In the Gestational Diabetes support groups I found on Facebook the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy, there was always a lot of talk about going into labor naturally versus induction versus planned cesarean sections.
The general consensus was that it would be best to go into labor naturally if at all possible. It makes sense. C-sections, after all, are surgeries, which often mean more recovery is needed. Contractions resulting from Pitocin, artificial oxytocin used in inductions, are supposed to be more painful and intense. So many women told horror stories about long labors and failed inductions. Many threads popped up about how to urge labor to come on naturally to avoid the other two options.
I’m telling my story because my induction was actually a much more positive experience than my first labor, which came on naturally a few days after a membrane sweep almost five years ago. I want to remember it clearly, but also want others being induced for medical reasons to realize there are positive experiences out there too.
After a pregnancy that kept going wrong with twists and turns at every corner (all positive outcomes thankfully), I welcomed the idea of an induction because it gave me back some sense of control. When I finally got my induction date, about 4 days before delivery, I breathed a sigh of relief. July 5 would be the day.
I was already dilated to a 3 and she had dropped down low. There was a sense that she might come before July 5, but she never did.
My husband took our daughter to see the fireworks with his family on July 3 while I stayed home to rest. On July 4, I took our daughter swimming and to a pool party at my aunt’s house. That night, we sent her to her grandparents for an extended sleepover and we caught a few episodes of Stranger Things Season 3 before bed. We couldn’t sleep, but tried to rest as best as we could. The next day would be a long one.
We went in around 7:15 a.m. Our nurse was Lindsay. You never forget the ones who help you through these things.
She hooked me up for monitoring before starting the pitocin, and away we went. (It was the exact opposite of my last experience, when we went in at midnight and isn’t even know if I was truly in labor or if I was experiencing a false alarm.)
I rested easy knowing my doctor was around and knew to check in on me. (Last time, he was on vacation and I wasn’t sure which on call doc would deliver me – it seemed like none of them wanted the job.)
There was a Seinfeld marathon on TBS so we out that on. David read a lot. I switched between my iPad and phone while charging the other, mostly browsing Facebook. I had set up a FB group to update our families but there was nothing to report for a long time.
The contractions started getting stronger, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The nurse brought in two birthing balls and I was allowed to get up and walk around and use the bathroom. (Last time I was confined to the bed the entire time and given a catheter before my epidural.)
I hadn’t made much progress, if any, after hours of laboring. My contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. Little by little, the nurse backed off the pitocin. I didn’t know it yet, but my body had taken over.
The nurse called my OB to see if he could come by and break my water to get things moving. He was backed up at the office and still hadn’t come by a few hours later. Around 4:30 p.m., I decided to try and nap. I got about a half hour in before I woke up to stronger contractions and the urge to pee.
I called the nurse for help getting to the restroom. As I stood up, I felt my water break and trickle down my leg. I knew it wasn’t pee bc I still needed to go. Just then, the doctor called to say he was coming by, but he wasn’t needed anymore. (It was a weird experience bc last time, I’m not sure when my water broke. I missed that entirely.)
There was blood in the toilet when I peed, and after a check revealed it was for sure my water, the nurse had to put a towel in bed with me to catch some of the fluid.
Things moved fast after that. My contractions got much stronger and more painful. I called for an epidural and it showed up quickly. (Last time since it was overnight it took forever to get relief.) I was a lot more present for its insertion because last time the pain was so awful and I was so scared that I can’t remember it well.
I could still feel pain, particularly on my right side, but it got much more bearable. (Last time I was completely numb and had to be told when I was contracting.)
My doctor came by to do a check, and I had dilated to an 8 in a very short time. He and his med student went to grab food in the cafeteria, and when he returned it would be time to deliver.
At this point, I had a new nurse, Suzanne. She checked me again not long after and I was at a 10 already. Other staff prepped equipment for the delivery and got the incubator out for baby’s arrival. Suzanne and I pushed.
The doctor came back just in the nick of time with his student. I pushed 3-5 times more. The pressure/pain was fairly intense, but it felt better to push. I didn’t love feeling the pain, but I liked being more present and being able to do something to help myself. After 20 minutes of pushing, Violet came out with her little hand on her face and was placed on my chest. It was just before 7:30 p.m. – almost 12 hours since we checked in.
I required only one stitch. The doctor worked on delivering the placenta and fixing me up while my husband and I spent time with our girl.
While she was being bathed, my husband went to grab both sets of grandparents and our daughter, a new big sister, to come and meet the newest member of our family.
My first daughter was proud to meet and hold her new baby sister, but I’ll always remember how concerned she was for mommy in a hospital bed. I had gotten to change back into my tank top, but I think she sensed the pain I’d gone through. My sweet girl sat with me on the bed and cried when it was time to leave – I’ll always remember that. She didn’t want to leave mommy. We were moved to the recovery rooms after that and all was well.