Baby after Inducing Labor
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Inducing Labor: How do I Know if it is Right for Me?

The Ins and Outs of Inducing Labor

Many Mamas enter their pregnancy journey with a plan in mind on how she wants her blessed little bundle to enter this world. Epidural? Natural? Water birth? Or C-Section? What if I have to be induced? Many Mamas hear the word Induced and immediately want dismiss it. However, it is important to know why inducing labor may be necessary. I found it helpful to educate myself on what this process entails, why doctors suggest it, and what Mamas should consider if it’s being discussed.

I was Induced with Both my Kids

To begin, with my first labor experience, my doctor put us on the schedule for an induction at 41 weeks. My doctor felt that because of Julia’s size and the shape of my pelvic bones, that this could be helpful in delivering a large baby. They did an ultrasound at 38 weeks and she was measuring 2 weeks ahead. However, when it was Go-Day, my body just wasn’t ready yet. My cervix wasn’t dilated enough when they began the induction, and Pitocin was ramping up the contractions but I did not progress. I tried the bouncy ball, dancing, squats, you name it. These things combined made for a long day. I finally reached the level needed for the doctor to break my water and from that point forward, labor progressed as it should have.

Sadly, the day of laboring caused the start of Chorioamnionitis(“chorio”), which is an infection of the uterus. In my case, this set because my water had been broken for an extended period of time. I had an intense, high fever, painful body aches, blood pressure problems, and the moment Julia came out, she was whisked away to start antibiotics in the NICU. As they say, Hindsight is 20-20. Looking back, I wish I would have waited a little longer–even a few more days, to see if I could go into labor on my own. In the end, it all worked out alright, and I learned a lot.

Medically Inducing Labor

Medically Inducing labor means that your doctor will intervene using a medication called Pitocin. This will help start or speed up contractions to help labor progress. What many people don’t know, is that Pitocin is actually the synthetic version of Oxytocin, which is the same hormone our bodies produce to begin contracting the uterus. For their own reasons, many women are against the use of Pitocin. However, these are a few of the reasons why women are induced and therefore need it.

Your blood pressure is too high.

There are a number of reasons why high blood pressure can be dangerous for Mama and baby. For some further reading on this topic, visit the Mayo Clinic website. Generally, your doctor will schedule an induction at or around 37 weeks if this is the case. Some women have great experiences with this process because they are dilated enough where the Pitocin helps. Conversely, other Mamas may need to use additional procedures like a balloon catheter to help the cervix dilate, or even use synthetic prostaglandins to ripen the cervix. They will do a ton of monitoring throughout, including closely monitoring the baby and using a variety of medications to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.

Your water may break before labor begins.

This is what happened to me with my son Brooks. Imagine a little pin prick on the top of aLindsay is about to be induced with Brooks balloon filled with water. My water had only trickled out a few little spots. After 7 hours of trying to progress labor on my own by walking, dancing, squatting, bouncing on the ball, and lunging (it was Christmas Day and I was trying to make the best of it!), it hadn’t progressed enough. The doctors needed to intervene with Pitocin and induce labor. Brooks and I were more susceptible to contract chorio again. In this case, I was dilated enough that the Pitocin did its magic. Thankfully, it got me far enough for the doctor to fully break my water, as I had a “fore-bag.” ** Cue immediate, intense labor as soon as this happened.

You’ve reached two weeks beyond your due date.

If labor hasn’t begun on its own or you are not showing any signs of progressing, this may be necessary for the health of Mama and baby. Of course, you still have the choice to wait, but your doctor may suggest this as a precautionary measure. You may have an in office procedure done where the doctor will strip the membranes. This means the doctor will sweep a circular motion inside the cervix between the thin membranes of the amniotic sac. This procedure works to induce labor for many Mamas! It did not, however work for me–the doctor did it twice with Julia and once with Brooks.

Your body needs help controlling bleeding after delivery.

