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Main | Thank God for the Shift Change: Sara's Story »

"I started begging them to take out the epidural so I could walk"

By Sam

I exercised every day of my pregnancy and followed an organic diet and only increased my calories by 300-400 a day. I had an easy uneventful pregnancy. I debated on having a home birth but my husband did not feel comfortable with that and we ultimately decided to go with an old school solo OB with 35 years of experience after changing from a large OB practice with a high c-section rate.

On Monday April 25th at my 41 week appointment-I was 0 dilated and 60% effaced. The Dr. was comfortable with me going to 43 weeks as long as a weekly NST was fine and it was at the 41 week appointment.   I went into labor around 4 am on Friday, April 29th but it was all back labor-actually it was all my tailbone and lower back and my hips kept locking up making it hard to move. They were about 10 mins apart and almost exactly 1 minute in length. My husband goes to work at 6am so I sent him to work thinking I would have a long day ahead of me and wanted to be alone to labor as long as possible.  I started walking and squatting and bouncing on the ball-reading online trying to find something to get them closer together.   They eventually got to 7 minutes apart around 9am.

So I called my husband and had him come home.  As soon as he came home, they started spacing out to 17 or 18 minutes apart. I was drinking water and Gatorade and carb loading to keep up my strength. At 7pm-suddenly the contractions started getting longer and closer together (3 to 4 mins long and about 2 minutes apart. I was having a hard time focusing.  I was shaking and throwing up.

I got worried that I might be in transition. My husband was wonderful, rubbing my back through each contraction and holding my hair while I vomited. At 8 pm, we called the dr. He had wanted me to wait until they were 5 mins apart for 2 hours straight but I felt like I was suddenly moving too fast. When I explained to him what was happening-he wanted me to get to the hospital as soon as possible. We managed to make it to the hospital and get checked in at 9 pm. The nurse hooked me up to a monitor for 20 minutes before she even checked me-that was the worst part-having contractions while sitting there unable to move into another position to help me through them. The nurse checked me and I was barely 1 cm and 60% effaced. I about lost it. She went to call my Dr. and then disappeared while I’m still sitting on the monitor.

She came back 30 minutes later and told me he wanted me to walk around the hospital for 2 hours and come back. So at 10pm we started walking. Every few minutes I would feel a contraction coming on and I would get in different positions with my husband helping me through them. I felt so much pressure to make some progress and I was getting physically exhausted.

At midnight we went back and she checked me-I was still barely 1cm. The nurse said I could do 2 things-I could go home and deal with them on my own or be admitted and given something to help me sleep and consider being induced in the morning if I hadn’t made any progress. I chose option 2 because I was so exhausted. I was admitted and given a room. They gave me a shot of nubain and I went to sleep. At 4am a nurse came in and woke me up to check me-she says “wow-you are 5 cm, 100% effaced and oops I broke your water.” She then checked the water and there was meconium in it.

She said that I moving fast-several people came into the room and began setting it up for delivery and for the nicu team. She checked me again at 5am and I was unchanged. She checked me again at 6am and still I was unchanged. All while being in enormous pain and contracting every few minutes. They offered me an epidural and said they wanted to start pitocin-I agreed thinking that if I was relaxed enough on the nubain to dilate so quickly then this should help. So I got the epidural (somehow within a few minutes) and the pitocin was started. They began moving me in various positions to try to speed things along. There was a nurse switch at 7am.  My Dr. came in at 9:30 to check me-he said I was 4 cm and 80% effaced. I was going backwards-all while the pitocin was supposed to be speeding up the contractions.  My dr. looked concerned. He said something isn’t right.  And that he need to see progress within 2 hours or we need to consider a c-section. I started bawling and begging them to take out the epidural so I could walk. I begged my husband to take me home so I could labor at home. I started immediately having a severe anxiety attack and remember feeling extremely claustrophobic.  The nurse promised me she would do everything in her power to ensure that I avoid a c-section. My husband was great through it all at getting me to focus and calm down and remind me that I had 2 hours. He went and talked to the Dr. and reminded him of our goals.

As the 2 hours passed, I focused on relaxing, getting turned, all while the pitocin was still being cranked but then my contractions were spacing apart rather than getting closer together.  At 11:30 the Dr. came back and I was still 4cm. I lost it again. He said that the baby wasn’t engaged and made me feel my pelvis-he said that the baby was floating and this was why I wasn’t dilating and there was something seriously abnormal about my labor pattern. He wanted to do a c-section right then. I begged him for 2 more hours. He said he couldn’t do it.  This could go on for days and since my water broke he wanted to do the c-section now. He spent an hour negotiating with my husband and I. He was ready to walk out and hand me over to the residents. At that point, I said fine do the c-section BUT you must do it now, I’m not sitting around for several hours waiting for a room to come open. They immediately started wheeling me down to the OR.

