Wednesday, July 13

One Of My Least Favorite Pregnancy Questions AND Some Thoughts On Inducing Labor:

When are you due?

I hate this question.

I mostly hate this question because (no matter who you are) if you're pregnant and people think you're supposed to be smaller than you are, and you say, "I've got Six weeks left!" they usually reply with, "REALLY? ARE YOU SURE!" or my personal favorite, which someone said to me this weekend, "Are you sure you aren't having twins!?" It's like, seriously? Who says this to a pregnant woman?

This time around, when people ask me when this baby is due or how far along I am, I simply reply,
"Who knows! Whenever the baby decides to make it's grand entrance!!"
"Only a few more weeks!"
or "Yep, I'm about to POP any minute! Watch your shoes. My water might burst all over em!"
Then I hold my belly and chuckle like Santa as loudly and obnoxiously as I can.

I don't know when I'll have this baby. I sure hope I don't stay pregnant forever. The goal is for our child to walk down the stage during graduation OUT of my stomach! That's the goal. I'd like he/she to come out before the age of 18. That'd be great.

I was at a VBAC birth circle last week listening to other woman share their birth stories. I was encouraged to listen to how they were able to birth vaginally after having had a previous cesarean and was relieved to know that it's normal to go well past my due date. One lady finally went into labor at 42 weeks, the other went into labor at 43 weeks (both delivered with my midwife). Their advice was to totally throw my due date out the window. One girl shared her birth story (which ended in a cesarean) and shared the pressure she felt to deliver her baby at 40 weeks because her doctor said that she had no choice, he was inducing her at 40 weeks because after that point, the baby is in "danger".

When did we subscribe to this thinking that our babies and our bodies don't know how to birth without synthetic drugs? This topic angers me so much mostly because I was forced by my doctor to induce labor with Conrad and knowing what I know now about inducting, I credit my induction to my emergency cesarean.

Instead of getting anxious about going over my due date, or wondering when the baby will come, I've been trying to say affirming statements about birth to myself.
-God has equipped me to birth this baby. My baby will be the perfect size to fit.
-The baby will come when it is ready to come.
-My body will nurture this baby until it is ready to arrive.
-There is no reason to stress over when it will come.
-Trust your body, trust God, trust your baby.

"Inducing labor means to force it to begin. It is sometimes necessary when the continued pregnancy itself is a threat to the mother's life, as in the case of a diabetic mother whose pregnancy is too stressful, aggravating the diabetes into a life threatening situation. This would be a medical reason and the proper use of induction. Such cases are rare. (There has been a dramatic rise in the labor induction rate in the last 15 years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of inductions was 9.5% in 1990. In 2003, the rate more than doubled to reach 20.6%. Imagine where it is now! The world health organization suggests a rate no higher than 10% induction, world wide.)

The majority of inductions are done today for what can only be termed "frivolous" or very questionable reasons. Induction for convenience or because the woman has gone past her "due date" with no other medical reason for induction is highly questionable and oftentimes dangerous.

Forcing labor to Begin is usually a rough business for the woman. An artificial hormone, contracting the uterus, is dripped into her arm intravenously.

The effect it can have on the uterine muscles is alarming. Your own natural hormone contracts the long muscles of the uterus progressively from the top downward toward the cervix in a wave like action. The contraction builds slowly to a peak of it's strength.

Induction can cause violent contractions which make the muscles contract all over at once. It feels like a big crunch. It feels stronger and it cuts the uterus off from circulation longer than nature intended. That blood supply to the uterus is also the baby's oxygen supply.

(No wonder babies often times don't react well to induction and need to be delivered another way....)

A forced labor is an extremely hard labor. It is difficult for the two of you to work with it. The woman in a forced labor often starts with a self doubt emotional signpost and stays that way for the entire labor (this was my experience with Conrad.) She is apt to feel overwhelmed. If both of you are looking forward to an unmediated, enjoyable labor experience, then you should know that an induced labor makes your goal difficult. Most woman feel it is an extremely painful experience.

Induction is a risky business. " Natural Birth The Bradley Way.

And people often look at me like I've got a third eye when I say I'm opting not to birth in a hospital, or with the help of drugs. I've been there with an induced labor and it's not pretty. 13 hours on pitocin without an epidural. I'll take all of the pain in the world over my previous situation!

