I recently re-read the birth story I wrote after my first daughter was born. My labor was augmented with pitocin because my water had broken and I wasn’t progressing. If I had had a doula, I think I could have avoided the intervention, but that’s another story.
I wrote: “So she started the pitocin. I hated the pitocin. I hated what it did to me.”
Now, three and a half years and boatloads of wisdom later, those words spoke to me. As a labor doula, I often tell my clients that I KNOW they can handle their labor. That a mother’s contractions are not stronger than she is…they ARE her. She is doing it. Her body is working. The strength of the contractions is her own. Contractions brought by Pitocin are entirely another story. Induction is done to you. Augmentation is done to you. It is not something coming from within you, it is being forced upon you. I think this knowledge can make forced contractions even harder to manage. Sure, they are more painful, but there’s that out of control feeling that accompanies them. While there the rare situation that warrants the use of Pitocin, it is more often than not unnecessarily administered. We all know the stress it puts on the baby and the snowball of interventions it can set in motion. And though, in my case, I was able to avoid further intervention, I think we must also consider this a side-effect of Pitocin:
The scar that it leaves on a woman’s birth when she feels that control was taken from her, and labor forced upon her.
– Renee Wymer