I was okay but as soon as my husband left to get changed, I started hyperventilating. I felt like a failure and that something was wrong with me. I started regretting not going home at midnight and toughing it out at home. I regretted the epidural. I was pis*ed that the nurse accidentally broke my water. They were ready to knock me out because I was so upset but they said my husband couldn’t come in. The nurses were trying to calm me down and asked me what names we had chosen. I told her and I managed to get it together once my husband came in to the surgery and they started the c-section. When they pulled my baby out (he came out screaming) the nurse said “it’s a Sebastian”. I had wanted my husband to be able to say it’s a boy or it’s a girl but that can’t be changed either.

My son weighed 9 lbs 6 oz and 21 ¾ inches long.

I heard the Dr. say he was shocked at how big he was because I was not carrying big and had not gained much weight during the pregnancy.  He passed him off to the NICU team. I didn’t get to see him but my husband went over to take pictures. Dr. immediately started telling me that I would have never had the baby on my own and that I made the right choice. He said that there was no way that I could have even passed a 6 lb baby through because my tailbone jutted in too far and made my pelvis almost impassable. He claimed that during each contraction, the baby was hitting my tailbone and if I had continued to labor I would have caused my child to have brain damage. He said it would be dangerous to ever try a VBAC.

I feel like I should trust my dr. but part of me wants to get an x-ray to confirm what he’s saying about my tailbone just for my own peace of mind if that makes sense. Has anyone ever heard of someone’s tailbone blocking the baby? Or of their cervix closing back up? Especially with pitocin.



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Reader Comments (23)

I would seriously consider getting an x ray, JUST so that you can have tangible proof that this Dr was probably full of crap! I'm so sorry for your experience. If you do decide to get an x ray, consider going to a chiropractor for it, because in the event there is a minor pelvic anomaly, he/she may very well be able to correct it before u conceive again. Best of luck.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I suppose it depends on just how far in your tailbone is and what your frame is like to begin with. I had a lot of back labor and my tailbone ended getting dislocated so I know it's possible for the baby to push past if it's really in the way, but most likely not in every situation. My water broke to start and then I had stop/start contractions for over two whole days before they finally became even and progressed (which I couldn't even tell you when exactly that happened in the last 24 hours, I never paid attention), ending with a total of 78 hours of labor (with meconium filled fluid and GBS+). She did end being almost 10 lbs, but was a skinny 10 lbs plus I have a very broad masculine build at 6' tall so I think she was actually proportionate. Our situations sounded quite similar, but I didn't have any of the same stressors. I do recall reading several birth stories when I was pregnant about labor slowing down, stopping or regressing in situations like that and chemical induction making things worse.

Part of the problem that has been discussed here quite frequently is that you can never really know what exactly would have happened had you done things differently. There are a ton of What Ifs and you have no way of knowing if that c-section was truly what you needed. Regardless of whatever happened, do not ever blame yourself for it. That will always be hard when you care so much. Try to be kind to yourself and create ample time and space to grieve for everything you went through. It sounded like it was nothing short of traumatic.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra

It's possible that your son was just in the wrong position and wasn't able to turn. He showed signs of being a posterior baby. Posterior babies give the mother back labor and always hit the tailbone. Exercises like hands to knees and other positions can help turn the baby, but if baby doesn't turn, labor can be stalled. I'd get an x ray if you feel it's needful, but I think it's more likely your baby just needed to turn.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

Hi there, I'm so sorry you had such a full on experience. Its important that you seek some counselling or a debrief about it with someone you feel safe with. I'm a registered midwife in Australia and think that an x-ray would probably be a good idea. There are chiropractors and osteopaths around that specialise in obstetrics so check them out near wherever you live. In regards to the cervix closing backing up - it doesn't. I think what has most likely happened here is due to two different people doing your examinations. The midwife, then the doctor. The midwife could have overestimated, the doctor could have underestimated. But be assured that the difference between 4 and 5 cm is easy to confuse - you can often stretch a cervix to 5cm if its sitting at 4cm. The degree of effacement is again subjective. So your cervix wasn't going backwards. I hope that helps somewhat. Just know that you are NOT a failure. You have a beautiful, healthy baby boy and you did that, all yourself. Good luck, and enjoy Sebastian!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

