So much to my dismay Baby Carrot (what we call him) was very content in Mama's belly and we had to be induced at 41 weeks and two days. This really freaked me out a bit because "naturally" we had prepared ourselves for a "natural", medication free birth ( using the Bradley Method) and "naturally" that was exactly what we didn't get.
My hubby read Husband Coached Child Birth by Dr. Bradley and I read The Bradley Method in hopes of finding out what was in-store for us and how we should deal with it. Our only fault was placing too much stock in our hopes for a "natural" birth and not paying much attention to whether it was wise to try to proceed medication free through an induction.
I know some people fully dive into the all-natural-crunchy-mom "I loved being pregnant and childbirth was so beautiful and painless and I feel so empowered- I am woman hear me roar!"
Whelp, y'all that is NOT me. I like to think of my sweet Baby Carrot as the FABULOUS result of an TORTUROUS 9 month-long endless-feeling process. The Bradley Method while it has great relaxation techniques was written for those "special" pregnancy-loving Mama's and so I already felt a little like someone was telling me I was a bad mommy because I didn't absolutely LOVE being pregnant. So, sifting through the passive agressive attacks on normal people laced through both of our books was quite the adventure.
Like I said before, 41 weeks and two days is where we started the induction process; my cervix was turned back and up towards my sacrum, dilated 0 and baby NOT engaged at all. We went in to the hospital at 5:30am on June 29th.
I was started on Cervidil. - Cervidil is a cervix ripening drug, it takes about 12 hours to work it's cycle. Although a few lucky people have it work in about 4 hours, you may have guessed I am not one of those lucky few. I spent the full 12 hours laying in a hospital bed (you can't walk around when Cervidil is in) waiting for Cervidil to work and when the 12 hour were up the nurse came to tell me that I hadn't progressed any. Talk about dashed hopes and dreams.....
Cervidil was taken out at 8pm - I was able to get up and walk around all I wanted until .....
I got to have another induction method implemented- My mid-wife and myself had hoped that Cervidil would do-the-trick and start labor for me and the rest would progress naturally.....no dice.
This time the foley bulb was the method of choice. If you are like me you have no idea what a foley bulb is, allow me to break it down for you. Imagine a long stiff tube with a deflated balloon stuck on the end of it, then imagine having that tube fed into a bodily orifice. Into your completely un-dilated, completely turned back cervix and then having that balloon filled with water in an effort to FORCE your cervix open. Congratulations, you have just imagined your first foley build experience. Grand isn't it?
And let me just say, there is nothing like hearing one medical professional tell another medical professional that they have done something incorrectly, especially in reference to your body. That just
kind of FREAKS me out. For some reason I've had this idea that doctors are all knowing, all powerful beings that know exactly how to heal me and not hurt me, the older I get the more I realize this is TOTALLY false.
As soon as the nurse started filling the foley bulb with water intense pain like I had NEVER felt before rushed over me, and I have to say that it was absolutely worse than any of the awful pitocin induced contractions that I later felt.
My eyes rolled into the back of my head and I started balling my eyes out uncontrollably when the nurse injected even more water into the foley bulb. The doctor immediately rushed over to find out why I had reacted so badly. We then learned that the nurse injected 50cc of fluid into the bulb when she should have injected 30cc. I know that doesn't sound like such a big deal but boy it felt like a big deal.
I was then given Pitocin to start my contractions......as if I didn't have enough on my plate with this crazy water balloon blowing up inside of me so suddenly. Then we waited.
Relief??- after three hours of crying, after trying and failing at all the relaxation techniques we'd practiced and after hubby not knowing how to help me other than to stand there with Kleenex to wipe all the tears off my face; I broke down and got some IV drugs.
I was really concerned about this, I didn't want to seem weak or anything, I mean people have babies without pain drugs all the time right? But I reasoned with myself, it was only IV drugs, it wasn't like it was an epidural or anything, because heaven forbid I get one of those and have a horrible birth experience like all those Bradley Method
nuts people say you'll have.
MORE relief??-By 3am I needed another round of IV drugs, which wore off thirty minutes faster than the first round.....
You are not helping- I was still crying and in the WORST pain I've ever felt balled up in my bed. My husband had now taken to laying on a cot trying to ignore me as best as possible. Now, I don't think he was doing this to be mean or selfish, I really truly believe that he had false expectations of what birth would be like and I think he was overwhelmed by the amount of pain I was experiencing. While the books we had read and the ideas of birth that the Bradley Method promotes may be nice to aspire to, they are not realistic to the average person. The idea of an all-natural, painless birth would definitely be great, but it's just not going to happen. Despite all my pain I was hopeful. You'd think to be in this much pain meant something had to be moving..... and you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. We were still at ZERO, everything was at zero. Baby hadn't engaged cervix hadn't moved forward and no dilation had occurred.
