I'm one of those women who loves being pregnant. It's a miraculous transformation, starting off as one person and ending up as two. The adorable baby bump, the stretchy pants, feeling the baby move, I love it all.
That said, I'm not yet 39 weeks pregnant with my second child, and I'm ready for this baby to COME OUT.
When I was pregnant with my son five years ago, 39 weeks pregnant felt very different. It felt early. I’d read the natural childbirth books and attended a months-long natural childbirth class during which I learned the mantra, "Eight days late is normal. Eight days late is normal."
I learned the dangers of medical interventions and the domino effect of inducing: you get Pitocin, which makes contractions more painful, which makes you want an epidural, which can stall your labor, which hospital policies won’t allow, and BOOM! You’ve got an unnecessary C-section, which all moms know is the Worst Possible Outcome.
I wasn't going to let that happen to me. I was going to let my baby come on his own.
So when my blood pressure rose during my last pregnancy, I refused to acknowledge the possibility of an induction. When my pressure started rising even higher a few weeks later, I pushed against the idea that anything was wrong.
That worked for a while. My labs kept coming back clean, and my due date came and passed. At 40 weeks and 2 days, my midwife said, “Enough,” and told me to go home, pack my bag, eat dinner and meet her at the hospital that night.
So my husband and I reluctantly headed into Labor & Delivery, my mind stuck on no, no, no, no, no, no.
Did you know there are mental-health professionals on staff in Labor & Delivery who will come in on day two of your slow-moving induction and ask if there’s anything you want to talk about? Or maybe that's only if you've spent the previous 36 hours doing nothing but crying as they upped the Pitocin. Not crying out of pain, but out of mental anguish and denial that you were being induced.
Most of that time I spent wringing my proverbial hands over my terrible fate, and how I’d failed this first test of being a good mother.
I was confined to a hospital bed for more than 48 hours before my son was born. Most of that time, I spent wringing my proverbial hands over my terrible fate and how I’d failed this first test of being a good mother.
Five years later I'm pregnant again, and generally speaking, in better health. My blood pressure was acceptably low through the first 35 weeks of my pregnancy—so low, in fact, that I started prepping my home for spontaneous labor, buying absorbent pads for the car and a birth ball to sit on before heading to the hospital.
At 36 weeks, I got my first elevated blood pressure reading, and I wishfully thought it was a fluke. No, this time is supposed to be different, I thought.
It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that I can’t control how similar or different this pregnancy and labor are from my previous one. I've had five years of parenthood to beat the inflexible out of my brain. I have a new mantra: Do the best you can with what you have. And if what you have is gestational hypertension, it's a non-negotiable, serious situation. And for good reason.
Over the last 2.5 weeks, my blood pressure has been good at times and unacceptably high at others. My labs are all still clean and I don't feel the slightest bit sick. But when my midwife suggested induction at my 38 week appointment, it took me exactly four hours to come to terms with it.
I gave myself permission to momentarily grieve for a labor experience I wanted and then I pulled myself up and away from the grief, and agreed to induce my second child at 38 weeks and 6 days. And now, I’m relaxed and excited to go into Labor & Delivery tomorrow.
I’m ready to not be pregnant any more.
I’m ready for this baby to come out.
And I know no matter what my labor entails, the hardest part—and the best part—will start right after.