Sam, there are many comments I could make but the one I will choose is to please remove from your mind the thought that your cervix was going backwards! Assessing vaginal dilatation is a very, very subjective thing, dependent on such simple causes as one's finger size and one's experience. There is virtually no difference between the nurse's 5 cm and your doctor's 4 cm determination. And besides, doctors often change the findings of the nurse! I think it's partially that they like to exert control that way. Btw, effacement is even more notoriously difficult to agree upon! That's because one is guessing how much thickness there was in the first place before the process started. So please don't worry about that bit of info. Your cervix was what it was. There is very little second-guessing in this that would be productive, but for the ridiculous number of vaginal exams you were subjected to; the 'accidental' rupture of membranes (perhaps she thought she was doing you a favour); and the notion that trying longer to labour would have caused 'brain damage' to your baby. I'm sure you were on a monitor which would have alerted staff to declining fetal reserve should that have occurred, at which time everything would have been re-discussed with you. I hope he wasn't actually implying that your tailbone itself was going to hurt your baby's head and hence the brain! Absolute rubbish. Haha, turns out I had more to say than I was going to! Good luck to you in finding peace in what happened. Perhaps you could request a review of your notes and a debriefing, now that you can perhaps view things with a more discerning eye?

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergms, midwife

It's also possible that what the doctor saw was a skewed view b/c of how you were on the table...and how they were manipulating your insides.

It sounds funny...But I've tried to put in tampons before...And if my back is in a C-curve while I'm hunched over...I can't get it in quite right - I can actually feel something in the way. If I straighten up a little, it goes right in.

The doctor may have seen something that looked like it would be difficult to birth, but it could just have been your position.

Also, I'm doubtful your water was "accidentally" broken. The nurse could have done it to speed things up. And everyone's hands are different...they might feel you at a different dilation from hand to hand. You might not have progressed backwards at all. You may have had a hard time progressing FORWARD thought with the pitocin.

There are a lot of "ifs" about this - I could be dead wrong on all my suggestions. The only way you'll know if your tailbone is "in the way" is an x-ray, or maybe even having a chiropractor do some adjustments.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaegan

I'm so sorry for your experience. It's so hard when things are taken out of your hands. My first labor was similar in that I made decisions that seemed right at the time but in retrospect were the slippery slope of intervention. My second labor was a really rewarding attempt to avoid a c-section at all reasonable and safe costs, that was eventually a repeat c-section. It was totally OK with me to have a C after attempting home birth, hospital labor, induction, and a LONG labor. At least I felt like it was absolutely required.

You can't go back and change what happened, You made decisions that made sense at the time. If there's a next time, my advice would be to do what you need to to feel confident that c-section is required. If that's an x-ray, or reviewing your records with a midwife you trust, or whatever, do that, and like most things in motherhood, feel good about the decisions you make with the knowledge at hand. Good luck.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

My sister-in-law had an OB say the same thing to her after a similar labor story, but her labor was induced at 39 weeks when she was only at 1 cm. I suspect that the real problem was probably cervical scar tissue that wouldn't allow her to dilate, but I'm not a doctor and I've never examined her so I don't know for sure. I do know she had several procedures before she ever tried to get pregnant the first time though which is why I wonder if that isn't the real problem. The tailbone is on a joint that flips back slightly when a woman gives birth. That's not to say that women don't feel labor in their backs because they often do, even down into the tailbone. Mine was pretty badly bruised by both my second and third babies. If your son's head was never engaged though, I have a hard time seeing how it could have been hitting your tail bone with each contraction. Unless there is something really strange about how your pelvis is formed, he'd have to at least be at zero station if not lower to be coming into contact with your tailbone itself at all. I second the commenter above who recommended that you have a pelvic x-ray to see what if any malformation there might be. If there is a legitimate problem, then future c-sections might be the only avenue available for you to carry more children, but this sounds more like a doctor making something up to cover his own butt to me. I've heard it from many women who went on to have a successful VBAC or even VBA2C.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSesasha

Ina May Gaskin talks about how the cervix can go backwards in dilation when a woman is upset or scared in some way. There's a chapter about it in her Guide to Childbirth.
I heard a midwife speak last night about how the pelvis comes in several different shapes that can make it easier or harder to push a baby through, but she said they come in 2 basic sizes, adequate and drive a truck through. It seems that getting the baby in the right position is key no matter what kind of pelvis you have.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I have heard Midwives discuss reversal of cervical dilation due to stress/fear. BUT w/a diff of 1 cm I would say that that was not the case w/you. Like others have said, measuring dilation is subjective & based on how many finger can fit in your cervix. There is no "standard" measurement because everyone's fingers are different sizes...

