A gentle induction? Is that even possible? When I found out that we had to schedule Lyla’s birth because my blood pressure had been in the danger zone for too long, I knew that there were particular things that I wanted to try and to try to avoid this time around.
Nothing in this post should be perceived as medical advice. I am only sharing what worked for me personally. Please seek the advice of a trained medical professional if you would like any more information about anything listed here.
My first birth was an induction at 37 weeks because of high blood pressure. Read that story here. That birth was not gentle at all and I pretty much refused to ever birth like that again. After all, if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.
When I had found out that the Maternal Fetal Specialist believed that Lyla would be safer outside of me after 37 weeks, I began to rewrite my birth plan (again!). I wrote that darn thing three times! I know Pitocin is most often used to induce labor, I also know that it can cause longer and stronger contractions. Women have babies with Pitocin and no epidural all of the time. I knew I COULD do it, but I also knew I didn’t want to do it.
So what other options did I have?
I’m glad you asked! 🙂 Luckily I had been seeing a chiropractor since I was 19 weeks into my pregnancy. I believe that good chiropractic care is essential to help keep mom and baby aligned and make baby’s transition into this world a little bit more smooth. The days leading up to and even the day of the induction I visited my chiropractor. I was sure to ask her to do the Webster Technique with me. Side note, I was surprised at how gentle it was!
My chiropractor is also skilled in acupuncture. She knew I was going in that night for an induction and treated particular points on my body that were supposed to help aid in the process. Oh something else really cool that she did was send me home with ‘sticky needles’ on points that were meant to help with pain relief as well as the induction. Basically they were like round Band-Aids with tiny needles attached to them. I had the sticky needles on my hands, the back of my shoulders and the insides of my ankles.
After eating dinner, Jairus and I ventured to the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital. We were only about 45 minutes late…oops! After we filled out paperwork and got into our room, the nurse started talking about the things they were going to do to begin the induction.
I had spoken to my doctor prior and she knew of my desire to avoid Pitocin as long as possible. She trusted me and gave me her blessing to use whatever methods I felt necessary to get Lyla here safely.
The nurse began to go through the list of things they were going to begin doing. Foley bulb. Great. Cytotec. NOPE. Not great. I explained to the nurse that I will be refusing Cytotec and would like Cervidil instead. She told me that my doctor had put Cytotec in my file and would have to get permission from her to deviate from the plan. The next person to come into the room was the Resident doctor. She asked me why I was refusing Cytotec. I told her that it is a Category X drug for pregnant women and there is a much safer alternative, in my opinion. I am merely choosing what I believe is the safer option for myself.
She agreed that although it isn’t indicated for use in late term pregnancy, ‘it is used all of the time with no issues’. She reminded me that Cytotec only takes 4 hours to work and Cervidil is a much longer 12 hour drug, ‘therefore we wouldn’t even be able to start Pitocin until 10:00 tomorrow morning’. I took that opportunity to remind the Resident that we are not in a hurry, there’s no reason I need a drug that works 3x faster. Oh yeah, I’m not planning on using Pitocin either. You should have seen the look on her face! 😀 She truly did not believe that a labor could be induced without Pitocin. Well, lets just see about that!
The foley bulb and Cervidil were in place by 10:00 pm. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ‘tug’ on the foley bulb every hour or so to see how it is doing. Once a woman’s cervix is dilated to a 4 the bulb comes out. The very first time my nurse tugged on my foley it popped out. Well then.
My doula stayed and chatted for a while before she and I agreed that nothing much would be happening in the night and we all needed to get some sleep. Jairus and I were able to sleep some, as much as to be expected on uncomfortable hospital furniture.
In the morning my doctor stopped by to visit. She did a cervical check on me and noted that my cervix was fully ripened. The cervidil had done its job (ahead of schedule actually) and she removed it. At this point I am completely free from any type of medicine. The foley bulb is out, the cervidil is out and my IV is just a hep lock. My body is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing and I am in active labor (whoo hoo!).
I had consented to intermittent fetal monitoring and the nurse would come into the room periodically to check my vitals, as well as watch Lyla’s heart rate through a couple of contractions. When I wasn’t being monitored, I was up moving (either on my feet or on the birth ball). I spent a LOT of time sitting on the ball and swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the music I had playing.
Each time the nurse would check on me, a question she asked was “rate your pain on a scale from 1-10”. This question soon became a joke of sorts because I had NO pain. Yes I was having contractions, but they felt no differently than the Braxton hicks contractions I had been having for weeks. At one point I told my doula and photographer that I could really go home and clean my house right now. I was too invested at this point to go home ;).
Sometime in the early afternoon (probably around 2pm) my cervix had dilated to about a 5-6. My doctor came in and we discussed breaking my waters to get things going faster. Labor wasn’t stalling, but I was getting pretty bored and I was ready for some excitement. I was fully informed of the benefits and risks of having my water artificially broken and I consented to AROM (artificial rupture of membranes).
Somehow I had expected a quick movement from active labor to transition once my waters were gone. NOPE. No immediate change. We began to start taking bets on what time Miss Lyla would be born. Everyone was wrong. My body knows how to have a baby and it was going to take its time (and that’s ok!).
Woah. What was that? I felt that! Ladies and gentlemen, that was my first official labor pain. I was finally at about a 3 on the pain scale and enjoying every bit of it. At one point I was literally smiling through the contractions, even though I was having to focus more during each one.
I moved into transition fairly quickly. My contractions were getting very real at this point and I asked the nurse to check me. I needed to give my doctor at least 5 minutes notice before push time so she had time to run over from her clinic. I was at a seven.
Ok. I can handle a seven. Transition is hitting and a seven seems correct. A few contractions later I felt like my body began pushing a little bit. Not good! I know I can’t push at a seven! We called the nurse back in to check me again. I was SURE I was complete. “Well you’re still at a seven, but baby has dropped!”
I was pissed. THIS is why I didn’t even want to be checked in the first place! I can’t do this! I can’t do this for three more centimeters! Yikes, I will always remember how mad that stupid number 7 made me.
During my fit the nurse suggested that some people go from a 7 to complete very quickly and I might be lucky enough to be one that does. It didn’t help. I was still very mad.
“I’m pushing!” This time it was undeniable. My body was pushing. There was nothing I or anyone else could do about it. She checked me again and lo and behold I was fully dilated. Awesome!
At this point I go into my ‘zone’. I don’t care who is in the room and who is not in the room, I’m having my baby and I’m having her now. My doctor was paged and she literally ran to me. The NICU team gathered around (see why here) and everyone took their places. According to the picture my photographer took, there were 14 people in the room when Lyla was born. I only cared about two of those people. Me and Jairus and then the tiny person that was about to join us.
Earlier in the day I had mapped out the position that I wanted to push in. I had every intention of catching Lyla when she was born and I wanted Jairus’ help. When Lyla began her grand entrance my doctor and doula let me know when she was ready. Once her head and shoulders were out, I reached down and pulled my baby out.
There is not a feeling on this earth that matches the feeling a woman has when she is able to catch her own baby. Lyla was here. She was covered in vernix, squishy and beautiful. Nobody except Jairus or I touched Lyla for the first hour and a half of her life. The nurses did her APGAR scores without me even realizing they were doing it. When she sored a 9 the NICU team was dismissed.
One of the nurses said that her favorite job is firing the NICU team immediately after a birth.
September 16, 2015. 7 pounds 7 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. Lyla Rose Marcum is the exact replication of perfection and I fell instantly head over heels for this amazing little girl.
Photo credit: Blue Muse Photography