I really, really, really did not want to be induced.
Why did I fear induction so much? The first time around, because I knew pitocin contractions could be more intense than natural contractions (and I had hoped to give birth without an epidural). This time, I was pretty anxious about facing childbirth again, so I figured if it was similar to the first time, at least I would know what to expect. I already knew water birth wasn’t an option, but I thought if I went into labor on my own, labored at home for as long as I could, etc etc – it would be less overwhelming and scary. Plus, I worried being induced would feel like something was being done TO me instead of something I was fully participating in.
Because Gabe was born on his due date, I figured I didn’t really need to worry about it this time. This entire pregnancy was so different from Gabe’s, however, so I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to be a week past my due date and facing the very real possibility of induction.
I had discussed being overdue with my OB several months ago and she assured me that I could go up to 42 weeks before being induced, that I would just need non-stress tests and ultrasounds to monitor my amniotic fluid level and make sure all was well. WELL. That did not happen. I basically put into a position where I was made to feel like I was choosing between the well-being of my child and going into labor naturally. It was awful. I was blindsided and didn’t ask as many questions as I should have. (People pleaser problems, party of one.)
I left that appointment with sunglasses on because I knew I’d be crying before we got to the car. I sobbed and sobbed. It sounds silly, but I was so frustrated with the way the medical professionals treated me, so scared of being induced, and so sad to lose that chance at going into labor on my own. I didn’t realize how important it was to me until it was taken away. I was frustrated with my body for not being able to turn the contractions I’d been having into actual labor and I was frustrated with my doctor for not trusting my body.
I asked to wait until the morning to be induced, hoping to get more sleep and a little more time to gather my thoughts. I had tried everything to avoid induction – from acupressure and acupuncture to eating spicy food and walking every day.
The night before my induction, I prepared myself. I read positive stories about induction and journaled and tried to reframe it as a choice I was making for the birth. I thought of all the GOOD reasons I would make the choice – the baby would be born before Mike had to start his job! It was going to be born before July 1st – so the medical residents were more experienced! I didn’t have to worry constantly about my baby being okay! My body has done this before, maybe all I needed was a pinch of Pitocin and it’d snap into labor!
We talked about how our birth plan would change (it was basically – let me move around a lot, don’t do a ton of cervical checks, I want to labor in the warm water tub, I’ll let you know if I want pain meds) and got a good night sleep (thanks to Benadryl).
The next morning, my parents came bright and early to take Gabe and we drove to the hospital. I think I cried again. I was so very nervous. I was sad to be walking into the labor and delivery ward NOT in pain. “This is not how this is supposed to happen!” I whispered to Mike. He squeezed my hand.
We checked in and they assigned us to a room. We asked to be in a room with a tub. I was really hoping I could just get the labor started with Pitocin, then labor on my own. The room wasn’t available for about an hour or two, so we got started in another room.
And we got so lucky because the resident we saw? Was the husband of a friend from my moms club. And I had actually taken his daughter’s photos last fall. He and his wife have had a few home births, so I figured he’d be great about letting me labor like I wanted to.
(The entire labor, I was very honest with the residents and nurses about how much I did NOT want to be induced. Not to the point of complaining to them or anything, of course.)
The two residents (my friend’s husband and another woman) checked me, gave me a Bishop score of 8, and went over my birth plan with me. They were really supportive of all of my desires (though I told them of course I understood things changed a little since I was being induced – like an IV with pitocin would be happening instead of a heplock) and most of the birth plan was standard at the hospital (like post-birth baby on my chest, delaying all tests or performing them with the baby on me, rooming in, etc etc.) which is why I chose that hospital.
Also, because the food was delicious and the rooms were beautiful:
I asked them if we could start low and slow with the Pitocin, since I was so sure my body would kick into labor once it got a jumpstart. They agreed and ended up giving me almost too much decision-making power in the end.
All hooked up and stuff. Look how puffy and tired I am. And how I wanted to wear my own clothes, which always makes me feel a little less hospital-y.
Around 11 am, they finally started my Pitocin and got me hooked up on the telemetry monitors (so I could walk around) that made my belly look truly freaky (it was like a tube top with monitors underneath):
Mike and I had talked about Pitocin and we both confessed that we expected it to kind of be like The Machine from The Princess Bride. Pure and instant torture! Terrible! Etc.
And I’ll finish telling you about it another day because I’ve already reached 1000 words and nobody has time to read this except maybe other pregnant women who are overdue and have too much time on their hands.
(I feel you, overdue women. I made a changing pad and a quilt with my extra time: )