* Pitocin, a synthetic version of oxytocin. is used to start or speed up labor.
When we showed up at the hospital for an induction of labor (more on why below) on Cassandra's due date, we checked in at "admissions" and were given one of these:
Having never been in quite this circumstance before (checking into a hospital at 6:30am), I was amused. Additionally amusing -- as far as I could tell -- I was the only person in the waiting area (Brad was parking the car)!
For the record, I was induced because my OB felt strongly that he didn't want this baby to get too large. Zander had a complication at his birth called shoulder dystocia, where his shoulder got 'stuck' on the way out. Luckily, the doctor was able to dislodge it and Zander had no lasting negative effects. However, having had one birth with a shoulder dystocia complication made me much more likely to have another. The OB thought that one way of preventing it was by inducing labor early.
Brad and I thought long and hard and spent many, many hours discussing the pros, cons, and risks of both inducing and waiting. And I'm not even going to mention the countless hours on the phone with friends discussing the same (that's you Lisa and Laura). We held the doctor off for a week and half, but decided to go ahead with the induction at 40 weeks.
Also for the record, Cassie's shoulder came out without any problems (even though a team of neonatologists were on hand in case something did occur). And contrary to what a sonogram estimated, she was a tad smaller than Zander (8 pounds exactly whereas Z was 8 pounds, four ounces.)