives at 42 weeks because I didn’t have any amniotic fluid left. I ended up having to transfer to a hospital (longest 40 min car ride of my life) because I couldn’t get a handle on the pain and I wasn’t progressing. I had the same relationship with my anesthesiologist by the time I got my epidural. His name was Scott. I had my husband read this because I wanted him to read that part about the epidural and when he got there he started gut laughing because he remembers that reaction too! Here’s hoping the next one goes easier!

  20. Wow… What an intensely written birth story…. I shared a similar experience in certain ways, though mine was not nearly as traumatizing in terms of indicisiveness from doctors or the amount of pain I imagine you were in. I had planned a homebirth that went nowhere once I was actually in labor. It ended up being super long with little progress, so I decided to go into the hospital (I hate hospitals and the general attitude of condescension from doctors and nurses around childbirth) and get an epidural. I took the stadol too, which helped a lot since it took a while for them to bring the epidural. I totally understand not knowing what you are in for until it happens. Even still, I am probably aiming for a birth at a birthing center situated next to a hospital next
    time. I will probably try to go naturally again and avoid the hospital if it works out to.

  21. Thanks for linking me to that. Your writing style is super enjoyable.

  22. Thank you for your story. My labor story still upsets me and my healthy, happy perfect baby girl is almost 7mo old. Not only were all of my hopes, expectations and dreams of how it might go completely dashed (I had watched the birth of my niece. I too was terrified of the epidural. I didn’t want to be numb. I thought that was scarier than pain. But my niece’s birth was beautiful and calm). Instead I had back labor, I was induced without my permission for no known reason as labor had already begun the night before, I ended up writhing in unrelieved pain, I took the drugs, two epidurals, which became dislodged and ineffective and they gave me pit despite my stating concerns, so pit with no pain meds, then after 48hrs of jabot I was broken, I ended up with an unconscious c section and have no clear memories of my daughter until the next day. The anguish and regret I carry is heavy. I was not awake to greet her, name her. My husband was afraid fur my life as they would not allow him in the room. Neither if us were present for her coming into the world. There was no communication with my family and him: was I ok? Boy or girl?? I came to with a fully dressed sleeping baby nearby and family in my room and I only vaguely remember that. I don’t remember my family meeting her. It was all robbed from me in their decision to use general anesthetic in order to calm me I guess. I only remember screaming and begging and the fear.

  23. Practically identical to my experience except ending with a forceps and 3 days in NICU for the baby. Not quite the natural experience I had in mind. I’m sure you will have a better experience this time.

  24. Bonnie titus says:

    Ugh. Don’t let anyone tell you that you never experienced “true labor.” I remember for my natural birth that all i wanted to do was run away, too, lol. For my induced/epidural birth my Mom got super excited and said the baby’s head was almost out after I pushed for like a minute. I remember getting excited and asked to see with the mirror. His head was barely there. A contraction hit, I completely ignored the nurse, and just laid back and looked at the ceiling. “I’m tired you guys. We’ll do this later.” LOL

  25. Britta Spencer says:

    Both my babies were induced. My first child was induced at 39 weeks due to low amniotic fluid. Your birth experience with Jack was very much similar to mine with Hazen. I even started out a few centimeters dilated but I made no progress for a day and a half. When I finally started making progress, my nausea was out of control. They gave me phenegren. I eventuality asked for an epidural. After my son was born, he nursed like a champ, even despite that it turned out he was tongue tied. BUT I felt like a failure. I honestly thought I was weak. I was angry at my mom for laughing and joking during the delivery. I accused her of distracting my husband. She had commented after the epidural that I was doing it the “easy way” but “why would anyone do it differently.” She had ” suffered unnecessarily” during her births. The biggest reason that I “knew” I could have a natural labor and birth is because I had watched her do it. I want even as tough as my mother. I felt devastated.

    My experience was a little different than yours in that my midwives literally locked the hospital door to keep the hospital’s O.B. out. I had been there too long and the O.B. wanted me too have cesarean abd

  26. Britta Spencer says:

    I guess I accidentally hit “post.” Well, my midwives stuck up for me and insisted I be given more time for a vaginal birth.

    I was determined to do things differently the second time around. But then my due date came and went. I was measuring small this time around too ( the reason I was induced the first time – they ordered an ultrasound because of my measurements. The tech determined I had low fluid. I was also told that my baby was tiny and he was diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” After he was born at 7lbs, I questioned the entire diagnosis.) but my midwife would say “you just measure small.” I tried everything to encourage labor. I even tried castor oil TWICE. So, at 42 weeks, I was given an ultrasound and it was determined that I had low fluid this time as well. I was induced that day with pitocin. They told me I was too far along for cervidil to make a difference so it was pitocin. And this time, labor started right away. After a few hours, I was STARVING. I didn’t give a shit about hospital policy. I sent my mom out for BBQ and then with husband blocking the door, I ate my fill. Then labor started. I mean seriously. I was vomiting soon after (but no food came up – indicating to me that my body needed and processed that food so I was right about what I needed). But my heaving was moving baby down. My hospital room had a ” birthing tub” so I got in and stayed there until I just couldn’t get comfortable. I thought getting out would help. HA HA HA. I was in transition and NOW I was losing it. Earlier that night my midwife commented how ” good” I was doing and how she thought she “would have to get down in my face.” I replied “oh there is still time for that.” Well, now it was time and I was begging for an epidural. She said I could have this baby way sooner than we could get an anesthesiologist in there ( it was 2 am at this point). But I was clenching my bottom. I would try to release the tension but I couldn’t.

