So it’s happening. You have made the choice. Maybe you have been waiting for this day since the moment you got a positive pregnancy test, or maybe this is the last place you ever wanted to be. The time has come, you have had the conversation with your provider, and you both agree that it is time to start an induction. Whether it is a medical need for you or your baby, or for your mental health, a good induction starts with a positive frame of mind, because YOU know, it is time.
Step One: Set up realistic expectations. If you are going in on Monday for an induction, tell yourself, “We’re hoping to have a baby by Friday.” Yep, I’m not joking. Say it to everyone who walks in, say it to your partner, say it to yourself every ten minutes, and your Mom every time she calls. You WANT this to go slow, because you can handle slow. Bring card games, movies, books to read. Don’t tell anyone you don’t want calling you every 6 hours that you’re going in. You can even post fake facebook posts to keep the pressure off, something like this, “41 weeks, keep cooking baby girl, Mama wants a massage before you come.” Induction is a mental game, play the game, and you will win.
Step Two: Take it Sloooowwwwww. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. This is true no matter if you are going into spontaneous labor or being induced. When labor starts on it’s own in your body, it usually takes weeks. Softening of the cervix, baby dropping down, the beginning of dilation, gentle braxton hicks (or really damn annoying prodromal labor), a gradual build of intensity. …. You know all those births you’ve seen on TV, with the water breaking, the crazy taxi ride, and the Mom who barely made it to a bed before her baby came out? … That’s not what you’re about to do. We want to mimic a natural progression as much as possible, to give you a better chance of a vaginal birth.
Step three: TAKE THE SLEEP MEDS. Hopefully you will arrive and receive a medication to soften you cervix first. Well, this should take many many hours, or even a whole day. If you are like me, you may not have slept the last few nights, or months. You will need your strength to push a baby out later, so you need to rest. You might be thinking, “But I am so tired, I will not need any help sleeping.” You’re wrong. Guess what happens at night in the birthing unit… Yep, people are giving birth! And it’s really loud, and it can be discouraging if you feel like nothing is happening in your room. You are not likely going to sleep well on your own. They call it therapeutic rest for a reason.
Step four: Move. Your. Body. Whether you are a dancer, a walker, a yogi, you are embarrassingly sedentary, or all of the above. Moving you body moves your baby, and moves labor along. You want to try a lot of different things, which you will have plenty of time to do. You can dance in the shower, rock on the ball, slow dance with your partner to your favorite music, or have a legit dance party (invite the nurses!). Moving is just as important as resting, so you should alternate your activity and your rest. Walk, pee, rest, pee, dance, pee, rest, and so on.
Step five: Have another conversation with your provider, and ask the questions. Then another conversation, and more questions. Have all the conversations, ask all the questions, no matter how silly they feel. No one knows what an induction will look like in your body. Every 12 hours in the beginning, or before every new step, you need to have a conversation about what is happening in your body, your brain, and with your baby. As things move along, your conversations should get closer together, just like your contractions.