First-time mothers have approximately twice the likelihood of cesarean section with induction compared with natural onset of labor. This risk is due to the procedure itself, not any reason that might have led to inducing labor. Inducing labor at 41 weeks in a hypothetical population of 100,000 first-time mothers will result in somewhere between 3,700 and 8,200 excess cesareans and cost an extra $29 to $39 million.
Women who have had prior vaginal births may increase their chances of cesarean section five-fold if the cervix is not ready for labor, and they are given cervical ripening agents. Inducing 100,000 hypothetical women with prior births at 41 weeks will result in between 100 and 2,300 excess cesareans and cost an extra $25 to $26 million.
All induction agents can cause uterine hyper stimulation (contractions too long, too strong, and too close together and higher baseline muscle tension). Uterine hyper stimulation can cause fetal distress. This means that, paradoxically, inducing labor because of concern over the baby’s condition may cause the very problem the induction was intended to forestall while the baby might have tolerated natural labor.
Induction of labor involves the need for other interventions — IV drip, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, usually confinement to bed — that also can have adverse effects.
Rupturing fetal membranes, a routine component of labor induction, can cause fetal distress and increases the likelihood of cesarean section. It may also precipitate umbilical cord prolapse (a life-threatening emergency for the baby in which the umbilical cord slips down into the vagina). Forty percent of all full term births involving cord prolapse were induced labors, rising to nearly 50% of births involving prolapse at 42 weeks or more.
Induced labors are usually more painful, which can increase the need for epidural analgesia. Epidurals introduce a higher probability of a host of adverse effects on the labor, the baby, and the mother.
Women with prior cesarean sections have a slightly increased probability of the scar giving way with Pitocin (oxytocin) induction (8 per 1,000 vs 5 per 1,000 with spontaneous labor onset) and greatly increased risk when prostaglandins (24 per 1,000) are used for cervical ripening or induction. Prostaglandins include Cytotec (misoprostol), Prepidil (prostaglandin E2), and Cervidil (prostaglandin E2).

Pretty interesting stuff right?

In all honesty, I was really hesitant to break up with my doctor, which is why it took me so long to switch over to my midwife at 20 weeks. When my doc said he had planned to induce me a week before my due date because he was going on vacation, I decided that my intuition about birth was going to be thrown out the window and I needed to RUN! With all of his vast knowledge, and his lack of patience, he had his own agenda to keep to. Whatever I had planned or hoped for, was the least of his worries.

Going "natural" for me, is not about how tough I am or about proving a point, it is more about not being induced with synthetic drugs. I don't want any kind of restriction at all to prevent me from having the freedom I feel is necessary to labor the way I want, this time around.

With that being said, LOTS OF WOMAN get induced every single day and have wonderful, enjoyable labors. But then there are woman like me, who didn't.

I'm being very conscious not to cling too tightly or have any expectations at all about my "due date" and trust my baby to come when it comes. To enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy and not to agonize over the days passing or counting down the days until I have my baby. I'm finding much more comfort this time around in knowing that there isn't a day to watch.

But when my friend said to me recently, "You've only got about 4-6 weeks left to go...."
I was like, "Oh god, you're right! What if this baby is stubborn and comes at 42ish weeks....?!"

God help me!


  1. Induction scares me!! I am so happy I was able to delivery with no pressure from my doctor. His motto was when it's ready, your baby will come. And I had a natural birth at 41 weeks!

    You make such a pretty preggo! I love all your posts and your motivation to deliver that baby!! You got this!! Only a few more weeks to go and we get to be introduced!! I cannot wait!!!

  2. "Trust your body, trust God, trust your baby." I think you pretty much summed it up.

    And, I am sort of horrified that your doctor planned to induce you simply because he was going on vacation. Okay, a lot horrified.

  3. I'm really enjoying the mental picture of you holding your belly and chuckling like Santa. :D

    Wise words, woman - your body IS the exact size, and your baby will be too. God made you to do this and He's going to carry you all the way through!

    As I've said before, these posts of yours have been so helpful for me as I prepare my heart and mind for my (future) babies. I've learned a LOT about caesareans and how scary they can be. I've learned how prepared I need to be, even before going into labor. Thank you for your ministry!

  4. Yep. We had a "guess date" with Isaac.. but certainly no due date. And I felt the same way when people asked me.. like I really know??

    And I have a friend who went 42 weeks with her midwife and just got an ultrasound a couple times to check things out and her body started labor when it was ready. No need to worry.

    Out of the 20 something women I know who were induced (everyone in the military does it because they want to deliver before their husbands leave on deployment), only 1 DIDN'T have a c-section. Pretty scary. Why are all these women getting induced?? I feel like no one does their homework. They just trust their doctors blindly. Grrrr.

  5. Thanks ladies.

    Charlotte, I've come to the realization recently that I cannot grieve my previous birth any longer. It's been a painful journey to get to a healthy place where I can accept my birth for what it was, take responsibility for it, not blame Dr's for it, and know that this was exactly what the Lord intended for me to go through.

    It has given me such a respect for birth and had I experienced a normal, easy, complication free delivery, This birth with baby #2 wouldn't mean as much. Fighting for what I know is best for me wouldn't mean what it does today. I wouldn't have met the ladies who have lead me to where I am, or made the friendships I've made OR been given this great gift of learning what I'm capable of AND most importantly, just relying on the Lord in this and being so desperate to hear Him as i've navigated through these decisions, that's what has become so dear to me. The closeness he's cultivated through the pain and sometimes confusing days of pregnancy. Without my cesarean, without that emotional devastation, I know my love for Jesus wouldn't be what it has become today.

    I really am thankful for my cesarean birth. Honestly.

    And, thank you. Your words are SO encouraging to me!

