As I near the end of my second pregnancy, the reality has hit that this labour/birth isn’t going to be the same experience I had with my first, and I am in fact having to face the decision of being induced early. This has of course brought with it a lot of questions, emotions and all of my ideals of what this birth will look like have now gone out of the window.
I know this is a decision that a lot of people face during their pregnancy at some point due to one reason or another, and I hope that in sharing my own experience it may help others who are also going through this and having to make the same decisions and deal with potentially similar emotions that go with that.
When reality set in
I always had an idea that induction may be spoken about towards the end of my pregnancy because of the potential risk of developing Obstetric Cholestasis (something that I had with my firstborn, but went undiagnosed until after birth). However, I think I was potentially feeling optimistic given that at 35 weeks I still had not experienced any symptoms of this. Upon a scan and check up at 36 weeks, not only did we discover that my liver function was showing as abnormal (indeed proving Cholestasis had returned for a second time), but also that I was apparently doing a very good job of growing a rather large baby. Due to these 2 factors and the potential risks that they present, my Consultant decided that it would be a good idea to go down the route of induction. This really wasn’t something that I was ready to hear or face, and the reality of re-creating my first labour with a beautiful calm, non-medical environment felt like it was suddenly ripped away from me. I knew that I had to ensure the safety of my unborn baby and myself, but at the same time, whilst my first labour was long (a mere 29 hours) and had a few complications along the way I can honestly say I found it magical. I suddenly felt that I wasn’t going to be able to say the same about this one.
Where do I go from here?
I knew that ultimately the decision was in my hands and I could indeed opt out of being induced if I felt that it wasn’t right. I had remembered this from my preparation from baby number 1, and to be perfectly honest, if it was just a fear of a big baby then I may well have considered that, but adding on another worry of Cholestasis had me feeling a little different about it all. I found the weight of the decision actually really difficult. But what was it that I was worried about? Hey, I’m a natural kind of girl and my thought process around labour/birth is to let it happen as naturally as possible rather than artificially rushing things on. So honestly, the whole induction process just didn’t sit right with me. However, when you are told that there is a risk to your unborn baby, you of course take that seriously as that is the very last thing that you want.
Honestly, it took me a couple of days to get my head around it all and I could feel myself too-ing and fro-ing with my decision. One that was very much head vs heart. I spoke about it with a couple of people close to me, but in all honestly I think at times this only left me feeling more frustrated. I absolutely know that everybody’s advice was coming from a place of love and with the best intentions, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was easy for everybody else to tell me to go for the induction and listen to the professionals. I mean, they weren’t the ones who were going to be going through it and having to deal with a potentially more painful labour and with more chance of intervention needed at birth (something I had experienced with my first and still holds difficult memories now of that specific part). Maybe that sounds selfish? But those were my feelings!
I also found having a date that we were now working towards really spurred on the anxiety. Maybe this is because it all felt like it was getting a bit more real now? But I found myself suddenly feeling very unprepared physically and mentally, and played some crazy mind games with myself just imagining that day coming and how I would feel. Obviously it goes without saying that were very excited to meet our little bundle of joy, but there were other factors involved such as how it would feel no longer just being Little Bear’s Mummy, how I would manage the whole process, or how it would affect Little Bear. All the things that I am sure many second time mums experience.
All is not lost
I knew that the decision was ultimately down to me, not anybody else. There was a major part of me that wanted to cancel the induction and allow nature to do its job. I knew if I took that decision I had to be really strong that I had indeed made the right decision for me and my baby, as my support network around me were all very pro-induction, but honestly, when I stopped to allow myself to listen, my gut was telling me that actually, induction was the right way to go this time around.
As I allowed myself to trust my own instincts I soon came round to the idea that this really wasn’t the end of the world and in fact it could work in our favour. I mean, things are different this time around: We have Little Bear to consider and plan for now. So being induced not only becomes an element of reducing risk but also offers a lot of practicality for us: We could choose a day that suits us, we could plan for childcare, I could arrange a food delivery for a few days after baby should arrive (I was pretty thrilled that I could be this organised… I mean food is life right, and you definitely want to make sure that you’ve got all of those little luxuries in postpartum that you so totally deserve!), and I could plan the week ahead to ensure I felt more ready.
