Here a Naturo-Mommy, we support all births involving informed consent. This mother’s journey is an emotional roller coaster and her determination is commendable beyond measure. This is her story, in her words. Enjoy!
I had been putting off induction all week slowly. My blood pressure was rising and the protein in my urine was fluctuating on the screening test from .2 to .4 to .3. Monday they wanted to start the process with prepidil or cytotec. I was totally against Cytotec and I asked “Well can we wait until Tuesday morning?” I showed up around noon on Tuesday. I was 50% effaced 2cm dilated and 0 station looking good, so we did the prepidil. My midwife thought I would go into labor easily. I stayed for the 1 hr monitoring and nothing. So I was told to do another prepidil. I told them I wanted to wait until the next morning since it was so late (6pm). but they wanted me to stay in town so I stayed at my Doula’s house down the street.
I had pressure waves starting and going about 10 min apart from 9pm until I went to bed. I thought I would get woken up by labor but did not. I went in to do another prepidil in the morning 80% effaced, 3cm dialated, -2 station he was no longer engaged but at least otherwise I had progressed. Again they asked to do cytotec and I said no. This time, we were admitted to the hospital instead of doing the treatment at the birth center. My protein the night before was .7, they did another pre-e screening and my protein was only .2 again, which was confusing for all. My blood pressure also looked good. They did the prepidil, again nothing more than pressure waves 10 min apart. I tried everything to get it going but nothing. I asked if we could do the foley balloon. They said it wasn’t worth it since I was already 3cm. I tried everything to get labor going, but the waves were not picking up. I talked to several docs and midwives about cytotec as every single one of them liked it more and brought it up and they had really good outcomes with it, only a couple of times did they have to administer a drug to actually cut down on pressure waves but never anything serious. They thought the serious things were only when it was misused as in, too much. They only gave half a pill there. So by 6pm we had to make a decision about doing piton. I wasn’t looking forward to it and was exhuasted.
With my protein down and my bp looking good they were questioning whether it was really necessary to induce. They also weren’t sure about the protein test since it was a brand new screening they had only been doing for a couple of weeks. So I talked with the OB and midwife and they decided to let me go home but made me do a 24 hour urine test. So at 6pm I went home. I really needed that, as I was exhuasted. I went to the chiropractor and the acupuncturist and the pressure waves started again. They were 7 min apart for 3 hours. I thought maybe this is it!! I went to sleep so I would be well rested, and well never got woken up by anything stronger. We went to the hospital and arrived about 11am. I gave them my urine and they were like, “Where’s the other bottle?” I said that was it. Ten minutes later, the OB was in. They said, based on the amount of urine I brought in my kidneys were not doing well. I said maybe I didnt drink enough? They said that it was still way too low.
My protein came back it was 740 the threshhold was 350. They said, you are not leaving here until you have this baby. They checked me and I was back to 1cm but 100% effaced and -3 station. So we were backwards.. I finally gave in to the cytotec. First dose, nothing much again. Pressure waves only 7 min apart. I walked around, sat on the birth ball, did acupuncture… but nothing. So 5 hours later we reevaluated. This time we could do the foley balloon and the cytotec. My doula had gone home since nothing was happening and was planning on coming back in an hour. The balloon went in and 5 min later, (5pm) literally my pressure waves started STRONG and 1-2 min apart. I started listening to the hypnobabies track and my husband was using the relax cue. It was helping, but coping was difficult. My Doula showed up much not later. We did ‘relax, release’, and I was focused. The anesthesia wasnt working but I was coping and I was relaxed. An hour later, we decided to try the tub. It was really nice.
By 8pm, the bulb fell out and I had finally hit 4cm! We were making good progress, but he still wasnt engaged at all. The pressure waves were still intense and 1-2 min apart. By 11pm I was 8cm but he was not engaged. My midwife suggested breaking my waters. We discussed and decided to go ahead. She poked them and it was slow leak, but he was still not engaged. Then she checked me again. I was now 6cm. We lost progress and he was still not engaged. I started to get frustrated and desperately thought “Why is this taking so long!” My doula, husband, nurse, midwife all helped me through every single pressure wave. I counted to 5 then, down to 1 to get through the intensity and used my hypnobabies tools, went in and out of the tub. It was exhausting mentally and physically, but I was holding it together.
At 1am, I was 6cm and he was still not engaged. Same thing at 3am. I started to lose it. It had been 10 hours, I couldn’t focus anymore I was breaking down and throwing myself on the ground, wanting to push. I could not cope with the pain. I was screaming “Why is this taking so long, how much longer?” There was no end in sight and I didnt know how much longer I could take it. My doula/midwife/nurse tried to pull me together, but my blood pressure was rising. My midwife said it’s time for the epidural. If I didn’t get it they would have to do a c-section because my blood pressure was getting dangerous… I gave one last shot to pull it together, but just couldn’t. I was spent emotionally and physically… 10 hours of labor, still at 6cm and he still was at -1 station. If I was closer, I am sure I could have held it together, but I wasn’t. I was stuck at 6cm, so I gave in and said “Get me the epidermal.” Once I did that forget it. I was done. I wanted no more pain since I gave in. I was saying, “I am so done, please get me the epideral now. Please hurry!” I was crying, I was in a lot of pain and just lost my focus completely.
