Exactly a year ago today, I was meeting my daughter for the first time. At 7:17 p.m. on February 12, 2018, Isla Rose was born. My birth story starts when I was 41 weeks pregnant and decided to be induced. I have put my daughter to bed now and the day has come and gone, and I am left with the memories of that day one year ago. In honor of my baby’s first birthday, I want to share my induction birth story.
Being induced is scary. It is kind of an unknown because so many people have different experiences with it. Everyone knows someone who says, “I was induced and had contractions for 46 hours, and then had to have an emergency c-section!” Not exactly the encouraging birth story you want to hear when you’re overdue and doctors are talking about induction.
When Isla was a day late, then two, then three, I started to get nervous that she would not come on her own. The whole pregnancy I had been obsessed with the idea of having a non-medicated birth. I even bought Hpynobabies, a birth program that helps you to LITERALLY hypnotize yourself and block the pain. If you’re interested in seeing a review of this program, let me know!
As I came to the end of my 40th week, I went to see my midwife and she told me about the risks involved with waiting past 41 weeks. There are A LOT of opinions on this, and I am not saying that my way was the best way. However, hearing that the risk of stillbirth at 42 weeks is there, I made a personal choice to be induced once I hit 41 weeks. I was also pretty impatient at this point. So at 8 days overdue, my doctor had me come in to get a foley bulb placed near my cervix. If you haven’t heard of this before, look it up because it makes me cringe to describe it! The idea is that it is a balloon with saline solution that gets inserted to force your cervix to start dilating. I was instructed to go home and come back the next morning at 6 a.m. when they would check to see if I was dilated and hopefully break my water from there.
We went home and barely slept. The excitement and nerves flooded my body! I couldn’t sleep and got up around 4 a.m. and got ready (why??) and then we went to the birth center. After checking in with all of the bags I didn’t touch (seriously, you will need way less stuff than you think), I was given a gown to change into. After changing, I was checked and told that I was dilated to a 4.5! This was exciting because it meant the foley bulb did its job! However, my cervix was still quite high. They said they weren’t sure they could break my water because they would have to curve around the baby’s head. I took one look at that little crochet rod thing and said, “NOPE. I’ll take the pitocin!” So they started me at the lowest pitocin dose and my induction journey truly began.
Around 4 hours later at 11 a.m. I was checked again to be told I was dilated at a 3.5. I was discouraged since this was different from the last time and made me feel like I regressed! I tell you this not to scare you, but to tell you that when different people check you you might hear different numbers.
Don’t freak out. Half of it is a mental game. When I was checked this time, the doctor broke my water. If you’ve had a baby, you know how that feels. Basically like you held it for a really long time, like a whole day, and then had an accident and peed. Everywhere. So fun!
A couple hours later I was checked again and had dilated to a 5. I was starting to feel my contractions closer together as they kept increasing my pitocin dose. Contractions also started to get much more intense after breaking my water. I was trying hard to keep going the non-medicated route, and it was getting tougher. My husband had the idea to try to labor in the tub to keep my cool, so we went to the jet tub. It was AMAZING, but then the nurse came in and the fetal monitor wasn’t working so I was told I had to get out.
At this point I was on the struggle bus! Pitocin contractions are no joke, and if you have gone through them and didn’t get pain meds, you are pretty much my hero. I got out of the tub and the wall clock in our room was going crazy! Like literally it was going nuts. The minute and hour hand were spinning in opposite directions fast. I’m talking twilight zone stuff. And no, this was not all in my head. My husband confirmed it. I looked at it and had a case of the “screw its.” I took a look at the nurse and said, “I WANT THE EPIDURAL.”
That wait until the epidural felt SO long, but it was only about 45 minutes. I was so relieved when the anesthesiologist got there that I didn’t care at all about the giant needle he was about to insert into my spine. In fact, I would have inserted it myself if I had to. He got me all set up, and then told me it would take 15-20 minutes until it kicked in. Those were a tough 15-20 minutes. Every time I thought to myself, “This will probably be the last contraction I have to feel,” I would get another one. Finally it kicked in around 3:30 and I have to tell you, life was freaking good! Why did I want to go without the epidural again? So I could say that I did?
NOTE TO SELF: That is a stupid reason.
About an hour later, my doctor checked me to tell me I was dilated to a 9.5 and would be able to push in about an hour! For me, the epidural was just what my body needed. It allowed my body to get rid of the tenseness and relax so it could do its job. My tense muscles were fighting the contractions. I wasn’t able to let my body take control. The epidural relaxed me both mentally and physically, and suddenly I was ready to have a freaking baby!
At 6 p.m., I started pushing, and Isla entered earthside a little over an hour later. And then everything in my life changed. Those first few moments of meeting your child are pure magic. What were my first words, you ask? I knew you wanted to know. I looked right at this sweet little bundle and said, “She’s so cute already!” Yeah, I had a fear of not having a cute baby. Of all the things to be concerned about.
So for all of the terrible induction stories you have heard, here is a positive one. From pitocin to the actual birth, my labor was just over 12 hours long. It was great! There were no complications during the birth. Postpartum is a different story, though! I am no longer scared of being induced and I know I could handle it again. In fact, it’s kind of nice being able to go in at a scheduled time and know you’ll be leaving with a baby. But part of me still wants to experience natural contractions to see if they really are “better” than pitocin contractions. Did you have an induction birth? Let me know if it was smooth sailing for you, too!