Birth and Labor of My First Born Son

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Baby JonathanIn February of 2003, I became a mom.  My birth experience wasn’t what I expected.  Then again, I didn’t really have huge expectations.  However, I felt to my core that THIS was not how it was supposed to go!

How to Induce Labor

Contractions started around 10:00 pm two days before my estimated due date.  I had been to the doctor the Friday before (this was on Monday) and was 0 cm dilated and about 50% effaced (how thin my cervix was).  For anyone who doesn’t know – that sucks.  It pretty much means nothing is happening and it’s pretty disheartening to hear.

On Monday, we went out to a Chinese buffet. I ate everything spicy I could find.  I think the spicy food combined with the grease, is what got things started for me because it sent my stomach into spasms – which then sent my uterus into spasms!  Stomach spasms combined with labor?  Not highly recommended!  But, there was no turning back!  I told David to get some sleep because I thought we were in for a long night.  I lay on the couch trying to sleep, but to no avail.  Finally, around 1:30 am, we decided to head to the hospital as my contractions were about 2-4 minutes apart and lasting 1.5 minutes (give or take).

“I bear a charmed life”. Macbeth Quote (Act V, Sc. VIII)

My sister-in-law, Martha, was planning to join us for the birth and serve as our photographer.  We called her on the way to the hospital (this was pre-texting days, so we hadn’t even given her the head’s up!).  Luckily (or unluckily?), she was in a dress rehearsal for a play (Macbeth – you can imagine the costume! ) and had just gotten out.  So, we pick her up on our way – in full costume!  It was pretty amusing, even to the woman in labor!

We get to the hospital and were taken to a room where I was “checked” (a few stares at poor Martha along the way.  Good thing she’s a trooper!).  It is announced that I am a whopping 0.5 cm dilated.  Woopdie doo (is that spelled right???)!  (insert eye roll here)  Really?  I sat at home in labor for 3.5 hours for 0.5 cm????  OH MY GOSH!!!

Hospital doorsAt this point, David takes Martha back to her dorm (she was in college at the time) because it’s clear this baby is not coming anytime soon.  I am essentially tied to the bed with an IV full of fluids and told they will be back in an hour to check me again.  When I am “checked” again, I am 1.5 cm!  WOO HOO!  I am admitted and asked if I want an epidural.  “No, I’ll wait it out a bit.  This seems early.”  Her response was that I could get it any time I want???  The books and websites all said I should wait until 4 cm so it wouldn’t stall labor (clue #2 I should have, even then, gotten up and run!)?  Whatever!  I still say “no, I’ll wait thanks.”

Birthing Cocktail Hour

The morning comes slowly/quickly – you do sort of lose track of time when you are having mind-numbing contractions every few minutes.  At 8:00 am, I finally see a doctor (who has apparently been in all night because he’s about to get off.  To me, it makes more sense for the NEW doctor to come around since clearly this one was not going to deliver me, but whatever!).  He announces I am only 2 cm, but I am “stretchy”.  My contractions have spaced out some (go figure!  You have me tied to a bed instead of up and walking!), so he suggests Pitocin and tells me I better get that epidural now.  I have now been in labor 10 hours.  I agree to that cocktail.

The Evil Epidural Side Effects

Biirth monitorWithin 5 minutes of the epidural going in, I can tell it was a mistake.  I hate everything about it!  I hate the way it feels going in (not a needle person, at all!), I hate the way it feels spreading through me (warm tingling), I hate that I can’t feel my legs – AT ALL, and, honestly, I even hated that I couldn’t tell what was going on with my body.  The Pitocin was started around 10:00 am but then, I was left alone.

David went to pick up Martha again shortly thereafter, but I really didn’t see anyone (except on Game Show Network – does that count?) for a few hours.  Around 12:00, I was “checked” again and was “close to 4 cm dilated”, but again I am told I am “stretchy”.  The doctor decides to manually stretch my cervix and says he stretched it to 6 cm, but it usually goes back some, so not to expect much.  Within a few minutes, I was feeling pressure, but I didn’t know what it was because the epidural was so strong.  Around 12:45 or so, I told the nurses that I was feeling something. I was “checked” and, to their surprise, I was fully dilated and the baby was “right there”.  Time to push!

