I love a good birth story. Is it just me? Maybe I’m just “that friend” who asks overly invasive questions, but I love all of the minute details of new life coming into the world.
I was already a mama when I birthed my first child. I first brought my sweet baby daughter home when she was eighteen months old, and her adoption was finalized nine months later. So when I became pregnant with our second child three years later, I wasn’t panicked. There was no sense of impending doom. I had this.
My confidence was matched only by my naivete, I had no idea what I didn’t know.
I requested, no, demanded to be induced when I was 41 weeks pregnant. I waddled like a penguin and hadn’t seen my feet in weeks. Discomfort doesn’t even begin to describe that stage of pregnancy. I was OVER. IT. My doctor agreed to schedule an induction, but made it very clear that this was an elective induction. Sure, lady, whatever you gotta write down is fine. Sign me up, and I’ll be there.
So when my doctor had to attend to an emergency during my last appointment, I wasn’t concerned. I saw a nurse practitioner who was no less than 107 years old, who checked the baby’s heartbeat and filled me in on the procedures of an induction. I was to report at 6 o’clock the following evening to receive Cervadil. This sweet old lady told me that after receiving Cervadil, I would be allowed to go home, and could return the following morning.
Sounds great. I bought a fridge full of meat to grill once I got home, post-Cervadil, knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat the next day. Imagine our surprise when my husband and I showed up for the Cervadil and were immediately deposited into a hospital room. When a nurse came to insert an IV, I said, No thanks, I’d rather not have an IV when I go home tonight.
Ummm…what? She thought I was insane.
Turns out, my sweet old nurse practitioner was a bit confused.
Under no circumstances are patients allowed to leave the hospital with Cervadil. My husband had to run back home, pack a suitcase, abandon the grill and raw meat, and come back to the hospital.
After a sleepless night, my doctor appeared to start pitocin in the morning. My husband and I paced the halls, I bounced on a birthing ball, and generally tried to coax a baby out for a full day. The pitocin was regularly increased. It was all to no avail. 24 hours after checking in to the hospital, I had literally not even dilated another centimeter. Nothing. Nada. At this point, I was given two options: go home and wait, or turn off the pitocin, sleep, and try again in the morning. Given the lack of success thus far, I opted for the former.
I wept. I was overwhelmed with fear that harm would befall this child before I could safely deliver him into the world. I felt like a failure…all the typical emotions when your birth plan doesn’t go as expected. I had no idea that inductions don’t always work. Perhaps you are smarter than I was at that point in my life, but I truly had no idea. As I walked back into the clinic two days later for a non-stress test, the friendly receptionist greeted me with, “I didn’t think I’d see you in here again!” Dude. Smile quietly, hand over the sign-in sheet, and nobody gets hurt.
For another excruciatingly long seven days, I continued to try every trick in the book to induce labor. I drank pineapple juice and castor oil. I ate spicy food. As a last resort, I even tried a reflexology foot massage. That baby still had no intention of making his entrance into the world. At exactly 42 weeks pregnant, I was scheduled for another induction, per hospital policy. It was my own mother’s birthday. She hoped I would have him that day, so they could share their birthdays.
It was another excruciatingly long day. Another day of slowly increasing pitocin, and another day I wasn’t convinced that I would have a baby. After lots of contractions, throwing up, and a couple of fainting episodes, a nurse came and offered an epidural “since I wasn’t going anywhere.” I accepted, and the day dramatically improved from there. I took a nap, watched reruns of Friends, and tried to relax.
A little after 9 p.m., it was finally, FINALLY time to push. Surely that was enough time to fulfill my mother’s hopes of sharing a birthday with her first grandson? Still never one to rush, little man was born just after midnight the following day. A beautiful, healthy, 8.5 pound baby boy.
He was so worth it.