Let’s get prepared
Now I love being prepared, I mean I am the list queen. So having this date to work towards really helped me to feel organised (and gave me a little kick up the bum to actually get those hospital bags packed). I was able to see the positive in the situation and have peace of mind knowing the details such as when we would need somebody to look after Little Bear, when Adam would be on Paternity leave, meal prepping etc. These are all just the little things that help make a huge difference to feeling ready, as well as being able to put a positive spin on it all.
So the time came to say goodbye to my little boy and head into the hospital for induction. I had been feeling emotional, and helped prepare myself with a little pamper the night before, but honestly, that drive in to the hospital was a nerve racking one. I couldn’t help but wonder how things were going to go when they were taken out of my control (I know labour and birth is never in our control, but having it artificially started, for me, made me feel even less so). I worried about how I would manage, how the pain would be as I had heard it is more painful with an induction, and if everything would run smoothly. As I entered in to the hospital I really wasn’t sure I felt ready for this (I mean, who ever is), but I said to Adam “I feel so mentally unprepared this time”, compared to last. It was at this point I knew that I could get a grip on this and take control of my thoughts, my attitude and my approach and this would have a huge impact. So that’s exactly what I did (through my experience of this over the years and my hypnobirthing too), all of which massively helped.
Saying goodbye and getting ready to leave for Induction.
So let’s keep this short and sweet but keep you up to date. It is 2 days after my induction, and I am now writing this section as I am sat here still pregnant, back home, and having not had an induction. Because of Coronavirus and the staffing levels, we were told that an induction was not possible that day and we were to go home and be re-booked. After looking in to things further it was discovered that I infact did not need to be induced anyway as I had wrongly been diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis and was not having a very large baby!
Wow! What a sigh of relief! Well, yes, indeed, but it was also a very confusing time as I had spent the last 10 days leading up to this point mentally preparing to have my baby that weekend, had left my baby boy for what I thought would be the last time before being a mummy of 2 (and I am sure other mummy’s who have also been there and done that know how emotional that feels), and wasn’t quite ready to go back to normality of cooking, cleaning and running around after a toddler whilst waiting for things to happen naturally. But that said, this meant that it fitted in with what feels right for me more, and would mean that hopefully all being well I could labour/birth in the way that I had hoped.
Enjoying a bit of bonus family time when we expected to still be in hospital.
So here we are, now working out a new plan that we actually can’t plan for at all ha! And playing the waiting game to see when little squish will indeed make an appearance.
Key Induction takeaways
Whilst I did not end up having an induction I did try to put some things in place that I felt may help me so thought it only right to share these in the hope that they may be of benefit to others also facing an induction:
- Firstly, I think it’s important to feel like this decision is the right one for you and the baby. It is so easy to feel like we are being led by the professionals (who I know do an incredible job), but ultimately, this is about you and choosing what you feel is the best decision. I learnt from hypnobirthing first time round about risks: You will often be told that you should be induced due to an increased risk, but if you ask what the “absolute risk” is you may find that actually it is only 0.01% for example, which then put into context, is tiny and may well help you to make a more informed decision.
- Use it as a great opportunity to plan and prepare. For us, we used this as the chance to sort childcare, plan a food shop delivery, get the house in order, enjoy some ‘final’ moments e.g just the 4 of us going for a walk as well as mentally prepare.
- Know that even the best plans do have the potential to change, and being OK with this and potentially prepared for this to happen can hugely help if it does (as in our case… We just weren’t ready for that).
So I hope that an insight in to our journey has been helpful to you if you are also facing an induction. I would love to hear how you got yourself prepared if you have been in a similar situation, and of course, if you have any questions then feel free to pop them below or get in touch.
Sending love, as always xxx