Everything has been smooth sailing in my pregnancy until it hasn’t been. I’ve been textbook, really—almost hilariously so. The very week all the books said I might experience this or that, I have. Like clockwork. This has allowed me to really trust my body and trust this process, and as a result, pregnancy has been mostly a beautiful and inspiring time in my life.
However, last week at my 30 week appointment, my OB dropped what felt like a major bombshell: “We’re probably going to want to induce at 38-39 weeks, as long as you keep looking good. If the blood pressure raises, we might be looking at 36-37.” And I just sat there and nodded stupidly, covered in Doppler gel and surprise.
This would be a preventive measure rather than a proactive one. I have “essential hypertension,” which has been well managed with medication for several years. Through pregnancy, readings have been great other than slightly elevated at this last appointment (130/90). That said, this must put me in a risk category the OB wants to tread lightly with.
I went grocery shopping in a haze. I came home in a haze. I told my husband, texted my bestie, and thought I was processing pretty well. But I wasn’t, because slowly, my entire attitude toward pregnancy started to shift. I don’t trust my body, I don’t trust myself to correctly interpret my own experiences, and I have to shift that trust from myself to my doctors, which involves an activity that I do not excel at—relinquishing control.
I’m not an idiot. I know intellectually that I have not had any real control over the process of my pregnancy other than taking decent care of myself, but when things are all good, it’s easy to feel like you do.
I also know that I really put a lot of pressure on myself, and I can’t overachieve my way out of a pre-existing condition that hasn’t resolved itself despite a healthy weight, diet, and generally active lifestyle. It just is what it is. It all just is what it is.
But I haven’t managed my own emotions on this very well. I’ve had multiple meltdowns and a fairly epic panic attack, and the only way out is through. My husband is exceptionally supportive, and my doula’s response to this has likewise been amazing. My husband has coached me through just breathing, talking it out, and letting myself cry as I need to. I already knew he would be, but this shows me what an amazing partner he’s going to be in the room when it’s go time.
And there are worse things in the world than an induced labor. I’ve gotten some suggestions that I think are on the money, and I need to just go with that. The concrete suggestions are this:
- My doctor is going by ACOG guidelines, and whether or not the crunchy natural birth community wants to admit it, they are the actual medical experts. Trust the guidelines, and find the happy medium between the natural birth I want and the medical birth I probably need.
- According to my doula: check and double check the doctor’s plans to make sure that the cervix is checked the day before and a ripening agent used if it isn’t low and soft on its own, that low doses of pitocin are started if necessary after said cervical softening, and that ideal timing in her mind is 38 weeks, 6 days to give my body its best chance to take over on its own.
- And I need to just rebuild my trust in the process, whatever it turns out to be. This means continuing to engage in a lot of self care, do my reading and education on the topic, keep up with my meditation and other soothing activities, and keep doing my fucking kegels as much as I hate them.