Before I gave birth, I had a very specific idea (read: super unnecessary birth plan) of how I wanted things to go. I had a bag packed for months, filled with "essentials," that included a calming CD, a soft blanket, matching socks, books, and a bunch of baby clothes for my first child's newborn pictures. Yeah, that all went out the window when I was told I'd be induced. What I didn't realize, is that there are a bunch of things no one will tell you about being induced; things that are important for any pregnant woman to know, whether she plans on being induced or not. Luckily, I'm all for dishing about those things because, well, you deserve the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the freakin' #PregnancyProblems truth.
I was induced at the tail end of both pregnancies, down to the exact day and exactly five years a part. That wasn't part of my plan, mind you, but due to medical reasons it had to happen. What I've learned, as a result, is that most of what I plan for doesn't go the way I hope. In fact, parenthood as a whole hasn't really gone the way I'd hoped, but I digress. It's important we talk about what actually happens when an induction is scheduled, instead of just reciting pre-conceived notions about the process that really don't help anyone (and especially the pregnant woman involved). I'm here to set the labor and delivery record straight and maybe — just maybe — live vicariously through all of who who had your babies born without such a formal order of events.
On that note, here are some of the things no one will tell you about being induced that might change the way you write your birth plan (read: convince you to just throw it the hell away).
It Will Make Labor And Delivery Feel Like A Non-Event
I think because my labor was a formally scheduled event and I thought I knew how everything would proceed, it felt like no big deal. My brain didn't connect with the fact that once it was over, I'd be taking a little human back home with me. Unlike going into spontaneous labor, I didn't get that thrill of experiencing those, "My water broke!" or, "It's happening right now!" moments. Sigh.
Instead, it was more like admitting myself into the hospital to stare at the wall until everyone was ready to do this thing. It's basically like any other day, except you'll be in those awful hospital gowns that open in the back so wear your "good" undies.
An Induction Can Take Days
Once all the paperwork is in the system, you're still not having a baby. Nope. You're actually going to wait until the next shift change (in three hours) for the induction meds. Then those will take awhile to get through your body and make the contractions happen. Then the contractions will take their sweet time strengthening. Oh, and by the next day, you probably still won't have a baby.
The good news, however, is that by this time you'll be close to getting the good drugs. The bad news, though? Well, you'll have way too much time to finish your baby shower thank-you notes, squabble with your partner over dumb things, invite and kick your family out of the room, and decide you really just want to go home — all before you ever have you're little babe.
You Will Say Things You Don't Mean
Pregnancy, in general, can bring out a whole other side of women because hormones. For me, personally, this was definitely the case during the whole induction and birth because, again, hormones. Maybe if we could move things a long, I could be a lot nicer, and a lot faster, doctor.
Also, I didn't mean to call you that one really bad word when you broke my water. My bad.
They Will Deny You Food At A Certain Point
It's a basic human right to nourish your body with food to, you know, live. What you might not realize (until you're in too deep) is that during induction, there comes a definitive time when they cut off your access to the food that will give you energy to continue with the crap show that is labor and delivery.
Sure, you'll get all the ice chips you desire but if your baby plans on putting you through a 3-day labor like both of mine did, you'll need a helluva lot more than frozen water to push when they tell you to.
Your Body Might Refuse The Pitocin
If you've ever heard of the fable of the woman who needed thrice the induction meds because her body rejected all of it — here I am! I'm sorry I scared you.
If the body isn't prepared to go into labor, it might say "nope" to all the Pitocin they throw at it. Once it does work, well, that's when the real "fun" begins. Of course, when I say "fun" I mean "horror." Mood swings, contractions, water breaking, and everyone's hands touching and feeling their way up to the baby who was not ready to meet everyone is not my idea of a good time.
Sometimes Epidurals Don't Work All That Well
Here's a fun fact: Sometimes the pain medicine doesn't do a damn thing for your pain. Isn't that so fun? Science, you're the worst.
While for most, epidurals do work in easing the contraction discomfort, it didn't do squat in either of my inductions. In fact, I think I actually felt more than if I'd refused it. Plus, when you go this route, they'll put that awful catheter in you-know-where that essentially steals your dignity at an alarming rate (and burns like a mother).
Your Baby May Not Want To Come Out And Meet You
Even with Pitocin and contractions and the water breaking, your baby might still cling to you with everything they have.
While my daughter took her time down the birth canal, my son had to be shifted and pulled into the open. I can't blame them for not wanting to leave such a warm, cozy place but, you know, come on kid. If I'm going through the trouble of an induction, I've been patient enough and the 3 days of labor you're subjecting me to is entirely uncalled for. Get. Out. Now.
All That Stuff You Packed Will Not Matter. At All.
As I said, I packed an amazing bag for my hospital stays and used absolutely none of it. Once there, everything I thought would matter, didn't. My focus shifted to having a baby and/or staring at a wall (mostly staring at a wall).
In case you're thinking you might feel like painting your nails or journaling more than you had through the pregnancy, leave all that mess behind. I promise you'll wish you hadn't botched this "quiet" time once you're home with a crying baby.
You May Grieve The Loss Of The "Natural" Experience
While planning an induction has it's benefits, I will always wonder what it feels like to go into labor without all the medical help. Maybe it's not as exciting as I've thought it in my mind, but compared to all the waiting and checking while being induced, it will forever remain (to me) as nothing more than a mysterious unicorn in the sky.
Whether you're having an induction because it's what you've chosen or for medical reasons, there's always going to be some things experienced you didn't plan or prepare for. It is still hard labor. But in the end, all that matters is result of whatever route you travel — the baby. Plus, once it's over, induced or otherwise, you can ditch the lame ice chips and have all the food you want. #SilverLining