Inducing Labor at 38 Weeks Pregnant

I always imagined that going through labor is both a natural process and a beautiful one at that. I don’t think inducing labor for my first pregnancy. In fact, I always imagined having that moment when my water breaks naturally and delivering the baby from there.

Having an induced labor can be pretty scary, so I thought to share my experience when I had an induced labor at 38 weeks pregnant.

Why I Agreed to Inducing Labor

My doctor told me that our baby wasn’t gaining any weight for the last 3 weeks, which was a concern. She did not know whether it was because I had cut back on the sugar or whether there was something wrong and the baby was not longer receiving the right amount of nutrients in the womb.

As parents to be, we were concerned that perhaps she wasn’t going to be okay in the womb and that perhaps inducing labor may be the best way to assure she was going to be fine. Although nothing had made me feel she wasn’t okay in there, I took my doctor’s advice seriously. Throughout the pregnancy, she had been very active, kicking and moving about. And at 38 weeks pregnant, she was still very active.

Since I was full term and had been waiting for the baby to be ready (i.e waiting for my water to break naturally), the doctor recommended that we have an inducing labor to ensure the health of the baby would remain in good condition. Before being told that I should have an induced labor, I never even knew that you could even ‘kick start’ the labor with drugs.

When we were told about this recommendation, I remember feeling overwhelmed, scared and a little rushed to make the decision. The thought that the baby will come in the next few days dawned on me. But after a few hours of taking it in and reading further about inducing labors, I felt confident that it was the right decision for our baby. We felt confident in our doctor’s professionalism and ability to make the right suggestion for us and our situation. After all, we only had 2 more weeks until I would reach 40 weeks pregnant anyway and at least we would be better prepared.

The upside of Inducing Labor

There are a few benefits to inducing labors. The first is for health and safety reasons for the baby and mother. If there are complications or concerns, an inducing labor can help encourage the baby to come out now rather than later. In our situation, it allowed us to make sure that she would be healthy and we could then give her the nutrients via breastfeeding.

Normally inducing labor may be given if you are over 40 weeks.

The second benefit is that we would able to essentially choose her birthday. I know this might sound strange but for us selecting a day and being prepared was the a huge benefit. Living in Taiwan without family and friends around us and this being our first pregnancy, we were some what comforted by the fact that we knew when she would be coming at a certain day. It also helped us ensure that we had plenty of time to prepare beforehand and to really gear up and focus on just the birth and nothing else.

My Inducing Labor Experience

On the 16th of September 2016, our bags already packed and ready to go. We waited to be called in as told by our doctor beforehand. It was 9am when we got the call. We expected to come in in the afternoon and didn’t expect such an early call.

We came into our medical center just 8 minutes walking distance from our apartment. It was around 10:30am. We met with our doctor first to make sure the baby was doing well through a heart beat monitor for 20 minutes and then were escorted to the ‘waiting room’. It was essentially a private room in which I would go through my labor until I was ready to give birth aka, until the baby was crowning.

By the time we finished the paperwork and met with our doctor, we came into the room at about 12pm. I was then given a hospital gown (a very beautiful kimono robe) and asked to lie down as the nurse inserted the IV into my arm. I didn’t realize that inducing labor required a lot of medical attention. I was hooked onto an IV for an hour, followed by the induced drug via the IV. Throughout this whole ordeal, I was asked to stay in bed and was hooked up to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. I was still able to go to the bathroom but was advised to only drink and eat a little if needed. I was also hooked up through the nose an oxygen tube to help provide more oxygen for the baby and I.

Several hours past and I had only dilated 1cm out of 10cm. I felt no pain yet and the contractions were so mild that I didn’t even noticed them. When asked if I was having labor pains, I was actually unsure how to respond. Never knowing what to expect or how it felt, I couldn’t really give a proper response.

Instead, I said maybe a little? The nurse proceeded to conduct the first vaginal examination to assess how much I had dilated. It was uncomfortable, painful and a little strange. The nurse inserted her hand and placed her other hand pushing against the sides of my stomach. She looked up and said I had only dilated 1cm.

Some time had past and I was being checked again. Since the labor wasn’t moving as fast as they would like, they told me that I required a pill to be inserted into my vagina as a way to help speed up the labor. Once this happened, my water immediately broke. This was a strange feeling and luckily the nurse had placed a large pad.

While this was all happening, I also had a lot of liquid or urine in my bladder and was told to try to pass it out as it was preventing the baby from descending down. At this point, I wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom nor get out of the bed.

So she placed a urine pan underneath me and asked me to try to pee. I tried. Nothing happened. The doctor advised that I will need a urine catheter because I was unable to go myself. I felt scared. I wasn’t sure what that was nor had I ever experienced it. It was a different kind of pain. Very uncomfortable.

The nurse then checked on me every 10 minutes to see how much I had dilated and to check on the baby. The doctor also came in a few times to check too. Hours had past and I was dilated 7cm at about 11pm. The pain was not what I expected at all. It felt like it was coming from my butt. It would come and go. My husband was kind enough to massage my legs as I focused on my breathing throughout the contractions. I was tired. We both were. I could barely stay awake at this point.

It was getting late at night and I was dilating faster, so fast I had reached 8cm in the next 15 minutes talking to the nurse. The nurse advised me the baby was not descending fast enough so it might be another 5 hours or so. I then made the decision there that I wanted an epidural to help with the pain. I hadn’t planned to have an epidural and wanted to have more a natural birth as much as possible. But being unsure how much longer it would take and how much my body could handle, I really needed some relief.

The anesthetist came in 10 minutes afterwards with a few forms to sign and then prepared my back for the needle. She inserted it and immediately I felt relief. The pain went back all the way to what it felt when I was 1cm dilated. I barely felt anything. It also helped me get through the many times the nurse used a urine catheter. I had that done 7 times in total. I remember the relief, and I remember drifting to sleep. It was great that I was able to sleep for a few hours. I woke up and the nurse told me I was ready to start pushing. I would push when the contractions came. The nurse guided me through the whole process. Once the baby was crowning, the nurse called in the doctor and she told me to stop pushing as they needed to get me prepared for the delivery.

I was then moved to the delivery room. It looked more like an operation room and I remember feeling a little nervous. This is it. The moment I would finally meet my daughter. My husband was given some clothes and a mask to wear before he was allowed in the delivery room. The three nurses got me prepared and the doctor came in. She said to start pushing whenever I felt the contractions. I remember wanting to scream and when I did, the doctor told me not to. I’m not sure why though. I held me screams in and pushed as hard as I could.

I gave birth to our beautiful daughter on 17th of September 2016 5.37am. She was healthy and absolutely perfect. I will never forget that moment when she came into this world. It was like a release from all the pain. She was there, crying loudly.

The nurse cleaned her, wrapped her up and checked that everything was fine. She handed the baby over to my husband, who had been sitting beside me throughout the delivery. We took a few photos and then she handed her to me. I remember holding her to my chest. She was so little, sucking on her thumb. I spoke to her softly and at this time, everything just stopped. I remember feeling so much love, so much happiness. Nothing hurt, there was no pain. It was like those 13 hours of labor never even happened. It was pure joy. This feeling continued for about an hour, during which the doctor stitched me up and every time I held my baby close, every time I saw my baby, all the pain would just go away. I knew she was the embodiment of the word ‘love’. And now that she was here in my arms, I knew this bond, this connection, this love would remain with me forever.

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