Although you’re not inducing the beginning stage of labor, this will help contract the uterus after delivering the placenta by controlling the bleeding. It helps squeeze down on the exposed blood vessels. I follow Megan King Edmond’s blog and she shared how the doctors used this with labor with her twins.

Inducing Labor as an Election

Conversely, an Elected Induction means that there is no medical reason to get the baby out. Having made it to 41 weeks, I can see the desire for this because I was SO ready to meet her. However, doctors now days (even since 2016 when Julia was born) are pulling away from elected inductions. For obvious reasons, there are many things that can go wrong if your body is not ready to deliver baby and inducing labor using Pitocin or other means.

The Bishop Score

So, what do Mamas need to have in order to qualify for an Elected Induction? Your doctor will (or should!) perform what’s called the Bishop Score test in order to see if your body is ready to deliver baby safely. In order to qualify, the doctor will look for:

  1. The cervix dilation. You need to be dilated to a certain centimeter in order to “score” in this category.
  2. How thin, shortened, or effaced your cervix is.
  3. How far the baby’s head is positioned in the pelvis.
  4. Where the cervix is in relation to baby’s head.
  5. The ripeness or softness of the cervix–soft is better.


So How do I Know What’s Right for Me?

In closing, whatever your choice is will feel right to you. Being induced might be on the table for you whether you’re a first time Mama or a Mama a few times around. Additionally, if you’re at those end of term appointments and you’re not dilating, not progressing, or not showing any signs of laboring on your own, it may be best to wait it out. Trust me, I know it’s tough to wait, wait, wait… My unsolicited advice is to let the baby stay in as long as you can. I was gigantic by the time I was 41 weeks, but it truly is a mind over matter thing! Remain positive and use those extra days as a last minute chance to rest, go on dates with your spouse, or nest.

In the meantime, you can reread this POST from last week about Hypnobirth. After all, no matter what’s on the table when the day comes, this was an extremely helpful story about preparing your mind and body for baby’s birthday.

XO,

Linds

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Feature Mama of the Month

Hypnobirthing: A MN Mama’s Decision for a Natural Birth

There are those Mamas who are comfortable in the decisions they make, no matter what the cost. Christina Rymer, a long time friend and woman warrior, graciously shared how she birthed her children naturally using Hypnobirthing.

To begin, she and her husband Marcus got married in 2014 in the Wisconsin summer heat. Soon after, they decided it was time to start thinking about growing their family. In 2015 they were pregnant with their first child. Christina knew that natural birth was her plan and, “there wasn’t another way I was going to do it. It was just the best thing for me. When I set out during my pregnancy, one of the biggest things was that I wanted my birth story to be calm. I wanted to move through the stages of birthing with control.”

Choosing the Hypnobirthing Method

Natural birth has so many routes to choose from; for this Mama, she chose the hypnobirthing method. Christina shared how hard it is when you talk about birthing naturally because responses and reactions are sometimes judgmental–like, Why wouldn’t you get the epidural? Or It’s OK if you can’t do it. She shared, “I don’t look at anyone that chooses other methods as being weak. This is what was right for me; yes, it was difficult and took a lot of preparation and thought, but I had a team of support, a husband that was there, and friends who supported that. With that, I was also prepared to listen to my doctors if this wasn’t the right way.”

Christina found the book Hypnobirthing Home Study Course Manual: Step by step guide to an easy, natural, and pain free birth and immediately downloaded it. She said, “It resonated with what I was after with wanting a calm, simple birth while still having control. It is about believing in yourself and that your body was set out to do this. Additionally, it walks you through all the stages of labor.”

Most nights you would find her reading and relaying information Marcus, who was on board and ready to support her because he knew she had this. She didn’t spend time looking at what could have gone wrong. Instead, she set out that this was what it was and that was her mentality–this is the core of Hypnobirthing–visualization, deep meditation, and mindfulness. Christina reminded herself everyday of her strength and also put up inspirational quotes on her bathroom mirror. Each day she did a lot of mental preparing and picturing.

