The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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“Even though my birth didn’t go as expected, I was still involved in the decision-making.” Sara D’Amico, Williamson, N.Y.
I was planning on a natural, unmedicated birth. On my daughter’s due date, I went to a scheduled doctor’s appointment. My blood pressure was high, I was getting headaches and my ankles were swollen. The doctor felt that I was on the verge of preeclampsia, so I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. After three long days in the hospital, I was released for a “failed induction.” I did everything I could to prepare for this birth—12 weeks of Bradley classes, prenatal exercises, reading numerous books and articles about interventions and natural childbirth—but it was all failing me. I felt broken and out of control.
My contractions started again the night I returned home. The next day, I saw my OB-GYN and discovered that I was 4 centimeters dilated and my water had broken, so I checked back into the hospital. I was determined to regain some part of what I had hoped my birth would be like, so I labored for eight hours on Pitocin without pain medication. By then it was the following morning, and my OB-GYN said I needed a Cesarean section. I was wheeled into the OR with a mix of relief and disappointment.
Having a C-section is an extremely courageous decision. My advice would be to stay vocal: Ask questions, make jokes and be excited that your baby is about to be born.
Pictured: Sara D’Amico and Mikayla, 19 months
“It’s important to remember that you might not have the birth you want.” Kristin Engle, South Burlington, Vt.
Right from the start, I knew I wanted my birth to be as natural as possible. I talked to my doctors about having a water birth, and I wanted minimal interventions.
My labor started with a day of inconsistent cramping and contractions, but my contractions were regular and getting very painful by that same evening. Early the next morning, we went to the hospital, where I alternated between walking, getting into a tub and sitting and bouncing on a birthing ball. At this point my back labor was intense; it was painful even between contractions. I was desperate to get some relief, so I gave in and asked for an epidural. After the epidural, they gave me Pitocin and broke my water, which had meconium in it. Then, I spiked a fever and had stopped progressing. My doctor came in and told me it was time for a C-section. I cried. I was scared, sad, frustrated and unprepared, but I had no choice but to have surgery.