When I was pregnant with my first child 11 years ago, I lived in a super naïve, pre-social media, new-mom-to-be blissed-out place. I didn’t have all the shoulds and shouldn’ts emblazoned on my brain in the form of memes and countless blog posts that pregnant moms probably do today. I was actually shocked when I found out I shouldn’t have caffeine or certain cheeses or deli meats. This was totally new information to me. Facebook just wasn’t a thing.
I got my information from my mom and my doctor and this real, live paper book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Yes, it actually exists.
So when my doctor suggested we schedule an induction after it seemed like my baby might not be arriving on his due date, or immediately thereafter, I said, “Sure!” In my heart, it weirdly felt like the exact right decision.
Today, I might have read induction horror stories and opted to wait for my baby to come in his own sweet time. Today, I might have thought about how people might judge me for getting induced — for not letting nature “take its course.” I’m not sure I would have just gone along with what my doctor suggested if it were today. And as it turns out, that may have caused increased problems for me and my baby.
Logistically, an induction seemed like the perfect thing. Everything with the pregnancy seemed textbook. My measurements were good, my blood pressure was good, the baby looked good. He was actively moving. I had finished everything I needed to do at work. My parents were scheduled to come to my house, and I was actively trying to figure out how to keep them living at my house forever. I was completely petrified of having a newborn.
But I was huge and getting crankier by the second. I really needed to get that baby out into the world. I did read all the tricks and tried all the things to see if I could get the kid to choose his own birthday, but nothing worked.
I specifically remember sitting and eating oatmeal with my dad the morning of the induction. It was my dad’s birthday that day, and it was completely surreal for me to think that it might be my son’s birthday too. When we arrived at the hospital, since I wasn’t in labor at all, I almost had a heart attack when I saw the baby bassinet sitting innocently to the side of the room — like, here I am. Here is the proof that there is a human being exiting your premises today.
My blood pressure may have been a little high at that first reading.
As things got started, my doctor went to break my water. Looking back at what happened next, I see things much differently than I did at that time. Now I see the doctor’s concerned face. Now I see lots of new people coming into the room and talking to each other and preparing things. Now I see how our situation went from “textbook” to “concerning.”
The doctor asked, “Did your water already break?”
“I don’t think so?” I said. I honestly had no clue. Wouldn’t I know if my water broke? I’d seen it happen in the movies. It’s like a huge embarrassing gush of water that usually pours out of you in a restaurant and then you are instantly writhing in pain, right? I hadn’t had that. Not even close.
Had I felt like maybe I was leaking at all? I wasn’t sure. As it turns out, my water had already broken at some point, and that was why the doctor was so concerned. Since they didn’t know when my water had broken, the risk of infection for both of us was much, much greater. To this day, I have no idea when or where or how my water broke.
Things moved faster after that. They started monitoring him internally. Pediatric specialists were brought in. They didn’t really let me know about their concern until after he was born, for which I am thankful.
In the end, I was able to have him naturally, and he came out pink and healthy and sweet. But moments after he was born, he threw up green meconium and ended up spending his first 24 hours in the NICU being monitored. I was given antibiotics just in case.
What if I had waited until nature took its course? I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t want to know. I’m glad I listened to my doctor and my heart. I’m glad I didn’t have people telling me that induction wasn’t the best option or the right option, and that I should hold out.
And I’m so thankful for modern medicine.
Induction can be exactly what needs to happen to get your little one into the world safely. All we can do is listen to our gut and our trusted medical professionals, and try to make the best choice for ourselves and our children.