My next thought was that if my body didn't respond soon they would try to force a C-section on me and I didn't want to work myself up into a situation where I needed a C-section. So, I asked the nurse if I could have an epidural. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I thought those words alone probably killed Dr. Bradley where he stood. And I was pretty sure my husband was going to get up off the cot where he was pretending to sleep and lecture me on everything he had read in the Bradley book, like he had done when he read about the dangers of using hairspray while pregnant and how using hairspray while pregnant must mean that you hate your baby and you are unfit to be a mother- or however Dr. Bradley had so gently put it in his book. (after that chapter we had a long talk about the difference between using hairspray and "huffing" hairspray.)
Unfortunately the anesthesiologists were about to change shifts in a few minutes and we all know that takes precedence over a patient in pain( I'm still a little bitter. Can you tell?) so requesting an epidural at 4am meant not getting one until 7am.
Put me out of my misery!- I was in full on someone-is-cutting-my-body-into-two-pieces pain and I'm pretty sure everyone at the nurses station was getting sick of hearing me screaming my head off. This nurse came in my room and flipped on every light and started to talk loudly, so my husband couldn't pretend to be asleep anymore(hahaha). She looked at me and said "focus, don't scream, just breathe" and she coached me through the contractions, like somebody was supposed to be doing, *ahem.*
Once that wonderful nurse got me to get ahold of myself I could at least breathe regularly until my epidural arrived at 7.
Shoot me up Doc.- I am TERRIFIED to no end of needles, I avoid flu shots like the plague but let me tell you I was so ready for that doctor to shoot me up I could hardly stand it. And once he did I could finally sleep! I slept from 7am-2pm, Praise Jesus!
When I woke up they told me I finally dilated to 4cm, and that was a big deal people!! I put my makeup on fixed my hair, my water broke and I was feeling good until....
I was feeling A LOT of pressure with every contraction so the doctor increased the epidural and gave me oxygen for the migraine I was experiencing due to long hours of labor.
I was at 7cm!!!!!!
Oh, you're fine...-I started feeling the pressure even more (if that was even possible), I told the nurse, who then told me "you're fine". The pressure was getting worse, it was hurting and I was feeling like I needed to push. Another nurse walked into our room while I was trying to work my way through a contraction( you know breathing heavily, grunting, the whole nine yards) then she asked the dumbest question "oh, what's wrong"? I really just wanted to yell at her in my ghetto voice and say "what the heck do you think is wrong, Barbie"? But I remembered myself and refrained. Instead I said " I think my baby is coming out... NOW". She then assured me that I "was only 7cm so that could not be the case" I insisted that yes, it most certainly was the case and I'd feel better if she checked. Which she did and then said "oh, you are having this baby like right now, I'll go get someone".
*Sidebar with me for a moment here- why is it that for two days in that hospital nurses and doctors were in my room the whole time touching and poking me and could not keep there hands to themselves and the minute baby boy starts coming out NO ONE is around? Sidebar done.
The doctor and a few other nurses came in and with a few minutes of pushing baby boy was out at 8:36pm on June 30th. And boy was I so HAPPY to hold my sweet baby!!!
He was, is PERFECT 7lb 13oz 21 inches long, sweet Grayson Price Tompkins.
Would I do it again? Too soon for that question, give me a few years.... Maybe many years. But in all seriousness I love my baby boy, I don't feel that an epidural ruined my birth experience I didn't feel lethargic or unresponsive like some of the theories claim and Grayson wasn't lethargic or slow to respond. In fact I feel that having an epidural got me the closest to having some semblance of a natural birth. My greatest fear was a C-section and we didn't have to go that route. I think without the epidural my muscles would have never relaxed enough to let me dilate and I think ultimately I would have had to go the C-section route.
When you are reading literature on anything but especially childbirth, pregnancy and parenting realize that no human is the end-all, be-all and at the end of the day they are giving you their best opinion laced with some fact. We have to make our best decisions based on what we know to be true and Godly and sometimes that might rub a few people the wrong way but in the end these are our families and hopefully we are asking the Lord for the guidance to make the right decisions for them.
In hindsight I would have picked books that focused more on the facts of birth, and relaxation techniques that would have given my husband a more realistic idea of what to expect so that he wouldn't have felt completely blindsided by the fact that I was in pain. In the end it worked out okay, we have our sweet Baby Carrot and we have experience under our belts.......literally.