Opening the Flood Gates? Water Break Time

This is where it gets really irritating to me.  Back around 10:00 when I went on the Pitocin, I was “checked” so that they could break my water.  The doctor (the ONE doctor in the practice I couldn’t stand) announced my water was already broken.  The nurse and I looked at each other and commented we didn’t think so.  He said he was the doctor and there were no membranes, so we must have just missed it.  (Let me tell you, I have had a baby since this one and my water broke spontaneously with him.  I can tell you, there was no “missing it”.)  Whatever! (Seeing a “whatever” theme here?)  So, anyway, they set the bed up for the delivery and I started pushing around 1:00 pm.  Apparently, according to the nurses, I am a good pusher.  They called the doctor in after only about 10 minutes because I’ve made great progress (pushing is HARD WORK, let me tell you!  It went by quickly, but I felt like I was going to explode)…

To be Continued… Read more of my Natural Baby Blog.

About The Author:

Mother of four boys and the wife of a minister in Georgia. The world is full of medical “miracles” but over time and lots of experience, this mom has discovered that raising a natural baby creates the most wonderful bonds and lessons for her children.

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July 28, 2012 12:49 am

Reading this story reminds me about the futility of trying to plan and then being inflexible when things do not go as we thought. Actually, the woman in the post seemed to roll with the punches fairly well. I think maybe even writing about the experience helped her to solidify the experience and lessons learned.

The main point to me is that while planning is good, we also must be able to adjust and adapt to circumstances, especially as things start to change. As a good example of this, take a look at the experience with the epidural. I am sure that the author had already given previous consideration about whether to take this or not at some point during labor. There must have been research done and an opinion formed.

Even after all of that research, the effects were certainly not what had been intended. Now, the point of this is not to tell anyone whether or not to take an epidural, but that we should all keep our options open. Having a baby is wonderful, and we should each enter in with our eyes open.

July 17, 2012 10:41 pm

This article was unexpected. When I was pregnant, I desperately sought somebody’s real birth experience. My mom likes pain I think, and I knew early on that her experience would not be like mine. She loves really spicy food and considers pain a challenge. I am more mellow and would rather avoid pain if possible.

This article is exactly what I was looking for. I searched for information about how the drugs made people feel and what contractions felt like and found clinical articles, or just brief rundowns of personal experiences. This article is great because you talk about how you felt, and people’s reactions. We are really in the delivery room with you at several points.

I already had my son some time ago, but I know this article will really help some first time mom out there. One thing I really must point out though is that everyone’s experience WILL be different, but this gives you some idea of what part of your experience might be like. Like they induced me which didn’t work and I ended up having an emergency c-section. But you really capture what a real birth experience is like and convey it well.

July 14, 2012 12:51 am

There is no doubt that having a baby can be a very emotional and stimulating experience. The author of this post shows us that maybe things will not go exactly as you have planned them when actual labor starts (or even before the labor begins).

I think that we can learn quite a bit from this post, however. The main idea is that we need to be able to keep our bearings and be flexible enough to change game plans if things do not go exactly as we have planned. As an example the author recounts her thoughts and feelings about having an epidural.

This is a subject which arouses strong feelings on both sides. Personally, I have no opinion one way or the other. I did think it was interesting how the author agreed to have the shot and then says that the decision was regretted almost immediately. I wonder how the rest of the birthing and labor experience might have been different if the epidural was not given or taken. Anyway, the bottom line here is to be able to roll with the highs and lows.

Kathy Faust
July 13, 2012 11:00 pm

I had always heard that strenuous activity induces labor. You know, like moving all the furniture around and all that. It might work, but I personally think this is just an excuse for us women to take “nesting” to a whole other level. But, if it induces labor, that’s awesome too. Personally, I like the spicy food route you took. It seems a little more fun than trying to move the entertainment center by myself.

