Like a lot of topics when it comes to pregnancy and parenting, being medically induced for labor can be controversial. There are many reasons why someone might be induced, and just like labor in general, people can have all sorts of different experiences. But if you’re reading this, chances are you are, or might be, medically induced and are wondering what it’s like. I’ll share my experience in the hopes that I can answer some of the questions you might have!
Why was I medically induced?
I was induced with my first baby at 39 weeks and 4 days, so only 3 days shy of my due date. The reason for this was because I had gestational diabetes and they were worried about my baby getting too big. I had a scan at 37 weeks that showed that the baby already weighed at least 7 pounds. I’m pretty small, so my midwife knew the bigger the baby got, the higher my chances of needing a C-section were. So she asked if I would be okay with being induced and we planned to do it on a day that she was going to be there and was on call overnight.
What was it like to prepare for induction?
I was definitely a little scared because I had heard horror stories about people being induced, but honestly I was mostly relieved. I had so much anxiety about when I was going to go into labor and where I was going to be. I worked about 45 minutes from home and my hospital at that time, and I was so worried about what would happen if I went into labor and needed to quickly get to the hospital. So having a day and time planned helped quell my anxiety quite a bit.
I also knew that if I waited for labor to start naturally I was at higher risk for needing a C-section. And, spoiler alert, I was very close to needing that anyway thanks to my daughter’s big head! I figured I would rather be induced than have a C-section (if I could help it) so I was comfortable with that decision. My midwife is amazing and answered all of my questions before we officially decided, so the day I went in I felt confident that this was the right choice for us.
I also had time to make plans for my mom to come down and watch our dogs. She knew she was on call to have to do that, but it was nice that she came down the night before, and I could hug her and she could help with any nerves I was having. The morning of the induction we left our house at 6:30am for a 7:00am check in.
The day of the induction
We arrived at the hospital on March 16, 2021. It felt sort of funny, like we were checking into a hotel. Hello, one labor and delivery please. They brought me to my room and had me change into the hospital gown and get into bed. They took my vitals and then gave me a teeny tiny pill that was going to hopefully induce labor. The teeny tiny pill is called Cytotec. Cytotec works by softening the cervix and producing contractions.
They checked on me every few hours and told me to take a few laps around the hospital wing. My husband and I walked around a bunch and he even had me doing squats! Eventually told me they would need to start Pitocin since I wasn’t moving along fast enough. You get Pitocin through an IV and basically, it creates stronger contractions. And it definitely did.
At first, they felt like period cramps, then really bad period cramps. Then they felt like someone was grabbing my insides and twisting them. At this point, they gave me nitroglycerin for the pain, which helped. a lot. I was able to relax and I used a peanut ball between my legs to help open everything up.
After a few hours of this, I was moving along, and things were thinning out and opening up, but I was still not fully dilated or effaced. When the nitroglycerin wore off they gave me an epidural. We had already discussed my wishes about this and I had told them that I for sure wanted an epidural when I could get one. If you’re not sure, make sure you talk to your provider about the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision for yourself!
Once I got the epidural I was actually able to sleep for a few hours. When I woke up it was about 2:00 in the morning. I had been in labor since 10am, but this was when it felt like I was really in labor. A lot of people don’t like the idea of inductions because labor can be so long, but I have to say, in my experience at least, yes the labor was long but I mostly felt fine, with occasional pain once the contractions kicked in, until this time. Of course, everyone’s experience is different.
I continued to dilate and at about 4 am they told me I was ready to start pushing. I’ll save all those details for another post, because even though I started pushing at 4am, my daughter was born at 6:59am. Yep, three hours later. Mostly thanks to her big head.
My overall thoughts on being medically induced
Like I’ve said multiple times, everyone’s experience is different. Every body is different, every baby is different, and people get induced for all sorts of different reasons. I can really truly only speak to my experience.
That said, overall, I’m glad I was induced. I was very close to needing a C-section because of how big my daughter’s head was, so if I hadn’t gotten induced and we waited for labor to start naturally, my chances for a C-section would have increased.
Disclaimer: there is absolutely nothing wrong with needing a C-section. Obviously, the most important thing is the health of mom and baby, but it’s major surgery, and. I wanted to avoid it as much as I could.
A lot of people do not like the idea of labor induction because typically you are in labor for longer, since your body was not really ready. Personally, I did not mind because the first 8-12 hours of labor really were not bad. A lot of people who go into labor naturally labor at home for a while, and I felt like I would have probably still been at home during that phase of labor had it started it naturally. I was in labor for 21 hours total, but the “hard part” lasted about 6-8 hours.
All in all, if I could go back in time I would make the same exact choice to be medically induced.
Were you induced? Or are you pregnant and worried about a potential induction? Let me know!