When something happens to you the first time, it is easy to dismiss it as a mere coincidence but when it happens again, pay attention, and the third time, you just accept and move on. That was the life story of this older mom, all of whose kids were overdue, and she had to be induced to have all her kids.
That experience taught her some lessons about life, and this motherhood business. She had told her story in a bid to comfort a first time pregnant mom, who was already overdue, and was worried about being induced, as she feared the procedure. She had aired her opinions in the hearing of this older mom, Mrs M, when that one decided to put her mind to rest about the whole induction business.
Almost 30 years ago, when Mrs M got pregnant with her first child, she never thought an induction was going to be a part of the process of giving birth. When she reached 42 weeks of pregnancy, and two weeks into her three-month maternity leave, Mrs M had gone to her doctor to find out why she had not yet given birth.
Because, according to their calculations, the baby should have arrived a few weeks before. But the doctor had no answers, she even wanted her to wait a week and if baby did not show up by itself, then they would induce her.
She said, for her, those words were like telling her he was going to do a C-section, so she began to pray. She told her mom, her mother-in-law, both women, who never had such experience, and all that caused was a trio of worrying women, who came to check every morning, if the baby had arrived.
They would look at her bump and say, “This baby has descended o, why is it not coming out.” The next day, they would be like, “It is still high up, and enjoying its cocoon inside its mom’s womb”. The 7 days leading up to the induction date the doctor gave her, were filled with all sorts of manipulations that the older women knew to force the baby out; eating spicy foods was strongly advised, no more sitting for most of the day, the women and her husband volunteered themselves for twice daily walks, in the early mornings and evenings. And during the day, they found errands for the very pregnant mom, so she was active, even more than she had been most of the pregnancy.
All of these attempts to forcefully eject Mrs M’s first son failed woefully. She walked as a burdened woman to the hospital on her induction day, now three weeks into her maternity leave, she was given an injection, and that was how the show got on the road in less than two hours.
She started to feel contractions, and when she was checked, it was obvious that her labour was progressing as normal. In another three hours, the baby was there, doing a urine baptism for anyone who was “lucky” to be around. He had a pretty strong pair of lungs too, which he used to full advantage, as though protesting his eviction from the first home, he had known.
With her next pregnancy, she was soon overdue again, and Mrs M said she just accepted her lot, and tried to rush things along, but no deal! In the end, they had to induce her again. For her third child, she started her maternity leave, well into her 42nd week, and scheduled her induction for 10 days after then.
As expected, he was a no show before the induction date, and had to be given an eviction notice, which he did not take likely to. With him, the injection did not work; she did not even feel the impact, and stayed in the hospital overnight. The next day, the doctor tried another method of induction, where the cervix was softened, so it could dilate and efface on its own. That worked, but not immediately.
In all, she spent 2 days in the hospital, to birth her last child. As Mrs M told her story, the pregnant mom kept saying, “Mommy, you try o” but it was visible that she was feeling better at having the testimony of a mom, who had been there and was sharing matter of factly.
From Mrs M’s story, I could glean some truths, some lessons highlighted below:
- Your birth story, doesn’t have to be like everyone else
If Mrs M had not opened her mouth to tell us about her induction experience, no one would have known she was induced. What struck me most about her story was that, she felt being induced was the same as having a C-section, and that was a procedure, she had ‘Tufiakwaed’, if there was a word like that.self
Even her mother would not hear of it. They had gone on the usual, “It is not my portion” tirade. All her attempts to get the babies, before she was induced, also failed, so she was forced to confront the very thing she was avoiding. She was not going to have the normal birth her mom and grandmother, and even mother-in-law, had experienced.She was going to have her OWN birth experience. And that was fine in the end.
- Nothing else matters, as long as the baby was fine
Mrs M recalled, with a shaky voice, at one time, during the birth of her last child and younger son, how the doctor was worried about the baby’s fainting heartbeat. She said, if the doctor had told her they were taking her to the theatre for a C-section in that moment, she would not have argued, as all she cared about was that the baby was fine, and came out well.
- Being overdue and induced are not necessarily a bad thing
When, she said this, she looked pointedly at the first time pregnant mom, and told her to calm down and let nature take it course, and if it needed some nudging from her doctor. So be it, but it was not something to worry about, unless, she wanted to raise her blood pressure unnecessarily, this late in her pregnancy, and in the process, increase her risk of having a C-section.
True, it is not going to be easy not to worry about still lugging a pregnancy bump around, when you are overdue, and trying all sorts to get the baby to come out. Or even worry about the health of the baby in there, or you are just plain tired of being pregnant, know that worrying does nothing for a pregnant mom, nothing at all.
So, it is better to learn some walking exercises and acceptable labour-inducing methods, and if those don’t work, and you require an induction or even a section, then, it’s time to accept it, as your OWN birth story. It doesn’t matter, how every other mother birthed their own child. To each it’s own.
Baby dust moms…and smile.
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