Being pregnant for the first time was exciting and frightening. The pregnancy was a wonderful surprise for my husband and me, and we had nine months in which to learn what it was going to mean to become parents. I couldn’t even imagine giving birth, but had several friends who had successfully delivered naturally, so I expected I would do the same.
Two weeks before my due date, I began having extreme lower back pain. At one of my last appointments, I learned I was beginning to dilate and was around 2 cm. I thought, “Well, at least the pain is accomplishing something.”
After a week of heating pads and no sleep, I decided that the pain needed to accomplish birth, so at my next weekly visit I begged my doctor for an induction. She put me on a monitor in her office and noted that I was having contractions, and concluded that I would probably respond well to induction. After calling the hospital and confirming that there was room for me, she sent me to be admitted.
My water bag was broken at 12:30 a.m. and I was given Pitocin through an I.V. The Pitocin began working much quicker than I had ever expected. It didn’t take long for me to begin feeling very uncomfortable. Despite my husband’s best efforts to encourage me with breathing exercises, the nurse wore me down with constant reminders like: “There’s an easy way to end the pain, you know. You don’t need to suffer to prove you’re a woman.”
The contractions began to get unbearable around 5 p.m. They were coming so quickly that I couldn’t even catch my breath, so the nurse gave me an oxygen mask. She checked me and said I was at 4 cm., so I decided it was time for the epidural.
When the anesthesiologist came to my room half an hour later, I told him he had exactly 30 seconds in-between contractions to get the job done. He did, and I wanted to kiss him for it! The epidural relieved the pain, allowing me to relax. I wanted to sleep, but within 30 minutes, I was fully dilated. My doctor told me I could have a few minutes to get ready to push. With my husband and the nurse holding my legs, I pushed for two and a half hours, and ultimately needed the assistance of forceps because Anna’s head was getting stuck on my pelvic bone with each push. She was finally delivered at 8:38 p.m.
The craziest part of the delivery was that I was so numb from the epidural that I didn’t feel anything — not even “pressure.” I just relied on the nurse to look at the monitor and tell me when I was having a contraction to push. Between each 1-10 counts per contraction, I would take a short rest and wait for the next one. At one point, I had just finished the 10 count and laid my head back to rest when I realized there was more commotion in the room than after my previous contractions. I could hear my doctor suctioning, so I asked my husband, “Is she here?”
He said, “Yes!”
“Well, somebody let me know!” I said. I was just lying there waiting to push again and had no clue that Anna was already out!
All said I was lucky that my induction only took eight and a half hours, but I will never choose that birth method again if I can avoid it. It is amazing how powerful Pitocin can be. I’ve often wondered if I could have delivered naturally, had I waited until my body began to labor on its own.
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