Monday 26 June 2017

PREGNANCY #2: My Experience of the Induction Process

Being induced isn't on many pregnant ladies wishlist, yet so many find themselves heading down that route. When I was pregnant with Isabella my waters broke at 39+3 and I didn't go into established labour quick enough, so I went through the induction process due to the increased risk of infection. I started by have a pessary, then another and finally was put on the hormone drip. So I experienced most of the induction methods and it was an incredibly painful journey. Though I have nothing to compare it to, it is common knowledge that induced labour can be more painful than labour that starts naturally. I was actually still having to be induced on the hormone drip once in established labour; Isabella just didn't want to come out!

Now pregnant a second time and overdue by 11 days I find myself at the doors of being induced again. It's not exactly how I wanted this pregnancy to end, there were hopes of a natural water birth with no intervention (read my hopes & wishes for labour #2 here). Yet I find myself the day before I'm booked in to be induced wandering what the next few days will hold. It's a really strange feeling knowing that some of the most incredible pain you will ever go through is about to happen, followed by one of the most memorable moments of your life. I've got to the point where I've accepted induction is what's going to happen (unless it all kicks off tonight naturally!) and I'm ok with that. There's no point fighting the inevitable and at least it's familiar - I know the process and though horrendous does bring some comfort.

My Pros for being Induced:
  • Knowing when it's going to happen - easier to organise childcare/prepare Isabella
  • No long car journey in labour - our hospital is 40 minutes away
  • In hospital for the whole of labour, which is where the drugs are!
  • Surrounded by medical staff for the whole experience
  • Can't be sent home for arriving too early
  • Having longer to prepare for baby's arrival

My Cons for being Induced:
  • Knowing when it's going to happen - dreading saying goodbye to Isabella for the last time
  • Can be more painful
  • Can be a lengthy process - will be away from Isabella for longer
  • Lots of waiting around in hospital
  • Not natural, so baby/body may not be ready
As I approach the day of induction I'm trying to focus on the pros and make the most of the situation I've found myself in. I really hope that it isn't as lengthy and/or painful as last time, but I don't really get a say in that now do I? Only time will tell...

*I wrote the above the day before my induction and below are how the events unfolded. I will be publishing my birth story in much more detail on Wednesday, this is just focusing on the induction.*

We were booked in to be induced at 8.30am at the hospital, so after dropping Isabella off at nursery we headed straight there. I booked in at reception, was given a pack with all my hospital notes in and sent up to the induction ward. Then began a lot of waiting around, so if you're being induced I'd recommend taking a fair amount of entertainment (downloaded programmes, magazines, book, cards etc.). After a few hours I was put on the monitor to assess baby's heartbeat and ensure that she was happy enough in there to start the induction process. It wasn't until about 1.30pm that the doctor had prescribed the pessary, baby's wellbeing had been monitored and I was given the all clear to start being induced.

The midwife explained the process (it was different to the process of being induced when my waters had broken last time because there was no risk of infection this time) - the pessary would be put in (it's a bit like a tampon), left for 24 hours, examination would take place to see if it had softened the cervix, if not then left in for a further 8 hours, another examination, if contractions still hadn't started then you'd be given a break for 24 hours before another pessary would be put in for a further 24 hours. As you can already tell the process can be a lengthy one! After the second pessary you'd be examined to see if your waters could be broken in a further attempt to induce labour. If they could then you'd be sent to labour ward for that to happen, if not then they'd discuss putting you on the hormone drip (a more intense way of inducing labour).

After this was all explained we fully expected to be in for days. My husband made plans to go home that night, we stocked up on snacks/entertainment from the hospital shop and I was coming to terms with probably not seeing Isabella for a few days. Once the first pessary was put in I had to lie down and be monitored for 30 minutes. Then we were finally allowed off the ward for a walk, so went to the café and for a stroll outside.

By the time we got back it was about 4pm. Dinner was served on the ward at 5pm, which I began eating while bouncing on a ball. This was when I started having tightening's, which quickly turned into something a lot more painful. I was having to stop to breath through them, but was managing ok. Based on my last labour I knew these were mild contractions, so didn't let the midwife know or take any pain relief. A few hours went by and my husband (who was timing them) said that they were now coming every 3 minutes and lasting for about 30 seconds. I'd gone from nothing to rapid contractions in about two hours!

When we finally told the midwife she offered pain relief, which I refused thinking I'd have a lot longer and didn't want to start it too early into labour. She also offered to do an examination to see if I was progressing and put me on the monitor to see how often the contractions were coming. Being confined to lying on my back in the bed made the contractions almost unmanageable, yet when I was up and leaning forward I was able to breathe through them. The midwife couldn't get a clear reading of baby's heartbeat because I simply couldn't stay still through each contraction. So she gave me gas and air (the most incredible thing!), did the examination and said that I was 2-3cm dilated. The pessary had fallen out too, so wasn't doing its job anymore but the midwife didn't seem too concerned.

After having a bath I went back on the gas and air, had an examination and was 4cm dilated. That's the green flag for admission to the labour ward!

I was wheeled down on the bed, screaming in pain because I couldn't have the gas and air on the journey. My eyes were shut the whole time and I was pretty out of it by this point, though still able to take things's a funny feeling to describe. After only 1 hour 25 minutes and 5 pushes our baby girl arrived into the world!

