To induce or not to induce?

To induce or not to induce.  That will be the question on the doctor’s mind this week and is a question I was prepared for weeks ago…but now am unsure of.  Kate and I have been supremely pro-natural birth since the very beginning and adamant about not using drugs that will make Kate out of it, make the baby out of it, or potentially hinder breastfeeding immediately after birth.  Now that modern medicine has deemed us “late,” the topic of induction is looming on the horizon.

First off…it really does tick me off that we (and other parents-to-be) are referred to as “late.”  You are given an unrealistic due date based on the size of the baby’s femur at your first ultrasound.  That’s like placing a bet on how tall you will be at 18 just by looking at how tall you are at birth.  My dad is 5’9″, my mom is 5’6″, and I’m 6’4″.  I’m sure they saw that coming.  Secondly, doctors need to calm down with how much they try to automate and control the birth process.  It’s a natural thing…you have as much control over a birth as you do over the weather.  If you come close to going over 42 weeks (remember the imperfect art that is assigning due dates) doctors get freaked out and want to start pumping you full of patocin and breaking your bag of waters.  Lastly, once you are in labor you are placed on a 24 hour clock by a medical staff.  Either you progress or they will make you progress.  That sounds like the relaxing environment you want in a birth.  The whole damn thing feels like a bunch of strangers in scrubs slowly cornering Kate and I…is someone holding a gun to a little bunny’s head?  Suddenly they shout, “give birth now or the bunny gets it!”  Holy crap!  We’re just 6 days late!  “You have to give birth in the next 4 days!”  Kate’s not in labor yet!  “Do it now or I swear to God I’ll shoot the bunny!”  We just need more time…

Bang!

Sorry little bunny but I still believe in having a natural birth.  All the negative connotations that go with the word “late” have descended upon Kate and I as the idea of birth has completely consumed us.  Why is she not having contractions yet?  What are we doing wrong?  What can we do?  Will this baby ever come out?  What is Scott Bakula up to these days?  The answers of course are: It isn’t time yet, nothing, relax, yes, and making a cameo on the New Adventures of Old Christine.  Huh?  Stick with me here.  The moment you give in to the medical game you start a snowball effect of decisions that slowly take the birth away from your wants and into the hospital’s needs.  Patocin brings on labor but it increases pain, then you might be looking at drugs to help dilate, then the pain is more than you prepared for and you are asking for pain relief, and then you have a groggy baby that doesn’t want to breast feed.  All because of a due date assigned months ago.  I get it that doctors and hospitals need to cover their asses.  I understand that the safe environment of the womb becomes less safe after 42 weeks.  I get it.  But I don’t buy into it.  Show me concrete evidence that it has been EXACTLY 42 weeks and that January 11th was the ACTUAL due date of my child, and I will agree to being past due.  Next…show me evidence that my wife’s body won’t go into labor on its own when the time is right and give birth to a happy healthy baby.  Then I will agree to inducing.  Till then…I have decided to tell the medical staff to stuff it.  Zig will come out when he is ready dammit and there are tons of things we can do at home to help promote a birth…natural induction if you will.  I am still glad that we are going to have Zig in a hospital since it is our first child but I can tell you that next time around this is going to happen at home at our own pace.

For my readers following along that are also parents-to-be I am going to pass on some simple words of advice.  You don’t have to agree with this advice…it is just the advice I would give myself or someone like me:

  • Get a doula early on
  • Read, read, read
  • Go to birthing classes and actively participate
  • Practice after you leave sed birthing class
  • Find a doctor that thinks like you
  • Research home-birth and seriously consider it
  • If you are indifferent to homebirth…have your birth at home
  • Trust your body (moms), it is built to do this
  • Ignore your due date and give yourself a due month
  • Create a birth plan with your doula/doctor/midwife
  • Always ask questions
  • Talk with your partner
  • Get a Flu shot
  • Research circumcision (see earlier posts on this blog)
  • Research vaccinations
  • Research pain medication and how it affects labor
  • Research breast-feeding
  • Research chord banking
  • Research pulsing umbilical chords and when to cut
  • Research birthing positions
  • Ask how often you have to be monitored in labor

These are all just a few things that I have grappled with and found important.  For me, a natural birth is very important and I believe in my wife, my baby, and nature.  There have been millions of births…this one is ours.  Remember that your birth is yours and you should be in control of your own decisions.  If you don’t like what your OB is saying…switch.  Don’t like what the hospital is doing?  Ask them to stop or leave and go somewhere else.  Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.  This is your body, your baby, your lives.  Make sure you are in control.  The great thing to remember is that no matter what, the end goal is always a healthy and happy baby…and mommy.  You’ve surrounded yourself in life with friends that think like you, make sure you do the same for when you give birth.

Tomorrow Kate and I will sit down in the OB’s office and undoubtably discuss induction.  We are going into the 42nd week.  What will the decision be?  I have no idea right now but I am holding out for nature to run its course.  Details to come.

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10 thoughts on “To induce or not to induce?