What is Hypnobirthing Anyways?

She described it as, “Hypnobirthing is like hypnotizing yourself during labor so you can withstand the pain.” With a laugh, she said, “I don’t know that I was ever successful in that, but I was able to manage myself through the pain through different breathing and visualizing. I would also listen to meditations during labor on my headphones.” The book talks about how all women have different stories and that so long ago women had these villages to guide them through these things.

Finding Dr. Jessica

In addition to those preparations, Christina attributes much of her success to finding her chiropractor, Dr. Jessica, at Lake Pointe Chiropractic and Wellness in Minneapolis, MN. She remembers having tears of joy leaving her office for the first time; she had found the missing piece. As she learned more about what was happening with her body throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery, Dr. Jessica explained that her pelvis was very twisted, and she would help make the birth canal straight and adjust anything that would be in the way from the baby making its way down the birth canal safely. 

Hypnobirth During Labor

All of these things combined led to the special moment when everything began. They had been playing Bingo at the bowling alley and then Christina shared, “I labored through the evening at home and used my bathtub and bouncing ball. Marcus was there by my side through it all. I remember thinking that watching someone go through it is so different than being that person. Marcus’ job was to keep the heating pad on me leading up to contractions–I experienced waves of chills during that stage of labor. Then he would hold tennis balls on my lower back because I had back labor.”

Furthermore, “With the hypnobirthing method I really had to visualize; every contraction was pushing the baby down. I focused on that. It is so important to be able to relax during your contractions. Not doing that can make your labor slow down. I was lucky enough to be able to go into labor on my own. Then when it was time, we decided to head to the hospital.”

She remembered, “We wrote our birth plan, and I remember the nurse looking at it and being entirely supportive. Part of my plan let was to let them know that I was open to anything. I know that they are the experts; they were so helpful. There was a moment when things got intense, so they brought me a tube of lavender and told me to breathe the smell in and out. That really helped me refocus.”

It’s Time to Push

In the meantime, Christina recalled, “I had a moment where I really wanted to push. Immediately the nurse said, after examining, ‘If you push right now you will rupture.’ I remember thinking, It’s OK… I can stop myself right now. I took a step back and listened. You are not fully dilated. You are able to control yourself. I dug deep and was able to get through three more strong, fast contractions. There were really intense moments, and I was able to work through them using the confidence and control in addition to the hypnobirthing techniques I had practiced.

Coincidentally, she had heard that when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, it has to be close to over. She was able to get to that point and was still able to push, and then their beautiful daughter Charlize Grace entered the world. Christina felt, “… that it was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced… all of the sudden, your body is instantly relieved of all the pain you were in.” Two years later she was able to have her son, Connelly Nels, after once again using the Hypnobirthing method, chiropractic care, and her support team. With a very similar story, but much quicker, he entered the world naturally. 

Mama’s Parting Words

Looking back, she said, “I don’t know what it would have been like if either birth had gone another way–like if things didn’t go as I had planned. If things wouldn’t have gone that way, would I have been sad or upset or down? There were obstacles for sure, but overall, they were both a wonderful experience.”

For this reason, Christina had this to share in recapping her experience: “No matter how your baby enters, you are a badass. You carried a baby, grew organs, and grew a beautiful heart inside you. For a few weeks after Charlize was born, I wanted the world to pause and just Be. I thought, Can we just take a moment and awe at how amazing this is? We should celebrate this because it is an absolute miracle… all of it is. I just think sometimes we take it for granted–we take the amazement out of it, but we need to celebrate it. Allow yourself this joy and these moments of pause and celebration.”

Further Reading

If you like reading about natural birth stories, be sure to check out another Mama’s story about birthing her baby in the driveway at home in the middle of a blustery January night! You can reread that story HERE

XO,

Linds

This post contains advertisements and by clicking the link, I may receive a commission but at no cost to you. See my full disclosure form HERE

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