To induce or not to induce?

I have a dilemma.

Let me fill you in.

My partner and myself decided to start trying for a baby when I was 35, late for some people but ideal for me. I had done pretty much everything I wanted to do and now I was ‘ready’ to start a family. We fell pretty much immediately and baby was due early November. This wasn’t meant to be however and I started miscarrying two days before my 12 week scan.

We spent the next year trying to conceive and pretty much a year to the day I fell again, this baby due the day after what should have been baby #1’s 1st birthday. Again, however we faced heartbreak as there was no heartbeat found at our 12 week scan.

Another agonising year followed trying to conceive, living by the say so of the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor until we fell once more, again due in November! I’m beginning to think that I am only fertile in February/March time. This time baby didn’t reach 10 weeks before I lost it and so the recurrent miscarriage procedures started. Blood tests, physical examinations and consultant appointments (thank god for the NHS) all led to the final conclusion there wasn’t actually anything physically ‘wrong’ with me to cause these miscarriages. This was met with mixed feelings, gratitude that there was nothing wrong with me but also the feeling that if they had found something then it could be ‘fixed’.

So the process began yet again, the fertility monitor was our guide but was met with month after month of disappointment, arguments, upset and feelings of failure that I couldn’t do the most simplest of tasks. I decided to scrap the monitor. It wasn’t helping it was making things worse. Yet in the beginning of this year we decided once more to give it a go.

Eureka, in March, a positive pregnancy test, once more. I was 39.

Due to the recurrent miscarriages this has meant that during this pregnancy I have been under a consultant at the hospital. I have been scanned and monitored every two weeks from six weeks pregnant up until the 12 week scan. Apart from a blip at 16 weeks (another scan) and a ‘funny turn’ at 21 weeks this pregnancy has been pretty much straight forward. Baby is hitting all it’s growth markers, I have had two extra growth scans (28 and 35 weeks) just to make sure. I’ve felt great and my midwife happily informed us that this was not a high risk pregnancy and I could start thinking of the birth plan that I, ideally, would want. I’d already decided on hospital (first baby and all) but now I could look into the hospital’s low risk birth unit and have actually been rather looking forward to the idea.

Two weeks ago we had our last scan at 35 weeks and all was a-ok with baby and myself.

After this scan we saw the registrar for an antenatal appointment who explained all the growth markers etc etc and confirmed that all was fine and that she didn’t need to see us again until baby decides to enter the world. On asking what my birth plan was and us announcing the Low Risk Birth Unit she glanced down at my notes and shook her head.

Apparently, now I have reached the grand old age of 40, and if baby hasn’t put in an appearance beforehand, it is ‘recommended’ that I be induced on baby’s due date. No-one at any point during this whole process has mentioned this to us. Not one! Apparently the risks of still birth after the due date increase significantly when your maternal age is 40+. Now knowing my history it’s a no-brainer. We do NOT want to risk the health of our precious bundle in any way what so ever so in that instant we were in agreement, although nothing had to be decided there and then, the midwife would make the relevant arrangements after I’d read all the gumpff.

Now I’m not one for taking medications and really don’t like the idea of pumping my body full of artificial hormones (should a sweep and pessary fail) as I have an idea they can have a health risk in the long term so the thought of doing this without giving bean a chance to come into the world naturally doesn’t fill me with joy but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and that’s that!

The Dilemma

If I was still 39 this would never have been mentioned! The fact that I turned 40 two months ago has plunged me into a medical grey area.

My midwife explained that hospitals always err on the side of caution to eliminate the ‘risk’ factor (which I now fall into). She also explained that although still births do increase after the due date in women over 40 the largest evidence of this is in women from ethnic minorities, of which I don’t fall.

I’m pleased to say I’m fit and healthy, probably more so than some 20 something prospective mothers and I’ve had a relatively trouble free pregnancy.

Yet again, I don’t want to take any risks either!

Arrgghh!!! Do you see my dilemma now?

Our Decision

Preliminarily we have decided, for now, to give bean a small chance and if he/she doesn’t make any sign of an appearance on the fourth day over due date then we will have an induction and quietly pray a sweep and pessary do the job.

In the meantime I’m going to be pretty much trying everything to encourage it’s arrival on or before time. Any suggestions?

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