  6. I'm 26 weeks, and I don't feel huge, yes I have friends who are two weeks behind me and smaller than I, but we are built differently. I get asked all the time, are you sure there is only one in there, it drives me nuts! What really is the standard on how someones belly should look during or throughout the nine/ten months of pregnancy!!! There shouldn't be one, every single woman is built differently!

  7. My sister was a week "over-due" and doctor was talking induction and sister was getting super nervous... finally her water broke on it's own YESTERDAY and she turned into the calmest in-labor woman I've ever seen. Knowing her body was doing things on it's own timing made her feel so much more relaxed. And everything worked out beautifully, praise jesus. :)

  8. I'm no where near baby making time (well, my body thinks it is but my life doesn't). But someday when I have a gorgeous hubs I'll have a baby and I've always wanted to have it as natural as possible (not in a field or anything but without drugs and all that). Reading your blog assures me that it is possible. You are empowering women to educate themselves and take responsibility for their pregnancy and birth experience. Just wanted to offer up encouragement!

    And oh.em.gee. you do NOT look like you're having twins! Goodness...

  9. I loved this post. The whole thing. From people's crazy comments, to the presuppositions behind chemically created labor... I was induced with Piper and thank God that even though I had every other intervention possible, I did not end up having a c-section. My plan with this baby is to do exactly what those women you wrote about said-- through the due date out the window, and let my body take care of it. Great post.

  10. I stumbled upon your blog about a month ago and have been hooked ever since! I'm 6 months pregnant and am adamant about having a natural birth. I'm fairly young (23) and always get horrible comments from people when I say I am going natural. I LOVE reading everything you have to say! And I love the way you say it! It makes my day that much better. Keep it up!

  11. Haha it seems ridiculous that someone would walk up to a pregnant woman and say "are you sure you aren't having twins," BUT my mom was near the end of her pregnancy and everyone, but her doctor, was convinced she was having twins. Sure enough, when birth time came two babies came out! The doctor had insisted up until THE BIRTH that she was only having one. Ridiculous!

  12. word! word! WORD!!!!! i will never understand how people will shop around and research buying something like a car but barely do anything to research about having a baby! before i was pregnant and started researching everything i was going to have a natural childbirth simply for the fact that i was more scared to have a put in my spine! haha i love your thought process about when the baby will come. this is a great post and i love when blogs with big followings post things like this even if it opens the eyes of just one person!

  13. i'm 36 weeks and right along there with you. i have a 3 year old (vaginal induced pregnancy) mostly out of fear and ignorance and just "wanting it over with." but for this one, i'm reading the bradley book, and just letting it come when it comes. i'm SO with you on this one!!! i love reading your posts. the medical community = a bunch a liars and self servers.

  14. Have I told you about the crazy b in my office who at 26 weeks bugged me for like 10 mins bc she didn't believe I wasn't having twins?? Crazy.
    You know Mo went 2 weeks the first time and 1 the second and I've gone exactly one both times. Next time I'm going to try to say "to hell with the due date, baby's coming sometime in winter" lol

  15. I certainly wouldn't call doctors monsters, but I will say that because Vegas seems to be such an instant satisfaction, cesarean happy town with a terrible malpractice state, doctors are more comfortable having a birth completely controlled with drugs and things like that, and woman seem to agree to whatever is going to be "easier" for the most part. So it's just as much OR MORE the fault of woman not knowing what they're capable of or being afraid of birth or the pain than the doctors wanting to induce.

    I credit doctors for saving my dads life several times now. Without their expertise, we'd be in big trouble. The thing about birth though is that if woman are given the tools, they can do it! They don't need help unless something is going wrong. What's sad is that sometimes with interventions, THAT'S where things go south. If woman would just be left alone, labor would be easier. That's just my opinion though.

  16. I love your posts. Makes me relive my own experience. For the record...I was 41 weeks and 6 days! That baby will come when he/she is good and ready!

  17. I had to skim over some of this because labor totally freaks me out. I'm pretty sure I want to be knocked out the minute contractions start and I don't want to wake up for a month. Is that at all doable? ;-)

  18. I haven't stopped by in a while. (Shame on me.) But, I just had to tell you that this post makes me happy. I always get so excited when I read of women who have this outlook on childbirth.

    You ARE capable. You ARE mighty. And your body IS created in just the perfect way to do this.

    Looking forward to reading the birth story. :)

  19. I am SO proud of you Chelsea. I'm so blessed by your humble attitude in all of this. I love you.

  20. GO GIRL! i loved this post. i am 39 weeks with my first right now and come from a crunchy birth-loving family where epidurals and induction (castor oil will be my last resort... noooo pitocin!) are like naughty words! i don't understand elective c-sections or what one doctor while we toured our hospital said when he was asked how many epidurals they give, "why WOULDN'T you want to be a spectator in your child's birth?" i almost slapped him.

    anyway, we are delivering at a hospital. but, with midwives, my crunchy mom, and my husband... and hopefully mostly in water. after a 24-hour (altogether, not at once) birth class taught by my sister, i am SO excited to do this thing my body, more than likely, has inherent wisdom to do! woohoo!

    anyway, thats my rant.