Here’s how my first delivery went down after “therapeutic rest” on 2 Ambien:
My husband and I showed up to the hospital (the first time) around 2:00 am. Contractions were about 10 minutes apart and I was starting to get really uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I had not progressed from my doctor’s appointment earlier that day, so they weren’t able to admit me (even when I was already dilated to 3 cm and my membrane had been striped). So, they gave me a couple options; I could stay and walk the halls to try to speed up the progress naturally (which many of my friends had done and didn’t recommend) or I could take 2 Ambien, go home and get some sleep. Since we hadn’t slept and they made it sound like I had a day or two before my daughter’s debut, I decided to take the Ambien.
Oh my goodness, was that a mistake! I went into active labor shortly after taking the medication, probably because it relaxed me so much – a little too much! I would wake up with awful contractions – like active labor contractions, then would just fall back into a deep sleep. Oh, and then the hallucinations! I was seeing trees in my bedroom! WTF?! Then, around 6:00 am, I started pushing uncontrollably. That’s when my husband dragged me out of bed and took me back to the hospital.
As he wheeled me into Labor and Delivery, my water broke – like something straight out of a movie! When they checked me, I was already dilated to 9 cm! In my cloudy haze, I remembered knowing there was a cut off time to receive an epidural. I was still kind of on the fence about getting one, but they took that as me wanting one, so the anesthesiologist arrived instantly. Thankfully another side effect of the epidural was it slowing down delivery – which gave our family enough time to make it there just in time for the arrival of baby girl!
Still feeling like I was in a dream, I stopped to give myself a little pep-talk before I started pushing. As I shook my head to help wake myself up – “look alive, Ashley, you don’t want to miss the birth of your daughter” kept running through my mind. Luckily, it worked, but how I managed to push a baby out while I was half-asleep and completely numb is beyond me!
When she arrived (at 10:04 am), it was the most amazing experience! Nothing quite prepares you for the moment you first see your child. And watching my husband hold her for the first time, made me fall in love with him all over again. An overwhelming love like you’ve never known before is the only way to describe what happened.
Fast forward 20 months, when I was back in the hospital the second time around for the birth of my son, I could hear nurses prescribing 2 Ambien (aka “therapeutic rest”) left and right. Seriously, they were handing the stuff out like it was candy! Evidently their thinking is that it helps you rest and relax when you’re contracting annoyingly, but your cervix isn’t changing. Okay, but, 2 Ambien seems a bit drastic! I wanted to shout; “Don’t take it, ladies!”, but I managed to restrain myself, knowing full well that it wasn’t appropriate nor my place to voice my opinion on the matter.
In retrospect, I think taking the Ambien was both a blessing and a curse. It was beneficial in that it kept me ridiculously calm (and surprisingly very pleasant) during such a painful, anxiety-provoking experience. However, on the other hand, it relaxed me too much, to the point of me almost not making it to the hospital and sleeping the birth of my daughter!
So, if you’re prescribed “therapeutic rest” with 2 Ambien, maybe consider none at all or taking just 1 – that second pill will just completely knock you out, and trust me, you don’t want to miss the birth of your child!