Bringing on Labour: Why the Sudden Rush?

bringing on labour

It has taken my entire pregnancy for something to happen that has me truly, 100% stumped: why is it that everyone goes bat-shit crazy as soon as you reach forty weeks? Is it coming yet? Any signs? Are you going to get induced? Oh my GOD you must be so tired of it by now… For the record, no: I am so not tired of pregnancy. I am in no discomfort whatsoever, apart from the fact that I almost wee myself every time we drive over a speed bump. Perhaps if I was in huge amounts of discomfort with backache or what have you then I would be in a rush, but at the moment I am just sitting here totally bewildered at the comments and texts that keep coming my way. It had never occurred to me that I would be in any “hurry” or have a sense of desperation to “get the baby out” – perhaps because my main agenda, for the term of the pregnancy, was to keep the baby in!

People continue to say stuff, too, that would easily grace the Things People Say When You’re Pregnant list: I actually almost snapped at a woman in the Post Office the other day. She asked when I was due and I said “tomorrow”, she said – wait for this – “you must be terrified”. I said “no” (rather bluntly) and “I’m actually really looking forward to meeting my baby”. “Oh,” she said, “brave girl. I’d be terrified.” In texts from friends – “getting nervous?” “Bet you’re sh*tting yourself now!” “No going back!” ERM. For a start, how do you think you’re helping me with this? And secondly, I genuinely am not terrified, nervous or “sh*tting myself” because I’m having a baby, not having both legs amputated without anaesthetic. I’m trusting my body to deal with the motions and my brain to deal with the pain and, if you are pregnant and nervous or worried then PLEASE read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and also Nancy Bardaker Mindful Birthing. I haven’t given birth yet, and so YES it could all have been pointless reading and I might be screaming the house down begging for drugs, but reading through these books from about 20/25 weeks has kept me the most chilled I have ever been about anything.

(Note on the Ina May Gaskin – some of the birth stories are a bit dated and cringe, eg “I massaged my yoni gates open to allow life to pass through” etc, but the second half is the best thing ever. Please do read.)

Anyway, back to the whole Why the Sudden Rush thing: sweeps. I was offered a sweep at my forty week appointment and will be offered one again this afternoon. Apparently they can help to get things started if your body is already getting things started. To which my immediate response is: surely then it’s pointless? Why would I want to interfere if things are already getting started? Why would I want two chunky fingers maudling around on my cervix, separating the membrane (UGH) and generally making me feel uncomfortable? I’ve been poked around so much over the years – tubes stuck through the cervix to pump my womb full of dye, that was a joy* – that I’m just so anti-poking. Leave it alone. If there’s no medical reason to speed things along, can we not just let the poor baby rest there in the warm until its ready?

Until I was offered the sweep, I was totally relaxed about the whole thing. I wouldn’t be induced until twelve days over and that would be only if I consented and/or if there was an issue, but all of a sudden I feel under tremendous pressure to “perform”. It’s bewildering. I still have work I can be doing, and I’m actually rather enjoying sitting in the sun reading my Kindle and eating Cornettos, ta ever so – the baby is perfectly happy, I am perfectly happy, can we not just enjoy our last days of being as close as we’ll ever be? But now I feel as though there’s this huge clock ticking away in the back of my head, counting down the twelve days. Grr. It’s made me ever so irritable.

*please note, because someone has just tweeted worrying about the womb dye thing, that it was not painful. More uncomfortable. But I would add that if you are emotionally raw and just plain fed-up, as I was at this point in my fertility investigations, then your concept of pain is probably different. During the procedure when I was angry at being there I felt that it was painful, but once they said that my tubes were clear and everything was fine, it was like my brain re-evaluated the “pain” and I realised that it was a pressure and an uncomfortable pushing sensation, which is not, really, the same as pain. (Again, read the Mindful Birthing and Guide to Childbirth, see what you think of the thoughts on pain and perceived pain.)

**please note also, that in response to one comment below, I should add that many pregnancies do need to be induced for medical reasons and I am well aware of that. This blog talks about my own personal experiences and I have been told that there is no reason for me to be induced until +12 days, when doctors start to get twitchy due to complications and so on. Situations are different for every woman.

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