A few weeks before my daughter's due date, my doctor told me that his official recommendation was to induce labor at 39 weeks. His reasoning, which was perfectly sound, was that ACOG's standards for women with gestational diabetes is to induce labor at 39 weeks. Let's be honest, I was in a lot of pain by that point. My symphysis pubis dysfunction had become so unbearable that I was looking forward to labor - at least that pain would be acute. So when he suggested that we induce at 39 weeks, I hesitated. Was I considering this because I just wanted this pregnancy to be over already? Or was I really making the call that was best for my baby?
I agreed to the induction at my next appointment. It was a Monday, and the induction was scheduled for Wednesday. We left the doctor's office and I felt comfortable with my decisions, but I also felt anxious. My labor with Shep had been spontaneous. I'd heard that Pitocin contractions were more painful. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. That was weighing on me.
As soon as we got home, I realized how much I still had left to prepare before the baby came. Within hours, I was panicking. Had I made the right choice? Should I cancel the induction? I wasn't ready, couldn't I wait until this baby came on its own? I wasn't ready.
For the gap between scheduling the induction and the big day itself, I had an ongoing low-grade anxiety attack. I know no better way to describe what else was happening or what I was feeling.
The night before the induction, we dropped our son off with his grandparents. He'd stay with them for a while, and they'd bring him in to visit his new sister after we'd both had a moment to recover. My husband and I prayed and went to sleep and I rested well. Finally, I had come to terms with the induction. On our drive to the hospital the next morning, we ate McDonald's breakfast sandwiches as a treat and drank iced coffees. I cued up a soundtrack to make me feel strong and powerful - full disclosure, it was about 50% Hamilton tunes. The best memory from that drive? Singing "The Story Of Tonight" with my husband.
I may not live to see our gloryBut I will gladly join the fightAnd when our children tell our storyThey'll tell the story of tonight
Let's have another round tonightLet's have another round tonightLet's have another round tonight
Raise our glass to freedomSomething they can never take awayNo matter what they tell youRaise our glass to the four of usTomorrow there'll be more of usTelling the story of tonightThe story of tonight - Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda
I realized that tomorrow, there will be more of us! Our family would grow and change in ways we couldn't possibly imagine.
The doctor's plan was to start my induction with a Foley Bulb. It's his preference over Cervidil since it has a high success rate in his experience. Upon admittance, the doctor on duty found that I was didn't need the Foley bulb - I was already dilated to their goal of three centimeters. (I recommend asking your care provider why they've chosen the course for induction that they recommend. You can learn a lot from them!) It was time to introduce Pitocin.
Now, I had had Pitocin before - for about an hour, when I was well into active labor with my son. But starting from ground zero and getting Pitocin to make your contractions begin? Yikes! It's a whole different ballgame.
Here's my honest two cents on Pitocin induction: contractions are not more painful with Pitocin. They are, however, longer - and you have less recovery time between. So if you end up having an induction with Pitocin, get your head in the game. It takes a lot of mental focus to cope with wave after wave after wave with little to no downtime between!
For hours, I bounced on the birthing ball, walked around as much as I could, and sat in bed watching Netflix. Because I was being induced, I was on constant monitoring - a huge change from intermittent monitoring during labor with my son. The telemetry unit was malfunctioning, which meant I couldn't walk around as often as I'd like to. But, sure enough, with the increasing Pitocin dose came more intense contractions.
Around noon, I called my doula. Contractions were taking more of my focus and energy and I was having trouble talking through them. This is a sign that I was approaching or in active labor. She rushed to the hospital and set up the most lovely set of Christmas lights that cast a warm glow around the room. A nurse came in and literally cranked my Pitocin to 11. Not long after, I was gripping the rails of my bed for dear life.
Unlike my spontaneous labor with my son, I begged my doctor for pain medication. He reminded me that the medication I wanted would cause respiratory distress for my baby but still offered it. I wavered. "I just can't do this for another two hours!"
"Oh, honey. You won't even be doing this for another thirty minutes."
And that reassurance helped me mentally get through the next few contractions. Eventually, it was time to push! The well-meaning labor and delivery nurse started counting for me, but I was WAY ahead of her. Maybe it was because my body remembered how to push a baby down and out, or maybe because I was so over labor - I pushed my baby out in two contractions, four minutes flat. The nurse couldn't keep up with her fast and furious entrance into the world.
As my OB laid my baby on my chest, my husband looked at me and said, "It's a girl!" And I said, "I KNEW IT!" Everyone laughed and I took a huge sigh of relief. Finally - the hard part was over. My baby was in my arms. And our world would never be the same.
When did you realize that your baby changed your whole world? Did you have an amazing doctor who explained their reasoning for their recommendations, as mine did? Give them a shout-out on Twitter so other expectant parents can find them. @pi3sugarpi3 with #BestOBEver.