  1. I’ve done both and definitely preferred my natural births. So far all four children seems fairly normal and I don’t think it’s affected them long term (we’ll wait until the teenage years for the final verdict on that). Ryan, your best sentence here is “There have been millions of births…this one is ours.” You & Kate have to make the best decision for you at this moment in your lives.

  2. I was a month “late”. My son was 28 days “late” (completely natural with no pain meds at all). Both my sister’s kids were 3 weeks “late” (again, natural). I’m not sure Mother Nature is on the same timeline as the doctors and really cannot understand how they can justify rushing a baby along. And believe me, enjoy your last weeks of sleep because pretty soon they’ll just be a memory.

    Oh, and p.s. My other two kids were 3 days off from their due date… calculated by *me*, not the doc. I turned out to be more accurate than someone with all those years of medical school. Go figure.

  3. Right on. You guys do what *you* need to do. The poor little doctors will all be ok if your son isn’t born exactly according to their busy schedules. Zig isn’t late; the doctor’s due date was early. All other indicators (from those same doctors, mind you) have been that mother and baby are healthy, are progressing normally, have an amazing big brother/uncle, and have shown no indications that any sort of extra medical intervention has been necessary. And now all of a sudden it’s *not* normal and needs the hallowed and mighty hand of Modern Medicine to intervene and force the issue? Right. Zig will squooze out when he’s good and goddamn ready. Anyway, the important thing here is that bunnies are delicious, and should probably be sauteed with mushrooms in a nice white wine sauce. See you guys soon.

  4. This is a tough job, isn’t it?
    Good luck today.

    At 41 weeks, 4 days can make a huge difference. Hopefully you won’t have to hit their “deadline” at all.

  5. good luck today at the Dr’s. I’m sure she’ll listen to you……you’l listen to her……and a plan will evolve.
    Must say, I’ve stocked your freezer with food, lost the betting pool, cleared my calendar, have the guest room ready for visitors………all set and ready. just ……..waiting. Enjoy this moment of quiet before the storm. Mom

  6. I have also had natural childbirths. Like children, births have their own quirky “personalities”, too. I have experienced pitocin –not to meet a due date (already “late” 12 days.) – and I had already been in active labor — but to manage other birthing issues. I also opted for no pain medications, so one decision does not have to lead to the other. However, the pitocin aspect made Bob’s (husband) support even more important. I used all my practiced birthing techniques and Bob was key in helping me stay focused with that, too. Having discussed this issue with your Dr., you will feel more comfortable with a decision that may have to be made “on the spot” and which may change your game plan a bit, but not entirely. I have found that in addition to having questioned, researched, and practiced, the birth process also requires flexible thinking and trust. “The great thing to remember is that no matter what, the end goal is always a healthy and happy baby…and mommy” and daddy. Yourselves, your medical team, friends, and family are working toward that same outcome. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mary! I agree that flexible thinking seems to be key. I also feel confident that we will make the decisions that we feel are right in the moment & I’m not one to regret or second-guess… especially since we have done so much prep! Glad too to hear that for you, Pitocin didn’t automatically lead to other interventions… though no doubt (like you said) brought other/different challenges!
      As I was just saying to a friend of mine, I’m not interested in having a “perfect” birth or anything ridiculous like that… I just want to have OUR birth experience & really feel like we own it & don’t get off track of what our goals are as opposed to someone else’s goals. I’m confident that we’ll have just that, regardless of how things end up going!

      1. I would add one thing to your list:
        Be Flexible. However the baby arrives as long as he and Kate are both healthy and as stress free as possible, it’s all good!

  7. It is important not to let anyone bully you. Obstetrical systems are huge bullies, any procedures forced on any individual against their will constitutes bullying but they can be dealt with, as usual, thru education and firm, careful, logical, polite resistance. You can let the system know you do not wish to go along with their bullying.
    My two sons, now 43 and 41 were both way overdue by ‘medical reckoning’ – the first by 11 days, the second by 16 days. I think it was natural rather than ‘overdue’ as I had a long menstrual cycle – always 31 – 33 days.
    On the 11th ‘overdue’ day, having dutifully rested with my feet up according to drs orders I was totally fed up with lying around, got out the cleaning equipment, tackled the kitchen and bathroom with great vigour and when I finally realized I wasn’t going to wash one more wall, my membranes ruptured, I went right into good labour and gave birth in 5 1/2 hours. He had a tiny bit of vernix, proving he was not overdue.
    The second time I didn’t feel like washing walls, but my 2 1/2 yr old would walk endlessly, so we walked about 3 1/2 miles and just got back and another huge splash started second son on the way – 3 1/2 hours! ?to match the walk??. He had no vernix, and was right on time too. He was born at home with assistance of an MD and midwife from England.
    Read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to childbirth on natural ways of coaxing labour to start vs ‘medical’ induction – I’m sure you’d enjoy the far healthier Ina May method a whole lot more. Walking moves the head down farther and farther and sooner rather than later, something’s going to give!
    Ina May’s daughter in law invented a birthing system with a walking stick she found on her last hike before going into labour. She held it with two hands in front of her and did a figure 8 belly dance practically until the baby’s head crowned, apparently it was a great, fairly easy labour.

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