Shannon Cook lies in the hospital bed gritting her teeth as her body is gripped by another contraction. This one, she explains, isn’t as bad as they have been. “It’s like he [the baby] found a spare body part that he’s sharpened into a shank. It’s more like sharp, little stabs.”
Shannon’s midwife admitted her to St. Joseph’s Hospital on Thursday night to be induced because of a condition she developed called polyhydramnios, which is when the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is too high. “They’re worried that when my water break’s the umbilical cord will try to come out first and get pinched by the baby’s head” Shannon explained.
This condition effects nearly one in 100 women and can cause problems to the mother and the baby during delivery including placental abruption, collapsed lungs, or even stillbirth.
Although experts don’t know exactly why some women develop polyhydamnios, some of the causes include congenital defects, Rh factor increases, and maternal diabetes. In 65 percent of the cases the causes are unknown and there aren’t any complications to either mother or baby.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost one in five women have induced labors. There are many reasons why a doctor might recommend inducing labor: polyhydramnios being only one of them.
The midwife wants to be the one to “break the water” so that hospital staff is able to control the amount of flow, minimizing the chances of complications.
The Cook’s plan was to start cervical ripening with prostaglandins and follow up with Pitocin, a synthetic hormone that triggers contractions. Although these labor-inducing medications effect everyone differently, women typically tend to give birth within a few hours after administration.
Not so for Shannon.
Forty-one hours after her initial induction, she was only dilated to four.
“I’m just ready for this part to be over. I’m sick of the waiting,” said Shannon late Friday night.