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  • Missing Plan B: An Unexpectedly Complicated Labor and Delivery
  • Elizabeth Tillinger

I had a somewhat normal pregnancy; spotting during first trimester sent me to the doctor twice in a panic, a few times I was put on bed rest, and one false contraction episode, but all turned out with nothing abnormal. I gained about 145lbs during my pregnancy (I didn’t think much about the weight gain as I come from a big/heavier set family) but both baby and my health checked out ok, no concerns from my doctor. My weight gain was never a concern with my doctor or a real topic either. In my last trimester my doctor tested me to “check a few things” and I was told I was border line pre–eclampsia, and that baby was ok. That was the one and only conversation that ever came up during my visits. I was right on target to have a typical 7 pound baby boy. The topic of delivering a large baby was never discussed even after my weight gain, so I was never worried that my delivery would go any different than a “typical” birth. My husband and I went to all the doctor visits and took all the classes. We read numerous books, and listened to all the advice but nothing prepared me for what would happen if things went bad.

It was a hot summer in July and I was 2 days past my due date. As I said, I was 145 pounds heavier, and about 2 centimeters dilated. It was discussed and determined at my last doctor’s appointment about a week earlier that I could be induced or wait a few more days to see if any more progress happened because everything looked good for both baby and me. I told my doctor to schedule the induction, so it was planned that I get induced at [End Page 198] 6:30 a.m. the following week. We went over a game plan of starting the medication and getting an epidural if necessary and that I wanted a natural/vaginal birth. When we got to the hospital I got showed to my room and was told to put on the gown and they would start the medication after getting vitals. They started the medication with all looking good but after a few hours of little contractions and not getting further along with dilation they said they would break my water to move things along. The doctor broke my water and the contractions started fierce and often, to where I could not catch my breath—that’s when I opted to get an epidural.

The anesthesiologist came in, introduced himself, and injected the epidural in my back and said that should take the pain away. I was able to relax, the nurses would come in and check me over saying I was moving along and getting more dilated. After a few more hours the nurse said I was fully dilated and ready to push and they called for the doctor. About 2 hours of pushing later you could start to see the head but no more than that. The doctor said he would try suction but it kept popping off and he could not fit forceps to help. I tried pushing more when I started to feel pain, I looked over and my IV came undone somehow so the epidural was wearing off just as the doctor took scissors and cut me to try and free the head. I told the doctor I could feel everything and that’s when they noticed the tube for the epidural came apart so the nurse rushed over and got it together. When the doctor cut me, he did not say what was going on and it did not help as only the top of my baby’s head was still free even with me pushing. The nurse kept telling the doctor numbers and said our vitals and heartrate were fine. The doctor told me the baby was stuck and they were going to have to take him.

I had no idea what that meant so I said “no I want to push”, the doctor looked...


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pp. 198-200
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