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Jun. 21st, 2006 | 11:19 pm

My blood pressure has been jumping around these last few weeks of pregnancy -- and after I had a headache that I couldn't shake, last night I went to the drug store to check it at one of those automatic machines.  159/98, which was very high for me.  So I called the doctor today and they wanted me to come in.  It was back down when I came in (and the doctor suspects the machine may have been inaccurate).  But the doctor suggested inducing a week from today -- and there's my dilemma.

I had had some contractions last night for about 45 minutes, and when I told the doctor that, she said she thought something was probably going to happen this week.  I said, "Well, hopefully not until my husband arrives on Sunday . . ."  She asked what I meant, and I explained how he has been in Iraq and only has two weeks here.  She then suggested setting me up for an induction a week from today, on June 28, because I'm "having a big baby" and because my "blood pressure has been so-so."  But because of the context of her remark, it seems that she really means an induction-for-convenience.  (If it were a true medical emergency, wouldn't she set it up for tomorrow instead of in a week?)

She did say that the biggest risk I have of a c-section is the baby being too big to fit -- and the longer we wait, the bigger the baby will get. 

But from everything I've read about Pitocin, it sounds more risky for the baby and it sounds like it'll throw my natural childbirth hopes out the window.  Pitocin makes the contractions harder and longer than they would be naturally, so this can lead to fetal distress.  Because of this risk of distress, you have to be on continuous monitoring, not intermittent monitoring where you can walk around.  If you're tied to the bed (both because of the Pitocin IV and because of the continuous monitoring), this slows down labor.  And whether because of this, or because your body or your baby is just not ready, there's a higher risk of c-sections if you're induced.  And because the contractions are harder and longer than they would be naturally, with no chance for the contractions to build up slowly, the pain is more intense and most people need the epidural.  (The doctor virtually insisted that I would need an epidural -- only after I protested for a few minutes did she say, "We can see how it goes -- maybe you have a high pain threshold and it'll go quickly.")

If induction is necessary for my baby's health or mine, obviously I'm all for it.  But I don't know if that's really the situation we're in.  I have non-medical reasons for wanting the baby to arrive quickly -- wanting Dave to have some time with his baby before he has to go back to Iraq, hoping that we can be discharged from the hospital in time to have the baptism on July 8, hoping that the baby arrives in time for Dave's parents to see him or her . . .   I guess the ideal situation would be if the doctor's initial impression was correct, and something does happen this week, naturally, even before the date of the induction.

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