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…
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.