Both of my babies were so comfortable in the womb, they did not want to come out. In the last month of my pregnancy, I was a wreck. I couldn't wait to see my kids and I wanted to meet them, hold them, and hug them. My OB-GYN requires a week past due date in order to induce. So when I came in for my 40 week checkup and only 1 percent dilated, my doctor scheduled an induction. Since I was not familiar with the process, I made sure to ask all the questions before being induced.
I'll be honest, I didn't care how my babies got out as long as they got out. Both of my pregnancies were tough. Due to a heart condition, I was considered high-risk with both pregnancies. I had to take medicine that wasn't 100 percent safe in pregnancy, simply because the benefits outweighed the risks. I also had to be monitored every four weeks. Each ultrasound was met with much stress and I was constantly wondering, "Is my baby OK? Is he or she developing normally?" It was all nerve-wracking.
In addition to the heart condition, I was miserable. With both pregnancies, I was deathly ill during the first trimesters, had aversions to many foods, and every part of my body was swollen and in pain. By the middle of my third trimester, I was done. Done. I wanted these kids out. Judge me all you want, but I would have sold a good part of my soul to get them out.
Luckily, no soul selling was necessary, because my OB-GYN scheduled an induction. Of course I had hoped I would go into labor on my own and "naturally." I've taken all of the birthing classes, so I wanted to be as "natural" as possible when it came to laboring in the hospital. However, and as many moms know, plans and babies just don't go together.
"What Does It Involve?"
I made sure to ask how the entire induction process even works. What will happen to me? Apparently, each time was different.
The first time, with my daughter, I came in to the hospital around 5 a.m. and I was given a low dose of Pitocin. The levels were continuously elevated until my contractions were close enough for me to begin pushing. Sometime when I was around 5 cm dilated, I received my epidural. The doctor broke my water since it didn't break on its own, and I ended up laboring for about 15 hours.
The second time, with my son, I came in to the hospital in the evening, around 9.00 p.m. This time my cervix needed ripening, so I was given Cervidil prior to the Pitocin. I was in labor for about 15 hours. In addition the the drugs, I was constantly monitored and checked and both times I had to have internal fetal monitors.
"Will It Hurt?"
I heard that contractions during induction are way more painful than those during "natural" labor. My OB-GYN told me that Pitocin does have the potential to intensify and to speed up the contractions. So, the answer is "yes."
Since both of my deliveries relied on Pitocin, I really have nothing to compare the pain to. However, I will say that those contractions were no joke. That kind of pain cannot be described.
"Is It Safe?"
As with everything, I figured there are many risks during an induction. In fact, I signed a lot of paperwork prior to being induced. Some of the risk included over-stimulation of the uterus (because Pitocin intensifies contractions), fetal distress, drop in fetal heart rate (that actually happened with both of my kids, which is why they had to be internally monitored), and infection.
However, the risks of not inducing past the due date are also quite hefty. So, I had to choose one and I chose the induction.
"Can I Eat?"
Although I ask this question during every moment of my existence, I figured there'd be some sort of rule against eating prior to the induction. And, of course, there was. Since the risks of a c-section are always there, eating is not allowed. I was starving the entire time, and the ice chips didn't really help. (Also, I ate on my way to the hospital, because I was 41 weeks pregnant and perpetually hungry.)
"Will I Be Able To Move Around?"
Because I've taken all of these labor classes, I knew walking around is the best thing I could do to progress labor. Well, it turns out, when you're hooked up to all of these machines, you aren't walking around. I was able to use the bathroom and move around in bed, but that was the extent of my physical activity.
"When Can I Get An Epidural?"
So the first time around I was going to be all "superhero like" and forgo the epidural. That plan was totally working too, right up until I felt the pain of Pitocin contractions. I begged for an epidural. I got an epidural pretty much as soon as I asked for it, within 30 minutes.
"What's The Risk Of An Emergency C-Section?"
I've heard that when one gets induced a c-section is more likely, but my OB-GYN assured me that research no longer supports that claim. In fact, some research states that inductions actually lower the risks of c-sections. Either way, no answer seems to be definitive so I still had to ask.
I did almost end up having a c-section with my first. My daughter did not want to come down, and even at 10 cm she was still sitting pretty high up. It took almost three hours of active pushing to get her out. In the end, a c-section was unnecessary.
"Is It Necessary?"
Even though I did want the kids out as soon as possible, I was still hesitant about the need for the induction. I was wondering how much longer my OB-GYN would let me go prior to absolutely having to induce me. My doctor's practice does not allow women to go past their due dates. I was told that the risk to the fetus increases with each day past the due date, too, so I wasn't going to argue with a medical professional. In the end, I did what they said I needed to do.
Like I said earlier, I was induced both times so I have nothing to compare to. But, honestly, and as scary as it all seemed, it all turned out alright. I now have two kids who, despite being forcefully removed from my uterus, seem to be doing pretty OK. No visible emotional scarring.