One question that I have been getting a lot these past few weeks, and the reason I felt inspired to write today, is around induction. It seems every person I speak to asks me some form of: "How long will they let you go before they induce you?", "When are they going to induce you?", "Have you asked them to induce you yet?", "Are you being induced?". Perfectly innocent questions, but I want to explain why every time they're asked I give out the same answer: "I don't want to be induced!"
First, let me clarify, that I am not an expert in childbirth or a doctor (obviously - you know that already). I really don't pretend to know everything, so this is all strictly my personal opinion based on research I have done and conversations I have had with people in the medical field...
Whew! Now that we cleared that up... The reason I don't want to be induced is because - like I know I've said a million times - I am trying to have a natural, un-medicated labor. And based on the things I have learned, being induced makes labor much more difficult for the mother and the baby to endure, and therefore greatly increases the chance there will be a need for medical intervention. In a nutshell, Pitocin (the synthetic drug used to induce labor - it mimics Oxytocin, the natural hormone your body produces that tells your uterus to contract) causes you to have much stronger contractions that increase faster than what your body would do naturally on its own. Because these contractions are more intense and progress more quickly, the ability to endure this kind of labor without pain medication becomes extremely difficult for the mother, leading to the need for an epidural. So that's one reason why I say "no thank you!". Also, because of these more intense contractions, it can also cause fetal distress during labor. So it's not just harder on the mother, it's harder on the baby too. And when baby isn't happy and his/her heart rate is dropping, etc., off to c-section you go! Again, no thanks.
I know there are medical reasons why some women need to be induced to get the baby out right away.... By all means, do your research, listen to your doctor and do what needs to be done to keep you and baby safe. I, however, am not facing any medical circumstance that requires induction at this time. I am also a strong proponent for taking charge of your medical care, doing things naturally, and not always immediately acquiescing to what a doctor tells you just because he/she is a doctor. It's just the way I was raised.
I was "routinely" put on the induction schedule 1 week past my due date, but I declined as we got closer to that date. The reality is, I am perfectly healthy and my baby is healthy. My body knows what it is doing and the baby WILL come out eventually. We are keeping a close eye on him to make sure he's doing ok in there. So far we've done two BPP tests (Biophysical Profile), and he had perfect scores each time. We also went to the hospital for a non-stress test and he passed with flying colors. So it looks like I can keep letting him bake in there until he really is ready and my body says it is time to deliver. Besides, I've read from several sources that most first-time pregnancies last 41 weeks +1 day. That's exactly where I am at right now, so I am feeling pretty confident something will happen soon. (I hope!)
Trust me, I am getting impatient. I am extremely uncomfortable. It hurts to walk, move, lay down, and sit. I'm swollen and my back hurts. The heartburn sucks. I'm sick of peeing every 5 minutes and nothing coming out. The baby is so low in my pelvis he is sitting on what my husband says are my "Obturator" and "Sciatic" nerves, causing a dull pain that shoots down my pelvis and butt into my legs when I walk. It hurts and I do not enjoy it.
During the last two weeks of my pregnancy, my doctor was out of the country on a medical mission. She was scheduled to return on August 1st, 5 days after my due date. I was devastated when I first learned she would be gone. I literally cried hysterically for an entire day when I found out. So, when my due date rolled around last week, while I was eager to get this baby out of me, part of me was ok with taking things easy in hopes that he would stay in there until after she returned. So, I took it easy and got lots of rest. "Patiently" waiting is what I called it. And it paid off! My dream has come true... My doctor is back. Now that she is here, it's time to get this baby out. When I saw my doctor yesterday I gave her the biggest hug and immediately asked her to strip my membranes, haha. I am sick of waiting.
So that's where we are at. She stripped my membranes yesterday afternoon. It's a natural way to help induce labor and it supposedly gets things started within 24-48 hours. She said if my body is ready, it will work quickly. However, she explained that because it's my first baby, my body doesn't know exactly what to do with the hormones it's producing, so it may not happen right away. Well, we are past the 24 hour mark now, and while nothing major has happened, I have noticed some contractions, so that's reassuring. They are extremely mild and random, but at least something is happening!
I am now officially open to suggestions for naturally inducing labor. So far I have been staying very "active": Cleaning the house, vacuuming, walking the dog, yard work, running errands, etc.. I've also been bouncing on my birthing ball while watching TV, just to stay moving. I'm drinking herbal teas, eating pineapple, balsamic vinegar and plenty of spicy foods. Although I am pretty sure spicy food isn't going to do much for me because I LOVE spicy food and have been eating plenty of it throughout my pregnancy - so I doubt it has the same affect on me as it would other mothers. I also picked up some special essential oil concoction from a friend (thank you, Maria!) that supposedly if you rub on your ankles will help induce labor. Something about reflexology and that area being connected to your uterus and cervix. Hey, I'll try anything! Especially when a massage is involved... I've heard taking Castor oil works well, but I've also heard there are negative side affects from that so I am trying to avoid it for now. I don't know, for some reason that option just doesn't appeal to me at the moment.
So the wait continues. Thanks for reading. I'm logging off now per my husband's request: "Get off the computer and get over here so I can rub your ankles!" Umm... You don't have to ask me twice! Love that man. <3