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My son's birth and my moment of truth

My moment of truth came as I became a mother for the first time. When I went into labor spontaneously on my due date and excitedly drove with my husband to the hospital, I was met with Pitocin augmentation and an epidural. The physician on-call told me that I was "lucky" that he had some variable decelerations in his heart rate in triage, or else he would have sent me home. I wasn't informed of the risks of Pitocin or other interventions they performed like artificially rupturing the membranes. I was just along for the ride. After 7 hours on Pitocin my son's heart rate plummeted and we were rushed into the OR for a cesarean. He was born perfectly pink and healthy at 9lbs. My OB told me that it wasn't likely that I'd ever be able to have a vaginal birth because "once you have a big baby, they almost always get bigger!" I spiraled into a deep and dark depression and was unable to bond with my son. Our nursing relationship suffered. I had no idea that the birth experience would mean so much to me. When he was 8 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. I realized that this was my chance to take control of my body, my care and the way I was treated in my pregnancy and birth to make everything right. I immersed myself into research about VBAC and CPD and educated myself before I even went to my first appointment. There was no way I was just going to go along for the ride this time. I stopped watching those baby shows on TV and I started sharing my story with anyone who would listen. My second son was born after a quick and exciting 4 hour labor weighing 7lbs even. 3 years later we had a daughter, and just this March we added another son, born at home under the care of midwives. My births have been healing and empowering because I was educated and informed and knew that I deserved providers that respected me. They knew that I was informed about my options in pregnancy and birth and they supported me in trusting my body. My moment of truth came when I realized that I was in control of my body and my health care. My children and I are healthier for it.

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