My Induced Labor Without Pain Meds
If you’ve been following MMC for a while, you know about my convoluted story of trying to get pregnant. So, when our second rainbow baby (baby that comes after a miscarriage) arrived we were over the moon thrilled. But let me back up. I want to tell you about my induced labor without pain meds. Yes, it’s possible. Was it hard? Absolutely. Was it more painful than my previous natural labor? Definitely. Am I glad that I did it? 100%
It began when I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I had felt the baby drop and get into position for labor and started to get excited. My first was born at 37 + 4 days so I had a feeling this guy would be early, too. But as a mom of “advanced maternal age” I was told to monitor baby’s movements and to report any changes or slowing because of a higher risk of still birth. Good times. Well, lo and behold, this guy stopped moving on me! All I could feel were little, light, gentle movements. I wasn’t getting anymore big kicks or sweeps at all. So, I called my midwife and she had me go to the hospital at 37+1 for monitoring to make sure that everything was ok.
Well, the hubs and I (and our soon to be 4-year-old son) hopped into the car. I threw the haphazardly packed suitcase in the trunk and we headed to the hospital. Luckily, it was a Friday in the summer and we all had the day off together. We talked about getting lunch and going to the Seaport or riding the Ferry somewhere after the hospital since they were nearby.
Oh, innocence. How could I have been so naive?
After about an hour of monitoring I was told that our heart rates were great, blood pressure awesome, and overall we both looked good. BUT, they did not see the baby move AT ALL in the whole 30 minutes that I was being monitored on ultrasound and he never took a breath, either. Now, babies don’t actually breathe with their lungs in utero, but they do practice. This guy was not practicing. Apparently, both him not moving and not respirating are early signs of complications. My midwife and OB agreed that we should induce and get the baby out.
Me: Wait. What? Like, right now?
Me: Um, can I talk to my husband for a minute?
Nurse: Children aren’t allowed back here so your husband can’t come back with your son.
Me: Well, I can’t do this alone!
Nurse: Let me see if we can clear the area and let him in for 5 minutes.
Me: Please…(I pleaded)
While they cleared the area, I started emailing clients, employees, friends and family that I was going to have the baby that day. By the time my husband and son came into view I almost started crying. I was not prepared for this. I was kind of panicking. I didn’t want my labor to be like this: dictated by Doctors and not my body. I didn’t want my baby to be in danger, either. I didn’t have time to think but I wasn’t actually in labor yet. It was so surreal. I think what made it worse was that I’ve heard that labor with Pitocin is incredibly painful. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the pain.
I have a HUGE fear of medical intervention, especially relating to my spine. It’s like some kind of past-life or psychic energy deep in my soul. I cannot get an epidural. Only if it is actually life or death would I consider it. But, I was terrified of the pain that I knew would be coming my way. Luckily, I have a warrior mom friend who labored on Pitocin without an epidural. I texted her right away and she helped me to feel strong and empowered and, well, a little bit crazy.
The Hero’s Journey
We quickly orchestrated my sister to pick up our son and for our amazing doula to hustle on over to the hospital. They ushered us into a beautiful laboring room…not in the birth center that I’d been dreaming of because I now needed intervention. But it was still a really nice room and I was secretly thankful for the hospital bed there vs. the regular flat bed in the birth center. When my husband brought up the suitcase I realized that I hadn’t packed my glasses!! I cannot labor in my contacts and then wear them for three days straight. No. I need my glasses. My eyes felt dry and sticky at the thought of wearing my contacts through labor. My glasses, all the way back in Queens, felt like an impossible task to retrieve. It was rush hour now. We were in downtown Manhattan. They were hooking up my IV for my labor inducing Pitocin drip while we tried to figure out how to solve this problem. It was crazy, but I told my husband that he had to go. He was the only one that could do it. He has keys, he knows where they are, we have a car so he doesn’t have to wait for a taxi or take a train. He just had to HURRY!! And, hurrying in rush hour in New York City is only really done by bicycle. So off he went. I begged the nurse to go slowly with the drip of Pitocin. I didn’t want to go into active labor without my husband there. She was merciful but still upped the dose every 30 to 40 minutes while I small talked with my doula to pass the time. We guiltily watched some Wendy Williams, too. Don’t judge! I needed to be distracted. It took about three hours for the Pitocin to kick in and 5 hours from when I really started to feel it to having a baby in my arms.
Jason finally showed up just as my contractions started to feel like something worth paying real attention to. It was like magic. He was a total super hero busting through the doors with my glasses in time to support me through the birth of our son. I will never forget that feeling of relief, love and adoration for him when he charged through the door.
My Induced Labor Without Pain Meds
So, now that you have the backstory. Here’s what Pitocin induced labor without an epidural is really like. Pitocin is the devil. It’s as bad as everyone says. It has no mercy. It doesn’t feel natural. It should never be used unless absolutely necessary. I gave birth with zero pain meds and zero medical intervention with my first son. This was not my first rodeo. I am able to clearly compare both experiences and tell you that natural birth with Pitocin is incredibly more difficult and painful than without Pitocin.
Contractions are INSANELY painful.
As a die hard yogi, breathing gets me through just about everything in life, but especially labor. Controlled breathing was key to me getting through the pain and being ready for more after each contraction. But, with Pitocin I was unable to keep my breathing going at times. The contractions would come so hard and fast that they’d be beating me over the head before I could inhale.
The pain was sharper than I remembered contractions being with my first.
I was using every tool at my disposal to get through each contraction. I was on a labor stool, pulling on my husband’s arms and getting counter pressure massage from my doula on my back and hips, and breathing out through each contraction and humming while closing my eyes to displace the pain further. It was wild. It was as close to an out of body experience as I have ever had. There were three distinct times when I felt that I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to give up. Each time was when I couldn’t catch my breath and the pain overtook me. I didn’t know how to get out of this horrible situation but I didn’t want to do it anymore. My 20 years gone mother appeared in the room to comfort me but that just made me cry and lose focus. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an option to quit so I had to find my strength with the coaching of my dream team and literally “push” through. In the process I fully destroyed my pelvic floor muscles and am now attempting kegel weights. More on that another time…
Now, my midwife said that part of what made it more painful and difficult for me was that the baby was facing up and couldn’t help me with the labor at all. I had to do all of the work myself. So, maybe if your baby is facing down, you might not have as tough of a time.
Still, at the end of it all, I had a beautiful baby in my arms (YAY!) who slept like an angel and started nursing like a champ while still at the hospital. And, now that I’m home and have had a minute to settle in I’m realizing that the journey is just beginning. Having two kids is a different ball game altogether than having one. There are a lot of things that I’m more prepared for this time around. I saved all of the good stuff from baby #1 for baby #2 and the photos alone are like a guide to what happens when so I have a lot less questions. But, there are still lots of things that I realize I need this time that I might not have had last time. There are new things that weren’t around that I want this time, too. And, every baby is different so we’re bound to need different things and run into different issues.
That’s why I’m going to do a series of giveaways in honor of second babies and their warrior moms. No matter what your birth story is, you are a warrior mom if you have another child or children at home. You and your baby deserve a little special treatment! Stay tuned for these posts and giveaways that will make your life with more than one baby (or even your first…I won’t tell) feel a whole lot more fabulous.