A scheduled induction can feel a little bit like a let-down after months of planning for all the uncertainties of labor. You've envisioned the fast-paced race to the hospital (like you've seen in the movies) and has contemplated a number of scenarios. Then, for necessary medical reasons, your doctor has decided you need an induction. Don't despair: now you're free to plan a couple of things before your big day. In fact, here are quite a few things every mom should do before getting induced because, now, some things (not many, but some) are actually within her control.
My first born was a week late and, because I had gestational diabetes, my doctor decided that I was a good candidate for a scheduled induction. Oddly enough, even though I love being able to plan my life and get pretty freaked out by emergency situations, I felt a little robbed of the cinematic birth experience I thought I was supposed to have. I guess a part of me had been craving the drama of a frantic car ride from our home to the hospital.
The day before I was supposed to be induced, however, my water broke. (well, it was more of a leak, really) and I ended up being induced a day earlier than planned. Still, I had made sure to get a whole lot done before my induction date, to give me peace of mind for when I would eventually come home from the hospital. After all, I knew that being induced could heighten my risk for a cesarean (and guess what, I ended up needing a c-section). I was glad I did things like clean the house, make sure my dog had someone to take care of him, and change the sheets, to make for a slightly easier transition home a week later.
Eat A Real Meal
Once you've been admitted to the hospital for induction, you probably won't be allowed to eat anything more than a few ice chips. Nothing is more terrifying to a pregnant woman than the prospect of not being allowed to eat. I was so nervous the morning that we drove to the hospital that I couldn't stomach more than a few Cheerios and a couple of bites of a Larabar. Luckily, the night before I had enjoyed a solid takeout meal (though I admit, if I could do it again, I would have opted for something less greasy).
For some first-time moms, whom I refer to as Magical Unicorns, labor is a quick one-two-push and they're done affair (P.S. I hate them. Not really, but you know what I mean). But for women like me, I had the pitocin, followed by the epidural, followed a very long 24 hours of barely anything happening at all to my cervix except a lot of poking and prodding by nurses and doctors. I was starving. I can only imagine how hangry I would have been had I not eaten a good dinner the night before.
When you come home from the hospital with your baby, you'll be returning with all kinds of hospital paraphernalia that you hadn't even considered. Half of this stuff isn't even for the baby, its for you. Super extra long maxi pads, mesh underwear, wee wee pads for your bleeding nether regions, and witch hazel pads, just to name a few.
Oh, and that's not even the half of it, because you also now have the actual real live baby, all of that baby stuff that hopefully is assembled, a million baby presents, and soon you will be receiving visitors (also bearing gifts). So it is probably a good idea to get rid of any extraneous clutter before you get induced, and do a thorough tidy as well, because you will not have time for that crap when you return home with your newborn. Trust me. I know.
Change Your Sheets
From where you lie — in the narrow hospital bed with its too-thin pillows and scratchy sheets that have seen all kinds of horrors you would rather not know about — you will be dreaming about your wonderful, clean, and cozy bed. How about guaranteeing your bed be clean by changing your sheets (or having your partner do it, because you can't bend over your body far enough to tuck in fitted sheets anymore) before you go in for your induction?
Try To Have Your Last Decent Night of Sleep
Yeah, I know. You couldn't be more pregnant if you tried, so a good night's sleep seems like an impossibility what with that belly the size of Texas. As a result, you can't wait to have that baby so you can finally get some rest.
Well, I'm probably not the first to tell you, but you're not going to sleep when that baby arrives. The uncomfortable sleep you're enduring right now? It's still way better than the sleep you are about to get when you bring home a baby. Unless, of course, you have one of those fantastic moms or mother-in-laws who plan to take your baby off your hands at night for the next couple of weeks. Then, sure, you'll sleep.
Get A Manicure (Or Whatever Your Beauty Thing Is)
I was really into manicures during my pregnancy. Having gone so often, I probably should have opted for the natural kind with the no formaldehyde or harmful ingredients for my developing fetus, but I don't think that was on offer in the particular neighborhood where we lived at the time.
Before I was scheduled to be induced, I made sure to have a nice manicure lest my child come into this world, take one look at my ragged cuticles and be like, "Oh, hell no" and run off with some other mom. Self-care tends to fall by the wayside after baby, so I think it's important to do whatever makes you feel taken care of before your scheduled induction. You likely won't be able to get around to an eyebrow wax, manicure, hair cut, knitting class, etc. for a while.
Set Up Care For Your Pets
You may think that your partner will be able to go home at night and feed Fido, but what if (and I'm not saying this to freak anyone out, but it is a what-if) stuff goes down in the hospital and your partner's presence is required?
You might need your partner to stay overnight or a few nights, depending on the situation. It is probably a good idea to have a backup plan for the care of your pets. We were lucky because we were living with family at the time, so they were able to feed our dog. We also hired a local teen from the neighborhood to walk him for the week, because we knew my husband would be back and forth between home and the hospital. With the possibility of a c-section, it could be anywhere from a few days to a week.
Do One More Once Over On That Hospital Bag
Now is a good time to make sure you have absolutely everything you need. It is not the end of the world if you forget something. Unless you live in a place that is far from civilization, there is likely a drugstore nearby where you can get your essentials, or, you can send someone home to grab the thing you cannot live without.
However, it is nice to feel the peace of mind knowing you have all the comforts of home you intended to bring with you and a scheduled induction means you don't have to rush to the hospital in an emergency situation.
Pack The Dumbest Reading Material and Your Favorite Movies
It is very likely going to be a long night. My induction took forever to make any significant action happen in my cervix. So I stocked up on the dumbest magazines to get me through the rest of the day and night, and streamed my all-time favorite movie, Labyrinth, followed by random episodes of My So Called Life.
Resist The Urge To Consult The Internet At This Point
It is really, really tempting to go to the interwebs when you're at that ho-hum-when-the-heck-will-I-not-be-pregnant-anymore point of pregnancy. I understand the urge to Google every possible birth scenario you can think of. Try to resist, especially in the days leading up to your induction. These are your last few days of rest before you-know-what hits the fan. The internet and all the message boards that lurk within are not your friend right now.
I spent a lot of time I'll never get back staring at my iPad until the a.m. hours and freaking out about what strangers had to say about their own horrifying birth experiences. Reading these stories did not prepare me any more for my labor and I would honestly have been better off sleeping, or at least watching reruns of Bob's Burgers.