Neither of my babies wanted to vacate my womb.
I needed them out of there, but both had to be forced — the first via Caesearian section, the second via Hoover-matic.
The down side, of course, is once they’re out, there’s no sticking them back in.
Wouldn’t it be great, in those newborn weeks, to be able to reattach the umbilical cord for a few hours? Just so the baby’s fed, warm and safe while mom falls into a coma? That would rock.
I was reminded of my attempts to induce my babies to check out of the uterine hotel when I realized that it’s Barley’s Pizzeria and Taproom’s 15th anniversary this year.
What does Barley’s have to do with inducing labor? A lot, if you believe some local moms who swear that a big slice of Barley’s pie sent them running for labor and delivery.
When, after 42 weeks of pregnancy, my first kid hadn’t made an appearance, my obstetrician set up a hospital appointment for me, in hopes that medical intervention could coax the kid out.
Having heard the rumors, we stopped at Barley’s for a slice on the way to the hospital (of course, this was almost 12 years ago, so there weren’t that many eatery options between North Asheville and Mission Hospitals. Luckily, Barley’s was one of them). I ate my slice, not knowing then that it’d be the last solid food to pass my lips for three days. Actually, that’s not true. The same piece of pizza pie would pass my lips again in about 12 hours. But that’s beside the point.
The point is that the Barley’s magic didn’t work for me. In fact, nothing worked that first time — because my girl was stuck sunny-side-up with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck. The only way she was coming out was like Julius. The emperor, not the orange.
That doesn’t mean Barley’s won’t work for you, especially if your fetus is positioned correctly and doesn’t have Enviro-spouse’s huge forehead (if your fetus does have E-spouse’s forehead, we need to talk).
Even before I scarfed some Barley’s pizza, I tried every inducement technique known to woman. Did you notice that I mentioned she took her first breath after 42 weeks of gestation? (OK, it was really 40 because the docs throw in the two weeks before ovulation for some weird reason. The point is, only elephants and whales are preggers longer than I was.)
Here are some of the inducement techniques I tried:
1. Sex. Yes, semen contains cervix-softeners. A soft cervix is necessary if you want to push an infant’s head through it. However, having sex while hauling around an extra 40 pounds, most of which is centered in a huge balloon in front of your reproductive organs, is not as fun as it sounds. Plus, that mass (aka baby) is pressing on all your internal organs, especially your bladder. And you feel like an irritable hippo. At this point in pregnancy, a turkey baster’s a better idea for semen delivery.
2. Spicy foods. Some women swear that a curry pushed them over the edge. This may be why Barley’s pizza has worked — the tomato sauce has some spice to it. Topping your za with crushed chili peppers might speed things up even more. Remember not to overeat if you’re already having regular contractions. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll probably be seeing that food again once you’re in hard labor. And it will be much less appetizing then.
3. Walking. Being upright is one way to use gravity to push the baby down onto your turkey baster-softened cervix. Also, the pregnant waddle actually helps get the baby positioned (there’s something useful about that oh-so-attractive hip sway). I must’ve walked 200 miles around our neighborhood while preggers with my first. Oh well.
4. Cod liver oil. Folks swear by this — supposedly because intestinal contractions can lead to uterine contractions. In my opinion, cod liver oil sucks donkey hooves. I drank the stuff, which tastes nasty. Then I spent 14 hours perching my huge self on the toilet. I don’t care how much you want to have that baby — intestinal contractions are no fun at the best of times, and even less so when you’re feeling like … an irritable hippo.
5. Witch curses. You might not read about this method of inducement in your natural birthing manual. But a friend of mine took pity on me at 42 weeks and shared an incantation she swore came from a witch. I had to say the curse while doing these funky arm contortions, then repeat it regularly until I went into labor. Which didn’t happen. My friend swears the curse worked for her, but I think she was just looking for a reason to avoid sex and cod liver oil. That said, I’m a big believer in mind power, so, provided your kid isn’t stuck like mine, cursing them out of your belly might just work.
After all, you’ll be cursing them outside of your belly for many years to come.
Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.