McKayla writes about her dream of painless birth, and why it did not work out for her first baby.
First things first, I want you to understand that my pain free childbirth is something that I worked for, HARD! I devoted time into making this a reality for me, and the first time it didn’t happen the way I wanted, which was disheartening and something I had to add to the list of things I needed to overcome. For my benefit, my first experience did give me strength, wisdom, and a beautiful little girl in which I am extremely thankful for. So here is a little bit of background on my first birth.
My little girl was a mostly natural delivery in a hospital with a midwife. I went two weeks past my due date, and was scheduled for an induction which I did not want. I knew that induction would make the experience worse; I knew that pitocin would cause my contractions to be hard and forceful. I was so afraid of the induction. I did everything in my power to delay the induction.
The morning of the induction I arrived at the hospital at 6am, from there, I told my midwives I didn’t want to start with pitocin. That if they were going to induce, then I wanted my water broken first. Well, they didn’t like that so much. The midwife I was working with walked away to deliberate on how to deal with me. Side note: I’m a very stubborn woman, when I get something in my head I stick to my guns until the last minute.
Continuing, when she returned she acted as if she had a brilliant idea of how to get things going. She held in her hand an odd looking device called a foley catheter. Little did I know that it wasn’t that uncommon of a practice to get labor going with this. A foley catheter is standardly used for draining a full bladder, but in this case, it can be used to manually dilate your cervix to 4cm in hopes that your body will take over from there and finish labor on its own, unassisted by any other interventions within 24-48 hours.
I took a moment to talk with my husband and mother who were by my side throughout the whole experience. We knew that the midwives were growing impatient with me and my efforts thus far hadn’t produced any results to get labor going, so we chose to proceed with the foley method.
Now, the part that played in my favor. It takes 8 hours to get you to 4cm… So, we sat and played cards for a while and talked after it was placed. Thankfully, this gave me enough time to relax and get comfortable with my environment, to ease my fears, and pray for peace. I didn’t know at this time how the fear response worked in the body and how it was keeping me from going into labor. Looking back, I fully understand now why I couldn’t get labor going on my own.
Finally, the time came to take out the catheter. Once this was done, my midwife asked if I was ready to either start pitocin or break my water. I told her no, that I wanted to take a walk to see if I could get things going. I walked the halls hand in hand with my husband, listened to my music playlist, said my affirmations, prayed more.
I returned to the room and let them know I wanted a bath. Let me tell you, I took my sweet sweet time in that bath. I was stalling major! By this time it was around 8pm and I had been there since 6am, I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Whether you believe this or not; it makes no difference to me, but my prayers came true. God delivered exactly what I had asked for. My midwife walked in advising me that they had just gotten too busy to finish inducing me, and the Dr. on call wasn’t comfortable with them breaking my water at night while they were already busy. I was SO HAPPY!
Sleep? Contractions! Painless? No!
Not long after that I went to bed, but then sure enough pretty soon after trying to sleep, my contractions began and they were hard! I paced, prayed, said my affirmations, and I let my mom & husband sleep as much as they could until I felt I needed them. I labored on my own until somewhere around 2-3am, then I was just tired.
I wanted to sleep but couldn’t bear to lay down because contractions were so awful on my back. At that point I woke up my husband to help hold me and relieve some pressure. We dance held each other for a bit, then I laid down to close my eyes and he helped by maintaining pressure against my hand/arm during contractions.
I was desperate by then for something to help me sleep. I needed energy again and they wouldn’t let me eat anything the majority of the day. I had 1 solid meal the whole time I was there and that was after they told me they wouldn’t break my water at night. I caved and asked for something to help with the pain so I could close my eyes. I didn’t want an epidural, so I requesteded the lightest pain med they could give me to sleep. They gave me Fentanyl.
Birth Ball, Breaking Water, Baby Born!
I was able to get about an hour or so of sleep with it, then it came time to get up and walk more. Pretty soon after that they suggested I try sitting on a birth ball, which was exactly what I needed. As soon as I sat, my water broke. I requested a squat bar on the bed, I preferred to stay standing, and within 15 minutes of my water breaking my baby girl was born with only about 5 minutes of „pushing“.
Pain as result of fear
As you process all of this, I want you to understand that prior to my labor, I believed pain free birth was possible. The only reason it wasn’t a reality for me this time was because I had way to much fear of the unknown. I didn’t know what a contraction felt like, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I did, but it was not the same as reality. I was also afraid of the induction, afraid of being forced into drugs I wasn’t comfortable with, afraid of being forced into a c-section. I had belief in pain free birth, but I didn’t have faith. After that experience though, I was more determined than ever to experience the birth I knew was in store for me.
McKayla’s 2nd birth was painless, and she’ll tell us about it soon!