An x-ray can tell if you have deformities in your hips that would have impacted labor. BUT it is NOT a reliable indicator of whether or not your baby can fit through your pelvis otherwise. In pregnancy, you make hormones that allow your hips to loosen & spread wider apart. So your baby can fit. There is NO xray or other test to measure THAT. Basically, your doc diagnosed you as having CPD/too big baby. It does happen. But it is rare, barring deformities and/or preexisting medical conditions. It is more probable that your baby was posterior, like others have said. Check out the website www.spinningbabies.com to read about this & how it can affect labor (on the advice of my MW I did the positions on that site throughout my PGs to help ensure a well positioned baby). It may help you understand more about what may have happened in your situation.

I am sorry for how things went. I had my first child by c/sec b/c the doc told me it was very dangerous to try to turn a breech baby. I believed him--that was almost 15 years ago, before info was a Google search away.... Now I know though that while there are risks involved w/turning a baby they PALE in comparison to the risks associated w/ c/sec. I went on to have my 2nd child w/a Midwife, planning a VBAC. When I was 37 weeks PG I had to see a perinatologist b/c they were afraid he stopped growing. (My measurements were off but he was growing fine). His head was measuring at about 14". I am a VERY small person, 5'7" & usually weigh about 100lbs...doc told my MW that there was NO way I could deliver such a big head & he recommended I be scheduled for a c/sec, said I wasn't a candidate for VBAC. Thankfully, she ignored him & didn't tell me about it until after he was born. She knew that if I assumed an effective pushing position chances were VERY good that if I grew a baby w/such a big head, I could deliver one. She trusted the process while the doc didn't. I went on to deliver a baby w/ a 14 1/2" head in an un-medicated VBAC. MW had me push in a semi squat playing tug of war w/the nurse. My last child was born at home w/a CNM. His head was just as big as his brother's. The doc diagnosed me w/CPD, only he was wrong...

I KNOW from personal experience that nothing I can say will make you feel better about what happened, but I hope that getting information will at least make you hopeful for your chances of a VBAC for future PG and help you understand what may have happened (I say may b/c you will never know for sure...)

Congrats on your new baby!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara W.

Dear Sam
What an awful experience you had, especially after you thought you had selected the right care provider. I am a midwife and have worked in OB for almost 20 years. I mostly agree with what the others have already said, but I disagree that the nurse broke your water on purpose. It is actually pretty difficult to break the sac without an instrument and using an amnihook is not in a nurse's scope of practice. Nurses do not break water, OBs, midwives, and residents do. However, sometimes the bag is stretched really thin and when someone does an exam, the bag gives way. I have had that happen to me a couple of time - not intending to break the water, but when I did the exam, it broke under my fingers.

I also agree that pelvic xray would probably give you some peace of mind, but it is important to know that the tailbone is actually a joint and can move (unless there has been some kind of trauma to the area, as in a bad car accident), so a static Xray doesn't really tell the whole story. Chiropractors can be a huge help in realigning the pelvis to work properly.

And your baby was not going to get brain damage by banging against your bone. I imagine the doc was frustrated and wanted to scare you into never considering a VBAC.

The biggest thing I took away from reading your story was how important it was for you to be relaxed and feel in control. When you didn't know what was happening (at home) or when they were stressing you out (the meconium), you didn't progress. But when you knew where you were and got relaxation from the nubain, you did progress.

My suggestion to you for future birthing is one of the Hypno methods. Hypnobirthing is available as a book and CD to read and practice at home, but in my experience, people learn it better with an instructor. Hypnobabies is an at home course and has more detailed relaxation exercises. They both have worked wonders for many women. We have been teaching Hypnobirthing at my birth center for about 4 years now and the moms simply love it and most of them have really wonderful labors.

Adrenaline is the enemy of labor. It is the hormone responsible for the "flight or flight" response to a perceived threat. It sends more blood flow to the skeletal muscles and away from the "involuntary" muscles (which includes the uterus). Therefore, if a laboring woman is scared or stressed, her uterus will not work well. It sounds like, despite your efforts to relax, all the stress and fear caused your body to stop responding to the pitocin. Sometimes an epidural can actually help in this situation, but in your case the stress just kept coming with each exam.

