I was pregnant again, and ready to give birth to our fifth child, though only my fourth pregnancy as we had adopted our fourth child. Since having our first daughter early, my doctors had recommended doses of progesterone with each subsequent pregnancy, and I was able to carry them to term. This time wasn’t any different – though we had had a few scares with preterm contractions beginning around week 28. However, right on my due date, March 9th, I awoke to strong contractions. Given that my last labor had only been 3.5 hours from start to finish, we didn’t waste much time getting to the hospital. Also, because I had done a bit more studying since my last labors, this time we had chosen to use a midwife through OU Medical Center. There, one can be in a hospital, but also still have the care of a midwife, (and a doctor in case of an emergency). The prenatal care hadn’t been much different, maybe a bit less pushy, and a bit more trusting of what I said or wanted, but relatively the same.
When we arrived at OU, however, all the delivery rooms were full or dirty so I was put in a triage room until a room was made ready. I’m not sure the staff originally believed I was in true labor – I tend to be quiet when I’m in pain, and that’s not a lot of help when needing hospital staff to pay attention. After getting into a gown my water broke, but I was already on a bed pad and it all soaked in, so the midwife just had to take my word for it. She asked if I wanted to be checked and I said yes. I was dilated to a 5, so they let me stay. I tried to tell them how quickly my last labor had gone, but the monitors weren’t picking up much activity because I was lying on my side. This time was also different for me because there were such different intervals between my contractions. Sometimes they were every two minutes, and then I’d go for seven minutes before another came. But, they were getting stronger, and pretty soon I was really hurting. I really depended a lot on my husband to help keep my breathing under control. He also kept trying to push the staff to get a room ready – one reason we chose this place was because they had rooms designed with amenities like laboring tubs, birthing balls and other things most hospitals don’t have. The problem was no one seemed all that convinced that my labor was progressing as fast as I knew it was. After having checked me the first time, the midwife had said she would see me in the delivery room, but no one was working very hard to get me there. And no one was coming to check on me unless we called for them. Finally, when I knew it getting close, my husband was able to get the attention of a nurse who checked me and realized it was time – though really, the time to move me had passed. As I was being wheeled through the halls to the delivery room, my body was already pushing the baby out. I only ended up in the delivery room for about 10 minutes when our 7 pound, 15 ounce son was born! From my very first contraction to his birth was only 4.5 hours, and I was only at the hospital for 2.5- 3 hours before he came.
I’m glad I was able to have him naturally, as I recuperated so much faster, and he was so alert too!! But, I was also disappointed in my experience at OU. I had hoped that having a midwife would have ensured more personal and attentive care, and that was not the case for me. If I were to do it again, I think I would choose a natural birth, with a regular OB/GYN, and I would choose to have him/her at Mercy Hospital. I had our third child there, and I greatly enjoyed the staff. They were kind, attentive, encouraging and so knowledgable. That had been a very fast labor, but they were on top of things and got me everything I needed for a successful delivery, and that’s really what I find most helpful. Your body knows what to do, generally it’s all about getting the support you need to allow it to work most effectively. Finding a staff or support system that can do that is priceless.