I’d always looked down on inductions. Sure, if you needed them for medical reasons, you needed them, but I never saw them as ideal. And I had heard of all of the risks the crunchy community likes to circulate about them: according to some midwives, an increased chance of a c-section, fetal distress, uterine rupture, a link to ADHD, less breastfeeding possibility, and an increased anxiety, according to MidwifeThinking.com all stemmed from having a planned induction. As a card-carrying hippie, I knew all this, and more. I sneered at the idea of having a planned induction electively, and I believed, foolishly, that the vast majority of inductions were elective. I never would've guessed my best birth would be a planned induction.
I developed gestational diabetes with my third pregnancy. And not a little bit, either. I come from a family of diabetics, and I was on horse-killing amounts of insulin: some of the highest doses the nurses had ever seen. I had to inject myself with an old-fashioned needle four times a day, like Stacey McGill from The Babysitters’ Club. I gained weight like I was on steroids; I added 100 pounds to my 5’6" frame throughout the course of my third pregnancy.
My OB, Dr. B, was the hippie, crunchy one in our town. She’s down with most anything, as long as it’s safe. I’m also lucky enough to call her a friend. She delivered my first baby as well, and I'd all but lost track of her until she showed up at a baby-wearing meeting, son in tow. She’s a good doctor, and if she ends up giving you a c-section, it's because you needed it. She probably has some of the lowest section rates in the state, in fact. She saved me from one with my first son when the head resident wanted to cut me open. I trust her totally. “If you cut me open,” I would always say to her, “I needed to be cut open.” “Damn right,” she’d say, and we’d both laugh.
I played on my phone while I dilated to 10 centimeters. Then, it was time to have a baby. I pushed less than 10 times, and pop! My son was born into my friend’s hands. That was magical, to have your friend catch your baby.
So when I started getting close to 40 weeks, we started talking about what to do. Most OBs, my best friend included, would have induced me at 38 weeks as a matter of course. Not Dr. B. She asked what I wanted to do if I went beyond my due date. I knew induction was the general course, so I went home and read the literature on going past your due date with gestational diabetes. And that's when I found myself saying what I thought I never would: “Let’s induce.”
We picked a date when Dr. B would be on call for the birth, which was coincidentally the night of Halloween. My mom came down to stay with my older sons, and we decamped from home on the 30 of October for our second solo overnight since kids (the first happened when our second son was born). They gave me Cervidil, and I went to sleep. When the nurses woke me at 7 a.m. with “time to have a baby!” I was only 3 cm.
Dr. B arrived. We decided to break my water and see if it helped speed things up. I elected to get an epidural early, before I felt any pain from contractions. Because if I had the chance to have a totally pain-free birth, I thought, why not? The epidural was the worst part. It took them several agonizing stabs to get it in, and it was still mildly uneven. My husband and I spent the day hanging out while I drank orange juice regularly to keep my blood sugar up. Because breaking my water didn’t work, so Dr. B and I decided to start Pitocin. Slowly, slowly, the Pit took effect. I played on my phone while I dilated to 10 centimeters. Then, it was time to have a baby. I pushed less than 10 times, and pop! My son was born into my friend’s hands. That was magical, to have your friend catch your baby. I’m so grateful the first hands to touch my son were loving hands who won’t walk away, but who'll watch him grow up and be a part of his life.
And he screamed. Oh, he screamed. He wailed immediately and loudly, and he didn’t shut up until I latched him onto my breast. Dr. B delivered my placenta, which I don’t remember, and stitched me up, which I don’t remember either, because the epidural had me feeling no pain. I was able to breastfeed through the entire experience. We didn’t stop for at least an hour. Then, my husband took our son so I could stand up and pee, which I did immediately, though the epidural took a long time to wear off completely, and I needed help walking.
I’ve had three births. The first started with a midwife and turned into a three-day marathon saved only by Dr. B. The second delivery was precipitous, lasting only a few hours from hospital admission to birth (before which I was denied an epidural, since my doctor wasn’t there, until about three minutes before the baby was born, which by then I didn’t need). My epidural was smooth, with none of the complications the others had. My baby was healthy.
But if I had a reason to give birth again, I’d induce. And I’d make no apologies for that. I loved it, and I'll never regret my induction.