Induction… to Motherhood?

21 Sep

Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.

Before my last doctor’s appointment, I talked to my aunt who lives in Arizona about where I would be giving birth (in a hospital) and why (it is 100% free with my insurance – yes, that’s one reason to become a teacher). She shared her daughter in law’s birth experiences with me (two natural births in a birthing center with a midwife) and when I told her I had some pretty strong preferences for how I wanted to give birth, she advised me to talk about it with my doctor sooner rather than later.

So what are these preferences? Well, I hesitate to share because I know how passionate people can be about birthing choices and I don’t want anybody to think that I’m trying to say that my choices are the best or better than anyone else’s. I’ve come to conclusions based on things I’ve read and people I’ve talked to and I think these preferences are best for me. Not best for everyone, just for me. So please be gentle in the comments, ok?

If I had a bunch of extra  money and didn’t have amazing healthcare benefits, my ideal birth would be at home with a midwife. I would go through as much preparation as possible to avoid interventions and after the baby was born, I would eat birthday cake and drink champagne in my own bed with my husband and our new addition. I do know all the risks involved with home births, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks, for me.

Since our funds are limited and a hospital birth wouldn’t cost us a dime, no matter what interventions were necessary (no extra for a c-section), a home birth that could cost over $2,000 if my insurance decided not to cover it was out of the question. Instead, I’ll give birth in a hospital which makes me a little sad, but makes my husband and our families much more comfortable.

Knowing that interventions are more readily available in a hospital, I’m realizing that it is going to be much more difficult to avoid them than if I was at home or in a birth center. The first of these interventions I wanted to discuss with my doctor was induction. I let him know that I’d rather not be induced unless it was medically necessary. I know that when I’m nine months pregnant, I’m going to want that baby out. I’m going to be uncomfortable and anxious to meet the little one, but, if I can, I’d like to go into labor on my own without pitocin.

Photograph by Shot in Vancouver
My doctor’s first answer was that I’m the boss and ultimately I would make the decision, which was a decent answer. Then, he asked why I felt that way and when I expressed my concerns about the counteractivity of pitocin and an epidural (which I would undoubtedly have due to the intense contractions that pitocin creates) and how it can often lead to a c-section (something I’d really like to avoid), he told me that the whole process was an art and seemed to allude that he had mastered this art. While I trust that he’s a very competent OB, I know that he can’t guarantee that an induction won’t lead to a c-section – to be fair, there’s no guarantee that a natural labor won’t lead to a c-section, either, but I feel that inductions increase the chances.

I also told my doctor that I anticipated being late with this pregnancy because my mom was two weeks late with both me and my brother. Then he got into size and I started getting nervous. See, doctors can supposedly tell how big the baby is going to be from ultra sounds and fundal measurements late in pregnancy. However, I’ve known several women who were induced because their doctors thought their babies were too big and they ended up having small to average sized babies. Well, I was 9 pounds 12 ounces when I was born. Yep, I was the biggest baby in the hospital and when my family would look for me in the nursery window, I was easy to find because I was so much bigger than all the other babies. When I told my doctor this, he said I’d probably have a 10 pound baby. While I don’t doubt that my genes will play a part in the size of our baby, I am a little concerned with how he jumped to that conclusion so quickly. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? Since my husband’s family has small-ish babies, couldn’t that even things out for us?

Photograph by T. Lawrence

While this whole conversation has raised a red flag for me, I’m trying not to worry too much about it yet. I plan on taking things one day at a time and if induction comes up, I’ll deal with it then. For now, I’m starting prenatal yoga next week and hope to sign up for birthing classes soon. I’m still deciding between The Bradley Method and Hypnobirthing (anyone have experience with either? or something better?), but I do know I want to start early as I tend to have a problem with anxiety and relaxation techniques can only help!

Did you have an idea of your preferences early in pregnancy or did you start thinking about it much later?

