This is a video that was created to accompany this post. You can view the video, or read the post, or both! I like my audience to have choices that fit with their busy lifestyles and schedules!
This is a topic that I don’t discuss often. I tend to shy away from discussing how I gave birth because I find that childbirth and, really, parenting in general, is turned in to a competition in our society. Some women think they are superior for breastfeeding, or having a “natural birth” or what have you. Even non-parent members of society can fall prey to these types of attitudes, leveling their expectations of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting at unsuspecting, emotionally vulnerable mothers. I refuse to participate in the “my horse is bigger than your horse” comparison game that many women play, which lends itself to being silent on how I gave birth.
In this case, I chose to break my silence speak up in hopes of offering support and encouragement. This is my story on how I had an emergency induction without an epidural or stadol. I hope it can encourage a few of my friends (and readers) who are nearing the end stages of their pregnancies and want to be prepared for the possibility of having an induction.
I had an emergency induction out of necessity. I know this situation can be scary, especially if you were expecting to have an uneventful birth, but emergency inductions don’t have to be a bad thing. I was induced for several different medical problems that I had throughout my pregnancy.
My induction started on the morning of my 38 week appointment. The doctor came in after several blood pressure checks and informed me that we were evicting my kiddo that day. He estimated, without checking, that I was at a two and went over the paperwork to start the induction with me. Because I trusted this doctor fully, I believed him when he went over, in-depth, what he thought would happen and then other possible scenarios.
We waited all day for a room, and then close to midnight, a nurse placed Cervadil (in lieu of Cytotec). This meant that this process of labor was a bit longer, but we were more comfortable with Cervadil. I was already having consistent contractions since before that morning, three to five minutes apart. At this point, they checked me and I was at a two.
I slept through the contractions during the night and in the morning they checked me. I was at a three and we were all a little disappointed, hoping I would have progressed more. We moved to a different room and began a pitocin drip. There was a nice shower that they were comfortable with me using until they broke my water. My family walked with me down the hall with a mobile monitor and I dilated a bit more.
Eventually they placed me on the bed and wanted to discuss the option of breaking my water. My blood pressure was becoming more unfavorable and the emergency part of the induction was evident. They manually broke it and I immediately felt better. I had been experiencing intense pressure in my hips and after they broke my water, I felt my son descend further.
The nurse checked me and I was at a six not long after that. She discussed pain medication with me, but we told her we were hoping to go without. She was slightly skeptical, but dropped the issue. A short while later, less than an hour, I hit transition. This is the stage that many women begin to ask for medication, and I was no different. I began throwing up, and got panicked from it. The pain set in during the panic and I got caught off guard by it.
This was the stage of labor that really mattered in terms of pain management. Here is how we dealt with it.
#1 Don’t panic.
Panicking will cause the pain to become worse. When I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t in pain. I felt intense pressure, but no pain.
#2 Remember to breathe.
At one point, the nurse told me not to push. I also stopped breathing as a result. The pain returned with the fear during this. I recommend using different breathing techniques and focusing on that instead of the pressure.
#3 Set up a reward.
I mention this in the video, but I told my husband that if I successfully made it through birth with no pain medicine, I wanted to go to Braums (for those who don’t know, this is an ice cream store). This worked pretty well for me, but then again, I am addicted to their Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate ice cream…
#4 Remember your reason.
My reason is very personal, and one that I don’t share publicly anymore. No doubt, you probably have a reason for wanting to go through birth without medication. If you don’t, nail down what it is that draws you to this goal and write it down so that you can focus on it during labor.
#5 Ask three times.
The doula and my husband set this up in my case to where, if I really, truly wanted pain medication, I had to ask three times, giving space in between each time I asked. This way, if it was just a passing pain that was driving me to ask, it had time to dissipate before they told the nurse I wanted an epidural.
#6 Don’t fight the pain.
I did end up asking for the epidural, and the nurses checked me to make sure I could get it. As it turned out, I couldn’t because I was at a nine and a half. The epidural man exited the room with his sharp, pointy needle and left me alone with some pretty intense pain. I used a technique for dealing with it that my husband had taught me previously. I accepted the pain in my mind, and in doing so, stripped it of any power it had over me. I recognized it as temporary and took it second by second.
Almost immediately, I began pushing and the nurses and doctors urged me not to because I wasn’t fully dilated. At that point, I ignored everyone and everything. By the time my son crowned, I didn’t feel any pain at all and couldn’t even tell he was nearly out.
#7 Be flexible.
I know, we all want our birth plans to go exactly as we have them written. But, for all the bad mouthing that medical interventions get in the “natural birth” community, without them, many of us would not be alive. I didn’t expect my son’s birth to go this way, but I am very happy we both are okay now.
Medical interventions (for most of us) are not a moral issue, no matter how many people try to tell you that pitocin is the “devil’s water”. Just because a substance has side effects does not mean that using said substance is immoral. You have to weigh the risks and benefits, and unless your nosy, know-it-all friends have seen your medical charts and talked to your doctor, they are not qualified to tell you that you shouldn’t use any given medical intervention.
Don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad for how you gave birth. It doesn’t affect them and it isn’t their business. Beyond that, it doesn’t even have eternal significance. Just to put everything into perspective, let me ask a question.
Jesus isn’t going to get mad at you for having an epidural or a pit drip, so what gives your “friends” that right?
Free yourself from the burdens that people place on you in motherhood on things that have no eternal significance. The devil will try to tell you that everything about your parenting is wrong, and this begins way before your child is born. So many of the things he says are bold-faced lies, and beyond that, when we do fail, we have forgiveness in Christ. Enjoy your sweet baby and don’t give Satan this foothold in your life. Your worth is found in Christ, not how you give birth.