I think childbirth and pregnancy are nature’s way of giving you a crash course in parenting. It’s going to be painful. There are going to be overwhelming emotions. You are sometimes going to have to make decisions (that take days to ponder) in the blink of an eye. Forget about sleep. Your body is no longer your own and this applies long after child birth because you are at some point going to take better care of yourself just so you can live to be around your children. And…the whole childbirth/pregnancy thing is done relatively quickly as compared to the rest of your life. And yet, that’s a lesson too. Time does fly and you are going to have to pack the best stuff in while you can.

Kathy Faust
July 12, 2012 7:58 pm

I had a C-section with my son. I had the option of being awake or not, but if I was not, his dad could not be in the room. I don’t know why this is. It was just the policy they had then. I don’t even know if that is still their policy or not. At any rate, I chose to stay awake so he could be in there. More than that, I wanted to be awake to see my son and to be able to make decisions if I had to.

The epidural took 45 minutes for them to do. I love the way they keep telling you to curl your back and you’re all “Well where do you think I can lean forward more?! If you could just get this big belly out of the way…” Everything else went as planned, but then I got home and the headache hit. I get migraines and that headache made my migraines feel like a thing of pleasure. It was horrible and there was just nothing I could really do for it. I took what I could and my husband rubbed my neck for me, but wow! I have never hurt so much in my life. Now I look at it as a sign of motherhood. Pain when you least expect it. Take the good with the bad though, right?

July 7, 2012 12:58 am

I think that this article is pretty interesting. While it is a good read, I think the lesson it teaches is even more important. The woman in question, I think did not really have a very clear picture about what the labor and birthing experience was really going to be like. Of course, I also understand that each experience is likely to be quite different than the next.

As a very basic example of how things might be different from one person to the next, take the whole epidural issue. There are many people who fall on either side of this very controversial issue. Some have very strong opinions. Yet, while the author did not enjoy the epidural experience, there are many others who would argue that the epidural was an absolute life saver for them.

I think that the biggest lesson to remember from this article is that the couple who is having a baby must remain very flexible. Of course, this is easier said than done, since stress and emotions are running high at this time.

Kathy Faust
July 3, 2012 11:51 am

If there is one thing I learned during my pregnancy and birth, it is that many of the people who work in this field feel like they have seen it all and done it all. They assume that we don’t know anything about our own bodies and I find that to be very offensive. And it isn’t just me. I saw it with my friend’s birth too when they had induced her labor. She would go into labor on her side, but not in any other position. I suggested they keep her on her side, but was ignored until about 12 hours later when a nurse had a brainstorm and kept her on her side.

And then there was shift change. They stopped her labor to go into shift change so that there were no interruptions. Seriously? I used to respect medical staff until I witnessed this ignorance. When they tossed her leg up in the air and told me to hold it, I waved at the camcorder an told them I was an observer, not a participator.

As for my own birth experience, I left the hospital the day after my C-section because I could not stand the way I was treated. The last straw was the nurse (making $20 plus and hour) complained about having to adjust my thermostat. Color me not impressed.

July 2, 2012 1:19 am

The author of this post is a mother describing her first experiences with child birth. The first impression I have about this description is that it is quite honest and very realistic. Maybe a bit too realistic! However, I think that other expectant moms and their partners could take away some very important lessons from this post.

Remember to relax. Despite the author not really having things go the way she wanted, everything came out all right in the end. New parents should understand that not everything may go as planned, and need to remain flexible.

I also think that her experience with the epidural could be quite helpful to some. The description about the sensation of the needle going in and the medication taking effect could serve to either confirm or change others opinions on whether or not they would consider this themselves.

It is also worth mentioning that this blow by blow account belies the fact that some labors are long processes. People involved in this experience should not expect to just show up at the hospital like they are coming for a photo opp.