The relaxation you learn in the courses allows you to maintain a deep state of relaxation despite any stress in your surroundings, which then allows your body to work as efficiently as it was designed to do.

It also sounds like the baby was in the posterior position (the "best" position to fit through the birth canal is anterior - imagine the baby looking at your tail bone - posterior babies are looking at your bladder). Posterior babies don't fit into the pelvis as well. It is as though the baby were a pound bigger. And with a 9 pound baby, that can make all the difference. Again, chiropractic during pregnancy can help alot as can visualization as taught in the Hypno courses and the spinning babies web site.

The most important thing to remember is that you made the best choices you could at the time, with the information you had at that time. You found out the group practice had a high cesarean rate and choose what seemed to be a laid back doctor with a lot of experience.

They all over reacted to the meconium (which isn't even a big deal in the vast majority of births), probably cause the doc is out of date, but how could you know that?

Real shame that the nurse had to be jerk and steal daddy's moment to find out and announce the gender.

Reading your story, I can see you feel you were bullied and you are correct.

Geez, what would have been the harm in giving you some more nubain and letting you sleep for a couple of hours? Baby was fine, you were fine. At least you would have known that you tried everything.

You learned some hard lessons, but hopefully you will be able to use what you learned to have powerful and peaceful future births, no matter which way the babies come out.

Hi Sam,
I am sorry for your difficult experience and I am happy for you on the birth of your son :) Your experience sounds hauntingly familiar to my first birth. A resource that gave me great peace and sent me on a new journey to a glorious VBAC is www.ican-online.org. Also, once I read the article below, I knew this was EXACTLY what the problem was with my son. My OB did the same thing claiming he would have never come out and I tried to believe him so that I could get rid of the regret and disappointment I had surrounding his birth. After my daughter was born, naturally, with a midwife and after only SIX pushes the midwife told me I had the kind of pelvis that could deliver any size baby. I was never given the chance to see with my son as I was sectioned at 8 cm.


I wish you happiness and peace as a mother and also a short physical and emotional recovery. I did not start dealing with my feelings until I was pregnant with my second child and I do not recommend that. Please take a look at ICAN - they are a wonderful group of women with many local chapters to share stories and information.


May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Sam, Congratulations on the birth of your son! I hope he brings you joy every day.

Thank you for sharing your birth story. It sounds like you did an amazing job. You laboured hard and long, and advocated for yourself and your plans in extremely difficult circumstances. You fought for your labour, and gave it everything you had, and tried so many different things to avoid an unneccesarean. Maybe in your situation, this surgery was necessary.

As to your question of cervical dilatation, yes, cervixes can close over or become smaller again. It is a concept called 'pasmo'. When women are frightened, adrenalized or overwhelmed, labour can back off, a cervix can close back a little. This would give women time to get into a situation where they feel safer, more comfortable. Our ideas that cervixes should open in one direction, at a set rate, symmetrically, is a pretty mechanical view of cervixes.

Size of your baby shouldn't be the determining factor, but his position sounds very awkward, based on your changing contaction pattern, his head remaining high and where you have located your pains. By all means get an x-ray for your own peace of mind whilst you are not pregnant - that way you will be better informed if you decide to have another child and would like to investigate VBAC options.

Again, thank you for sharing your story with this community, I hope that doing so helps you integrate your birth experience into your life more comfortably.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterej


I can relate very much to your story--I had an extremely long (44 hrs), dysfunctional labor after having done "everything right" and what I was told caused it sounds like the same thing you heard (and I have reason to distrust my CNM and the random OB I drew that night).

My story:
After hitting transition, I too began dilating backward. It took me about 38 hours to get to 7.5. My son had IUGR and they knew he was going to be tiny, and my midwife said I didn't need to make it to 10 to start pushing, and when I got to 7.5 and started feeling pushy, Soon the pushiness subsided along with my contrax--midwife checked me again and I was down to a 5 and my cervix was getting thicker/firmer (had been over 90% effaced). At that point, the midwife suggested we try the epidural to see if I was holding him back with unconscious tension. They could not use pit on me due to the hyperstim I had at a very low dose earlier and baby was already having some pretty serious decels with an ever-lowering baseline. (My water had also been broken--SROM--for going on 30 hours at that point). I consented to the epidural to avoid the c/s that was now looming. Decels got worse, had 10 min+ one. They checked me after having been on the epidural 2 hours and I was still going backward in dilation. We tearfully decided it was time for the c/s since something was obviously wrong. My midwife suspected a short cord.

