I’m backtracking here a little…but I’ve heard so many moms describe their frustrating attempts to induce labor that I thought I’d share what my own attempts taught me.
As soon as I was 37 weeks into my pregnancy, I was ready to go. The hospital bags were packed, the baby van was full of anything and everything I thought I would need at the hospital (most of which I never used!) and I was excited to have reached “full term.”
Family, friends, and co-workers told me stories of their babies arriving three weeks early so I was fully convinced my baby was going to be early too. Needless to say, it didn’t go that way.
The last few weeks of pregnancy stretched on forever. I can’t remember how many times I must have checked to see if my water had broken yet. But like they say – a watched pot never boils!
I tried my best to induce labor naturally because I was scared of the possibility of it not happening on its own. I walked for hours on end at the park and the mall, danced around the house, cooked in the kitchen for hours, went up and down the stairs, got foot massages, did lots of squats, had castor oil…I even tried eating spicy food, pineapple and eggplant parmesan.
Once I passed my due date, I tried even harder. My family encouraged me to walk a lot and told me it would help my contractions progress into the “real” ones.
I got a little emotional during the last few days…each day past my due date made me feel frustrated since people would message me every day asking if baby was here yet. Talk about pressure! I actually cried out of frustration. I was tired of researching ways to naturally induce labor. I was also exhausted by all my efforts to induce the labor myself and discouraged by all the false labor trips to the hospital. I started to worry that baby wasn’t coming, that she would grow too big to push out, that she might poop in my tummy, that I might have a C-section, etc. My husband had started his paternity leave already so it was also stressing me out to think he was eating into his days off.
I was able to get over this emotional bump with my family’s support. I finally decided to just LET GO and enjoy myself. I went to the movies with my husband and we went to play miniature golf the day before our angel was born.
Mother’s Day was rough. The pink “Happiness is Being a Mom” shirt my husband had bought me in anticipation of the day silently mocked me. When I received a bunch of Happy Mother’s Day texts that reminded me I wasn’t a mom yet…I realized how hard this day could be for couples who had lost a child or perhaps were desperately wanting a child. I started to feel silly for being upset just because I was a few days late. There are so many mountains to climb in life and when I took a step back I realized there really was not a mountain in front of me…I was just creating one.
Late that afternoon, I finally went into labor.
Here’s what I learned- The baby will come when he or she wants to come. It’s easy to get impatient during the last few days of pregnancy but when you look at the big picture- it’s really not a big deal. I’m not even sure any of the tried methods to induce labor actually work or if they are just old wives tales. Honestly, I feel so silly I tried to manipulate the timing of one of the most miraculous and divine experiences in the world. I don’t think we were meant to have control over the moment someone dies or is born.
However, it wasn’t all for naught. I do believe all the workouts helped me have a smooth and quick labor/delivery. When I got to the hospital I was already 6cm dilated and I thank my family for encouraging me to walk so much because I feel all the exercise helped!
I also learned…there was no need to rush the biological process. Your whole life changes when another life is placed in your arms. And many sleepless nights follow. So it’s best to soak up every minute of “me” time while you still can.