Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Staying Focused & Reaching Out

When I was pregnant with my first son, I really had no idea of the dangers of induction.  I was part of a pretty mainstream message board and it just seemed like induction was the thing to do when you got close to that pesky thing called a due date.  Oh, you're 37 weeks? Baby's lungs must be matured...let's kick that sucker out in the next couple weeks before he gets too big.  And it seemed like everyone who went ahead with their induction was successful--at this time, I defined success as merely having a vaginal birth.  So, of course, my induction wouldn't end any other way, right? Never mind the fact that at my first internal at 36 weeks my cervix wasn't changing at all or that my doctor diagnosed me with an android pelvis and told me I would probably have to have a cesarean**.  What did he know?  And the fact that he would be going on vacation soon after my due date--a fact he failed to mention until that 36 week appointment--that won't matter.  Because I was getting induced and everyone's induction is successful.

When I started really researching what went wrong with my birth, which wasn't really until my son was almost a year old, I started to learn the truth.  That my induction leading to cesarean was more common than I thought.  In fact, after I found communities like ICAN and Mothering, I learned that my story wasn't that unique at all.  When I walked into that hospital 38+6 weeks pregnant with not a care in the world, just happy to be getting ready to meet my baby--who would be delivered vaginally, of course--it was like a lamb to the slaughter.

Then I started to get pissed.  I mean, really angry.  How in the world is this OK that this is happening to women? Why are doctors, nurses, so called care providers, doing this to women who put all their faith in them? Why didn't anyone tell me the risks of induction? I am paying these people to make sure that my baby and I have a safe birthing experience and they care so little about me that they will give a half assed attempt at getting my horribly unfavorable cervix into labor?!?! You have got to be kidding me. It's not just the doctors though.  Mainstream birthing shows on the television had me suckered too.  Story after story of a woman getting induced for no good reason, but shockingly, I saw relatively few "failed" inductions leading to cesareans.  Why is that? Are these guys in on it too?

Then I went to an even darker place where I became consumed with jealousy for other women who made the same mistake I did--consenting to the induction--and managed to have a vaginal birth.  Why were they so special? What about their bodies made them respond "favorably" to the Cervidil and the Pitocin? And why, when I cared so much about having a vaginal birth, and I heard many of them say "I don't care as long as I have a healthy baby," why then did I end up with a cesarean and they didn't? This was a horrible place to be.  I wasn't wishing cesareans on other women, but I came damn close a few times, thinking "Well, let them choose the induction. They'll wind up with a cesarean and that'll show them." I am so embarrassed to even admit that I had thoughts like that.  How ugly and hateful of me.

I had to decide to take all this negative energy and thinking I was having and redirect it into something powerful and positive.  I was wasting so much time giving breath to these thoughts that I wasn't focusing on me and what I needed to do to have my best birth.  I've gotten pretty good about it.  I still warn all my friends, when asked, about the risks of induction.  I try to do it as gently as possible and let them then make their own decision. And I have come a really long way.  Now when I hear that someone's being induced, I'm hoping they beat the odds and avoid the knife. But, it's been a long time coming for me to get to this place and I still occasionally start to get sucked into that line of thinking.  But as soon as I recognize that my thoughts are going in that direction, I hop off that train and remind myself that only positivity and light will get me where I need to go.

And you know what? Just because I learned my lesson the hard way doesn't mean other women have to.  What a blessing to come out of a difficult situation--I can use the lessons I've learned to counsel other women who may be right where I was back in 2008.  If I only reach one out of one hundred, it is worth it to me.

**If you are reading this, please know that it is so ridiculous to be getting internal exams at 36 weeks.  A lot of people will argue that you don't need vaginal exams until you are in labor (or maybe not even then), but all that aside, a first time mom has no business getting internal exams at 36 weeks. Also, your doctor cannot diagnose an android pelvis or tell you whether your pelvis is wide enough to deliver your baby through an internal exam. By the way, your pelvis is wide enough. /soapbox


  1. This is great, Melek. I look forward to reading more even though the baby train is on hold. Well, actually trying, but I need to get my body healthy by dropping at least 50 pounds and getting in shape. Keep up the good writing!

  2. Jessica, good on you!! The first step to a healthy pregnancy and delivery is a healthy mom going in to it. I did Nutrisystem to help me lose the 50 pounds I needed to before my second pregnancy. I would do it again if I weren't breastfeeding :) But I definitely won't get pregnant again until I'm at a weight where I feel comfortable that my blood pressures will remain low and stable....that is about 15 pounds from where I am now, and obviously, I have a good while to lose that :)

    PS I deleted the first response because it had a typo :) Fixed and reposted!

  3. Thanks, Sarah! I am so glad you're here :)