    Eventually the midwife asked me “who hurt you down there?” I was like “nobody. What are you talking about?” She clarified “has someone violated you, sexually assaulted you, raped you?” Well, yes but how is that relevant? Why didn’t they ask me months ago (or two years before when I was doing this with first baby)?

    So, in the throngs of transition, I find myself telling the midwife, the student midwife, several nurses, my husband, mother and step mother how, at age 15, I was snatched off the street in Atlanta (a block from my friend’s house; I had gone out to buy cigarettes) by a strange adult male, taken to an isolated park and brutally raped. I escaped from him after we left and he was selling me to another man. I had blamed myself for TEN years, which is partly why I had not told the story to the people who I love and trust most.

    Five minutes later, I opened up and gave birth to my second son, Early. He latched on immediately just like his big brother. But our moment was cut short. The umbilical cord came out unattached to the placenta (I suspect that it had been pulled on but I really don’t remember). I was hemorrhaging. They took my baby away. Nurses were pushing and kneading with all their strength on my belly. I was given a choice: go in for emergency surgery or allow the OB to reach in and remove the placenta. Now, i had just given birth WITHOUT any pain relief while having the pitocin contractions. I was NOT about to have to recover from surgery. My baby was HERE! She had to reach in and sweep THREE times to get all the placenta out. And it was way more painful than labor and birth.

    And then I passed out. My husband put the baby to my breast (I was on my side) and then went to sleep himself. I didn’t wake up for 8 hours but the nurse later told me that Baby stayed latch on the whole time! And it took me a month before I figured out how to nurse lying on my side with my first baby!

    • Michelle says:

      Just passing on a virtual hug to you for telling this. Do you know there are some traditional tribes that do much the same thing — ask for a bit of an accounting — when birth is stalled? Evidently, we do hold back when we’ve been hurt. Mamas need to know this, so they can deal with their hurts before they go into birth. Hugs to you!

  27. Britta Spencer says:

    Oh about the counting part. I was present at my sister’s birth and remember the counting and the chorus of “push” and my mom screaming “shut up! I don’t need to push!” And I have watched dozens if not hundreds of episodes of birth shows on TLC or Discovery. So if there is ONE thing that I got right on my birth plan it was that I didn’t want that. I may not have even put it in my birth plan. I remember requesting at the time to the midwife that that not be done (1st birth). She was respectful of that and ordered the nurses to not talk. She whispered to me when to push ( but no counting) but I eventually ended up putting my hands on my belly so that I could feel my contractions ( my epidural birth). The second time around, I had a very well seasoned no-nonsense kind of midwife (think Ina May) and since I had no epidural and was upright, she let me lead the way, only telling me when NOT to push (which seemed to the be the exact second that Baby came spitting out anyway).

  28. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had a rather traumatic delivery with my daughter as well, although I think yours definitely wins the prize. She was due on September 2, a Friday and when I went in on Wednesday my doctor told me my blood pressure, which had been great through my pregnancy, had gone up to the warning zone. I was at 4 so she wanted to break my water. I told her absolutely not. Talk about shock on her face! I told her I had read to many stories about C-sections coming from breaking the water to early cuz there isn’t enough liquid around the baby to cushion them from the contractions, they get stressed and then there are problems. She did NOT like having a mother who had obviously educated herself. But she talked me into a Pitocin drip. I started talking to my mom and doula about what I had been doing differently the last week and I realized that I hadn’t been eating my small bowl of chocolate ice cream every day like I had been through my pregnancy. My doula laughed and said I was chocolate deficient. She brought me a dark chocolate bar, I ate a few pieces and no joke, within an hour my blood pressure was back where it needed to be. (Told my doctor but she just shrugged it off. Since then it’s been proven dark chocolate can lower blood pressure.) But by then they had hooked me to the Pitocin. It didn’t work. I got very mild contractions and wasn’t dilating. They pumped me so full of liquid I resembled the Pillsbury Dough Man then tried to tell me I was retaining water. You think? All night the damn nurse would come in every freaking half an hour to check instead of just letting me sleep and they wouldn’t let me eat! By the morning I was seriously pissed and only at a 5. My doctor came in and told me she was leaving and once again tried to get me to break my water. Not happening. So they told me the other option was for me to leave and see if I went into labor naturally. I said fine. They were shocked and told me all the risks I was taking. I just knew we weren’t ready. I went home, ate a huge meal and slept all night. Next day I had two more huge meals and by 3 I was in normal labor. Then the trauma started for me. I had scar tissue on my cervix from a LEEP done several years ago to remove abnormal cells so my cervix wouldn’t open. I was in labor for 13 hours and spent almost every minute of those standing because I couldn’t bear to lay down. I was having, no kidding, 5 minute contractions that would completely take me out of my body. I bit my daughter’s father 3 times and threw up twice. I had a pool of sweat around my feet. Most of it is still just a blur, I had no idea a body could go through that much pain and still be standing. I had the same fear of the big needle in my back and was determined to do it without pain killers. An ex’s sister had a painkiller shot while in labor with her daughter. The staff gave her the wrong dose and it actually stopped the baby’s heart. An emergency c-section later the baby was alive but had so much damage to her heart she ended up having a heart transplant at 6 months. I know this is a rare thing, but seeing it first hand made me adamant about no painkillers. Thank God a different doctor was on duty. He talked to me instead of at me and laid everything out rather than tell me what to do. At 7 he told me that he respected my wishes to do everything naturally but at that point I was risking a c-section if I didn’t break the water. I agreed, then I went into a new world of pain but finally 2 hours later they told me to push. My daughter was born in a rush, the doctor didn’t even have time to put his gloves on and I tore 2nd degree both internally and externally. But I remember that sudden end of pain and the pure rush of euphoria I got as soon as I held her. All this made me very timid about anyone touching me, even a hug. My daughter’s father walked out when she was 2 months so I didn’t have to worry about sex, but a counselor helped me get past the lingering effect. She told me I had a form of PTSD from the stress and trauma of her birth.

