Ordinarily, there are certain things that you would not just do, however, when you are faced with ‘desperate’ situations, you are willing to try every and anything just to get the show on the road. I use the word, desperate in this context loosely.
When you get to the third trimester of your pregnancy and you clear the 30th week, everything else becomes a drag. You are impatient to get the business over and you are practically asking your doctor, when the baby can come, if you are going the elective C-section route or you make the calendar your friend, ticking every day that goes by, reducing the number of days you still have to carry the bump about.
Peradventure, you are past your due date, like my mom said I was; that’s full blown ‘desperado’ mood. If it’s possible, you count every second that goes by and then might start to freak out about something happening to the baby, but ultimately, you just want the whole business to be over, so you can meet and hold this baby, that has been running things on the inside of you for the past several months.
I have heard women try all sorts of means to get the baby to get here earlier than they were ready and I had often laughed at the impatience of the moms, but I get them. However, this story, I heard during the week put the fear of God in me.
I had gone to the hospital to visit a friend, who just had a new baby, 13 years after her last child. She fainted a day after the baby’s christening and landed back in the hospital. While I was visiting her, the nurses on duty were admonishing a new mom for inducing her labour and how she and her husband might have harmed their baby in the process.
“You don’t know that what you people have done is very bad. Because you want to have the baby, before you husband travels, you want to kill yourself and the baby abi? What about widows, who have no husbands, those ones should go and kill themselves shei?”
And the nurses went on, passing the baton of admonitions between them. When the new dad came in, they laid into him too and as he went to his wife’s bed, everyone knew who they were talking about. Even though, she was in pain, from having just given birth, sometime in the morning of that day, the new mom was awake enough to hear what the nurses were saying and the expression on her face says, “I no send una.”
One of the nurses was pissed by that expression and the fact that the couple literally ignored their tirade that they went full blown with the details of what had happened.
This woman was already 36 weeks pregnant and her husband was due to be out of the country for the next two years in less than a week. They couldn’t defer the travelling, so they next thing to do was look for a means to induce labour, it was already 36 weeks.
Interestingly, this same mom had asked her consultant about an elective C-section but had been turned down on the grounds that her pregnancy was going on at normal and there was no need but to let nature take its course.
As the days of her husband’s travel drew closer, she grew more desperate and the internet came to her rescue, providing several ways, she could use to induce labour. She started trying several methods; from having sex, every day, even when it was no longer comfortable to nipple stimulation. They tried hot and spicy foods, she started walking for longer periods of time in the morning and evenings ate loads of labour inducing fruits like date and pineapple, no show.
However, she got one ace up her sleeves for when everything else fails, but it would take the support of her husband for that to work. She told him and he had rejected it out of hand, but when your pregnant wife moans about something for long, you accept and do. It involved scraping the membranes of the cervix, called stretch and sweep in medical parlance.
The nurses said the woman said they both watched a video of the process together and they had gotten everything they needed and sterilized it too, but they couldn’t even do it. After several attempts to stretch the cervix, the man realised his hand were covered in blood. That was the reality check they needed. He drove her to the hospital, and was the one, who confessed what they had done, to get to where they were.
Whether it was their amateur induction or it was time, she was already dilated and well on her way into labour, by the time, she was examined. Sometime, in the early hours of a new day, she gave birth, her wishes were granted. Her husband was around when she had the baby.
You needed to see the priceless expressions on my friend’s face, when the nurse reached the part of the stretching the cervix. She physically closed her legs, which had been hanging off the bed before. Even, my laps twitched at the remembrance of that painful procedure. To think, that was a nurse and doctor, who did it back then and it was that painful. It does not bear thinking that I would lie prone and let my husband use me as guinea pig to practice his non –existence medical skills, it will take a lot of keep my down. In fact it will not happen.
The nurses were on a roll, for the one hour, that I stayed with my friend, before I was kicked out, due to the fact that visiting time was over, they shared more stories of women who induced labour by themselves.
Some, who took to climbing flights of stairs, some who deliberately go on bumpy car rides, just to induce labour. At that, there was a case of “A..Ha, but most roads are bumpy nau” and there is a way, Yoruba of putting it, that, the pot holes on some roads can actually abort pregnancy. It was just a saying, something you use to warn reckless drivers, so they navigate potholes with caution, not true actually, now, you can look twice at this.
But one of the nurses said, she had seen several of such cases that labour was induced by the terrain travelled. “When some people tell you where they are coming from, you just know that the road was a major contributing factor to their being in labour, nothing else.” That had caused some mirth but the message was clear.
Inducing labour has been done for centuries and will likely continue, but these things can go wrong as well, especially when invasive ones, like the lady in the story did with the help of her husband are used. It is always better to try the ‘safe’ methods and if those ones fail, then… please, let nature take its course.
Better to have a healthy baby than carry a lifelong guilt on your hands, if something goes wrong in the process of induction.
Baby dust and stay safe!
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