It wouldn’t be a “Lowe class baby” without a little drama! And this is not an April Fool’s Joke…
I had a normally scheduled appointment with my OB/GYN last Wednesday. At that appointment, the doctor mumbled something about the baby being “big,” something about how they were down a doctor next week, and then asked me how I felt about being induced. I said “I would prefer not to be induced unless it is necessary.” She said with my gestational diabetes, it wasn’t uncommon to do an induction so she would try to schedule me for one on Monday since I would be 39 weeks on Saturday. I was so disappointed. (Yep…you guessed it…I cried in my car on the way home. That Sentra has seen many tears.) I got a call a few hours later saying that my induction had actually been scheduled for Sunday at 7:30 am. I talked to Bradley and – after going back and forth on whether I would actually go through with the induction – we decided to go ahead with it and tell the parents. Surely my doctor wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t something we needed…right?
I officially kick-started my maternity leave on Thursday so that I had a few days to do the last minute details of getting ready for baby. It also gave me time to enjoy a few walks, rest in between the errands, and prepare myself mentally for what was about to go down. The parents packed their bags and made plans to head North for the Big Day. I kept telling myself that I was tired of being pregnant anyway so maybe this was better for me after all. The house was spotless and loaded with snacks for visitors and this new mama. We were ready.
Sunday morning rolled around and I woke up early so that we could have our last morning ritual with the dogs. The house felt so quiet and there was something weird about knowing how different it would be/feel when we came back with a baby. I ate a few pieces of toast and skipped the coffee since my stomach was feeling a little off. We got ready, I used enough hairspray for an entire Southern beauty pageant, and we loaded up the car. We got to the hospital, went to the second floor as instructed, and got settled into room #7.
Our wonderful nurse came in and started the process of getting me ready. This included having me put on a gown that has tons of material but offers shockingly little coverage – which didn’t matter much since the robe was basically pulled up to my boobs the majority of my time there anyway. She gave me an IV, started me on fluids, and hooked me up to two monitors – one to watch contractions and one to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. She asked if I had had any cervical checks and I said “No.”
Sign number one that this might be an interesting day: the nurse looked a little surprised and said that most inductions aren’t recommended without a cervical check. She said she would have to do one on me so that they could determine the best course of action. I was prepared for that so we got into position. When she apologized for having short fingers, I didn’t quite grasp what that meant, but I figured it out fairly quickly when her elbow disappeared. (Not really but good grief!) She said “You are three centimeters dilated and 65% effaced.” I was pumped!! I was certain that my body hadn’t started the process yet, because I was having ZERO symptoms of L&D. No contractions, no mucous plug, no cramps…nothing. To know that my body had started on its own, was wonderful.
While all of this is going on, somehow the topic of my original birth plan came up. I mentioned, with a half-hearted smile, that I had originally wanted to labor at home for as long as possible. I wanted freedom of movement, and I was NOT going to get that at the hospital with an induction. I was basically on a five foot leash with all of those monitors and the option to not be monitored isn’t really an option when Pitocin is involved. The nurse mentioned wireless monitors but openly admitted that they don’t always work. It was becoming clear that I might be essentially bed bound, and I wan’t doing a great job of hiding my disappointment.
And this is where my nurse deserves a freaking medal. She could sense that I wasn’t pumped. She knew I was nervous about being induced (mainly because I said that when she asked “How are you today?”). My vitals were great, baby’s vitals were great, my blood sugar was the best it has ever been, and it looked like we were about to induce a perfectly healthy pregnant lady. She called the doctor and told her what my original birth plan had been. They reviewed my chart. They discussed what the ACOG guidelines are for inductions. And then the nurse came back to the room and said that the doctor felt comfortable with me going home and not being induced.
Yep. Pack it up and go home folks.
I had a moment where I felt guilty. The Georgia family had spent the entire day before in the car making the day-long drive to Virginia. My parents were already on their way to my house so that they could watch the dogs for us. Lots of rearranging of schedules and getting job responsibilities covered had happened so that they could be here to welcome Jefferson. The doctor gave me the option to stay and be induced…since I was already there. And I thought about it. It would be so much more convenient for our families.
But I made the choice that felt better for me and Jefferson. Me and this baby boy get the chance to do this in a way that is a little more natural. I might get that chance to labor at home with freedom of movement and the safety that only my home offers. And even if an induction is what ends up happening in the end, hopefully I will be a little more dilated and effaced when that process starts. The current plan is to let my body do its thing unless my blood sugar starts getting crazy or if there are other signs of complications. I will see my OB/GYN this week for my normal weekly appointment. I will also be walking and squatting and drinking raspberry tea to help nudge this process along.
If you are wondering why the induction was recommended to start with, I can’t answer that. I go to a large women’s health practice affiliated with a local hospital system. I have seen different doctors throughout the course of my pregnancy and the one I have seen most frequently is on vacation right now. The doctor that recommended the induction was one that I have only seen twice. The doctor at the hospital was one I have never worked with so her opinion was basically like getting a second opinion. She wanted to respect my wishes as best she could and – given the information she had in front of her – she felt that having a more natural labor process was reasonable at this time. At the end of the day, that is all I care about. I want to be healthy, I want baby to be healthy, and I was as much of a shot of doing this the way my body was designed to. If medical interventions are needed to ensure that we both make it home healthy, then I will do that. But I’m not prepared to be strapped to monitors and bed bound because of convenience or misguided perceptions about the female body’s ability to birth a “big baby.”
Y’all. Get second opinions. Tell your practitioners when something is important to you. Ask all the questions. Don’t hide your disappointment because society pressures you to be compliant and a “good patient.” Yes…I could be holding my baby now. And I am so excited for that moment. But there is so much that leads up to that beautiful moment…and I want those moments to be considered, too.
And to all of my mommas that have been induced – I was nervous and sweaty with just an IV of fluids in my arm. Kudos to you for being rock stars and going through that process to get your babies into the world. It is not simple or easy!!
To our families: thank you for not giving us a hard time about the inconvenience this put on you. Thank you helping organize the nursery with all the new gifts we got, for doing loads of laundry, for putting together mobiles and rockers, and for walking around museums with us. We appreciate your understanding.
And a huuuuuuge thank-you-love-you to Bradley for supporting me through this decision. I could see that he was disappointed. Not with me but with the situation. He had also prepared himself mentally for us to bring home a baby, to be away from work for a bit, and he was ready with a stack of snacks to help me through the induction. I recognize how much he prepared and also recognize what an amazing partner he is for loving me and supporting me even when things don’t go as planned.
Alright Jefferson. Time for us to show them what we can do, bud.
Photography by Sharon Elizabeth Photography – Bow Tie by Brackish Bow Ties