Hey baby

Mar 01 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Well, this is it then. Just got back from a final visit with my wife to her ObGyn doctor. My son is due on Saturday (3rd), but she is dilated to just 1cm so the medical advice is to undergo induction on Monday. Mrs B is a bit nervous about this, but in an abstract way, worrying about the baby. Will he be OK with induction. Knowing this, we had a great chat with her doctor, and I feel my modicum of one-the-job-gleaned epidemiological and medical knowledge helped assuage her fears. Her primary physical fear is having to have a Cesarian section delivery. She has had a couple of major abdominal surgeries in the past and alas all her medical notes - indeed, her entire medical history have mysteriously disappeared from the hospital in Washington, D.C. where she had said surgeries. Because she is unsure of her diagnosis and the extent of the surgery we don't know what state her insides are in with regards to adhesions and scar tissue.

I'm looking at you Georgetown University Hospital medical records department. Not fucking cool.

Anyway, her doctor explained that induction enhances the "drive" into labor, but that there is no guarantee with any delivery that labor will progress "normally". This very afternoon she had to perform an emergency C-section on a woman giving birth to her third child whose labor had ceased suddenly.

She explained that on Sunday they will 'place' a medicated strip onto her cervix to help with dilation and effacement (the thinning of the cervix), and that on Monday this is followed by a Pitocin drip. Pitocin is a synthetic analogue of the hormone oxytocin and induces contractions of the uterus. It seems that the majority of first pregnancies are induced nowadays for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the weakening of the blood supply to the baby as he or she out grows hir placenta* and the increased width of the child's head blocking the birth canal leading to complications and ultimately a C-section delivery.

The 'bad' part of this is that a woman, to quote my mother, goes from 0-60 immediately. There is no gradual ramping up of contractions from mild/discomfort to full labor pains. It just starts! However, Mrs. B is a believer in 'better living through modern chemistry' and thus epidurals are on the menu for Monday, for sure.

So. Here we go then. I'll blog as I am able, and of course, you can follow my alter-ego on Twitter, although beware his language is riper than mine.

*The placenta is a totally fascinating feto-maternal shared organ and I hope to find time to write more about it. The baby side of it is derived from the same original bundle of cells that give rise to the fetus, and thus it could be thought of as a symbiotic, genetically identical support "twin". Professor Lee Silver in "Challenging Nature" (Amazon link) has a great discussion on placental development and genetics as it relates to bio-ethical decision making regarding stem cell technologies (the book was written in 2006), but which is also very relevant given the current political climate and the conservative attacks on women's reproductive rights.

12 responses so far

  • Best of luck to you and your lovely wife!

  • Christina Pikas says:

    Good luck! Hope everything progresses smoothly.

  • Meghan says:

    Good luck!

    What medical advice did the OB cite to say that induction makes the most sense? I don't know of any that suggests induction at 40 weeks.

    Please read up on Bishop scores. A low Bishop score indicates the induction is unlikely to be successful (meaning, it will likely end in a C section). Sorry to be a little pushy, but I have several friends who wish they had known about Bishop scores before they consented to their inductions. And I know others who read about it, decided not to show up for their inductions, and went into labor on their own a week or so later.

    Congrats on being so close!

  • ziggy says:

    Ah, even a science blog isn't free from fanatical opinions and anecdotal evidence shoved in your face when it comes to childbirth...I trust you have chosen a doctor who knows her business, so now be ready to smile and nod, smile and nod. Walking around with an infant is even worse (where is his hat?! his feet look cold! Breastfeed! Not in public!)

    Anywho, I ended up being induced at just after 39 weeks because of borderline blood pressure issues. I also had an epidural, and was actually able to sleep through the first 3-4 hours of contractions. It went fast, 13 hour labor from start to finish, and really not too much pain until the actual pushing part.
    But now is the really fun (or agonizing) part...waiting until the day. Go out to dinner, go to a movie, go to sleep (!!!), you're so close! So very exciting!

  • brooksphd says:

    Meghan - thanks for stopping by. We'll look into that.

    Ziggy - not much fanaticism here so far LOL - and having been on the fun end of the homeopathy crowd, I've seen fanaticism!

    Thanks for commenting. Oh, and baby has hats 🙂 and if momma wants to feed him in public I pity the fool that stands in her way.

  • Pascale says:

    Got induced with my son (not the firstborn) and it wasn't nearly the hideous, painful, BFD I had feared. I did it without an epidural, so your spouse should be just fine.

  • gerty-z says:

    woot!! I'm so excited for you!! 😀 Enjoy your last few days alone together, and be extra nice to the wife. She is about to do something amazing.

  • Meghan says:

    Based on Ziggy's comment, I guess my post yesterday didn't come across well, so I'll try again:

    I'm a scientist, as is BrooksPhD. So, I thought he would like to know about a way to quantify the likelihood of an induction succeeding. I was not trying to be fanatical or go based on anecdote. I was actually trying to suggest that he not go based on anecdote, but rather based on data.

    Given that I don't usually comment on the Scientopia blogs (even though I read them regularly), I realize I don't have a history built with you, so it makes this trickier. Because of that, I almost didn't comment yesterday, but then figured I would. But maybe I shouldn't have.

    Ziggy is definitely right that the conflicting advice doesn't stop.

  • brooksphd says:

    Hi Meghan - I'm not sure what prompted Ziggy's comment, and I don't think you were being fanatical at all. Feel free to keep commenting; I'm a sporadic blogger given work and family commitments so any interaction with the Reader is always appreciated 🙂

    • Meghan says:

      Thanks for the follow up. I definitely appreciate it. And, like I said, good luck with things next week! My baby is somehow 13 months old already.

  • katiesci says:

    Wow, I had never heard of Bishop scores. Basing a decision like this on actual semi-quantifiable data (still the doc's interpretation) is such a great idea.

    I was induced with my son (16.5 yrs ago...) but I can't generalize to say that her birth experience will be anything like mine just based on my n=1. I hope it all goes well and that we get to see baby brooks pics soon!