Is it possible that I may have conveniently left out parts of my last birth story when I wrote it nine years ago? Things that I didn’t write down at the time because maybe I didn’t think were significant? Things that I only lately have begun to remember due to all the reading I’ve been doing?
Nine years ago, I didn’t know anything about the birth process. I didn’t know anything about inductions or drugs that were used other than there were things that could take the pain away. I didn’t research the side-effects of any interventions and I completely trusted medical professionals to watch out for my best interests. I was so young, so naive!
Reading back on my birth story, the only things I noticed as interventions were the artificial breaking of my water and the vacuum-assisted delivery (due to almost three hours of pushing because I couldn’t feel anything due to the high dose on the epidural). But the more I read the word “pitocin” the more I remember it being a part of my labor with Kiddo1.
I remember a conversation occurring upon my admittance to the hospital that went something like this:
Nurse: We can give you some pitocin to speed things up if you’d like.
Me, shrugging: Well that sounds pretty cool.
I don’t remember a conversation about side effects or risks (although, to their credit, we didn’t ask either). I don’t remember advisories about the strength of dose and the fact that the dosage could be adjusted. I don’t remember basically having my labor induced, even though I was progressing normally (or at least I’m pretty sure I was, at the time, since I admitted at 5 cm). I only remember having the drug suggested and then contractions TAKING OFF. I also now remember the constant monitoring of the “belly belt” and how I was confined to a bed but didn’t complain at all, really (unless you count the crying and screaming, but that was due to pain of constant contractions more than anything else). As far as I can remember, I was a model patient and, frankly, those nurses were lucky to have me!
I feel two things about this memory of receiving pitocin.
On the one hand, I feel upset at the hospital. I feel like speed and convenience were more of a priority than my and my unborn child’s well-being. As far as I can remember, this drug was offered and given very soon after I was admitted, so the hospital staff didn’t even wait to see how I was progressing before wanting to speed things up. I wonder how my labor and delivery would have been different had I been more educated and refused the offer for the drug.
On the other hand, I feel encouraged for this upcoming birth. Knowing what I know now about pitocin, my contractions shouldn’t be on top off each other like they were last time. They shouldn’t be as painful either. Bonus! However, my labor could progress a bit slower. Here’s how I’m altering my expectations:
- Expect a longer labor this time.
- Expect a labor with a more natural progression.
- Expect to be able to rest between contractions, at least at the beginning.
- Expect different feelings, perhaps with less pain or more manageable pain.
- In short, expect an entirely different experience.
This memory makes me so happy to have chosen to educate myself this time around. I’m happy that Mr. Handsome and I have picked a hospital and care group in my midwifes that backs my decision to labor and deliver without interventions of drugs, artificial induction techniques, constant monitoring and other “modern conveniences.” I’m happy that I am approaching this labor with an entirely new attitude and set of expectations. I will not fear pain. I will submit to the natural process and allow my body to guide me. Above all, I will learn from my previous experiences and be grateful for this second chance at an empowering birth!
Sure, a circumstance my arise that would warrant the use of drugs, monitoring, etc. but I will be able to make the right decisions this time. If anything, this memory is encouraging me to get what I want this time around!