Impending Induction

Well, I have one week left.  Or less.  My labor will be induced next Friday, July 18, if baby hasn’t come before then.

Because of the gestational diabetes, I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to go beyond my due date.  But my due date is July 23.  They couldn’t schedule me anytime the week of July 21, so July 18 it is!  The absolute latest this baby could come is July 19 (if they induce the labor on the 18th, but it takes until the 19th for the baby to be born.  That’s it.  Wow!

I go in to the hospital in the evening on Thursday, July 17 to be given hormones to help prepare my body for labor.  Around 7:00 the following morning (July 18) I’ll begin to get pitocin to start contractions and have my water broken.  According to my doctor, it could be anywhere from 10 to 18 hours after that, and baby will be born!  (Of course, it could take longer, but she was discussing averages.)

In some ways, it’s kind of comforting to have this plan.  I know, for sure, that this pregnancy isn’t going to go on for weeks (and with the way I’m feeling these days, that’s a good feeling).  On the other hand, I would prefer if the baby came out when he (and my body) is ready.  I’ve heard all kinds of stories about how much more difficult (physically) induced labor can be.  I know it’s supposed to increase your risk of eventually having a c-section (although reports vary on how *much* more likely it becomes).  I know this is being done for a good reason — with the gestational diabetes, a baby that goes past it’s due date is at higher risk for all kinds of complications including being too large (which I definitely don’t want).  I know that we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t the right thing, but it’s a little scary.

Whereas the thoughts of planning our trip to the hospital, not having to deal with rush hour traffic or bad weather, not having to pull Dan off of a lesson because I’m in labor, getting settled at the hospital before things really get started and being able to plan a little more concretely are nice, it’s mitigated by the feeling that this is all a bit modern and sanitized.  One of the most common things a pregnant woman hears throughout the process of being pregnant is, “Don’t worry, women have been doing this for thousands of years”.  Yes, that’s true — but not like this.  I would never have chosen to have an induction.  It’s not my style — I’m much more of an au naturel kind of girl.

I was recently told that “birth is the ultimate act of surrender”.  I like that.  I believe it’s true.  (Or, from Firefly,  “This (birth) is just a moment in time.  Step aside and let it happen.”)  Somehow, having labor induced makes it less so.  I actually think that the entire process of creating a child, from conception, through pregnancy and birth are all the ultimate act of surrender.  As a pregnant woman, there is so little you can do to control the outcome of your pregnancy.  It’s an excellent exercise in powerlessness.  Having things planned, and sanitized, makes it feel like I’m trying to wrest some control back from the universe — except that I’m not.  I guess, really, this is surrender, too.  I didn’t choose the date of my induction — in fact, I didn’t even choose to be scheduled for an induction.  The circumstances of my pregnancy require it.  Much as it’s not my style, perhaps accepting this, too, is part of the surrender and powerlessness of this process for me.  I don’t do “surrender” well.  But I am trying to learn.  I think that if anything can teach me respect for the concept, pregnancy and birth can.

For all I know, for all my planning, this baby may still come when he wants to.  There’s nothing preventing that.  I’d really kind of prefer it — to go into labor on my own.  But I think even that preference is evidence that I haven’t surrendered yet.

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