During my first trimester I was diagnosed with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, and was watched very carefully for the rest of my pregnancy. The weird thing was, I felt great! No morning sickness, no swelling, very little weight gain. The only symptom I could physically see (besides the blood pressure reading) was some migraines.
At 36 weeks I started non-stress tests, and discussed an induction date with my doctor. We decided 38 weeks would be best. I picked a date and my husband and I told the family.
On February 5, 2002 at 6 a.m. we arrived at the hospital. I had been checked the day before and was already 1 cm. dilated, so the medical team felt they could start the pitocin drip without having to soften my cervix.
Around 8:00 a.m. they started the drip. I was still able to get up and go to the bathroom. After my epidural shot, I wouldn't have this luxury. Already the contractions were coming regularly and were getting pretty uncomfortable, especially after they broke my water. What a messy and uncomfortable experience that was!
Around 3:00 p.m., I asked for the epidural and an hour later the anaesthesiologist arrived. It was great! No one had told me of the slightly narcotic effect the shot would have, and I was pleasantly mellow for the next few hours. At this point I was around 4 cm. dilated and would stay that way for the next 10 hours.
Because I was being induced, I had been told not to eat anything the night before, so I had my last meal at 6:00 p.m. on Feb 4. I would not eat again until 7:00 a.m. on February 6 and let me tell you, I was starving!
I spent the early hours of Feb 6 hearing that if I didn't start progressing soon, we'd have to talk C-section. Luckily my doctor was not one to jump the gun. By that point I just felt drained, and disappointed that it was taking so long. I had been present for the birth of both my sister's kids, and those had gone much quicker. My sister hadn't been induced, though.
Around 2:00 a.m. I finally started progressing. By then I had the blood pressure cuff and oxygen mask on, and had been hooked up to an IV, pitocin drip and received the epidural. I felt like a pin cushion. Then the baby started showing signs of distress, so they put an internal monitor in, which made me cry since it had to be screwed into his poor little head.
At that point my epidural was starting to wear off and the little control button wasn't working. I was 9 cm. dilated and really wanting to push when the anesthesiologist came back. He gave me a small dose to tide me over until I could push.
Around 5:00 a.m. I was fully dilated and the nurse got the bed ready for the pushing phase. I was utterly exhausted, but anxious to get it over with. I started pushing around 5:15 a.m. and acted like a total baby throughout this phase. I kept saying I couldn't do it and could they please just vacuum the baby out. My O.B. was very firm about my being able to do this, and did a great job of getting me angry enough to push the baby out. I found out later that 45 minutes of pushing for a first baby is considered relatively short, but while it lasted it felt like forever!
I remember the doctor saying that the next push would do it and the sweetest sound was her saying: "Ok, stop and let me turn him."
At 6:02 a.m. on February 6,, Oliver was born. Since the effects of my epidural had almost completely worn out, I had the unpleasant experience of feeling the episiotomy, but that was quickly overshadowed by my sweet little boy being placed on my stomach (he peed on the doctor on the way up). Oliver weighed eight pounds, eight ounces, and measured twenty one inches. I thank God every day that I was induced at 38 weeks and not later!
Induction was not my favorite thing in the world, particularly an early one. Your body is definitely not ready; there's nothing natural about it. Plus, you end up having to spend your entire labor in the hospital, even the early stages. Still, I would do it again to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy mom!
Finally, I think it's important for women to know that, in some cases when they're induced, the milk may take longer to come in because of the amount of fluids received. It took eight days for my milk to come in. By that time Oliver had lost well over 20% of his birth weight so I supplemented feeding him with bottles. He had no trouble going to the breast inspite of that, and once my milk came in, he quickly regained his weight.