Baby was out within 15 mins of the decision to go to surgery, and the OB didn't notice anything obviously wrong on going in--no short cord or any other clear problems. So she went feeling around and discovered that I had "an extremely prominent sacral promontory" that stuck out at a "90 degree angle." (quotes from my surgical report). It was effectively blocking my son's exit. I should also note that my son was tiny (4 lb 8 oz at 2 days). The midwife said she'd heard of the problem before, but never felt one until then (the OB had her put her hands in my pelvic inlet and feel). Both said they didn't think I would ever birth vaginally. Knowing all the circumstances that led up to my c/s and the cord gas results afterward, I feel confident that we made the right call in our case.

After struggling with not being able to just resign myself to a RCS in future pregnancies, I recently emailed the CNM who writes The Midwife Next Door Blog about my situation, inquiring if she had ever heard of the problem before and whether she thought I had a chance at a VBAC. She had a client who had a very similar labor to mine (and yours), and it ended the same way. But her client went on to have a VBAC the very next pregnancy! She actually wrote a post based on my question and her research about how chiropractic care could be useful in re-aligning the sacrum in preparation for a VBAC (http://www.themidwifenextdoor.com/?p=1307). In this post she also links to the inspiring story of her client who VBACed.

It sounds like you might have had the same problem I did. I wanted to get an x-ray of my pelvis when I first started chiropractic treatment after corresponding with the CNM above, but just when I started, I fell pregnant, so I haven't been able to see what mine looks like at this point. My chiro says my sacral promonotory most definitely did not look on the inside (today) like what the OB described it being like 2 years ago.

I suspect a couple of things might have contributed to my extremely prominent sacral promontory--1) I was a life long stomach sleeper (and have since been on my back for the last 2 years thanks to co-sleeping and night nursing) and 2) did TONS of squatting per Hypnobabies' prenatal exercises. Squatting is a bad position if you have this particular problem as it actually pulls the sacrum further forward. The CNM and chiro instructed me to cease and desist with squatting as I prep for my upcoming VBAC.

Some other thoughts:

1. Some have suggested that you might have dilated backward b/c of being fearful and in pain--I was using Hypnobabies and very calm and not in pain at all through my labor, even despite experiencing uterine hyperstim at two separate points, so I'm not convinced that adrenaline/fear/pain caused YOU the "un-dilation" you had either.

2. Your son was big and you wonder if that might have contributed; my son was tiny, and I've wondered if a bigger baby might have put more pressure on my cervix or been able to barrel his way through, but I kind of doubt it. Anyway, just know that I had a tiny baby who also couldn't navigate the sacral promontory either.

If you want to talk further, feel free to email me. I know what it's like to have this bizarre labor and a body that doesn't seem to be able to do what it was designed to do (that's how I felt afterward, anyway). But please go read the posts at the link I gave above--it's helped me a lot to understand the "spatial" aspects of why my labor didn't work and how I can possibly affect that in the future. I am now cautiously optimistic about my odds at having a successful VBAC, whereas I thought I was doomed to RCS this time last year.

Good luck with finding closure and enjoy your baby!

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGMY

Your labor didn't progress because it wasn't supposed to. Many women have on and off labor for days before "real" labor kicks in. You (with the help of the medical staff) tried to force your body to do something it wasn't ready to do. It was malpractice to brake your water. This is why "routine" checks and interventions need to be avoided... they have consequences! You didn't need the c-section and your labor would have started to normalize after a few days by itself. Unfortunately the nurse scr@wed up and in order to prevent a possible infection from HER NEGLIGENCE you were tricked into a c-section. It's very unfortunate you were abused this way. You did not receive good medical care. I am happy for your joy at your new child, but saddened at your loss of a potentially great experience.

The stuff about your tailbone is pure nonsense. A doctor can't tell that just by looking from the outside NOR the inside.

