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I wanted to labor without an epidural

by Dee Alston

It was a very dreary day for me. I woke up feeling slight pains in my lower back. Not thinking today could be "THE DAY" I went on with my daily activities. My pregnancy, thus far, had been a emotional roller coaster, so for me, I just got used to it. I had been in and out of the hospital, since about week 26. This was now week 38, with baby #5 and I was just happy to make it this far. As the day went by, I started to notice that my contractions were coming consistently. I then decided to time them, ("OH NO") they were exactly 5 minutes apart. I called the doctor, and he instructed me to go to the hospital. My husband was out visiting family members, so I called him and told him "It's time"! He hurried back to pick me up, and we went on to the hospital.

We arrived about 11:30pm, and the staff at the hospital was waiting for us. I was immediately put into the room where I would labor. The doctor came in shortly thereafter, and after checking my cervix, told me I was dilated to 3 cm. I was so disappointed. I was hoping to be at least 5-6 cm at this point.

I had my first 3 children with the help of an epidural, and vowed to never take that approach again. (In my past experience, the 3 epidurals caused me a great deal of back pains for many years after the births). The contractions were moderate, and I felt like I was still in control. That of course did not last too long. Around 2am, I noticed that my contractions started coming more and more irregular. Instead of every 5 min, they were becoming sporadic. I then remembered an article I read about nipple stimulation regulating contractions. So, of course at this point I just wanted to try anything to help along this very slow process. My husband and I began the nipple stimulation, and let me tell you it is certainly true! The contractions started back on a regular pattern.

Around 5 am, I was checked again. I was now a whole 5 cm. Still a bit disappointed. The doctor suggested pitocin. I never had my labor induced, but I had heard enough horror stories about it. So I was reluctant, but eventually went along with it. He broke my water

and the pitocin began about 6 am. It didn't take long for the contractions to start on what I considered to be a deadly pattern. They were SO intense, I felt the need to push or die.

Up until this point it was basically just me and the husband in the room. As much as he tried, he really could not help in comforting me. I requested the best nurse on staff to assist me at this time. My lifesaver came in around 6:45 am, and asked me how she could help. I explained to her that I wanted to labor without an epidural, and needed her to help me accomplish that. She was incredible. She took me into the bathroom, where she had me sit on the toilet and just rock from front to back. That did give me some relief, just not enough. From the bathroom, to the edge of the bed just rocking and rocking, all while she applied pressure to my lower back with a heating pad. At this point, I knew I was getting close. The pain was much, much more than I could ever imagine. Even after birthing 4 previous children, I had NEVER felt that kind of pain before.

I began to yell/scream and became at bit disoriented. She then gave me a shot of Nubain, AHHH, relief, at least for a little while. I guess it made me drowsy, because I was awaken by the most excruciating pain you could ever imagine. I got up and stood at the side of the bed and began rocking again. It was now almost 9 am! I could not take it anymore, and I guess I should have known this was it. I was paralyzed with the pain and could not rock anymore. So I just stood in that one spot and screamed to the top of my lungs "GIVE ME A EPIDURAL NOW!”

The nurse then decided to call my doctor. She waited for my contraction to end, and asked me to get on the bed so she could check how far dilated I was. As I tried to process what she asked, here we go again with the paralyzing pain. I stood there not able to move a muscle, I could actually feel the baby slipping down the birth canal. As soon as the nurse could tell the contraction was over, she hurriedly assisted me onto the bed. Keep in mind, the doctor was on the way.

As I got on the bed and opened my legs for her to check me, the baby's head popped right out! "Oh No!" I thought. The nurse said don't push, the cord is around the neck! I tried my best not to, but when your there, it's easier said than done. My daughter was born at 9:08 am with the second push, a healthy tiny baby girl weighing 6lbs 8oz. As the nurse put her on my chest, in walks the doctor with a puzzled look. The only thing he delivered for me that day was the placenta. I jokingly told him he needed to “split that cost with the wonderful nurse who helped me". It was a wonderful experience, and I will cherish it forever. However, if another baby ever comes into plans, it will be all natural. No pitocin for me, it magnified the intensity of the contractions. And for me, it made it a lot worse. Giving birth is such a wonderful experience that every women should be blessed with.