Knowledge, pain management and reality

It is an honor to have not one but two birth stories to share today. This Mamma actually references reading my first birth story which was an amazingly positive experience. My second delivery however was a LOT different, a lot more work, and actually left me with some trauma healing to do as well.

Hi there!

I just finished reading your birthing story and am super happy that yours was a good one.

My story is the opposite of yours. I have family in the medical field who were reassuring and willing to share knowledge and details on pain management, breathing techniques, and changing positions to accommodate the baby and get things moving. My parents had three children together and took Lamaze classes twice. They were a force to be reckoned with. I was fearless.

Fast forward to that day in 2016 when doctors decided it was time to induce. It wasn’t the way I wanted to go, but I was made to feel like the baby simply couldn’t wait two days past his due date. My husband and parents were there at 4 a.m. with me, and I was inward-focused, working on calming my nerves and preparing myself. By nine, the pain was excruciating. Not at all what I expected.

By 10 I couldn’t breathe through the entire contraction without screaming.

By 11 a.m., the doctor came in and said I wasn’t dilated and my water still hadn’t broken, so he wanted to do it. He tried several times and finally gave up. A half-hour later, it broke on its own. But no progression.

I was still determined to see it through unmedicated. I asked to get up and move around. Walk. Change positions.
No. You have to stay monitored.
4 p.m. You are dilated to a 5
6 p.m. I am passing out between contractions and wake up screaming again.
8 p.m. If we give you an epidural your body might relax enough for the baby to come out.
9 p.m. I agree to the epidural.
10 p.m. Let’s try pushing again.
11 p.m. Dr. says “we need to talk” I say “hurry up, I can’t make it through contractions unless I am pushing. You have 30 seconds.” The baby is stuck.
Midnight – Anesthesiologist comes in to prepare for emergency c-section
1:30 a.m. Monday morning – My son is born. Drs. put me under because of an allergic reaction to anesthesia and I can’t stop throwing up.

For a long time after I felt like this birth was doomed from the get go. I was armed with knowledge that the pain was manageable. That I could get through it without medication. I felt like I had all the right tools and asked all the right questions and still there I was. I think everyone’s birthing experience is different and sometimes, regardless of knowledge, some people have pain and long births. Some people have less pain and quick births.

16 months later, I found myself back in the same hospital with a different dr having gone into natural labor at home with my second son and drove to the hospital.
This time, I knew there would be pain, but thought it would be slower progress since I was not induced.
My water broke at home at 6:30 a.m. Prior to that, I did not know I was in labor.
The pains were intense immediately and I couldn’t get back into that calm place I had been inside my head the first time. Where I could breathe through and get past.
The contractions were 28 seconds apart when we arrived at the hospital at 7:45 a.m.
8 a.m. dilated to an 8
9 a.m. I gave up and asked for an epidural. No position attempts to walk or breathing was working. I couldn’t get past the mental block. Later I came to the conclusion that my first labor broke my pain management box. Who knows.
10 a.m. I was at a 9
12 p.m. I was at a 10.
We tried pushing. Changing positions. Nothing worked.
2:30 p.m. Doc says the baby is stuck
Baby born at 4:01 p.m. emergency c section.

My second birth gave me peace of mind. Yes it ended the same way, but I refused to be induced, I was 10 days late. I exercised and tried to be more prepared.

Baby No. 3 is due in Sept. Doc says we are scheduling a c-section.

I don’t know that I am happy about it, but my first experience made me feel guilty, the second made me feel vindicated. The third just makes me want a healthy baby. I don’t know that any amount of preparedness or mental capacity is the total answer. Yes, I think knowledge is power and priceless in these situations. But I had it all at my disposal and 20 hours worth of labor the first time, 9.5 hours the second time resulted in the same ending.

I am not trying to rant or challenge the concept. I read plenty of similar stories when I was pregnant with my second and determined that a different doctor and mind over matter was key. But it still didn’t work. I am sure you have heard plenty of similar perspectives.

Thank you for sharing your birthing story. There are plenty of women out there without support that need us to open with them and hopefully help them ask the right questions when their time comes.

Thank you Mamma for sharing your stories with me, I hope you find the healing and peace that can happen in this next birth. I don’t know what will happen in my next delivery (we are hoping for number 3 soon but not yet pregnant) and I’m trying to keep an open mind on how the experience will go.

I agree that while mind over matter does help in many situations it isn’t always the way things plan out. Some times we need to keep an open mind and find an unexpected path to our end goal. That doesn’t mean there isn’t trauma, or pain, or even joy or healing. But rather a route we didn’t expect, may not have wanted and consequences we did not anticipate.