Look, nobody sets out to be induced, explains Isabel Mohan… but don’t let that pessary make you pessimistic.
1. Do not google
Here are the most important words you’ll read if you’ve just been booked for an induction: put the smartphone down. Actually, hang on, read this article first, and then put the smartphone down. Why? Because if you search for information about inductions, you’ll end up on messageboards where despairing women are begging for “positive induction stories please!!!!”, but nobody’s providing them.
After spending most of my third trimester getting my pesky blood pressure checked what felt like every fricking three minutes, an induction was booked for 39 weeks, and so straight to the mum forums I went… and all I kept reading were the words “spiral of intervention”.
That pessary might look innocent enough, but if it didn’t work, then there’d be the dreaded drip, and then maybe the even more dreaded emergency c-section. I am here to tell you that THIS DOES NOT NEED TO BE THE CASE. Get the medical info from your midwife, ignore all the anecdotes (apart from mine; mine are great) and go with the flow.
2. But do adjust your expectations
OK, so that blissful home birth, where your angelic newborn glides into the world while you sip prosecco in a candelit pool with Enya personally serenading you from a beanbag, isn’t going to happen. Soz.
Your induced labour will be a little bit medical from the outset. You’ll probably be in hospital for a few days and you’ll be monitored more than you might like. But, all being well, you can still walk around, and you can still have a relatively natural birth.
I’m proof of this: after two sleepless nights, three pessaries and multiple feel-ups, my waters broke in spectacular style in the hospital lift after I’d been on a bored stroll around the grounds, and the world’s best baby shot out reasonably effortlessly about six hours later, while I was off my face on nothing more than gas and air. Man I miss that stuff.
3. Line up some entertainment, you may be some time
My biggest induction regret: not filling my laptop with trashy films to watch while I waited and waited for the hormones to take effect.
Instead, I spent a fortune on data add-ons so that I could watch Netflix on the iPad. It’s not as if you can concentrate on reading a book when you’re confined to an antenatal ward, waiting for your life to change forever, surrounded by multiple impatient inpatients. You need headphones and you need distracting trash.
4. Set your birth partner free
You don’t need your bloke hanging around the hospital while you wait to go into labour. Unless he has particularly understanding employees, it will eat into his paternity leave and give you less time together when the baby’s actually been born.
Plus, he’ll be just as bored as you, and he’ll moan about it, but nobody will be fiddling with his genitals at regular intervals, and this will annoy you. Ideal scenario: while you wait for the damn baby to rev into action, he works from home, rather than miles away, and pops in regularly with snacks, encouragement and extra knickers.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize
Maybe, like me, you’re being induced for medical reasons ahead of your due date. Maybe you’ve just gone w-a-a-a-y overdue, you poor tired whale. Either way, your baby will be along very soon indeed. Sooner than if nature took its course.
Pregnancy is a flipping marathon, but this bit, even if it takes three days and doesn’t go according to plan, is a mere jolly little sprint, promise. Ish.
6. Sorry but… do a poo. Just do one
Look, this is a parenting app, we’re all grown-ups, we can talk about poo. Once that baby’s born, it will be all you talk about, so we might as well start now.
Fact: when the pessary’s up there, you might feel a bit paranoid about going to the loo, in case it somehow falls out. So, try and go beforehand, OK?