Here’s a term I haven’t heard before: birth defeat.
It’s been nearly 4 months since I gave birth and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that my birth was not natural like I wanted. The main issue I’m trying to figure out is why my contractions never started and why I couldn’t dilate…
She tell us story consistent with prolonged latent phase. This is a known variant of labor. Latent phase typically lasts multiple hours and is characterized by regular contractions without appreciable dilatation. For most women, latent phase will give way to active phase labor with longer, stronger contractions and steady dilatation of the cervix.
Once latent phase has gone beyond 20 hours, most women are exhausted but not close to delivery. There are two possible options at that point: sedation to get some rest or pitocin to stimulate longer, stronger contractions. This woman was offered pitocin and an epidural after 17 hours of latent phase.
The pitocin did exactly what it was supposed to do. In fact, it worked spectacularly. She delivered less than 3 1/2 hours after pitocin was started and she had a beautiful healthy baby.
Nonetheless, she feels “defeated” by birth.
I want to accept my birth and be ok with its outcome. I know I was tired, and needed to rest so I could push DS out and avoid a c-section, but I just can’t figure out why my contractions never became strong enough for me to dilate. My doula suggested that my MW might have accidentally punctured my bag during the membrane strip and that my body wasn’t actually ready for labor. Is it possible for your body to begin labor spontaneously, but truly not be able to dilate or is it more likely that the MW accidentally punctured my inner bag? I’m still so disappointed by the outcome. My birth was special and beautiful, but not the natural experience I was hoping for.
And that’s what happens when you focus on bragging rights instead of on what’s important. It’s like whining that you won a million dollars but the check was the wrong color. It’s like whining that you won a gold medal but your hair got messed up. It’s like whining that you climbed to the summit of Everest but “broke down” and wore a heavy parka so you wouldn’t freeze to death.
Who cares whether a woman needs pitocin and an epidural to deliver? Only women who are so caught up in the ideology of natural childbirth that they imagine that the way they deliver is remotely relevant to anything.
Why didn’t her contractions get strong enough without pitocin? Because that’s what happens sometimes. Labor is like any other function of the human body. It does not work perfectly all the time. Fully 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but that’s not “birth defeat” either. It’s something that happens quite commonly in the course of human reproduction.
Women need to get their heads on straight. Labor is not a gymnastics competition, with points award for style. It’s just the mechanism to get the baby from inside the uterus to outside in his mother’s arms.
You gave birth to a healthy baby? You weren’t defeated; you were victorious! The baby is the prize, not the labor, and not the ability to boast about your labor to your friends.