It began with the intention of having a natural birth (no drugs)

Where did you give birth or where was the birth you witnessed?
Washington, D.C.

Can you describe where the birth was?
The birth of my first child took place in a modern hospital. It began with the intention of having a natural birth (no drugs) and so I was in the labour room for most of the time.  The room was comfortable, as far as I can tell, but I don’t really recall the particulars.  I was in a delirious state for most of the time due to the pitocin that was administered causing very strong contractions.  It was a private room.  I ended up having to have an emergency C-section and so I was moved to the operating room.

Who was present at the birth?
My husband, and nurses and doctors who came in to check on me from time to time.

Can you describe the experience of the birth?
The birth began with my water breaking about a week after the actual due date. We did not go to the hospital right away as we were monitoring the contractions and waiting for them to be 5 mins apart or less. But after around 12 hrs, the contractions continued to be erratic. We called the doctor in the morning and were ordered to go to the hospital right away.  After waiting a few more hours with the nurses and doctor monitoring my progress, it was recommended that pitocin be administered to accelerate the labor and help with the cervix dilation.  Not having planned to take any drugs, I didn’t realize that pitocin really should be administered together with epidural as the induced contractions from pitocin are particularly severe. So, I refused epidural at first.  But after 6 hrs on pitocin alone I was exhausted and there was no avoiding the epidural by then. In the end I was almost fully dilated but the doctor believed I was too exhausted to do the final pushing.  An emergency C-section was ordered and my daughter was born 33 hrs after my water broke.

On reflection I guess I’m left to wonder why there was not more active guidance and support from the medical team – nurses and doctors – during the many hours I was in the labour room on pitocin.  When I told them that I wanted to try for a natural birth they said, “Fine”, and essentially just left me to it and only came in to check on my vitals from time to time.  There was no active guidance to help me achieve natural birth.  And I only learned much later that lying down on your back was not conducive to achieving natural birth.  But if you’re hooked up to monitors constantly, how are you suppose to get out of the bed and get into the proper positioning to encourage cervix dilation and the opening of the pelvic bones for natural birth? It’s as if their roles are only limited to administering drugs and performing medical procedures.  Anything outside of that sphere is not offered up to patients.  Shouldn’t drugs and surgery be the last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted?


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