In my case, the due date passed, and of course the doctors had told my fiancé and I to be patient, yet warned of the health problems that an over developed fetus might face. A week passed after my due date and there was no progress, and no downward movement whatsoever. I started to get nervous. Relatives were expecting the baby, and I was more than ready to welcome my first child after months of painful anticipation. April tenth came and went with no changes and I was becoming increasingly nervous. The risks and benefits of inducing labor had been explained to me previously, and I felt the risk of complications was too great to wait around. My doctor agreed. We of course mulled over the emotions of the situation
My fiancé and I reported to the labor and delivery unit at the hospital about six pm on Monday evening ready to walk out with the baby a few hours later. Much to our consternation, we were informed that my cervix was not dilating despite the chemical agent that had been placed internally to cause this necessary reaction. Tuesday morning came, with no dilation. I was skeptical after a day and a half of lying in the unforgiving labor and delivery bed, but then came the waves of extraordinary pain. We had finally won the war against nature. It began earnestly enough with a bang, and then subsided into waves of extraordinary pain. A beleaguered nurse walked in with a huge blue balance ball and suggested that I lay upon it, as an alternative to conventional pain medication. Looking at her with my mouth agape, I realized I had passed the point of no return. It had been almost two days now and all my faculties had been put to the test. The petocin was pulsing through my veins and all I could tell anyone was that I needed an epidural. The attending physician came in and pronounced me unfit to receive one which was not good news. In a general malaise, I puttered around in my gown awaiting the nudge of not only the baby, but the medical staffers whom had been telling me that waiting was the best policy.
The hours that followed were not the most painful due to the high level of pain killers in my system, but rather the thing that defines pain. The mind defines pain both emotional and physical and the amount you suffer is up to you. But how on earth do you survive induced labor when you do know what to expect. If you go in thinking that you won’t be able to stand the pain, you probably won’t be able to- it plays tricks on the over thinking individual- at least it did in my case. Had I developed a plan for dealing with the pain ahead of time, I might have been more comfortable. Even a plan won’t stop the mind from feeling the extreme pain and for the most part the pain is very necessary for the natural birth process to play itself out. In general, had I had that plan in place, it might have saved me hours of not knowing how to deal with things, but inevitably, I did get through despite a ridiculous amount of fussing.
Tips for surviving induced labor:
- Know the risks and talk to your doctor about the necessity of the procedure.
- Know your body- inform staff politely yet firmly of any changes that occur for best results
- Stay hydrated before you report to labor and delivery- Although my fluids were replaced via IV, I regretted not drinking more water before I went into the hospital.
- Know your rights - A caesarian section is not always necessary. Again, informing staff of changes in your body and speaking up if you disagree with any decision is paramount.
- When being questioned by medical staff about any medical history, know that you have the right to refuse to answer questions. Remember though, medical professionals cannot do right by you without all the facts.
- Do not feel bad about accepting pain medication- The human body wasn’t built to withstand the pain of induced labor. There are both systemic and spinal options which an anesthesiologist will explore with you.
- Don’t demand an epidural too soon- The problem with epidurals is the fact that they slow labor and could wear off during the transition phase of labor if administered too soon.
Author: Nora Bunk