My daughter V is two-years-old and was conceived in glorious poetry and has since impressed us with her perfect timing across all spectrums from conception and delivery to comedic expressions and cries that rescue us from bad company. Her brother on the other hand, is off to a rough start pushing two weeks past his due date and requiring his mother to make some difficult decisions in regards to induction.
My Louisiana care-provider is legally bound to induce women once they hit their 42 week mark. We don’t have a great rapport because I’ve only known him two weeks. I moved to Louisiana at 36 weeks (a month before my due date) and had originally chosen a certified nurse mid-wife for my care, but literally on my due date I chose to switch care-providers because she terrified me (will write more on that later). My new OB is part of the same group of physicians and was likely suspicious of my reasons to change care providers so late in the game. I’m sure he was wondering if I would be a high maintenance shrew, obstinate to his recommendations. We had a conversation about expectations of care, and he said at our original meeting, “if you’re not willing to be induced at 42 weeks, then I don’t think we’re the right match.”
And so here I am, at 42 weeks with no baby and I am seeing my natural birth plan disappear. My emotions are everywhere, and also numb.
V had great timing, but I went into labor with her completely inexperienced, ignorant and unprepared. After accepting an epidural there were complications that came up that would have been preventable if I were mobile, and we ended up doing an emergency c-section that was quite traumatic for me. I remember feeling an inch away from death. I remember being exhausted and freezing and completely paralyzed from the neck down, shivering violently and waiting several minutes for someone to notice and put heating pads on me because I was too tired to speak and make requests for myself. I remember not really caring when V was finally born. I was profoundly numbed.
For my son I have done my homework. I am equipped to manage pain and remain mobile. I know what different chemicals do and what different positions do and I have hired an excellent doula and spent hundreds of hours by now reading, consulting, stretching, exercising, and otherwise preparing for this birth.
Once we hit 40 weeks I did a number of things to try to naturally induce, including: walking (6 miles in one day just two days ago), acupuncture, moxabustion, Qi-gong, sex, nipple stimulation, spicy food, pedicures, enema, castor oil, foot reflexology, evening primrose oil, pineapples, oregano/basil, and of course, visualization. All of those things have seemingly assisted in my dilation (i’m now at 4 cm with a “very thin” cervix), but still the doctor wants me to induce. He feels “up against a wall” legally.
We have to move out of our temporary housing in New Orleans to a small town in SW Louisiana (a 4 hour drive) as soon as possible because R starts a new job July 1st. Ideally we’d be there yesterday to start training, but alas I’m still pregnant and we really can’t switch care-providers now. I am done being pregnant. I want the baby out and I want to begin our new life in our new town. My mother in law is here all the way from Sweden and I want her to meet her grandson and spend enough time with him before her plane trip home (which we’ve already extended once).
Yes I feel pressure from the hospital to induce, but I also feel pressure from my esteemed friends and family to buck authority, wait it out, so I am sure to fulfill on my dream natural birth.
I’m fraught with risk management dilemmas right now and doing a great deal of calculus plugging in the emotions and suggestions of a great number of people, along with medical risks for my son, me, and professional risks for my husband. Then there are financial risks (extending temporary housing) and hazards of moving during a recovery period to keep in mind. We have only a short number of friends in this new town and zero family.
I decided to compromise with the doctor and rather than induce tomorrow morning (Wednesday) I signed a “refusal of car” form that allowed him to escape immediate liability, but I will arrive willingly Thursday morning for Pitocin induction. Tonight I’ll go on a long walk, eat spicy food, and take more primrose oil. Then tomorrow morning I will see my acupuncturist. And if none of these things propel me into labor then I’ll take a cab to the hospital’s birthcenter at 5 am, ready for duty.
I wanted to birth naturally because I wanted the transformative experience, the empowerment of it all. Without having begun labor yet, there is already a small transformation in that I am realizing I can’t always get what I want, and sometimes with parenthood you have to let some of your dreams go.