I was pregnant for almost ten months…

I’ve just read an article published on The Guardian news website, sent to me by the lovely Jayne over at Mum’s The Word. The article is entitled I Was Pregnant For Ten Months and I suddenly thought, hey! Me too!
My first pregnancy was text-book normal and I did not experience once jot of morning sickeness, swelling, headaches or any of the other delightful pregnancy bonuses there are. I did have heartburn once, but I think that was more down to wolfing two packets of Rolos in quick sucession than anything else. When I booked in with the midwife I was given a date one week past my due date, to discuss induction if the baby hadn’t arrived by then. As that date came and went, I was booked for an induction- common practice right? Well, no actually, it doesn’t have to be.
I never questioned anything. I did, however, read that at my hospital a high percentage of inductions failed and ended up as emergency sections and I remember telling my sister that I had a feeling that would happen to me. It did.
I was induced at 7 am, following an examination by a midwife who exclaimed that I was nowhere near ready to deliver and that she would eat her hat if my baby was here before the weekend. It was Monday. I wonder now why I didn’t have the foresight to question why they wanted my baby out if she was nowhere near ready to come by herself?

Image source:susty.com

The article talks of many American women regularly getting to 43 weeks of pregnancy and that it isn’t all that strange at all. In France, 41 weeks is considered term and the women there aren’t overdue until 43 weeks. The article also speaks of
“tales of weirdly overdue babies… The actor Jackie Chan claims his mother carried him for 12 months before he was born by caesarean section, weighing 12lb. There is also a story of a woman in a prisoner of war camp who allegedly waited until the camp was liberated to give birth – at 12 months’ gestation.”
and claims that only 5% of babies are actually born on their ‘due date’. I wonder why UK doctors are so eager to induce and get our babies out early? The writer of the article, Viv Groskop, was not given any clear answers to that question.
My induction began at 7am and by 10am I was having ‘niggles’. I was strapped to a monitor and I was told to press a button whenever I felt anything. For what its worth (and its a different story, really) I was told that I wasn’t in labour and so suffered these niggles, strapped to the bed, for hours. Eventually, it was determined that I was in labour and I was taken down to the delivery room, amidst grumbling that they were really short staffed (again, another story). To cut another really long stort short, my induction failed. My daughter was born via emergency section at 2am the next morning, weighing inly 6lb15. For a baby who was fifteen days late, thats really tiny.
The next afternoon, my midwife came to see me and actually brought a hat on a platter with a knife fork, asking me if I wanted to share her lunch.
I truly believe that my daughter was not ready to be born and perhaps was not even late at all. I truly believe that I would’ve laboured naturally and would’ve given birth naturally. Her birth affected my second pregnancy to the point where I refused to be induced again.
Worryingly, the article talks of a complication called “iatrogenic” (“doctor-caused”) prematurity – “inductions where babies turn out to be premature and then spend a week or more in the neonatal intensive care unit”. Whilst my daughter probably wasn’t premature, she certainly wasn’t quite ready to make an appearance when they induced me. The stress of that caused her heart-rate to decelerate and take longer to recover with each contraction. The emergency section saved her life but I wonder whether her birth could’ve been so much different. Isn’t it time we trusted mums a little bit more to know what is best for their babies? A woman who has had a normal pregnancy, free from complications and without any other health concerns should surely be allowed to carry her baby to term. Surely?


13 responses to “I was pregnant for almost ten months…

  • jaynecrammond

    This read so similarly to my own birth story, it actually gives me chills to think that this happens so often because of this set of rigid guidelines that maternity doctors and nurses are forced to adhere to.

    I just don’t even know where to start with just how WRONG it all is.


  • Jacq

    My babies were all late, and 3/4 were induced. My inductions were not terrible experiences and at least I knew when they were going to be born. My latest baby was an induction at 14 days over, and my earliest was an induction at 1 day over- I didn’t mind that induction at all, she weighed in at 11lbs 12oz!
    The last came naturally 5 days over when I was in hospital to be induced, I only ever felt pressured to induce for my 2nd.

  • Honest Mum

    This is very interesting, in some cases like my own it was vital I was induced at 37 weeks as I had a liver condition obstetric colostasis (can cause stillbirth) but nearly every baby is saved if mother is induced between 37-38 weeks and in most cases due to being induced so early, this results in an emergency c section.

    Interesting however to hear that babies esp in other countries can go longer-interestingly in London you are induced at 41 weeks whereas in Leeds it’s 42.

    I’m so sorry you were not treated well and the midwife bringing a hat in is frankly disgusting, smug almost and definately not best practice. As a filmmaker I am going to be directing a short film to raise awareness about the condition I mentioned to you as I was not given correct advice from my GP and am passionate about raising awareness on it.

    Thanks for another informative piece x

  • vicx

    I’be often thought that being induced on my daughter was the wrong thing to do. It of course was down to my own desperation to get my body back to myself and the sheer panic I was in about my raised bp. The panic of course was not helped by the medical professionals constant monitoring of it. One thing I do know now is that when my next one arrives it will be because they are ready not because I served them with an eviction notice. I think u are right in that they do put too many regulations on expectant mothers.

  • Circus Queen

    This is something that’s on my mind as I’ll be giving birth in three months (or who knows, maybe four?). I desperately want to have a natural birth if it is possible. Of course, I have no control over whether complications develop but if everything is straightforward I will be opting to put off induction. But until recently, I wouldn’t have known that that was even an option.

  • Zoe

    I argued with my drs when pregnant with 2nd child – went to 43 weeks because I felt fine and I knew baby 1 had been late. Eventually was induced, but baby came out completely covered in vernix.

    • ghostwritermummy

      Just goes to show they don’t know everything. They refused to let me have a planned section before my due date when I was pg with my son because they said he was measuring 5 weeks too small. Said he would have so many problems. He was born at 7lb7, almost a pound heavier than my daughter!

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  • Nat

    I had my first at 41+2 my 2nd at 42+2 and my 3rd at 41 my last two were both electives. HUGE battle but I got what I wanted pretty much 🙂

  • Katrina Neighbour

    I so agree that women should be left to go “overdue” I hate that doctors think that all babies should be here by a certain date, babies will be born when they are ready!

  • mizmummytwoshoes

    This post gave me the shivers as i saw myself in this not so long ago, i had a really tough first birth! Fortunately, mine didn’t end in C-Section but i don’t think i was far off. Our baby’s also have the same birth weight 6lb 15oz and mine was born just after 2am! I was 8 days overdue.

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