This pregnancy, just like my first two, is being brought to an end by induction.
Or that’s the theory, at least.
I’m given a date and as usual, there is much excitement. I’ve learnt not to tell people. Because people hear the date, and they assume that at some point on that allocated day, a baby will arrive.
Which is completely NOT what happens.
Different hospitals have different policies, but in essence, the process is generally the same wherever you go.
An assessment is carried out as to ‘ripeness’ of the cervix. The result is a score on the ‘Bishop Scale’. I don’t know why it’s called that, and I don’t know how it’s scored, but if you’re given less than a six then you are officially ‘unripe’.
Which means that a ripening method needs to be put in place before the next step takes place.
First of all though, you have to get to the point where the hospital will actually start the process at all. And the previous two times I’ve given birth, this has taken three days. Three days of sitting around in a cramped ward, in 32 degree August heat with a giant bump, support stockings, a case of SPD so bad that I can barely move and not a cooling, soothing bath in sight. Because every time there’s an emergency (and this hospital seemed to have a lot of them) they’d delay induction as there wasn’t enough capacity on the labour ward. And you can’t go home, because if you do you lose your place in the queue…
I did get to the point where I wondered if it might just be worth me going home anyway and let things take their course. I had wondered about that anyway. Do I really need to be induced? In many ways I’d really like to have a home birth, and perhaps it’s better planned than unplanned?
But then there’s always the fear that the incredibly rapid labour and the complications that could potentially go with it might happen. That, like first time round, the cord might be wrapped around the baby’s neck. That I might bleed excessively, or prolapse, or need significant numbers of stitches and end up having to go to the hospital anyway. Or that I might dislocate my hips. I really don’t fancy that happening at all.
So. Back to the waiting game.
The first step is a sweep. Separate the membranes, see if it kickstarts things happening. And then, if the ripening needs a bit more help, there are two options: propess (a 24 hour leave in thing that is affectionately known by the midwives as ‘the teabag’ which slow releases prostaglandins to help the cervix on it’s way) or prostin (a pessary which can be given every six hours with higher dose of the one-off variety).
Sweep = 72 hours.
Propess = 24 hours
Prostin = potential 3 or 4 doses over 24 hours.
So you can see why this process takes time…
Anyway. This time, the sweep is done well before I even get to hospital. And happily, this hospital, which I’ve not been to before, has a policy of only admitting hugely pregnant, hot, uncomfortable ladies if they actually intend to begin the induction process straight away. So it’s in with the prostin (my Bishop score is a miserable 4) and into the second waiting phase.
I know that Pippin will be here soon. But I don’t know how soon.
Every little twinge is pondered. Every minute ticked off the clock. And I remember how it feels to be a part of this wait again.
I feel a sense of loss. The impending loss of my bump. This is my last pregnancy and I cherish my enormous stomach, my baby tattoo of angry red lines that I know will fade in time to silvery reminders of the baby that once grew inside me. I love feeling the little kicks, feeling the life inside me moving and growing. I want to meet my baby but at the same time I don’t want to lose my bump…because I also feel fear. Fear of the pain that will come before my baby is here. Fear of the unknown – the time it will take, the way it will go…because induction of labour carries a higher risk of interventions, episiotomies, forceps, caesarean… I want these twinges to develop into regular, strong contractions but equally I want to stay here, reasonably comfortable, away from riding a rollercoaster of pain.
And I feel guilty. Guilty because the longer I am here, waiting, the longer I am away from the Wee Man and Bubby D. My two amazing children who are about to have their lives changed forever in a way they don’t completely understand yet. I feel a great sadness about the loss of my littlest actually being my littlest any longer. My Bubby D, my baby, I know will suddenly seem huge, and so grown up, and she won’t be my tiny little girl any more.
So induction is exciting.
And ultimately, one way or another, it will result in Pippin making an entrance into the world.
But it’s a turbulent, emotional waiting time too. And I can, but I can’t, wait to see what happens.