Read Janet's story and learn from the Lamaze childbirth educator's comments that follow.
When I went to my regular OB appointment, the baby was a week late and I had been having contractions for several days. Unfortunately, I was still only "pinpoint" dilated. My OB offered to induce labor that day. I was very anxious and impatient to have my baby in my arms, and my husband looked so excited about the prospect. So I agreed, against my better judgment.
We walked downstairs to the hospital and checked in. The nurse applied a prostaglandin gel to my cervix, and we waited. By that night I still hadn't dilated any more, so they began inducing contractions and connected me to a fetal monitor, which meant I couldn't get out of bed.
By noon the next day I had dilated only three centimeters. My contractions were very strong and regular, and I wanted to move around, but I couldn't because of the fetal monitor. Until this point, I had refused pain medication. Suddenly I started having sharp pains between contractions. The contractions actually felt good compared to this pain. The nurse offered an epidural and this time I took it. She measured me again before the anesthesiologist arrived, and I was eight centimeters! She called the anesthesiologist to tell him to hurry. She also turned off the IV.
By the time the anesthesiologist got there I was at nine centimeters, and they rushed to get the epidural going. I had heard horror stories of how painful it was to get an epidural, but they positioned me on the birth ball and I didn't feel any pain. In fact, the birth ball relieved so much pressure, I wished I had been able to spend more of my labor on it.