“I don’t want to miss dinner. I gotta have my candied yams!”
While most moms are anxious to get the baby out as they near full-term, I was purely focused on the food. Yes, I am that girl. Always thinking of food and when my next meal will be.
Our little bundle, which we opted against learning the sex, was due the week before Thanksgiving. I often heard that your first baby arrives late. Late for us meant Thanksgiving week, or God forbid Thanksgiving Day!
I did not want to have a turkey day baby.
I wanted my turkey, baby!
As luck would have it, on Thanksgiving Day, I sat in relative comfort with my family as I scarfed down turkey, mashed potatoes, pierogis, and my must-have candied yams without so much as a peep from the little being inside me.
At 41 weeks, a voluntary induction commenced…and ultimately that is the day when my so-called comfort turned around, packed its bags, and headed south for the winter.
“She’s going to be a big baby!
“Her head circumference looks above average.”
All the doctor’s thoughts floated around in my head the night of my induction. I was hoping to have a drug-free vaginal birth.
Sister, I had no idea the amount of pain and discomfort I would endure during an induction.
My husband and I checked in to the hospital and sat around in our room for two hours watching TV and laughing at silly memes on Facebook to burn off adrenaline.
It was shortly after 10 PM when the night nurse informed me, after shoving her whole damn arm up my hoo-ha, that my cervix hadn’t dilated much.
It was far from being ripe, despite stripping my membranes at the last doctor’s appointment.
She wasn’t even able to break my water bag (also known as an amniotomy).
She explained that she was going to give me the hormone prostaglandin, commonly referred to as Cervidil, and that it would help with the ripening of my cervix. I accepted the recommendation and hoped for the best.
6 hours later.
It was not the best.
My cervix still wasn’t budging.
At this point, I was thinking maybe my baby was still cooking in there. Maybe, we shouldn’t even be doing this.
Another nurse came in and explained that the next step was going to be the foley catheter. The one where they blow the balloon up inside your cervix!
“Oh, hell no!” I thought to myself.
This was the method I had learned about in my labor and delivery class that terrified me. Not sure why that was, but I remember someone said it was painful. As if labor overall isn’t, but this was going to make it worse, I thought.
“I don’t want to do that. Do we really have to?”
The nurse explained everything to us. She said she would be gentle.
I was still terrified.
After long deliberations and some convincing by my husband and nurse, I did it.
Not long after the procedure, I fell asleep.
But, as you know, sleep at the hospital is non-existent.
I woke up several hours later.
The nurses came in and checked my cervix.
It had finally softened enough that they were able to pop my water bag.
After that, I fell asleep for a few hours.
And, you guessed it.
I got woken up again.
They checked my cervix once more.
My cervix still wasn’t cooperating.
I continued to dilate, but apparently, the contractions still weren’t ramping up as they had hoped.
The nurses informed me they were going to start administering pitocin to stimulate the contractions.
And, this is when my labor and delivery experience went to hell in a handbasket.
Within a few hours, my contractions were through the roof, the exosphere, and up somewhere near the moon. I was having 4 or 5 severe contractions every 8 minutes.
Nurses were rushing in and out of my room trying to comfort me.
My husband tried to soothe me too.
But, as you know, you can’t soothe a raging bull.
“Please just sit down and leave me alone!” I cried to my husband as I curled into a ball biting the side of my hospital bed.
I was having ridiculous contractions, but despite my cervix softening, my body wasn’t quite ready for labor.
And, that, my friends, was the pits.
At this point, my natural labor plan literally went out of the second-story window.
I begged for an epidural, but it was too early.
We weren’t close enough to labor.
So, the nurse recommended morphine.
From what I understood about morphine, I thought I would be in a cloud and my pain would be diminished.
Not only did the morphine have me feeling like a woozy drunkard, but I could still feel the pain and was vomiting everywhere.
I couldn’t sleep between the pain and the puke.
The morphine elevated my already crummy experience into a hellacious one.
After what seemed like forever (several hours), I was finally given the option for the epidural.
The instant the needle went into my back, I had immediate relief.
The pain was gone.
The puke was still there.
But the worst part, the pain, was over.
I was able to relax as much as you can relax when you are tired, stinky, and drugged up with a bowling ball about to escape from your nether regions.
After a short amount of time, the pain came back in full-force on my right side.
I wept for the nurse to come back.
“I thought they said this would stop the pain,” I cried in delirium to my husband who was sitting on the couch playing on his phone, minding his business like he was told to do.
