Below are real life stories submitted by people around the world for our recently published Article – Evidence on: Due Dates.
Vanessa was planning on another natural birth with her 3rd child. At 39 weeks she elected for an induction due to severe, chronic sciatica pain. She was surprised by the intensity of the Pitocin-induced contractions, and needed an epidural. Vanessa ended up with an emergency Cesarean when her baby (who was moving constantly during the intense contractions) flipped breech/ transverse during the induction.
Alicia, a certified doula, birthed her second daughter exactly on her EDD. At her 40 week appointment with her OB she was informed that she was two centimeters dilated and they talked about waiting for induction until 42 weeks. That same afternoon labor began! Her daughter was born the next morning. She described her birth as “a beautiful, happy, identity-changing, empowering experience”.
Sigrid, a newborn nurse and lactation consultant at a busy urban hospital, was planning a second home birth VBAC with her fourth baby. When she reached 42 weeks, she risked out of a home birth and began planning for a hospital birth. When labor finally started on its own at 43 weeks, her baby was born too quickly to make it to the hospital, and she ended up with an accidental unassisted home birth after Cesarean. Sigrid said that her daughter “took FOREVER to decide to be born, but when she wanted out, she meant business!“
With her first pregnancy, Shannon did not go into labor on her own by 42 weeks, and so she was induced with Cytotec. Her drug-induced contractions were very intense– she had contractions that lasted 60-90 seconds every 1 and a half minutes for 10 hours. Shannon gave birth vaginally to a healthy 7 lb, 8 oz baby, although there was some meconium aspiration. Two years later, Shannon gave birth again spontaneously at 41 weeks and 2 days (after membrane stripping), and her sister had a post-term pregnancy and went into labor spontaneously at 42 weeks 5 days.
Rebecca went in to labor at 41 weeks expecting a home birth, but soon after labor began she noticed that her blood pressure was high and she had a headache. Rebecca went to the hospital with her midwife to be evaluated, and found that she had developed severe preeclampsia with neurological involvement. Rebecca agreed to Pitocin, an epidural, and magnesium. She gave birth vaginally to her son at the hospital.
At 40 weeks, Jenny was required by her midwifery practice to see an OB for a routine “due date” consultation. After a cervical exam that showed she was 1 cm dilated, he sent her to the hospital for fetal testing, which showed baby was not moving as much as they would like. The hospital started to prep her for an induction, but she chose eat lunch and have a repeat test, and the results this time were perfect– so she went home. At 41 weeks and 1 day, Jenny went into labor on her own, and her baby was born weighing 6 lbs, 5 ounces, and was covered with a bit of vernix.
Only 10% of women who reach term give birth by 39 weeks. Tiffany was planning a VBAC and went into labor on her own at 39 weeks and 2 days. Despite being told by the on-call obstetrician that VBAC was dangerous, Tiffany gave birth to her baby vaginally after 13 hours of labor and only 2 pushes. Afterwards, she said “I felt so strong, like I could achieve anything if I set my mind to it.”
At 42 weeks and 1 day and after she had tried every natural induction method possible (including a Foley catheter), Traci’s risked out of a birth center birth. She was induced in a hospital with Cervidil and Pitocin. Traci tried to cope naturally with the contractions but ended up needing an epidural that caused her blood pressure to plummet and her son to have heart rate problems. She finally gave birth vaginally to her son said “the emotion that came over me was like every “I love you” I’ve ever heard repeated again all at the same time.”
With her first pregnancy, Cristen favored the option of a physiologic birth. When her nurse-midwife pressured her to have an induction in her 41st week, Cristen switched practices. “My resistance to having an induction at that point was a natural response to feeling strong-armed to have this major medical procedure based on no information other than ‘This is what we like to do.’” Cristen found a new care provider and went into labor on her own the very next day–at exactly 42 weeks.