Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Today Heather is sharing her hospital birth story and why an epidural was right for her. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I thought I knew what kind of birth I wanted. My mom delivered all 5 of her babies without pain meds and I felt like I could get to the bar she set. I wrote my birth plan: no pain medication, no Pitocin, no episiotomy, no medical interventions if they are not necessary. One thing I was really looking forward to was skin to skin contact immediately after birth. I also expected to be at least a week late because my mom went 1-2 weeks late for her kids.
On Saturday, December 19th, two days before my due date, I woke up with some slight cramping and wrote down the time for it. About 45 minutes later, it happened again. I did dishes, vacuumed, relaxed and waited about 5 or 6 hours to tell my husband when they were about 20 minutes apart or so.
We decided the contractions were far enough apart that we could risk a trip to Babies R Us a half hour away so we could use some gift cards I got towards a diaper pail for cloth diapers and get dinner. I had the worst contractions in Babies R Us! Then we stopped and got chicken wings for dinner to eat at home. I ate about one wing and couldn’t eat anymore. I then went to the bathroom and wiped a ton of blood off of me.
I called my doctor at that point because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. She said I could probably wait a little more. I took a bath and about an hour later we left for the hospital which is an hour drive away. I texted my friend who was a nurse at the hospital and she worked the next day so she said that she’d try to visit me. We got to the hospital at about 11 pm and I was only a centimeter dilated. Yuck. This baby was taking her time!
After a couple hours in agony, they offered me some type of medication for pain that basically made me loopy. We spent the night in Triage and my poor husband was stuck on a wooden chair watching Cosby reruns all night. At about 5 AM the Triage doctor told me I was still 1cm and that I either had to have an epidural or go home. Yeah no. Home was an hour drive away, I definitely wasn’t doing that!
My doctor checked me and she said I was probably 2cm but the Triage doctor had big hands (lol). She lied and told them I was 4cm just so they could admit me (finally!). I decided to get an epidural after we got to the room and we both took a nap. An hour later I was at 6cm! The epidural relaxed me enough that my body could do what it had to do. My nurse friend came in and asked if it would be fine if she was my nurse. ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!! It was great seeing her and I was so happy she could help me that day.
Since it was December 20th, my husband put on Christmas music and we played games on our phones against each other. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, my doctor and nurses said that they loved coming to our room because it was so peaceful and happy.
At some point that morning my water was broken and then a few hours later they saw meconium in my water so they made sure there was a pediatrician there for the birth. I started feeling pressure around 12:30 and after pushing and pushing for FOREVER, my doctor told me that I couldn’t stretch any more and my baby would have been born if I was stretchier so I had an episiotomy.
She was born quickly after that at exactly 2 PM with my friend holding my left leg and my husband at my side. I had to wait about 10 minutes to see my baby because of the meconium but after they threw her on my chest (they set her down HARD!), it was HEAVEN. The only thing in my birth plan that stayed the same was the no Pitocin.
In hindsight, the only thing I would choose differently was the pain meds they gave me in Triage because it made my baby too sleepy and we had trouble breastfeeding at the beginning. I could do nothing about the meconium situation so I can’t regret not having skin to skin right away. All I can hope is next time it’ll happen for me.
I love how peaceful the epidural made my birth experience so I could relax and let my body work. After doing it once, I’ll do it again. Epidurals are not for everyone, but they are a very useful tool to help me enjoy giving birth instead of being in agony.
One last little thing. I had the same hospital and team of doctors that delivered my husband almost 30 years ago. In fact, the same doctor that delivered my husband discharged me!
Here’s Harper now. Isn’t she a cutie!