9 Responses to “Induction… to Motherhood?”

  1. jenn September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I too was worried size! I was a 7 pound twin and my husband was the same size you were. I'm 6 feet tall and knew I could handle a lot of baby, but still. The doctor thought baby was about 8 lbs 6 oz before I was induced and out popped a 7 lb 5 ounce bundle. You never know what to expect…. but it's all works out in the end. And the hospital is the way to go…. it's all what you make of the situation. You're in control.

  2. Kate September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Amy, I'm 17wks along and am in the care of a group of certified midwives at a stand-alone birth center. Their suggestions for avoiding an overly large baby are to stay away from easy sugars and starches, particularly after 20wks. So picking more whole fruit than fruit juice, more whole grains than refined, more brown rice and yams than white rice and potatoes… that sort of thing. Protein and complex carbohydrates should keep the mother's body feeling full longer, and help the baby grow at an appropriate rate. (Which is a concern for the midwives, since a baby sized well for the mother's body will require fewer interventions and transfers to hospital care.)

  3. Angela September 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I obviously have no experience with either birthing class, but I've heard nothing buy amazing things about the Bradley method. :-)I also want to commend you on knowing what you want out of your birth "plan." Having one is great. Being flexible is even greater. Oh and make sure that the hubs is on the same page. My mom told me that when she had my sister in the birthing center at St. joe's in Syracuse, NY that dad was behind her 100%…literally. She gave birth to Kristin in a pink bean bag. 🙂 With all three of us, she used a Buckwheat pin (the little rascals) as her focus point. Apparently, when she was in labor with me, daddy stuck it into the wall. I still have no idea why he had that pin to begin with…but he was 19…so who knows??xo,A

  4. Bianca Martino September 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Yogaworks has AMAZING prenatal yoga classes. I LOOOOOVED them! The instructor, Robin Gruver also teaches natural childbirth classes (I think at the pump station?). The pump station has tons of fabulous classes for childbirth prep. I go to the one by me in Westlake, but there is a location in Santa Monica and I believe Westwood (?) I also didn't want to be induced, because I wanted to be surprised (stupid reason, I know). Daily walks and finally a pedicure did the trick for me. Hope everything is going well! I know you have tons and tons of people offering advice and support, but I'm always here as well if you need anything. I really believe us mamas need to stick together and encourage each other! Enjoy your pregnancy, it flies right by 🙂

  5. Jakeandjess September 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    we're usuing the bradley method but were given a few options before we made our decision (hyponobirth was one choice and birthing from within was another). so far the classes are going well.. she combines from birthing from within material into the class as well as personal experiences i would suggest talking to instructors first to see what their labor experience was like and what is their approach to birth preparations. on another note, i also have a good friend who hired a doula after attending her classes (at the hospital) and she said it was one of the best things that she did because of the support. not sure how much doulas are but it might be something to look into. the doula also come to the house after the baby was born to help her with breastfeeding, answer questions and provide support being new parents. although she didn't have a natural birth i know you are interested in midwifes and this might be an affordable way to have some of those benefits!

  6. Erin September 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Amy, I love it. Just be brave to stick to your guns. I know its hard, but you'll be so grateful you did.

  7. Natalie September 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Stick with what you want and just repeat it over and over if you have to! I was lucky in that my doctors wouldn't induce until I was two weeks past due (I knew a lot of others whose doctors wanted to induce right after the due date.) Well, two weeks past the due date and no baby! I was disappointed because I hadn't wanted pitocin either…sure enough, 12 hours before I was scheduled for the induction, my water broke and my baby girl was born 3 hours later 🙂 I truly felt that she came so (relatively) quickly and easily because it was my body's choice of when it was ready to give birth and not an intervention. Good luck to you!

  8. Cameron September 24, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    i was 10.5 lbs. you can ask my mom about that too 🙂

  9. Juli September 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    Good for you! I wish I had been that prepared with my first. I ended up with an induction that consisted of all sorts of interventions and ended up with a c-section. I'm way more prepared now. I've researched and read so much. Next time I'm definitely hiring a doula and saying no to induction. Unless, like you said, it's medically necessary. You are totally right about the baby's size. There is no way they can tell from an ultrasound. It's a bogus excuse to induce. And plenty of women have birthed large babies naturally.

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