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December 16th, 2009, 01:48 PM
akelly's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 172

I just had my son, Benjamin (8 pounds 7 ounces, 21 inches long) on December 11th, and although I had hoped for a natural birth, I "caved" and got an epidural at 7 cm. I would really like to have a natural birth in the future, could anyone give me some suggestions on how to be better prepared? I took a natural birth class and learned basic lamaze and relaxation techniques and read several books on various natural birth methods. Anyway, here is my birthing story:

I lost my mucus plug Wednesday morning and began having contractions on Wednesday night, but they were very sporadic and although uncomfortable, they weren't painful. On Thursday, I went in for my 41 week appointment, and the midwife stripped my membranes. Within the hour, my contractions became more regular, and by 5 p.m. they were also very painful. I waited until midnight to go to the hospital, and my contractions were lasting 45 seconds to a minute and were 3-5 minutes apart. When I got to the hospital I went straight for the tub, and labored in and out for 6 hours without pain meds.

I did become very overwhelmed though because I began to have a strong urge to push at 6-7 centimeters, and my breathing techniques weren't allowing me to effectively blow away the urge. I also got strapped to the bed at that point, and laying on my side proved to be the most painful position for laboring. I wanted to stand and sway so badly! My contractions were very strong from about 4-7 centimeters and were less than 3 minutes apart, in fact most were a minute or less apart! Some contractions were so close together I felt as though I was getting no break in between. The midwife was very surprised that I was contracting so often.

I asked if I could get out of bed, but the midwife told me that I had to be monitored for a while and couldn't. Although I felt I could handle the pain, I couldn't handle holding back the urge to push. It became so strong, I just felt I lost control. The midwife and I agreed that an epidural would be a good choice as I was struggling to find any way to cope with the urge to push and the constant contractions. 15 minutes after the epidural was administered, I was sleeping. A couple of hours later I was 9 cm, and with in the next hour and a half I was 10 cm. The baby's head was sideways though, and the midwives didn't feel the presentation was best for pushing, so they put me in various positions to encourage him to move. Finally the baby was in a better position, and I starting pushing. I could feel the pressure through the epidural, and pushed very effectively. I may have pushed a bit too effectively though as I literally shot the baby out at the midwife! They were all very surprised that little 5'3 me produced such a big baby and had plenty of room in my pelvis to deliver him! Ben swallowed a bit of fluid, and was taken to the NICU for observation for the first couple of hours. Luckily, he quickly returned and we had him in our room the next two days.

What should I do different next time?

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December 16th, 2009, 01:54 PM
Life is good!
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 517
I would look into Bradley courses. They teach different techniques than Lamaze and help you relax and let go during the labor/delivery.

Having done this once already should also be a help.
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December 16th, 2009, 02:20 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 17,089
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being strapped to the bed was your downfall. The told me to try to sleep during my labor after 20 hours and getting into bed made the pain 100 times worse. the next time i would look into a birth center that would be a little more NCB friendly. also, you will be experienced and know what to expect next time.

congrats on your birth

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December 16th, 2009, 02:44 PM
akelly's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 172
Thanks! I am trying not to be disappointed with myself as I know I made the decision to get pain relief because I had truly given up and I know I can use my experience to help ensure that my next birth is what I want and what is best for the baby.

I keep thinking though, what if I had a midwife who was able to give me more suggestions, or what if I was more forceful in my requests to move around and to keep active.

In the end, I keep reminding myself that I got a healthy baby, and at least I know what to expect for the future!

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December 16th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Alison79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,232
I agree that looking into an out of hospital birth might be a good option. I had three hospital births with epidurals and have had two home births. In all honesty, my home birth labors were less painful even with no pain relief because I didn't have any restrictions on being monitored in certain positions, etc. You might also consider a Doula or ask another midwife what their policies for monitoring are like. My midwife listened to heart tones at regular intervals but she came to me and listened in whatever position was comfortable for me.
Alison - Mom to: Emmeline (7/14), Augustus (2) Maximus (4) Eleanor (5) Reid (6) Evelyn (8) Lucas (13) Christopher (14)

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December 16th, 2009, 03:27 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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I was going to suggest a new midwife AND a doula. Your midwife should have been more suggestive of what you could do to manage the pain.

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December 16th, 2009, 05:34 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
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You did good Momma!
Probably the baby being sideways made it hurt more too. I agree with the other ladies - you should be able to move and have someone (midwife or doula) who can help you deal with the pain. Just saying you can't move and encouraging an epidural doesn't really help! When your in labor - that's what your doing! - you need someone else there with good suggestions.
In any case - Congratulations! Healthy Momma Healthy Baby! Yay!

Thank you Kiliki for my first beautiful Siggie!

mom of 2 angels and an earth baby
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December 16th, 2009, 05:52 PM
NutMeg76's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 20,689
Maybe you had an urge to push because pushing would have helped get his head aligned?

I say next time stay out of the bed, and quite possibly out of the hospital.

When they persisted in questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7
Sail Back to Me
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December 16th, 2009, 07:33 PM
catherineclare's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,290
First off CONGRATS! Great name too! I just had my Benjamin October 6th..he was 8lbs. 4oz and I am also 5'3".

Anyway, I am with the other ladies...look into another option besides a hospital delivery. With my first I was forced into an induction and had an epidural, this time around I had a homebirth. There were some problems due to how baby was not descending (my birth story is in the story section 'Baby Benjamin's homebirth') and I am so glad I was at home because the pain was really bad during parts...if there had been drugs around me I might have taken them. Definitely get a different midwife and eliminate the availability of drugs.

