I wrote most of this post this while having my labour induced at 39 weeks because the baby wasn’t growing enough. I was basically “on time” for my due date, and my body was mostly ready for birth.
A disclaimer, I have Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder and the induction process started working very quickly on me. My experience may not be typical. However, I spoke with a midwife about induction in general and she did feel my experience of the sensations involved was fairly normal, so hopefully this blog will still be useful.
I’m feeling a little cross that none of the info I have seen or read mentions what being induced feels like in itself. The discussion is all about what the labour is like once it starts, compared to a labour that is not induced. I assumed, therefore, that induction doesn’t feel like anything in particular until labour starts.
However I now understand that induction, when it’s working, gives you is all the “normal” sensations of pre-labor – but condensed into a shorter time period. This means it’s actually quite intense and uncomfortable and that might be distressing if you’re not expecting it.
[It doesn’t mean that your whole labour will be really painful though, so don’t worry – and read on for more info!]
This is what I felt
- I started feeling sensations within 30 mins
- I felt sciatica like shooting pains in my cervix
- I felt a very tight cramping that was constant, not intermittent, over my whole lower belly
- It was difficult to move because the sensation so intense that my abdominal muscles felt almost brittle under the strain
- That was difficult to deal with emotionally as I felt quite trapped.
- Having expected to be very “mobile”, it was frustrating and scary to be unable to move.
- The baby visibly dropped down quickly, visibly and by many inches.
- My tummy looked a different shape within just a few hours.
Name that sensation!
I quickly lost the ability to differentiate between things like being hungry, needing a wee and the baby kicking. I just felt a solid block of sensation from my bellybutton to my bottom that I couldn’t link to individual biological needs anymore. I did adapt to this eventually, after 8-9 hours (and the removal of the catheter I had initially needed) I started to be able to differentiate a little bit again. Then I was a bit distressed at needing a poo and not being able to go, so that was a double edged sword!
At this point I threw up and started having quickfire contractions, and stopped blogging!
I don’t think there’s much point me describing what I experienced from that point onward in detail, as I think it’s probably quite unique to my situation.
However, I wanted to to note that once labour started properly, personally, I was in much less pain than I had been during the induction. I found the various sensations more manageable because the surges/contractions had breaks between, during which I didn’t really feel anything other than sleepy. Most of my labour was a blissed out “hormone soup”. So at least for me, the painful induction didn’t mean my labour was terrible. Actually I really enjoyed it!
And look who I got to meet at the end of it!