February 15, 2004—Morgan’s birth story
After being alone for Molly’s birth, I wanted a doula. Unfortunately, I was on Assistance for Infants and Mothers (AIM) because I had lost my job (I was a first year teacher, and all the first year teachers got cut that year), so spare money for a doula was not available. Fortunately, there was a free doula program sponsored by the county. The County was interested in training doulas, so they had a free program. I was matched with a doula-in-training who was also a certified midwife in another state.
Like Molly, I was past due date with Morgan. I had a different doctor this time who wanted to induce early because of concerns of the baby’s size, but was able to explain that I had gone past due date with Molly, and wanted to wait for a natural labor. The ultrasound showed a baby not of unusual size, so she consented to wait. Again, we hit the ten days past mark, and I was scheduled for an induction.
THIS time, the doctor said my cervix was not ready, and they used Cervidil. She said I would experience some cramping, which would go away, and in the morning, they would start the pitocin. I couldn’t sleep. I missed Molly. I was worried about her, as she was used to nursing to sleep, even at over two years old. There was some cramping, but I ignored it. I was still determined to go drug free. I didn’t call my doula either, because I figured I had hours and hours to go.
One of the nurses on duty came in and we chatted for a long time about our kids. I got through a lot of what I later found out were contractions that way. The regular nurse came in for vitals check, and I said that if labor is worse than the cervidil cramping, I may rethink my no-epidural stance. She did a check and told me to call my doula. I wasn’t cramping, I was in labor.
From there, it happened so quickly. The doula arrived and helped me sit up. As soon as I sat up, my water broke and I had the urge to push. Everyone whipped around and lights emerged from the ceiling, beds were disassembled. I pushed for three contractions, and on the third, she was born. “she’s so tiny!” I thought she was ill. I started shaking uncontrollably (later explained as normal when labor moves so fast). The doctor thought I was insane. “She’s over 8 pounds! She’s not tiny.” I called Joe. “Do you hear the baby crying? That’s your daughter.” He let Molly sleep a bit more before coming (she did indeed have a hard time falling asleep).
I was afraid to hold her right away because I was shaking so bad, so I let them clean her and do what they do. She was handed back to me and she was nursing like a pro in no time (I think the fact that I was still nursing Molly helped).
She was born at 4:30 and I asked how soon I could check out. They said 12 hours after birth if I could get a pediatrician to sign her out. I also had to attend a parenting class before discharge, so at 9:00 am, I wheeled the sleeping Morgan into the parenting class in her bassinet. I felt great. No epidural, no drugs meant quick recovery. Of course, it was also a fast labor. 5 hours start to finish. She woke up in the middle of the class and I left. The teacher came by later to finish the class to sign me off so I could go. I loved her. We ended up talking about Doctor Who and Red Dwarf (we both lamented that no one else in Bakersfield watched those shows). The pediatrician signed her out at 4:30, so discharge began. We got home around 8:30pm that night. To be home, in my comfortable bed on the same day the baby was born! Ahh…. Makes me wish I had gone for the homebirth like Joe wanted. He thought he could handle it without the hospital setting.
Molly wanted to snuggle, but I had to keep her on one side of me with baby on other side. She hated it, but eventually settled down against my back. We were now a family of four.
June 4, 2005—Maddie’s birth story.
For Maddie, I had the same doula I had before, but this time she wasn’t free. She was $600. Again, doctor wanted to induce early. Again, I argued against it. Again, 10 days late and in the hospital for an induction. I told the doctor on duty I wanted cervidil first. She told me no. I argued that I had a pitocin only labor before and it was awful, and last time cervidil was all it took to induce labor. She said she refused because cervidil wasn’t needed. Then she examined me and saw that I wasn’t ready, so she consented to cervidil.
Unfortunately, it was not enough to jump start labor. I was able to move around more once the cervidil was removed. I had a coworker there at the beginning. She was hoping I’d give birth on june 3, my check-in date. I didn’t. She left to take her dog to a thing. My doula was there and driving me crazy. She told EVERYONE who walked in her life story. I was so sick of hearing it. She didn’t do much for me, either. She basically told me when the monitor showed a contraction coming or going. I was determined to not have an epidural and took each contraction one at a time. While I was going through labor, the doula was still telling people her life story. I wanted to scream! She also kept saying things like, “If you have the baby by noon, I can still take my exchange student to Six Flags.” She told me how she had this exchange student who wanted to go to Six Flags and this was the last day she could go before going back to her home country etc… Making me feel guilty for not birthing quickly enough. I was again confined to bed by the nurses under threat of internal monitor. My butt hurt from the stupid bed and I wanted off it. I wanted to scream.
Finally got to pushing time. Because I had no epidural, I could FEEL the pushes. I pushed as hard as I could. I broke tiny blood vessels all over my face with the pushing. And she finally came out. 9 pounds, 10 ounces. 22 inches long. Doctor gave me an episiotomy without telling me or asking if I wanted it. The doula got out of there the second the baby was born saying something about being able to still make it to six flags (it was 12:30 p.m.).
I knew I as going to have to stay overnight because of the timing of the baby, and asked to be moved out of the labor room asap, which was not a usual request from laboring moms, but I had been in that bed for 17 hours of labor! Ugh. Inducing sucks.
I have since learned from the doula with Lucas that women with longer cycles (mine is about 35 days) tend to go past due date. That not every woman has a 40 week pregnancy. I was induced at ten days past for each baby, so clearly, I am on a longer pregnancy cycle. I wish this would be studied more. I will never have a natural childbirth (I came close with no drugs for two of them), I will never know what it’s like to go into labor for real. It makes me very sad to have missed out on a real labor where I could walk around and move and spend time in the comfort of my home, instead of having every second of labor in a sterile environment.