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Labor of Love: Pitocin and the Umbilical Cord

I decided early on in my pregnancy that I would have an epidural if need be. I fully support anyone who has a natural birth, but for me that was a level of pain that I did not wish to experience.

Funny how best laid plans always go awry isn’t it?

So we were two weeks from our due date and family had just arrived “just in case” I delivered early. My husband went with me for the weekly check-in with the doctor. After listening for the baby’s heartbeat she pulled me up from the exam table, told me to throw my clothes on and get to the hospital right away – she’d have a team ready to meet me (the hospital was next door to her office). Words blurred, but I managed to remain calm and understood only that the heart rate was not what it should be.

As soon as I walked onto the maternity ward I was whisked into a room, stripped standing up and met by a group of four doctors (and my regular OB). After determining that the umbilical cord was choking my soon-to-be born son only when I reclined, my doctor assured us that everything was fine and that I could still deliver vaginally.

After a monitor was internally placed on my son’s scalp I was given pitocin and the fun began. I couldn’t move because we had to monitor his heart rate. So yes. Everything you’ve heard about pitocin is true. It hurts like all hell. There are no breaks. The contractions hit you hard and fast and towards the end I honestly think I would have forgotten to breathe had it not been for my husband.

Now, I consider myself to have a very high tolerance for pain but I was at my breaking point by the time the wonderful, beautiful, glorious, blessed epidural man showed up. It turned out I was dilated at about 8 centimeters when I got the epidural. (I was so quiet they didn’t check me beforehand. I was quiet because I was trying to survive the pain).

It turned out perfectly for me. It was just enough to take the edge off of the pain. I could feel to push, and could move my legs. He was born after 11 pushes and I’ve never been happier to hear a cry in my whole life.

They then had to rip my placenta out because it wasn’t budging. By then, thankfully, the epidural had fully kicked in. Otherwise, that would have been torment.

Our son was a healthy 6 pounds, 12 ounces and figured out how to nurse with a little help from our wonderful doula.

I read and hear stories of natural births and the contractions sound so much more manageable. I’m sure the picotin was the reason it was so hard and fast for me, but I don’t regret a second and truly thank God that we had our appointment scheduled that day. If we have another baby, I’ll definitley be buying a heart monitor just in case.


  1. That is quite a story. My own daughter was born 2 days late, and like you, I decided on the day that I found out I was pregnant that I wanted an epidural, because I KNOW my tolerance for pain is low. Thanks to an epidural before my contractions become completely unbearable (I lasted about 10 hours with light to moderate contractions), I had a birth experience that was wonderful for me and my family. It took a little extra pushing since I couldn’t feel a whole lot by the time the moment of truth came (though I felt pretty much everything in the final stretch), I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  2. i think you mean pitocin?

  3. Thanks for the catch Anon! That is why I shouldn’t blog at midnight. :)

    And yes Jennae, epidurals aren’t for everyone – but for me it was needed and very welcome. I wouldn’t hesitate to have one again.
    Congratulations on your wonderful birth experience. Mine was great too – just a tad more stressful than we had imagined. Once that baby is on your chest everything else just melts.

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