Once admitted, we declined the epidural and pitocin but agreed to try some stadol. I thought that if I could just relax a bit, that might be enough to move me off the plateau I was stuck on. The stadol was awful. I’m not a fan of that floaty, out-of-body feeling and I was so freaked out by it, I wasn’t able to let myself relax very much. When the Stadol wore off, my contractions were much stronger but I had dilated less than another cm. At that point, I hadn't slept in over 24 hours so I agreed to a low-level epidural in hopes I could get some rest. M and I went into our plan for natural childbirth knowing we really wanted it and were committed, but also that if I was so wiped out by the time I needed to push and I ended up with a c-section, it would all be in vain. I was disappointed to have reached the point where we felt it was needed, but it so clearly seemed like the only option. The epidural didn’t hurt at all and within a half hour or so, I was feeling a lot more comfortable. I asked them to keep the level low, and an hour or so in, I asked them to turn it down more. I didn’t want to be too numb to push when the time came. At this level, it made the pain tolerable but not enough that I could sleep through a contraction. I mostly just listened to music and did breathing exercises as the hours crawled by.
After I’d been on the epidural for a couple of hours, they checked me again and found I still wasn’t progressing much. We finally consented to pitocin on the condition they would start it on the lowest dose and turn it off if it ever seemed that my body was kicking into gear.