Birth // Elective Induction

>> Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Eden was born at 39 weeks and 4 days. I scheduled her birth. No, I wasn't overdue. No, I didn't have a pressing medical concern. My birth was an elective induction. If you asked me how I feel about elective inductions before I had Ada, I would have told you that I would never, ever do such a thing. The baby should take her time -- however long that is -- and come when she's ready. I would tell you that drugs to augment labor are bad because they can lead to painful, intense contractions and, as a result, more and more interventions.

My experience with inducing birth, though, has been positive.


But first I'll step back and explain how I came to the decision to schedule Eden's birthday.


It starts with my water breaking on June 14th 2016. I had been so anxious about having GBS (highly colonized with UTIs) during Eloise's pregnancy. So, I was on high lookout for my waters breaking in the final weeks of pregnancy. My water did end up breaking before contractions started. I was only dilated to a 2 and barely effaced. It was an extremely small trickle I could have easily dismissed as peeing myself. Still, I went into the hospital and was immediately hooked up to antibiotics and pitocin. My labor was considered "augmented" because my waters had ruptured on their own but nothing else happened.

That experience as it unraveled scared the heck out of me. All along I had believed that using drugs like pitocin were bad, no, HORRIBLE things. I immediately thought I'd need tons of pain medication or I'd end up with a c-section due to the baby being in distress. Why? Well, because all the "natural" birth stuff I had read and watched basically laid out that scenario as undeniable fact. I'm not saying that these interventions DO NOT lead to unnecessary interventions, but I am trying to share that it's not the case 100 percent of the time.

In the end, I labored with Eloise through mild contractions that turned "real" (based on my experience with spontaneous labor with Ada) after about four hours. Then my body transitioned quickly from 4/5 centimeters to 10 cm and pushing, with the pushing stage being really quick. And no pain meds or epidural were necessary. While the contractions were definitely intense, I found them not much worse than my "natural" ones with Ada.


With that experience in the back of my mind, I simply had asked my doctor about his thoughts on elective induction as I got closer to my due date. He said my cervix was favorable. He said that as a third-time mom, things may go better than if I was a first-time mom. He didn't push me either way and simply said it was my choice, and he'd be happy either way.

Here were some of my own considerations. (And please keep in mind that these were MY personal reasons. You are free to completely roll your eyes or disagree with these thoughts, but keep comments civil, please.)

  • We do not have family who live in our area. We tried piecing together childcare with friends, but it was tough depending on the time of day -- we were fortunate that my mother-in-law was willing to stay with us for a couple weeks in anticipation, but with nothing happening . . . help was wearing thin.
  • I started having some strange medical stuff toward the end of pregnancy. Again, nothing that required me to be induced, but near-fainting spells daily, blood pressure that was raising slightly, I was barely able to eat between morning sickness and acid reflux, and my anxiety was raising. I tend to develop keen anxiety during pregnancy since my losses, but as time went on, I became convinced something bad would happen the longer we waited.
  • My labors and deliveries are relatively fast. With Ada I was in labor for like 5 hours before pushing as a first time mom. With Eloise, once I got dilated to a 4, I had her within an hour. With Eden, I was dilated to a 3-4 at my last appointment. While it's not a reason to induce, having GBS again did make me uncomfortable because I wanted to ensure I'd get appropriate dosage of the antibiotics before birth.
  • My experience with Eloise's essentially induced birth was very positive, so I felt I knew what I was getting myself into. 
  • Current research is also trending toward 39 weeks as a more favorable time to induce rather than after 40 weeks.
  • Also: I knew my date of conception (due to tracking ovulation several ways, having a confirmation ultrasound for ovulation, and timing of progesterone supplements), so I knew I was truly as far along as I thought.

With all this on my mind, I set October 25th as Eden's birth date. This isn't to say I didn't still have some worry and reservations (until the morning we went in). But after a few days, I felt more at peace with our decision.


The process of my birth with Eden was very similar to what I experienced with Eloise. My water didn't break first, but everything else more or less progressed in the same way.

  • I was hooked up to an IV upon admission into the hospital. Fluids, antibiotics, and pitocin were put in right away. 
  • We started on 2 units of pitocin, increasing by 2 units every half hour until we reached 16. 
  • I was hooked up for continuous monitoring, but I was able to walk around with my medication "tree" and mobile monitor. I'll admit this is the biggest downside in my opinion. It's a lot of stuff to lug around. Getting into the shower, walking around, bouncing on a birth ball -- I had to contend with wires and tubes. This time around I was prepared for it, though.
  • The difference is that my doctor broke my water after I'd received enough of the antibiotics. I was afraid that things would immediately get intense, but that wasn't my experience. It still took a couple hours to get really productive contractions.
  • Just like with Eloise, I dilated from 4/5 centimeters to 10 within a short timeframe. With Eloise it took about an hour. With Eden it took just 20 minutes.
  • The pushing stage with Eloise was like 0 minutes. She basically flew out of me. With Eden, it took 3 minutes with three series of pushes. (Much better than 2 hours with Ada! But I realize that's more of a second, third-time mom thing than an induction thing.)


Pain is the factor most people ask me about with pitocin. I feel I really lucked out this time around because none of the contractions I had before breaking my water and even in the couple hours following were bad enough to breathe through. By the time they hurt, they were STRONG but  -- in my opinion -- not any worse than I experienced with my unmedicated birth with Ada.

Another thing people ask about is the time between the contractions. I don't know how much pitocin is the ceiling, but on a level 16, my contractions weren't spaced any closer than 2 minutes apart. Most of the time they were between 2-3 minutes. I didn't experience the whole overwhelming, back-to-back contractions that I have read about.

Basically, by the time I was begging for an epidural (something that's happened in all my births, including Ada's), I was at a 9 and nearly ready to push.

What about Eden? The baby is constantly monitored throughout elective induction. And I have been fortunate that both Eloise and Eden tolerated the drugs well. I was constantly reminded that the nurses were watching for baby's health throughout the process.

I suppose I wanted to write this post to share my experience. Again, I never thought I'd elect to induce. I was actually afraid of it and disagreed with choosing when to have a baby. But now I'm more for choice. That's not to say I think everyone should elect to induce. That's not to say I don't still question my own decision at times. But I also don't think it should be regarded poorly. (Trust me. I got a lot of negative feedback.)

In the end, we were fortunate to have a healthy mom and happy baby. If you'd like to read more about my emotions through the process, check out Eden's birth story.

If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

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