My Baby Was Induced, But It's Not What I Wanted

When my doctor first suggested an induction at only 37 weeks, I immediately felt my stomach drop.

Doctor checking pregnant woman | PregnancyAndBaby.com

Photo credit: Lane Oatey/Blue Jean Images/Getty Images

Although I had been diagnosed with a pregnancy condition that could cause complications (polyhydramnios), I didn't feel like an induction so early was the best course of action for me or my baby.

And yet, I let myself be talked into the induction.

Medically necessary?

As a nurse who worked several years in labor and delivery, I'm firmly in the anti-induction camp. Even though I defy the limits of pregnancy size with my enormous bellies during my months of gestating, I've believed that letting my body go into labor naturally is always best. With my last pregnancy, my doctor offered me a "social" induction (one for no medical reason, possible any time after 39 weeks), so great was her sympathy for my size in the wicked July heat. But I refused and, as a result, had a very easy four-hour labor with my son.

Why my disparity for inductions? Well, for one thing, I think they are vastly over-used. Doctors can find any reason, really, if they want to, to induce a woman for "medical" reasons and the majority of inductions I've seen result in long, drawn-out labors that exhaust both Mom and Baby and ultimately result in an "emergency" C-section.

The power of guilt

In my case, my doctor worried that because of the polyhydramnios I had, my water could possibly break early and the cord could possibly slip out before my baby, starving her of oxygen, and my placenta could possibly detach, killing both of us in the process.

All of these are supposed risks with polyhydramnios, even though the condition itself is very rare and the actual risks of the complications even harder to calculate. When I hesitantly broached the subject with my doctor that perhaps maybe the risks were not that common, she bristled.

"Well, on top of all that, you have a huge baby," she barked. "You want her to get shoulder dystocia, get stuck and die?"

Translation?

Are you really a terrible mother that would take any risks at all with your baby?

Trusting my instinct

After that delightful exchange with my doctor, I sought a second opinion from a midwife, who assured me that an early induction really would be OK in light of the condition I had. But still, deep down, neither my husband nor I wanted to go through with it. It's hard to explain, but it just didn't feel right.

I told myself I was being silly. It was just nerves and the fact that I had never been induced before — nothing to worry about. I let the doctor's obvious guilt-play, my insecurity and my fear of being labeled a bad mother lead my decision. We booked the induction date, arrived at the hospital and found out that — coincidence of coincidences — my doctor was scheduled to be at the hospital all day that day for prescheduled surgeries.

Right.

In the end, my induction took a long and miserable 15 hours and luckily everything turned out just fine. My daughter's due date was this past weekend and while it definitely felt weird to not be pregnant for it, it's been wonderful to have her here and healthy. But when I look back, I just can't help but wish that I would have started our journey together by trusting my instincts in the first place. It's not necessarily about the risks or the induction itself, but the fact that I didn't stand up for what I believed was best for my baby.

After all, Mama usually really does know best.

More on inductions

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Is labor induction a factor in autism?
Drug-free induction techniques

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