With my first baby, I had the quintessential surprise labor where my water broke like a dam in the middle of the night a week before my due date. We rushed to the hospital and I delivered less than 12 hours later.
But with my second child because I was over 40, I was scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks. We coordinated with my OB well in advance to pick a day when she would be working and also had the advantage of arranging child care for my 2-year-old, a blessing when you don’t have family nearby.
The emotions leading up to being induced were odd and a bit unsettling. There was a very conscious “What will we do with our last Saturday as a family of three?” conversation as well as the ever-important, “What will I eat for my last meal?” before reporting to the hospital. In case you’re wondering, the answer was pizza.
In addition to carbo-loading under my doctor’s orders, my wife and I did a last-minute name cramming session just in case we had a girl on the app Kinder. Ever since I learned I was pregnant this go around, I was convinced it was a boy since every pregnancy cue that could be different, was.
In addition to the fun of eating pizza and nesting with a finite end date, I also scoured the googler to learn what to expect when I would be induced. I didn’t find much, so I thought I’d share my induction journey here.
First, I received a prime time slot to report to the hospital, 10am on Sunday which meant the hospital was slower than normal and we didn’t even have to battle traffic on our way in. Once we arrived and went through triage, I checked in to my room in Labor & Delivery, got an IV, and Pitocen was started around 11:30 am.
Soon after, a midwife came in to perform an ultrasound to confirm the baby was head down and ready for delivery. At each of my prior weekly appointments from 30-weeks on, my OB had confirmed this baby was head down and ready to go. However, the midwife saw something different. Our baby had turned and was transverse and nearly breech!
This late in a pregnancy a baby turning was quite unheard of as there is usually little room in the womb for a baby to flip once it is head down. I was shocked and disappointed. If they couldn’t get the baby to turn, I would be scheduled for a C-section later that day. Everything about my first vaginal delivery had gone smoothly and nearly everyone had told me to expect the same with my second, it would just be faster, so I never had considered needing a C-section.
As I grappled with the news, they stopped the Pitocen and I signed releases for my upcoming ECV (External Cephalic Version) procedure where two doctors would try to manually move our baby into the right position. I would have to wait 8 hours from the last time I ate before they would attempt the ECV (damn that cold pizza I had for breakfast!) since they didn’t want anything in my stomach in case the baby went into duress and they would have to take me into an emergency C-section.
I would have nothing to do but wait for six hours so I asked the midwife if there was anything I could do to help encourage the baby to turn. As an avid yoga student, I had heard tales of women doing yoga poses to encourage their baby to flip and thought it was worth a try. The midwife said sure, you can try child’s post on the bed, where your head and forearms are well beneath your hips. So I googled a few videos to get a visual and then the nurses helped us configure the bed to this crazy modified child’s pose (where I was thankfully able to stream Wimbledon for some entertainment).
For the next few hours I practiced my yoga moves and waited. By 5pm when my OB reported for duty and it had been 8 hours since I had eaten, she immediately came in to check me and announced, “This baby is head down, let’s break your water and get this show on the road!” All of the nurses and residents were shocked and so were we. How had this baby flipped on its own? Whether it was my yoga moves or just plain luck, this baby clearly had room to turn on its own and what they determined an “unstable lie” so they didn’t want to waste time and delay labor any longer in case it flipped back.
At that point, my OB broke my water with a long tool that looked like a crochet hook. It was pretty painful as she wielded the long hook up in me like a less-than-magical wand, but it was over pretty quickly. The Pitocen was back on within a half hour and by around 7pm I was 4cm dilated and opted to get an epidural.
The nurses kept inching up my Pitocen and encouraged us to rest. Sleep definitely wasn’t in the cards, but I was able to rest until around 1:30am when I knew things were happening and it was almost time to push. It’s amazing how even with the epidural your body knows what to do. The pressure builds and when that baby is ready to meet you, there is no stopping it! After attempting to ignore the sensation for 45 minutes, I called my nurses a little after 2am and they confirmed I was 10cm dilated and paged my OB. It was go time!
In my delivery room there was my OB, a resident, 2 nurses, a head charge nurse, my wife and me. Seven amazing women who all had critical jobs to make sure our newest addition came into the world safely and with as much positive support as possible. In between contractions and pushes, the nurses and doctors laughed and cheered me on. I was not exactly in a jovial mood, but I appreciated their light-hearted optimism. This was likely the best part of their job, albeit one they performed multiple times every shift, but a job nonetheless. Every moment of every day there are women pushing out babies, like it ain’t no thang. Of course I could do this. Now that this baby was head down there was no way I was not going to push this kiddo into the world!
After just under 15 minutes of pushing, my wife Julie and I received one last surprise. It was a girl! I was ecstatic!
I had never had a sister of my own and being that we were two Moms with one girl already, this little one completed my dreams of an estrogen-filled, sheshe existence. Guess it was a good thing we spent a little time on that baby name swipe app after all!