So from the moment the pessary was put in (1.30pm), it took 3.5 hours for contractions to start, 5.5 hours to be 2-3cm dilated, 6.5 hours to be 4cm dilated and 8 hours 15 minutes to give birth! Not quite the lengthy induction process we were both expecting that morning. It was intense, but so quick that I didn't really have time to process it.  

Were you induced? What was your experience?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x



  1. Wowzers! I can remember being booked in for an induction just in case and was talked through the steps and it didn't sound at all pleasant. The idea of labour and contractions coming on thick and fast sounded terrifying! But I was glad I knew what could happen. My friend was induced and wasn't told about the stages beforehand - she didn't know until it was happening and had a really terrible experience. I'm glad things went relatively quickly for you and I'm looking forward to the next post. I love having a nose at birth stories :)

  2. Wow I am amazed at how quickly the induction process went in the end for me I have heard horror stories about how it can be so lengthy which is why I was not keen on it as an option if I ever needed it but it's great that it was relatively quick for you!

  3. I was induced too. And it was even worse for me, because in the end, I had to have an emergency c section. My daughter's heartbeat was slowing down so they had to quickly take her out. Thank God things went well after they got her out! The thing with giving birth, no one really knows what's going to happen in the end, and no amount of planning can control things either. x

  4. Hey, I was induced with my first and it was horrible. i was in labour for 36 hours and ended in an emergency c section. I totally get what you mean about knowing when it is going to happen, you have to prepare But you also have time i get nervous and worried.

  5. Wow that was so quick! At least you didn't have all those long days to wait through :) Fortunately I wasn't induced with Sophie as that was painful enough haha x

  6. Wow it does sound like an intense experience but thank you for detailing how long each procedure would take. Thank you for being open and honest x

  7. Gas and air is a magical thing isn't it. I'm glad it wasn't as long and drawn out as you were expecting. I was worried about being induced as I really felt I was going to be overdue - instead she was 3 weeks early!

  8. I was induced with my youngest. Saying goodbye to the older two was horrendous but the actual birth was fast. All my contractions were doubled up so didn't realise how close it was until I got the urge to push and then he arrived with just 1 or 2 pushes!

  9. Amazing! You always hear about inductions being such a lengthy process, so it's lovely to hear about one that was nice and quick!

  10. I was induced 3 times, twice it took just 2 hours from contractions to baby arriving and the third it took 36 and then I had an emergency section :/

  11. My little guy was 42+5 before he was born and I went through every induction process imaginable and they say it is more painful because it is forced so fingers crossed that doesn't happen this time! Fortunately due to my C-section last time I can't be induced for more than 6 hours so if we do go over, we won't have a long wait!

  12. I had a planned c section with my twins. Good to know your induction was quick. I was under the impression they were always long.

  13. This is really interesting to read - I was lucky enough to have a 'textbook' labour so have no idea about induction! #TwinklyTuesday

  14. Gosh it all sounds so intense. Luckily I wasn't induced on either of mine although I very nearly was with my second x

  15. I was induced with 4 of my 5. My inductions ranged from 35 hours to 1 hour! My natural labour was very different and far less intense.

  16. WHat a journey you had! I have never been induced but I did have a very quick labour with Oscar! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  17. They do it so differently in the UK than here in the US. I'm heading in for my 3rd induction (technically. My 2nd I was already 4cm & contracting when I went in for induction so they just had to keep my labor progressing with pitocin) in 3 hours. Yes, I said 3 hours. Can you tell I'm nervous? Anyway, when you get there and after registration, you're already in the labor room where you're going to have your baby. They insert cervadille (which is probably same as presser) for 4 hours to soften cervix & depending on where you are after that, they give you pitocin, break waters, and offer epidural. My 1st labor was 22 hours, 2nd was 12. I'm hoping the trend continues with this one and time is cut in half to 6 hours. I'll be going in there already dilated. A week ago I was 2cm, but I've been having stroganoff contractions since off and on so I bet I'm at least 3 or 4 now and at least 50% effaced so I'm hoping it's not a long labor. Kids get out of school at 2:30. I hope their brother is here before then. Otherwise they'll be seeing some stuff they're not meant to! Anyway, the induction process here in the US is a whole lot faster than the UK, and we get better drugs than just gas. If you don't want an epidural they offer other pain med they put in your IV that are stronger and last longer. But I'll be getting my epidural today. I've had 2, and slept through both my labors until they woke me up and said, ok, push. 20 minutes later for both of them, they were out. Being my 3rd, I am pretty sure I'm more nervous this time than the last 2. When my 2nd was born we found out I had placenta accreta. I bled a lot and was so out of it I couldn't even hold my son afterwards. The nurse had to take him and give him to his dad otherwise I would have dropped him. I just pray this doesn't reoccur. I've been nervous all night and have been barely able to sleep and every time I think about it, I feel like I wanna get sick. It's nerve wracking knowing you're about to go through a physical ordeal like labor & delivery. It still hasn't hit me 100% we're having another baby! Anyway, I'm so nervous I'm rambling. Glad to hear you and baby are happy and healthy and congrats!


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