We're sharing birth stories! Here's CafeMom's Megan's ...
At 40 weeks, my doctor said I'd be induced two days later. Induction was the last thing I wanted, but after talking with my husband and my family, we agreed. The night before the induction, I was scared and nervous and couldn't sleep. I spent most of the night packing and preparing for the next day.
I woke my husband up at 6 a.m. so he could talk me though everything we had talked about the day before. We left and checked into the hospital at 7 a.m., where they sent me right up to labor and delivery.
When we reached labor and delivery, the nurse set me up in a room and told me to get into a gown. She took my medical history and started the induction process by giving me a pill to stick up my cervix and soften and dilate me. At this point, I was scared and nervous not knowing what to expect.
During the next six hours, my day nurse had given me the same pill three times, which wasn't helping, so they started me on pitocin. That did the trick. The painful but frequent contractions started. At that point I wasn't allowed to walk around anymore because they wanted to hook me up to monitors to make sure the medication wasn't harming my son. So I only got to walk around two times in six hours. I was feeling contractions even though they weren't painful. I realized I was really going to be giving birth to my son that day or night.
Around 1 in the afternoon, my doctor came in and chose to break my water to speed things along, considering I was only 2 centimeters dilated. He asked everyone but the nurse and my husband to leave the room. I was nervous but it didn't hurt one bit ... it just sounded like a pop. After that, I honestly swore I was urinating myself and couldn't stop. After all the excitement of having my water broken, the pain came. It was strong but I kept reassuring myself over and over again that things would be alright.
My doctor came in about two hours later and checked me. I was only dilated to 3 cm but I was in so much pain and practically begging for pain medication. So my doctor thought it would be a good idea to stretch my cervix to 5, which is a process of sticking his hands in and gently stretching/pulling at the sides of the opening. (I personally found out when my son was 6 months old that stretching the cervix is not something a doctor is supposed to do because it can prevent you from being able to carry a child to term in subsequent pregnancies.)
The nurse gave me pain medication through IV, which caused me to fall asleep. A couple of hours later, when the pain meds wore off, the doctor came back in and told me I hadn't dilated at all. So he chose to stretch me again, this time from 5 to 10 cm, and told me to start pushing. I obeyed, but considering my baby wasn't down into the birth canal yet, I knew he wasn't going anywhere.
My doctor stupidly chose to try to vacuum him while I was pushing. He never told me he was going to do this. As I pushed, I screamed questions at him because I didn't want anything bad to happen to my child. The vacuum bothered me. He was pulling so hard with it, but when he realized it wasn't working, he decided on an emergency c-section.
They put me to sleep. I woke up at 1 a.m. the next day and finally got to see my son. I was so happy. But it was short-lived. When I finally held him and fed him for the first time, he started seizing. My mom started screaming for a nurse to come in, and I was in complete denial about the situation. I didn't want there to be something wrong with my son. All I wanted to do was hold him and never let him go, but that wasn't a choice for me. They took him away, and the doctors gave him phenobarbital before transferring him to Milwaukee Children's Hospital in Wisconsin.
When I was finally released, my husband and I traveled to the hospital, only to learn he had developed a hematoma from the vacuum pulling on his little head. The seizures were caused by my doctor stretching my cervix. They told me he should fully recover in about 4 months. Because the hospital wanted to monitor him and his medications closely, I could not take my son home till he was 6 weeks old.
Sixteen months later, he's a perfectly fine little boy. I'd do it all over again to have my wonderful little man. But I wished I'd known more about the mistakes doctors can make and how to prevent them from happening. I hope this helps others learn about the dangers of cervical stretching and the risk it carries for your baby and the possibility of future siblings.
Do you have a birth story you want to share? PM me or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Birth Story" in the subject line, and I may feature you next.
Image via Megan/CafeMom