Epideral was in. Now the only pain I felt was in my rectum but it was still intense and it even hurt between pressure waves.. We tried counter pressure and ice, which helped and it was more manageable. It also got my blood pressure back under control and I was now maintained to the bed. The epideral caused my pressure waves to decrease in frequency and intensity and it was continuing a downward trend. They were now only 10 min apart. We waited 90 min and no change, so it was time for pitocin. Pitocin worked and they were back to 1-2 in apart and intense, and I only felt them strongly in my rectum. I was 7cm dilated. Again, I still had to manage every single pressure wave. I didn’t get to rest much at all. One after another, and my team had to be strong so I could stay strong. Upp’ing the epideral did nothing because the pain was all in my rectum. This continued with very slow progress but by 11am, I was finally 9 1/2 cm. But he was posterior. Noon and still no change. I started to get the urge to push with every pressure wave and did give little pushes. The midwife said no it would only stress the baby out. He was strong, and so far no issues at all with this heart rate.
By 1PM, the midwife decided that she would try to hold back the remaining cusp and try to turn him as I pushed… no luck, then the next one and the next one….then we let a couple go..wait there was a change! I was 10 cm, but now he was OT and stuck!! This was worse then OP…Now the midwife was losing all hope and called the OB in for a second opinion. She said the same. They discussed and decided that a section was imminent. I asked about spinning babies’ exercises, or maybe I can just push hard enough. They said they would let me push as long as baby and I were OK. We tried everything, hands and knees, squatting, side release (seriously we were on google learning how to do these with teh Doula/midwife/ and nurse all helping). Then there was hope! His heart rate was now lower on my abdomen. He moved! So we kept going and going and reevaluated and well my pushing was stellar. The midwife was totally impressed, but his head was not tucked and Occiput Transverse, so only part of his head was going down my pelvis. It was molding but it was still lodged. She tried to help, but there wasn’t much she could do. The OB also agreed. They said the other concern was when they saw a blip with the baby, so he was started to get stressed with his head being crushed with the pushing and my temperature was rising. If it went up any higher he would be in special care for 2 days minimum. The other concern was the strain on my uterus. If there was too much more the OB said there would be other damage which would decrease the chances of any VBAC and increase the risk of any other pregnancy.
I said give me 30 more minutes, my pressure waves had also slowed down again and the pitocin wasn’t working. An hour before that we turned the pitocin off. So I had them turn it back on and turn off the epidural. The last 30 min I had almost 100% feeling back and full on pressure waves every 1-2 min so my pushes were harder with the help of the pressure waves. They let me we try a couple more positions and exercises and I gave it everything I had and then some. All of us. Rechecked and still the same. So I decided it was time for the section and started crying. I fell apart emotionally again, and that is when again the pain became completely unmanageable, I started screaming, “Please turn back on the epidural now. Please make it stop!! Please I am done I am so done, make it stop!!” The doula tried to pull me together, I was crying. She said you have to stay calm for you and the baby. You can do this. I said I can’t, I can’t. She said yes you can, and she counted with me. A couple more, you can do this. Finally, they gave me something, I said why do I still feel pain, and they said, well it takes a minute. One more… and another. Finally, I was feeling better, and starting to feel really scared.
Everyone said I was so strong and they had never seen someone fight so hard for a vaginal birth after 20 hours of labor and an additional 4.5 hours of pushing. I talked to the midwife about what I wanted for the c-section. I begged them to delay cord clamping and for immediate skin to skin. Said another hospital did it. Then my husband asked everyone to leave the room for a minute. He wanted a moment alone with his wife. He started crying and said, “You are amazing and so strong and I am zoo sorry!! But we are going to get to meet Luke soon! I love you.” I said I love you too, and I said don’t leave him when they take him to the nursery, promise me and talk to him. He said don’t worry I won’t (Also later found out the nurses and midwives were crying as well, outside the room.) My husband asked if he could take pictures or video and the midwife took the camera and said she would take pictures for us. The midwife stayed with me and held my hand and talked me through everything telling me who everyone was. Husband was in the room. The procedure was pretty quick.
They pulled him out and brought him to the warmer where they cleaned him up with my husband right there talking to him and I could see him as well. My husband even got to cut the cord. Then they brought him right over to me. We weren’t skin to skin but he was still on me and I could talk to him and see him and caress him with my hands. The midwife was taking pictures the entire time (we even have a shot of his head coming out of my abdoman and you can see the cone head in THE BACK of his head where I was trying to suck it thru). Then, instead of taking him to the nursery they put him back in the bassinet that was in the room and my husband and son stayed right there the entire time while they finished me up.
Then, instead of bringing me to a recovery room, they brought us back to labor and delivery and my husband got to roll our son in the bassinet right behind me. Neither of them ever left me! This was the first time they ever did it this way. I got a ton more compliments from everyone there about how strong I was and how determined I was. Something they have either not seen, ever or very, very rarely. I felt at peace at the end. I was happy that all of us lived through the experience together. It brought us closer together as a family, and I think the hormones and him going partially down the canal helped in many other ways. So I’m thankful and I had an incredible support team and no regrets. We did what was necessary and at the end we got a healthy baby and I protected my uterus from further damage. Another upside is that afterward, the midwife told me I would be a great candidate for a VBAC and I have a great pelvis for birthing babies.
What an amazing story! And an amazingly strong mother with a wonderful birth team supporting her! Kudos to you, mama!