from doctor to midwife and from epidural to natural birth!
(warning! this post is long!! sorry for that. but I wanted to tell my birth story for DS1 so you all would understand my mixed feelings about having a natural birth.)
I have an appointment scheduled to consult with a CNM next week. I am 13 weeks pregnant with #2, and already have a doctor, but lately have been thinking more and more about my desire to experience natural childbirth. DH is a doctor and feels strongly about me giving birth in a hospital where they can intervene if needed for me or the baby. So, I'm okay with that, but really don't want a repeat of my delivery of DS1.
I wanted a natural childbirth with him, too, and had been practicing hypnobirthing techniques. I went into labor around 9pm with contractions 5 min apart. By midnight they were 3 min. apart. Labored alone in our living room all night long (told DH to go to bed...I thought one of us should get some sleep!) and finally decided around 7am that the contractions were getting longer and stronger and we should go to the hospital. Big mistake. I was only 3cm dilated, but they admitted me, and that's when everything went downhill. They insisted on continuous monitoring, and the monitor kept slipping every time I was up walking around (pacing and rhythmic breathing were getting me through the contractions...they weren't even that painful, but laying in bed felt like torture!), so the nurse kept coming in and telling me I had to lie down. I had to get an IV (why? I don't want that again, if I can avoid it.). I complied and dealt with the contractions lying down for a couple hours and reached 5cm. But, eventually, laying down meant that my labor stalled out (or that's what I blame it on anyway). I was 5cm for 2 more hours, contractions still coming frequently, but not accomplishing anything. So, they say they want to break my water for me, but it will be painful and make the contractions much more painful, so I should get an epidural. And I consented. I still don't know why I was so passive through all this. It's like once I got to the hospital, I just wanted to be a "good patient" and follow all their rules, and my desires for the birth went out the window. I wasn't even having trouble tolerating the contractions! Why was I getting an epidural? The epi was horrible. The doc did it wrong the first time and it was hurting like hell, shooting pain up and down my back, worse than any labor. I asked the nurse, "is it supposed to hurt so much?" and she got this panicked look and told the doctor I could feel the epi, and he needed to try again (I guess once it's in place, you're not supposed to be able to feel it). So he did, and they broke my water and things definitely picked up. I basically went from 6 to 10 in a couple hours. The epi wasn't really blocking the contractions...I could still feel it all, but I was trapped on my back in bed! Used my hypnobirthing scripts a lot during transition. I remember I had tears streaming down my face, but I was otherwise calm. Contractions were coming right on top of each other with no breaks at all, and baby wasn't tolerating it well. So they insisted on an internal monitor (another contraption coming out of my body). Somehow, I knew in my gut that baby was okay, and they were freaking out for nothing. I just had a feeling that we were in this together (baby and me) and we were both going to be okay. I told DH they needed to check me again (even though they had just checked maybe 30 min before and I was 8cm), and sure enough when they checked I was complete and they let me push on the next contraction. But baby's heart rate dropped and didn't recover well during the first push, so they said they wanted him out stat. Dr. even mentioned c/s, and I just remember shaking my head vigorously. Again, I knew baby was okay, and he was right there! He was so low and almost out. I felt like no one was listening to me, and the Dr. was addressing everything to my DH instead. I said "I want to push," and they agreed to let me try one more push but they were gonna cut an episiotomy and use vacuum extraction. So one more push with those interventions, and baby was out. He was pink and healthy and screaming, and I remember thinking "I knew he was okay!" I felt defeated that I hadn't really gotten to push him out after laboring for 20 hours. Of course, I was so thankful that he had arrived and was healthy and beautiful. But the whole experience was the "spiral of interventions" you hear about and somewhat disappointing.
I'm delivering at a different hospital this time that has a reputation for being "natural birth friendly" and has a large CNM practice based in the hospital (which is the clinic I'm visiting next week). So, I'm hoping I can do things differently this time, stick to my plan, and stand up for myself as needed. But I'm also scared. Even though I feel confident that I can tolerate the contractions, since I almost did that last time anyway, I am more afraid of the pushing phase. I was totally numb in my lady parts last time (they injected some crazy strong drug into my epi right before they cut me and used the vacuum because I had told them I wasn't numb, and it worked). So, I am afraid of what the baby emerging will feel like, and whether I will have the strength to push out a baby, since I didn't get to do that last time. Doubts keep creeping in, and I start to think maybe I should just get the epi again.
If you've actually taken the time to read this, thank you! I would value any advice or encouragement you ladies can offer!