Kathy Faust
June 28, 2012 8:37 am

I really enjoyed reading about your experience with labor. I know many women decide to not have an epidural and then quickly change their mind during the birthing process. I always thought that if I had children, I would have a home birth. I know it’s a risky decision, but I like the idea of being more in control of the birth and having a mid-wife there at all times. I also like the idea of being able to have the birth in place where I’m comfortable.

I see where others have commented that pregnancy sounds terrifying and I think all women agree. We know that it’s going to be painful, but it’s something we’re willing to do in order to bring new life into the world. Personally, I feel sorry for those young girls that haven’t had proper education and have no idea what kind of pain they will be in. Knowing what to expect gives you the chance to learn about pain management techniques and gives you the option to learn about medicinal remedies that can be used during the labor. Knowledge is better than a surprise like the pain of labor.

June 27, 2012 8:28 am

The author of this post provides a pretty vivid description of her experience with natural child birth. I found it quite interesting, especially when she admitted to not really having any expectations about what the experience was going to be like. I started thinking about this and wondering how could an expectant mother not have any expectations about what the experience of giving birth would be like? To be honest this sort of baffled me.

I wonder if many people just really do not do much in the way of researching what things will be like? I suppose that this woman and her husband took classes together about how to breathe and how to help each other through the delivery.

Still I found this post very helpful. It gave a good picture about what things might be like. I am not sure that the author would have considered this a good experience or not, but I think each reader can take what they will and draw their own conclusions. It is helpful in forming individual expectations as well.

June 17, 2012 12:37 am

Most expectant mothers are probably very concerned about what the experience of birth will be like for them. While I am certainly no expert, I think it is safe to say that no two child births are the same. Let me start out by saying that I am one of 8 children. Being the oldest, I can actually remember my mom going to the hospital and having almost all of my brothers and sisters.

I am quite convinced that with my mother, by about baby number four, she was very well equipped to go through the process of child birth. In fact, I seem to recall that for at least one delivery the doctor did not arrive until she was almost finished; so she did indeed do it on her own.

I also think that reading experiences like the one in this post can be helpful. It can give expecting mothers new insight on what the process is like. I hope that all of the readers are able to take these experiences and learn from them.

Kathy Faust
June 7, 2012 11:54 pm

When I had my son, I was totally shocked at the things that happened that I had no idea were going to happen. I didn’t think about the details of being prepared for surgery. I didn’t think about how I was going to feel or how long it was supposed to take.

I had a C-Section with my son. He was breech. I didn’t have to have him like that, but I didn’t want to take a chance with natural birth. I didn’t even think about a needle in my spine, I didn’t know I was going to be able to feel them with the tugging.

And after the birth, I didn’t know anything about shock or temperature regulation. But I was shaking and freezing, and then I was sweating. And I couldn’t walk by myself. I thought I was just going to hop out of bed and act like I hadn’t just been cut open.

But birth was a crash course in parenthood. You have no idea what to expect, though you think you do. Shock is going to happen. Your whole world is going to be shook up before you know it, and that is a regularity of parenthood.

sarah g
April 27, 2012 1:47 pm

I’ll probably get yelled at for saying this, but pregnancy just sounds terrifying.

April 27, 2012 1:24 pm

See I have heard two sides to the epidural debate. One is that it can actually speed up labor since many women finally relax after getting one and the other argument that it slows it down if given before 4cm. My doctor happened to be on vacation when I went into labor with Bryan. The doctor on call was on the 4cm band wagon. Problem was my water broke and I hadn’t progressed at all and finally was put on pitocin after about 10 hours after arriving at the hospital. I am in no way, shape, or form a fan of that drug. By mid to late afternoon I still was only about 1cm and begging, pleading and threatening to leave if I didn’t get an epidural. By midnight I was only 2cm and was approaching 24 hours since my water had broken. By then the nurse and doctor were convinced it was time for my epidural and I was never soooooo happy to finally have some relief from the very painful labor. I could tell I was having contractions and felt all the pressure of each one. I finally was able to rest, a little and by 6 in the morning I was finally ready to deliver Bryan.