I’ve been reading birth stories all around the net lately and that started me thinking about how the births of all four of my children began—with an induction!
I know that induction to get labor started is a touchy subject for some, though honestly I’m not sure why, but for me the fact that the births of all four of my children were started by inducing labor is one that I feel should be shared so that maybe someone who has heard induction horror stories or is terrified of having it done, can hear my stories and be a little less afraid.
First and foremost I want to say that induction is NOT as bad as most people think it is—and having labor induced four times kinda makes me a little bit of an expert on the subject if I do say so myself! I’m not gonna lie, labor sucks, and even though I’ve never experienced labor that started naturally, I’m pretty sure that it sucks just as bad as labor that is induced. I hear people talk about the horror stories involving induction and I can honestly say that I’ve done it four times and have just never experienced anything that would make me categorize induction as a horrible experience. Since I do have four unique birth stories and four unique reasons for having to have an induction with each child I thought I’d share them with all of you so that you can kind of get an idea of what each experience was for each reason.
With my oldest daughter DT I was young, naïve and very scared about going into labor. I had watched one too many episodes of A Baby Story and the thought of my water breaking or me having my baby in the back my boyfriend’s car was just too much for my nineteen year old brain to comprehend. Without getting into a long drawn-out story about the birth of my oldest daughter (I’ll get around to tell you that story one of these days) I will say that their was a problem with the pregnancy very late in the 3rd trimester (a blood clot in the placenta caused massive hemorrhaging) and I found myself being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. The decision to induce my labor came after the hemorrhaging refused to stop the next morning—it was a definite emergency situation where the doctor could not and would not take a chance…so labor was induced the same day using Pitocin. (My daughter was born 2 weeks early as the result of the induction, a healthy, bouncing, gorgeous baby girl).
While labor with my oldest daughter was excruciating (and one of the top 3 most traumatic experiences of my life) it was due to the epidural not working properly and not the fact that my labor was induced. The administration of the Pitocin (via an IV) did scare me, but only because I am terrified of needle and especially IV’s. The Pitocin itself did do exactly what it is designed to do—start my labor, and while my labor did seem to progress at a very steady pace once the Pitocin was started, they gradually increased the Pitocin levels so that the progression of labor was very similar to the progression of an average, naturally starting labor.
With my second daughter SS the decision to induce labor came as a bit of a surprise. While at an ultrasound appointment at around 32 weeks, the ultrasound tech noticed that SS was breech, hoping that she would turn naturally before delivery, my doctor didn’t give much thought to the possibility of anything but a regular vaginal birth and consequently, neither did I. 7 weeks later I was miserably pregnant and returning to my doctor’s office for another ultrasound to check out the baby’s position—sadly the ultrasound confirmed that Savanna was still breech (and had no intention of moving) and the decision was made to do a C-Section the following day. To tell you that I was absolutely ecstatic at the thought of a C-Section would be a huge understatement, I was over-the-moon excited! After the terrible experience that I had with the delivery of my first daughter the thought of a C-Section was a very comforting one!
The next morning my husband and I arrived at the hospital, we were taken to my room, dressed and prepped for surgery and then my doctor came into the room to do another ultrasound before the surgery to make sure that nothing had changed overnight. When I looked at the ultrasound screen I was devastated to see that SS had indeed changed positions overnight, meaning that I wasn’t headed for surgery after all. Seeing the disappointment in my face when she told me that a C-Section wouldn’t be necessary, my doctor suggested that since my IV was already in place and I was already dilated 3 cm and due any day, an induction was possible. Still feeling disappointed that I was going to have to go through labor again, I decided that the thought of a controlled labor sounded better to me than having my water break at home. So I opted for another induction. Again Pitocin was administered and labor began and progressed at a very steady pace. This time as my epidural was given I made sure to wait until I was beyond numb before I told the doctor I couldn’t feel anything—there was NO way in hell I was going through the kind of labor I had the first time, ever again! I have to say, waiting a few extra seconds as the doctor put the epidural medicine in my IV made all the difference in the world—I couldn’t feel a thing (at all) after I had my epidural; the nurses had to tell me when to push until SS was born and I never felt a thing—that’s my idea of the perfect labor! (SS was born 5 days before her due date and has been just as stubborn and amazing every since).
With my son, I was 9 months pregnant in the middle of summer and miserable, but the decision to induce labor wasn’t one that I would have guessed going in. Throughout my entire pregnancy everything went perfectly according to plan (except for the ovarian cyst scare early on); it wasn’t until the late 3rd trimester that induction was even suggested by my doctor. During the last couple of months of my pregnancy I began to develop high blood pressure, or preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure brought on by pregnancy, it was at that time that my doctor began to talk about the possibility of inducing labor early if they couldn’t get the preeclampsia under control. On a Friday, at almost 37 weeks pregnant I was hospitalized due to preeclampsia, and after being held overnight and temporarily getting my blood pressure under control before I was allowed to go home, the decision was made to induce labor the following Monday.
Labor with my son was anything but normal; my blood pressure was beyond high when I came in to deliver so the decision to start an epidural as soon as the Pitocin was started was made early on in an attempt to get my blood pressure under control. During my labor my blood pressure went up and down and my son’s heartbeat took a few dramatic nosedives (something my doctor suggested could have been caused by the labor itself, the Pitocin or a number of other factors) but for the most part it was a normal labor (sans pain because I didn’t feel anything for most of it). When it came time to push however, the epidural had worn off and in the middle of giving me a second dose of medicine in my IV I felt the urge to push. With my doctor no where in site, a nurse suited up to take on the task of delivering my son. Thankfully my doctor made it into the room before my son made his entrance into the world and almost immediately after delivery, my blood pressure had returned to normal. (My son who was born 2 weeks early was as healthy and happy as both of my daughters.)
When I found out that I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, I knew from the beginning that induction was something that I definitely wanted; my doctor, however, didn’t see things my way. Though I tried to plead my case for induction—I mean at this point having an induced labor was all I really knew—my doctor seemingly had no intention of letting things happen that way.
At 40 weeks pregnant I went to see my regular doctor for one of my lasts visit before the baby came. When my doctor told me that he was going on vacation in a week, I knew that I had to convince him to do an induction before he left. I managed to talk him into inducing me the following day. There were a ton of factors that I think weighed into my doctor’s decision to induce my labor; I think the combination of me telling him how terrified I was to go into labor naturally, the fact that I really didn’t want anyone other than him to deliver my baby, my history with preeclampsia and the fact that I was already 40 weeks pregnant all led to my doctor agreeing to induce the labor.
The following day I checked myself into the hospital and was given an IV, shortly afterward a nurse came in to begin Pitocin and just like every one of my labors before that, labor began almost instantly and gradually progressed. Unfortunately the epidural situation was one that I was ll too familiar with, because like I had experienced with two previous births, it wore off before the actual delivery. I will tell you that I also had an experience with the insertion and removal of the epidural during my last pregnancy that has led to chronic back pain and problems ever since—but again, that’s a whole separate post.
So there you have it—my 4 labor induction stories! Though in most cases the decision to induce labor was made out of necessity, I did also have the option of doing it the old fashion way with a couple of my pregnancies and chose to go with an induction instead. So while inductions can be scary, they are definitely not as bad as the stories you’ve heard about them!