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Eye on the prize: The birth of Katalina Epidural

Eye on the prize: The birth of Katalina

"I was in pain and felt annoyed and hopeless, so I called for an epidural."

I have decided to share my birth story because the day before I was induced, I was desperately searching for a similar story to help me prepare. While no story could have truly prepared me, I hope mine will help other new moms!

February 1 was my due date. I was off work, and I had my doctor’s appointment at 11 a.m. I was having sharp abdominal pains and cramps the day before and that morning, but as a first-time mom, I had no clue if it was Braxton Hicks, fake labor, gas or just poop.

So, I got to my appointment, and my awesome midwife checked me to be 3+ centimeters dilated and swept my membranes. Due to it being my due date and I had been suffering from PUPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy), she said, “We can see if you go into labor naturally, but we can also schedule an induction for February 2.” She knew my intentions were to have as natural of a birth as possible without any pain medications, but due to the stress of work, I agreed that an induction would be the next best step.

We waited out the rest of the day doing all the tricks in the book—from walking to drinking raspberry leaf tea—with no luck. The good thing was my husband and I cleaned the house and stocked up the refrigerator knowing it would be a few days before we would be back outside.

At 5 a.m. on February 2, I got the call to be to the hospital by 7 a.m. We took showers, packed everything we needed and headed out the door at 6:30 a.m. We got to the hospital with a good parking space and headed to my OB assessment. The good thing about being induced was that the bed and room were premade, and we just had to wait for the IV of Pitocin.

I have to warn you—the worst part of my story is not the birth but the nurses. While my point of view might be biased since I was in labor, this is what I saw.

My birth plan was to get induced but still labor in bed, eat snacks, drink Gatorade and take no pain medications. The nurses nodded their heads, but they obviously did not believe me. The first nurse was great, but the second nurse decided to tell me that she didn’t usually work maternity wards, and she had just been transferred from oncology … music to a first-time mom’s ears, right? Wrong. She took 1 hour to find a vein for the IV, stuck me five different times, blew out one vein and cut herself in the process before calling the first nurse back in.

That nurse had my IV done in 5 minutes and Pitocin was started at 8:10 a.m. They started the Pitocin at the lowest level, and it went up in 30-minute increments. I honestly did not feel the contractions until it was at 20 milliliters. The main issue was the “hospital protocol” that the nurses kept referring to meant that I had to be monitored at all times. This was fine, except they had me hooked up to wires for the most part of the labor because they expected me to stay in bed, and they called for an epidural once the Pitocin got high enough.

They had to come into my room every time I got up to pee or walk, and they had to fix the monitors. It wasn’t until lunch break—when another nurse came in and told them to get a wireless monitor, so that I could move freely—that things got better.

Another issue that came up was checking my progress. I came in at 7 a.m. 3+ centimeters dilated. One nurse, at about 12 p.m., said I was 7-8 centimeters dilated, and another nurse checked and said I was 4-5 centimeters dilated.

At this point, I was in pain from the Pitocin that felt like severe period cramps in the front of my pelvis. I had zero back pain, but I did bring a tens unit to place on my back to help through the pain. At about 1 p.m., I felt the need to poop, and I wanted to poop before labor to minimize the mess. Then, a nurse came in and told me, “Oh no, get back in bed. We don’t want to have the baby in the toilet.” I’m thinking: What do you mean? You just said I was 4-5 centimeters.

I was in pain and thinking I have hours to go with even more pain before I’ll be at 10 centimeters. So, I called for a nurse and said, “Get me some pain medications.” This is when they gave me Stadol. That was a joke! I still felt the pain, but I felt lethargic, and all my thoughts were playing in my mind like an old cartoon. I told the nurse I felt hot and itchy, and I thought I was having a reaction. All she told me was, “OK.” This was not reassuring at all.

I was in pain and felt annoyed and hopeless, so I called for an epidural. The nurses kicked into high gear at that point. They ran to get the Saline and paperwork. By that time, it was too late. I felt the urge to poop, and I told my husband to get my midwife.

Twenty minutes of pushing in the side-lying position (after listening to my body), and we had a baby girl at 2:51 p.m. I had no tears and minimal hemorrhoids. It seemed unreal. I don’t know what people mean when they say they forget the pain because I did not … from the minor cramps, to the major cramps and all the way to the ring of fire. But, I do know exactly what people mean when they say they want another baby. I would do it all over again, just with better instructions to the nurses.

Thank you for reading my story if you’ve made it this far. I hope you have a safe delivery like I did.

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!