  29. Sounds like my first birth, except no episiotomy . My sons birth went a little smoother except right before I got to 9cm they had to give me effin pitocin so pushing out my son hurt even though they had given me an intrathegal at 7cm. (Both drugs were a bad idea and I should have fought my husband harder to hire a doula) So if I decide to have another baby I will hire a doula and try not to take the drugs.

  30. Melinda Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing! Great writing! Amazing story! I appreciate what you’re doing for your kids and others! Blessings to you!

  31. Michelle says:

    The take-away here is HIRE A DOULA. It hurt to read this story. I was at my daughter’s birth a few months ago. She had a totally natural birth and it was beautiful. I think the reason she could (besides a degree of luck) is that she was extremely well-informed. She grew up in my household, led by a mom who didn’t manage to have natural childbirth but who valued it and had many friends who had home births. She had read “Spiritual Midwifery” and numerous other books. She watched the Ina May Gaskin movie. She was very well-prepared. She didn’t have a doula, but she had me, and I had been to a few births years ago. I cannot imagine a mom going through labor without another woman — be it licensed doula or supportive and very knowledgeable mom or friend — there to help. Women need other women in labor.

  32. My first wood not go as planned… It was supposed to be an unmedicated natural birth… My water broke a month and a day early with a breech baby… Urgent c-section and a hell hospital stay. Blood pressure sky rocketed, spinal headaches, poor milk supply and mean nurses! I worked like crazy to get my supply up and ended up exclusively pumping for 12 months… During which time I got pregnant again (accidentally) before by daughter’s first birthday. 21 months later (to the day) I had a peaceful VBAC at home. Labour started at 8:00 p.m. So I went to bed. I woke up periodically during contractions, but slept most of the night. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. In transition. I was pushing before the midwife arrived. I had a beautiful baby boy in my arms and nursing eagerly by 10:30 a.m. He’s two months old now and breastfeeding is going really well! Best of luck to you. Enjoy your home birth. I hope Jack adapts well! It’s to if and heart wrenching for a while, but it gets easier.

  33. Just now reading this, after you’ve had another baby with a much different delivery. This really gives me hope. My first two labors were horrific. Both my kids were ‘sunny side up.’ The first time around I had a midwife and although the birth was extremely long with tons of pushing involved, they let her take her time and come out. Looking back it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did give up my initial want for a natural delivery (which was for the same reason as you – deathly afraid of the needle – which you don’t feel at all when you’re in that much pain) but other than that my baby was happy and healthy. The second time around was a different story. I was also induced, chose to get the epidural right away (didn’t forget about the pain the first time) and after another 24 hour labor with tons of pushing I delivered another ‘sunny side up’ baby. This birth included an episiotomy, someone breaking my water, and tons of people all up in my business, including trying to turn the baby. Because my body for some reason will not deliver babies the right way, and they insisted on trying to turn him, he went straight to the nicu with a dented head and breathing funny. I also wanted to kill my doctor for saying how ‘easy’ this labor would be and ‘he will fly right out!’ I believed him and trusted him, and had another painful birth. Now I’m pregnant with my third and of course I’m horrified of labor. I’ve spent the last 7 months visiting the chiropractor weekly and your story gives me hope that I can somehow deliver a baby without an epidural and without 24 hours of pain. Here’s to hoping!

  34. Loved reading this.

    That is VERY similar to my story except I was induced at 39weeks(cholestasis of pregnancy), tried the gas and went to the epidural.

    My second pregnancy I was induced at 35weeks for cholestasis and had the cervidil which is WAY worse than the petocin. Contraction on too of contraction with no additional dilation.

    I’d like to think that if I was able to naturally to into labor I could have a natural delivery, but with two cholestasis babies already there is an extremely high chance a 3rd would be too.

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  36. Medical malpractice needs to be punished more seriously. It often causes long term consequences and horrible stuff.

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