Funny story: I might be induced today. I'm a bit nervous, but this isn't my first rodeo. The first time I was induced, my water ended up breaking on the bathroom floor while they were admitting me. I guess my daughter was ready. The second time was more traditional, but due to some communication snafus I didn't get what I needed and often felt like I was in the dark. Honestly, there are things a person shouldn't have to ask for when she's getting induced.
My second induction was scheduled by the maternal fetal specialist I had been seeing for six weeks due to preeclampsia. He accidentally forgot to inform my midwives' office that it was happening. He had told my midwife, who unluckily for me, was out of town that day so labor and delivery checked me in and then I waited. They came in periodically to check my blood pressure and make sure the monitors were working (do they ever stay in the right places?), but it wasn't until late afternoon that they told me that no one was actually coming to induce me. WTAF? I cried and told them to get a midwife or someone from maternal fetal medicine there, because I was supposed to deliver. I may have been a bit prickly to the on-call midwife, but after literally waiting there for 10 hours, do you blame me? Fast forward through a night of no sleep, back labor, and eventually a beautiful epidural and birth, and 20 hours later I was holding a beautiful baby.
Now that I have been through labor twice, I have a better sense of how things ideally go. Barring medical complications, I am hoping that all of the following are provided this time, without me even having to ask.
I want to know the plan, timeline, drugs used, people involved, what I need to do, and how they hope things will go. In order to provide informed consent for medical care, I need information.
Being in labor sucks and being induced means an IV, continuous monitoring, limited movement, and a whole lot of waiting. I want to be as comfortable as possible. That means I need to know how to get an extra blanket, work the T.V., when and if I can order food and how and when I can have my damn epidural.
Speaking of food, please let me know when I can eat, and please warn me beforehand if there's a point after which it's dangerous to eat. I plan on stopping for snacks on my way to hospital, and I refuse to not eat for more than a day, while pushing a human baby out of my vagina, unless there's a damn good reason.
I want my husband, nurses, and OB-GYN to provide me with the right balance of medicine and support, information, and reassurance. My induction doesn't have to be scary and it will be a heck of a lot easier with your support.
To Hear About Pain Management Options
I want all of the information on the front end about what is available and when. What can I have? Is there a timeline? Can I get an epidural right away, before induction, or do I have to wait? Is there a cutoff time? What else can I have in the meantime. What are the benefits and risks?
To Be Heard
I am a person, not just a patient. I want to be heard and have my questions answered. When possible, I would like my wishes followed, but if there's a good reason why you can't do that, I want to know that, too.
To Be Left Alone
Induction for me was the longest day imaginable punctuated by people coming in frequently to check on me, poke me, wake me and otherwise annoy the heck out of me. My husband was bored, too, and had a habit of acting like a toddler who needed to be entertained. At one point, I asked if I could be alone, for just a few minutes, to meditate and achieve some calm.
Speaking of being alone, I really need the hospital to be willing to keep everyone unnecessary out of the room, unless I ask. I know that other people are excited and scared, too, but I am not just a person. I am your patient.
Updates On Baby
I also need to know how my baby is doing, especially if there's a problem. I may freak out, but I need to be informed on how they are doing and if I need to make any decisions or consent to procedures to help make sure they are born healthy.
Updates On Labor
I really need to know how things are progressing and how that might impact our game plan. I say, "our" plan, because I believe that patients and providers are partners in medicine. We are in this together, and I deserve to know what's happening with my body.