Location: Alexandria, Va.
Year: 2013
How pregnant: 41 weeks, 2 days
First baby: Yes
Hours in labor: Never went into labor!
Delivery type: Vaginal that progressed to C-section
Medicated: Yes

Did you have a birth plan?

My informal plan was to attempt medication-free vaginal birth. I just felt confident I could do it. My mother did it twice and I just always thought I would do it the same way once I started thinking about having kids. I sought out an OB/midwife practice to increase my odds of a "natural" birth. I only saw midwives for my appointments.

When did you know you were in labor?

I never went into labor. I went to my 40 week appointment, feeling pretty good and was informed I wasn't dilated at all. The  practice allows 41 weeks before planned induction. So I left that 40 week appointment with instructions to take evening primrose supplements, walk everywhere, climb steps, etc and do all the things everyone says will put you into labor.

What happened before you went to the hospital?

Did everything I could do to try to kick start labor before the induction day. I was very scared of pitocin and the potential of a c-section. I've heard so many people talk about having a pitocin induction which leads to a c-section.

What happened first when you got to the hospital?

I was still scared as I got to this point as I was 41 weeks and still never had a contraction. I was checked into L&D on a Thursday morning. They explained there were a number of induction methods to try that did not include pitocin, which made me more comfortable. The midwife explained that there was something in a pill form that they would try first,  and then something that was inserted, and then a balloon thing that was used to slowly dilate you and then removed.

What did contractions feel like?

First with just the pill, I think they gave me that dose in the afternoon of the first day. Watched all the monitors, baby was doing well and I was not progressing at all. 12 hours later, they do the inserted thing that stays in I think 6 hours? I can't remember exactly. Baby still good and I'm still not progressing really. Maybe 2 cm. After the end of that trial, I'm waiting for the next decision. I still have nothing in my IV at this point. So it's after midnight on Day 3 in the hospital. They are trying to do the balloon thing, it's not working right and they start planning to just begin pitocin...I never get it.

If your labor had an unexpected intervention (i.e. emergency C-section or forceps) how and why did that happen?

They are still attempting the balloon and get my IV started. Suddenly the baby monitors start dinging (which they did multiple times since I'd been there, from the monitors shifting and baby moving around) and it's not just the monitor placement. A doctor comes in - I've only seen midwives and nurses up to this point - and says something like, the baby is in decel, we have to get her out, you've given it a good try. And I'm just completely in shock, as the doctor sees I don't have an epidural, or anything in my IV and explains I'll have to go under general anesthesia because they have to get the baby out. It was shocking and was terrified. It was also very quiet in my L&D room and suddenly, EVERYONE was in there and my husband had to leave.

What happened immediately after your baby was born?

I felt still just in total shock about the way things had happened. Not at all what I expected and I was sad because I missed everything.

Anything else you want to add?

The OB asked if I knew I had a bicorneate (heart=shaped or "horned") uterus, which nope, no I didn't know. Apparently that often means c-section. It's something you are born with and it is pretty uncommon. Never heard of it. I never got real answers about why that wasn't found in ultrasound, etc, but I guess I didn't have the symptoms that would call for someone to find out.

I felt very traumatized by and unprepared for my emergency c-section for a long time. Still talking about it makes me cry sometimes. For my second kid, I had a planned c-section and that was far more pleasant. I didn't want to attempt VBAC after all of this with my first.

Final question: How would you describe this delivery in one sentence?

Failed inductions and surprise uterus shape led to emergency c-section.


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