That "fact" was told for their benefit not yours. If you blame the patient they won't look into the real reasons why the birth went wrong. Only internal scans like x-rays can give you that information and frankly what you are describing is so incredibly rare that it's not worth even testing for it because it's so incredibly unlikely that you really have it. But if it makes you feel better and will help you trust your body next time then go for it. This birth may have been stolen from you, but you will be street smart for the next one. Good luck!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Oops, just realized I left out a very important *not* in my post above. I DO NOT have reason to distrust the CNM I had for my birth (nor the OB who did the surgery). I don't think they were lying to me--I think they were working from the best information they had when they told me it was a pelvic abnormality that prevented DS's descent (and I think the evidence suggests they were right about that) and that I wouldn't ever be able to birth vaginally (I hope they are wrong about that). My CNM did everything in her power to help me birth vaginally--if I had been at any other hospital, I would have been sliced and diced hours before (maybe even a day earlier). She believes in vaginal birth, I believe in it, but sometimes it DOESN'T work out.

I'm not saying the medical staff did everything right in Sam's case (breaking her water "on accident" for instance--just criminal), but I don't like the attitude that a c/s is always because of medical staff conspiring against the laboring woman or just the easy way out for the dr. There can be legitimate issues within the mother's body, even in healthy women--I am proof. It's rare, but not unknown.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGMY

The tailbone can block the baby if you are delivering lying down on your back. Squatting for delivery prevents this, but usually doctors in hospitals don't like this position because "they can't see the baby very well." Squatting however is the best position for delivering most babies and allows more room for the baby to be pushed out. It allows the the tailbone to actually move back as the head comes through. By lying down, the tailbone does not have enough wiggle room and can even break or damage your baby's brain.

May 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentereva

Very moving post. I admire your strength in being able to share your story, and I am glad your baby is okay. I found your post looking for any information regarding advocacy of mothers rights. I am 34 weeks pregnant with my 5th child. I was told that my baby is presenting breech and we should schedule a c-section. I understand that there are circumstances that would make this a life or death matter, but I have what they call 'birthin' hips', and I am very confident that pushing the baby out won't be a problem. I will take into consideration all of my doctors advice, but how do I avoid the unecessary c-section once I'm at the hospital? I have been looking everywhere online for any law that protects my decesion, but I have not been successful. Maybe I don't know how to look, but as the time goes by I am having more and more anxiety attacks, nightmares, not being able to eat right...all kinds of problems. Since your experience, have you been given any resources regarding your rights? I live in Kansas, and the only thing I've really found regarding the law has to do with a mother in Florida.

Again, I just wanted to say how much I admire your bravery laboring as long as you did in what must have been terrible pain. Good luck in whatever you decide to do in the future! If you are able to post what you find out, that would be helpful to many women.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B.

Just wanted to let you know, although it looks like I'm late to the bandwagon, I too have an 'abnormal' tailbone. Before my 1st birth my tailbone jutted so far towards the front not only could it be felt by internal examination (first internal my midwife did she exclaimed 'wow, is that your tailbone?) But it even got in the way of husband/wife pursuits. 1st baby was a severe shoulder dystocia (although everyone had assured me it was the last thing that would happen because my out-of-normal-place bones were so moble, midwife could push my tailbone out of the way with one finger and external pressure on my hips was enough to flex open the birth canal) I did lots of chiropractic work during my 2nd pregnancy and my 8lb13oz baby was born in less than 4 hours and in 3 pushes! It's possible your tailbone got in the way, but that BY NO MEANS means it will get in the way next time! Good luck!

May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJespren

Your cervix can definitely close up. I had a very long labor at home and transfered to the hospital when I was too tired to go on. The midwife checked me before we left at 8cm, then said something about possibly delivering in the car. I swear I could feel it close up, because there was no way I was delivering in the car. When the nurse checked me at the hospital about an hour later, I was barely 5cm. Dilation has a lot to do with being able to relax. A rough exam, a rude doctor, any number of things can stall or even reverse dilation.

