Dominic's birth story (Induction for Pre-E + Awesome Self Advocacy + Doula Support = Vaginal birth )
Thank you so much to first-time mom Kayla for sharing her birth story with us! And thank you to Tara for providing doula support during Kayla and Tom's pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey. Join us in our congratulations!
"I never wanted to be induced. That was one of my (many) fears as my due date loomed closer. I had heard that Pitocin would make my contractions far more severe and force the baby out before he was ready. I wanted him to come on his own, peacefully. I was obsessed with his birth being his decision. Birth would be a big adventure for us both, and I promised myself I would be ready when he was. I knew most first babies were born late, so I was kind of banking on those extra weeks. I planned to have extra time, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.
On Monday, January 24th, the door of patient room #6 banged open after twenty minutes of waiting, and the cranky, older midwife declared; "You're sick!"
"With what?" I asked, nervously. My immediate thought was Covid, but how would she know that?
"Your BP is high! You told the MA you had a headache this morning. And you've gained 9 pounds in a week!" She yelled at us.
I exchanged a look with Tom as my anxiety spiked. "My headache is already gone. I explained to the MA that I got very little sleep last night and I felt better after drinking some water." I said hurriedly, before adding; "And I do not think I gained 9 pounds in a week. Please let me step on the scale again," I begged, my heart racing and my face flushing hot with frustration.
She looked at my chart again. "Oh." She said shortly. "Well, it looks like you actually gained 9 pounds the whole pregnancy."
I sighed in relief, but felt annoyance over her pushiness while misreading my chart.
"But. We are still having a baby toady." She added determinedly.
"Your BP was high and you had a headache and that means you could be contracting preeclampsia. You're 39 weeks pregnant. This baby is coming out today. Take your pants off. We're doing a cervical check."
Tom and I exchanged a look over her brashness. Despite the sickly feeling in my stomach and the anger of not being asking for my consent before demanding a cervical check, I needed to know if I was dilated as much as she did. Feeling as if I was outside of my body, I passed through the saloon style doors into the changing corner and undressed. I'm not ready. I thought over and over again.
I climbed back onto the table and assumed the position for the painful cervical check. After her check was complete, she admitted that "These are less than ideal conditions for an induction. You are zero cm dilated and you have a very long cervix. An induction will take 3-4 days". I took a few deep breaths and tried to channel a calm attitude, thinking back on everything my doula class had taught us on how to advocate for myself.
"I don't want to be induced. I don't have a headache. The only issue is my raised BP which has been fine all through pregnancy. I have had some family stress at home which I think may be attributing to this. I have slept poorly. I am not ready to give birth without exploring additional options."
The woman frowned and actually rolled her eyes at me in annoyance before agreeing to go consult with the physician in the office for a second opinion. As soon as she disappeared through the doors, Tom and I exchanged a rush of frustrated words before we began texting our doula Tara, hurriedly asking for help and explaining the situation. She helped calm us down and gave us some advice on asking for one more day to see how things went and asking if we could monitor our BP on our own by going into Walgreens or Publix to check on it.
When the midwife returned, she said we could have one more day to see if my BP improved. We would come back the following morning.