It's Ambien Time – A Labor Story

~ by Kim Luckabaugh

I was 40 weeks along with my firstborn and a soon to be mother. I had a lot of pre-term problems and was ready to force this kid out if necessary. Actually, I told him that his lease was up! The OB thought I would be going into labor soon and wanted me to be well-rested before it happened. So, she prescribed Ambien.

Now, Ambien is normally a safe and gentle sleeping medication. She told me that I would sleep well, not wake up groggy and would NOT sleep through labor. She was right. I slept well and didn't wake up groggy. But I didn't go into labor either. Then to make it really interesting, I had to experience a one-of-a-kind response to the drug. Here's how it happened...


Bedtime was approaching. So, I took my first (and only) pill. Pretty soon, I started feeling really fuzzy headed. I decided to head to the bathroom before I went to bed. Now, I have never been drunk or "buzzed" in my life (no, I'm not lying!) but it must feel something like this!

Dan remembers me giggling like a loon and stumbling to the bathroom. I was so "tipsy" that I needed his help getting there. Then he helped me back to bed, I leaned against him and felt things spinning. He got up for a glass of water and I fell on my face while sitting on the bed. It was so weird and quickly grew weirder.

I started hallucinating. Yes, you read correctly. A sleeping aid made me hallucinate! We laugh about all this now. But Dan became really concerned when he heard me talking about all the pretty colors, seeing Persian rug designs, a Taj Mahal-like structure and little munchkins fresh from the Wizard of Oz. They were standing behind downed trees in a forest.

And yet somehow through all of this, when he asked me for my doctor's phone number, I was able to spit it out from memory. My doctor called him back really fast! He explained the situation to which she soberly replied, "That's not good." Dan was left with instructions to watch me carefully and was told that I should fall asleep soon. If I did not fall asleep soon, he was to call her back. I did, so he didn't have to.

I woke up easily the next morning, and we promptly flushed the rest of the pills. Andrew was born a week later, after being induced. He's now an active five year old with more energy than I can handle.

I know my "drug trip" will be a funny story for him when he's older. We'll continue to laugh about it when he's asked, "What would surprise us the most to know about you?" I can hear people's gasps now when he tells them, "My mom went on a medicinally- induced drug trip before I was born." I'd love to be a fly on the wall when those times come!