I'm sorry about your traumatic experience, no one should be treated with such disrespect.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Reading you story was incredible. I thought I was the only woman to ever go through this.
I had my first child through c-section due to failer-to-progress. Does that sound familiar to anyone? It seems to be every doctors excuse these days for their need for c-section. It starts with pictcine to "get things moving" but actually makes the labor harder and puts more unnatural pressure on the baby. Anyway I went 4 days past due and they decided to send me in for an induction. After going in on a thursday morning my labor didnt actually start until friday late morning. i had finally dilated to 9cm and it was all back labor. they had me lay down in the normal hospital position. on my back. They had me pushing, then it was "failure to progress" the baby wont come any further, "get her in to the OR we need to do a C-section". My baby was 9lb 6 ounces. I was happy my baby was finally here but, I still wondered if i could have done it if I would have started labor on my own. With my second baby I was determined to have a home birth, a v-bac all natural. I did not want the whole hospital scene, the nurses coming in at odd hours while we are trying to recover and poking me and my baby for unneccesary tests, and i definitely dont want my baby rushed away at birth, I want her with me in my arms the second after birth. I contacted a midwife and got all my supplies for having a homebirth. the closer the duedate got i was getting pre labor and good hard contractions but i was not dialating This went on for weeks. I was about 3 weeks overdue and my midwife checked me and said i was about 60% but still not dialated. i went back a few days later, she said the baby is engaged and was able to feel her head. we were hopeful maybe this is finally it. It's coming soon. at my next visit the baby had floated back up. It was frustarting I had to go in to the hospital for fear of running out of fluid from the amount of timme she spent inside ovedue.
. I had to go in for an emergency c-section. there was almost no fluid left with the baby. the sergon assured me that i made the right choice, i was still very upset. This is not the way i wanted to go, this is not where i wanted to end up again. but i was here. I know my baby was in danger from low fluid but the sergon said while he was in there gtting her out he felt my tailbone and there is no way i could have pushed her out. I am not sure but, i think there is not was to see my tailbone from the inside. If that is the case then why did I push with my first baby? why did she engage? Will an e-ray really tell you if you have an able tailbone?

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Hi Sam--

Your story doesn't sound like you were experiencing fear, just a normal reaction to a discouraging labor. It's kind of gutsy (i.e. rude) for commenters who don't know you and weren't there to say that the cervix reversed because of "fear." It's much more logical to say the reversal happened because the baby was still floating and not applying pressure to the cervix even after AROM, multiple days of labor, and laboring in an upright position and moving around.

I had a similar experience 10 years ago. While my cervix didn't reverse itself, my baby moved up at the end of pregnancy. Background: my first c/s was for breech. With my second I attempted an HBAC with an experienced midwife. I read every page of the Midwife Archives, ordered the Optimal Fetal Positioning book (before spinningbabies was a thing), read my mom's maternal nursing textbook, ordered a fetoscope and determined my baby's position myself, and faithfully did the OFP exercises during the last trimester and labor. Despite all this, baby was at a lower station at 38 weeks than he was at 41.5 weeks after 2 days of labor. He actually moved up. That's not the way it is supposed to work! We transported to the hospital and had a c-section (skipped the pitocin because I would rather have the repeat c/s than increase risk of rupture).

Even though my baby hadn't engaged, his head had started to mould, just to get under the pubic bone. The long stress to get under the pubic bone led to an injury to my symphesis pubis, and I spent a lot of the next pregnancy on crutches because walking was so painful because of that injury.

My midwife had a 2% c-section rate, so I'm confident that mine was necessary. He was posterior, and had (and has) a huge head, so all of that played a part as well.

My next baby went up at the end of the pregnancy too. She was at station -1 at 37 weeks and -3 at 40 weeks. I opted for an elective repeat at 40 weeks. And she was only 6 pounds...but my kids do have huge heads and I am short and have a small build.

CPD happens. It's a shame that the NCB community doesn't listen to stories like ours. I totally believed that CPD was a myth. You buy in and pour so much effort into natural childbirth, and then when it doesn't work out for you because of dumb luck, there's no support. Your story is viewed as threatening to the party line, so you are ignored or given crap amateur psychoanalysis about how "fear" caused your problems. And it's hard to find out information and compare stories. Nature isn't perfect, sad to say.

I think the story of your labor fits with what the OB is telling you. An x-ray might give you some information. Is there anyone who actually does pelvimetry anymore?

What to do with another pregnancy? Is this your first or second c-section? Do you know if the baby was malpositioned? I think the operative report would say if the baby was posterior. Maybe the positioning exercises could help. Can't hurt, anyway.

For my third pregnancy, I "pretended" to want another VBAC with the OB who did the second section, mainly because I wanted the baby to be born at 40 weeks instead of 38-39 (when my OB did elective repeats). I know many don't recommend vaginal exams at the end of pregnancy, but if your experience is like mine, they can give you information that can help you make a decision for next time. Through that I found out that history was repeating itself, and that helped me in my decision. I still developed a birth plan, and things that were important to me (not having my arms tied down, seeing and touching the baby right after the birth) were followed at the birth.

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Check out this article from Midwifery Today: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/truecdp.asp. A similar birth experience; and similar crap reactions ("she couldn't have the baby because of fear") from people who weren't there.

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

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