Congrats again on a healthy baby!
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December 17th, 2009, 11:00 AM
akelly's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 172
Thanks...I think you guys are right! We have three midwives in the practice, and the one who delivered me (who was on call) was very new. I do think that one of the other two would have been more willing to offer suggestions as far as position or monitoring goes.

I think I would have benefited from staying home for as long as possible too, since he was my first baby, I was worried I'd be waiting too long Little did I know!

Now that I have given birth, I feel like I know what I want. I feel more positive that I can manage labor better since I have the experience, and I already know what didn't work for me It also helps to have this board to talk about my experience and to make me feel confident that a natural birth is possible for me in the future!

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December 17th, 2009, 12:20 PM
~TreeGrl~'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,046
I too was very dissatisfied with my first birth even though it was natural, there were way too many interventions. I knew with my second I wanted to be in more control, so I started by making a birth plan. The group I belong to actually encouraged us to put those on file before the birth so that all of the Dr.s and Midwives could read it.

One of the things I put in there is that after the initial monitoring that I only wanted external monitoring. I would not be hooked up to an IV unless there was distress noted.

The midwife who delivered me was very accommodating and actually suggested I stand even though I wasn't fully dilated and feeling the beginning urges for pushing, and it only took about 5 minutes of standing before I was REALLY ready to push. After all the reading I did and after delivering my first boy at 10 lbs 11 oz. I knew that an upright position would be best for me, so in my birth plan I specifically stated that I did not want to deliver on my back. So I didn't. I pushed for 10 minutes and viola, a 9 lb 3 oz. baby boy.

I think it is possible to have a hospital birth on your terms, but you really need to be forceful about what you want.

Good luck and congratulations!

Last edited by ~TreeGrl~; December 17th, 2009 at 01:01 PM.
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December 17th, 2009, 10:11 PM
GranolaMamaOf3's Avatar ~Heather~
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: GA
Posts: 5,906
Originally Posted by NutMeg76 View Post
Maybe you had an urge to push because pushing would have helped get his head aligned?
I wondered the same thing...Small grunts may have given you some relief, while being productive in situating the baby(?) (I guess I just feel that our bodies do things for a reason, and trying to stop them *can*(not always) be counterproductive...)

I would definitely recommend Bradley Birth Classes!! They are awesome! As well as a Doula, and a more NCB friendly Midwife would all really improve your chances!
As to books that you may find encouraging and useful, I Highly recommend "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin! (she can come across as being a bit new-age/hippie to some, but I personally found her writings very informative and uplifting!), and "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Robert A. Bradley.
Also, you may check out the "NCB articles of interest" sticky on this board...there is some really great info in there!

Beyond all that, I'd say...stick around! The ladies here are wonderful, and very supportive! (I've learned a lot!)

Try not to beat yourself up about the way things went! It sound like you made the best decision you could considering the circumstances! (You shouldn't have been made to stay in bed!) You now have a healthy baby, and that's all that matters!

Last edited by GranolaMamaOf3; December 17th, 2009 at 10:16 PM.
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December 18th, 2009, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 64
I agree with what everyone else said....

It can be so hard to get the birth you want in the hospital. You shouldn't have been stuck in the bed- but you would have had to outright tell them NO quite loudly and often, and maybe even sign an AMA form to get off the monitor, and then you would have had a lot of angry nurses and midwife stomping around being crabby- which isn't an easy environment to birth in either! But it sounds like if you'd been allowed to move as your body told you, the position issues might have worked themselves out. Remember that SERIOUS pain in labor, like it sounds like you were having, is usually a sign that something needs to change- like your position... I really agree with the idea of having a doula there too-- it's so important to have someone there to support you.

My first birth was a hospital birth that didn't turn out the way I wanted it too as well... and for a long time I went over everything I could think of, kind of beating myself up for not knowing what to do when I was in my situation, and I was really angry with myself for a long time... don't fall into this!! It took a long time to allow myself the benefit of the doubt I guess and realize that I really had the best birth I could have under the circumstances I was in-- and though it wasn't my "ideal" birth, I really did the best I could, and under different circumstances, it could have been a lot worse than the intrathecal and episiotomy I ended up with! Congratulations on your baby, and be proud of what you did!!!
Mom to 5 year old Caoilainn and 2 year old Rowan. Cianan or Avalon is due 1/13/10. SAHM, student doula and childbirth educator!
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December 19th, 2009, 07:55 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 26,401
I agree with the other ladies, looking into a birth center or possibly a home birth may be your best option next time. I had my first daughter in a hospital and caved right away and asked for an epidural. I was already 10cm when they finally came in to do it though, and I ended up very disappointed in my whole experience. I chose a local freestanding birth center for my second daughter and it made a HUGE difference! I used the birthing tub to help me with the pain and I never once was told to lay down to be monitored. My labor and delivery went very smoothly, but I feel my midwives would have been very beneficial if we had run into any problems. After that experience, I will never have another baby in a hospital by choice.

Stick around here if you'd like, I have learned a lot in the past 2 years from these ladies and just reading and replying ot posts.
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)

Expecting baby #4 in April - It's a BOY!

Two Little Monkies on Etsy
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December 19th, 2009, 09:01 AM
akelly's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 172
Thanks again, reading your posts have really made me feel better about the situation, and I do keep reminding myself that I got a healthy baby, and in the end, nothing else matters. I will def. stick around here, and hopefully I will be able to learn more from everybody's experiences!

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