The epidural had worn off on one side.
Fortunately, the nurse returned within 15 minutes and administered more medicine into my back.
Just in time for me to start pushing.
Once the doctor, and her team, entered the room, it was showtime. The doctor’s team included 2 nurses and a load of medical residents.
If I was clearheaded, I would have died of embarrassment with all these people in the room watching me during my most vulnerable, yet strongest, hour.
But I was high as a kite, and I had a baby that needed to exit pronto.
Instead of the “breathe, breathe, push,” like I had been taught. It went more like…
Breathe, breathe, push, puke.
Breathe, breathe, push, puke.
Breathe, breathe, push, puke.
Breathe, puke, push.
Breathe, puke, push.
My vomiting wasn’t letting up and the slow delivery was impacting my baby.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my baby’s heart rate was dropping significantly.
The doctor whispered in one of the resident’s ears and said something to my husband, but I didn’t hear her words.
I continued pushing as instructed by the nurse.
Breathe, breathe, and finally one solid push.
At the same time, the doctor had placed some weird vacuum device on my baby’s head when I was pushing. (I later learned the device was a vacuum extractor, which “is a soft cup that attaches to your baby’s head with suction to help guide the baby out of the birthing canal.”)
Moments later, I felt the pressure of my baby’s body sliding out.
I looked out over the top of my knees and I could see my baby’s eyes —large and alert— but she wasn’t crying.
At 5:49 PM, the day after I had checked in to the hospital, my baby was born.
The doctor and nurses rushed my baby over to the table to check her vitals, the residents crowding around them.
I could hear my husband ask the nurse, “Is the baby going to cry?”
She still hadn’t made a peep.
At last, we heard the joyous sound.
“It’s a girl!” the doctor finally shouted.
My husband and I looked at each other in utter disbelief.
Even though we had opted not to find out the sex of our baby, 100% of the old wives’ tales pointed to a boy. From how I was carrying to the types of cravings, my overall health, and all the other silly little things they say, all signs pointed to a male.
“I wish I could take a picture of both of your faces right now,” the nurse laughed.
We had sworn it was a boy. Or, at least I always thought so.
It seemed like an eternity before my little girl was placed in my arms.
She was a total peanut. Not even 8 lbs.
I looked down at her striking blue eyes and kissed the top of her little bald head.
“You were so worth it all, my little Violet. Every ounce of puke, poop, and kudo chop to the groin.”
While I didn’t have the most favorable birthing experience, I would say it was ultimately a successful one, because I got a healthy little girl out of the deal. A few things I learned is that you need to listen to your body, advocate for yourself, and think it through before you schedule an induction.
Looking back, I wish I hadn’t scheduled a labor induction. I should have just let my baby come on her own. I think it would have certainly reduced some of the pain and suffering I had to go through.
Of course, there are times when having an induction is medically necessary. If you have high blood pressure it may be required for your health or if your placenta isn’t nourishing your baby properly, you would most definitely want to be induced so your baby can keep growing on the outside instead of in the womb. If your waters break and labor doesn’t begin, the chance of a bad infection would probably help you opt for induction.
Just think your decision through.
Being completely over the feeling of having a bowling ball in your lap or crummy sleep is not a good reason enough for induction of your labor.
I became so fixated on the doctor telling me I was going to have a big baby with a huge head and I let that determine the next steps of my pregnancy.
I had it arranged to have my baby’s induction one week after the due date because I was afraid of having a watermelon baby dropping out of my…you know.
Well, my doctor’s estimates and observations were wrong. My daughter was a total peanut and she had a small, little head.
Our doctors aren’t perfect. They can’t be 100% accurate, and technology isn’t surefire either, yet I took my doctor’s word, and my due date, as truth.
Make sure to manage your expectations—and remember that the due date is only an estimate. Technology can’t pinpoint your kid’s delivery to the day. We can barely pinpoint our periods. (or… is that just me?)
I later learned that first time moms, if left alone to go into labor naturally tend to be pregnant for about 41 weeks and 1 day.
I wish I would have waited.
Just listen to your body, mama. Don’t rush your pregnancy. Your baby will be here when he or she is ready.
Please note mamas, this is my unique experience. All moms have different birthing experiences, even when you go through the same processes and procedures. Do not let my experience freak you out. Not all induction experiences go this way, and sometimes you don’t need to go through all the steps I outlined above. Like your beautiful baby, your birthing story will be your very own. If you’re a pregnant mama now, I wish you a quick, seamless, healthy delivery. Hugs! <3