I was 20 years old when I got married and then found myself pregnant shortly thereafter. I couldn’t even begin to give words to the shock that that was so I won’t even try.
All I could think of was how inadequate I was. Could I really be a mother? Every baby I saw had more of an impact on me in those first few weeks of pregnancy than all the other babies I had previously encountered in my life.
It seemed like each one needed to be bubble wrapped and protected from the world. I couldn’t believe the ease with which these mothers cared for another human being’s most important needs. My new husband felt much of the same. I never knew how protective and loving he could be towards me until after the first prenatal appointment where we saw our sweet little “spaceship” for the first time. I could tell he was feeling the pressure too.
We spent the rest of the pregnancy talking about everything birth related we could think of. From routine procedures to cesarean operations. Nothing was off limits. Finally, my due date arrived, and nothing happened. I did not have a single Braxton Hicks through the entire pregnancy. Nor did I experience anything else that so many had warned was “going to happen.”
When induction began to be considered:
Suddenly all the induction stories, opinions and misinformation that my immediate circle of friends and family told started coming my way. I was fretting with each passing day.
After much discussion, we decided to go in for an induction at 41 weeks and 5 days. The evening before our scheduled induction, my loving and fear filled husband decided he was going to say goodbye to me. You know, in case I died. He has since apologized for this.
The morning of the big day we got everything together that we assumed we would need and ate breakfast mostly in anticipation filled silence. On the drive over we did the best we could to make the conversation light.
Once in the parking lot, we encouraged each other for the day ahead and then made our way inside. We did the usual hospital registration and went up to the dreaded labor and delivery. Our doula met us there.
They told us about how a cervical ripener works and shortly after I was stuck in a bed for four hours so that the cervical ripener could do its thing.
I was mostly left alone during this time as both my doula and husband left for some needed personal time before the intensity was to begin.
At the four hour mark, I was checked and was at 3 cm already. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It might not take days as I had been told to expect upon arrival to the hospital.
The nurse then started a low dose Pitocin. Now mobile, our doula, my husband and I took to the hall. After one lap, I started to get some tightening. My doula actually stopped our light-hearted conversation and asked if I was having contractions. After confirming her suspicion, we headed back to our assigned room for more privacy. It seemed like immediately after crossing the threshold my labor pains jumped from a mild two all the way to a difficult ten. I was experiencing back labor.
Baby finds a better position:
Thankfully after wriggling myself into what seemed like random positions, my baby turned. This made me feel like I’d been punched in the stomach. After adjusting to that change, labor picked up again.
I started having minute long contraction every minute or two. My nurse picked that time to come in with a cheerful voice announcing that she was there to turn up the pitocin.
In the middle of the peak of a contraction I roared out, “don’t you dare touch that!” Startled she tensely chuckled and scurried out of the room. I was not aware that I was even capable of that level of hostility until labor decided to challenge my self-identity of being an overall pleasant person.
It was at this point that my husband decided to take me in his arms and sway with me all while whispering sweet nothings in my ear.
The newly discovered labor beast was soothed.
After a while of alternating between loving embraces with my husband and helpful counter pressure or yoga ball bouncing with our doula, we made our way to the tub. My husband climbed in with me and did double hip squeezes through my contractions.
The water helped to find a more tolerable rhythm to my labor.
The day become much more pleasant after that with a contraction lasting only 30 seconds and were roughly 3 minutes apart.
Then my husband said in an alarmed voice, “what’s that?”
A little surprise:
I looked down at some floating goop in the water then back to my husband’s now disgusted face. Our doula spoke up and informed us that it was perfectly normal. She went to go get the nurse to come and check me while my husband awkwardly shifted his feet in the water obviously attempting to think of anything other than the “goop” he was now sharing space with.
The nurse came in and helped me to the bed and checked me all the while with the attitude that I was nowhere near being ready to push. She had even told me to be quiet and relax in the throes of a very much groan worthy contraction.
To her shock (and her’s alone) she called out “you’re at a 9 and 1/2! I need to call the doctor!” She ran out and within a couple minutes my room got very busy. More nurses came in and the equipment started coming out of hidden cabinets.
It’s time to push:
My doctor arrived surprisingly quickly wearing a Nike hat of all things (“just do it!”) and she explained that some of the new faces in attendance were NICU nurses for the baby in case he needed any additional help. Then it was time to bear down and push… only I didn’t know what that really meant.
After my best efforts and a not mentioned “code brown”, my doctor placed her finger at the base of my vagina and said, “push here.”
After an hour of alternating between melting into the bed sheets in exhaustion and pushing, the moment came.
My doula turned to me and told me she could see the head… he was almost here! I pushed him out and suddenly he was discolored and staring up at me from my belly.
I cradled him in my arms as they cut the cord then he went to his amazed father.
After the birth:
I had a retained placenta and tears that needed attending to. After the doctor left and before I could hold my baby again, I hemorrhaged.
The nurse that had been an annoyance previously came to my rescue as the saintly woman she always was underneath the skepticism.
Everything ended up working out fairly well, which is what no on told me about induction, induction experiences do not have to be all doom and gloom, but can be quite wonderful.
Yes, it can be positive. Yes, it can be empowering. Yes, it can be done without pain relief.
My birth with this beautiful little man was good for my soul and for my marriage.
My little superman was born at 9 lbs 6 oz after 6 hours of labor.
Thank you Tanner for sharing this wonderful story and reminding us all that induction experiences can be positive!