Induction Story, My Firstborn
Hi. I’m Rebekah and I have had three induced deliveries. When the doctor informed me at 41 weeks of pregnancy that I might be induced, the hot fire of determination coursed through my veins. If my mother could carry all four of her children to 41 weeks or beyond, then deliver without an epidural, so could I! I’m not sure if you noticed the title of this post, but obviously, my resolve didn’t last long. Going into my first induction, I was terrified. Going into my third, I was chill. In hopes of encouraging a mom who might faced with the option or necessity of induction, here are three very different induction stories. Brace yourself for some TMI!
Head’s up, induction story one, while not terrible, is not exactly positive. I learned so much about myself through this experience, so I wouldn't change it. Induction stories two and three are very positive. I will be posting those, so stay tuned!
I just knew this baby wanted to come early. When I started dilating at 34 weeks, my suspicions were confirmed. Six weeks, three membrane strips, and countless long walks later, I sat in front of my doctor, dilated to five centimeters with no labor in sight. “At this point, if you want, we can induce you on Sunday, because you will be 41 weeks. Or you can continue to wait and the baby will come on her own.” She told me. Well, I thought, my mom carried all her babies to 41 weeks or beyond, so can I. With the decision to wait made, we returned home. I scoured the interweb for stories about inductions – none seemed to be positive. Terror and dread filled my being as I cried myself to sleep. My entire body hurt. That baby was resting so deep in my pelvis, I could barely walk. My husband, the kind gentle man that he is, held me and asked, “Would induction be so bad? You are so miserable. Even if the induction is rough, at least the pregnancy would be over?” I decided he was right and called my doctor the next morning and scheduled my induction.
The internet convinced me that using an epidural and Pitocin would be harmful for myself and my baby, so I elected to have a natural (or mostly natural) childbirth. Maybe I wanted to prove I was as tough as my mother. Bright and early Sunday morning we drove to the birthing center and were comfortably set up in labor and delivery. The nurses hooked me up to all the things, the beeping started, and we waited. Three hours later, the doctor showed up, expecting me to be ready to deliver. I informed her that I was waiting for my water to be broken. At almost 6 centimeters dilated, breaking the bag of waters should be all that was needed to jump start labor. She broke my water and left. We later heard her scolding the nurses for not starting me on Pitocin immediately, even though I had asked to wait until we saw what natural course the labor would take.
Breaking the waters definitely jump-started labor. Looking back after two more deliveries, I am sure the labor would have progressed naturally at a good rate. My doctor, however, felt I progressed too slowly. I later found out that labor and delivery was packed that day, and my doctor needed me to deliver my first baby as quickly as possible to open the room up for more patients. She ordered the Pitocin drip. A lot of it. Every time she checked, she asked the nurses to up my dose.
Pitocin contractions are incredible. I have experienced high levels of pain and have a ridiculously high pain tolerance (hello, migraines!), but the pain was too much. I asked for some sort of pain medication, but not an epidural – because those are SO bad for baby. The nurse started me on a Stadol drip. The medication completely numbed my mind, but not the pain. I just tried to center myself and breathe through the pain. Later, my husband said he overheard the nurses whispering about how badly the doctor was treating me. That the Pitocin drip was too high. That I wouldn’t be able to push if the labor continued, because the effect the contractions (now 10-30 seconds apart, lasting as long as 5 minutes) were having on my body.
The doctor came in to see me. But a different doctor, this time. The previous doctor was a part of the medical group I was seeing, but I had never actually met her before. The doctor who came in this time had overseen most of my pregnancy. She took one look at the charts, talked to the nurses, and turned off the Pitocin drip. I was at 8.5 centimeters.
Labor continued naturally and strongly a little longer. The doctor came back to check on me. Now I was 9, almost 9.5 centimeters. She signaled to the nurses to get the delivery cart. “I need you to start pushing now.” She said. “I know it isn’t really time, but your body is too worn out from the contractions. I will help the baby through the birth canal. It will be hard, but we need to do it will you still can.”
“Can I have a little more pain medication, first?” I asked.
“No.” She replied, “I’m sorry. I can’t give you more this close to delivery. You will just have to do it.”
So I did. For one hour, my baby girl was stuck in the birth canal. The doctor held her head with her hands and slowly worked her down through the canal. Baby girl was born with a bruise on her forehead from the doctor’s thumb. And it was done.
The doctor put my baby on my chest for some skin to skin. Shaking, trembling, every muscle in my body quit. I could not hold my baby for fear of dropping her. I asked the nurse to clean her up and pass her to my husband. That daddy-daughter bond is stronger than diamonds to this day!
Suddenly the doctor called for the nurse to prep for a blood infusion. I wasn’t clotting. I hadn’t delivered the placenta. The hustle and bustle began again. The doctor realized I was too weak to deliver the placenta and gently pulled it out, but that started the bleeding again. Just as they finished getting the blood transfusion stuff together, the doctor noticed I finally started clotting, so they called it off.
Later, after resting, I had that precious skin to skin time with my baby girl. I think she is still a total daddy’s girl, but I am not jealous of that. I love the special bond they have. She has turned out to be quite the fighter, and I love her more than I can bare.
Even though the delivery was not ideal, I learned so much about myself and about life through the experience. I learned to boldly speak up for myself - I should have not accepted the increased Pitocin dosage. I learned to listen to more people and make a decision for myself - I chose to have an epidural for my next two deliveries, because the side effects were much less severe than the ones I experienced without it.
I realize this isn’t the most positive induction story, be rest assured, your story doesn’t need to sound like this. Check out my post on what to know before an induction to see more about what I learned and how to have a positive induction experience.