birth is just crazy and amazing isn't it? everyone has such a different experience. no one story is like another. now that i've had my own birth experience i can honestly say that every birth story i hear or read about just fills me with awe...natural births, medicated or not, hospital stays, home births, water births, c sections, births that last 3 days, women who have to push for hours and hours on end, women who have their babies in 10 minutes flat, women who adopt and instantly become a mother...just incredible stuff. i'm grateful for the birth experience that i had.*
just a standard disclaimer...if you are planning a natural birth and avoiding "negative" birth stories you might want to skip this post. however, it really isn't THAT bad. :)*
so...onto the details...*
for the entire month prior to my due date, gretchen (my midwife), checked me every week for any progress. never any progress. i didn't dilate and my cervix was not thinning. i wasn't worried. i was 100% sure that i would go into labor around my due date. well, my due date came and i still wasn't worried even though i had still made little to no progress. i was 100% sure that i would go into labor in the next two weeks. gretchen stripped my membranes on my due date and that week we did all the regular stuff you do to get things moving. (we didn't use Cohosh that week though.) the next week she checked me again. still no change. now i was a week past due. she stripped my membranes again and over the next few days we did EVERYTHING to try and get things moving. also, she had me go in for a non stress test when i was 7 or 8 days past my due date. the baby was fine. but a nurse checked me and still no progress. at that point i had a little under a week before i was officially 2 weeks over and they would induce me...which i did not want to happen.*
i spoke with gretchen and she said to give it a few days but she thought that cervidil or cytotec might help thin my cervix and start contractions so that i could birth naturally and avoid being induced when i reached my 2 week over point. i didn't feel comfortable using cervidil but i felt even MORE uncomfortable with cytotec. i AGONIZED over what to do. i talked to gretchen about it maybe 10 times. i called an OBGYN that i knew. i talked to family who had used cervidil or cytotec. i seriously just agonized over it but in the end, after much research, discussion and thought, i decided to use cytotec to try and thin my cervix.*
we originally were scheduled to take cytotec on thursday night and then hope that i would go into labor on friday or saturday...2-3 days before my 2 week over point. but...the hospital called and asked if we could come in a night early...wednesday night...to take the cytotec because of scheduling blah blah. we agreed...although i really wanted to wait until as close to 2 weeks over as possible. this was the first instance where i got a little nervous about unwanted intervention and the hospital sort of "taking over" the situation. however, i still felt that if it worked...and i could go into labor naturally...it didn't really matter if i took it a day sooner. so...we checked in to the hospital on wednesday night and they gave me the drug every 4 hours all night long while monitoring me and the baby. in the morning gretchen came and they checked me. after all of my agonizing over whether or not to take the medicine it had done literally nothing. no progress what so ever.
at that point B and i started discussing what to do. do we go home and hope i go into labor over the next few days? and if not just get induced on monday when I was 2 weeks over? we were leaning in the direction of heading home and waiting another few days in hopes that i would go into labor on my own. at that point, gretchen came in and told us that 1-we were 99% positive on our due date and 2-that while yes, some people can be pregnant and not go into labor until week 43 or 44, they really just don't let people go that long anymore because problems can and often do arise past week 42. so, her recommendation, since we knew the baby was healthy right now, was to try to get things going that day (thursday, which was 10 days over my due date.) she told us that she felt that i wouldn't go into labor by the 2 week point. she said that some people just don't go into labor in that time frame and she felt that i was one of those people...based off of no progress, cytotec not working at all, etc...this was the second instance where i was completely confused and torn as to what to do. i honestly didn't know if i would go into labor over the next few days. i did feel that gretchen was sincere and didn't have any hidden agenda to try and start things. she did seem genuinely concerned about the situation but also told us that if we would feel better about waiting until monday we could do that but she felt that that wasn't the best option. in the end we decided to go for it.
they started me on pitocin to get contractions going. i decided not to have an epidural since i knew it could slow progress and potentially put the baby in danger. i labored on pitocin without an epidural for half the day. that was really, really hard. i wasn't prepared for the immediate pain and the almost non-existent rest periods in between each contraction. and i was stuck in one spot so i tried to move around in a little square to try and relieve some pain. after 5 hours they checked me. little to no progress. my cervix was the same. i was dilated to maybe a 2ish. that was when i started to worry. they told me that no, its not common to have no progress on pitocin. but, they baby was still just fine. they would keep watching her. no need to worry. and the rest of the day went down like that...
they broke my water. they continued on pitocin. i eventually got an epidural because i didn't want to do it anymore and at the rate things were going i didn't see an end in sight. they continued to check me. nothing. nothing. nothing. throughout the day i was crying, crying, crying...it was like they were just going down a checklist doing everything i never wanted. at some point they inserted a small monitor into my uterus to get a better read on my contractions. at about 8pm they told me that the monitor was showing that my contractions were weak...nowhere near powerful enough to push out a baby. normal contractions have somewhere right above 200 montevideo units. mine had about 105. that was the moment i knew i was getting a c section. but, they said they were going to try one last thing...giving me a large dose of pitocin to try and get some power behind my contractions. a doctor was called in to do it. they gave me the crazy, stupid amount of pitocin for an hour. then they checked me. no change.
gretchen, (emotionally) told us that there was nothing left. c section was it. i already knew. but B and i just cried. it was so sad. i couldn't believe it. the thing that was giving me a little comfort was the fact that everyone...nurses, gretchen, the doctor...were telling us that this was not common, i would have gotten a c section no matter what, even if i had waited 3 more days. i don't know if that is true or not. but i do think that i was an unusual case. the doctor said i may or may not be able to birth vaginally in the future. this could be the way all my labors are and i would just have to see how things go next time. so i am prepared for that. i will either have to go into labor on my own or have a c section. we are optomistic.
i got a c section at around 10pm. never once in the process was caroline ever in "distress" so that was one good thing. the c section sucked. i felt a lot of it at first so they basically knocked me out. i didn't really "see" caroline until the next morning even though i know i breastfed her and they brought her to me. but i was so out of it. i never got that first moment with my baby that i had hoped for during my pregnancy. BUT...the next morning i woke up feeling ok about everything and like i have stated on this blog before...the nurses were amazing, the hospital stay was great, B was amazing, Caroline was healthy. so all of that was great. the recovery has been long. i started feeling a little more like my normal self about a week ago...so 7 weeks after caroline was born. my stomach, however, is a hot mess. but...that is all expected.
i don't know if things would have been different if i had waited 3 or 4 more days. i like to think that they wouldn't have but that maybe would have given me a little more peace of mind to know we waited as long as we could. and i really don't know many people who have had a similar experience to mine so i don't know if it's common or not. maybe you guys know people who have experienced this? i don't know what i could have done different. i do feel, for sure, that there was intervention involved that i wasn't happy with. it happens so fast it's crazy!...even when you are prepared. but, overall, i am happy with the outcome and i really am ok with how things went down. just hoping i can get more info on my situation in the future when i'm feeling better so i'm better prepared for the possibility of this happening again next time.