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. Wife 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
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, Wife is a believer in 'better living through modern
chemistry' and thus epidurals are on the menu for Monday, for sure.
Here we go then. I'll blog as I am able, and of course, you can follow our adventures on Twitter
*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.