When it comes to giving birth, every woman’s experience is different and there’s plenty of people out there that would scare the bejaysus out of you when it comes to telling their birth stories, but being induced into labour is pretty much the same feeling for every woman (I think). It’s not natural and it’s not nice but sometimes there’s no other choice. Let me make it clear to you though, I’m not writing this to scare anyone. This is just my opinion from my experience of being induced.
I was 11 day’s over due and was well into my third week of my precious maternity leave when I made the trip to hospital to be medically induced. When I look back now, I was so patient in the run up to my due date, I kept saying, the baby will arrive when it’s good and ready, but I do remember being very disappointed when I woke each morning post-term realizing I hadn’t gone into labour that night! Being brought in to be induced made me feel like a failure. I desperately wanted to labour naturally and without intervention but it wasn’t meant to be.
As a first time mother, I did read a lot to do with pregnancy, labour and birth. Well I thought I had! You see, I didn’t read one word about being induced, not one. Nada! I guess I had convinced myself that I would go into labour naturally anyway because I was very active throughout my pregnancy, I did pregnancy yoga too and I believed it when people told me “just by looking at me” that I definitely wouldn’t go over. It’s gas the stuff you believe about something no one has control over, not even you! So by law I should’ve started myself, you know! But I didn’t, because pregnancy is unpredictable. The only thing I did know about being induced was that “some sort of” gel would be put onto my cervix to bring on contractions. Maybe I was told more and I didn’t listen, either way I went in there oblivious to what lay ahead.
So if you’re pregnant and have never been induced and you find yourself reading this blog post, remember, I’m writing from my own experience, I’m not trying to scare anyone and I’m also writing this 2 years and 8 months after giving birth so my medical terms are a bit hazy…Here’s the lowdown of what I do remember (the important stuff obviously) –
- You usually have to arrive early in the morning to the hospital, buzz through to the maternity ward, then after all the formal stuff, you are hooked up to a fetal monitor, to monitor the baby’s heart rate. You may be hooked up to this for an hour.
- When all is well to move on, a doctor will come by to apply the first round of gel to your cervix.
- This may take hours for contractions to start, if they start at all…
- It’s pretty much a waiting game…a long waiting game. Music & reading material is essential for you and your birthing partner to prevent you from going crazy!
- If contractions haven’t started yet, the doctor normally comes back 4-5 hours later to apply your second round of gel (sometimes longer if they’re busy)
- At this stage you may be told you might still be here tomorrow in the same position if you haven’t started contracting (especially first time mothers) That’s what I was told. You may also be given other drugs to bring on labour if the gel doesn’t work. And those drugs are given via IV drip.
- If regular contractions do start after the second round of gel then lucky you! Mine started around two hours after this stage. So thank God for that! This is where I wasn’t prepared though.
- It’s known that medically induced contractions are more intense than when you labour naturally. I didn’t know this at the time though. And although I was a first time mother and didn’t have anything to compare my contractions to, I can honestly say those contractions could not have been normal. They just couldn’t have been. What felt like a mere 30 seconds between each one, this was enough to make me panic and feel very scared. But I shouldn’t have let fear take over. That was my inexperience I reckon.
- I tried everything that felt remotely comfortable : got out of bed, had a walk around, had a quick dip in a bath. But I still felt like I was suffocating.
- By this point I was well on my way to having my baby.
- Also, before or during contractions, depending on how dilated you are, your waters may not have broken on their own yet, so the obstetrician will do this for you.
- As I was in full blown labour, I decided to have an epidural (at 4cm) Not because I wanted it there and then but because the midwives were actually encouraging me to have one. I never expected that, I always thought they preferred if you hadn’t, but in hindsight I think it was because I wasn’t coping with the intense contractions. Once I focused long enough to actually say YES to it, I had it administered and I felt such relief 20 minutes later.
I was given valuable advice during my pregnancy… ‘get the epidural if you feel you need to, there’s no one standing outside with a reward if you don’t’.
And how right that person was!
Once the epidural started doing it’s job, I relaxed (and so did my other half)! I actually got a fit of the shakes which is quite normal. My midwife advised me to get some rest as having an epidural slows labour down and it would be a good few hours before I was fully dilated. A big fluffy duvet was put over me and I felt so cared for, it was lovely. Of course neither of us slept, we chatted to my midwife until the wee hours. My epidural worked so well, I didn’t need a top up (some women need more) but after a few hours I started to feel pressure and not pain, I liked that I was able to take back some control because I knew when my contractions were coming.
When I was told I was fully dilated and ready to push, I literally puked into the grey foam tray, I had finally reached the stage where I was going to be a mother and I was a mixed bag of nerves and excitement. I was about to put the techniques I’d learned in my ante-natal classes to work and it was harder than I’d ever imagined. I pushed for a good 30 minutes but her head just wouldn’t come down. The midwives didn’t want me to push any longer as my baby’s heart rate was dropping and they dropped the bombshell that I would need an assisted delivery.
They then started preparing me for a vacuum delivery. I won’t lie I was scared. The room started to fill with people and a doctor sat down at my nether regions to give me an episiotomy. That was never going to be nice was it? Once the cap was put on O’s head, I gave two pushes and she was born. But just before I actually pushed I quickly shouted at the doctor to not tell us what the sex was. We wanted to be the first to know. She came bottom first towards me and her little girly bits were slightly swollen and for a second I thought we had a son. After further examination though, we realized she was in fact a girl. My dream had come true and we got to call our daughter Olivia (a name I’d loved for years) I even guessed her weight to the exact ounce!
We cried & we laughed that night…..
I am by no means scarred mentally from being induced (scarred physically yes) I would do it all again in the morning, but if I had of known what I know now, I think I would have opted to go another day over, (if I was allowed to of course) just to see if I started myself.
Forcing labour just didn’t feel natural to me and I pray my next baby won’t be so comfy and want to stay inside longer than it’s supposed to! But like I said before, pregnancy and birth is unpredictable.